Short Read, Day 2 – Summer Drought

golden hills in amador county shenandoah valley


Maybe we can spot symmetrical structural beauty better with age.

Better able to instantly recognize the stark simplicity?

Driving by, we immediately see the clear allure of bare winter trees.  Lost on the younger ones.

Or did we see it then, too?  But can’t remember?

No naked trees here yet, but we’re really dried out in the foot hills now.  

Here it is, in case you’d like to see, from your side of the world.

trees in gold country california

foot hills california

golden hills in amador county shenandoah valley

30 Second Summer Recap

union valley reservoir creek

Lots of camping.

Sums it up without getting too much off topic.  Quick peek at a fraction of a luscious summer, then back to horses.

Started with the tell-tale Boot-Tan Foot.  Here, at our lake close by.

pale feet and tanned legs

It was beautiful this year, finally full of water, after years on end of drought.  The lake, not the foot.  Is there a written rule you have to post pics like this on social media?  Exhausting…


In Crystal Basin, Union Valley Reservoir, above Silver Creek Falls.  An unmarked trail, you can sort of hoof it through the brush, leads to the creek that feeds into the Reservoir.

union valley reservoir creek
Family dogs may or may not throw themselves into deep water on the side, almost drowning.  Depends on your breed and how exciting the day is.


Summit Lake, high above Donner Lake.

summit lake above donner lake
Easy hike. (Depends; your 8-year-old will want to die. Return 4 years later:  The 5 mile climb is nothing, and only a 20 mile mountain bike ride the next day will ensure regular bedtime hours.) Lake will be all yours to swim in, only Loon Birds.


Best smelling secret meadow at around 7,700 feet.

meadow above donner lake


No one around.


But wait!  There’s something moving!


dalmatian jumping in flowers


Black Bear by our cabin.  Brown, because that makes sense with the name.  Blurry pic, because even if just last year’s baby it felt sort of.  Close.

black bear at donner lake

Hope you’ve had a beautiful summer!

Next week, back with some special posts, inspired by Avery at AHA Moments.  She writes about simple things, with her horses.  And stays positive about it. That’s what we’ll do too, for a week.

Crazy Heat Week

avoiding heat exhaustion with horses

It’s ON!

As soon as the heat sets in, Gray Mare shows up to work looking like a dead rat. Poor baby.

horse sleeping in cross ties

Who would work a horse in weather like this..?  Half the U.S raise their hands.  The rest shake their head.  I’ve got one foot in each boat.

bridling tired horse

Truly, she falls asleep as soon as she comes in to the cross ties.  And yes, this is before 10 am.

preparing to ride in heat

Luckily, she perks up once we get going.

This will be an interesting week… Wide tree SDL has been upgraded to an even wider all new County.  We’re going to ride, and sweat, and maybe, possibly, still feel even better.  Yay!  Both of us.  (Say it loud and then it’s true.)

riding in hot weather

Oldest boy – off to week #2 of adventure.  Youngest boy, stuck at home with me.  Later this week, some blurry riding shots from him.

avoiding heat exhaustion with horses

Stay cool and have fun with your horses in the heat wave!

There’s no denying it – summer heat is ON

riding with bareback pad in summer

It’s on, and it’s here to stay.

Valiosa had a ride with the bareback pad.  Mostly at the walk.  It still got clammy.  Yep, summer!

riding with bareback pad in summer

I’m trying to save up on my elbow joints, helping them heal.  So, some alternative work here and there, without lifting the saddle.  Not sure we’re really all that productive, but Valiosa is having fun!

Your favorite tip for beating the heat in the barn?  Now would be a great time to hear it!

liberty work with horse

horse playing with barrel
Thinking no one was looking, mare flew her weird flag


Dog Days Of Summer

Dalmatian Dog by the lake

Many, many weeks of summer fun ahead.

Valiosa will have several extra rest days during the next 10 weeks.  She will turn 5.  And she will enter her first rated show.  In the middle of all that extra resting.

Enough to make the pilot choke.  But possibly enough to increase the Impulsion score.

Happy Memorial Day every one!  Hope your summer is starting out great!

Happy Memorial Day

I’m looking forward to spending even more time with my quirky boys.  They are funny, make me laugh out loud every day, and I’m privileged to have them.

Our dog is also looking forward to more crazy adventures.

Hands down the best dog

Although he won’t get to go on the 5 day backpacking trip to Yosemite.

I hope this summer will have Valiosa sniffing at 1st Level.  Maybe she can.  As long as we have enough saddle time.

Don’t know about you, but a show is sort of great motivation to keep it going through all those long months of sticky summer riding…

Dressage On A Dime

Summer Night

riding young horse with other horses in arena

August – Heat radiating from the asphalt even at night, walking the dogs.

Small girl squeals in the summer night as we walk by – a sound much as fireworks on 4th of July.  Those Safe & Sane, State Approved ground fire works.  This is California after all.

Whiieeee.  Mostly noise with a bit of glimmer.

When our great neighbors, fresh in from Michigan, did their first 4th of July on our street, I watched the eyes of their kids sink as the evening went on.  All hope vanishing for something good to see.  There was only going to be ground fireworks.  Fizzling.


For many of us, there’s an endless string of disappointments, isn’t it?  It’s for conditioning.  I tell myself that.

Well, feeling thoroughly seasoned now.

The Heat Is On

Valiosa, being a great source of inspiration!  The barn is never a source of disappointment.

Lots of hope, convinced this is going to be a fantastic fall, with tons of fun!  Since I’m done marinating in the “seasoning” now.

company in arena

With the super early riding hours, Valiosa hasn’t had any company in the arena at all.  We really need some practice with that – she gets so distracted.