Varian Arabians


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Working Equitation 101

Looking in the arena gate, my palms were sweaty, I could hear my heart beating in my ears. What had I gotten myself into now? Arizona Mac V was fairly relaxed as he stood looking over the gate. Well, at least he was until the mule brayed from not far behind him. He seemed to shout at me "THE ALIENS HAVE LANDED!" He'd never seen one before. After ou...

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Andres Castano


Roverto was leading a young mare across the road when I drove up. She was following politely, but would startle, flinch, at something to the right, then at the gate, then at a sound from the house. I watched this perfectly put together little bay in awe. She simply could not be any prettier. Earlier that morning, I'd stopped by the little graveyard...

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IMG_0979 Idaho Traffic Jam

Here in Idaho, there are shepherds. They are mostly Peruvian men, non English speaking, that live the entire summer out in the mountains and valleys with enormous bands of sheep, a few great pyrenees dogs and a couple of horses, roaming from place to place grazing the grasses from springtime to fall. For decades, these men have carved their na...

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Get Along


It had been a whole week since I'd even looked at Arizona. A short trip to Seattle followed by three days of intense work requirements took up every minute of my days. Finally it was Saturday. After a leisurely breakfast with friends at the Farmer's Market, I said hello to him, burying my face in his mane, rubbing my hand over his perfect back and ...

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Step by Step

MikeMMfilly Kalena Mac V

December 27th, two days after Christmas. The morning was perfectly glorious. No wind, no clouds, the sun warmed my back through my jacket. I found Mike at the wash rack hosing the soapy suds off a big bay horse. "Good morning Lisa!" his blue eyes smiling at me. I'd asked him the day before if I could shadow him and watch while he worked with the yo...

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Summer's Over

Biddle Look Out

Arizona Mac V and Roy had been hanging out in their own nice roomy pens at Varian Arabians since we'd arrived after the clinic in Grass Valley. Arizona had developed a rather large white spot on his withers, telling me that I either needed a new saddle, or a change in my padding. Possibly he'll fill out more by next year. Nevertheless, I figured Ar...

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The California Bridlehorse


In that time between sleeping and waking I see Sheila and I in her big arena on a beautiful fall day. Mostly she is just riding her horse, enjoying the bliss, the dance that is her and her Jubilation. When she looks up and happens to see me doing something that she doesn't' like, she corrects me, as if it disrupts her dance. I focus, try to emulate...

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It's All Good.

IMG_3125 Janet Phinney

I decided that the only thing to do was to open the window and fling my ego right out there into the breeze. My perfect young Arizona Mac V had begun to go from that contented agreeable little soul to more of a schoolyard bully. He was biting at Roy, he kicked another horse, he was pushing through the bit and was being unresponsive to me. I remembe...

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IMG_2432 High Country

​A true friendship withstands the test of time. I've known Martina for a long time. We've laughed together, we've cried together, we've held on tight to one another through our darkest hours. Her life is very busy, and to squeeze in a little time together is always a real treat. Even though she is working with three green horses this summer, s...

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Water Works

Headwaters of the Salmon River

I can still hear Sheila's voice in my head. "I'll ride with David any day!" She would say, and it's not just because he's handsome and fun, or because he rides a nice horse. It's because he likes to go off trail. He likes to explore and look for challenging places. I call these rides the "Dave Thompson adventure rides." You can't be a wimp if you r...

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Oregon Gulch to Fox Creek


There is a trail that goes from Oregon Gulch to Fox Creek, which is right across the street from Carol's house. We decided on the shorter one, which is only about six miles I would guess, ending with a big solid bridge over the Big Wood River, which is rushing by at full force. The trail is shady and cool, following a route through the forest and t...

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Cow creek


It was going to be a hot day. I checked the sheep report and even though they said there were sheep in the area of the Lodgepole trail, which lay at the end of our route, I figured they would be tucked up into the canyon and not in our way. If we did run into them, it would be at the end of a pretty long ride and I figured Roy and Arizona could wor...

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We had to take a little trip out of town for a couple of weeks, so the horses had a vacation out in a large pasture with good green grasses to their bellies. When we got home, we decided on a short ride at a trail I hadn't been on in over a decade. I seemed to recall that it was a little rough, but a friend had hiked it and the trail report said it...

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How Do You Do?


Sometimes you meet the nicest people. Last year when I went to the Buck Brannaman clinic in Dayton, I met the Phinneys, Robert and Janet. They host Buck's clinic each year in Dayton and are fine clinicians themselves. They are a very quiet couple, good looking, and rode a pair of very nice horses. I ran into them again at the Cowboy Dressage Clinic...

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Making Memories


Walking through the green spring grass, Murietta and I silently shared our memories of Sheila. The day was warm and still. I reached down and petted his neck and he dropped his head and blew out a big sigh. We were like two old friends reminiscing over coffee about a loved one they'd lost and about the travels we'd had with her, to Texas, Montana, ...

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A Merry Christmas


Christmas 2017. Arizona Mac V (Major Mac V x Ames Perfection) Rene led Arizona down from his pen and into the barn, clipping him into the cross ties. He brushed him all over as we chatted away in Spanish. I watched closely as Jaime placed the saddle pad and saddle on his back. Arizona pawed and fidgeted around, shaking his head, acting very coltish...

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Sweet Pea


In the past few years, when we have headed out for what I call a "Dave Thompson Adventure Ride", it usually goes like this: We start out saying that it'll just be a short ride, something really easy for the young horse I'm riding. Then somehow we find ourselves lost in the wilderness, sometimes with scratches and scrapes across my face and hands an...

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God I Love Summer


Summer has arrived. I switched out my t-shirt for a long sleeved cotton shirt, to protect my arms from the sun. Carol picked us up a little after noon and we drove out to the Greenhorn gulch trail head. This was a new trailer for Prestigious. It's a nice big stock trailer, but there are no dividers in it and there was a new horse in there. I put Ro...

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Down South


This horse is so smart. I have ridden almost every day, sometimes little shorty rides and sometimes bigger challenging rides.  This is about one ride, about a week ago. David and I loaded up the horses and drove down and picked up Martina and her "V" horse, El Tejon. We went out to a canyon that I'd never been to before. We rode out through a ...

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Getting to Know Prestigious V

Getting to Know Prestigious V

​Prestigious V. Audacious PS x Pretty Pauline V. I'd ridden him once for about five minutes in the arena, and he seemed very nice. Bright. Flashy. Innocent. He had been out of the arena, but not much and not far. He and Roy settled into their little pens at the V6 Ranch horse camp with a pile of alfalfa. Boy it was good to be back. There is no plac...

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major mac v interior concho

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