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Recent Blog Posts

Quinta do Brejo

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"Lisa, this guy is a genius!" Sheila was talking about Jack Brainard. She had met him through the Light Hands clinic, had picked up his book, "If I were to train a horse," read it and re-read it, voraciously studying every word and practicing his maneuvers. She was a perpetual student her entire life. A year later, there we were, in her arena, with...
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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

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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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New Adventures

Tollhigh Tollgate Trail
We picked up Roy and Arizona Mac V and drove an hour south and east, past a small town called Tollgate and parked in the Andies Snow Park parking area in the Umatilla Forest. We saddled and crossed the highway, finding the Horseshoe Trail trailhead. Dropping down onto the trail, we followed it through dense forest and ferns. Arizona feels...
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Friendship

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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Taylor Loop

Taylor Loop
We had no idea that this trail had become so popular. I picked up Carol and Smartie on Saturday morning and we drove down the road to the Taylor Loop trailhead. This trail is only about four miles long, but it's a pretty steep trail. We chose the easiest direction, with the steepest part on our climb instead of our descent. As we were getting ready...
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Oregon Gulch to Fox Creek

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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

cowcreek
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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Bridgework

Bridgework
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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It's a Big World Out There

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Even though the weatherman said "zero percent chance of rain", we didn't believe him. The skies were black and threatening. We saddled up anyway, and zipped into our rain gear. Arizona Mac V, (Ames Perfection x Major Mac V) just turned three in March. He is pretty worldly for his age. We brought him to Idaho two years ago as a yearling and ponied h...
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How Do You Do?

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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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The Big Flat

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The Big Flat... it didn't sound that enticing to me when I heard the name, but since the trails up high in the Blue Mountains east of us were still pretty littered with downfall, and since I completely trust my new friend Anita, who knows everything about riding in and around Walla Walla, and since flat was probably just fine with Ar...
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Plan B

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Walla Walla has an historical old Fairgrounds that's been standing proudly since 1866. I've used their arenas a number of times to ride Arizona and Roy but today, as I pulled in, there was a long line of enormous trailers all checking in and setting up for a big AQHA show. Time to switch to plan B. I turned the trailer around and drove out to Benni...
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Cowboy Dressage

CDpiglet Arizona learned about more than dressage moves
"Oh! Is that a Varian Arabian?" Jenni noticed the "V" on Arizona's left hip. "Yes, he is." I replied, smiling wide, head down, keeping my focus on the horse as we walked past the spectators in their chairs just outside the arena. "How old is he?" "He's three." I looked up at her, still with a big smile on my face. "Very nice! Thank you for bringing...
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So Much to Learn

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​One thing that delighted me about Sheila was her never ending quest for knowledge. Constantly and consistently curious about all things, even the one thing she was most known for, horses. I'd watch her in that big arena, completely focused on Jubilation or whichever horse she was on, making the perfect circle, keeping the perfect frame, placing ea...
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Making Memories

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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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Back in the Saddle Again

BiddleDay1 It's a Big World Out There
​After being in the land of ice and snow for a number of months, seeing the hills of California blanketed with bright green are a real feast for our eyes. We arrived at Varian Arabians on Easter Sunday. It was late in the day when I went out and found the horses. Roy was out in a big pasture munching away, but when he saw me, his ears perked up and...
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A Merry Christmas

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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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