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People sometimes leave deer and elk carcasses along the roadside here. Once a skinned bobcat was on the path. The horses don't like the smell of death but if it drove past in a truck it would probably be less bothersome than passing by it on the ground.

Usually for us there is just snorting and reluctance rather than wanting to run away. But racks of visible white bones disturb the horses the most.
 

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And, we had not one, but two, huge deer come flying out of the woods and across the road in front of us.
My last time deer hunting was about 30 years ago. A friend and I parked the truck and started hiking up the mountainside of the Wasatch front. Steep going but it was obvious a bunch of other hunters beat us to it. After several hours of brutal struggled, we turned back. Finally made it back to the truck - where a nice buck was grazing about 10 feet away.

I guess we should have shot him, but we both started laughing until we cried. Neither of us have hunted since. The buck left when we started laughing.

BTW: We were a few miles north of my alma mater, Utah State, but the hills a few miles north are just like the ones in this picture:


Not entirely relevant, but the middle of the above picture is the mouth of Logan Canyon, a place I came to love during my college days. This is just a picture a few miles up the canyon. Scrambling up slopes like these is exhausting and I have no idea how we expected to haul a buck back OUT of there:

 

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It's because young men are Superman, @bsms! 🤪

That's such spectacular scenery. In the first picture, I'm wondering why the hillsides aren't wooded - insufficient rain? Shallow soil? Logging? The valley looks lush but is probably irrigated? And would have better soil... It's just, in Australia hills this steep are usually wooded, or covered in scrub (lower rainfall areas), because unsuited for grazing, at least by larger domestic herbivores... Are those hillsides left to the wildlife, or does someone graze something on them?

Great hunting story... Murphy's law, all right, and such an interesting conclusion... Me, I will eat kangaroo, but mostly when it has to be put down after an accident on the road... although once we did eat a fresh roadkill a friend brought us, to no ill effects - waste not, want not. We were cutting it up for the dog but the meat was perfectly OK and made great stews.
 

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Almost home, having just ridden our 500th mile of the year!
500 miles... well, here's a song for you both! 🤓


You just gotta change the lyrics around a bit and you've got a new riding song! 😇

And we will trot five hundred miles
And we will trot five hundred more...


Congratulations! No wonder Fizz looks fit in all your free-range films! :cool:
 

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In the first picture, I'm wondering why the hillsides aren't wooded - insufficient rain? Shallow soil? Logging?
In much of the Intermountain West, the direction the slope faces determines the vegetation. The difference in how the sun hits it creates small changes in how long moisture (snow) persists, how fast it evaporates, and eventually soil chemistry. In the picture of Utah State, the slopes are facing west. They get the afternoon sun and the snow melts off fast - so drier, warmer. North facing slopes tend to get evergreen trees. The Wetstone Mountains near Benson AZ show the same pattern, only hotter and drier still. Life here exists on such a narrow margin that small changes are enough to make dramatic changes in what can survive:


The National Forest near Utah State allows grazing in some areas, but not there. The photo above in Arizona does allow grazing, with time restrictions - on for a few weeks, then off. The slopes are fragile and cannot handle much, which is why ATVs are restricted. They can gouge out tracks in 30 minutes that will last for 20 years. Or become permanent gullies. Any one working cattle there does it on horseback.
 

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My last time deer hunting was about 30 years ago. A friend and I parked the truck and started hiking up the mountainside of the Wasatch front. Steep going but it was obvious a bunch of other hunters beat us to it. After several hours of brutal struggled, we turned back. Finally made it back to the truck - where a nice buck was grazing about 10 feet away.

I guess we should have shot him, but we both started laughing until we cried. Neither of us have hunted since. The buck left when we started laughing.

BTW: We were a few miles north of my alma mater, Utah State, but the hills a few miles north are just like the ones in this picture:


Not entirely relevant, but the middle of the above picture is the mouth of Logan Canyon, a place I came to love during my college days. This is just a picture a few miles up the canyon. Scrambling up slopes like these is exhausting and I have no idea how we expected to haul a buck back OUT of there:

both of my parents grew up in SLC. They have fond memories of picnics 'up the canyon' , when that was all a person could do for fun. It's spectacular country, for sure.
 

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@bsms, that story it too funny! I appreciate the sportsmanship in it. Lately around here, there's been a problem with people "spotlighting" deer- sitting at the edge of the road in their truck, shining their bright headlights in the deer's eyes, and shooting it while it's essentially blinded. Or baiting bears with jelly doughnuts and shooting them while they're gorging on the food. We don't personally hunt, but we do have a few neighbors we trust who use our land for it. I understand the need for hunting for population control, and especially in these times there are people who are relying on it to feed their families for a good part of the year, but the jerks who are treating it like a video game with a real trophy at the end disgust me for their lack of regard for what the animal has sacrificed. Anyway, sorry to get preachy...

Loved the pictures @bsms- amazing how the landscape is so dramatically different on one side of the country vs. the other. My dad's sister and her family live in Salt Lake City, so I've visited there a couple of times, but I've never made it to any of the national parks out that way, unfortunately. I'm reading a book right now called Leave Only Footprints, a travel story of the author going to every US National Park in the course of a year, and it's a reminder of how many beautiful places there are to visit, particularly out west. His writing style can be a little sappy and the transitions between the parks are not the most elegant, but it's still a nice escape during a time when we can't really travel that easily. It's so strange to think I haven't been on a plane since February, when typically I'd be away at least twice a month for work.

@SueC- thanks for the laugh with the song. Perfect! I should have played that during our last mile :LOL:
 

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One summer I had a job with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. It took me southwest of Tooele, Utah. They had tame deer there used for feeding studies and needed me to feed them on the weekends. Part of my job was also to discourage the folks from Salt Lake City who came down and spotlighted deer and shot at anything moving (and even NOT moving) on the weekend nights. I had no legal authority and directly challenging heavily armed drunk guys at night 50+ miles from the nearest cop seemed a good way to die, so I mostly drove around after dark, making noise and making sure any drive-by deer shooters knew the DWR was....around. That sort of behavior sours me on human nature.

The local game warden knew the locals and knew if someone was hunting to feed their family or just to shoot deer. He turned a blind eye to people feeding their families. In return, they often gave him info to help him catch SLC drive-by shooters.
 

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OMG, @bsms, that's so disgusting, people just shooting animals for kicks... 🤮

Thank you so much for your landscape information - that's fascinating! (y)

PS: Does anyone know what this emoji is? :poop: ...is that meant to be an anthropomorphised happy poo? (I miss our old emojis. :cry:)
 

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@SueC, you gave me a great laugh to start my morning. That is indeed a "poop" icon- whether it's happy or something else I suppose is open to interpretation :LOL: I also miss the old emojis- these generic ones just seem to have come straight from Facebook, iPhone, whatever. I miss the horsey options. I don't know why they won't import them back since so many people seem to be asking for them.

Yesterday Maggie's mom came to visit. It's the first time she's seen her since the Cushings diagnosis. I was relieved and happy that she was complimentary about how Maggie was looking, and we had fun telling silly stories about Maggie being bossy. Of course there was nothing I could have done to have stopped Maggie from getting Cushings, and with these older Morgans it's almost a given that they will develop it, I couldn't help feeling...guilty?...or something close to that since it happened while she was here with me. But to the contrary, her owner said she expected it would develop some day, and was just happy that we caught it early and started treatment quickly.

And I have to say, I think Maggie is responding really well to the treatment already. The last couple of days, the crushed stone footing has been frozen in the morning, and historically that has made Maggie somewhat footsore, to the point that I'd put boots on her to help keep her comfortable. I've been watching her really closely the last couple of days, but I'm not seeing any signs of tenderness. I'm not sure if it's just coincidence, or the Prascend helping reduce subtle inflammation in her feet, but I'm hopeful she'll continue to stay this comfortable.

 

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@SueC misses her Tardis! I miss the hug emoji and the love shower emoji. The new ones are the same as the FB and Whattsapp emojis. Big Brother Zückerberg is watching!

@egrogan , I have zero experience with Cushings, but I'm going through the same self-doubt with Nico. The latest tests are in-line with lupus, and I can't help feeling that maybe I should have done something differently.
 

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Scrambling up slopes like these is exhausting and I have no idea how we expected to haul a buck back OUT of there:
Well going back, you would have been going DOWN right? So you could have just tossed the deer over the edge and watched it roll. 🤪 :ROFLMAO:


I miss the horsey options. I don't know why they won't import them back since so many people seem to be asking for them.
I believe the problem with the old emojis - at least the moving ones - is that they are gif-based. For some reason, that slows down these types of platforms. So I doubt we will see them back. :cry:
 

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Glad that you got a laugh out of it, @egrogan - what a horrible emoji! :rolleyes: What will people think of next?

@phantomhorse13, you're right about the gifs, but at this point I'd be happy to have non-animated versions of our lovely old emojis back... (and I don't see why the gifs should be such a huge problem on the new platform if they worked super for many years on the old one - and so what if the loading speed is slightly down because of them, the fun factor was sky-high and if you took a survey of HF participants I'm sure the majority of them wouldn't mind some extra loading time to have our beloved and unique emojis back...)

...I have zero experience with Cushings, but I'm going through the same self-doubt with Nico. The latest tests are in-line with lupus, and I can't help feeling that maybe I should have done something differently.
See, now I'm missing our hug emoji, and the closest I can find is this: 🐙 (...I'm sure an octopus can "hug" really well but you mightn't enjoy the cold and slimy aspect or the suckers or you might surprise me 🤪)

If you could have done something differently, you would have, had you known at the time... but hindsight is this thing, you know, and what million things wouldn't all of us have done differently in hindsight... Lots of love to you and your family. ♥
 

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@Spanish Rider - I am quite confident in saying there was nothing more you could have done throughout Nico's medical journey that could have ultimately avoided the Lupus diagnosis. He's lucky to have you as such a strong advocate, and also such a strong presence not only during his illness, but this difficult covid time. Sending octopus hugs (or tapas, whatever your preference :LOL:)

Yesterday we had a frosty ride to the overlook and back. We got caught in a massive snow squall while tacking up (during which time the Weather Channel proclaimed that our weather was "fair"), but luckily the squall passed quickly and we were still able to go ride. It's the first ride in a long time that I couldn't feel my toes for most of it! 🥶



Despite the cold, Fizz was happy to walk along quietly, so I didn't have to worry about her getting too sweaty. As we approached the house, still strolling along on the buckle (and, admittedly, letting my mind wander to what I was going to make for dinner), Fizz suddenly took a massive sideways leap and I nearly got chucked off onto the frozen ground. I looked over to see what she had spooked at, and it was lovely husband tossing hay down from the loft into the barn. While I was very appreciative of his helpfulness, I reminded him that horses get very worried at random objects flying through the air in a place they aren't expecting it! 🧨 He very nicely brought the hay out to the pasture for the horses, as Fizz longingly followed the moveable feast.
 

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I was just reading a veterinarian's blog wherein he stated that the evidence is that horses are the most comfortable from about 50F to 18F. (10C to -8C). This is why horses are so frisky when it's cold -- they feel great!

Well, mine are sure frisky. Plus it is really windy today, bitterly cold wind. So when I was tacking up and my husband comes down the hay loft stairs with a stack of 12' boards he'd stored in the rafters, Brooke jumped like a rabbit. Glad i was not aboard. We didn't get much snow here but what there was, is sticking around on the north sides of things. And the water buckets are iced over.
 

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Well, lo and behold, re: our previous discussion about hunting, a couple of days ago, some people down the street shot a bear and have it hanging from the tree in their front yard. I grew up with neighbors and family hanging out deer, and I never loved it even as a kid, but there's something about it being a bear that just seems extra gruesome. I don't know how long they'll leave it hanging out, but Fizz and I have to ride by it to get to our normal meet-up spot with M, and I wasn't super enthused to do that today. M kindly agreed to trailer over so we didn't have to pass it. Hopefully it continues it's journey somewhere else soon!

At any rate, today we went on a nice long road ride- did about 9 miles. We went out past the overlook and the bad Cavendish hill (rode down it though!) and continued down into the next town.

We stopped outside a pretty stone house to talk to a man who was outside working- he complimented our horses and gestured around to the pastures he was working on clearing, to be able to bring horses there. Even better, he told us if we wanted to ride through his fields and trails, we were more than welcome! We will certainly take him up on that, once it's safe to get back onto the trails. Fizz had a little tantrum while we stopped and talked, pawing the road and backing up in annoyance until she was half in a ditch. How embarrassing! Ultimately I got off and walked her down the road since she was being so naughty. But she did stand very nicely for me to get back on from a stump near a gate, so there's that.

The rest of the ride she was great. We even passed a few farms with cows and she didn't stall out at all. She looked, but she kept going. Definitely an improvement! And feeling lucky we had such a beautiful day- seems like we haven't seen blue sky in quite awhile.






When we got home, I did my best to curry the dampness out of Fizz's coat before turning them out in the new field so they weren't next to the machinery that was on its way over. Last week when it got very cold, the stupid "frost free" faucet I use for all their water failed again, freezing solid (this is the 2nd time in two years, and the 2nd "frost free" faucet we've had installed). Fortunately, the local guy who is a master at drainage work and excavating agreed to come today to dig it up yet again (he's done the digging both times, but the plumber we used to install it the first two times is no longer our plumber!). Lovely husband had gone out himself and bought a better quality faucet, so the two of them made quick work of getting down to the bottom of the pipe 6 feet+ below the ground, changing out the cheap faucet for the higher quality one, and backfilling with plenty of crushed stone so the water has lots of options for draining when it leaves the pipe. Really, really hoping that 3rd time's the charm with this one as I can not function in the winter without a reliable water source. Even two days of carrying buckets from the house to the field was too much.
 

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The weather unexpectedly stayed pretty nice for Sunday, so Fizz and I went out for a longish solo ride (6 miles). Still stayed on the roads, and since it had been a cold start to the morning, they were still fairly hard and frozen in places. I don't like to ask her to trot on that, it feels like concrete, so we picked spots that were a little squishier to trot along.

We headed down the hill of despair to start the ride; first time we've gone that way in awhile. I was a little sad as I passed the house/property at the bottom of the hill- the older woman who lives there has moved to assisted living, and while the property isn't technically for sale yet, the neighborhood gossip is that there's already an interested buyer who's not a horse person. It's several hundred acres well suited to horses (there haven't been any there for awhile since she is older and living alone), and it's the location of a vet check for the VT100 and the GMHA multi-day 100. Anyone want to come be my neighbor!? 😉

After passing Mrs. Mitchell's, we headed on by the pirate dogs house. For the first time in a long time, all three of them were out loose in the yard, and they came charging down the hill from the house over the stone wall and into the road barking their heads off. There was a tiny girl outside with them, and of course they gave zero cares about what she was telling them to do, swarming around Fizz's legs and barking. Unlike the beginning of the year though, this time I just turned Fizz to face them and yell at them to go home, and they backed off without me having to dismount and get out of there. So that felt good.

We continued on our way, and Fizz was very cute-every time we passed a trailhead along the road, she'd flick an ear back at me and pause slightly in her stride, like she was asking "turn here? this one? this one?" We usually do turn off and ride the trails along the road, but not happening yesterday. There was a pickup parked at every trail, and we could hear frequent shots around us. Definitely stuck to the road.




Unfortunately there was no way to make a loop without spending some time in the woods, so when we got to the pretty aspen field we doubled back up along the stone wall and then took the same road back the way we had come.




I'm off Wed-Fri this week for the holiday, but sadly as of right now the weather doesn't look very inspiring. Hopefully the forecast improves; would be nice to meet up with M a couple of times if weather cooperates. Postscript on our hunter neighbors- the bear has now been skinned and butchered, but the carcass is still hanging, and was joined by a deer that is also skinned and butchered. Is a horse more or less likely to be freaked out by a rotting skeleton than by a full animal? 🤔 I really hope they take them down soon as it is nice to have the option to ride that way. It does make me feel better to at least know they're using the meat, and not just after a trophy.
 
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