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Hard to "like" the last post, but open sky and friends sure beats dying in some nursing home surrounded by strangers. People have asked me if I don't worry about a heart attack when I'm jogging in the desert. I don't. And I'd rather die there, or have my last day on earth include time out under the desert sun, than a lot of other ways of passing.
 

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@bsms I thought the same thing. His last day he was working and seemed in good enough shape; that is worth a lot.

@egrogan it was a shock. I can’t imagine how his wife must be feeling. @Caledonian I was lucky to do so. He was always nice to me, since I can remember he always seemed to be on my side.
 

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It must always seem that way @gottatrot, but yes, it was a privilege to me. As far as I know it was unexpected, but you never know what you don’t know I guess.
 

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I'm sorry to hear that, @Knave. On the other hand, that's how I'd prefer to go - without long months of declining health and disability...

Death. A very good friend wrote to me this morning to tell me she had to put her dog down yesterday. He got osteosarcoma earlier this year and they got another half year of good-quality life for him after his affected leg was amputated. The primaries hurt like anything so amputation actually fixes that, but by the time you pick up an osteosarcoma it's usually already started seeding itself elsewhere in the body, and when the secondaries get too advanced it's sadly lights-out. :(

Love all your snow photos, and that's the best PE! 🤩 🥳

I've been scarce on here because I'm reminiscing elsewhere but it's very funny if you have that kind of humour, so you might enjoy it. It's still in progress but it's all true actually, which probably makes it funnier. It's just not an HF theme... go under the quote in the post for the little anecdotes, if you have time to spare and enjoy weird but true things. And if anyone has any ideas why someone would keep their friend in the basement, and make them pay for it, after inviting them to stay with them, theories always welcome. 🙃
 

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@SueC I agree that is a better way to go. It was a fun PE! We are on Christmas break after today!!! We needed the break; it seemed the girls minds were fighting learning any more. Lol

We have a few work days coming up, but they will be a nice change of scenery.

I will go to your site now.
 

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Cashman, Lucy and Beamer

Although the horses were saddled early, it took some time for the trailer to arrive. It had been a morning in which little things went wrong, and it threw the time frame a little off schedule.

Once they were at the ranch and slipping bridles over fluffy ears, the morning shone beautiful. The pogonip hung to every yellow blade of grass and along the trees and fences. The sunshine had the crystals falling through the air slowly around them, and it glittered all around.

The oldest girl rode Beamer, and it seemed a fitting choice as they trotted through the snow. Lucy was tight with nerves, and the brown horse again matched her. The others though all seemed to enjoy the morning. They worked the cows out easily that they needed. One young cow was determined to join the chosen cattle, and she made certain she was always in the way or causing some sort of problem. The sheep stayed by her side. She also wished she was in the group being sorted.

At a certain point, in very nice snow, the new buckskin laid down. Everyone laughed as the woman’s mother kicked him back up. He meant no harm, and just was enjoying the morning.

Part way through the field, leaving with the sorted out cattle, the young heifer, the sheep, and a few followers came running towards the herd. The woman turned Cashman around, ready to face the small group, when the big horse sold out. He had ignored the sheep prior. She didn’t matter much in his mind, but facing her in a challenge was not something the giant was willing to do. He didn’t really know what a sheep would do.

“Cash!” The woman scolded him, almost laughing. Her father and husband each met a group of the determined animals. They were all running with a cow trying to turn them back for a moment, and the woman wondered if she would again miss her mark, but the big horse paid attention to what was happening, and did his job.

Luckily for him, the sheep stayed near to the brown horse and her young friend, and eventually the group was brought back together and pushed in the other direction. It was a laugh for all of them, and the correct cattle went into their usual field.

The ride back was happy in the glittery snow which crunched under the hooves of the horses. Lucy’s ambition had faltered, and she mosied along, stopping occasionally to complain. The others however saw no complaint in the pretty morning sunshine.
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Lucy and Cashman

The stars shone bright in the morning sky when the woman called the big horse’s name. Eventually he worked his way through the dark to her side. The look on his face was one that complained at the early morning and the cold. “Are you a cranky beast today?”

The stars had faded by the time the woman finished saddling the big horse and the mare, and when her husband came home from feeding they had disappeared into a morning that seemed bright although the sun wouldn’t rise for a bit longer.

They rode away from their house on the cold morning and into her father’s yard where he was just bridling the buckskin. The three riders gathered the field surrounding his house and began the trek which would take the cows home for the winter.

When the woman stopped for a moment the sound of the many hooves crunching through the stiff snow surprised her. It was a beautiful sound to her, but moving again her own horse’s hooves drowned out the echoing.

Once through the first gate the cattle began to fight them. They milled and occasionally took together in the wrong direction. The horses worked together, running back and forth and then up sides when the cattle rushed out. It seemed to continue that way for a long time. Without the dust of the drive down, and the tall brush, it was easier to keep the cattle together, but the frustration of the riders and the horses was visible.

After pressing and fighting the first two or so miles the cattle finally began to trail in the right direction. A couple young cows continued to take runs until the man and his dog moved sides. Ozzy quickly taught the two troublemakers to behave. He worked tirelessly back and forth on whichever side the man rode.

Lucy was tired, and the look on her face was a pitiful one. She felt sorry for herself and made it obvious. The buckskin and the big horse seemed to handle the morning better than the pretty mare. Both were sweated up, but neither complained of the work.

The miles drug on, but the day was pretty and the cows moved easily after their difficult morning. The big horse remembered he was cranky towards the end, and the woman scolded him after he started rushing and biting the cattle. When her phone dinged with a message he took the opportunity to reach forward and strike at a cow, and she scolded him again. “You are quite the cranky beast aren’t you?”

He was happy to see the ranch, and each horse enjoyed a long pull of water after they broke the ice in the trough. The cows tucked into the hay, happily and lazily eating after their long walk. It was a good feeling to have them all where they belonged.
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A couple pictures from today (love Ozzy’s stick) and one from yesterday that husband texted me.

I will say that although Lucy’s sore footed on the icy areas again, she was spectacular today! She was a cowy fool!!
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Cashman and Beamer

It was a cold morning, but the people were bundled up and the horses had long heavy winter hair. It was their last day of pregging, and Beamer was going in Lucy’s place because her feet were again sore after the long drive.

Only three horses were ever used on pregging day, although another stood saddled and tied to the trailer in case of an emergency. The big horse and the old sorrel seemed to enjoy the job, and the buckskin fit right into their easiness. It was a job of high pressure, and many horses didn’t tolerate the work well.

The pressure came from the cattle themselves. Often they fought going into the chute. Pregging was never a positive experience for them. The big horse had been begging to get aggressive with the cattle, and after a couple began fighting the riders the woman decided to give him his head.

He pinned his ears and arched his neck as he rushed the groups. He was an intimidating sight, and he begged a cow to turn towards him. They must have decided then to choose the pregging over the angry giant, and they no longer turned back to hit their way through the horses.

Beamer found himself crowded one time too many by the cattle in the front pen, and he started to leave the man behind when he stepped off to work. It was an action that would have seen the mare scolded and watched, but the man just shook his head at the old gelding and laughed he was playing “magic unicorn.” One of the other riders would step ahead of him or catch his reins as he made his way by, and he never did see any discipline over making his feelings known.

When they turned the cattle back out the snow was glittering and the cows went where they needed far ahead of the riders. The woman broke into a lope, flinging snow in her wake and throwing her arms in the air. Her mother followed next to her, and the man called, “what is it you are doing?” “Playing!”

She loped the big horse one way and another, and they pretended to joust as the giant and the buckskin crossed paths. She ran at the old sorrel and barreled into a hug from the man, and he shook his head at them. “That horse is having as much fun as you,” he laughed.

Cashman and the buckskin did have fun. They knew it was a joke, and they played happily along. The buckskin was so involved in the games that he didn’t want to quit when it was time to walk back into the icy corrals.

It was a joyful moment, and the girls must have been feeling the same. They were rolling in a wrestling match in the snow when the riders rounded the last corner. The dog was excited to run and jump in, and it was a fitting ending to the day. The cows were tucked into their winter home and the work was completed for a time.

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Queen and Lucy

It was time that the woman wanted to transition the filly into the big corral. She was hesitant, for the pen of horses tended towards brutality. However, she wasn’t a fan of small corrals either, and Queen’s temperament demanded socializing. The young horse believed she was rightfully the top of all horses, and she needed the occasional reminder that she was indeed a young filly.

Lucy had been the one they chose to educate the filly. She tended towards the same temperament, and she was one who could back it up. She had trained the filly to treat her respectfully, and the soft baby fur sitting atop the frozen ground showed it hadn’t come easily.

Queen had also been a roommate of the big horse for a time period. He was surprisingly patient with the young animal, although slowly and calmly he reminded her of her place. It was with him and Lucy that she was first let loose into the big corral.

The filly and the mare celebrated their freedom. They squealed and ran, Lucy rolling on the hill while the filly climbed up its sides to only take off again. Lucy made it clear to the big horse that he was not to come close to her young charge. When the woman caught the two and took them back into their corral for evening they were still sweated up and hot.

The following morning she left Beamer in the corral. Lucy immediately ran him away from her filly. She scolded him, and also the big horse for good measure. They were expected to maintain one side of the corral with the filly on the opposite.

It did not take the two sorrels long to understand the rules laid out for them by the mare, and they did not challenge her. They ignored the filly and went about life as they always had, making sure the mare stayed between them and the odd colored Queen.

Bones and Zeus sat in the little corral, but since things were so smooth the woman caught the little yellow horse and turned him loose with the others. Immediately Queen double barreled the horse twice, but before he could respond Lucy came between them. Zeus did not cater to other horses, but Lucy had once been the same guardian for him that she now was for Queen. She had only babied him since his introduction into the herd, and protected him from well deserved retaliation.

Now she needed to be excessive to make him understand the new rules, and it took her longer to force him to maintain his correct positioning. Watching throughout the day, the woman decided to leave the five horses out for the night. Lucy seemed to have it all under control.

She hoped the addition of Bones next would go so smoothly. Bones was upset in the small corral watching it all. He even began self mutilating again. He was the wild card. If Lucy had everyone under her orders easily he would be returned in the morning, but if anyone gave her issue he would have to wait a while longer. He couldn’t wait long, as he didn’t tolerate solitary confinement, but he would have to wait a short time.
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