Thursday, January 31, 2013

Rained Out


Well it took us a while to get dried out so I could write this journal entry, but I will try to catch you up on the goings on here down the road from Dogpound South. Last weekend we headed out Wickenberg way to meet up with some of our friends and another group the Glendale Equestrian Club for a ride up towards Sayers Springs. Since it is a two hour haul from Dogpound South to the trailhead we decided to head out as we usually do on Friday morning. We got to the site and got our horses out on the highline while we got everything else setup. It was a beautiful desert site as evidenced by the shot above. Later in the afternoon I set up our electric fence so the horses could move around a little.

After a nice afternoon the rain came in right at sunset and it rained pretty steadily throughout the night. We got a call bright and early in the morning from the Modahl’s checking on the weather and with the wind picking up and no end in sight to the rain the decision was made to call off the ride. Guess these Arizona folks are made out of sugar or something, might melt in the rain. Smile

Just kidding, I am not sure I could have drug Brenda out into the rain either so it was just as well that we cancelled. And with that early wakeup call I set to breaking camp and we were loaded and on the road back to Dogpound South by 7:00AM. Thanks again for the 5:30AM call Modahl’s!

Good thing we headed home as it rained all day and most of the next night. It was really into Monday before the clouds started to clear out, in fact, it was still pouring when I went for my swim on Monday morning. Unlike back home all the pools here are outdoor so although you don’t get any wetter swimming in the rain was the order of the day.

I had a visit last week from an old friend, Phillip Staden, and he was looking for some places not to far away from Maricopa that would be good for a trail ride so Monday afternoon I decided to take a spin out west and check out some parking places. Lo and behold just as I get to where I thought we should park I pass a trailer bearing Alberta plates and the driver turns out to be Mr. Staden. He and a friend of his, Brian Mitchell, were going to unload their horses and go for ride there and then hitch hike back to pick up the trailer. I gave them a ride to shuffle the trailer but one of their horses had lost a shoe so after getting the trailer back they headed back to the ranch and we decided to try again on Tuesday.

Tuesday morning Phil and Brian pulled into my yard and we loaded Blue in their trailer and headed up the road to pick up another fellow, Clarence, and then we were off to the Butterfield Pass loop that we rode a few days before Christmas. We parked in a different spot and with some freelancing across the desert were able to cut it from a 21 mile ride down to about 17. As usual the dotted line is our trail for today while the solid red one is the trail we took a few weeks ago. The bright purple line coming in from the north is another trail I have yet to ride.

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It was great riding with Phil again, it was 45 years since the last time and we certainly need to shorten the cycle for the next one.

Phil Staden

Wednesday was a big day around here, it was time to saddle up Willow and see how the last two months of rest have treated her. I haven’t noticed any lameness for a long time but it was time to test it under load. And the biggest load around Dogpound South is me. I wrapped her fetlock in a polo wrap to give her a little support. I didn’t go far just a few hundred yards but so far so good, she appears sound, and we will work her slowly back into shape. Wink is doing a good job of filling in for her so there is no need to push our luck. She will have an easy winter ahead of her and we’ll be letting her enjoy her winter vacation with just a little light exercise and hopefully by the time we head north she will be 100%.

This upcoming weekend is our “gourmet lunch” ride, kinda like “heavy appy’s” in the RVing world so we’ll try to get some pictures of that for next weeks entry.


Monday, January 21, 2013

Pass Mountain (Scarface)

This weekend we loaded our four legged partners and headed up towards Usery Mountain Regional Park. Long time readers will recognize this as a favourite spot when we were traveling around with the RV. We have spent time in this great spot on at least a couple of occasions in the past and always wanted to come back with the horses. Well, this weekend, one of the groups we ride with, the Lone Rangers, had arranged to have us camp out right at the trailhead so we couldn’t miss the opportunity. Unlike many of our rides this one was a pretty short haul for us, just about an hour, but most of it through the Phoenix complex.


The shot above is of our camp with Pass Mountain in the background. Because of the band of light coloured rock across the face this mountain is also sometimes called Scarface. Just another interesting tidbit, Usery park is named after a local rancher and horse thief named King Usery who frequented this area back in the 1870’s. Sunset from our camp on Friday night.


We got in the saddle Saturday morning and headed out on what is known as the Pass Mountain trail, it circumnavigates Scarface and traverses some pretty varied terrain, from rolling desert littered liberally with Saguaro’s and Ocotillo to a high mountain pass complete with lots of ledges and slip rock to scramble across. Although the trail was a little shorter than what we are used to at 8.some miles it was a beautiful ride through challenging country. The ponies earned their oats on that one.


A shot of Brenda making her way up the slope and below the rest of the group coming along behind us.


We went around the loop in an anti-clockwise direction which kept our horses on an uphill climb, much preferred, through the sections of slip rock, but once we crested the pass, the trail continued with ledges on the down slope but the footing was much better. I would recommend that if you were hiking or biking though, that you go in the opposite direction as the climb up is a lot more gradual. Better walking for those who choose to use rubber footwear, rather than steel shod hooves. The pictures below are just a few of the great vista’s we were treated to as we rode along.


For the second time in less than a month Brenda had an encounter of the prickly kind with our friendly neighbourhood cholla, or jumping cactus. I don’t really think they jump but it sure seems that way as a hoof or tail can flick them up pretty easily and once they get close to you, they attach themselves like the velcro that is modeled after them, to whatever part of yours or your horses body that is handy. And I know from experience they have a way of getting your attention. Linda Modahl captured the one that attacked Brenda right after she had brushed up against it, in the picture below.

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You can see the little beggar riding along on her thigh and make note of the ledge we were making our way along. Not a good place to stop and dismount and as Brenda wasn’t carrying a comb or anything to flick it off with she had to continue along until we came to a place just a little wider where I could get down and extricate it from her leg. When I flicked it off, her horse Wink, turned her head to see what was going on and the damn thing attached itself to her forehead. She took it pretty calmly and just stood there while we got it off her head. But you can imagine how quickly Brenda got out of that saddle when that happened. Wouldn’t be a good place to get to bucking, high up on that mountain side with nowhere to go but over the edge. But she is turning out to be a great horse and didn’t get excited at all and just stood there while I removed the spines from between her eyes. Just a note: Brenda is carrying a comb now to deal with these things herself.

Because of the shortness of the ride we headed back to our camp to eat our lunch and then planned to head out on a short ride around the park after our repast. For some reason Blue seemed to develop a limp when it came to leaving camp again so we opted out and just enjoyed the rest of the day lounging around in the sun. Of course once the others returned it was time to dig into the potluck. I have said this before but it bears repeating, “this is not a riding club, it is really an eating club that rides”, and here they are checking out the dessert table.


Once dinner was done we loaded up and headed back to Dogpound South as we were participating in a Ground work and Problem Solving clinic with our horses that Wink’s trainers that TACC was hosting first thing Sunday morning. Thanks for donating that clinic to the group Kim and Kathy, sorry I was so busy learning new stuff that I plumb forgot to take any pictures of that. Once the clinic was done I trailered Willow and Blue back home, dropped off Willow and headed back out on Blue to check out our local trick riding girls. Brenda and Terri had ridden straight over from the clinic. Another of our local residents who is a nationally acclaimed trick rider is offering her expertise to a group of young ladies here in Thunderbird Farms. They look like they are having a ball hanging off their mounts in all different ways.


After that we rode over to Raceway for a bite of lunch and then finally home. Now to see what the rest of the week brings, I am planning on resuming swimming in the mornings after a long break for Christmas. Hard to get up to swim when you have to break the ice off the pool first, but the weather has changed back and we are enjoying some mid 70ish (20C) type weather so that excuse is gone, and Thursday is the day the horses have their visit with the dentist. Oh and we have another ride planned for next weekend but you will have to wait to see that one. Below is a screen shot of our trail this weekend.

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And this link will take you to the entire set of photos

Lone Rangers Pass Mountain Ride

Thursday, January 17, 2013


I thought I better get out and try out those new shoes and where better than the Red Rocks of Sedona. A month or two ago I joined a Facebook page called “Horse Trails and Camping in America” and started seeing pictures from other folks around the continent and shots of their favourite ride places. Some of those folks were looking at heading towards Arizona for a little winter riding break so our resident “ride coordinator”, Linda Modahl set her sights on arranging a ride up in the Red Rocks for those out of staters. Now she had everything arranged perfectly, camp sites, ride plans, meal plans, even right down to a truck moving plan for the one day we had to trailer out and drop off then ride back to camp. The only thing that she didn’t figure on was the weather, she seemed to get Sedona confused with Dogpound North cause the weather was very Dogpoundish. That cold weather and a sore shoulder convinced Brenda that she would be better off staying at home here in the valley and avoiding most of the icy winds. Not sure that worked but she did miss a great ride.

I headed up on Friday morning and found my parking spot at the Horse Mesa Ranch. Blue got himself a great covered pen to hang out with all his trail riding buddies overnight. Soon all of our ride participants started rolling in and getting set up. The party consisted of Ken and Verna Pohl from Ponoka, Alberta, Ted and Julie Errend from Irrigon, Oregon, Joyce Cotten-Roberts from Kennewick, Washington, as well as the Arizona folks, “K” and Teresa from Goodyear, Dave and Linda, and Linda Lord from the Phoenix area. And of course Blue and I from Dogpound South. Below is a group shot “K” took along the trail.

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This a beautiful ride and begins over by Turkey Creek below Cathedral Bluff/Rock and winds it’s way along the base of that picturesque place which forms the background for the both shots above and below.

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Then we crossed the valley floor and headed across to Chicken Point where this shot of our head photographer “K” and his good little mare Delta Dawn was taken.


Once we left Chicken Point we wandered our way back down the valley and skirted both Baby Bell and Courthouse Rock on our way back to our rigs just off Jack’s Canyon Road. Below is a collection of other shots from that ride.

Once we got back to the rigs we loaded up and headed over to the other side of Sedona where the others were going to ride on Sunday, Blue and I decided on route that we should head on home and check up on Meg and Brenda.

This week around Dogpound South has been a pretty lazy one, with the exception of yesterday. We got ourselves all gussied up and headed into meet our cousins Mickey and Jeff for dinner. Other bloggers may recognize Mick as a stalker on your sites as she is pretty aware of what all the folks on our sidebar are up to and keeps tabs on you all. If anybody gets within reach of either of the Dogpounds, North or South, and she is in the area she would never forgive us for not giving her a holler and inviting her down to meet y’all.

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After dinner, and a ton of laughs, we hopped in the Jeep and headed up to Scottsdale to meet up with the Modahl’s and Rogers to enjoy the horse opera Odessyo from the the Cavalia bunch. It was a great show with 60 well trained horses, 39 geldings and 21 stallions, along with a great bunch of riders and acrobats. They did some amazing things. Great show and well worth the money. Thanks “K” for rounding up the tickets and all.

One word of caution about the Cavalia show, take your own snacks, Brenda bought a bag of popcorn and a bottle of water and we had to have our credit limit raised to manage to pay for it all. The bag of M&M’s I bought was just a little pricey I thought, about 20 or 25 cents PER chocolate covered peanut, but then whose counting. Nevertheless it was a great time and we would, and probably will, do it next time we cross their trail.

Now that should catch you up on the goings on around Dogpound South and we will see where we end up this next weekend and what the horses and us will get up to.

Here is a map of last weekends Sedona ride for those who like that kind of stuff.

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The dotted line is this years ride with the darker solid red line being the tracks we followed last spring.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

No Sleepovers

It has been a few weeks since we were actually home on the weekend, but just so we didn’t get used to it we hit the trails both days anyway. Saturday we headed north up I-17 to Black Canyon City with the Pohl’s in tow to meet up with the Rogers and Modahl’s. We saddled up at the trailhead there and then took our trailers back down to the Table Mesa trailhead. Once we got done shuffling the trucks we headed out onto the Skyline trail. This one of the trails we rode last year with the Rogers and also the McKinney bunch, but it is just as pretty this year as it was last year. There are some great vista’s along the way.

High and Ledgy

There are some parts of the trail that are a little ledgey,


but all of our horses are pretty sure footed so they watch the trail and we enjoy the scenery.

Because someone asked: The two black horses are Percheron crosses, brother and sister, Beauty in front, and Ben following along.

This trail is used by mountain bikers as well and they have left their own trail markers along the way.


And of course there are some motorized users as well. These guys crawl up and over some rocks that I can’t imagine walking over let along riding over.


The last few photo’s make it look a little crowded but it is a big country and for most of it, it was just us, our friends, and our horses. We finished off the day by heading back into Black Canyon City and enjoying some local cuisine at Kid Chilleen’s Bad Ass Steakhouse. For those keeping track here is a peek at our trail.

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Sunday we were up and at it and off to the TACC Poker Ride, we can ride right to the start of that one from our place here at Dogpound South so we saddled up and headed to the arena to meet up with 30 odd other riders. The Canadian contingent was well represented there, probably more than 30-40% of the riders are hiding out from Old Man Winter down here in Thunderbird Farms. After we got done the ride our neighbours and Wink’s trainers the Donally’s supplied lunch for all the riders.

Part of the Canadian contingent LtoR Brenda, Ken, Verna, in the blue shirt Laurie and Trish

That was it for our weekend and other than a trip to the shoe doctor for Blue and Wink we are not planning anything exciting till next weekend. Here are a few shots from that visit to the farrier. I didn’t get a picture but Blue’s shoes were plumb wore out, guess all that rock we are roaming around in does some grinding on those shoes.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Belmont Mountains and the White Dog Ranch

Well the year has changed but things here at Dogpound South go on as normal. Most weekends we are hooking the LQ and heading somewhere to the hills with our riding buddies. The rest of the week is mostly just Brenda getting caught up on the bottomless laundry pile and me watching the world go by from my rocking chair.

I spend a little time each day keeping up on our RVing friends on their blogs, just to see what kind of trouble they are getting into. I see Ivan is hanging out just across the California line so we are keeping an eye on the sky over that direction to see if his chopper is peeking over the mountains at us. And Rod and Loyce have forsaken the Kansas Christmas season and rejoined us here in the Valley of the Sun and as long as Verizon doesn’t kick them off they might even get to read this blog. Mike and Pat are still over there in Congress with Al and Kelly just down the road, and I know Deb and Rod are planning a long vacation at Red Bay while they enjoy their new grandbaby over there in San Antonio, heck with that long stay in Red Bay, who knows they might even write a blog, seems they missed 2012. Joe, Sheri and Kris are looking forward to hitting the road to the rest of their lives somewhere in time, and Rick and Paulette are all set up over there in Desert Hot Springs while Rene and Jeanette have made it across the Medicine Line and are all jacked up while wandering their way down the Wet Coast to the sunshine.

Our blog seems to have morphed from a RV’ing blog into a trailriding blog but I guess it is still just a journal of our travels whether they be in the old diesel pusher


or the sleek new hay burning horse that Brenda is riding now. For those that are wondering Wink is turning out great and fitting in with our remuda just fine.

From the left, Dave Modahl and Earl, Ken Pohl and Beauty, Verna Pohl and Beauty, Brenda and Wink, and Linda Modahl and Annabelle

Friday morning we gathered up Ken and Verna Pohl from over at the McKinney’s and headed for the White Dog Ranch.


That is a quiet piece of desert north of Tonopah, butted up against the Belmont Mountains, owned by Sam and Karen, some friends of friends who hosted us for the weekend. It was a weekend full, of campfires, story telling, adventure, mostly eating, and of course a little riding.

Saturday we headed off on a 17 mile adventure through the Belmont Mountains, along portions of the White Dog Trail, and up to the Belmont Mine. In case you are wondering you get a trail named after your ranch if you and your loved ones pioneer it across the ridges and valley floors and go to all the trouble of setting up rock cairns so that you can actually find it again without having to use your GPS. Nowadays a lot of us carry a handheld GPS and that trail is embedded deep in that memory so as the rock cairns succumb to time the trail will live on. Along the way one of our riding partners had an encounter with a cholla cactus that necessitated a lot of poking and picking of spines on his horse. Tom managed to survive the encounter but I am sure it will be a while before he really enjoys a good joke or a deep breath what with three broken ribs.

Damn Cholla!

The rest of that ride was pretty uneventful and the rest of us managed to give the abundant cholla a wide berth. Blue and I know from our own experience last year how little fun tangling with that desert plant can be, follow this link to an account of that encounter. Below are some photos of Saturdays ride as well as the moonsetting in the morning and sunset while we reviewed the day around the campfire.

Day 2 in the saddle was a little shorter and we took a ride across the Central Arizona Project, a canal that brings water from Lake Havasu, on the Colorado River over into the Phoenix and Tucson area. Some photos from our ride past the Turquoise Mine below.

On New Years Eve we took a spin around the Cinder Cone overlooking our campsite, and although pretty short it was a nice ride and we passed by a Monastery along the way. If you look closely at the picture of the Monastery below you will see steam rising just to the left. That is coming from the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating station just to the south. Here’s hoping having a house of God nearby will help keep that critter contained down there.

In the album above, that tree Ken and Verna are under, has a large clump of mistletoe growing in it and Ken was quick to point it out to Verna as they rode under it. I missed the shot but they did partake of the traditional kiss under the mistletoe. In the other photo you can see Dave Modahl is pointing off into the distance to distract Ken from it.

New Years Eve we had a potluck feast, the centerpiece of which, was a deep fried turkey. Brenda and I had never partaken of this particular delicacy before and I am here to tell you that it was probably one of, if not, the best turkeys I have ever enjoyed. And I even managed to snag a drumstick away from the rest of these hungry folks.


I am not sure but I am thinking none of our riding partners made it to midnight, I know that myself I celebrated the New Years coming along with my friends in Newfoundland as that was a more reasonable time of night for a celebration.

The next morning we once again had another potluck where we started the New Year as we had finished the old by eating to much. But as someone pointed out it was way back last year when we last overindulged.

So, skip the picture and get the hay!

Once the breakfast dishes had been done we packed up our outfit, loaded the ponies and headed back here to Dogpound South to get the laundry done, and load up for our next adventure. Next weekend, god willing, it is the Skyline Trail on Saturday and the TACC Poker Ride on Sunday.