New Shoes

Last weekend, I started to saddle up Zoey when I saw she was missing one of her shoes. I immediately had my boys start looking for it in the arena. I always try to find them in case a nail was still stuck to it. I didn’t want Zoey or Hondo to accidentally step on it and get a nail in one of their feet. Luckily we found the shoe and two of the nails were still in it.

I have been very fortunate with a really good Farrier. In all the years with the same Farrier, None of my horses had ever gone lame or even lost a shoe prior to Zoey losing hers. I went and looked at the calendar and they were both due this last week. Zoey had lost her shoe 4 days early.

Since I couldn’t ride Zoey, I took Hondo out for a short ride. He really has gotten stiff in his backend due to his arthritis. We went out for about an hour and we both enjoyed the relaxing ride. I can’t relax on Zoey like I do Hondo. Zoey keeps me on my toes and I have to pay attention more with her. Hondo and I just meandered down the wash and kept to pretty flat ground.

I had to go on business travel last week and while I was gone both Hondo and Zoey got their new shoes. I took Zoey out yesterday and she was not very cooperative. When I head out for the trails, I pass my driveway to our home. We live on a dirt road. Zoey decided not to go pass the driveway and kept throwing a fit. Zoey doesn’t rear or buck, but she can do some prancing and high stepping when she wants her way. We ended up doing a bunch of circles. I finally got off and lunged her right on the dirt road. Once I did that, Zoey must have remembered that she was not the boss. I got back on her and we rode right pass our driveway without any further problems!

Out on the trail, Zoey was being very pushy and I had to make her do some exercises to get her mind on working and not home. We finally got settled and had a nice ride after that until we got closer to home again, Zoey decided to go at her pace and not mine. Zoey wanted to rush home and I wasn’t letting her. She decided to prance and high-step while going sideways down the trail. The closer we got to home, the more I had to hold her back. I finally got off her and lunged her. We were about 1/8 of a mile from home. I went to get back on her and she decided she wasn’t going to stand still. I was having a hard time getting back in the saddle. The last time I went to getup, she started to take off and I held her head so she could only turn in a circle. I ended up on the ground and a huge bruise on my underarm where I got it stuck on the saddle. It was like a rug burn, but from the leather of the saddle. After that, I decided to walk her home, but I walked extremely slow and made sure Zoey stayed in her space and not mind. She was not happy….

After we got home, I got on her and rode her up and down the road to ensure Zoey knew I was boss…. Tomorrow (Monday) I am trailering Zoey with my friend and her horse to a place called Gardner Canyon. It’s about 50 miles away and they have a nice 11 mile trail for equestrians. I’m pretty sure Zoey will behave due to we will be on unfamiliar territory. I will write about it next time…….

Happy Riding…..



I mentioned in my last post about my new horse Zoey.  We have been getting to know each other and it is going good.  She has settled down and has shown me that she is willing to learn and be another horse I can trust.  We have been on the trails quite a bit and she seems to be settling in.  Hondo has been picking on her and she has some hair missing off her rear end where Hondo keeps nipping.  Hondo really is a grumpy old man that prefers his company and no one else’s!!  I have to be sure to always give him attention first or he starts stomping his hooves.

You can tell Zoey is still a young horse.  She loves to run and buck in the arena on her own. Hondo just stands under some shade and looks at her like she is crazy.  I have taken Zoey out on the trails and she has settled down some.  She is still getting use to the wildlife.  The first time she saw a doe, I thought she was going to shake out of her skin.  Fortunately Zoey does listen to me. She got really scared and wanted to take off, but she let me calm her down and she trusted me enough to listen to me and not take off!! I feel like I made a good decision with Zoey…. Below are some pics….

Happy Riding…….


I’m Baaack 🤠

The last few months have been filled with joy, depression, anger, hectic, and very little riding. Honda my very trusted trail horse went lame on his back leg. That will prevent me and him going on the AZT together.

Since I last wrote, we did go on a short passage of the Arizona Trail. It was rated moderate, but it was a lot of steep climbing and going downhill that put too much strain on Hondo. He made it like a Champ though, but if I hadn’t given him butte (a strong horse aspirin) he would have never made it.

Due to this, I have been looking for another horse that I could depend on that’s not Hondo! That’s a pretty tall order as I have never met another horse that actually likes being out on the trail with no other horses around. I also know that with a second horse, I would start running into issues like getting barn sour and them getting bonded to each other that they don’t want to be apart. Having a second horse changes the whole dynamics.

Well I came to a decision and I did get another horse. I have been looking for a long time. I was not just going to get me any horse. I wanted one with a strong foundation and young enough to avoid the injuries that Hondo has been having his troubles with.  I needed one that I could learn to trust as much as Hondo and one that would bond with me.  I finally found a little mare that I think will fit my requirements.

I’m not too big on mares because geldings are more dependable to me, but I found a horse with a very good foundation, level headed, still willing to learn and needs a human to bond with.  She has worked a lot of arena work and is not fully comfortable on the trail yet.  Hondo will be able to help with that! She is a little black  quarter arab.  When I say black, she is solid black and no brown coming through at all. She has a small white strip going down her face and a little white around two of her feet. She is 8 years old and rides like a dream.

I named her Zoey.  I got on her after riding Hondo and I felt she may be too small for me. I am use to literally climbing on Hondo’s saddle and pulling myself up.  Hondo is 16.2 hands.  The first time I got in the saddle with Zoey, I felt like I was taking a small step to get in the saddle.  Zoey is 14.3 hands. Big difference when you are climbing up on them. I have been told that we look good with each other. I’m just used to being taller in the saddle.

I worked with Zoey during my Christmas break (I take 3 weeks off every year). She is more comfortable going on the trail alone now. Where Hondo doesn’t let anything bother him, Zoey is very aware of everything around her. She is very alert on the trail and is now keeping me on my toes. I will post some pictures soon.

Now that I have Zoey to blog about, I am going to be able to talk about our horse adventures.  I love Hondo and he will always have a home with me, its just he is going to have be retired from the trails. He can be ridden, I just need to keep him on level ground and not climbing mountains with me…

Until our next ride…..

Dangerous Heat Wave and Monsoons

This last month , I have only been able to get 3 rides in.  All 3 times I had to start out at 5 AM to get an early start. One of the rides I trailered up to Catalina Park and went on a trail called Canyon Loop.

The trail had several challenging inclines / declines. For hikers they had put wooden steps in areas on the more steeper areas. Hondo was able to navigate them and a few jump ups.  This just affirms my confidence in him. Hondo may be 16 hands tall, but he has the agility of a smaller compact horse.  Hondo also paces himself. I catch myself sometimes trying to pick up his pace because he is a SLOW walker to begin with, but Hondo has a way to let me know that at his pace, he is comfortable and could outwalk me any day.  Hondo can go all day, even with the heat at his pace.  He has no problem walking faster when I tell him, but you know when your horse gives that big sigh and you know he his comfortable? Hondo does that and he stays relaxed, even at the difficult spots on the trail that he navigates.

I consider myself very fortunate to have a trail horse like Hondo. I think his mind is definitely suited to complete The Arizona Trail.  Which brings me to my next discussion. Last week I was going to trailer Hondo to The end of Passage 10 “Prison Camp Trailhead. Unfortunately the US Forest Service closed the road going up to Mt. Lemmon due to wildfires. That was one of the reasons, I went back to Catalina State Park.

This next weekend, I have a backup plan.  My first choice is to go to the end of Passage 10 at Prison Camp Trailhead. I will be traveling from north to south on the trail. The total distance is 15.7 miles.  Depending on weather and the wildfires, my husband will pick me up at Redington Pass or I will travel as far as I can get, then turnaround back to the Prison Camp Trailhead.

Plan B will be to complete Passage 13 “American Flag Trailhead to Tiger Mine Trailhead”. This section is 8.3 miles long and has a 777 feet descent and a 413 feet elevation gain.

We have been in heat advisories for the past several weeks with temperatures ranging from 110 – 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If we are not careful, I could put Hondo and I in some dangerous situations. The logistics of water is my next priority.

Below are some pictures I have taken from my last few rides. I think I was looking at cactuses a lot and all the different shapes and sizes that they can grow….

Keep Riding……


It’s Been Busy…

Hello Everyone…. I can’t believe how life has been getting away so fast. I have been on two business trips, a camping trip, weekend away with my husband, said goodbye to my youngest son going to visit his sister in Florida for a month, my oldest son going to work in Colorado for a little bit and Arizona deciding to reach triple digits. 113 today and 115 tomorrow.  I know this is no excuse, but I have only been riding about 4 times this last month.

I went yesterday at 5:15 AM. It starts getting light at 4:50 AM and if I don’t go that early, its not going to happen. I plan on getting up early tomorrow and going too. I have taken the next week off from work and I plan on getting up extra early, before anyone else just to go riding.

My oldest daughter and her 2 year-old son plus my other grandson(8 years-old) from my youngest daughter will be arriving tomorrow for a visit. Hondo and I plan on waking up before everyone else to go riding and still be back to fix breakfast!!

I’m excited to get to show my grandsons Hondo and hopefully get them on him for a ride, but we are planning quite a few indoor activities.

I am currently trying to map out one of the passages, where its cooler so I can get Hondo and I out of this heat.  I won’t be able to take him next weekend, but the weekend after, we will be in the mountains…

Happy Riding

TC & Hondo



JJ’s Poem

I know I haven’t written a whole lot about me getting ready to ride The Arizona Trail lately, but sometimes there are things that you need to stop and make important. My son JJ (Joe Jr) had to write a poem for an English assignment. I’m not sure of all the parameters that was required, but I felt his poem needed to be shared!

Desert Hours

The desert morning wakes with a twill, If you listen,  you might hear a whippoorwill. As the sun creeps up into the sky, a Gila Woodpecker settles nearby.

At noon, lizards climb about on the wall. While the Saguaro Cactus stands tall.  Other animals look for the shade, to escape the heat the sun has made.

A desert sunset provides the best color of the day. It’s the time when the barn owl comes out to play.  It sweeps and it swoops through the air. Silently and swiftly never touching your hair.

The desert night is welcomed by a coyote’s yip. Perhaps looking for a pool of water to sip.  Night is when the predators come out to prey and only the strongest survive to the next day.

A Poem written by Joe Ornelas Jr. 5/22/2017

I’m very proud of my son JJ. Maybe we will have another writer in the family. By the way, I am not the writer in our family, my mother is a professional writer by career (35 years in the newspaper business). Check her blog out…. Pat Beans blog….. and my Sister and Uncle both have published books!

Until next time…. Happy Riding

TC and Hondo

Hello from above the Clouds

I haven’t flown for awhile, but lately I started traveling for work again. I have always heard the announcements about turning off your electronic devices and recently just them saying “ensure your devices are in airplane mode”. Today I actually heard them say you can turn them on and they even gave the wifi name to connect too!  This is way cool 😎 to be writing my blog from high above solid ground!

I’m pretty sure this isn’t a new event for most people that fly all the time, but for this old girl, it was new. I am traveling home from a business trip and I have been away from Hondo for about 3 weeks. I traveled to San Diego on 5/16 and got home on 5/20. I had 2 days to pack for a end of school year camping trip for my boys. Luckily my husband Joe had cleaned out our camper so I could check that off my list. 

I still had to plan our meals, shop for our meals, write a packing list for the boys so that they would pack enough underthings and personal items, I had to pick out most of Tony’s things (Aspergers Syndrome), get all laundry complete and make sure Hondo was alright after his recent colic. I did not have time to ride due to we also had a sudden heat wave… 85 to 100 degrees. I didn’t want to ride until I knew Hondo and myself wasn’t going to be affected to the sudden heat, especially after Hondo colicked.

We returned from the camping trip and I had another 2 days to get ready for my 2nd business trip in as many weeks.  This time I was heading to Louisville, Kentucky.  I am now heading home and can’t wait to see my family (which includes Hondo). 

I was able to FaceTime with my husband and he said that my dog Zippy was really depressed. Zip did not even sleep in his doggy bed in our room because I was not there. His doggie bed is on my side of the bed and he was missing me!  During this time, my youngest son flew to Orlando to go visit with his sister for awhile this summer.  I am a mother hen and when he was flying I told him to call or text every time he landed. Patrick only had one stop, but it was LA so I worried about him constantly. He is 15 years old, but he is my baby (all 6 of my children are my babies, but Patrick is my baby baby 👶🏻). I felt a lot better after he arrived and I talked to him FaceTime!

I am heading home and I will start riding Hondo again. In the next few weeks, I plan on taking Hondo to the nearest passage of the Arizona Trail.  I will not be spending the night, but we will get our first taste of the trail! Hondo got new shoes while I was in Louisville so I expect him to be really ready to get out on a trail.

Happy Riding to everyone!  Talk to you soon….

TC and Hondo