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

Yes, I’m still Here 😁

I have been on company travel heading into my 3rd week. I did take a short break and took my boys camping ⛺️ last weekend.

Just wanted to let you know I’m still alive. I’m still on company travel and won’t be home for another 4 days!!

I’m missing my family and of course Hondo. I will catch you up after my return…..

TC & Hondo


When Momma Leaves!

Have you ever noticed that when you are away that is when one of your kids, house pets or in my case Hondo gets sick?  I left yesterday for a business trip to San Diego and my husband decided that go with me because he has family in San Diego.  Hondo chose this time to get sick to make me worry! Hondo got COLICKY 😷.

My sons spent the night alone last night.  Remember they are 15, 16 & 17.  My mom couldn’t get to our home until this morning to stay and take care of everything while Joe and I are away.

This afternoon  she went to feed Hondo carrots, but she saw Hondo laying on the ground and he wouldn’t get up.  She immediately called my husband and Joe asked all the usual questions. Joe told my Mom to just leave him alone if he was just resting quietly.  If Hondo started rolling or thrashing immediately get him to his feet and start walking him. Joe texted my son JJ to go ahead and leave school to help Nana with Hondo.

I was finally able to call my mom when I was on a break and I told her to take away all of his feed. She said it looked like he hadn’t eaten since last night. I called my Vet and told her what was going on and she said she was slammed and wouldn’t be able to make it until late tonight.  I was going to have to tell my mom how to give Hondo a shot of banamine herself.  After talking to my Vet again, she said my mom could just squirt it under his tongue (needle removed of course). My son JJ was there to help.

So far, Hondo is doing better and my neighbor is home from work and is helping watch Hondo also.  She told me she would get a vet over if Hondo started getting worse..  I know Hondo is being taken care of, but I always feel that he gets sick every time I’m gone.  My mom is very capable of handling emergencies, I just feel guilty when it happens while I’m gone.

I’m glad my Mom was able to recognize that Hondo was not feeling well and he got the attention he needed. I will be having a few restless nights until I get home again 😋

Happy Riding   🏜🏜

TC 🤠 & Hondo 🐴




Hondo (part 2)

I take 3 to 4 weeks off every year during the Christmas holidays. Usually about 9 of the days is holiday pay instead of my PTO because my work shuts down during the holidays and we don’t take all the holidays during the year to be able to have a long holiday break.  I take my PTO before and after the holiday break.  I have been with my company for almost 18 years (Oct. 1 is my anniversary date).  I get 200 hours of PTO a year!

The first year I owned Hondo, we rode everyday during the Christmas break. It was the first year that I owned a horse that didn’t throw fits due to being barn and buddy sour.  It is a horse’s inclination to be with another horse due to them being herd animals.  They have the flight instinct when faced with danger.  Hondo has more of a protective instinct because he has taken care of me on several occasions.  We also lost our riding buddies my neighbor Cindy and her horse Cisco. Cisco developed a twisted gut and Cindy had to put him down.  To this day, Cindy has not gotten another horse, hence me riding by myself.

I have never had the freedom to ride the trails alone.  I found it so peaceful and serene. I was telling Hondo all my thoughts.  I would have never told him certain things if I had a riding buddy.  That year Hondo and I got to explore trails and we found some trails that I didn’t know existed. We explored all of The National Saguaro West Park.  I never worried about getting lost. I always figured Hondo knew his way home!  Hondo gave me my confidence back that I had lost with Trisha.  That was the best holiday season that I had have for a long time.

I had been getting ill over time. The symptoms always seemed minor and I didn’t realize I was getting sick. I had some headaches, but they weren’t anything to worry about. I had them almost daily. One day at work, I passed out and the EMT’s that responded said I was having seizures. When I came too, I had the worst migraine. After that, I started getting migraines that really debilitated me. The Doctors could not find anything that could be the cause of the migraines.  My neurologist finally sent me to the Mayo Clinic to find a diagnosis. They finally were able to tell me what was wrong.  I have a disease called “Psuedotumor Ceribri”, the cerebral and spinal fluid was putting too much pressure on my brain and in my spinal column. They gave me several spinal taps where they were able to extract excess fluid. I started feeling like myself again.  Unfortunately, the fluid would build up again and all my symptoms would return.  They wanted to put a shunt in. This was considered brain surgery. I asked for options:

One of the options was losing weight. They didn’t know why, but most people that developed this disease was overweight. Once they lost excess fat, the fluids would normalize. They told me it didn’t always work, but that it helps.  At this time I weighed over 200 lbs and I am only 5′ 4″ tall. I was considered obese. Losing weight was better than brain surgery so I knew that’s what I had too do. I had surgery to help me lose weight faster because I couldn’t live with the symptoms I was having.  The disease was damaging my eyes nerves. By the time I had the surgery, I was completely blind in my left eye. They didn’t know if I would get any of my eyesight back.

While I was losing weight, so was Hondo. Hondo went off anything sweet we gave him. We gave him pellets which has molasses in them, he stopped eating his apples and even his horse cookies. The only thing that he would eat was Bermuda hay. Due to this, he started losing weight. The Vet took every blood test she could think of and they all came back normal.  Hondo was also colicking. One time he was having a bad colic that we had to transport him to Phoenix to a horse hospital.  They diagnosed Hondo with ulcers.  I had to put Hondo on a 42-day treatment plan.  My vet told me that if I bought the medicine from overseas (Abler.com) that I would save a ton of money.  She couldn’t sell the medicine from overseas and what she could sell me was easily a couple of thousand for a 14-day treatment. I bought it from overseas.  After about 2 weeks on the medicine, I could tell it had started working. Hondo was eating better and he could even eat his cookies without colicking.

The worst part of Hondo being sick was that he had lost easily over 250 lbs. He was getting better, but he was having a hard time putting the weight back on.  My husband said that Hondo was having sympathy pains by losing weight while I was.

I had to have another surgery due to complications from the first surgery.  When they did that surgery, they found the tumors that I had just gotten removed in March.  Hondo started gaining back some of his weight, but he had lost some muscle mass also. I know this was from me not being able to ride very much.

I am better and Hondo is better. We need to just get in shape to be able to tackle the “Arizona Trail”. I would like Hondo to gain at least another 100 lbs and I know every ride is helping with his muscles.

Hondo is a very happy horse, we did try to get him a companion during his illness due to we thought he may be lonely.  Not Hondo, he just tried to kick the crap out of the other mare. I also found out that Hondo is very protected of his stall where he is fed. Hondo’s stall is attached to the arena and I had always just had the stall gate open.  He could wonder about as he felt. Hondo has a pattern he completes everyday. He starts in his stall for breakfast, then he walks along the south side and stops under the shade from a large tree just outside the arena. Hondo stays there for about 2 hours then he walks to his water on the west side of the arena.  We put the tank there because it is next to his stall and it isn’t in the way if I was working Hondo or another horse in the arena.  Hondo will travel to the NE corner of the arena after that. He likes to hang in the corner because he can see any traffic, including lots of walkers and runners. We have a pretty quit street and Hondo thinks that every walker must come see him. He will call out a greeting to get their attention if they don’t look his way. He spends most his day there.  Hondo will go back to the water trough and wait in the NW corner for dinner.  Hondo likes his routine and hates any other horse messing with it.  The mare we got him for a companion would walk into the stall checking for more food. If Hondo saw this, he would come charging and corner the mare and just kick until she was able to get out of the way or we came out to break it up.  Hondo loves being an only horse and so we had to take the mare back to Sharon’s ranch before Hondo had really hurt her.

Hondo loves going for rides, even if it breaks up his routine. He nickers at me every time he sees me open the tack shed. I can tell when Hondo doesn’t feel good when he stands or lays down along the North side of the arena about half way between the corners. That is the only time he stands there.

During the summer months we have a mist system in his stall. Hondo will stay in his stall most of the day when that is on and it is too hot to go standing out in the arena. Hondo loves his mist system.  I know if I wasn’t a horse rider, I would possibly have gotten a shunt in my brain.  If I had done that, I wouldn’t have been able to ride anymore. I will never take that chance. If they have to do anything else for my disease and it would stop me from riding, I would have to be facing a decision that would keep me from dying only.  For my mental health and all the great exercise I get, I cannot give up my riding.

After my first surgery, I slowly got my eyesight back. I do have some permanent eye nerve damage. I have lost peripheral vision in my left eye and the ability to see anything above eye level in my right eye.  That is better than being blind which is still on my plate.

Hondo and I are back to riding every chance we can get.  My husband really worries about me when I’m gone.  He is trying to get me to find a riding buddy for the Arizona Trail.  Sharon said she would ride, she just doesn’t want to sleep in a tent on the ground. Sharon has some back issues and the ground might exacerbate those symptoms.

I will  probably end up ridingide the trail alone and put my husband in a panic attack. He says he doesn’t want to help me with coordinating the logistics. Once I write it out and assign my mom some of the duties he should be helping with, he will cave.  Ecspecially when I write “bring hay and fresh water to re supply TC. Check Hondo and TC for injuries = Mom” Use Joe’s truck and bring horse trailer for Hondo to relax in prior to next passage.”  My husband will cross out my moms name and put his.  My husband loves me with all his heart (I’m one of the lucky ones!) and he will worry, but he will help with logistics as soon as I have the whole plan written down!

That is a the major story of Hondo. I have a few more stories, but they will make another great entry into my blog.

Happy Riding

TC and Hondo