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

Sunday Morning Ride

Sunday (yesterday) was a beautiful day to ride. The weather on Friday was 98 degrees and the temp dropped to 75 degrees by Sunday. My husband heard the night before that I wanted to go riding and he got up at 5 AM to feed Hondo for me. He usually gets feed at 7 AM. I woke up at 5:45 and was saddled up by 6:45 AM. I didn’t want to take the chance of it warming up too quickly and cut my ride short. Luckily it stayed pretty cool and I wore an extra shirt during my ride.

On my ride I saw a roadrunner, a couple of cottontails, coyote, javalina and 2 deer. I got a video of the javalina and deer, but my blog doesn’t support video. I am still using the free version.  I will probably upgrade when I start riding The Arizona Trail to show video portions of the trail.

I took the trail called “Animal Tracks Wash”. It is an easy trail with only one difficult area that Hondo has to pick through. The difficult part is very short, which makes the whole trail rated easy.  I can cut around on another trail to make a complete circle back to my house.

The morning was a perfect trail riding morning.  The weather was just cool enough to give Hondo a little extra energy in his step. There was no breeze to speak of and all the insects were in hiding due to the sudden drop in temperature.

On the trail I always keep an eye out for a plant called the pineapple cactus. The cactus only grows to be 6 – 8 inches in height. It is on the endangered species list which means it is in danger of becoming extinct. Below is a picture. So far, I have only came across it once before prior to this ride.


As you can see, it looks just like a pineapple. The easiest way to recognize it when it is not in bloom is the starburst design of the thorns. I use to do a lot of flower gardening and I am always on the lookout for unique plants. Since we moved to Arizona, I haven’t done any gardening.  I was pretty ill for awhile and the ground is not conducive to gardening without a lot of attention and care.  I still love plants and flowers so when I come across something unusual or extremely unique, I will take pictures.

In my last blog, I talked about Hondo. I am still writing Part 2 of his story, but I told you about his coloring and the striping on his legs and face. I inserted some pictures I took yesterday to show his markings.  If you look at his face the striping makes him look like a wrinkly old man! The pictures are of his face, back leg, front leg and withers.

Happy Trails and Adventures….

TC & Hondo





Hondo’s Story (Part 1)

I was was reading through my past blogs and I realized that I haven’t told you about Hondo…. so here goes…..

Hondo is a 16 hand quarter-thoroughbred mix.  His coloring is a red line-back dun. He has tiger striping on his legs and his face. It makes him look like he has a wrinkled forehead.

Hondo was found wandering in the desert by Border Patrol. He was very sick and dehydrated.  The veterinarian aged him around 8 yrs old.  They believed he was from some illegals running drugs from Mexico due to the tack found on him. The Vet figured he had been in the desert for a couple of months on his own due to his condition.  He had been a stallion when he was found. For anyone who knows horses, that means he was cut late.

Border Patrol confiscated him and sent him to be trained for use by Border Patrol. They had named him Chico.  He had been with Border Patrol for about 6 years. He had some of the best training during that time. He was a very dependable horse I was told.  The Border Patrol agent who had ridden him the most was leaving to another area. They had decided to retire Chico.

One of my friends Sharon who has a training facility acquired him with 5 other horses. She  gets retired Border Patrol horses to train kids in the different disciplines of horse riding.  She has received horses from all over the country and even out of the country for training.

I was at the ranch when Hondo (Chico) arrived. My friend was helping me with my haflinger Trisha.  Trisha and I had lost confidence in each other. We had a bad experience out on the trail and I fell off her and was hurt pretty bad.  After that I started riding Trisha in the arena and she had started bucking me off.  I had gotten scared of riding and my friend was working with Trisha to get her more trail sense and miles on her.  She was also working with me to get my confidence back.

When Hondo (Chico) arrived that day, Sharon asked if I wanted to get on one of the new horses that just arrived. I chose a paint. He was small and short like my haflinger Trisha.  I regret making that decision because I did not have a good lesson that day.

A couple of weeks later Sharon and my neighbor wanted to go on a trail ride. Sharon said she had the perfect horse for me to ride. Sharon was still trying to help me get my confidence back. That was the first time I rode Hondo (Chico).  I told Sharon that he was too tall for me though. I would never be able to mount him without a block. That was one of the reason I liked shorter stocky horses.

After that day Hondo became the horse I always took on trail. Sharon kept trying to sell me Hondo, but I kept insisting he was too tall. One of Sharon’s students fell in Love with Trisha and Trisha was making a better arena horse than trail horse so I sold Trisha to her. I was horseless for about 6 months, but whenever we went on trail rides, I rode Hondo.

Sharon came to me one day and said she was going to have to sell Hondo because he absolutely hated arena work. None of her students wanted to ride him because he fought with them in the arena. Whenever he was ridden outside the arena, he was the best mannered horse you could ask for. I had fallen in love with him and Hondo had helped me get my confidence back.

I had already renamed him months ago from Chico to Hondo.  I didn’t like the name Chico.  I named him Hondo after John Wayne.  John Wayne had a big red horse named Pilgram and I always thought that Hondo looked like Pilgram.  Hondo was the first John Wayne movie I remember seeing as a kid and John Wayne was my childhood hero.  Hence my new horse Hondo!

Well that is part 1 of Hondo’s Story…. In the years that I have owned him, we have written a new chapter in our lives, but that will have to wait until another day 😉

The picture below is of me and Trisha in 2009. I was 90 lbs heavier than I am today. I only put the picture in so you can see Trisha 🐴


Happy Riding

TC 👩🏼‍🌾 & Hondo 🐴