Category Archives: Horse Stories

Then this happened… I could hear the wind howling and the trees cracking and falling on the fences – this storm in CA was REAL.

That ‘atmospheric river’ you might have heard about that ripped through CA – was real.  My trees have the scars to prove it.

THE WIND was beyond what I’ve ever witnessed around here.  Truly.

In the afternoon, before the huge winds came in, I had one leg through the fence and the other raised to follow.  WHOOP!  A wind gust pushed me into the fence post.  That has never happened before.  A sign of things to come…


That night… YEESH!  Hubby and I couldn’t sleep because the wind was so threatening.  I could hear the trees cracking and breaking.  I heard the fences go… CRAAAAAACK!  WHAPPPPP!

The power was out.  The horses were screaming.  2am.  The worst feeling.

So, armed with my headlamp, I suited up with lots of heavy clothes and went Into the inky darkness.  Once outside, it felt very unsafe as the trees bent and swayed unnaturally all around me.  Quickly, I went to each paddock and counted 10 sets of eye, all upright and looking normal.


I went back inside but neither of us slept a wink.

As the sun came up, we squinted through our windows to see if we could determine any fresh break marks on trees.  —  Yep.  Lots.  Easy to spot.

Also a blown over shelter.

That’s what I said… a BLOWN OVER shelter.


No one was hurt but the baby was rattled all day.  She was very fussy and needing comfort from everyone.  I don’t blame her.  I felt the same way.

But, honestly, the fact that no one was hurt and only interior fences were broken, was a godsend.  If exterior fences were down and frightened horses were running down unlit roads, now THAT would have been a disaster.

Counting my blessings…

This shelter toppled over backwards. No one was hurt, but the baby was rattled all day… it upset her greatly.

This was the only branch that didn’t fall on a fence.

This was a baby oak that completely uprooted. So sad. All the shade is gone on that fence line.

Next to the driveway. I think that is like Tornado Alley. I keep losing trees along the driveway.

All the rainwater flows directly to the barn (eye roll). Normally, this pump clears it all. But the power went off so the barn flooded.

Two trees down in Dalton’s pasture.

He was very upset… had to tell me all about it.

This tree came down in the haunted pasture.

But my tiny Meyer Lemon tree held onto all of its lemons!


Today, the wonderful guys came to fix it all.  They did all they could do, except the roof on the shelter.  It was too heavy and unwieldy, so we have to get another person to help secure that.

I ran around double feeding everyone so that they all stayed away from the guys.  Since almost all of the pastures were affected, I had no where to put everyone.  So they had to stay and NOT be curious.  Tough for horses… but chainsaws and horses don’t mix well.  Luckily, my horses LOVE FOOD more than whatever else is happening around them.

For me, one of the greatest gifts is to have found trustworthy guys that can come over and do (almost) whatever is needed.  If you are anywhere near Grass Valley, email me and I’ll give you their contact info.

Sigh.  We will sleep well tonight.

New boards for Finn!

This may be difficult to make out, but the branches are all piled up next to a constant flowing little creek of rainwater.

I keep losing trees along the driveway… it is like Tornado Alley. Can’t figure it out. Now there is no shade at the top of Finn’s pasture.

All the tree debris was removed from Dalton’s pasture. You can see him in the waaaaaay back. He wanted nothing to do with of his now unshaded front pasture.

The pump was back on and the water cleared from the barn… but you can see the mess the flooding created outside and inside the barn. It is all fine, though. It will dry.

The top of Finn’s pasture now has no shade and new boards.

Mama and baby still have a mess around their pasture. The shelter is back up but it has no roof. All the broken boards are waiting to go away.

The roof of the blown-over shelter. They will attend to that with Hubby’s help, on Friday – hopefully. More rain is coming.

And here is the rescue mare (whose name doesn’t fit her – Izzy – so we are trying to decide her true name) who seems to be the most unfazed of all. She just moved into the arena until all the fuss was over.



HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!

It’s the Little Things.


(Many of you are asking me if I’m OK and where have I been – thank you for caring!  The only power I’m going to give to this is to say that some entities are doing their best to take the joy out of Horse and Man for me (the blog, not the fund-raising Foundation).  The blog is supposed to be a fun thing that I do…  I’m waiting to see where it all settles.).

Sometimes, it is especially important to notice all the good.


You might have heard about the atmospheric river headed towards California… well, actually, as I write this, the atmospheric river has descended upon us.  I can hear it and feel it quite clearly.

Now I know that California doesn’t see the weather that the Midwest or back East sees during this time of year… so, don’t think we are complaining when we mention the flooding, electric outages and mudslides that are soon to happen – .  Nowadays, no matter what the rain causes in CA, we simply all reply, “Not complaining, we needed it”.

Having said that, this afternoon, I did run around to make sure that everyone had lots of dry food, all the covered areas were secure and dry… and that the barn sump pump was functioning.  (The barn was constructed directly in line with all the downhill water flow from every acre in Grass Valley – or so it seems – , so all the water flows directly into the barn.)

As I was doing this, I had so many happy little thoughts, I wanted to share.

Atmospheric River mud. I’m not complaining, just letting Mo demonstrate what water does to dirt.

Here is Finn, who looks like a ghost for some reason in this photo… this is what water does to a photograph taken through a wet window during a rainstorm.


First, if you have never heard the sound of horses eating contentedly, go have a listen.  In fact, I’m always surprised that “horses eating contentedly” isn’t one of those SLEEP SOUNDS listed on your nighttime app.  I love this sound and the comfort it creates.  To have all these equines here, chewing simultaneously (and emitting happy sounds), I feel very fortunate.  So, as I was running around, dodging rain drops the size of golf balls and totally soaked – hair stuck on my eyelashes and wet down my neck – I smile as I listen to them eat.

I feel very happy that they all have good food.  There was a time in Paso that the hay was very scarce… but here, there is plenty of quality hay.  Yes!

Oh, and the barn!  Having not had a barn for 6 years, I am constantly happy about the barn.  For me, having a place to put a sick horse or a new horse or a scared horse – is the BEST.  Also, a hay storage room (OMG what a treat!) and a feed room … stalls… all of it.  I am very grateful.  The days of tarping. hay. are. over.  I say “Hallelujah” with extreme gusto here.

It isn’t the most glamorous barn, but it is perfect for what I need. It is rigged just right and I LOVE IT. For this, I am very grateful. –This is Mo, totally drenched, wondering if his dinner is ready yet. He refuses to come in one second before he has to…

And the trees…  Having not had any trees at the Paso house, having so many trees here, is a blessing.  Of course, the entire town is fearful of downed trees right now with this storm.  PGE has been patrolling the area, looking for any tree they can cut away from their lines…  But for me, a downed tree can take out a fence, but if a tree does come down and makes a mess, what once provided shade, now provides shelter and firewood.  Another gratitude.

We have so many trees here and I am grateful.

Water… as I was filling the troughs this afternoon –  in case the power goes out – I was very thankful for all this water.  Some of you might remember that the well at our Paso house was great when we purchased it, but just 5 years in, the wine industry had sucked the aquifers dry and we had to drill a new well.  So, I’m very grateful that we have water (and more brought in tonight and every day for the next 7 days through this very hearty atmospheric river).

As I was feeding, I noted my ridiculous dogs running and barking… and although I miss my Scoutypants like crazy, these dogs are entertaining.  I’ve never had amusing dogs… I usually have guard dogs like Scouty.  But it just so happened that now we have these goofy, long-lived, totally safe and joyful mutts.  I miss having a big, lazy protection dog – but these two are hilarious.

Natty is a GSP/McNabb Lab. He is joyous at all times. He is the happiest dog on earth. –Vivey is neurotic and manipulative and soulful – and can get to the front gate in about 3 seconds. She is Treeing Coon Hound and pitbull – and looks like neither.

Which brings me to the visitor I had today… The tree evaluation guy from PGE walked right onto the property, ushered in by my non-protection dogs.  He came to the front door to talk about the trees that needed to be cut, which is a sore subject for me.  The crews have been cutting any and every tree within very wide perimeters (indiscriminately and with total power to do so – grrrr!) since the huge wild fires that took out the town of Paradise a few years back. Evidently, PGE lost a huge lawsuit so now all trees that even wink at a power line here, have to come down.  It is very sad to see big, sturdy, not even leaning near a PGE wire, come down.  But, I am thankful for this guy who took the time to explain why each tree had to go.

During my chat with the PGE guy, we were leaning on the fence which neither of us noticed was FULL of ants on a very busy ant highway.  We both jumped back at the same time and started swatting!  Luckily, I was only bitten three times and had the right kind of salve to take away the sting.  Another grateful moment.

I am thrilled that I have all of this good land so I can let some horses roam free – get into fights with friends they’ve had all their lives (eye roll) and then land in detention – glad I have a detention paddock.  I have the space and the room and I LOVE this. I’m thankful for the fencing and the land.

And, as I type this, a tiny spider came gliding down from the wood beam above my head.  Luckily, as I watched him descend, he slid right onto the side of my keyboard.  I scooped him up and put him on a houseplant.  Why didn’t I dispatch him?  Well, I don’t believe in taking the life of anything I cannot resurrect.  Don’t wreck something you can’t fix… .   And I’ve been watching the IG channel of Tiana The Bug Lady who has made me see spiders differently. Also, Howie the Crab.  Clearly a crab is a spider from the ocean… Anyway, I’m thankful for what I’ve learned.

Finally, as I walked into the house this evening, I’m thankful for the roof over my head while it epically rains here, I’m thankful for the firewood from all of the downed trees, I’m thankful for the dogs at my feet, the food in my refrigerator, and for YOU ALL who so kindly have been asking me where I’ve been.

Although sometimes big things get in my way… it is the little things that matter.

As the atmospheric river slams into CA, I am thankful that I have lots of (wet) oak wood to burn in my wood stove… We are all warm, fed and contented. Thank YOU for caring about us.


HORSE AND MAN is a blog in growth... if you like this, please pass it around!