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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

MY Funnybone

This is in response to a good friend's question about my humor and how I acquired it.... So I'm a tad long-winded!

MY funnybone? I've learned long ago not to take things very seriously. It makes for such a better and happier life that way. Why waste away a day worrying or thinking badly of something or someone? And if you "really" look, many things do have a funny side. But, of course when there is something that requires me to leave my funnybone "in the barn", it gets my immediate, focused, and aggressive attention. I don't want to get burned-out on trivial problems... they're too easy to find, and potentially consuming. Someone very wise once told me, "When you look for something bad, you're more than likely going to find it". So I love life and live it to the fullest everyday appreciating all and everyone I have been blessed with. But hold my reserves when something really needs the attention from the other (darker... brew-haha) side of me.

It is my humble opinion that too many people take things way too seriously. With this, they miss the beauty of life and its "humorousness". Laughing adds a richness to it! Besides, what is better medicine than laughing and attending to your funnybone? it saddens me to see some people be so cynicle and the view that "life happens to them"... when it's really all under THEIR OWN power to decide how they make THEIR life happen, and in turn, how they view it. Life is way too short to be scornful and angry... Focus too much the bad, and the beauty of life is missed! To these people, I say "...take the reins in YOUR hand, and pick your OWN road"~ and ride to an "unforgettable" (notice the foreshadowing here, a lead-in to my next paragraph) and fulfilling life!

I do also enjoy having a positive effect on others, it makes me feel, hmmmm .... POWERFUL! LOL. And you know what they say, you can't take your wealth and your belongings with you, WHO YOU'VE BECOME is what you take with you... It's the fond memories you share with others. So what you leave behind is memories (and any "power" you've weilded one time or another) and this is how one lives on~ in the thoughts, words, and hails of others! This makes me think of another poignant quote I like: "People may not rememember what you say. People may not remember what you do. But they ALWAYS remember how you made them feel". I try and live that way everyday.

Now I'm no Saint. There ARE those days when there's a provokation... that deserves my immediate and stinging attention.

A funnybone is a powerful tool. However, I do have to say that in actuality, I do not find that the renowned "physical" funnybone adjoined to the elbow, to be very funny at all~ especially when I give it a hefty reverberating smack!

A complicated answer to a very simple question! One may want to think twice before asking a "cowgirl on coffee" a mindbending question! LOL

Friday, May 22, 2009

My Rope Horse, Gus

This is my old rope horse Gus, an Appendix quarter horse. Not much in the name, but that's how I liked it, simple.... something he was not. He was the kind of horse that had "no fear", and with a mind of his own. He had no fear, and a free-spirited mind of his own, but because of his attachment to me, our minds melded and when riding, he was an extension of my body. When I asked something of him, he'd arch his glorious neck and give to the bit, working off my instructions.

I say "no fear" because anything I asked, he'd do it. Even if another horse around us balked at a task or was frightened of something, it didn't phase Gus one bit. For instance, if riding on trails, and a buddy's horse refused to go through a deep trench, or stream in front of us, then I'd pull Gus in front and he'd walk through without a second thought. The other horse would then soon follow. He didn't even put up a fuss, when one early morning as he was happily eating his breakfast, I snatched him out of the barn to rescue a wayward cow. A neighbor's longhorn got out on a road near my house, I saddled in record speed, galloped Gus down the road, roped and dallied the bellowing bovine, dragging him behind us back to the owners.

We also literally blazed new trails. One time really sticks out in my mind when we went through some harsh thickets (Oregon snarly and prickely blackberry bushes) up a steep ridge until it just got too thick and deep, that I had to meander him "backwards" all the way back down through the trails we made. No refusal, just tucked in his chin and did as asked. Simple as that. He took his work seriously.
The stories are endless, and I'm blessed to have had him for a big part of my life. He'll never be forgotten.

Thank you for letting me share a couple fond memories of old Gus.
Where the wild winds blow,

Thursday, May 21, 2009

My Work, part of American Horse Publications Awards

I, along with other western/equine artists, have been interviewed in a wonderful roping magazine called The SCORE put out by the National Team Roping Horse Association. The article was out Nov/Dec of 2008. I JUST found out that this particular article called "The Art of Roping" has been named as a finalist by the American Horse Publications 2008 Awards for Excellence! Who knew! Quck witted and excellent journalist, LA Pomeroy wrote this article, and here is what she says:"...that Score article on The Art of Roping has been named a finalist in the American Horse Publications 2008 Awards for excellence in journalism. I'll know full details after the awards are announced June 27, but I do plan to let you and the other ... Read Moreartists know who helped me make it such a terrific piece, and one that drew the judges' attention. It was one of 800+ articles submitted, so I'm pretty happy. Thanks for helping make it literally one of the best equine articles of the year!"

Additionally, Ms. Pomeroy wrote to me..."I have even more great news I just havent had time to post, or contact all the artists about, but that Score article on The Art of Roping has been named a finalist in the American Horse Publications 2008 Awards for excellence in journalism. I'll know full details after the awards are announced June 27, but I do plan to let you and the other ... Read Moreartists know who helped me make it such a terrific piece, and one that drew the judges' attention. It was one of 800+ articles submitted, so I'm pretty happy. Thanks for helping make it literally one of the best equine articles of the year !"
The link is an online versian of the article with my work, and blurb about me and my WildWind art... scroll through it, it's great! Thanks LA Pomeroy!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Invited to the HEART of the WEST show in Wyoming

"The One for the Job"
Signed and Numbered L/E 250 Giclee

I am very honored to have been chosen as one of the few western artist to show my orginal art at the prestigious Heart of the West Art Show in Wyoming. The original photograph used for this artwork is courtesy of Pam Nickoles of Thanks Pam! YOU'RE GREAT!!

Monday, May 11, 2009


I am not a fearful or over-anxious person by nature, but snakes, especially deadly ones I tend to be a bit sensitive about, giving them a healthy radius of space, as long as I know they're there. While out in the high desert, and while spending weeks out on the range in sweltering hot weather, I was quite comfortable relaxing out of my usual protective desert wear, and instead in shorts, tank top, and sandles. NOW, sitting here and out of the intense mind-bending subjection of the blazing sun, but in my comfortable and air-conditioned room... I could ascertain that it was most certainly the influence of the solar rays penetrating my numbscull and frizzing the ends of my synapses that made me lose any recollection of my senses.

I've always heard and was certain since I was a kid, that there were those slithering desert critters that keep a lookout specifically for people that let down their guard and wear flip-flops. But with all sensibilities evicted and nowhere in sight, under the intense solar influence and simmer grey-matter, I bucked my sensibilities and wandered about the sagebrush desert seeking out petroglyphs, and searching for signs of wild horses. And it was just as my parched eyes spuinted at a mirage of mustangs running free in the distance, is where I came to meet my antithesis. All my sensibilities came flooding back to me as I was painfully aware of my nearly bare feet, and innate fear took over. There on the otherside of the boulder in the shade under the sagebrush lay coiled and waiting a rattler sounding his distinct warning, not more than two feet from my quaking and nakedly vulnerable feet!

As beautiful and charming as this handsome critter was, my jaw dropped. I felt stunned.... and for a very brief moment speechless along with the odd sensation of feeling "frozen in place". I was standing at a large boulder Native Americans used hundreds of years ago during gathering rituals. There were also old tee-pee rings and other artifcacts in the area. My instinct was dead-on to back away undetected, that is until I backed into prickly rabbitbrush ... Surprised but unscathed by this assault, I continued my retreat sideways... but a wild hair unravelled and couldn't leave the scene without reaching in long-armed with a camera and taking at least one quick picture for documentation! (I have to look for it, and add it to this post).

Having 'rattler' on the brain and not letting it out of my sight as I said a silent prayer, when all of a sudden from my peripheral vision comes another snake quickly toward me from another direction. I screamed and jumped (luckily that didn't cause the coiled rattler to 'spring into action'), thinking it was another diamondback! Now, I'm not the kind to scream and jump at the mere sight of a critter ... just was a tad on edge with the rattler, and seeing a slithering serpent aiming dead-on toward me... my basic brain-stem survival instinct kicked in and I just about jumped to the moon, but landed on prickly blumin' rabbitbrush. What it was, apparently was a bull snake, going after the rattler for his supper, and from all the commotion, startled the critter out from his cover... and of course toward ME! The feeling was not any less then intense.

When laughter from my companion brought me to my senses and happily realizing the second serpent, who I was certainly convinced was also after my nearly naked feet.... was merely a bull snake, I managed to bring myself back to earth, climbed out of the brush, trying to appear dignified and as if undaunted, replaying my favorite line "without fear there is no courage". And at least I was able to boast about the experience, WITH a photo image to support my claim!

Ah, good times.


Saturday, May 9, 2009

Riding through a GOLF COURSE

My friend Katherine and I became cowgirl bandits once again and snuck our horses off the stable grounds, conveniently forgetting the part about stable rules, arena only, supervision, and something about a controlled environment. A mouth full of grit and horsehair at high noon during a heat wave with no one else around was enough to get a girl thinking about riding…. Riding free again.

I wasn’t a bad kid, but like my friends who loved me, knew authority I quietly bucked and with quick calculations lived the life of a little long-haired outlaw at the tender age of 10. The stable grounds once again mirrored a ghost town, miniscule dried-up weeds rolled along the dusty packed ground with the warm breeze … poetically so like the big tumble weeds I had always read about in my favorite cowboy novels. The ‘Good, Bad, and the Ugly’ song ballad played in my head. That was enough to make this little outlaw long for the wide-open spaces just beyond the stable confines. A freedom tasted once already, and now addicted to the adventure under my own power, free of rules and regulations….

It was unavoidable. Just me, my buddy, and two gorgeously nervous horses. I hit up Katherine with my idea. She glanced around, swallowed hard and whispered “Again?” I cocked my eyebrow (as similar to Clint Eastwood's as I could remember), gave her my sly lop-sided grin, and a sure nod. The stable “posse” and regulators, who would know better, were all gone at another horse show for the day. With the taste of freedom on our lips and the need for speed, I got us some inspiration or liquid courage… another glass-bottle of caffeine and high fructose corn syrup, icy cold and wet from condensation from the cola dispenser. We knocked this bad-boy back, wiped our mouths with the backs of our sleeves, caught our horses and prepared for our next adventure. We already did the ‘under the highway overpass’ next to the aquafers ride, and without admitting how scared each of us really were from that time, we agreed to ride in a different direction....

We rode through a few neighborhoods to get to a big patch of well-kept green grass that had been beckoning us, where we could stretch our horses out for a fast breeze. ‘Green’ was a natural kid attractant, especially while riding a horse in the middle of an unusually dry Californian summer where everything that once grew was now a crispy brown unidentifyable underfoot, and if not crispy-dead vegetation then dusty, hard-packed dirt void of any possibility of life …. But there are those well kept and irrigated expanses of green that for one reason or another are well manicured, and I was certain must be put there for the sheer joy of girl and horse. Why shouldn’t a kid ride there? In my mind, grass and horses go together, the “duh” kind of no-brainer.

To get there we had to ride through several neighborhoods. Our mounts pranced delightfully and I was feeling that wild exhilarated feeling again, except for the bellyache from the soda expanding in my stomach from being shook up from the trotting. The horses were wound tight like rubber bands and their ears flicked about nervously, snorting at the new smells and shying or balking to things that appeared out of nowhere here and there. Eye-candy in my opinion. We were fully amused with the city folk who often stopped and stared, or pointed at us with mouths wide open, dogs announcing our ride-by and people & children peering out their windows. Kids playing in their yards either stopped dead still to watch our glossy horses, or those that have never seen a horse in real life went scurrying into garages yelling for mommy. An occasional dog would bark, causing our horses to give us a jarring stop every now and again… but that was more flash and show appeal in our cowgirlUp minds! We felt very important up on those big beautiful horses.

We were well passed our adoring audience, yet confined spaces... but what a feeling it was to step our horses from hard and noisy concrete, to the soft and green freshly mowed lawn, and looking out at the expanse of big grass laid out in front of us. The horses, from our previous experience of galloping through the perfectly manicured grounds of the golf course with flying dirt-clods behind us, were now seemingly conditioned to run at full speed. We had to hold them back like a barrel racer on her eager steed before blazing her pattern. When we finally got there, we felt like we were in cowgirl & horse heaven!

An expanse of perfectly manicured grass……perhaps a park of some sort was our thought.... acres of endless ridability! We rode along laughing and talking, while we held back our horses who were ready to GO and GO FAST…. and for Katherine’s big black homing pigeon….eager to be on a dead-run all the way back home. The music of the curb chains as they chomped their bits played they’re beautiful tune in my head. All of a sudden the feeling of being heroes in a Clint Eastwood movie came to a screeching halt. We came upon a bunch of wild and unruly noisy half-grown men tumbling or slamming eachother to the ground…. Oh, after a ball! We rode right up to a rough game of football with a bunch of guys of all shapes and sizes.

There was no protective gear on these big boys."HEY YOU GIRLS! GET them @$%$@ horses OFF THIS FIELD!" one husky feller bellowed, as others added their no sense to it. Never hearing swear words heading in my direction before, I looked over by shoulder certain he was insulting someone else. I gulped hard realizing there was no one else to defer those comments to. When I realized Katherine was looking over at me, I chose to cover my dismayed look and met hers with my CowgirlUp attitude. To my further horror, there was another guy walking quickly towards us shouting loud enough for his buddies to hear, and my cheeks turned a couple shades of red "Hey girls.... can we have a ride?" Now why we were still just standing there at this point is beyond me. I do believe a state of shock…. But that quickly dissipated when, being my sassy self, I yelled back, "If you can catch us you can ride!" I felt pretty smug with myself, until the whole wild pack of the tougher-than-snot guys all began running at us at the same time. Katherine and I had no time to look at one another again, but by sheer instinct spurred our horses out of there. Our horses took off so fast, I'm sure our "tires were spinning". The horses, accustomed to our full-on gallops and getting out of some sticky situation, were more than obliged to gallop full-throttle homebound! I knew our horses were fast, but I still looked back just to make sure that these big scary fellers weren't faster! DIRT CLODS were flying again! Sweet rebel justice.

Your local cowgirl bandit
Cowgirl On Coffee …buckin’ good brew!

Riding on Aquafers

So, okay... so I did my own thing as a kid. Never ran with the herd, but blazed my own trails. Authority? I bucked it. But I wasn't a bad kid, just quietly rebellious.

I was about ten when I worked at a stable in California. I didn't get paid, I got one better... in exchange for grooming a string of class horses, I got to ride! But I missed the part about rules, arena only, supervision, and something about a controlled environment. A few weeks there, I blended into the goings on and was part of that ecosystem. And lucky for me at the time, those that ran the place never took notice and did their own thing or were gone at horse shows most of the time. Life was good.

One hot day, after knocking the dust off of a horse, I went to the coin-operated pop dispensers in an aisle way, and got myself an Orange Crush. That sugary-caffeine-infused-orange-stuff sure quenched my parched thirst. Holding that icy cold pop bottle wet from the condensation was great too, I rubbed it all over my forehead. My parents never had pop in the fridge, so this was a big deal to me. Surprised when I felt some change in my pocket, I had to get me some ... I remember feeling so grown up putting that change into the dispenser and drinking a pop of my choice ...I was on my own and loving it! Why am I spending so much time on this tangent, because it's better to shift the blame onto anything other than me! Yeah, it was the caffeine. Really.

It just was too hot... Hot air in a cloths-drier hot. The air was stifling and work just didn't sound appealing. Wiping the dirty sweat off my face, and chewing dusty grit and horsehair was the buzzer on my time clock. I had a good friend of mine who stabled there, Katherine, who had a gorgeous black morgan gelding named Tonka. Katherine and I spent a lot of time hanging out together and riding, growing all kinds of riding adventures. So after some caffeine and brainstorming, my 'time-clock' buzzed, and we 'checked out'.

It was eerily quite around there. What's a couple kids to do on caffeine and high fructose corn syrup and no supervision! GO RIDING! That day was a horseshow at the local fairgrounds, and the stable looked more like a ghost town. With a little caffeine rush and a few wild oats, Katherine and I saddled our horses and rode off... off the stable grounds. Have either of these horses ever been ridden off the property or trail experienced? The thought never occurred to us. I remember the exuberant feeling of riding on the dusty path that took us out of the gates.... free of confines.... the kind of free called - kid free.....

We rode up to the top of a nearby 'Californian river' (a concrete riverbed... or aquifer). With it so hot, the faster you rode the cooler you felt, most of the time we had our pedal to the metal. We rode atop this dried up aquifer, not sure where it would take us, just rode... talking and laughing most of the way. Our horses pranced and jogged, side-passing much of the way when we weren't loping, and the boys were blowing and snorting hard. Their ears twisting nervously, necks arched and glossy from sweat. We were kids, we didn't worry about their apparent emotions... heck no, they looked so pretty like that!

We rode for what seemed like hours. I was riding a beautiful bay saddlebred gelding, I didn't even know how well broke he was, or if he'd been out of the stable at all. Katherine, well she had her big black glossy morgan who was a bit head strong and a lot of horse. While prancing and side passing, he always had the look like he wanted to perform a fancy spin and run back. Like a big pigeon, he had a major homing instinct.

Well looking ahead, this big empty aquifer just kept going and going, but to our right a ways down, we spotted some lush green grass on the other side of some wild prickly desert shrubs, but to get there we needed to ride under a highway overpass. Katherine and I looked at each other questioningly, but neither of us led on that our better judgment screamed, “turn back!” So our uncertain legs urged the green horses toward the underpass of the busy - noisy highway above. I gulped (but hoping she didn't notice), and she probably said a silent prayer... but we were cowgirl tough and no way no how was the other going to know about the other's quaking knees.... Our knees shook harder as we got nearer, especially when each horse would take turns stopping, and at times refusing to move forward. It took some constant convincing with our heels and clucks, but with bits and curb chains jingling from chomping their bits and veins pronounced on their slick necks, they moved on.

So what's the big whoop? You ask. Well, to ride under this overpass was a little human footpath, not wider than a coyote trail and with a hundred foot drop to the empty concrete riverbed to our left with no guard rail. We continued squeezing our horses until they'd give... my bay gelding went on up ahead, apparently tired or my clucking and loud kissy noises, and nervous Tonka followed close behind, like a fly on flypaper. The noise of the traffic overhead was loud... cars and trucks whizzed by. It was louder once under there than I anticipated. The noise echoed between the concrete highway above and the riverbed below.

By this time the horses ears were anxiously flicking back and forth full of uncertainty ... we couldn't turn back, Katherine tried backing Tonka out, but that didn't fly... we had no choice but to carefully trudge ahead. My horse began prancing in place and when I urged him forward he began prancing a sidepass... a gorgeous dressage move! But I wasn't thinking dressage at that moment, especially when I felt a stumble. But that stumble was this bay trying to regain his footing after his left hind hoof slipped down the steep angled concrete side of this hundred-foot death drop. By instinct I remember shoving my heels in his sides and he lunged forward. The rest was a blur.

Katherine and I once safely on firm footing, looked at each other briefly and rode on in silence. Of course, both horses’ knees were also shaking. But even though my own legs felt jello-fied, I didn't say a word and we cowgirl'd on.

To our dismay, that cool large and lush grassy oasis beckoning us on the other side.... was not a little garden of Eden... nope, it was a golf course! So we weighed our odds. We were certainly not going to tempt fate a second time, so the next reasonable thing was to ride through the golf course! What's the harm in that anyway? So happy with our justifications we rode our sweaty horses to the golf course. Luckily there were no fences to cut through on this ride. It was too easy to get in. Gentleman's club.... paahhhh!

Okay, so the men in their clean and pressed white shirts and beanie hats didn't look so happy we were there. Thinking they were waving and enjoying the eye candy of our gorgeous sweaty prancing horses, I realized to my dismay that they were waving their fists, and at us! So Katherine and I looked at each other stunned, but with a cowgirl smirk spurred our horses into a full heart-throbbing gallop. Looking back over my shoulder through watering eyes from the shear speed of our race horses, I could see the men getting smaller fast, but still shaking fists. Geez, but why did they look so angry and shouting? We galloped on at mock speed, with dirt clods flying behind....

But alright, so we were in this middle of this lush green golf course galloping faster than I've ever ridden in my life, actually watching each horse move themselves into faster and faster gears. Tonka was blowing like a warrior horse, or locomotive full steam ahead... the big black pigeon was headed home! I could see him next to my horse and they each tried to out-pace each other… each wanted to be the one ahead as they knew they were headed back to their barn! This was a rad ride, that I'd forgotten about the little bald men, and the one with the beanie cap with the shaking fist, I was feeling too exhilarated to have them a second thought! What a rush to be galloping in this great green expanse with all kinds of topography.... hills, sand, little valleys and knolls, back up steeper hills, and water! We galloped so fast that other golf parties ahead of us didn't see or notice us until we were upon them, and then galloped like the wind past them! I think it happened so fast they didn't have time to throw up any hand signals. The horses’ manes, tails, and everything not sewn down was all flying. This was the most fun I'd had as a jubilant free-spirited kid. That is until I heard Katherine yelling something about not being able to stop Tonka... he grabbed his bit and was on a dead-headed run!

So yeah, I had visions of galloping my horse next to hers and jumping on and reining ol' Tonka in. T'ya, right.... the thought quickly dissipated. What seemed like a time-warp, and Katherine pulling hard and constant on the reins, Tonka like a freight train finally showed some give... with mouth open and shaking his head, she finally got him to a working hard trot. Both horses were lathered and blowing hard.

Okay, so our adventure was nearly over, and we were all in one piece. Sitting atop our still worked up horses, we were all beginning to relax, except for Tonka who with his arched neck was chomping his bit. I still hear the bit chains jingling. Settling deeper and more relaxed in our seats, but with parched throats we spotted a water fountain. We picked up the reins, and trotted on over to it, and decided to get us and the horses a drink. We hopped off and drank some water... the horses each looked sideways at this contraption with the moving parts. Somehow, still don't know how, Tonka got away from Katherine and galloped himself back to the stable. Before I could finish my question, "Katherine! How did that ha....?" MY horse got his reins out of my hands too, and together he and Tonka busted out, and ran back towards home. They sure looked pretty galloping together. So with our cowgirl prides, we walked our little selves on back to the stable. Did we do it again? Yup, but through a game of friendly football. Stay tuned.

Time and caffeine when mixed well together can create some good hair-raising tales, so drink responsibly!

It was good being a kid.


Your local cowgirl bandit

Friday, May 8, 2009

Published in The Score magazine

I'm published in The SCORE. There's an article about my WildWind Art and drawings in The SCORE magazine (by the National Team Roping Horse Association)! The main article is called The Art of Roping. You can turn the page, and I’m on the next page on the right side! You can zoom in to read it better. Here’s a link to the online version of the magazine.

The Score magazine interview:

See you where the wild wind blows,

Latest Drawing: "The One for the Job"

Here is my lastest image, called "The One for the Job", finished 3/09. The original photograph for this drawing is by an excellent photographer, who was gracious enough to allow me to draw one of her beautiful moments captured on camera. Her name is Pam Nickoles of Be sure to see her beautiful western and wild horse images! Tell her I said "HOWDY!"
I was "drawn" to this piece, mostly because of the beautiful strong horse with the huge star and the wind picking up his forelock, and mane tossled over his neck, and that he appeared so willing and ready to "go do his job". The cowboy talking to the handsome horse, with his weathered rain slicker also was captivating. The original has recently been accepted to The Heart of the West art show in Wyoming.
This is a signed & numbered limited edition giclee print of 250 giclee prints.

Emerald Eyes

As a kid I had the fortune to go on a horseback riding vacation with a friend of mine to Desert Hot Springs for a week during summer break- and under a full-moon. The host/riding instructor we stayed with had a house full of cats she'd saved from coyotes, abandonments or drop-off, or the desert itself... at one time or another. Her cats were all different sizes, shapes and colors, much like her horses. But this isn't a story about cats. We stayed there during the week of a full-moon because we were able to only ride at night. It was way too unbearably hot, and potentially deadly to be outdoors during the heat of the day in this beautiful but harsh desert of southern California.

It's here I first learned about riding bareback. I enjoyed learning to ride without a saddle at a walk, trot, and lope, and without the aid of stirrups. My riding balance, posture, and confidence grew with every ride. I learned to ride pretty well because we rode every day and long into the night. We rode so much that we had to switch to fresh horses, giving the winded ones a break. Over the course of the week, we had a grand time laughing it up, and kids being kids... came up with other ideas we found entertaining, whether it was licking salt blocks, sitting in the water trough, or throwing dried-up cowpies or horse-apples at eachother, the list of mischief was endless. But riding bareback by the light of a full moon was nothing short of amazing ~ quite the adventure for a horse-crazy kid. And being a die-hard animal lover I felt right at home being surrounded by many animals. But besides cats and horses, I met another critter in this desert nebula.

All day long during the intense heat, my friend and I anticipated being outdoors and riding horses after sundown, and finally be out of the sweltering stuffy indoors full of cats. The house was inandated with cats, cats literally everywhere. And cats being cats, all were mostly sleeping. There were cats on the counters, the coffee table, anywhere there was sitting or walking room. We snuggled our favorites, but we would talk & breath horses, draw horses, or play with horse models. If we weren't doing that, we were watching movies with horses in them... and you guessed it, with a cat asleep on top of the television set. But as soon as the sun set it's burning rays, and as quickly followed by the handsome orange moon, we got ready for our outdoor adventures. When the moon showed it's round face over the desert horizon, we eagerly changed into our riding jeans, boots and tank tops and about tripped over cats running out the door to head for the dry dusty paddock, halters in hand, searching for our favorite horses... mine was always black. Good to breath the desert air!

Though the sun went down, the air was very still and it felt very much like a hot convection oven. We weren't going to work the horses until it had a chance to cool down much more. There was a tackroom next to the outdoor arena with all our supplies. When it was darker, we used a flashlight to go into the tiny, dusty and cobweb-decorated tackroom to get brushes & bridles, and bribery treats for the horses. It was the very first night I noticed tiny little emerald lights on the ground outside of, as well as inside the dark corners of the tack room. Quite the oddity I thought, but was stunned and surprised when I saw them move! Transfixed, I asked what they were and got a casual reply of "tarantulas". I jumped out of my skin and up onto my friend. I was "creeped-out" to say the least but at the same time amazed and facinated, I couldn't help but keep stairing at the tiny glowing and motating beads of light. I focused my flashlight more directly on one and got a closer look. Yup, their large chunky fuzzy bodies and bountiful load of equally fuzzy and angular legs confirmed their identities.

After some time I managed to pick my jaw up off the floor. Not liking the idea of them in close proximity to myself, but wanting to "cowgirl up" ..... I managed to peel myself off my unsympathetic and laughing friend. Once on the ground in the darkness I was aware of my feet and afraid to step where I couldn't see. I didn't dare step backward without the flashlight around my feet, because I didn't want to step on one.. they were much too big, and I would surely feel one beneath my boot. But kids being of a resilient nature, I eventually got used to the whole idea of desert tarantulas. I enjoyed shining my light on these critters to watch them scurry away. I got so brave, I wondered around looking for them...brave, but with three stipulations: As long as they kept moving from me, did not hold their ground and stair back, or run at me. Satisfied that I hailed the power, my thoughts raced back to the horses tied to the railing waiting for a couple distractable kids. The wide-open desert... moonlight, horses, a laughing friend, and crazy glowing emerald eyes... it doesn't get better than this, I thought.

The tarantulas and their tiny green eyes in the darkness, became part of the captivation of the wild desert and the magic of that time in my life, all with a kid's big sense and quest for adventure and simple amazement. I grew up with the fortune of being outdoors, and many of my adventures were with horses. Every kid in my opinion should at some point in their lives feel grit between their teeth, grab a fist full of horse-hair as their horse rides full gallop, feel soft breath and a velvety nose of a horse on their cheek, hear a welcoming nicker, have a good old-fashioned 'horse-hair' sandwhich, and be truly in awe, amazed, and inspired by nature and all it's amazing critters.

Where the wild winds blow,

"Second Look" Appaloosa, Color Study

Here's my latest quick draw of a young appaloosa called "Second Look". I did this one for (cross my fingers and toes!) the cover of Appaloosa Journal. The original photo for this drawing is courtesy of Sawyer Creek Appaloosas.I just finished coloring it in... so you can see it in both pencil and color.... and by the way, in all my pictures, beginning in 2005, I use a few strands of mustang mane found in the high desert to paint in hair details. So my images are essentially touched by a wild horse!

"Second Look" pencil

"Second Look" Colored Pencil, Pastel

Where the wild winds blow,