Winter, or Something Like It

Weekend Forecast

Updated: Jan 11, 2013, 3:10pm MST

TonightJan 11


52°FObserved High2:05 pm


WSW at 6 mph

SatJan 12

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy


SSW at 6 mph

SunJan 13




N at 4 mph

Would you look at that. Something resembling winter, here in Arizona.

(Gotta love it: We heard all about how 2012 was a record year for heat, nationwide…but somehow, that turned into winter storms apparently being “so bad” that they are deserving of their own names. I’m starting to think the media isn’t happy unless there is drama occurring…and if none if forthcoming, they take something ordinary and spin it into drama.)
I know everyone currently buried under a couple feet of snow (or rain and slop) are probably brandishing snow shovels at me as I write this…but to a native desert rat, anything below 60* is practically arctic. 
It’s all in what you’re used to…conversely, this means I can stand around in the full sun in the middle of the day at Tevis and not completely wilt.
Yes, I’m more of a summer girl. I take better care of myself in the heat: You have no choice but to drink, and take electrolytes, and try not to be too stupid in the heat of the day. In the winter, I do a rotten job of taking care of myself. I know I don’t hydrate well enough. Funny enough, my pony has the same problem. (We liked warmer weather rides better than cold, winter-time rides.)
Oh well. I did finally break down and get some winter riding tights, anticipating needed them for some upcoming ride plans. Never thought I’d end up needing them for around here!
Yes, I said upcoming ride plans.
I’m going to a ride next weekend!!! As in, to ride. Not just show up to volunteer, not just for work…but I get to ride again! More details forthcoming…probably after the ride…but I’ll be riding a friend’s experienced endurance horse as a “babysitter” for the greenie she’s currently training who will be doing his first ride.
It’s the Fire Mountain ride in Ridgecrest, CA. I’m quite excited about it also being my first out-of-state endurance ride. I did quite a bit of out-of-state travel for NATRC rides, but not for any endurance. (Tevis doesn’t count, since it’s crewing, for one…and two, it’s TEVIS. Nothing else is anything like Tevis.) It’ll be curious to see differences in regions, as well as a different kind of desert.
Apparently this ride can be notorious for bad weather…I’ve been stalking the 10-day forecast with bated breath. As of right now, they’re calling for highs in the mid-60s and lows in the mid-30s for the Fri-Sat-Sun I’ll be there. Perfect! And more importantly: 0% chance of rain! (I’ve decided I can actually handle snow better than I can cold rain. But my preference is neither.)
This’ll be my weekend to dig out all of my ride stuff…put my saddle back into “ride shape” (including excavating the contents of my saddle packs…ugh)…find all of my cold-n-wet-weather clothing I have (just in case)…shopping for favorite ride snacks. I also have to finish sewing “stay put” straps onto my saddle pad that likes to migrate. (When it doubt, always order saddle pads with billet straps or some kind of attachment strings…)
Just…don’t tell my pony my plans. She considers me riding any other horse other than her some form of cheating and she gets quite pissy. If she learns I’m doing an actual ride…well, there’ll be no living with her. (At least until I bribe her with a peppermint. Then all is forgiven.)

Yep, we’re in Arizona…

I’m now feeling the need to go back and re-read my own lovely, picture-filled post of all the areas of my state and remind myself again How. Much. I. Like. It. Here.

Because this is coming up:


Not. Ready. For. Summer.

On the plus side, this means Mimi will finally get a bath.  I haven’t bathed her since the fall, mostly because she is such a royal pain when it comes to getting a bath with cold water.  She’s a princess all the way, and if I dare bathe her with cold water, she does everything in her power to make sure I end up just as wet (and cold) as her.  So really, it’s just not worth it when there’s not an overwhelming need (such as a ride) that necessitates a bath and clean pony.

Fortunately, timing was such that when we were competing, I had an endurance friend that lived about a mile or so away from the barn…and she had a wash rack equipped with hot water.  It made the whole bathing drama go so much smoother that it was worth hitching up the trailer and dragging the ponies down to her place and back.

But she’s since moved…I’m on competition hiatus…so bath time waits until the weather gets warmer.

100* definitely qualifies.

It’s That Time of Year (Again)

After flirting with temperatures that more closely resembled spring and seriously called into question that so-called Groundhog’s Day proclaimation of “six more weeks of winter,” today Arizona remembered that it’s still technically winter.

We went from sunny and 70s to chilly, windy, cloudy, 50s, off-and-on rain today.

I feel sort of bad, because Mimi has all but shed out the majority of her winter coat.  She’s a pony…she can grow it in again overnight, right?  (If I feel too guilty, there’s always one of her ancient blankets that lives down at the barn that can be pushed back into service if absolutely necessary.)

But I don’t think it’s so much a delayed reaction to the groundhog as it is the weather obeying tradition.

This coming Thursday is the start of the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show.

Every year, it rains around the Scottsdale Show.  Typically not the entire time…but the weather patterns seem to take great delight in dumping at least a couple days of cold, unpleasant weather on determined show-goers.

Not that it really seems to stop people…especially anyone that’s there for the shopping, since the majority of the vendors are under covered tents.  Besides, it’s a good excuse to buy (another) raincoat.

It’s always a fun time…a great place for impulse buying, eating some truly yummy food (and you’re walking the whole show grounds…a perfect excuse to munch all day long), and watching some spectacular Arabians (the people-watching can be kind of interesting, too…).

It always makes me a bit nostalgic for my show days, despite the fact I didn’t show Arabs.  Part of me misses the glitter and sparkle, fuss and frenzy.  And then I remember wearing suede chaps or velvet hard hats in 90*+ weather and I don’t miss it so much.

But I always thought it would have been fun to show an Arab at Scottsdale.

The show technically doesn’t start until Thursday, so I think today is just the weather warming up (cooling down?) for the big event.  Tomorrow is supposed to be bright and sunny again, but Thursday?

Yeah, that’s right.


the weather outside is frightful

So maybe “Let It Snow” is an exaggeration here in the desert (unless you were in Cave Creek/North Scottsdale last Monday when enough snow fell to turn the ground white for a short time), but we do occasionally have our own winter weather in the form of rain.

Today is one of those days.  It started about 7ish this morning, and five hours later, it’s still coming down.  Not a torrential downpour, but a steady, consistent rain.  It’s really a lovely change of pace, and it really makes it feel a lot like winter for me.

It’s also the kind of weather that makes me unashamed to pull the “wimp” card and be relieved I don’t have to be out riding in it, making sure I get my conditioning miles.  Cowgirl up?  Nah, pass me another cup of hot cocoa and a fleece throw.

Mimi certainly isn’t begging to be out in it, either.  She really hates this kind of weather — both times she tied up, it was in cold, wet, rainy weather.  I sometimes wonder if it was deliberate…

(Yes, I know horses can’t deliberately tie up as a way of getting out of working in weather they hate.  But as clever as that pony is, it makes one pause and speculate…)

So on went a hat, waterproof boots, and something heavier and more weatherproof than a sweatshirt, and out I went to brave the elements for a trip to the barn.  Not only did I need to drop off Mimi’s supplements for the week, it was a good excuse to spoil her a little bit with a warm beet pulp mash.  Must encourage drinking in the cold weather.  And, yes, I like to spoil my pony.  Beet pulp, ground flax, a touch of oat bran, a scoop of e’lytes, a drizzle of agave syrup, and chopped up apple and carrots.  Mix together with hot water, and by the time I got down to the barn, it had cooled to a comfortably edible temperature.

She was still licking her lips when I left the barn.

Days like this make me glad for large covered stalls.  I think it’s also the rare occasion Mimi doesn’t mind being in a stall instead of braving the elements.  She, too, knows when to pull the “wimpy show pony” card.

Wild One

Someone really needs to remind my pony that: 1) She’s 18 years old and 2) Despite the fact that she lives surrounded by them, she is not actually an Arabian.

Friday’s day-long dust storm ushered in an overnight rain storm, and with it, and significant drop in temperatures.  Last week it was still in the high 80s.  Saturday, it was in the 50s.  Overall, I’m a fair-weather desert rat…but this weather change feels SO good.  Storm clouds lingered on the higher peaks of the Mazatzal Mountains and Four Peaks, which lie to the northeast of the Valley, and once they cleared off, a light dusting of white powder could be seen from miles away.  (Yes, we do get snow in the desert.)

Today was slightly warmer — in the 60s.  Absolutely perfect fall weather.  Mimi felt really good with the cooler temperatures.  She’s a funny little thing in that she really doesn’t like the cold, especially if it’s also wet.  But this kind of weather, particularly in the middle of a sunny day, makes her very happy.

She was super-energetic for our ride today, and I know I’m going to have to bum a ride from someone in fairly short order and get her out again…she needs ten miles or so to wear her out!  She had some issues with the idea of “walk” today, even offering a jig several times.  A jig!  In the arena!

What happened to my show-trained arena pony???

She is fun to ride when she’s that energetic, though.  Very forward and surprisingly easy to ride.  And it warms my heart to see her have that much energy and forwardness even for something like arena work.

(Today was a picture fail day…I actually needed two hands on the reins.  But I’ll leave you with an amusing mental image of my “confused cowgirl” look I’m currently rocking: western-style shirt, blue jeans, cowboy boots…English-style endurance saddle, helmet, and western leather headstall and rope reins for today’s schooling session.  Is it any wonder endurance is a good fit for me?)