What about Nevada?

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

Tipped Z - 3 Covers Learn More
As a few of you have have noted, my post about Fitz's arrival left the question of Nevada rather up in the air. That's because the guy who dropped off Fitz actually offered to buy Nevada. He and his brothers train and ride performance horses. They have a stud and a small breeding program. Nevada came up during what I thought would be a simple hand-off of the new horse. But it turned out the guy liked her looks and her attitude and her papers. He was prepared to take her off our hands less than five minutes after I mentioned her in passing. Brian was at work at the time. We hadn't even made up our minds about what to do since learning Nevada was really and truly lame. So I dithered and said we'd think about it. In the week that followed, we proceeded to collect a few more opinions on the nature of Nevada's lameness. We thought it over. We also dug up some old videos and realized Nev...

Read more

Finding a Catalyst

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

Tipped Z - 3 Covers Learn More
A week ago today I got a text from Brian. I read it and immediately got up from my desk. I left my office, changed my clothes, hopped into the car, and drove out to the barn. The cloudy sky was spitting when I arrived.  I moved some horses to make access to the pasture gate easier. Just as I made it back to the indoor arena, the drizzle shifted to something more significant. I sat inside while it poured. After about ten minutes, the rain stopped, the sky cleared, and a truck and trailer pulled into the driveway. I walked outside to receive our new horse. That would be this guy:

The inevitable twist

It's been a busy five weeks since my last post. Some things have changed. First, we spent a couple weeks rea...

Read more

Nine Rides in a Row

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

Tipped Z - 3 Covers Learn More
It's funny how sometimes a change that feels tough can work out for the best. It turns out selling Laredo was one of the better horse-related decisions we've made in a good long while. Though letting him go felt so sad and so hard at the time, the results, so far, have been positive. First, there was the getting him ready phase. He was already pretty dialed in with everything when we listed him for sale. Nevertheless, we spent the month between when his ad went live and the day he left riding him more days than not. That was fun, and it brought him up to a level of polish that was easy to enjoy.  Knowing the end was near made the whole thing a little bittersweet. But it also made me think back on our early days with the kid as a 3-year-old. From here, it's really easy to appreciate how far we've all come since those days. [caption id="attachment_8763" align="alignnone" width="95...

Read more

The Kid Lands in Paradise

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

Tipped Z - 3 Covers Learn More
When we bought Laredo in 2012, the plan was to keep him for a couple of  years, get him going nicely, and find him a good home when we he was ready. He was our first foray into "project horse" territory. In retrospect we had more to learn about working with young horses than we knew at the time. But Laredo was great from day one. He was patient as we fumbled through figuring out how to help him learn. He was tolerant of our mistakes and we all made progress in a more or less linear fashion. [caption id="attachment_4101" align="alignnone" width="720"] The day Laredo arrived -- not quite three years old.[/caption] Before we knew it, we'd had Laredo for a few years. Bear was retired to Miracles in Motion. We'd bought and sold ...

Read more

Ranch Dog Tales: Is Dots a Nevada Fuzzy?

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

Tipped Z - 3 Covers Learn More
Forgive the digression, but I wanted to go off on a mild tangent about dogs. Ranch dogs, to be exact. Fictional ranch dogs, specifically. These are fake dogs inspired by dogs I have known and dogs I have heard and read about. I'm talking about the dogs in my series of Western love stories. Those novels are set on a ranch in Arizona called the Tipped Z. Each title features dogs to varying degrees. And these dogs are perhaps the number one thing readers ask me about with regards to these books. So far I haven't ever provided a very thorough answer. Due to a recent resurgence in speculation on the topic, I am going to do so now.

Dogs and ranches

Anyone who has ever spent much time on a working ranch knows there are pretty much always dogs around. For me, the ranch I've spent the most time on is located outside Prescott, ...

Read more

Oh hai 2019!

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

Tipped Z - 3 Covers Learn More
Well. It's 2019. We are 1.5 months in and wow. It's been a doozy. I think I can safely say I have spent less time with horses in the last eight weeks than at any point since I purchased Steen. The only other time that even comes close to comparing was my honeymoon, when Brian and I spent a month walking across Scotland and then attended my brother's wedding in northern England.  I had zero horse contact during that time. But at least we were having fun.

The dry spell has been painful

So far this year, I have been on the back of a horse exactly two times. Two! This is insane. But first I contracted the flu during our Christmas travels. This progressed into acute bronchitis, which left me able to do very little for about six weeks. On top of that, we had the polar vortex. That was INTENSE. I mean, I know I grew up in a desert and therefore perhaps I am not as resilient to ...

Read more

Bareback Prescription

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

Tipped Z - 3 Covers Learn More
Winter has come on hard and fast, which is a bit of a bummer. I was hoping for a long, mild fall. Evidently the Iowa department of weather didn't get that memo. It's been unseasonably cold, wet, and snowy. Worse than that, though, is Steen took a hard kick to the belly. This resulted in a big swollen lump that alarmed me enough I had a vet in to look at it. [caption id="attachment_8219" align="alignnone" width="950"] This was the day I noticed the bump. I climbed on for a very brief ride just to gauge how he was moving and feeling.[/caption] Fortunately, it was probably just shy of being serious. Although it's super tender and has resulted in a bunch of extra drainage accumulating lower down on his belly, he mostly...

Read more

Nagging Legs

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

Tipped Z - 3 Covers Learn More
After Piper left us, we lapsed into a horse lull. Part of it was just the sheer relief of finding her a good home at last. So many years of worrying came so suddenly to an end, and we found ourselves just wanting to lay low for a bit. There were other factors too. The weather in Iowa has been very, very bad. Work always gets busy this time of year. Steen has had his sunburn. But really, if I'm being honest, we were mostly just kind of out of energy for the horses for a little while. To add to our lower-than-usual motivation levels, our recent struggle (if you can call it that) with Steen and Laredo is they are both super duper broke. They are broke to the po...

Read more

Sunburn Season: aka Paint Horse Problems

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

Tipped Z - 3 Covers Learn More

The first time Steen got a really terrible sunburn was in 2012. It was a surprise to me at that point that a horse could even get a sunburn in areas where they actually had hair. Although I grew up in Tucson, Arizona and my sister's Appaloosa has always had a tendency to burn the pink skin around his eyes and on his sheath, it wasn't until owning a Paint in Iowa that I learned how serious a sunburn can be. Steen is a tobiano. According to my highly unscientific measurements, he is 46%* white. The white hair is pure white. Underneath the white hair is pink skin. Although those white markings are literally part of what he was bred for, they're also surprisingly problematic. Steen has more skin issues than any of our other horses.

Turns out, white skin is vulnerable

The ...

Read more

Piper Goes Home

Novels for Horse-Lovers

The Tipped Z Ranch books feature fictional stories but real horsemanship.

Tipped Z - 3 Covers Learn More
It goes without saying that we get attached to our horses. In the past, when we've taken in projects with the intention of giving a horse a tune-up or filling in some gaps in their education, we've always managed to complete that process in a year or less. That's a short enough time that while we would become quite fond of those horses, they never felt integrated in our lives the way our 'keepers' do.
[caption id="attachment_7993" align="alignnone" width="612"] "Hi I'm Piper and I have the mane of envy."[/caption]
That was supposed to happen with Piper. She was supposed to be a horse we kept only briefly—just long enough to lay a foundation of groundwork and the basics of work unde...

Read more