Put your foot in the stirrup….

I started this blog last January. I logged in, created a password, and got as far as this page. Which I left blank because, although I write off and on all day, always have, scribbling into notebooks, on loose receipts, the back of my hand, I couldn’t write here.

Twenty years ago my artist husband and I moved to Arizona from Massachusetts and  bought a horse ranch outside Tucson.  Bernie’s studio is in the hay barn. Twenty horses live here, ours and boarders, roaming the foothill pastures. We do the work ourselves, drag hundred-and-twenty pound hay bales into the ancient Nissan truck and feed them morning and evening. We dump and scrub water troughs, mend fences, rehabilitate injured animals, take in rescues, raise foals, start, train and compete the horses we bred, and retire old horses.

No veterinarian lives out here. Although some will come if we call, it takes hours or days to get that kind of help.

Taking care of this many horses day after day for decades,  stories pile up. Every day, every horse… and the dogs, birds, coyotes. The skunks and badgers and fox. Dry spring winds… summer wild fires… monsoon rains… winter freezes so intense the well pump bursts.

Rattlesnake bites. Mountain lions.

I start this blog as I start each ride, put my foot in the stirrup, exhale, step up..

SALT: Add 2 to 4 oz. loose salt to each horse’s feed every day.  Cup your hand, fill your palm. That’s 2 oz. Sprinkle it on. Salt blocks are for cattle and too rough for a horse’s tongue.


About heidivanderbilt

Owner LuckyPup Ranch, Benson, AZ where I raise, board, rehabilitate and retire horses. Recipient of a special Edgar Award from Mystery Writers of America. Married to artist Bernard Fierro. www.luckypupranch.com
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6 Responses to Put your foot in the stirrup….

  1. Liz says:

    I love this blog! I hope you’ll post often. The photo is amazing, I finally figured out how the horses are standing by your car. Your writing is terrific – no-nonsense down-to-earth with sudden moments of pure poetry. I know nothing about horses, little about dogs, but I’m fascinated by your suggestion about salt. Please put Heidi’s Barnyard Hints (remember Heloise???) in every one. And tell us all the details of your unusual life.

  2. Put your foot in the stirrup – maybe that’s what you should call your blog. I so need to be reminded to do that…

  3. Good luck with the blog — I’m curious about the name of your ranch — LuckyPup? Sounds like there’s a story in that name, too.

  4. Dee Dee Pierce says:

    Good Luck Heidi, looking forward to meeting you soon, just to bad I couldn’t make the clinic with Darcie. This is a wonderful idea.

  5. Joyce Hostetter says:

    This is a first rate read. Love your writing style, so poetic too. Puts me in the country with all the quiet, animals and desert. You make me feel like I’m right there. And, I know Pig! Got caught up with you and all the animals through your blog plus getting good stories too. Looking forward to more.

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