Archive for May, 2010

Letting Go of Lopeh

Lopeh, the day I met her at the cattle ranch.

Right now I’m trying to practice what I preach. A while back I wrote a blog about gutting it up and making a change if you have a horse that’s the wrong horse for you. (You can read that blog post HERE.) The client involved was really an inspiration for me, as both she and her horse were unhappy and she was brave enough to admit it AND to contemplate rehoming him.

For most of us, that kind of thing takes a lot of guts. Some folks may trade horses like baseball cards, but not most of the horse lovers I know. Myself included.

I have had many horses through the years, not just a few of whom were less than a great match for me, but none of whom I passed on or placed in more suitable homes. But I have come to the conclusion that not doing so may not always be the best or kindest choice, either for oneself or for the horse.

A recent shot of Lopeh in her "I am the ultimate Quarter Horse!" pose.

Lopeh, pictured above, came home with me 6 months ago, the only unwanted member of a breeding herd of fine horses that was being dispersed for free  from a local nearby ranch. I won’t go into detail, but the ranch breeds fine cattle, and found itself in an unanticipated situation with this horse herd, with lots of untrained babies on the ground, so did the right thing and gave the horses to qualified applicants. Lopeh came to me because she was the only horse nobody wanted, and I had promised to take any such “leftovers,” in order to make sure they didn’t end up at the slaughter house.

So it’s not like I chose Lopeh exactly. But I did think I might keep her if she were a good, quiet, all-purpose trail horse for all types of riders.

But to make a long story short, she’s too out of practice to be safe for just anyone, and I’m too old and brittle to get her back into shape and trailworthy. Plus, my heart really lies with my Bella, and that’s who I want to do my working and riding with.

Lopeh went to a new home yesterday, to a sweet and very young woman who has wanted her for months, knowing all her foibles and special needs. Nikki has been around horses just about her whole life so has tons of the experience and skill necessary to help Lopeh once again live up to her full potential, plus there are other horses in the herd so Lopeh won’t be alone.

I had Lopeh with a trainer for two weeks before delivering her to Nikki, so I think they’ll have a head start on their work and play together, and I could not have asked for anyone who would be a more perfect match for this little mare.

But today I am downhearted. I miss Lopeh. And I am NOT a horse trader. So this was a new experience for me and one that has been emotionally difficult to work through.

I know Lopeh is going to flourish in her beautiful new surroundings. And I know Nikki will keep me informed of her progress. And I know I will be the first to know if things don’t work out, and Lopeh will come right back here in that case.

But the fact of the matter is, when you sell or place a horse, or any animal for that matter, if your heart is in it you really have to follow the divine adage:

“Let go and let God.”

. . . and trust in the goodness of all, and that all will be well.


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Do Dogs Believe in God?

Punkin talking to Heaven, just before she passed.

Do you think dogs have a concept of Heaven and believe in a higher power? Punkin the Shar Pei sure does.

I never thought about this question until I was talking to Punkin a couple of weeks ago. After a fairly lengthy struggle her body was shutting down, and her people wanted to help her avoid as much pain and suffering as possible. So they contacted me to talk to her about the option of euthanasia, and just to be sure she knew how dearly she was loved and treasured. We spoke to her both before and after her passing.

The sessions were amazing. I had talked to Punkin a couple of times in her early life, and those sessions were characterized by her insecurities and clinginess to Mary Kay, her mistress. It would never have occurred to me at that point that Punkin was a wise and old soul

When I talked to her again just recently, her deep wisdom and awareness were stunning. She talked at length about her life and life’s purpose and where she felt she had fallen short. She understood the dying process and was totally ready to go and thankful for the help. She knew for certain she wanted to come back, to the same family, as another Shar Pei, to further fulfill her darma. When asked why a Shar Pei, given the difficulties the breed is prone to, she referred to the breed as a race, and said:

Now let me address the Shar Pei issue that concerns Mary Kay and Mike. The Shar Pei embodies ancient wisdom that few other dog breeds contain. It’s in their DNA and genetic make-up. There are a few other breeds that possess similar information and wisdom, but each is specific to a different racial mindset and history. And the Shar Pei is one of the most ancient. It’s like a leg up on soul evolution. Anyone who comes back as a Shar Pei is ready to progress through at least some degree of suffering. There are parallels in the human world – those who choose to be born with great handicaps, for instance, or in certain areas of the world. Each form of incarnation has its own set of challenges, benefits, privileges, and so on.

After Punkin passed, I asked her who she’d been talking to in the picture of her looking up to Heaven. Her guides and angels, she said. Then I asked her if she believed in God, and here’s what she said to that:

Of course I believe in God. But God is in everything and it is easy to feel that energy in this state (here she meant in her spirit form). But also, there does seem to be a great source of light and energy that drives all of this, and I suppose that would be the source of it all. Is that God?

Such a precious and pure comment.

Punkin is now visiting her family and friends frequently, in the form of what she calls ‘flyers’:  birds, bees, butterflies, moths, dragonflies, and more. She is full of joy and determined to evolve ever higher in her awareness. And even though they miss her terribly, her family is full of joy as well just knowing that Punkin is so happy and free. And they notice and enjoy the frequent flyer visits they gifted with often.

Postscript:  After Punkin passed, Mary Kay sent me this picture of her as a puppy, looking out the window at Cuddles’ grave. Cuddles was the Shar Pei who preceded her. She again fixed an intent gaze on Cuddles’ grave after talking to her angels, just before she passed.



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The Long-Haired Chihuahua

I had to laugh out loud yesterday when a comment to my last blog post, Cowboy Hash, came in — NOT about the hash recipe, or the childhood memories I shared, or the rare and pristine Devils River therein described.

But NO. The commenter was asking me, pure and simple, for current pictures of Frida, my little long-haired Chihuahua.

Frida ... today

Seems she, Kim, has a 4-mo.-old male long-haired Chihuahua who has lost his baby fuzz and she is wanting to see what he might look like when he grows up. Ha!!

What IS it about these little tiny dogs that so captures our hearts? Without a doubt, my blog stats reflect that the majority of my readers come to my site to read about Chihuahuas and Chiweenies (a cross between a Chihuahua and a Dachshund). Not about animal communication, or horses, or life in New Mexico. Just about the wee ones of this variety.

Baby Frida with Chiweenie pal Tucker

I am constantly surprised that the Chihuahua/Chiweenie traffic continues, but am absolutely delighted to accommodate it by posting regularly about these miniature dog breeds that have us wrapped around their little dewclaws.

Not a perfect shot, but this shows off the fluffy tail and expansive ears of the long-haired Chihuahua, in this case Miss Frida.

All of that said,  I have NO idea what the standard for a long-haired Chihuahua might be, having never owned a Chihuahua before, much less a long-haired Chihuahua. I ended up with my tiny tidbit, better known as Frida, against my better judgment because she was so adorable I couldn’t not take her home. And she has, of course, become the apple of our household’s eye — all 4 other dogs, 2 other humans, and 1 cat included.

Frida playing 'King of the Mountain' (in this case 'Queen of the Household')

So. To really see what a long-haired Chihuahua is supposed to look like it might be best to go online and Google for images and breeders and so on. Meanwhile, I personally happen to think that Frida is probably the be-all-end-all in the long-haired Chihuahua category.

Check out the ears here. One would think she could fly!

So to satisfy Kim and possibly others, I’ve posted a few new pictures of Frida throughout this post, taken just before publishing.

This pic shows off Frida's rich caramel coloring.

The only thing I don’t really have, and will add later if I can get it, is a picture of Frida trotting along carrying her glorious tail like a flag waving in the wind. She does this especially well when accompanying me to the barn at horse-feeding time. She really flaunts those tail feathers because they convey the attitude of a REAL long-haired Chihuahua and more than make up for her minus 5 lb. pint size!

If you are lucky enough to have one — a long-haired Chihuahua that is —

Need I say more?

don’t worry about what he or she looks like. Just know you are one of the chosen . . . and glory in it!



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Cowboy Hash

Cowboy Hash, cooked up fresh just this mornin'!

When the wintry weather just won’t abate, like it won’t here this year, I suggest you drown your frustration in Cowboy Hash. Like I did this morning.

Cowboy Hash is the supreme comfort food, and every time I fire up the frying pan to make it I’m transported back to my 12-year-old self standing on the banks of the Devils River in South Texas, watching in awe as Uncle Gilbert cooked up this wonderful concoction in a cast iron Dutch oven over an open fire.

My uncle was the foreman on a 16,000 acre sheep ranch that the river ran through, and I spent every spare day, week, or month I was allowed to there with him — exploring the vast wilderness, riding roundup with the ranch hands at shearing time, meandering along the riverbank bareback and alone on Old Jim, and learning about all things wild and rivery from Gilbert . . . including Cowboy Hash.

Here’s how you make it, for 3 or 4 hungry folks:


  • Chop up 2 or 3 large potatoes into small cubes.
  • Ditto with one large onion.
  • Ditto with 1 lb. of bacon, making sure all your little chopped pieces are separated so they fry up nice and crispy and don’t stick together.
  • Fry all of this until it’s nice and kinda crispy, adding salt to taste and LOTS of finely ground black pepper.

That’s all Gilbert used to do, and it’s still just about my favorite version of this dish. But sometimes, like this morning, I add things like a humongous chopped up jalapeno pepper or two, with lots of the seeds included, some paprika, and some onion flakes just for added crunch and pop. Today I had a couple of folks over and, while winter’s last gasp (hopefully) was hitting the windows in the form of sleet, we downed our Cowboy Hash with a fried egg on top and some Louisiana hot sauce.


Now, of course, the sun is trying to peep back out, all of which weather pattern is typical this time of year in Northern New Mexico. It does get old, very old, but this morning it sure was a great excuse to fry up a batch of Cowboy Hash.

And if you’ve never heard of the Devils River, which most people have not, it’s truly one of the most amazing and still-pristine places on earth. Here’s what the Organization of Biological Field Stations has to say about it:

At the southwestern corner of Texas, in Val Verde County, is an oasis. One that brings life to an area of dramatic contrast. Secluded and undeniably breathtaking, the Devils River winds its way though some of the most visually striking land in the state.  Many fish species found nowhere else on earth call the river home. And because dams, pollution and development have never corrupted its course and flow, the Devils River constitutes a biological community that has remained substantially unaltered over time.

My Beloved Devils River

I doubt I will ever see that river again in this lifetime, which makes me really sad. But thankfully I have the memories . . . and the immediate gratification and comfort, any time I want it, of that fabulous riverbank fare, Cowboy Hash.

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