27 July 2012

A Moment in Time

Mom and me, Christmas 1990, Philadelphia, PA
Two years ago tonight we said goodbye to Mom, for good. I miss moments like this so much. I try really hard to give moments like this to my kids as often as possible. With hugs, more is always, always better.

16 July 2012

Old Timers 2012: All the Pretty Horses

Alamo Navajo girl readying her horse for the Old Timers Parade, Magdalena, NM, July 2012
I love the Old Timers parade, for the people-watching and happy kids and, most of all, for the pretty horses. There seemed to be fewer this year, but those that walked were beautiful as always. The photo above was my first shot of the day, as we were walking toward the parade, and it's my one of my favorite shots from the whole day. At left you can see this girl riding (an older relative led her) with such composure and grace, and enough confidence to throw candy to the kids lining the road. I hope she won a prize (I'm going to ask the local newspaper editor if he can get me a list of parade participants), and I definitely see a future Miss Alamo Navajo in the making. Other riders included our friend and local beautician Karolyn Rolston with two "besties" who decked themselves and their horses out in pink and feathers and bling-a-ling... some might not find this fitting for such noble animals, but the horses really didn't seem to care.
Karolyn (at right, on Blue) and her posse, Magdalena, NM, July 2012
The New Mexico State Fair Queen and Little Miss Rodeo New Mexico (both below) were also there, along with the Socorro County Rodeo Queen and various princesses. All are beautifully decked out, and they and their horses have amazing poise given the crowds and noise.

The Valencia County Sheriffs ride every year, nicely attired in a more, shall we say, classic style but with a flash of color that really makes them stand out. They also perform a bit of Western dressage several times along the parade route, much to spectators' delight.
Valencia County Sheriffs, Magdalena, NM, July 2012
A pair of mules pulling a wagon and driver were the prettiest mules I've ever seen...

Mules at work, Magdalena, NM, July 2012
... but "our" mule, Goliath (Doc Rolston's trusted pack mule, who Dad says rides like a Cadillac), has the best personality. He wins admirers wherever he goes, including these two cowgirls who paused from rodeo fun to say Hi.
Goliath with two new friends, Magdalena, NM, July 2012
And Goliath bore Maggie on her second Old Timers parade ride, not even needing to be led by Dad (riding Damacio) because he is gentle and Maggie is fast gaining confidence on horseback. I sat out the parade this year but might have to saddle up again next year because, yeah, there just didn't seem to be enough horses for this classic cowboy-town parade.
Maggie and Dad riding across the rodeo grounds after the parade, Magdalena, NM, July 2012

15 July 2012

Old Timers 2012 Preview: Watching the Parade

"Wait for me!" Every year this horse watches the parade go by his home on Kelly Road. Magdalena, NM, July 2012
Magdalena's Old Timers Reunion has come and gone, and I got to see more of it than usual this year. I'm just starting to go through the photos and will post several entries on the various themes. One pleasant surprise: my pics of the rodeo came out much better than I'd expected, given I was using a fairly inexpensive long lens, handheld. Someday I'll start using my tripod... maybe.

13 July 2012

Equine Therapy

Three generations of riders, near Magdalena, NM, July 2012
Maggie communing with Goliath before the ride

"Horses are highly perceptive animals and very emotionally connected to other horses and even humans....
"Horses are so good for personal development because they tend to reflect the emotional state of the human." 
(Pat Parelli, in Harnessing the Power of Equine-Assisted Counseling)
Goliath sidles up to nudge Dad, who usually rides him

"Horses are incredible 
for humans; 
they make us 
better people 
by learning 
to put 
grow a solid foundation, 
and dedicate ourselves to 

(Pat Parelli)

"Horses have a remarkable ability to help humans regain confidence, freedom, and a sense of security. Through interaction with them we can learn to connect with our natural wisdom and ultimately become better, more emotionally intelligent human beings."

(Vallerie Coleman, in Harnessing the Power of Equine-Assisted Counseling)

08 July 2012


Bee and wasp on Rocky Mountain Bee Plant, near Magdalena, NM, July 2012
As always, a change of scenery spurs me to do some photography, and a friend's mountain garden provides endless inspiration. After a typically hot, dry June we've have almost a week of good rain, which not only lessens the fire danger but also brings out the flowers and wildlife. This stand of Rocky Mountain Bee Plant (Cleome serrulata) was buzzing with countless different kinds of bees, wasps, flies, moths, ladybugs, and other winged creatures after Friday's gentle rainfall.

Even a giant tarantula hawk wasp made his way across several flowers, and the other bugs seemed unphased. This stand of flowers seems essentially wild, not connected to any irrigation system or otherwise "artificially" tended, so I've collected a handful of seedpods to sow around the drier edges of my own garden. More pollinators means more fruits and vegetables, after all, and some of these critters are also excellent predators of the various pests currently plaguing my ornamentals and vegetables. Far better to cultivate a balanced mini-ecosystem than to try to poison the pests and end up poisoning the rest of us in the process.
Tarantula hawk wasp and beetle on Rocky Mountain Bee Plant, near Magdalena, NM, July 2012