Springtime in the Desert Means Wildflowers

Though we had a cool, windy day with a bit of rain yesterday, here in Southern Arizona spring is definitely in full swing. We’ve even had a few days in the 90s to give us a taste of the summer to come.

Hard to believe much of the rest of the country, and even our neighbors in northern AZ, are still in the grip of winter. Snow, cold, high winds, severe thunderstorms, hail and even tornadoes were all over the news the past couple of weeks.

Here the wildflowers are brightening up the desert. Hope these photos brighten up the day for all those of you longing for spring.

(Select the thumbnails to see larger images)



Mother Nature Paints the Skies

One nice thing about the evening horse feeding and cleaning routine is that I’m out and about to enjoy Tucson’s amazing sunsets.

This evening was one of those “Ooohhhh! Ahhhhh!” kinds of sights, with a beautiful moon rising through an indigo sky on one side …

… and a gorgeous orange and pink sunset painted across the sky on the other side. Beautiful!

Grass Ridge HT Time Again

The grasslands southeast of Tucson are beautiful in the fall — miles of golden-brown grasses waving in the breeze and even a few trees showing autumn leaves.

If you make the trek this weekend, stop by the Grass Ridge Horse Trials to watch horses and riders competing in dressage, stadium jumping and cross country.

One of my annual creative tasks is putting together the event program, this year featuring photos generously provided by the very talented equine photographer Cristy Cumberworth.

Take a drive out to Sonoita to watch the eventers in action on October 19-20. Dressage and stadium on Saturday, starting at 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. respectively. Cross country Sunday beginning at 8:30 a.m.

GRHT Program

The View From My “Office”: September 2013

Southern Arizona must have been in the very edge of the slow-moving storm system that caused devastating flooding in 17 Colorado counties last week because we had several afternoons of dramatic skies. Brilliant blue backdrops set off blinding white towers of fluffy clouds for several days in a row.

While listening on the radio to reports of the freak weather, which dropped more than a year’s worth of precipitation on the Colorado’s Front Range in just a few days, I shot this photo through the windshield of my mobile “office” on Hwy. 83 north of Sonoita.

How to help:

Monsoon Wildflowers

All it takes to make the high desert pop with color is a little rain. Here are some wildflowers from my travels on a monsoon morning near Sonoita.

Cool and Green

Yes, even in July there are places in Arizona where we can escape the heat. I spent yesterday working with some new horse clients in Sonoita. The grasslands are beautiful to me at any season, but after a couple of rainy weeks the greens are so vibrant. Just add a monsoon sky for some dramatic photo opportunities.


Horse of a Different Color

This otherwise plain sorrel horse with very unusual white markings on his hindquarters recently visited one of the barns where I teach, causing people to speculate whether he was a Paint with spots inside spots or an Appaloosa whose blanket didn’t quite form.

According to the owner, who had clearly (cheerfully) answered the question before, neither. He’s a crop-out Quarter Horse. (Named Bulls-eye!)

Of course I knew sometimes Quarter Horses produced a little too much white, though rules have been relaxed so horses that used to be ineligible for QH registry are now welcomed. But in digging around for information on crop-outs, I learned that there also have been instances of Quarter Horses producing Appaloosa coloring.