Horses, Humans, and Hounds

It’s not even July and already we’ve been on a Double H and a Triple H camping trip. In case you’re not familiar with the terminology, the Double H is a humans/hounds camping trip and the Triple H is a horses/humans/hounds camping trip. You may have noticed the species order, with horses at number one, humans two, and hounds three. Well, that’s about the way of things when we spend time with the horses. Their needs always come first. I’m not complaining. It’s just a fact. And it means a different kind of camping trip than when the horses aren’t along.


The horses (looking oh so innocent) – Rosa and Storm


One of the main differences in Triple H camping is that T and Nollind hit the trails on horseback instead of hiking with us. Of course, if you’ve read our blogs from a few years back, you’ll know that it’s our own fault, mine in particular, that we don’t get to go along on horseback rides anymore. There were just too many squirrels and other woodland creatures and I couldn’t seem to stick to the trail. My last trail ride was down at Etherington Creek in south Kananaskis when I ran off after a deer and Logan followed. We were gone quite a while so I think that was the infamous straw that broke the dog’s fun. I’m not sure if Logan’s ever quite forgiven me, although he wouldn’t be able to keep up with the horses anymore anyway.

But the horse trip last weekend was different … in a very good way. It was the addition of more humans, humans without horses, that made the difference. Our friends G and S were part of this excursion which meant that we had humans to walk with. It also meant being on a leash and not chasing after woodland creatures but, hey, that was absolutely okey dokey with me. I got to go walking instead of waiting in the trailer.


Big Elbow Trail – Day 1


The eight of us would start off down the trail together, and then T and Nollind would carry on with the horses when it was time for us to turn back. We were mostly turning back because Logan gets sore if we walk too far, so I pleaded with them to let me follow the horses. (I look kind of pathetic in the photos, pulling on my leash toward the horses and wagging my tail like it’s on fire, so I’ll not include one here.) I think I was pretty close to convincing T to let me go with them but Nollind was the annoying voice of reason. I would have been good … well … maybe. I would have tried.


Heading for Ford Knoll Trail – Day 2


We camped at an old favourite, Little Elbow Equestrian. Three days and two nights. All three days included an hour or so of walking and at least one swim, and both nights were filled with food, drinks, and camaraderie around the campfire. G and S are the best kind of people, dog people, so there were treats and attention galore! I know they’re missing their Dixie, so I do my best to fill a little bit of that big empty space she’s left behind.


Morning coffee around the Little Red Campfire.


The living space in the horse trailer is a lot smaller than in Sid, and it doesn’t have heat, so accommodations were not quite as luxurious as we’re accustomed to, but we had our jackets to wear at night like pyjamas. I’m normally not a fan of anything that resembles clothing but, at just 5 degrees Celsius (41 Fahrenheit) overnight, I was happy to make an exception.


Still wearing my PJs while I sample Nollind’s coffee.


Even with the jacket, I don’t think I slept that well because by Sunday afternoon, when T and Nollind were readying the horses and trailer to travel, Logan and I fell asleep in the shade, exhausted. Or it could have been all that fresh mountain air. Or maybe it was watching all that post-ride grooming, packing, and stall cleaning. Whatever the cause, it was the good kind of tired, the kind that comes from days spent outdoors, with friends.


The good kind of tired.


Head of Security

Now that we’ve been out in the desert for a time, I’m getting used to the idea of staking my claim as soon as we set up camp. I explore our little patch of desert, mark a few bushes and rocks, and then keep watch. I’m kind of like head of security for the trailer and the campsite.

The big RV show is on in Quartzsite right now so, here at Dome Rock, it’s pretty busy, lots of campers. It’s thinning out now that the show has been on for almost a week but, at its height, there were trailers and motorhomes all around us even though we’d camped toward the back of the camping area.


Driving through Quartzsite—acres of RVs!

And trailers and motorhomes mean vehicles driving by, people walking and, worst of all, other dogs! Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve never met a dog I didn’t like (well, until yesterday, which I’ll tell you about in a minute), but when they’re walking anywhere in the vicinity of my trailer, my people, or my campsite, I can get a little growly. I’m just reminding them to respect the boundaries I’ve set.

So, back to yesterday. As you know, I’m thirteen now, so I’ve met a lot of other dogs in my time and played with pretty much every one that was willing. Even in what’s considered my old age, I still like to play. Anyway, we were headed toward the mountains for an afternoon walk, and out comes this shepherd/collie looking dog from behind a motorhome. He trotted over, took one sniff at me and jumped on my back. What the…? I turned around and growled at him, and he tried it again. So I got even more serious. That was about the time that Teresa and Nollind pulled me away and tried to chase him off. I was ready to teach him a thing or two about manners!


The rest of our walk was enjoyable (and collie-free)

So now I’m keeping my usual watch on the neighbourhood, but paying special attention to the campsite behind us and that collie. He’s had the nerve to wander over this way a few times but I’m pretty sure my barking and growling has kept him at an acceptable distance. Not sure why Teresa and Nollind keep shushing me. What? Am I supposed to just let my nemesis wander into my domain? They just don’t understand how these things work.


Keeping an eye out for … that collie



Surveillance shot of neighbouring camp and that collie

We walked up the road past their camp again today and, when I spotted him coming over toward us, I just looked straight ahead and kept on walking, like I didn’t see him. No way I was going to give him the satisfaction of thinking that I noticed him or cared.

And just so you don’t think I’m getting cranky and unfriendly in my senior years, we visited with friends Sue and Leon and Dick on Wednesday, and their friends Kitty and Jim were there with dog Shasta. As is the case with the rest of the members of the canine world, we got on famously, explored the camping area together, marked the boundaries for Sue and Leon. And when the whole group moved inside as the day cooled, I was happy to let her hang with my people while I took a nap in the bedroom at the back of the motorhome. So you see, I get along just fine with others. It’s that collie that has the issue.


Hanging at Sue & Leon’s. That’s Shasta on Kitty’s lap.

Well, best get back to my post. No telling when that collie will come wandering over this way.

Horse Hooves & Campfires

Since Logan got sidetracked last week and only shared the very beginning of our travel adventure to the Lazy M, I’ll tell you the rest of the tale. And I guess I should tell you that we weren’t actually at the Lazy M proper, but next door to it, at the home/ranch of the previous owners of the Lazy M, Margie and Lane Moore of Central Alberta Barefooters.

Lazy M breakfast

Keeping an eye on breakfast on Saturday morning.


Saturday afternoon, I was sitting on the table in the living quarters (LQ) of the horse trailer when, what did I see? A wheelbarrow full of horse hooves without any horses attached! And just why was I up on that table, some of you might ask? Well, it was a bit boring in the LQ for starters, and, with the open window, a very interesting smell was wafting in. I’m a big chewer, love my bones, and that’s what I was smelling, odd as it seemed at what was supposed to be a horse clinic. We even had Rosa with us! Now, Nollind is regularly trimming the horses’ feet here at the farm (they happen to make tasty dog snacks), and they don’t seem to mind, but this was a whole other deal.cadaver hoof


I was worried for Rosa. Where was she? I was just going to start barking through the open window when Logan woke up from his nap and stepped in. How he knows these things I have no idea, but he explained the situation to me, that the hooves were from horses that had been slaughtered and their feet donated to science. The students at the clinic use the cadaver hooves to practice trimming without the risk of hurting a live horse that still needs good feet to walk on. Okay, sounds reasonable, but I couldn’t help wondering about all those lost horses, who they’d belonged to, what their stories were, how they’d ended up at the slaughter plant in Fort Macleod.

Two of our horses, Rosa and Storm, were bound for this very place when they were snatched out from the under the noses of the meat buyers at the Innisfail Auction. We’ve asked Storm to write a guest blog for us one day, on his experience of nearly ending up on a plate in Japan, France or maybe Belgium.

Lazy M mini

Lane demonstrating on the smallest horse I’ve ever seen. I wanted to go over and say hello but T wouldn’t let me.

Aside from the worry about the poor cadaver horses, it was a fun weekend of camping with my peeps. They were pretty busy with the clinic but they got us out for walks in the morning, at lunch and again at the end of the day, we had a campfire on Saturday night, and we got to dine outdoors! I liked it better than Logan did. He’s easily put off his food by the slightest change in routine … something I’ve never understood.

Lazy M on the road

End-of-day walk.

Lazy M campfire time

Campfire time.

We packed up late on Sunday afternoon (including Rosa with four freshly trimmed feet, still attached), said our goodbyes, and were on our way home. T and Nollind stopped for dinner at the J-Bar-T, a funky roadside bar in Spruce View, while I slept, dreaming of campfires and sunset walks. Life is good.Chico running at Lazy M