Raswan in New Mexico

Carl Raswan renamed himself for a stallion he didn’t even own. That animal's character so entranced him that when the horse died unexpectedly he made the name change official. Or maybe he didn’t like his given name, Schmidt. Anyway, it says a lot about a horse to do this. It says a lot about a person too.

Raswan, the man, devoted his life to Arabian horses. He searched for the “horse of perfection” among the Bedouin people, traveling on horseback with them before the first World War. He developed worldwide lifelong friendships with fellow devotees of the breed and wrote multiple books, including the authoritative “Raswan Index” of Arabian horse pedigree information.

He emigrated to the US in 1921 and imported Arabian horses for WK Kellogg, advising him on the purchase of purebreds from the Crabbet Stud in Sussex. Among these, was the horse, Raswan, who owner Lady Wentworth, gifted to (then) Carl Schmidt. When the horse died accidentally, Carl was said to have exclaimed, "No! He will live!” Then he changed his name.

Raswan moved to New Mexico with his third wife, Gertrude Pearl, in about 1939. They established a 93 acre horse ranch near the village of San Antonito in the East Mountain area, east of Albuquerque.  Around ten years later, he moved to Mexico with a fourth wife and the ranch was sold. Today, a road access in the now subdivided ranch site is still marked as “Pearl Lane.” 

Photo: "Raswan on Sartez," from the dust jacket on the 1961 edition of Raswan's Drinkers of the Wind, first published in 1942. This may or may not have been taken on the track at the New Mexico State Fairgrounds, but those sure look like the Sandia Mountains in the background. ) 


Coyote Rodeo

He jumped the fence at the regular place and worriedly looked behind him. If cows jump over the moon, why not this fence?

The bull stopped short and snorted. Call me Ferdinand again, I dare you.

Heifer who likes her head scratched and plays with the water hose had noticed him first. More greeter than aggressor, she trotted right up to him and was a little hurt when he shied away. That caught the attention of the other two.
Little bull has strengthened his self esteem by pushing fallen tree trunks and a big telephone pole around the pasture and corral. He enjoys intimidating geese and joggers along the fence line, charging at them with his head down, snorting. His head and neck are growing as thick as those old trees.

He dreams of having a nice set of horns. But everyone who knows him is very thankful he does not.

Coyote circled and dodged. He seemed a little upset. He avoided the corner where the three cows seemed to be herding him. Sure, this is all fun and games until someone gets stomped to death.

The heifers had to stop - winded from laughing so hard.  The bull's gratefully short attention span seldom extends beyond the heifers' butts so he stopped too. It was over before anyone got a camera out.

Coyote regained his composure but won't be back until that bull is gone. Now the chickens and guineas are getting a little too noisy and full of themselves.

Coyotes and the Calf

Tercio morning4
Tercio's fourth morning

The driveway alarm went off about 4:45am. This is unpleasant. In my head, I form a dark vision of predators. In my bed, I'm stiff with fear and barely breathing. The dog is barking his coyote bark.

Concern bolsters courage. Coat over nightgown. Boots on bare feet. Into the dark brandishing a flashlight, I jump the gate.

A cows snorts. The new bull calf is standing between the other cows who all face outward in defensive formation. Old Red is watching me. Her eyes gleam back framed by huge horns.

Scanning round us into the black, the light barely piercing darkness. Then reflected bright pairs of coyote eyes dart away. I turn in a circle. Another pair of eyes, and another!

But when I repeat the circle, they're gone. I notice the cold. My adrenaline has fallen and I head inside. Old Red moos softly at her calf, and maybe at me.

Hard Town for a Dog That Hates Balloons

And Big does so hate balloons of the large hot air variety. He is also not fond of large birds and low flying planes. But bright large, round and silent-until-they're-not things are much much worse. Especially that unexpected noise, the horrible "PHHHAAAHHHPT!" 

Big dog otherwise qualifies as a very mellow dog. But in any photo where he appears to be calmly surveying the Weed Ranch pasture he is actually scanning the eastern horizon in the direction of the Balloon Fiesta Park for any sign of horrible floaty colored things that roar (or "Balloons" in Dog speak.) Evidence is met with fresh emotional distress - a new discovery of hot air ballooning every sighting. And multiple balloons cause amplified spasms of anxiety -  tail-tucking and whining and pacing. It is like some dogs get on thunder. Except thunder doesn't bother him at all. Thunder is nature. He can tell when thunder is coming. Horrible floaty colored things sneak up on you and go: "PHHHAAAHHHPT!" And that is so so much worse. Apparently.

I mock him for this, his only weakness. I make the burner roaring noise with my arms up and glide across the floor. He looks at me with a very sad face and sighs and I immediately feel guilty.

Oppenheimer's Crisis

While Director of Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory between 1943 to 1945, J. Robert Oppenheimer and his wife Kitty would ride two days on horseback from the mesa to his summer home in the Pecos, "much to the dismay of the FBI agents who had to accompany them." Oppenheimer frequently rode a spooky horse aptly named "Crisis."   Crisis

(Sources: Ferenc M. Szasz, Larger Than Life:  New Mexico in the Twentieth Century. and J. Abraham Pais, Robert P. Crease, Robert Oppenheimer: A Life. Photo:

Big Red

From Visual Economics: How Much Our Pets Cost in a Lifetime - theirs.  I'm not sure about the numbers or this visual of a reddish pink Big Dog with a deformed head.  
If you thought big dog = big expenses, we can’t fool you. Big dogs tend to cost a lot more, and their average life expectancy isn’t much shorter than a medium dog’s. Big dogs cost $700 a year, with first year expenses adding up to a whopping $1,500. Over the life of your big guy or gal, that comes to $7,800. But the slobber and attention is free!
Big dog cost

Obama's Big Dog

Love the photo of the White House dog, Bo, in the doorway.  And I believe that's Obama's new budget director, Jacob Lew.  Obama's big dog I got it from Ezra Klien's Wonkbook at The Washington Post.

From the Post Who Runs Government site:

Widely respected by centrists and liberals alike, Lew was a well-received selection for deputy secretary of state by policy wonks for his competent work as director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in the Clinton administration. In July 2010, President Obama tapped him to return to his old White House stomping grounds as the replacement for outgoing OMB Director Peter Orszag.

Bo got big.  And he has a blog

Pub Dogs and Castle Cats

The canine species is welcome and commonly seen on trains and in places of business in the UK.  This terrier guy was enjoying the crowd and treats at a London pub.   Without exception, the dogs I saw were well-behaved and cleaned-up after. 

I watched a cat in a jewel-studded collar go after a dog in Tenby that had apparently gotten too close to her territory along a castle wall.

On hearing of it, Big now insists he wants to go pub hopping and Domina has reopened a spirited debate regarding pecking order in the household. 

Dog pub