The horses were ready. My daughters were ready. Spring break time is prime training time. With nicer weather having arrived, it wasn’t much of a factor. Not until the one day planned at the Rustler practice facility last Wednesday.
looking towards the mountains at the Rustler practice facility (Wed, Mar 25 2015)
With other riders having cancelled their practice sessions, the girls had the place to themselves. They were glad they had booked the covered practice area for the day a few weeks ago. Overseeing the practice sessions, Mark and Trish were pleased about how well the girls have self-managed their offseason practice schedule, and how well the horses were riding.
Though prepared for riding outdoors, the girls broke out the gear for an afternoon trail ride before calling it a day. Much of the snow had already melted away.
Elizabeth riding Secret Agent Man (left), Tara riding Cameron (right)
When we left to come home, it was partly sunny and a bit warmer. And, the mud beginning to dry out.
In early January, the frigid, wintry weather began to recede. While temperatures hovered around 0° F (-18° C), seeing the sun for the first time in days was much welcomed. The small colony of sparrows and finches roosting in our juniper tree would begin to emerge upon feeling the warmth of the rising sun. A Cooper’s hawk, probably on an early morning hunt for small birds and field mice, decided to stop and warm its feathers on the shepherd’s crook that holds the bird feeder.
A gorgeous bird by any definition. The sparrows and finches stayed quiet in the juniper as the Cooper’s hawk warmed itself for about 15 minutes before flying off.
Both Cooper’s hawks and red-tail hawks have adapted well to the urban/suburban interface. Bird feeders and trash bins have attracted the kind of prey these hawks love to hunt. Occasionally, rough-legged hawks will hunt closer to populated areas, though preferring to hunt in open, rural areas.