ZA Star Zapphire

Life in Arizona

Life in Arizona
My Life in Pennsylvania
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My Life in Arizona
I spent my first years at the Rockin' "D" Ranch near Gilbert, Arizona. I enjoyed some quiet trail riding and had a foal - a filly named Bold's Karmel Kandi (Kandi) -  and we are both back at the Rockin' "D" now. To find out what I've been doing between then and now, keep reading!

A view of the barn area.

My daughter, Kandi, and me


In October of 1996, Virginia came into my life and we begn to ride regularly. Shortly we began some serious school work.
This lead to some local club shows, dressage schooling shows and even a Class A Show where we competed in the Arabian Sport Horse Division and in Dressage. I have to admit that during the dressage test I did not behave very well. I didn't realize until it was over that it was the "real thing" - well there were no decorations to make the arena look pretty like some of the schooling shows we had participated in. I promised to behave better at the next shows we went to!


Here, I'm waiting to hear the results of our first dressage tests. I enjoy dressage - the work makes me feel good and it gives me something to think about!


After a while, Virginia decided to introduce me to driving, so we could do something different. I really like driving. I'm sorry this picture is a little blurry - it shows Bruce driving me in my third driving lesson. I have to brag a bit here, but Bruce kept saying he was amazed that I was doing so well so soon! (That's what Virginia tells everyone, anyway, so it's okay for me to tell you, too!)

November 2000
In November, we all moved to Pennsylvania where Virginia's husband was transferred. I spent the winter there at a stable called Greenmoor Commons near Canonsburg. That's where I discovered snow! Check out my Pennsylvania page for pictures and more adventures!

June 2001

In June, we came back to Arizona, but as it turned out, only for the summer. Virginia's husband was called back to Pennsylvania for another contract! So, as it turned out, we were here for a long "visit".

One day Bruce called and invited us to go "swimming" in the Rio Salado. There were other people at the river, too, in small boats and they were surprised to see horses in the water!



Here is a picture of Kaladdinn with Virginia riding, and Bruce on the young quarter horse mare... Mary was riding me and she took the picture which is why I am not in it! I guess we didn't really swim, but the water covered my rump and was very refreshing!

New friends!

A little uncertainty before the ride!

One day late in June, Virginia was very excited because an email loop friend came to visit with her husband and son. The group has been corresponding for about 5 years and most of the ladies had never met in person! I was saddled up to give young Jeff a ride and I walked very carefully and gently so as not to frighten him. Here is a picture of Jeff and me that his Mom sent to the loop after they arrived home...

August 2001...
I have just found out that I am returning to Pennsylvania in about a month. Well, it was a nice visit, although I will have to speak to Virginia about doing this in the heat of the summer!

January 2002

Well, it looks like my little "talk" worked! It is January, 2002, and here I am back at the Rockin' "D". We had a safe and somewhat quicker trip this time because there were not so many horses to drop off or pick up on the way. This time the trip took only four and a half days.

For all my trips back and forth, Virginia used the company called Horsein' Around, Inc. All their drivers took very good care of us, and even stopped to brush me off before we arrived at the Rockin' "D". Mary and Virginia were so happy with the way they looked after us, they have recommended them to several people. Virginia has a testimonial to their excellent hauling on their website (way down the list in July of 2005)!

"Hi, Guys! I'm back - it's great to see you!"


"Hey, Barb and Mary! I brought peppermints with me! I love peppermints; may I have some now? Puh-le-e-e-ese? I will share them with you and the others - please, may I have some?"
(Editor's note: Mary gave Taffy a couple of her peppermints when she arrived.)

February, 2002

Virginia came to visit us for two weeks in February. Was I ever surprised to see her! We enjoyed some rides, and we taught Kaladdinn that crossing the bridges over the canal is nothing to sweat about, and of course, being the level-headed guy that he is, he took the bridges in stride. We are so proud of him!

August 2002
Well, it is August and guess what?

Virginia and her family have arrived back in Arizona! I was so happy to see her, I could hardly believe my eyes when they arrived, even though Mary and Barb both told me she was coming!

We've done a bit of riding since their arrival, but Virginia and Don have been busy unpacking after the moving van brought all their stuff! They have returned to the home they built and had rented out for a year or so, and they are glad to be back.

I am so pleased to be partnered with her again, every time we ride I try to show her that I haven't forgotten what we learned during our lessons with Kristin at Coventry Equestrian Center.  By the way, Kristin has a website now:, so go and check it out. Virginia says there are some links to interesting dressage sites on Coventry's site.

Virginia's daughter, Sarah, took this picture...
... Christmas, 2002

December 2002

Virginia and Don have sold their house! They knew they would be selling by the end of next year, so they decided to list it now and it sold in just two weeks!! They were amazed,  but the really amazing thing is that as we were riding by the house across the street from where I live, they were offered it as a rental until it sold! Right across the street - I can watch her come out her door, and I can tell when she is coming over to see me (well, maybe she is coming to visit Mary, but she always stops to see me first.) Then we might go for a ride, too.

July 2004
Virginia came to visit! (In July...?). Yes, because Mary had hurt her back and Virginia came to help her. When I heard her call my name, I had been snoozing and I thought I was dreaming! She called me again and then a third time and then I KNEW I wasn't dreaming. I whirled around in my pen and whinnied to her... then I gave her a "horse hug". It was so good to see her again! I didn't want to let her out of my sight!

Taffy and Kandi, July 2004

Virginia has always wanted a picture of Kandi and me together, ever since Kandi grew up and she could see how much alike we look! It took 35 attempts before they finally were satisfied with this one!
I am on the left of the picture.

Don't forget to check out my photo page!

Spring 2005




This is Kameron having a ride. Kameron is Mary's grand-daughter, the third generation
I am teaching how to ride.

Here is Alyson having a ride, Kameron's sister.

Maddy is not too sure whether she likes being up this high!

November 2005

Virginia came for another visit in November, although a very short one. I was so surprised to see her at breakfast time the next day, she says I looked like I was a whole foot taller with my neck and ears stretched so high in surprise!
We had a couple of short rides while she was here, and she says she will stay longer the next time!

Farriers appreciate a well-behaved horse!

Ho - hummm..another set of shoes....

There comes a time in a gal's life when it is time to get new shoes.... well, I guess it comes very regularly if you are looked after properly as we are. However, although it is rather boring, it is something we have to put up with, and our farrier is a good one. Thank you!


Here, I am saying good-bye again, but not forever, just before Virginia left to fly home on Saturday morning, November 19/05.

May 2006

ZA Star Zapphire (Taffy) May 2006

Bold's Karmel Kandi (Kandi) May 2006

Mary took these pictures of me and Kandi in May 2006. She sent them to Virginia, who added them my site. Not bad looking for someone in her mid-teens, with a grown-up daughter, do you think? A lady never tells her actual age!

February 2007
Virginia came for another visit - this time to arrange for their remaining belongings to be shipped to Canada. She says they finally decided where to ship them! Another friend from Canada came at the same time, so they and Mary had a short reunion and went to the Scottsdale show together.

Riding in the Riparian Preserve

Marsha checking the bird book ...

We went riding a few times with Marsha and Kandi. Marsha is an avid bird watcher, and Kandi has learned to saunter along as Marsha checks the book for the birds that she sees. There were orioles, a cardinal, herons, cranes and an abundance of other water birds enjoying the ponds in the preserve.


There are many hummingbirds that nest in the mesquite trees in the preserve. Marsha and Virginia thought they saw many more than they did until they noticed that one kept flitting from tree to tree and they realized they had been counting the same bird more than once! There is one perching on the high branch of this tree, but I'm not sure if you can see it or not... the branch looks like it has a lump on it.

August 2008
Virginia and her husband came to Arizona during the summer (eh?) to visit the Grand Canyon, Mary and Paul, and me too (of course), V's friend Megan took us out to the San Tans to go riding. Here are some pictures...

Taffy at the trail head.jpg

This picture shows me waiting at the trail head with Virginia, and I was watching another rig pull into the parking lot. We are waiting for Megan to come back with Kaladdinn and her daughter and her horse.  The rising sun (at 6:00 a.m.) was golden and makes my coat look gold!


This is a view from the trail shortly after we started out. It was a little while after this that Megan shouted back, "Stop, no don't stop". It turns out we were passing a rattlesnake! By the time we had passed him, Virginia looked down and saw him behind us. I had never seen or heard one before, so I didn't know enough to be worried. V said it was lucky he was still cool and moving slowly! She is wishing now (she says) that she had gone back for a picture of it, just to prove we passed him!


Part of the trail.



A "photo op" along the trail. We were about an hour by this time, and totally we rode just over 6 miles. It was a nice ride, in spite of Mr. Rattlesnake - he only added some excitement! It was good to be out in the open, and not just riding along the canal.



We had just ridden down this hill - the path goes off to the right of the picture - and Virginia turned around to take this picture. You can see that the paths are well marked, so it is hard to get lost.


Virginia had turned around to take a picture of the trail behind us, then she turned around frontwards and took the picture of the trail ahead of us. When I saw her lift her camera up, I stopped so she could take the picture, and when I heard the click of the camera I knew it was time to move on. I learned this back in Pennsylvania, and remembered!


A weird cactus. Pieces of these will "jump" off and stick into your clothes or your horse's coat. Megan carries a small pair of pliers on a ride to get rid of any unwanted cactus "hitch-hikers".


More desert landscape at the base of the San Tan Mountains.

February 2009
Virginia came for a visit in February so she could go to the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show with Mary. She also wanted to visit me, she said. We went out for a couple of rides, but she wasn't here nearly long enough. It seems that she just arrived and she left again!


Virginia told us that her friend in Canada teaches a combined grades 3 & 4 class, and they have sent Flat Stanley all over the world. She brought him with her to visit, again, this February since he didn't have a chance to go riding last summer when he visited.
However, before we ride, the chores have to be done. Maddie is helping Stan help us muck out the stalls. Being so young, she doesn't do much, but she does like to "help".


What's this? Sitting down on the job?
Virginia says that she couldn't really see what was this picture would be because of the light reflecting on the LDS screen on her camera. When she saw this picture later, she was surprised and thinks it is quite a cute picture of Maddie!


I took Maddie and Stanley for a ride, once the chores were finished. Virignia and Mary did most of them, but all the stalls were cleaned out before the kids had a ride. Note Maddie is wearing a helmet. She has a child-sized saddle, but V. didn't know that when she tacked me up with my regular saddle, so we made do for this short ride. You can see Flat Stanley stuck on Maddie's T-shirt!



May 2009

My, how these girls are growing up! This young lady with me, Kameron, is the same person who I am taking for a ride in the pictues in the section Spring 2005. What a change in only 4 years!

July 2009


Mary took a picture of me (I"m on the left) and Virginia's new horse, Tristan Z, shortly before he left to go north to Alberta. I told him all about the snow they have up there, but I don't know if he believed me. I'm sure by now he has discovered it for himself! Tristan is only about 14 months in this picture, so he will be a nice sized horse for Virginia. I miss her, but I'd rather stay where it is warm!

August 2010

Upper canal path.jpg
Upper canal path where Sarah was walking.

Virginia and her husband, Don, and their daughter, Sarah, visited for a few days in August. Marsha riding Emma, and VA and I went for a ride about 8:00 a.m. one morning. Sarah walked along with us. We were riding on the "bottom" trail along by the canal, and Sarah was walking on the paved part higher up. She looked lonely up there, so I took VA up the bank and we walked along beside her! Sarah took these pictures as we walked along.


Marsha on Emma, VA and I are on the lower path, as you can see in the uppper picture.


This picture shows you how pleased I am to be taking Virginia on a ride again!


Sarah took a few pictures of the birds at the Riparian Preserve. I'm not sure what this one is called, but if you look closely, you can see it sitting on a tree branch!

Taffy in front of thermometer.jpg

VA took this picture of the thermometer over my back after our ride on Thursday. We only walked, so we didn't get very heated, and we were given a shower after the ride. We wouldn't have started out on a ride at this time, at this temperature... it was only about 9:30 a.m.!
Virginia is hoping to come back for a visit next February during the Scottsdale Arabian Show! I hope she can!

February 2013


Rena, aged 32, and Taffy (in front), now 25 - the two senior ladies on the place.



We're riding in the Riparian Preserve. I always enjoy a ride when Virginia visits!

April, 2013

San Tan Ride


This is one of those times that I allowed someone else to ride me while Virginia was visiting. I really prefer it if she partners with me, but Mary was nervous about riding her own young horse out on the trail. She wanted to see how she behaved, first, before she rode her. So, from left to right are Virginia and EmmiLee, Marsha and Emma, and Mary and me.


This is Mary and me. We have just come off the Stargazer Trail, and are headed back to the trail head. It was a good ride, and EmmiLee was as good as gold. I was very proud of the way she took everything in stride! She behaved so well, that Mary rode her when we went to the river!

Rio Salado Ride


On this ride, Virginia rode me, because after the San Tan Ride, Mary felt confident enough of EmmiLee's behaviour that she was comfortable riding her. There is another picture of Virginia and me with my head in it, but my neck position is so awful, I wouldn't let Virginia use it!


EmmiLee didn't want to go into the water, but with my encouragement, she decided to jump in, which she literally did! Virginia is giving me a treat for my help, and EmmiLee had one, too, for going into the water. This made our day!