Bill and Juanita, owners of Allenspark Lodge B&B, are living their dream...

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Big Thunder - Little Thunder

Last Thursday (1/14) we moved our horses from one winter pasture to another; quite uneventful as things go.  The horses came when called, were easy to catch and two loaded nicely into the trailer.  Since we had four horses to move and a 3-horse trailer, we opted to move in pairs, so while Bill and Compass took her horse, Henry, and Washoe to the new/old location I stayed behind with Ranger and Jesse.  It was a great sunny, warm day, albeit windy, and it gave me time to continue working on getting burrs out of Jesse's mane.  We would have gotten them all out, too, if Bill wasn't such a fast driver (teasing).  He did get back in half the time I had expected.  We loaded the last two on and headed to one of their normal winter hangouts.

Now we had been assured that all the fencing had been checked and was intact, but that possibly one section was not yet 'hot'.  It wasn't much of a worry since our horses knew that pasture, it was big - going from 7 acres to 20 acres - and there was no reason for them to stray.  There was a heavy layer of snow on most of it, but our guys are good at digging, so we left them.

On Saturday, we planned on going to Big Thunder, the draft horse show held at one of the local fairgrounds.  Most of the competitive large horse teams use this event to get their horses acclimated  and ready for the draft horse section of the National Western Stock Show in Denver.  On the way, we stopped to check on our herd and make sure we didn't need to supplement them with hay.

OK, they seemed like they were farther away than they should have been, so we drove to the end of the road, and sure enough, they were at the far end of the NEXT pasture..  We parked and started walking fence lines.  There's the break ... wait, there's a large section that was apparently used as a gate for large equipment, and not re-closed.  Can't fault the horses for deciding the next pasture was more pleasant looking.  After all, it had a huge patch of uncovered grass under some very large trees.

We walked most of the way across, in fairly deep snow, until we could get their attention.  True to form, my grays came the rest of the way to us, and the two other geldings saw the halters and decided "no way".  We slipped halters on Jess and Washoe and walked them back toward the gate, in hopes the other two would eventually follow.  For once, it actually did work (not a given for Ranger!)  Henry didn't want to miss out on whatever, and Ranger finally decided he didn't want to be left out and came straggling in.  We were patting ourselves on our backs about our luck; might actually get to go to Big Thunder.  You all know what happens when you do that.....

Bill fastened the gate - merely a single barb wire strand, as was the rest of that section of fence - and I released my horses.  To my surprise, Jesse took off at a dead run right for that section, ducked her head and peeled under the 'gate'!  Be careful what you teach your horses.  I had taught mine a 'duck' command to duck under things on the trail.  Last summer, unwittingly, Bill and I had both used that a lot to move the horses from one pen to another or to get out of our corral without having to unhook the hot wire every time or remove the top gate rail.  In our minds (besides being lazy), we were just reinforcing a verbal command.  In Jesse's horse mind, it meant she could move to the pasture she thought better on her own.

While Bill kept the other three from following her, I tramped back into that pasture intent on catching a horse who now did NOT want to be caught.  It quickly became clear she just wanted me to understand which pasture was better.  As soon as I called her, she returned to the fence line but instead of crossing in, she raced as fast as she could all the way to the other end.  When I called again, she came racing back, passed me and continued to the other end.  Now she was just having fun getting some much needed exercise.  This was a game we would play when she got bored if we had to keep them on the mountain in the winter.  So I just stood there and called again; again she raced past me to the farther end.  I had to laugh; she looked so like the big drafts when they go flying by in the arena, so I called her Little Thunder.

This time I just followed to the corner where she calmly waited for me.  I started to reach for her halter, but she just walked over to the fence and started to step over the wire.  When her leg touched the wire, she just put her foot down and stood there.  I realized then that the fence in that spot was barely 8 inches above the snow, so I stepped on the wire and told her to step over, which she nicely did.  I raised the wire back up to the height it should have been, gave all the horses a good pat since they had wandered down to watch the escapades, and headed back across the pastures.

Bill had secured the gate better and decided to halter Ranger to make him walk back to the proper end in hopes all would follow.  We decided to feed them a bale of hay so they would have something they didn't have to dig for.  Of course, this time the others would not follow, so Ranger got the whole bale to himself, which he promptly scoffed at and returned to the others.  Go figure.

We climbed in the truck and continued on to the fairgrounds, arriving just in time for the main events.  It's always glorious to see those huge teams in action.
The big yellow wagon won the 6-up - with all mare Percherons.  Second place was also an all mare team of Percherons - only 3 years old!  Go girls!

Nothing like traipsing around in deep snow in your dress boots to get your exercise!
Bionic Cowgirl

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Hair Do/Don't

B-  Hey, buddy!  Sorry we haven't been down to visit you guys lately.  It's been pretty active up at the lodge and we haven't been able to get away.

R-  What do you need to get away from Beel?

B-  I mean we were just busy...
R-  It works good if you run away from things you need to get away from.

B-  I'm not sure that would be the right way to handle...

R-  Or kick them.  That works really good.

B-   I'm SURE that would be the wrong  way to handle our guests.  But we are here now.  Last time we dropped by we noticed that you guys had picked up a bunch of burrs in your manes and forelocks.  You look like "Alfalfa" and Jesse looks like "Trump".

R-  Alfalfa is good.  And tromping is another good way to get away from things that bother you.

B-  No...I mean... aarg.   Let's just get those burrs out of y'alls hair, okay?  Here's your halter so we can...

R-  Nope.

B-  Aww, come on buddy!  Stop walking away.  I'm just going to brush your hair.

R-  Nope.  When you put my head rope on my head you climb on my back and you are fat.

B-  Stop walking.  I am not fat.  I weigh within 5 pounds of what I weighed 16 years ago when I got you.

R-  Pounds bigger or pounds smaller?

B-  Quit walking away from me.  Five pounds more, but...

R-  Fat.

B-  I'm not fat, and I'm not even going to climb on you today.  I just want to brush your hair.

B-  Look, Jesse, Washoe and Henry are all in the holding pen waiting nicely, and I'm out here walking in circles...

R-  Walking is good for you.  It will make you less fat.


R-  Fat and mean.

B-  Oh, right.  you just let Juanita walk up to you and put her arms around your neck.

R-  Waneeta is not mean.  Or fat.  She is nice.

R-  Hello Beel.  It is a good day.  Do you have any treats for me?

B-  Jerk.  Walking off for 20 minutes.  What is wrong with you?

R-  Walking is also a good way to get away Beel.

B-  Jerk.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Gone Horses

We took the horses down to winter pasture late October.  A smaller run, somewhere between 20 and 40 acres.  Much larger than their "summer digs",  but small compared to their usual winter runs.

That pretty much ended our fun in life for the season.

Yes, we flew to San Diego to visit some friends (and see the zoo).
Yes, we drove to Las Vegas to watch the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo with other friends.
Yes, we had our annual  "Lodge Baking Day Weekend".
Yes, we helped one of our sons move from Greeley to Loveland.
Yes, one of our granddaughters won Colorado State High School Floor in gymnastics (5A, the big schools).

But without the horses...


Friday, November 27, 2015

All That Glitters...

Thanksgiving is over.  And Black Friday has a different meaning for me.  I avoid the stores, so my angst comes from a different source.  Christmas decorations.  In particular, glitter.
Glitter.  It's the single most powerful weapon used in the War Against Christmas.

The stuff is loosely attached to nearly every Christmas decoration you can buy, and will fall off at the slightest breath of wind or touch.  Then it spreads throughout the room, spread by air currents or small demons, and placed in the carpeting, never to come out.  You can vacuum the carpet a dozen times, and that stuff will still blink at you from the recesses of the pile.  If you enjoy clean carpets, it will kill the joy in the season for you.

I can't help but think that most other religions don't have this problem, so maybe...

"Honey, Can we be Buddhists just for December?  We have that old mantle statue of Buddha with a clock in his belly, and the gold paint is hardly flaking off at all!"


"Dear, let's become Wiccans for a couple months.  We could leave the Halloween decorations up til winter solstice.  I like black cats!"

Or maybe

"Say now, let's go Hindu!  They have THOUSANDS of gods.  It will always be someones birthday.  We'll just leave the decorations up year round and never need to move them!"

Naw...I guess I'll just make a conscious effort to NOT BUY any decorations with glitter on them from now on.  But that's really going to limit the number of ornaments this year.

Glitter.  It's the devils dandruff.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Repairs Can Be...Difficult

Stuff breaks down here at the lodge.  I fix it.  I enjoy fixing stuff.  It didn't work, and now it does.  That makes me very happy.

This morning I replaced the dishwasher.  After about 15 years of service, it was time.  I pulled the old one out, put in its replacement and ran a couple loads through it.  It worked fine.  So I hauled the old one out to the garage/hay barn to store it until the next trip to the landfill.

As I was getting ready to open the door and put the leaky old dishwasher into the garage, I heard a sound next to me.  I glanced over my shoulder to see TWO HUGE FRICKING MOOSE coming around the corner about 2 feet from me.  Yeah, yeah.  I know.  They were "long yearlings", just babies really.  But they are still bigger than my horse (not that that takes much).

We all left the area in a HellOfAHurry.  I went back into the lodge and told Juanita about the TWO HUGE FRICKING MOOSE and we went up on the roof to take pictures.  They had already gotten over their fright and the "THREE" of them were eating our trees.
The mother was just out of camera sight, behind some trees.

Some of you may wonder why I tend to flee when I see a moose.  It's because they are the North American equivalent of a rhinoceros.  Poor vision and cranky.  I'd rather face a bear.  At least our little black bears.  I'm just glad we don't have grizz.

As for the dishwasher, it's still outside tonight.

Maybe next spring I'll put it away...


Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Good Week

B-  Nice ride today, Ranger.  You did very well, with no limping at all.

R-  I feel good Beel.

B-  We've gone out, what, four times this week?

R-  Many walks Beel.

B-  That's right.  More than two, is "many".

R-  Sometimes one is two many Beel.

B-  Yeah, yeah.  But you act like you're feeling good again.  We went out for three hours today, counting the picnic, and you were still trotting to get home.

R-  Home is good Beel.  Food is at home.  Water is at home. Standing in the shade is at home.  Not walking up the mountain is at home.

B-  Well, you haven't seemed to mind going out lately.  You don't run away (too much) when I show up with the halter.  That reminds me.  Why have you started walking away from me, rolling in the manure pile, and then coming back to me to get haltered before we go out?  It's really kind of annoying.

R-  Rolling feels good.

B-  But then I have to brush you, a  LOT, before I can saddle you.

R-  Brushing feels good.

B-  Well, just stop it.  Maybe I need to send you to a trainer like our daughter is doing with her horse.  It's learning lots of new things.  Like lowering her head to be haltered and walking nicely behind the person leading her.  You know.  Manners.

R-  Nope.  I do not need man-ers.  I am a horse.  I have good horsers.  That other mare must not know she is a horse.

B-  She knows she's a horse all right.  She's just a polite horse now.  She doesn't go out and roll in the dung when we walk up to catch her.

R-  That is sad.  Not a horse.

B-  SHE'S not sad.  She's happy that she knows what's expected of her.

B-  Maybe we should send you to a trainer.  For say, one lesson?

R-  Like I sayed earlier  Sometimes one is two many Beel.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


B-  Howdy, Ranger!  You're looking pretty perky today.  Let's go around the neighborhood.

R-  Okay Beel.  First I must poop.             
R-  Good. 
R-  Now you can put my head rope on my head.

B-  Wow, buddy.  You are being very cooperative today.

B-  Let's go bareback this afternoon.  This is great!  You're walking very smoothly today.  No limping at all.

R-  It is a very good day Beel.

B-  Say, we have some guests in the back yard that I bet would like to meet you.  Let's cut through the lodge and...

R-  No.

B-  Aww, come on buddy.  We've gone through the lodge before and you were fine.  Why not this time?

R-  On the before time you were walking in front of me.  Now you are sitting on my back.

B-  What difference could that possibly make?

R-  When you are in front of me the monsters will get you because you are slow and not strong.  I can get away.  If you are sitting on me I will be slow.  It is all about monsters Beel.

B-  There ain't no monsters, Ranger.  Ah well,  It's not worth the battle.  We'll just go around the back through the side yard...


B-  GAH!!  Whew.  No Ranger.  They are crates.  Wooden boxes.  You know that when you jump away from stuff like that you have to go up to it and touch it with your nose.  Let's do it.

R-  Okay Beel.   *touch*     But the krate monsters were not there in the before times.

B-  Nope, they're new.  Now let's go talk with the guests.

B-  Very good, Ranger.  You were a perfect example of a good mustang.  Now, let's go around...


B-  You moron!  That is the same set of crates that were there 10 minutes ago.  Touch 'em.

R-   *touch*

B-  Allrighty.  Now let's go around the... Oops some new guests just pulled up in the parking lot out front and are looking for the folks sitting out back.  Let's just walk with them back to meet the folks we were just talking with...



R-  *touch*

B-  Okay, introductions are made, let's go out front and around the block.  Wait...Ranger...where...what are you doing...

R-  *touch*   You make me touch the krate monsters every time we go by so I just did.

B-  I only make you touch it because you jump and snort and...  never mind.  Let's go for a walk.

R-  Okay Beel.  It is a very good day.

B-  You're right buddy.  I couldn't agree more.  Let's ride!

Monday, September 14, 2015


It was about 16 years ago.  A semi load of hay had driven across our leach field and someone reported it to Boulder County.  Damn.  We have to replace our septic system.  Water table VERY high.  Must bring in many truckloads of sand to bring the ground level up. Remove all of the old dirt (hazardous waste, now).  Major undertaking.  Lodge only open on weekends during the construction.  Guy working the back hoe during the work... "Say, are you Bill, the guy that owns the lodge?  I just found a badly leaking city water pipe that runs under your leach field, and seems to have caused all of your high-water table problems."

I had just met Dan.

Since that time, Dan has become a major fixture in Allenspark. 

Dan had sold his family dairy farm, and was hit by HUGE bills from the IRS for his capital gains.  He started working for a local company to help pay off those bills.   Then he started his own excavation company shortly after our septic system was put in, and never really took a day off since.

Dan had a big 'ol German Shepard that would sit on the deck of his backhoe.  The pup would just sit there and duck whenever the bucket would pass over his head.  No big deal.  The dog would ride on the back of Dan's motorcycle whenever he went through town, sitting on his custom built platform on the back of the bike. I laughed every time I saw them, leaning into the turns.  That dog finally got too old to make the trips with Dan, and none of his later dogs seemed to have that skill.

Most of the folks here in Allenspark know Dan.  He was likely to come by in the winter and push the snow out of your driveway.  "I'll bill you later", he'd say.  And later would never come.  If you needed help, you could just ask him and he would do what ever he could to help.

I talked to Dan two or three days ago about a project we need done.  "No problem" he said.  "Pay me whenever you can."  That  was going to save us a HUGE amount of time and money and red tape in getting it done.  So great to have Dan in town.

Years ago, when Juanita and I didn't have a place to keep our mustangs, (Ranger and Shadow), he let us keep them on his property for a winter until we found another place to keep them.

When Juanita had to put Shadow down a year later, Dan was there to help move the body and get it to a resting place.

When our daughter had to put her horse Estes down, Dan was right there to load the horse's body (with compassion and great care) onto our truck's flatbed to get it to its' final destination.

During the flood of '13, he was driving around with his equipment rescuing people and horses and putting in long hours repairing roads and driveways.

Dan was everywhere.
 This morning, we found out Dan died.  Last night.   Motorcycle accident. Going for pizza.  Riding alone.  No witnesses.  He didn't come home in time, so his wife went looking for him and found him.

I just can not tell you how much it hurts.  Me.  Juanita.  Our children.  His family. The whole community.

Rest in peace, Dan.  I hope you knew how much you were loved.


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Dinnertime Excitement

Yesterday we took the horses out for a picnic ride.  Ranger did quite well the whole way (whew).

As we were coming back and crossed the road by the horses' corral, we noticed that the choke cherries were fully ripe, and discussed coming back and picking some to make jam.  We marveled that nothing had eaten them yet...

Feeding last night was going along normally.  The horses had their feed; the hay bag was out.  It was quiet and I was enjoying listening to contented chomping sounds.  Then I noticed another sound; the llamas were clacking.  They quack kind of like ducks when something excites them.  I started walking over toward their pen at the opposite side of our corral, thinking they had spotted coyotes on the trail across the road.  That was holding their attention.  Standing there staring at the trail a motion caught my eye - much closer than the trail.  A bear was stripping the choke cherries off our bushes maybe 20 yards from the llama pen!

Washoe had quit eating and followed me over to the fence.  I pointed at the bear to show him and he was so excited he was running up and down the fence trying to get closer.  I think he thought it was a big dog that did not belong and had plans to run it off.  (He's my dog chaser.)

I finally went back up the hill to get Bill, hoping the bear would still be there when we got back.  We watched it until it was almost too dark to see it.  After Bill came over, Ranger stood near the feeder and snorted; Jesse wouldn't even raise her head out of the food.  Gotta love living in the mountains.
The llamas spent almost all of their time running back and forth at the fence line closest to the bear.   Quacking.

Bionic Cowgirl

Sunday, September 6, 2015

A Great Day to be Outdoors

It's been a while since I have felt I had the time to blog; lots of blog worthy stuff but just no time to put it in the computer (maybe this winter).  Right now I have some great memories.

Today I grabbed one of our granddaughters to head out for a ride.  Autobot has been 'working' at the Livery next door on weekends this summer as a junior wrangler, so she has gotten to ride, but not with grandma.  Well, this weekend the kids got to stay longer to help out and being a Monday holiday thing, they were here on a Sunday (Livery closed on Sundays this year), so I took advantage of the situation to grab her for a ride.

We didn't waste any time on saddling; just grabbed the grays and headed up the mountain.
This is what it looked like on the mountain on August 9 when I rode with our neighbor.  We had a lot of rain this summer and you could hardly see the trails for all the trees and tall grasses.  Compass and I did get up higher and locate the Rocky Mt. Sheep herd that frequents this area.
I was hoping to get some good shots of the aspens starting to turn gold.  What we found were several that had their leaves blown off while still green.  We did have a freeze on the 19th of Aug., but I didn't think it was hard enough to cause that.
This is what it looks like so far on Sept. 6; just tinges of yellow.
This is Autobot informing Washoe that he CAN walk through grass without eating it!  She is becoming quite the horsewoman.  It was a lovely day in the forest.

Bionic Cowgirl