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

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

'Grandparent' Training

We spent some time with the kid's horses this week; it's an ongoing process - but they are learning so much so fast.  We introduce some new ideas to the horses once a week and the kids reinforce that and add to it.

This week's goals were:  hard tie Copper for the 1st time; saddle Skeeter while tied (always had her at liberty or on a loose lead before), more Copper leading practice, put a bit in Skeeter's mouth; more ride time on Skeeter; ... and anything else we could come up with, depending on their mental  attitudes.

We arrived shortly after GunDiva and needed to get some hay off the truck.  After unloading her 30 bales, she thought the truck would be a really good practice 'patience post', as it has good steel side rails and would be pretty hard for the horses to get loose from. 

Since Copper had not had any tying practice, we opted to 'soft tie' him to the horse trailer inside the pen first.  However, on the way to the trailer, Bill decided a little trailer loading would also be good, so .....
Is this a chin scratcher?
Skeeter thought she knew how to do this.  She has been half in and out several times, but ...

... to everyone's surprise, she stepped all the way in!  Just like that!  Even AliBird was amazed.  Well, let's see if Copper was paying attention.
 Copper:  "So what is so interesting in here?"  Maybe not yet.

Well, if you won't go IN the trailer, we will just have to tie you TO it.

 He was pretty cute.  When he realized he couldn't just walk away when he wanted, he tried all kinds of evasive techniques to go away - everything short of panicking and yanking on the rope.  He never once got scared or snorty.  However, he did get in trouble for pawing at the wheelwells and the hitch.  Soon, he was standing still enough, we thought he could go to the truck.

Parking the truck in a central location close to the tack room, both horses were brought out.  They sure do like getting outside the pen.  After this day, they might not be quite so anxious - as it does involve work!
Copper doesn't think this is too bad; sometimes there is hay leftover to nibble on.  Skeeter isn't too sure about this not being able to move around.  Both of their ears tell the story.
Well, since you are just standing here, let's try this bareback pad on you.  Hey, this one has a belly strap!  What do you think, Copper?
Look, there's a breast collar that goes on here.  Well, the front strap is way too long; that will get taken care of this week.   Something else is missing.  Braids!
After they got all pretty, they each got to go for a walk - Skeeter discovering the breast collar was not going to eat her - and Copper learning that he could stand next to a tree, also.  Amazing the things you can get tied to.  Next came the bit.  Just for a minute to get the feel in Skeeter's mouth.  She wasn't quite sure what to think of it, pushing on her tongue.  This week she will be getting to wear it around for awhile.

In fact, the horses were having so much fun, they didn't want to go back in the pen.  I had laid my camera down on a concrete block near the corral alleyway, and Copper stepped on it when he objected to going back.  I know better than to put it down, but even we 'forget' the kinds of things that can happen around horses.  End of pictures for the day.

However, it was not the end of work.  The gear came off of Skeeter and GunDiva got on;  a little more bareback practice.  It just keeps getting better, with a short walk around the area and successful dismount.

After Skeeter's ride, Copper got introduced to clicker training.  He 'charged up' pretty quickly and had fun looking for a silly little wood block we were playing with.  I bet he spent plenty of time that night wondering why he wasn't getting a treat for touching it.
It was a great day with both horses.
Bionic Cowgirl

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Cancelled Day Off

Yesterday we had a scheduled day off.  We were taking NO bookings so we could have some time to ourselves.  After our guests left yesterday morning, we locked up the lodge and ran down the mountain to visit with Juanita's mom, work with our oldest daughters new horses, and buy groceries for the upcoming week.  Then we were going to go on a DATE (movie and dinner at a place that doesn't serve in a bag).  Since today is my birthday, we were going to be able to sleep in.  Sounded perfect.

We got the visit to Juanita's mom taken care of, and we were working with our daughter's horses when we got a call from our neighbor.

"Where are you guys?  Your guests are waiting at the lodge."
"But we don't have any guests tonight.  We're closed."
"They say they reserved room #6, the Teddy Bear Room."
"Dammm.  We are two hours away.  Tell them to eat dinner in Estes Park, and we'll head straight up."

We quit playing with the horses and drove to Loveland and  made a lightning stop at Sam's Club for supplies for the upcoming week.  Then we headed up the mountain.  One hour and forty five minutes later, we pulled into the parking lot.  We unloaded groceries, turned on the lights-hot tub-wood burning stove-and heaters.  Then we checked the reservation book.  Okay, they had booked room #6 with us.  But it was for Tuesday the 7th of October, NOT Tuesday the 30th of September.

Double dammmm.

Oh well, we were home now and good to go, so when they came back from dinner we checked them in.

As the evening wore on, I decided a glass of wine would be good, and dull my disappointment.  So I had one.  I then decided if one was good, two would be really good.  About the time I reached Super Splendiferious good, I ran out of wine (I'm a light-weight, it was only three or four glasses).  I said good night to Juanita and staggered off to bed.

This morning I woke up with my first and worst hangover in YEARS and looked out the window.

Oh yeah.  Today was the day seven tons of hay was being delivered.  And Juanita and I had to unload and stack it all in our storage shed.

Triple dammmm.

Breakfast was prepared and fed, hay was unloaded and all was well except for my head.  All day I kept asking myself why I did that to myself.

I have decided that-


Monday, September 29, 2014

Skeeter's First Ride

I've been lax in keeping up with the blog.  We've been pretty busy here at the lodge, and when we do get away, we have way too much fun playing with the 'grandhorses'.

Last week we spent about 1 1/2 hours at GunDiva's place, continuing with 'training'.  She was delayed at a funeral, so Bill and I just entertained ourselves -at her horses' expense, of course.  After spending time grooming, I started re-braiding Copper's mane.
Copper likes to sleep while I braid.

Bill was leading Skeeter around and somehow ended up on the tub/mounting block.  I turned around in time to see him sitting on Skeeter.  When I asked him why he decided to get on her, he said she made the decision.  As he swung his leg up to rest on her back, she took a step sideways and he could either fall between her and the tub, or just slide on - obvious choice there.
She took five or six steps backwards and stopped.
Bill only had the lead rope so he just sat there waiting to see what she would do; she just stayed calm and thought things through, so Bill stayed put.  He had just about decided to get down when Skeeter relaxed so he tied up the other end of the lead rope to use as reins, and did some flexion exercises with her head, getting her to turn her head from side to side until she actually turned around in a circle in both directions.

 Finally he sort of encouraged her to take a couple of forward steps.
Soon she was moving around at a nice walk like this was a normal thing.  Check out the video clip on GunDiva's blog.  The next time she stopped, Bill slid off with a 'job well done' pat.  The only sad part was GunDiva not being there to see it; it was totally unplanned!

When GunDiva did arrive, she tossed the saddle on again, just for practice - and Bill had to give her a new hairdo.
When the saddle came off Skeeter, it seemed only natural to toss the pad on Copper, who had stood patiently by while all this was happening.
Copper was a tad apprehensive when Bill approached with the pad, but after a couple of rubdowns and sliding it on his back, it was no big deal.  Soon he was walking all over the pen - being careful to not let it fall off.

They are such good horses!
Bionic Cowgirl

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Broken Link

The link to the video only worked yesterday.  After some digging, I was able to find a permalink that should work.

To see Ranger on tell a vision, click HERE.

Saturday, September 27, 2014


B-  Ranger, that was quite a day you had yesterday, wasn't it?  It was still really dark when I climbed into your corral to catch you.  I was kind of surprised when  we heard something crashing around by the stream and all three of you horses just about ran me down.  What was down there, anyway?  Moose?  Elk?  Deer?  Bear?  You all left in a hurry!

R-  Monster.  There was a monster by the water Beel.

B-  Well, you were more than happy to let me catch you after that.  We trailered you down to Denver and you got interviewed for a morning news show.

(Click for Ranger's interview)

B-  So, Ranger.  How'd  you like being on television?

R-  Beel I standed in the rolling shed behind the stinky truck.  Then I standed on a par king lot.  Then I was on a very little grass field.  I was never on a tell a vision.
Getting a little grooming with the mane brush.

A neighbor dog out for his morning walk stopped by for his first visit with a horse.  He was very well mannered!

B-  Sure were buddy.  Do you remember the camera and microphone?
R - "I got a little bored waiting."

R-  I did not stand on them either.

B-  Yes, I mean no... but...  never mind.
Best buds.  "Tessa helped keep me company."

R-  I did see many very nice peoples that gave me nice head rubs.  But I wanted to eat the grass.

B-  You were very patient with them.
Mic check.

R-  They talked a lot.
Anticipation .....

B-  That is part of the interviewing process, Ranger.  They ask, we answer.
LIVE - and on the air!

R-  She sayed some crazy things.

B-  Yeah.  I noticed the only time you spoke up was when she told me "You tamed this horse, this was a BLM horse, a wild mustang".  Then you snorted.

R-  Yes Beel.  Crazy things.  "Tamed"... snort.   And you sayed mean things.  You sayed my tongue weighs more than my brain.

B-  But, that's true.  It does.

R-  But my heart weighs even more than my brain AND tongue.

B-  Well, that's true too.  And it may be a more important thing, at that.  I suspect that's why your folks will work with us and let us sit on your backs in the first place.

R-  We let you because you are part of our herd.
The rock star!

R- And oats.  You have oats.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Short Ride, Long Overdue

B-  Hey Ranger!  I've got a few minutes, and some of our guests are going for a ride.  Let's tag along!

R-  Okay Beel.

B-  They're only going out for an hour, so let's just use a pad.

R-  Okay Beel.

B-  We're in the early part of hunting season, so I'm putting your BRIGHT ORANGE halter on you so you don't look so much like an elk.

R-  Okay Beel.

B-  Great.  We get you all dressed up and it starts to rain.  I know, let's go sit in the hay shed for 15 minutes.  It'll probably clear up by then.

R-  Okay Beel.  Look Beel.  I see hay.  LOTS of hay.  I will eat it now.

B-  Stop that. You turd, you're tearing the bales apart.  Let me stack some pallets on the bales and drag the wagon in front of them...

R-  You are mean Beel.

B-  There is still hay ALL OVER the ground.  Eat up buddy.  I'm just going to sit here.

B-  Alright!  The rain has stopped.  Let's ride.

R-  The neighbor horses are being nice today.

B-  Yeah.  With the feedbags on their faces, they don't get to graze.  Makes them much more polite.

R-  Do not do that Beel.

B-  What?  I'm just singing.

R-  No Beel.  I have heared singing.  It is not that sound.

B-  Geeze.  Everybody's a critic.

B-  Okay Ranger.  Just an hour on the trail, and we're back home.  Let's turn you back out with Jesse and Washoe before they have a fit.

R-  Beel.

B-  Yeah Ranger?

R-  This was a good day.

B-  Yeah buddy, it was.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Mustrang Training 101 - Beel's Way

We got to spend some time with GunDiva's & Jay's horses a couple days ago and had great fun.  As most of you probably already know, we have some 'unusual' ways of going about the horse training business.  Beel's first rule of thumb:  throw out the training manuals and have fun!  The human's safety is always first and foremost in whatever we do (no biting or kicking allowed - by the horse, of course), but after that - anything goes.

I guess we do follow a few 'guidelines':  be consistent, do things with purpose, always praise the 'try', enjoy what you are doing, always stop while you are succeeding, don't push too hard - listen to your horse tell you when to quit.

I got to play cameraman most of the day; it seems when Bill tried, he couldn't manage the little buttons on the camera very well with his gloves on, so he tried to take off the gloves at the same time he was filming.  That did not bode well for picture quality.

We spent a good deal of our time with Skeeter messing with the saddle.  This was the first time she had to stand for the pad and the saddle.  Always before it was one or the other.  She wasn't quite sure what to make of having both put on at the same time, but was willing to see what we were up to.  It took her a few minutes to decide it was OK to move with that tight thing around her belly.  Once she got moving, she seemed to forget about the whole thing, no matter what we did; shoving the saddle around, slinging the stirrups against her body from either side, hanging off the strings.

Bill decided the pen was boring and took her outside for some longer exercise, when he spotted the trees in the yard.  Aha!  Good for tying practice.  He just walked right up to the tree and had her tied before she even knew what was up.

 In fact, she was tied almost 10 minutes before she realized she couldn't just go where she wanted - of course, that was because there were leaves to chew on, shoots of grass to nibble, etc. - and she is a bit food oriented.

She looks like a well trained cow pony!  Pretty girl.
 I was beginning to wonder what we could do to get her to realize she had to stay there, when something got her attention and she tried to walk off.  Oops.  Can't go there.  Why?
She looked at the tree, tried turning her head a couple of times and then decided she could bite the rope around the tree - or maybe the bark under the rope - to get it to come loose.  She inadvertently got her nose under the rope and tipped her head up, causing the rope to slide down her neck and pull her head to the off side, so she was standing next to the tree with her head twisted to the other side, putting her body between her head and the tree.  The rope had gotten caught on the saddle horn in that position and the more she pulled on her head, the tighter she snugged herself to the tree.  We watched her really closely for any signs of panic, but she stayed calm and finally let out a little whimper with her nose next to the stirrup.  Bill tried to release the rope, but she had too much pressure on it, so he finally just released the off-billet and let the saddle slide off her to get the rope off the horn and release the pressure.  That meant he could untie the rope and lead her away.  He led her back to the tree with no problem; she didn't seem to hold any grudges against the tree or the lead rope.  We headed back into the pen.  I held her near the fence while Bill threw the saddle up near her; she didn't care so we just put the pad and saddle back on with no problem.  You would have thought nothing had ever happened.  She is a steady-eddy for sure!

We figured she had learned a great deal that day and would probably be worn out thinking about it all.  Now she knew sometimes you have to stand in one spot.  Things can get you tied up but your person will help if you ask.  Having a saddle slide off your side and hit the ground under you was no problem (but we had done that before, just not out of necessity).  Trees have lots of good stuff of interest.  More than one thing can be put on you at a time - and you can still move.  Weight on the stirrups was no big deal.

Bill tried a little exercise in neck reining but it was obvious she was tired so we quit on a good note. She did enjoy following Bill around after he 'saved' her from the tree!
Look ma, no hands.

Next, we spent time with Copper.  He just needs lots of play time with the lead rope; remember, he was adopted about three months after Skeeter, so he has a ways to go to get to the same point, but he is doing very well.  He is also pretty unflappable, but I think he is a much more sensitive horse.  He can tend to shut down when things overwhelm him, and that can be really hard to spot.  It's much easier to see a horse getting too excited or worked up.

The first thing we noticed with Copper is his idea of 'work time'.  He's a union animal; after ten minutes, he's done.  He led well for Bill for about that long, but when Bill stopped to tighten the halter, Copper thought the halter was going to come off and they were finished.  He was sure surprised when that didn't happen and was not about to move again.  He was pretty balky after that, so I  picked up a training flag and tapped it on the ground behind him - from a long distance away.  At first he did scoot up behind Bill, then turned and spotted me.  I dropped the flag and started just walking behind him.  If I got a tiny bit too close, he would dart in front of Bill, whirl and stare at me, then Bill.  He had decided I was the culprit, not the flag.  It dawned on me that he was under too much pressure, so I walked to the other side of the pen.  Things went better after that.  Check  GunDiva's blog for the videos. (

Copper ground ties really, really well.  Once you drop the rope, he is like a statue, so Bill used that to practice picking up his feet, rubbing him all over and just being a nuisance.  He was so good, Bill turned him loose.

I needed to make nice with Copper so he wouldn't be afraid of me, so while Bill played keep away with Skeeter and the flag, I brushed out Copper's mane and put a few braids in it.  I had him in the smaller pen to do this, without a lead rope or halter.  He stood nicely by me for the first braid but kept sticking his nose in the way while I was doing the second one.  Without thinking, I gave his nose a little flick with my fingers and you would have thought I damaged his ego!  He flipped his nose in the air and laid it down on the fence rail and gave me the most mournful look.  I had really hurt his feelings!  That's when we really realized just how sensitive he is.  He is going to take some careful handling.  I loved on him a bit after the last braid and he followed me like Skeeter followed Bill.  We called it a day.  They had both worked hard.
Copper is so handsome with his braids.

Bionic Cowgirl

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sleep Walking

B-  Juanita' I think I heard something outside.  I'm heading out to check on the horses.

B-  Hey Washoe!  Sure is dark out here tonight.  I wouldn't have seen you except you're white.  And I see Jesse down the hill a ways.  Where is Ranger?  Ah, there he is.

B-  Hey buddy!  How's it...


B-  Easy boy, it's just me.

R-  Oh.  Hi Beel.  You sneeked up on me.  You should not do that.

B-  Ranger, I walked right up to you, talking the whole time.  I even walked up in FRONT of you.

R-  No Beel.  I would have seed you.  You sneeked.

B-  You were sleeping, I'll bet.

R-  No.  You sneeked.

B-  What ever.  Sure is dark tonight with the moon behind the clouds.  Cold tonight.  Good thing y'alls hair is growing in fast.  We may get snow by the end of the week.  Did you hear anything earlier?  I thought I heard something.

R-  No Beel.  I only heard you sneeking.

B- Okay, I'm sorry.  I'll bring a brass band next time I show up at night.  Sheese.  Good night guys.

R-  A brass band would be good.

R-  Beel?

B-  Yeah Ranger?

R-  Do brass bands taste good?

B-  Go back to sleep.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Subject: RE: Everything OK?

I am a follower of your blog and have noticed that there have been no entries since Aug. 22. is everything OK up there?  I work at the Estes park Visitor's Center and was up to visit with the Ambassadors a couple years ago.  That's when I first got to meet all the horses in person.

Estes Park



  We are alive and well, but we are beating ourselves to death with work.  After the flood last year, we don't dare turn anyone away, and we are taking care of enough guests, that when we get a moment, we nap.  Very little riding, and very little blogging.

Ranger won't even talk to me.

Maybe in a couple of days...


Friday, August 22, 2014

Miss Communication

R-  It is after time for night food Beel.

B-  I know Ranger.  But now that all of the neighbor herd is caught and back in their corral, we can feed y'all.

R-  Beel we all tried to tell you that the neighbor horses were out and eating my grass.  Before night food.  You did not listen.  That Mare kicked the food holder.  I yelled.  The Kid ran around like a crazy dog.

B-  I know buddy, but you always holler at dinner time, and Jesse usually kicks the feeder if we are too late at feeding you guys.  And Washoe is always running like a nut-case.  It didn't sound much different to us.

R-  I always say  HAY at dinner time.  This time I was saying HEY.  You must not listen very well if you can not hear the difference.

B-  Right you are, my equine friend.  I sometimes miss the subtle inflections in your incessant shrieking at dinner time.  I will try to listen to your caterwauling more closely.  Every night.  And every morning.  And every night...

R-  Good.  They were all out eating my grass.  I do not like that.

B-  Yeah, 30 or so horses will eat things down in a hurry.  But they were so well behaved, even when I saw them eating grass out of the window, it took a moment to realize something was wrong.  Then I suddenly understood what was happening and hollered for Juanita.  I think it scared our guests when I yelled and ran out the door with a halter in hand.

R-  It scares the neighbor horses when you drive the many van and jump out yelling at them.  I like that.  They stop eating my grass.

B-  Well, eat your dinner now Ranger.  They are all locked up for the night again.

R-  Good.  Now it is time for hay.  Not hey.  Listen better.