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

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Hay Net Update

It's been 12 days now since I installed the hay net and wow, what a difference.  They now consume about 1/3 less hay than 'before net'.  Our bales weigh between 40 and 50 lbs mostly, so for three thousand-pound animals (average of the three) they should consume 45 - 60 lbs of forage a day (one bale), depending on their work schedule, which right now is very slight, although they are out 24/7 on a dry lot of about 1/2 acre, so they move around quite a bit.  I used to have to feed 1 1/2 bales a day to keep them even slightly happy.  Now one bale in the net usually still has a little less than a flake in it after 24 hours, and they seem more than satisfied.  It also looks like they are beginning to drop a little weight, which is a good thing as they came home too tubby.  Besides, the more weight Jesse puts on, the crabbier she gets.  She is way happier slimmer (aren't we all?).

The biggest drawback for me so far has been handling the net when it is wet and below zero.  The cinch and rope are still easy to handle but you freeze your fingers.  Bill found me some very slim waterproof mechanix gloves to try, but it hasn't snowed again yet.

Give a look see.  They come in all sizes.  I am already considering a couple travel ones for the trailer because I don't like all the wasted hay on the floor at the end of a long day of travel, plus when we get to our campsite, we can just toss the pre-loaded one in their corral and know it will get them through the night.

This will probably be the last update, unless something truly devastating happens this summer, but I can't imagine what right now.

Bionic Cowgirl

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Baby's First Ride

We have some friends who are moving away - job reasons - so we had a quick get-together planned for today.  Her parents had flown into town for a few days because ... well, there is a new baby in the family.  Since the parents are also friends of ours, they came up the mountain for a visit and brought little Reese, the 2 1/2 week old little girl.  After having lunch together I was informed that Reese needed her first ride!

Now E. knows my horses really well.  In fact, she had spent several years starting young horses and she had helped train Washoe, my gelding, so when she said Reese needed a ride, I can't say I was too surprised.  The day was beautiful; sunny and bright, just a bit breezy, and in the low 50's.  Still a little snow on the ground from our new foot just two days ago, but mostly melted.

I took a halter to the corral and called Jesse; told her she was getting brushed because she had to give a baby a ride.  She knows 'brush' and she knows 'baby'.  Boy, did the ears come up and she stood at rock solid attention to get groomed - and we were ready for a photo op.
'That's baby?  I was thinking bigger."
Better take a sniff here and check this out.
Reese just snuggled right in and fell fast asleep.  Bet she doesn't remember her first horse ride.  Wish you could see the other side.  Her little fist had latched onto a piece of mane and right after this picture she sort of stretched out and really crashed.  Must have been the warm sun and all that warm furry back.
"What do you mean, put my ears up?  There's something on my back so I can't move and Grandma's hair is tickling my nose!"

What a good day.
Bionic Cowgirl

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Wonder Net

Just a quick update on the slow feed net I purchased for the horses:  I LOVE IT - and so do the horses!

Unbelievable how fast they took to it.  I still put small amounts of loose hay in the feeder, but as soon as I throw the loaded net in, they all start picking from it - and leave the loose stuff alone.  Yep; even Ranger.  There has always been small amounts left in the net after 24 hours.  I dump the handful out and they wait patiently for me to refill the net.  The operative word in that last sentence was 'patiently'.  They were never patient before, barely holding it together, trying not to paw or stomp at feeding times.  That was actually the first thing I noticed the day after I started using the net; I couldn't believe how much better behaved the horses were.  I think it is so much more like true grazing - picking out a few stems at a time - that they are more satisfied.  No more scarfing food  and then getting bored and picking at the fences and stuff.  They are still consuming the same quantity of hay throughout the day, but none is getting wasted.  Therein lies the savings.  Many times I've gone out to check and found them just 'hanging out', and hay still in the haynet.  Later when I take their 'bowl food' to them, the net will be emptier, but still have some.

So far, so good.  Now to see how long it lasts.  Even if it only does one season, it is worth it to watch the change in their demeanor.
Bionic Cowgirl

Post Scribble-

This was an unsolicited review of this product.  They gave us nothing.  If we hadn't liked the product, we wouldn't have told you about it at all, because it's embarrassing to get taken...
Purchased from-
Hay Chix

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Slow Feeder, Day 2


R-  Is this a trick question Beel?

B-  You have reached through the fence, torn open the tarp and are pulling the hay out of the barn!

R-  I am eating.

B-  Ranger, there is still hay in your feeder.  WHY AREN'T YOU EATING THAT HAY?

R-  Beel the hay in the food place is tangled up in ropes.  It is hard to eat.

B-  It is a slow feeder net.  It's supposed to slow down your eating, so you can "graze" all day.

R-  Too hard.  I will just eat here.  I will stop when I am not hungry.

B-  Nope.  You will stop now.  Juanita has re-stacked the hay you knocked down and pulled the tarp back in place.

R-  I will go eat at the food place now

B-  Good for you.

R-  And then you will leave.

B-  Don't  you dare.  Jerk.

R-  *munch munch*

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

This Year's Food Experiment - The Slow Feed Hay Net

Hay - and getting enough of it - is a major concern for any horse owner.  We have three horses: Jesse, an easy-keeper; Washoe, a flow-thru (those that can eat everything and never seem to gain weight); and Ranger, a 'normal' I-will-quit-when-I-am-full horse.  How to best feed these guys together and have them all at optimal weights?  Last year I had thought I would need a grazing mask for Jesse, who could easily become insulin resistant.  Thanks to good weather conditions last summer and enough ride time (read exercise), I did not have to.  But the issue still resided in the back of my mind, so when I saw a new ad in a horse magazine from a company called Hay Chix, I decided to give it a try.  They sell different types of hay nets to fit your normal sized bales of hay - everything from flakes to large round bales - for a reasonable price.  After much thought, I ordered the size for 2-string bales up to 70 lbs.
Within a week, my new 'feeder' arrived in the mail.  This is going to fit a whole bale?  I ordered the heavy duty version, since Jesse is known for demolishing just about anything with her teeth.  It has 1 3/4 in. webbing; about one half the size of normal hay nets.
This is one of the things that tends to happen - even when there is always hay in the feeder.  This year it was Ranger's turn to officiate the opening of the hay stack!
Good, simple directions come with it.  Start by standing the bale on end and opening the mouth of the net.
Drop the net down over the hay bale.
Tip the bale over ...
... slide the boggle down the ropes and tie with a double knot.
Transport the hay to the feeding location by either using the strings on the bale, or passing the tie rope to the opposite end of the bale and using it as a handle.  I chose to just carry by the strings since that what I usually do anyway.  My greys were instantly interested.
To get it into the feeder, I decided the easiest way was by getting into the feeder and pulling it in.  Washoe ignored me; Jesse was irritated that I was IN the feeder.  Once the hay is in place you can either put the tie strings inside the netting or use them to tie off to something so it can't be drug around.  Considering Jesse's proclivity to do just that, I tied it to the fence rail.
Ranger was NOT impressed; this is him snorting his disapproval!  Then he backed away with an I'm-not-going-there attitude.
For the first few days or so you are supposed to cover with lots of loose hay, until they learn that there will always be hay without getting frustrated at the slow feed idea.  If you notice Washoe's mouthful of hay you will see why there is such a mess.  It would be nice to not have such waste.

Jesse seems quite pleased and preferred to eat from the bale while the others ate the loose stuff - and she is the one who needs this the most.  Yay!!!
This morning the net was still almost full - and there was plenty of loose hay left.  The horses did not seem upset at all.  Tonight there was still plenty of loose hay and the net was a little less than half full.  The horses seem quite happy so I guess they are making the transition pretty fast.  Notice the new snow on the ground.  Winter is not over yet up here.
Bionic Cowgirl

Saturday, March 14, 2015


   Well, our horses are back up on our mountain now.  We picked them up a couple days ago and trailered them home.

   Our horses get shuffled around to several different areas for their winter boarding, down at a lower (and warmer) part of the state where they can graze freely. The last property they stayed on this winter is a hay field, and the unseasonably warm weather started the grass growing.  So the field's owner wanted the herd off so they wouldn't damage this year's crop.  I suppose a herd of horses stomping, eating and pooping all over the hay field would limit the productivity of the acreage somewhat.  So home they went.

This is what we picked them up from.  No snow.
You can't see Ranger in this picture.  He took to hanging around the back fence of the farm house.  I suspect treats were involved.  He wouldn't say.

In this picture you can see in the background where they were going.

About halfway up the white peak on the left. Yeah.  Snow.

When we unloaded them from the trailer, the first thing they did was roll.  A lot.

After a good scrubbing in the snow they went off to check out the feeder.

Then suddenly, they heard it. And they went crazy.

For better than 20 minutes, they talked to a chicken.  It's really kind of embarrassing. 

(But I'm still glad they are home...)


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Reba Update

Some people have dogs that will DESTROY a squeeky toy in a matter of hours.
Those people are so very lucky.

Reba, our lodge dog in training will take a squeeky toy in mouth and squeek it for hours at a time.  At least it seems that way.  Some toys are forbidden when we have guests in the lodge, and there are a couple of them that will never, and I mean never be allowed in the car with us.  Never ever.

But other than that, she is settling in nicely as a lodge dog.  She is greeting people at the door and graciously excepting scratches and pets from our guests.

We hope to be able to introduce her to our horses next week.


Saturday, February 14, 2015

Horse Vaulting

Last weekend, GunDiva honored Autobot and myself with tickets to a horse vaulting event.  Autobot's mom and I both thought that was a fancy name for trick riding - and was quite concerned about the future welfare of her oldest daughter's horse desires.  Not so.  Horse vaulting - as it was explained to us - is a combination of dance and gymnastics on top of a horse.  For this, large broad-backed horses are chosen.  For this event the four horses were a 18.3h Belgian, a 17h Belgian/Quarter horse cross, a 18.1h Percheron and for the smaller vaulters, a 13.2h. Halflinger ... and this is what they do with them ...
The horses are so patient, and some of the vaulters are so small ...
They get started pretty young.  Yes, those two little 'angels' performed some pretty cute stunts.  There were ballerinas, a bumblebee, angels, lots of flowers .... and each performed to a favorite song ... some with some amazing ballet moves.

We also had dinner included, plus a silent auction and a live auction.  GunDiva came home with two buckets of horse treats and I ended up with another, so our horses ought to really enjoy this summer.

On the home front, Reba the new lodge dog is starting to show her true colors; the personality is really coming through.
She can take the multitude of squeaky toys she inherited and turn them into a half hour concert!  She has also learned how to play 'pull' with the rope - and .... it takes a considerable amount of time to play her out fetching things!  On the good side, when she does get tired, she takes really good naps.  She also does a great job entertaining herself with the toys.  Her guest manners are coming along nicely.  She had a lot of practice this weekend with the Valentine's Day guests.  I guess we will keep her.

Bionic Cowgirl - who misses her horses terribly!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Meet Reba!

We have a new family member!  I hadn't realized what a funk we had gotten in since losing Sophie (the Lodge dog) last November.  We continued on with life-as-normal (as much as possible) - or so we thought.  Lots of comments along this time about needing a dog; the place just didn't seem right.  So about three weeks ago, we started the "looking" process.  We had made a list of specifics, of course:
1) must be 'user friendly' to guests; 2) younger so as to last longer; 3) mid-size, in the 50# range when full grown so as to be good outside; 4) enough hair to tolerate cold without having to 'put on a coat' every time it needed to go outside - 'cause we have more cold weather than warm up here; 5) Bill prefers female dogs, but not a necessity (he says females "pee all at once"); and last but not least  6) couldn't look too pit-bullish.  NO, we have nothing against pit bull and crosses; even have one in the family that is a great dog.  However, many guests can be cautious of dogs anyway, but way more so when they have 'the look'.

Last week, we visited the Humane Society in a local town and found a 'good' dog.  As we took her to the adoption desk, a man walked in with two grade school age girls and looked shocked to see us with the dog.  Turned out he had been in earlier with a younger child, loved the dog and went home to get the other kids to see what they thought.  He had failed to put a 'hold' on the dog, so they let us take her out for a time.  After hearing the story we opted to let them have the dog, believing that there are too many animals that need homes to argue over this one.  We believed there would be another dog we would like.

A couple days ago, Bill spotted one on the Society's website that he took an interest in:  a lab/boxer cross named Truffles (of all things).  No picture yet as she was still being processed.  Today was our first chance to go take a look.  It turned out she looked like full-blooded pit bull.  How that happened with that mixture, I don't know, but another family was interested in her also (turned out she did get adopted today also).  As we looked at the rest of the dogs, I noticed a cute little thing sitting and watching us very quietly as we walked along the cages - just like Sophie had done!  I kept going back to her so we took her out for a walk and took to her very quickly.  She was smaller than anticipated, but not so small as to be a deal breaker, so meet Reba.
They called her Della, but as I was reading the relinquish report on her, I found she had only been at the previous home for a little over two months and was given up for being 'too energetic'.  Her name prior to that was Reba and she answers very well to that name, which I definitely like better.
Obviously, she can handle Bill's 'rough treatment'; those belly rubs are pretty OK!
Right now she weighs in a tad over 33 pounds, is about 4.5 hands high at the withers.  She is a little over two years old and seems to have had some good training, although maybe she had some rough handling early in her life because things raised over her head tend to make her cower.  She is a 'cattle-dog/cross' and said to be good with livestock.  We will learn about that when the horses come home.  I do know her tail wags so fast you can't see it in the above picture!   So far, she is way more than expected and fitting in well.  Time will tell.  Stay tuned.....

Bionic Cowgirl

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Ketchup Post

We have been HORRIBLE about posting on the blog lately.

"Oh, I need to blog about this, but I still have to blog about that first."

At some point, you gotta just do it.  Sadly, it ain't gunna get the time it should, 'cause I'd just put it off if it was going to take too long.

So in brief-

We went to the first week of the National Finals Rodeo in Vegas for the first time in several years.  Fun was had by all.  We will need too do it again sometime.

We celebrated Christmas.  Most of the family made it up to the lodge.  Fun was had by all.  We need to do it again sometime.

We went to help our daughter and son-in-law work with their mustangs.  Fun was had by all.  We need to do it again sometime.

We went to visit our horses who are loose on pasture outside Lyons Colorado.  Fun was had by all.  We need to do it again sometime.

We went to watch PBR bull riding at the National Western Stock Show.  Fun was had by all.  We need to do it again sometime.

We went to the "Big Thunder"draft horse show and watched the 6 and 8 horse hitches.  Fun was had by all.  We need to do it again sometime.

We went to the draft horse pull finals and 8 horse hitches show at the National Western Stock Show.  Fun was had by all.  We need to do it again sometime.

Tonight I wrote a catch-up blog.

I need to do it again sometime.