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

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

We had a foot of snow a couple days ago and haven't worked with the horses much since, so today I thought about some of the things I have learned about horses in the last few years...

Most horses don't want to be the boss, unless they think everyone else is inept.

Horses are born destined to die at a certain time and place, and they spend their whole lives looking for it.

Most vets feel a horse is 4 legs and a gut.

Horses are truly paranoid.

Horses will bring out the best or the worst in someone.

Horses are tickled when they finally "get it".

Horses are tickled when you finally "get it".

Horses are not dogs, cats, or people. They are horses. Period.

When a horse is getting ready to bite or kick the snot out of another horse, they show the whites of their eyes, pin there ears back and bare their teeth. Think about that the next time you walk up to a horse with your eyes bright and a smile on your face...

A horse has a tongue that weighs more than his brain.

A horse will do things for you if he trusts you, and to you if he doesn't.

I like horses.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

First Big Horse Adventure of 2009, March 21

Last night I was on the phone with my back to the window when Bill hollered, “Drop the phone, the horses are out!” Thinking they were our horses, I indeed dropped the phone as I turned around to look out the window, to see our neighbor’s horses making their first great escape of the year. Happens every year and we are usually the first responders. The people managing the livery across the road currently have seven horses of their own and had just brought in seven more to get ready for the season.

Bill had grabbed a halter and headed out the door. He had them turned around in the street and headed back into their own yard, when the livery’s kitchen door opened and one of their dogs charged into the yard, right into the pack of horses. So much for going back into their corral; all 14 turned tail for the trail to the National Forest and the chase was on. By that time, Pat (the Livery manager) had a halter and Bill came back for walkie-talkies. We hopped in the car and drove to the trailhead, where Bill caught up with Pat. Now it’s 7:00 pm and we know there’s not a lot of light left before nightfall. I took the car back away from the trailhead and waited. Soon I could see horses coming back down the switchbacks toward the highway. It was Pat’s personal horses; the two herds had split and his were ready for dinner. At this time of night there should have been no traffic on the road, so of course here come cars from both directions. By the time five cars had passed, the horses had turned around and headed over the hill again, not on the trail this time, and it was now dark. No use hunting them with flashlights; these guys have not been trained to night lights, so the decision was made to just leave them alone for the night and gather them in the morning. It was national forest with plenty of graze and water so they would be safe enough.

It’s 6:15 am, Sat. morning, and we hear Pat’s truck start and drive away. We hit the shower and by 6:45 we each have a halter and a can of grain and are across the street offering any assistance. Pat’s wife, Vickie, says they’ve been up since 4:30, searching with flashlights. Just then we heard horses on the trail and saw Pat and Justin leading two of his horses. When he got to the yard, he explained about finding nine of them back at the old mine building, grazing. They got halters on two of them and headed back with the rest following, feeling like the Pied Piper; however, part way back some of the loose ones got frisky in the cool morning air and raced up the trail ahead, then took off again. They walked the two they had down and Bill joined them to head back up the trail. I realized we had forgotten the walkie-talkies, so I ran into the lodge and retrieved our set, giving one to Vickie so she and I could keep in touch. I drove to the trailhead and noticed a group of horses coming down a hillside away from the guys. By the time I parked the car on the edge of the road, seven horses had met the pavement and headed toward Wild Basin, away from everyone looking for them. I hopped back in the car to cut them off but another car came along and actually herded them on down the road. A neighbor pulled up behind me and said he and his wife would go head off that bunch; for me to go back to the trail to the livery and head them back in.

I waited a few minutes at the business loop turnoff and sure enough, here came the horses, being herded back by the wife in their truck. Looking good, and then the last little bugger, Gizmo, herded them back across the road and up the hill from whence they came! That was enough! I followed them up the hill and we started the “walking down” thing. Finally, at the top, they stopped for a breather and I was able to call to a couple I knew and shake my grain can. A lot of patience later they decided to check me out. I spread some of my grain on the ground then walked up to the biggest one, Dakota, and put my halter on him. I talk to him a lot when I go to feed our horses, so he was fine with me, although my halter barely fit his head. I led him back down the hill until we intersected with the trail and we followed that on down, with the rest coming meekly along. Once, Gizmo tried to take a couple back, but I just kept talking to them and told him to get away by himself. Next thing I know he is poking along behind. One of the 3 yr olds tried to get past us on the trail, but by then Dakota was enjoying being “boss”, so he laid his ears back at her when I told her to whoa and get back. That settled that. I got to play the Pied Piper and brought in seven, alone!

Vickie and I put them in the corral. I gathered up my grain can and headed back up the trail to look for the guys. They had the hardest ones to find and I had no way of knowing where they were, so I decided to play tactical and go the other direction, looking for tracks. I felt good thinking I was at least finding where they weren’t. We were closing the circle. Then, going cross country to avoid large snow drifts, I spotted large tracks; one of the horses was a draft-cross, so I knew it was the right set of tracks, not the ones left from yesterday’s ride that went out. I reported to Vickie that I was following tracks and headed for the meadow. No horses, but more tracks. I continued on to Fox Creek, which was still frozen. I could see where the horses had crossed and followed them, partly on trail and partly cross country, up a steep hill towards a pond. Before I got to the pond I noticed a lot of changing up of the tracks, some up and some down. When our two mustangs had been turned loose 10 yrs. ago, we had found them on Olive Ridge, right where theses tracks were leading, so I followed that road and suddenly realized I was being watched. A lone horse was standing in the middle of the fire route road. I stopped and we talked for a while; she didn’t know me and was unsure, but not wanting to move much. That’s when I noticed she was hurt, so I slowly moved up to her, offered her some grain and watched the relief in her eyes as I put the halter on her. I then realized the tracks I had seen were the other horses trying to get her to follow, until they just gave up on her.

After checking the mare for injuries, she and I started back towards home. She had a scrape on her right hind leg, probably from barb wire, and it was quite swollen, but she was able to walk slowly. As soon as we started walking, she kept staring towards the pond, so I assumed the rest had gone that way, so we walked that way also. Saw lots of fresh tracks, but no horses. After I got back in range of the radios, I talked to Vickie and told her I was coming back with one horse. She was very relieved and said the guys had just called, and they had the other four. All horses accounted for! The next call came from Bill. They had just gotten back with the horses and he said he would walk out to meet me. It would be nice to have company walking back. Such a nice hubby!

It turns out Bill had found the other horses and had a halter on one of them and was feeding them grain while waiting for the other guys to meet up with him. Then they all walked them out. He had actually found them a short ways from the pond, in a favorite picnic spot of ours, and taken them out just ahead of me. He wondered how we hadn’t run across each other, but there are lots of trails intersecting that region and we just happened to be on different ones, with a hill between us. End of story 3 1/2 hours later (and final count): Pat and Justin, 2 horses; Bill, 4 horses; Juanita, 8 horses!

March escape


I looked out the window, saw all of the neighbors horses running out of their barn, unsupervised. I couldn't stop them and they went up into the National forest. Next morning, Pat (neighbor), Justin (wrangler) and I brought back six of them. Juanita brought in the other eight BY HERSELF. Poop.

Details soon...


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Horses Home 2009

Spring 2009 ... Horses coming home! (Mar.19)

Tomorrow is officially the first day of Spring, and we've come down the canyon to pick up our 3 horses. A couple weeks ago, we got a phone call saying the graze was too sparse because of the dry winter and they were being moved to a different pasture. Instead of looking for other boarding, we opted to bring them home, so we found more hay (enough to last until the first cutting in June) and hauled it home.

We met Ida at her dad's place, hooked up our horse trailer and followed her to the pasture. When we pulled into the parking spot by the barn, Ida got out with a tub of grain and started calling "Hey, Guys!" We couldn't see the horses. They were on the other side of the 40 acre pasture, over a ridge. I hopped up on the trailer ledge and could barely see their heads as they came up. Soon all 12 horses came at a gallop, knowing Ida's voice. Everybody nosed in to get a bite of grain, with Jesse soon taking over the grain pan. Bill got a halter on Washoe, led him into the trailer and took the halter off. We had inadvertently ended up one halter short. I managed to get "Miss Piggy's" head out of the grain, put her halter on and she loaded right up. OK, only the champ wild horse left. Ranger had grabbed a bite of grain and off to the races. He was ready to play!

Anyone who knows Ranger and his love of wide, open spaces, or who has read Bill's last blog, knows what is coming next. Yep, 45 minutes of "you can't catch me". Bill and I followed him across the pasture with all the other horses, while Ida spread some hay on the ground. She then drove her new little Smart car over to meet us and we managed to separate Ranger from the rest. Step number one accomplished. Ida hopped on Estes bareback and raced the other horses over to the hay, where they nicely stayed. Bill kept Ranger separate, difficult at times because Ida's mini and her youngest gelding both wanted to play with Ranger. She and I kept the herd together while Bill made 2 more trips back and forth across the pasture, "walking Ranger down", as Julie Goodnight says. It does work, but truly wild Mustangs take a little longer. They don't intimidate well. Finally, Ranger gave it up and walked up to Bill with his head down, soaking wet from running in the hot sun. Bill hopped on him bareback and rode him back to us. Ida was amazed he could be ridden bareback, after the way he had behaved. He then calmly walked into the trailer like it was the everyday way of doing things!

We got them home and unloaded uneventfully, but poor Washoe stared at the trailer and cried his heart out the rest of the afternoon. He must have fallen in love with one of Ida's gorgeous mares.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Mud Bugs

This is Tel, and I promised Mom that I'd write a little blurb on her horses since both Bill and I completely ignored them when we posted our blogs.

So...Jesse and Washoe were turds, as usual. Actually, they were pretty good mutts on Tuesday and other than trying to chase down Ida's truck while she was dragging the field, went about their own business while Bill and I worked with Ranger and Estes.

Wait...I lied. Jesse did help herself to a couple of mouthfuls of horse candy while Bill and I were talking to Ida.

After we'd turned our horses loose and headed back to our cars, Bill and I stopped to watch the herd playing in the pasture. It was a wonderfully warm, spring-like day and the horses were feeling it. Once they knew they were really "free" from us, they ran around like colts, kicking up their heels and bucking down by the water hole. Suddenly, we realized that there were too many dark-colored horses and not enough greys. Hmmm...mud and Jesse...not too hard to figure out, but what was baffling was that Washoe was right along beside her - he hates the water and mud in his little toes! They had apparently waded into the water hole, which was full of mud, up to their bellies before coming out to roll and play. They looked like chocolate-dipped horses; grey on top and black, sticky mud from mid-body down.

The thought that ran through both of our minds was, "glad I don't have to brush them out!"

Friday, March 6, 2009

Catching a Wild One

Last week, Juanita caught and brushed her horses, but Ranger and Estes were the two horses that wouldn't be caught. So Tuesday our daughter Shawntel and I went to catch our 2 horses and brush them out.

As I was driving to the field where they are wintering, Tel called me and told me to watch the horses as I drove in. They were chasing Ida's truck as she dragged the pasture. They had never seen that happen before and I guess they found it very interesting. By the time we walked into the field with them, they were just standing and watching the truck go in circles. Tel and I set the bucket of brushes, halters and treats down to go talk with Ida, and after a couple minutes we noticed Jesse had pulled the lid off the treat bucket and has her nose buried in it, eating as fast as she could. She backed off when we got back to the bucket, but had gotten a snoot full of "horse candy". She looked as smug as a horse could.

Tel pretty much walked up to Estes and caught her and began brushing right away, with several of Ida's horses grooming her in return. Ranger was not quite so ready for contact as he was back in "wild horse" mode. "I'm a mustang and I'm NOT gunna get caught!" I got to spend about 45 minutes walking him down by keeping him out of the herd. He hated that! He finally licked his lips and started "posturing", arching his neck, snaking up to me and "nosing" me, but with soft eyes. I finally got the lead rope over his neck, and he was my good dog again. Turd. Bill

Thursday, March 5, 2009

February 22nd Horse Therapy

Sunday Feb. 22, 2009

The day is sunny and bright; Bill & I decide we need a horse-fix, so we drive 20 miles down the mountain to the pasture our horses have been moved to. Our four are now residing with Ida’s eight, making a very happy, frolicking band of 12. The majority of these are extremely people-friendly, so heads come up when they hear our truck coming up the dirt road; watching intently to see if we will turn in. By the time we come to a stop, they have started walking our way. By the time we climb through the fence, they are running full speed, vying for first man position, to get to us. What a heart throb! (It can also take your breath away realizing you are standing in empty space while a herd of 12 races at you!) They politely stop a few paces away and advance poking with their noses, hoping we have brought goodies.

We hold up halters and my two grays nose wrestle to see who gets to put their’s on first, but Ranger and Estes decide if they don’t get treats first, they are “outta here”. Off they go to the far end of the pasture. Bill graciously brushes Jesse and I give Washoe a good scrubbing, then good scratches all around for the rest. Ranger and Estes have stayed obstinate about coming closer, so they don’t get scratched, rubbed or treated. We only had a short time, so we left them standing alone, while the others followed us back to the truck. It was still a great horse break!

March's Recipe: Irish Potato Cakes

Bill got to chose this month's recipe, so, courtesy of Bill, here's our recipe for Irish Potato Cakes...

IRISH POTATO CAKES (a great way to use leftover mashed potatoes)
2 c. flour
4 t. baking powder
1 t. salt (Mrs. Dash)
3 T. butter
1 t. caraway seed
2 c. shredded/mashed cooked potatoes (or instant mashed, following box directions)
¾ c. milk
Chopped green pepper
Chopped onion

Mix dry ingredients, blend in butter; add caraway seed, mashed potatoes and lastly, the milk. To shape, you can pat into 4” ‘cakes’, or roll out ½ to ¾ in. thick and cut with biscuit cutter or cut into squares with knife. Brown slowly in small amount of oil in heavy skillet or on griddle. Serve hot. Makes 15 – 18 cakes.