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

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What Part of "Exclusive" Are You Having Trouble With?

Juanita and I were out working in the corral with the horses yesterday evening.  Pushing panels around, cleaning, fixing fence.  Ranger was sort of hanging around, so I jumped on him.  No pad, no headstall, no halter.  Just climbed on board.

  Over the years, Ranger and I have come to an understanding with one another.  He thinks I am at least partly insane, and there is no way to tell what whim I will act on next, but all in all, I'm fairly harmless.  I think he is not the sharpest crayon in the box, but he does try to figure out what I'm after.  We each live with the others' shortcomings.  It's a working relationship that reminds me of a married couple.

  So, I am sitting on my horse, with a hand full of mane, and gave him a kick in the sides to get him to move out.  He ran up to the gate and stopped.  I had said "Whoa" an instant before he stopped, so I was happy.  As I hadn't tried to force him through the closed gate, but let him stop, he was happy too.  We trotted around the corral for the next ten minutes or so, trying to not crash into things, and for the most part succeeding.  It seemed lake a good time to call it quits, so I hopped off.

  Juanita said something about trying that with the princess, so I climbed on board Jesse.


  The motion/excitement/activity level went from ho-hum to OMG! in an instant.  Ranger slammed by me bucking/snorting/kicking and raising a cloud of dust I could barely see through, and Jesse thought it best to emulate him.  The other two horses in the pen also went bug-nuts for a moment.  I found myself standing on the ground watching all four horses running, kicking and bucking across the corral to the other side.  I wish I could take credit for a wonderful emergency dismount, but I have NO IDEA how I ended up standing on the ground by four bucking horses.

  Ranger stopped and turned to stare at me.  Opps. My bad.  I forgot.  I'm not supposed to climb on another horse in the corral.  RANGER is THE horse.  It has ALWAYS made him mad to see me climb on another horse, and he lets me know in no uncertain terms how much it pi$$es him off.

  Very sorry.  Meant nothing to me.  Never happen again.  I just wanted a quick ride... Jeeze.

  Huh, that also kinda reminds me of a married couple. 


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Eagle Rock Ride

Just a short note first, to say I finally got brave enough to hop on GunDiva's mare bareback a couple of days ago.  GunDiva took it upon herself to go off to some southern state to a Writer's Police Academy and left me to start getting her mare back in shape from a bout of soft-tissue thrush.  I think we have the thrush under control and she definitely needed out, so I gave her a small dose of Bute, added a bareback pad, put a couple of friends on my grays and out we went in search of colors in the aspens.  We didn't see a lot of color in the trees, but the grasses this year are awesome.  Must have to do with the cooler summer temps.  So's here's a pic to prove I really did hop on this little lady.
I can't believe I was so excited to get out on the mountain, I forgot my hat!  I don't remember the last time I rode without my hat.  I did remember the orange shirt, since I was sitting on a deer-ish colored horse.  Next time, more padding is in line.  Criminy, Estes' backbone is hard!
Two rides in two days - WOW.  We gathered up Ranger and Jesse; decided on saddles because we are hoping to trailer the horses to Santa Fe in a couple of weeks, to ride the Rio Grande River basin.  We thought it judicious to remind the horses that occasionally they have to carry that extra 50 lbs, also.  When we are riding away from  home we like to carry some extra supplies; you know, like water bottles, dusters, first aid kits, cameras....the essentials.  We got the horses all brushed up but it was pretty obvious Jesse was not as excited about the outing as I was.  In fact, she was being down right 'mare-ish', which she is really good at this time of year.  I didn't feel compelled to having my ride spoiled by a brat horse, so she got put back in the pen and Mr. Washoe came happily along.  For a change, we decided to ride to a special place of ours we call Eagle Rock.  None of the new wranglers know the way, so I don't think anyone visited it this year.  We even had a hard time finding the path (no trail), and ended up dodging a lot of downed barbed wire.

We thought it a good sign when, as we were entering our first stand of aspens, a huge red-tailed hawk launched from right over our heads and flew in the direction we needed to go.  I was too slow on the camera to catch it, but what a sight - and how big they are! - when they are less than 10 feet above you.

When we got to the top, Bill was trying to take pictures down into the ravine, but Ranger had other thoughts.  They were standing pretty close to the edge here, then Ranger said enough of looking DOWN that slope.  You take all the pictures you want, but I want to look at this rock, thank you very much!  This place got its name from those rocks on the upper right, where you can occasionally find eagles.  Never mind we are dang. high. on. a. ledge!
And Washoe's turn....
This year's addition to the "Ears" album...look at the green still in the grass!
We finally did find some color on our way home....
However, the best of all was right around the Lodge.  What a site to head down the switchbacks and look across the highway to see this....
Happy trails, everyone.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ridin' with the Guests

I got to join a couple of our (70+ years young) guests for a ride today.  These sisters (they are regulars here at the lodge) have been telling us for quite a while that they were going riding here in the fall, and today they made it.  So four of us ambled out to see the aspens in their full glory; the wrangler, followed by "Sister C", "Sister B" and me, bareback on Jesse.  About a half hour into the ride, Sister B informed Sister C that her horse was kicking up too much dust, causing Sister B's horse to cough.  The reply?  That sweet old gal turned around and said  "Tough sh*t!"  Now our 'slightly older than the usual' wrangler was just turning around in his saddle to say something when this popped out.  The look on his face was priceless.  He was laughing so hard he could hardly stay mounted.  When he regained speech, his reply was, "I love you ladies.  Where have you been all my life?"  The ride only got better from there...and the aspens were beautiful, too.  I did miss Bill's lovely rendition of country singing.  However, Sister B serenaded us nicely, since the wrangler was never forthcoming with the promised song-fest.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hunter Safety - or Fashion Police

Bill and I went for our first 'orange' ride today.  Yep, it's time to haul out the safety orange to ride on the mountain; hunting season is in full bloom.  We had a great little one hour trek down through a couple of our favorite aspen-changing areas:  the trench trail (remember the meadow with all the aspens alongside on HCR?) and along Fox Creek.  We were amazed to find that a good number of the trees have not only changed color,but also lost most of their leaves already.  I guess the freeze we had a couple weeks ago, then the strong winds, have hastened things along in some places.  This is about two weeks ahead of schedule.

I also had an amazing discovery with my horse, Washoe.  He had to work as a 'schooling horse' at a clinic last week and the improvements in his movement are nothing short of wondrous.  His trot has gone from choppy to smooth and floaty.  Normally, I can't sit his trot bareback, and today is was actually pleasant.  I was so surprised I sent him on a second trot session and it was indeed a joy to ride.  This boy is turning into quite a horse!

When we rode back into the barn yard of the Livery, I got a bit of razzing about my choice of riding apparel.  The always fashion conscious (male) wranglers thought my blaze orange vest (over my fuscia T-shirt) was a bit much!  At least I didn't get shot at.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

RIde to Thunder

  Went for a ride up to Thunder Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park with some friends a couple days ago, and I forgot my camera, so I'll have to illustrate this one by hand... Sorry.

  Juanita had loaned her horse, Jesse, to a wrangler across the street several days before, and Jesse was a complete mare to the poor gal.  I think she came back in tears (the wrangler, not Jesse... Jesse was just looking maybe a little confused).  So I took Jesse on the ride, just to give her some time with another rider that she couldn't push around.

We loaded the horses into the trailer for the 10 minute ride into the park ( hey, it saves almost an hour of riding down the dirt roads).

We unloaded and went off on our way.

We got to a bridge that Jesse couldn't cross.

I lead the way across for her.

We made it to the hitch rack, and the others walked down to eat lunch by the lake, but I just napped by the horses.

The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful, except for one fit thrown when she thought she was being left alone.  The horses ahead kept going while we waited for the horses behind to finish a photo-opp.  BOY, can that horse BACK UP!

It was all good though.  Traveled back in record time, about six hours total for the trip.  The others were on gaited horses, but Jesse can sachet along with the best of them, so I didn't get too beat up.

Good ride.


Thursday, September 9, 2010


    Juanita's horse, Jesse, is the biggest busy-body you could ever hope to meet.  Any time something is happening with other horses nearby, or with hikers on the mountain side facing us, or bears in the trash, she has a FIT until we go see what is happening.  Lord help the livery horse that has pulled free and is eating the grass she can't reach outside her corral.

  We have a group of friends staying with us here at the lodge that are riding the national forest and park for the next week. Our friend Bucky helped haul their horses down from South Dakota for them, where the horses had been summering (rather than staying in Arizona).

  After putting grain bags on their horses, our guests went back into the lodge to finish getting ready for the ride. Juanita was out cleaning the corral when her HOA president of a horse got her attention.  "LOOKLOOKLOOKLOOK!", so Juanita did.  The horses had finished their grain, and being thirsty, went for a drink.

  Did you know that the old canvas feed bags make VERY GOOD water buckets?  And that if you are wearing one and stuff your head into a water tank, it will fill with water?  And no matter how much you shake and swing your head, it won't leak out?  And if you don't have a tattle-tail RIGHT THERE, you may drown in a half gallon of water?  Water-boarding for ponies.  Juanita got them undone, no harm (but I wonder what the horses will do next time someone tries to put a feedbag on them).

  Let's hear it for nosy NEIGHbors.


Saturday, September 4, 2010

HCR, Part 2

Note:  I had this almost ready to post and our internet server went down...for 3 days; only had dial-up and I wasn't about to post pictures using that.  Then I was off to a 5 day clinic with my favorite trainer, Mark Rashid, of 'Considering the Horse'.  Got back just in time for the Labor Day rush.  So here is the rest of the story.  Better late than never, right?

I think we left off with Rachel standing in the creek....
We did make it down the steep slope to the beaver ponds and lots of attempts were made at pictures, but the brush was thick and I think it also took a lot of horse handling, so most of the shots were a little blurry (i.e. Bill's pics).
Even though the thought of the ponds in enticing, it's the actual ride of the trail that is so spectacular.  Over the last 12 years we have watched this area grow from a small creek to 7 ponds and dams, plus a couple of lodges, and have yet to spot a beaver.  Didn't see one this time, either.
Back up and over another ridge, headed towards the meadow and a different creek.
There's Rachel, smiling again.  Look at the great blue sky we had for the day.  That's Meeker Mt. in the distance.
Ahah!  Caught Killashandra with a grin, too.
Not to be left out, here's 'Mom'.  She smiles and laughs as much as her kid does.  In fact, you should also jump over here and see their antics in Denver.  That's where they were while Mr. Daddy kept calling us to locate them!
Back down into one of the meadows lined by aspen trees; was a favorite of everyone and we had to inspect the markings on the trees left by the elk and deer.  The horses also enjoyed the impromptu salad bar while their riders weren't looking.
Another water break - Fox Creek - a much shallower spot at this time of year.
Look at this riding technique.  Also, please notice Rahja's ears, even though Ranger is fairly close behind her.  You see, this horse will NOT tolerate another horse behind her, so Bill spent the whole time trailing her at a distance, slowly closing the gap.  Rahja finally figured out that Ranger was a non-threat and started enjoying the ride.  Ranger even bumped into her at one point and barely got an ear lift.  This is a good break-through for this horse!  Thanks again, K.

 On the way back, Bill did his 'traffic cop' impersonation.  Fortunately, I don't think there were any cars to see the show, but poor Ranger is chagrined...again!  I don't know why that horse puts up with Bill's antics.
Back at the Livery, Rachel had to pose with her new horsey love, Timber, who won a place in her heart by rescuing her from 'Head-banger' Baggins.
And the final proof of a good ride!  Thanks to everyone for use of your pictures, and for making this a great experience.  Until next time......

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Just a Shot In the Dark

We've had a little excitement up here for the last few days.  Yesterday, the local S.W.A.T. team and sheriffs department were searching the nearby national forest for an "armed and dangerous" drug dealer that had run away from his clandestine "plantation" up in the forest.  Okay, it's like 10 miles from us across very rugged terrain, but that's right next door for these parts.  I got a call from a radio station in Denver looking for leads, but I only knew what my mother-in-law had told me from what she saw on TV.  Not much help to them.

Last night about 10:30 we heard a shot.  It sounded like it was from across the street at the livery.  Juanita said "That sounded like a 30-06!" and she called the stables while I went up to get my 12 gauge.  I got back downstairs and she told me that the gal that answered at the livery had been asleep, and hadn't heard anything.  I went out, bang stick in hand to see if our horses were okay.  Another neighbor was already cruising the area looking for what had happened.  Horses were alert, but fine.  Went home and called the non-emergency number for the sherrif's dept. just to let them know.

Ten minutes or so later, a sherrif's department cruiser pulled into the livery and went down the hill.  After a moment, another shot rang out.  DAMN.  I went out and down the hill (no shotgun this time, but wearing a lopsided heavy coat) flashlight blazing, to see what was up.

The deputy was talking to Compass, the gal that runs the livery this year.  Turns out a bear was digging through her dumpster and she had fired a round into the ground near it to run it off (a 30-06... lucky guess Juanita?).  The bear came back just as the deputy pulled up, so he unloaded a 12 gauge "bean bag" into it's ribs. This time it didn't come back.

That is about an ounce and a half of bird shot in a bag, that gets fired out of a shotgun.  Ouch.

We all cussed and discussed the local bears and talked of  the measures to keep them out of town like bear-canisters  .  We talked about previous attacks at the livery.  We tied the dumpster shut with one of my come-alongs, set a cinder block on it to act as a noise maker, and went back to bed.

Compass was kind of bent herself, at what the bear did to the lid.

Drug dealers take note- we only scared the bear off, cause we LIKE bears...