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

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.

Monday, May 28, 2012

They Just Do Not Understand

This is Ranger.  The horse.

The peoples have telled me that today is the day "That Other Mare", Estes, is coming back to the herd.  This is a bad thing.  I have been watching how much food goes into the food place, and every day there is just BARELY enough for the three of us to eat.

If another horse comes to stay in our pen, we will not have enough food.  We will all starve.

Other horses have come to stay with us before, and I have had to chase them away from the food.  More hay than usual showed up in the food place, but you really can not count on that.

I will do my best to protect my herd and chase off the inter-lopers.

Maybe she could bring a sack lunch...

Ranger, the horse.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Chocolate Aztec Cookies

It's been a while since I've posted here. I'm still alive (in case you were wondering) and a little bit fatter thanks to finding amazing recipes that I *have* to try out. I was reading Terry Odell's book SAVING SCOTT and her main character was baking some mouth-watering cookies. When I got the end of the book, I was excited to find was became my All. Time. Favorite. Recipe.



I'm so not kidding. You have to try these.

Spicy Aztec Chocolate Drops

Best cookies EVAH!

1 1/2 c flour
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t cinnamon
1 t finely ground coffee (or instant) <--I prefer instant, because I hate coffee; Mr. Nebalee likes his really strong coffee/espresso gunk
1/4 t cayenne (1/8 if you're a wimp)
1/4 t ground black pepper
1/2 c cocoa powder
3/4 c softened, unsalted butter
1 1/4 c sugar, divided
1 egg
1 t vanilla

Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon, coffee, black pepper, cayenne, and cocoa powder. Cream the butter with 1 cup of the sugar until light. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until creamy.

Re-sift the dry ingredients and add to the creamed butter concoction (it works best if you add it incrementally). Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with parchment or foil. Roll a piece of the dough - about the size of a walnut - in the remaining 1/4 c sugar and place on cookie sheet, with about 1 inch between each cookie. (RCC and I use a small cookie scooper and drop the dough directly into the sugar to coat. Mr. Nebalee has come up with his own method involving cupcake trays and sprinkling the sugar instead of rolling it.)

Bake for eight minutes. They will appear to be underbaked, but they are PERFECT!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Last night while watching a movie, I found the remote had quit working. As I was working on it, I told Juanita that I had heard the inventor of the remote had just passed away earlier in the day.

Then I wondered aloud if they had tried twisting his batteries and pounding him on the armrest.

I was afraid to look and see if she was laughing.

Monday, May 21, 2012

First Picnic of 2012

We stole a few minutes today to go on our first horse picnic.  We were only gone an hour total, but when you know the area, you can head right out to the 'perfect' spot - and it's amazing how fast that bit of food can disappear!
Jesse got to carry the orange safety bag today - at least it matches her halter.  So we headed towards the meadow, took a right turn at the fallen hanging tree, and cut to a small aspen grove where a family of foxes used to live.  It's a tiny, pristine meadow hidden from view of the trail.
Of course, the horses got to graze while we sat on a fallen tree to eat.
We've gotten a few nice and soaking rains over the last few days, so things have greened up nicely.  It's helping to allay our fears of a terrible drought, although it can dry out so fast.  We will enjoy what we get and feel fortunate for it.
To celebrate the first picnic we took our traditional food:  sardines, crackers and trail mix - and oat granola bars for the horses.  I can hear all the groans now (sardines - yuck!), since that's the reaction we got at breakfast from the guests when we told them what we take.  Just look at those cute baby aspens - and my favorite cowboy, too!
Bionic Cowgirl

Friday, May 18, 2012

Triple Creek Ranch Visit

A week ago, as a combination birthday/Mother’s Day gift from our eldest, the GunDiva, she and I spent the day at the Triple Creek Ranch in Longmont, CO – a training and boarding center. Julie Goodnight (of Horsemaster, RFD-TV) was donating time and the center was donating space as a fundraiser for an equine therapeutic center in the area – a noble gesture in itself. There was a large turnout and I think they probably met their goals, however, our goals were to learn more useful ways to work with our personal horses, and boy, did we meet our goals! I always need time to let ideas ‘gel’ before I can retell them, and I was so excited about MY ah-ha moment, that I am just now able to put some of this in print, so here goes ….

There were four sessions: Ground Manners for Young or Fractious Horses; Advanced Groundwork and Liberty Work; Riding Right: Balance, Rhythm and Feel; and Training Solutions: What do you do when your horse challenges your authority, loses his focus, spooks or becomes resistant? Ground Manners for Young or Fractious Horses: The first session started off pretty excitingly with a 15 year old gelding, who had remained intact (a stud) for his first eleven years! He had only been allowed to breed two mares. It’s OK to let your imagination go for a minute; Julie did. Lots of frustration on the horse’s part and we all felt it. I’m sure you males out there think you can identify with this. The woman who had this horse has been working with him, using Julie’s methods, for the last four years (when she purchased him). It was obvious the horse had come a long, long way … and had a really L O N G way to go yet. Fractious was putting it nicely; his human called him ADD and Julie agreed. He did learn a lot about standing still and not running over the human, but was still far from being a safe horse to handle. For us spectators, it was great to see that even this type of horse can, and will, respond to the techniques we were watching.

 Each session had two horses involved, so moving on to the second horse, things got a lot calmer and behavior changes came quicker with a much quieter Arab/mix gelding who had developed a habit of being ‘cinchy’ – meaning he didn’t like to have the cinch tightened around his belly. His lady had to have someone stand on the opposite side and pass the cinch under his belly quickly and try not to get bitten in the process. Julie broke this down to a loss of communication with the horse on a couple of ground manner basics: stand still when I tell you to, and nose to the front – always (hard to bite you when the horse’s head is pointed to the front and you are on the side). Equipped with a rope halter and 15 ft. lead rope, Julie stood in front of the horse, with the rope loose enough to touch the ground, and whenever, the horse moved a foot, or moved his head outside her specified range (from the point of one of his shoulders to the point of the other), she would snap the lead rope so it would ‘pop’ him under the chin. It only took a couple of pops for the horse to decide to keep its feet still.

 A couple more pops and he had decided he should probably keep his head facing forward. Then she had the woman pick up the saddle pad and walk to the horse from the side, like she was going to put the pad on. You guessed it. If the horse moved a foot, or swung his head around, he got popped. Within a few minutes, the woman was able to walk directly up to the horse with the pad and lay it on his back without so much as a quiver. They moved on to the saddle in the same fashion. This was MY ah-ha moment, as Jesse had become very agitated with the saddle pad and I had put up with it. This explanation has been simplified, as the person placing the saddle pad had a few rules to follow also, such as a direct walk, expecting the horse to stand still, turning and walking away to take the pressure off the horse for a moment, etc. – and understanding it was going to take 50 – 100 times of doing this to overcome the older habits. The best part of this story for me is that over the next few days, Bill and I worked with Jesse like this, and although she didn’t like the first couple of pops, she quickly learned that the pad was far less intimidating than that pop, and she is now much, much quieter about the process. It still takes one good reminder (we are nowhere near even 25 tries) then she settles down – but then she is a dominant mare with an over abundance of stubbornness, so I would not have expected her to just totally give in without some resistance. This is the same process to simply make them more attentive to you on the ground, and it has helped her with that also. By the way, we went for a ride today, using the towel to keep our jeans clean, and I could walk right up to her, toss the towel on her back and not a flinch. That used to send her scurrying to the side. Yeah!

The second session, Advanced Groundwork and Liberty Work, was the main fascination for GunDiva. We learned specifics of correct leading to go forward into liberty work (no attachments to horse). It all looked very simple; refining your own body posture for the horse to be able to ‘read’ and copy. N O T!!! My horses will follow just fine as I am walking along, on a loose lead. But trying to give the proper body signals adds a whole new dimension to a simple task. I will keep trying, I will keep trying, I will keep …. We won’t discuss the clicking of Jesse’s eyeballs as they roll back in her head – trying to figure me out. It all has to do with the positioning of your shoulders, such as a slight lean forward prior to actually moving forward, straightening up prior to stopping, pointing with your leading fingers prior to turning in that direction. Are you noticing all the priors here? Try it. Grab a partner, stand side-by-side, and link your adjoining arms together. Now walk along as though talking and make some turns. You run into each other; same thing happens with your horse. So you learn to give little clues, such as motioning ahead of time with your other hand to show which direction you want to go. We need to show the same courtesy to our horses, especially if we expect them to move with us without being yanked around by a rope. It was amazing to see how fast these two horses adopted the new technique … but it’s not a simple task for the human.

Riding Right: Balance, Rhythm and Feel: After lunch we moved on to mounted work. Each session had a horse tacked out Western and another tacked out English, just to prove that the same techniques work, no matter what discipline you ride. The tack is basically just for looks as far as horse behavior; he should respond the same no matter how he is dressed. (OK, you’ve all seen the towels we throw on our horses and expect them to behave as though they are saddled.) This was a more relaxing part of the clinic for both of us, as we watched this at the Rocky Mt. Horse Expo back in March. We were able to focus on the finer points of getting your leg in the proper position (for good balance), relaxing your pelvis to more easily sit a trot (rhythm), and not giving conflicting cues – which is so easy to do. Example: you want your horse to transition into a trot, but as soon as he does you pull back on the reins. He balks, basically saying, “Do you want to go faster or stop?” It was great fun watching the riders learn to relax and watching the horses do the same, trusting the horse to do what was requested, learning to FEEL what he is doing, the same as he feels you.

Last session: Training Solutions. We had one horse with “no whoa” and one horse with “no go”, so to speak. It wasn’t that the horse really had no whoa; it was a horse that was more forward than his rider was comfortable with, therefore the rider would keep a really tight hold on the reins when asking for forward motion and the horse wanted to push through the bridle (his trots and canters were ‘too fast’). Julie had the girl actually loosen her rein and just let the horse trot faster around the arena until it figured out it didn’t HAVE to try to get away, then the horse slowed down of its own accord. It then started listening to a slow down cue, understanding that the ‘death grip’ had gone away. Julie pointed out that this needs to be done in an enclosure so the horse knows there is nowhere to go but in a circle. You can also start guiding into smaller and smaller circles, which is harder work for the horse. Julie also touched on the one-rein stop, but that wasn’t what this horse needed.

The “no go” horse would just ignore cues to move or to speed up. It was old enough and had enough training to know the cues; it was choosing to ignore them. Julie got on this horse and explained that a ‘spanking’ was in order. “This is your captain speaking. I would like you to move – now.” When she touched her leg to its sides and he ignored her, she again cued, then it got a smart whap with a riding whip at the same spot your leg would cue from. You have to be ready for the horse to wake up and not punish it for moving, even if it jumps forward or to the side. You asked for movement; you got movement; you don’t punish for the movement. However, the next time she cued with her leg, the horse moved off smartly into a nice walk. The next cue produced a nice trot. A few practices with up and down transitions were in order, so the rider got to take over and practice. Julie said several practice sessions, usually just carrying the whip with you, would solve this problem – much easier to take care of than the “no whoa” issues. Everything ended on a good note, with lots of things to take home and digest. In fact, I am still digesting. Now that I have gotten past my ah-ha moment, on to more fun stuff – like the at liberty work. Happy riding everyone. Bionic Cowgirl

Thursday, May 17, 2012


During the "off season" here at the lodge (mid fall to mid spring) Juanita and I can go to town to get supplies together.  During our quiet time, we read aloud to each other, and since I can't read in a moving car (gorp, blech) I usually drive and Juanita reads.

The kids all chipped in and bought me a Kindle for Christmas last year, and recently we loaded it up with Laura Crum's  "Gail McCarthy Mysterys".  I had read some of them in a spotty fashion over the years, but now we are reading them in order and having a BALL!

We finished "Hayburner", and while driving down the mountain to the store, we realized we didn't have the next book in the series. 


We are running out of off season, and hate wasting our time together not able to read aloud to each other. 

We listened to the radio til we got to the store.

When we went into "Sam's Club", I noticed a WiFi sign on the door.  Juanita said "Maybe we can download the next book!"  So we bought our groceries and went back out to the minivan, turned the wifi on in the Kindle, and downloaded the next book in the series ("Forged") from the Amazon website.

Sitting in the minivan watching ourselves buy a book with a couple strokes on the display I realized the ebook probably had more computing power than the astronauts had access to during the whole Apollo moon shot series, and I was using it to buy a book that has probably been out of print for years while sitting in a parking lot.



Saturday, May 12, 2012

Momentous Day

No, the weather was not great - but that didn't matter, we were indoors.  GunDiva had arranged for me to join her at a Julie Goodnight (Horse Master TV Show) clinic as a birthday gift:  birthday in March, clinic today - a bit of a wait, but so worth it.  I'm pretty sure GD got tired of me pestering her about "is it time yet?"  I can be worse than a kid!

Well, the day finally did get here and we weren't going to be dampened by any damp weather.  The Triple Creek Ranch in Longmont turned out to be a really nice setting for an all day clinic and we had enough layers on to stay pretty comfortable - well, maybe the old knees got a bit stiff from sitting ALL day - and getting to be in an inside arena was great.

Of course, I got the most important info from the least expected part of the clinic.  Ever notice how that happens?  In the very first setting, one of the horses had an issue with being cinched.  OK, really he had an issue with all of the saddling procedure, and although Julie ran out of time before the actual cinching, she addressed the REAL problem and gave me the exact information I needed to work on Jesse.  When Jesse was young, saddling was no problem, but as a six year old we had a horrible time with saddle fit and suffice it to say, she developed a HUGE dislike for  - the pad.  She blamed all the pain on that 'thing'.  By the time I had a saddle made for her, my hips had become a big problem and I couldn't physically work with her properly.  Needless to say, she developed some very spoiled habits.  Now that I am bionic, we are spending time on 'correcting' a few bad habits.  GD doesn't know this yet, but since we watched this demo together, she gets to help me out on this one.  Beel will get put to work, also, but I don't think it will take long 'cause Jesse is one smart girl and will figure out pretty quickly that jigging while getting saddled will no longer be tolerated!

We saw four different sessions of horse/rider issues, but my  mind is still having a hard time getting past this ah-hah moment for me.  We got to meet some really nice horse owners, see some old friends (Julie's crew), meet newer members of the crew - one that sort of 'married in', and shared good food.  The best part was getting to spend the day with my eldest daughter - just the two of us.  It's always a joy when I/we get one-on-one time with our kids.  Now that I don't have to be the parent figure all the time and can be a friend, it's extra special.  Thank you, GunDiva.
Bionic Cowgirl

Friday, May 11, 2012

Snow, Beautiful Snow!

I never thought I would say this, not after eight months with snow on the ground last winter, but this winter has been sooo dry, that we are thankful for any and all moisture we can get.  Last Monday, we had six inches of snow; didn't last too long, but it did hang around a couple of days.  By Wednesday, it looked dry enough on the mountain to go take a look, so Bill got Ranger prepped with a new 'neck ring' - a survival kit, so to speak - really a mini first aid kit. 

I think I heard Ranger muttering something about "Beel treats me like a big DOG!"
Wow! A good layer of snow - almost more than we had ridden in since the first of the year.
Of course, Ranger had to taste it to make sure.
March had been one of the driest ones on Colorado's recorded history.  We had hoped for relief in April, and found none.  Instead we had temps in the 70's (great riding!) - in April - at 8500 ft!!!!
Everywhere you look, more snow ... and we love it.  Today we got more, maybe a couple of inches throughout the day, a tad of sun and now another two inches on the ground.  Thank you Mother Nature.

Another surprise today was the two truck loads of horses delivered to the livery.  We now have 20-something horses across the street making their normal sounds.  Life is wonderful.
Bionic Cowgirl

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Good/Bad Cookies, Good/Bad Manners

 Juanita was in town today, so I was left with the housekeeping chores in the lodge.  Like baking cookies.

Can you guess which set was being baked while I was working on the tractor?

We occasionally get a card or some little thing sent to us by guests/new friends.

We try to thank folks for these tokens, by letter/email/blog/phone call, etc.

Today, Juanita picked this up at the post office.

 Oh no!  No return address.

 Oh no!  No contents.

 So, to our friends in Cincinnati,  thanks whoever you are for whatever it was.

I wish I could mail you some cookies.  I have extras.


Saturday, May 5, 2012

Any Recommendations?

Yesterday, Juanita told me that the couple checking into room #22 was celebrating their thirty-second anniversary.

I asked "Gosh, what are they planning to do when they have been married a whole minute?"

A palsied head shaking accompanied the drooping head this time. 

I've got to find her a good neurologist... 


Friday, May 4, 2012


Yesterday, when the sun was highest above, Beel ran out to our corral with my head harness.  He was very excited.

He sayed "Ranger, let's go moose hunting!  I saw one up on the hill this morning!"

I hate when he does that.

"Beel" I sayed, "This can not end well.  If we do not find the moose monster, you will be unhappy.  If we do find the moose monster, I will be unhappy.  Let us stay home and eat hay."

He ingnoured eggnoured ignorured did not pay attention to me.  He should listen to me.  I know this stuff.

He put the chair on my back, and the iron bar in my mouth, so I knowed it would be a long, hard walk.  Waneeta put the chair and bar on that mare, so at least I would not be alone if we found the moose monster.

We left the kid horse behind.  He cried like a little filly.  But then he ate all the hay when we were gone.  We worked, and he ate.  I should bite and kick him (some more).

We walked for a long time.  We saw deers (boring little things), chipmunks, ground squirrels, and chickerees (all different types of rats, also boring).
There are 5 total.  I could see 2.

We rode up the the high-slip-fall-and-you-die place, and Beel climbed  off me and walked out to the edge.  I was surprised!  He usually makes whimpering sounds when he goes places like that.

  He sayed he could see very far and look for the moose monster.  While he was looking, that mare and I heared a bad sound.  Beel sayed he thought he heared a "wild turkey", but I am pretty sure it was the sound a moose monster makes when it gargles after eating a horse.  I left as fast as Beel would let me. Waneeta and  that mare left too, but I think that mare wanted to see what made the noise.  She is crazy.

We walked home, and Beel sayed we were gone for a two hours, or days.  I forget.  But we saw no moose monster, so I was glad.

But we should have stayed home and eaten hay.  Excuse me, now I have to go bite and kick the kid.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

At Breakfast This Morning

At breakfast this morning I was telling some old, long winded, hysterically funny story to this mornings crop of victims guests when I interrupted myself.


"I see a moose."


And across the highway from us, walking up the hill, was a moose.

For the last couple of years, we have seen moose droppings and prints when riding our horses up there, but in the fifteen years we have been up here, we had never seen a moose hereabouts.

After it walked out of site into the trees, I tried to remember where I was in my story, but couldn't remember.

I hate when that happens.