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

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Heads or Tails

B-  Hi horses!  Washoe, Jesse, Ranger and Alloy-  how are you guys doing today now that I have scraped the first layer of manure off and into a big pile?  I got down to a layer of ice and the tractor lost traction.  Must have reached the "perma-frost".  Or an old forgotten glacier.

B-  So, "Big Al",  I REALLY need to start working with you.  How about I climb up on the feeder and lean over you bareback...


B-  Gee whiz, Ranger.  I was just messing with the new guy.

R-  No Beel.  You are my people and you should only mess with me the horse.

B-  Okay then, it's a beautiful day and it's almost 70 degrees out.  How about we take Alloy out for a drag?

R-  Okay Beel.  I will show Al-fred how to be a good horse.

B-  Alloy.

R-  Whatever.

B-  Juanita can take Washoe, and we'll pony Al.  Jesse will have to stay here.  She "foundered" this week, and is under doctor's care until her feet start feeling better.

R-  That Mare will not be happy.  She will yell for us.

B-  She'll get over it.  We'll only be gone for a half hour or so.  


B-  Man-oh-man!  It is so pretty up here.  We haven't been able to ride this trail for 5 months or so.  Look at this- someone is getting ready to build a house up here next to the National Forest.  Juanita, let's leave the trail and see if we can spot where they are going to build.  I don't think we have ever ridden right along here...

B-  WHOA!  I said WHOA!  Just STOP, Ranger!

B-  Alloy, what in the world is wrong with you.  You are supposed to just follow along when we are ponying you, and you just stopped cold and almost drug me out of the saddle...

J-  Bill, Alloy is standing in a coil of barbed wire!

B-  Oh man.  Okay I'll climb off here and see if I can get him out of it...

A-  IAmSorryBill. IHadToStopBecuaseISteppedInThisBunchOfSharpWireAndItWillHurtMeIfIMove. NowIfIJustStepHereLikeThisAndThenStepHereLikeThis. OkayWeCanGoNow.

B-  Okay Alloy.  I am impressed.  You have a very good mind.  That could have been a DISASTER, but you just worked your way through it and didn't even get a scratch.  You are one smart horse.

R-  I do not think a smart horse would step in a big pile of biting wire Beel.  Al-loof is a goofball.

B-  Alloy.  Stuff happens.  He is a very smart horse.  Let's head home now.

B-  Nice ride.  Here we are...

B-  WHOA!  I said WHOA!  Just STOP, Ranger!

B- Alloy, what in the world is wrong with you.  You are supposed to just follow along when we are ponying you, and you just stopped cold and almost drug me out of the saddle AGAIN.

A- IAmSorryBill. ButWeAlmostCrossedAVeryDangerousWildRiverAndICouldHaveDrownedOrBeenEatenBySwampMonsters.

B-  Alloy, We are 10 feet outside of your corral.  That is the same stream you drink out of every day.  There are no monsters.  You crossed the stream 20 minutes ago with no problem.

A- IJumpedOverTheRagingRiverSoTheMonstersCouldNotCatchMeTheFirstTime. ICanNotCrossTheMonsterInfestedWaterBecauseIMightDrown.

B- You are going to make me get off of my horse and lead you across a ONE FOOT WIDE TRICKLE of water, aren't you.  Jerk.  You are a lot less smart than you were 10 minutes ago.

R- I think he is afraid of Al-e-gators Beel.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Harnessing 101 (long video)

Farm Days in La Junta, CO.  Friends of ours have been asking us to join them there for several years now.  If you want to see big teams – as in draft horses – work, it’s the place to be in the Spring.  I had an ulterior motive this year; I want to teach Jesse to drive and there would be a well-known harness maker and trainer there.  In fact, it’s at his farm site.  The idea of the weekend is to get his fields plowed and ready for planting – using horses instead of tractors.  He owns four well-trained gray drafts and there were going to be several other teams; everyone there to pull a plow or disc or whatever was needed.  I was promised huge information on all things to do with harnesses, driving, horses, and a great time.  I must say, the information part turned out to be overwhelming.

When we arrived on Friday, the teams were just coming in from the day’s work in the field.   We stood around in awe of the giant animals moving around us; some of every different breed; even a couple teams of mules; some matched; some mismatched; very large ones and a Halflinger team; one that appeared to be Mustangs.

Dinner was served cowboy style; outdoors on planks set up on props; a cook fire going outside as well as inside the bunkhouse.  We all pitched in somehow, whether helping to setup, cook, clean up afterwards.  The kids got put to work; nobody was left out.  And of course, afterwards, the music started with first one guitar/singer, then another adding in, and another.  You could just sit and listen to the wonderful old cowboy ballads or join in the singing.  Talk about days gone by!

My big objective was to learn all I could about fitting and harnessing horses, before I actually bought tack for Jesse.  On Saturday the plan was to spend as much time as possible ‘shadowing’ the ones with the info.  Del is a local legend in the industry and was willing to take me under his wing.  It was like drinking from a firehose, following him around.  He had brought his horses in and tied them off on a trailer.  I was pointed to curry and told to get busy.  Lots of white hair flying and are these guys BIG?!  We took a break for breakfast and then the real work started.

Del was great about explaining how and why for all parts of the harness.  I watched him harness three of the horses, then was told, “Your turn.”  What?  OK, I got this.  Want to take a guess what all those straps weigh?  When you get the collar and the rest of the harness, you can have anywhere from 75 to 100 lbs., depending on how fancy you want to get.


The fun starts when you get to sit on the collar and bounce up and down to ‘round it back out’, since when you hang it up, it is wet and tends to elongate downward as it dries.  You have to get it back to a rounder shape to put over the horse’s head.  Some of this stuff is done differently than for the show horses.  Remember, these are work horses headed out into the fields, and they and their gear come back mighty sweaty and dusty.  Now you get to lift this (maybe 20 lb.) collar onto the horse by pushing it over their face – nose, eyes, ears – and settling it down just above the withers.  Not bad when you have a great horse who helps by sticking her nose in and pushing to get the ears through.
Next, get the rest of the harness settled on your arm and lift off the hook.  Much easier said than done, and then you get to settle this mass on your hip and kind of hitch yourself over to the horse.  Feels like it weighs about what my 50lb. saddle does, and most of the time I can get it slung over my horse.  But this is a totally different configuration, lots of straps hanging down to the ground, and by the way, the horse is 16 or 17+ hands (at least 8 inches taller than my mare in the real world).

I give it a good toss – and it goes nowhere near where it should.  Del says to squat down to the ground and give a big heave.  Right!  I try again and sort of get most of the straps up and part way over; Del comes to the rescue and helps me shove it the rest of the way.   Obviously, there is a practiced technique to this.   He shows me how to set the hames in the groove on the collar and bind them into place.  He isn’t any bigger than me so I have to laugh when he literally swings all his weight on the buckle to get it tight enough.  Then the buckling up starts, walking around the horse connecting straps as you go, pulling the breeching over the rump and getting the tail settled over the strap, and making sure everything is absolutely straight, so you don’t cause any sores. 


Time for the bridle.  That head is a long way up there and these guys don’t figure it necessary to teach your horse to lower its head and be accommodating.  However, this mare was great about lowering her head when I asked, taking the bit like a lady and being patient because I had never handled blinders before, which are permanently attached to the bridle.

Now for the reins, all 25 ft. of them.  Sling them over the back and out onto the ground behind, then thread them through the proper spots and attach to the bit on the left side of the horse to be on the left.  Repeat on the right side of the horse to be on the right.  Now, to hook them together in the middle and learn how the reins work, so you as a driver only have two reins in your hands to signal two horses to do the same thing.

Then I got to watch Del move the team to the plow and get it hitched up, again getting instructions on the proper order of attaching the harness to the tongue of the plow.  By this time, I was beginning to feel like I had info overload, so I just watched the plowing for the rest of the morning!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

"Manny" the Mannequin

At the Rocky Mt. Horse Expo this year, we watched one of the clinicians working with colt training.  I became interested as I was walking by and heard her say it was best not to get bucked off the first time you climb on a horse.  Boy, do I like that thought – also knowing we had just taken on a horse who had proven to enjoy bucking.  Maybe she had a hint or two, so I sat down in the stands to listen.  Of course, she was working with a couple of young, unhandled horses, but she progressed pretty quickly to the first time things are on their back – also mentioning that this process could be used on any age horse that would have the inclination to buck when first feeling weight.  Several of the ‘firsts’ had already been passed with Bill’s new boy, Alloy, but we were at the stage of restarting him under saddle.

Hence, we ‘built’ a mannequin, to be the first rider up.  There are products out there you can purchase, if you are going to do this a lot.  There is also the simple method:  take an old pair of jeans, sew up openings, and fill with ‘stuff’.  I think she said one pair of hers had clean shavings.  We don’t use shavings, but we use a lot of wood pellets, and hey, they cost approximately $5 for a 40# bag!
I took a pair of Bill’s jeans that were headed for the trash (we have a lot of our old jeans laying around here for various projects), sewed the holes together in the knees – so what if they have a bend in the knee; doesn’t your knee have a bend when you are riding – and stitched the bottom of the legs shut, and stitched the waistband together, leaving the zipper operable.  We used the zipper opening to fill/empty the ‘stuffing’.  So far, it has worked like a charm.  Yes, our mannequin weighs in at 42# when we got done, but both of us weigh considerably more than that and we wanted a true test.
Bill and 'Manny'
Today is test day.  We plan on saddling up Alloy in a small round pen type area and placing “Manny” in the saddle, hopefully tying the legs to the stirrups.  With young horses, you start with a smaller, lighter bean bag type and just lay it on their back, letting it slide around and fall off as they walk, so they get used to things that do fall (at some time in their life, something IS going to fall off them).  You want them to learn that it isn’t scary and they soon learn to even try to balance the item so it does not fall off.  As they progress to the balancing stage, you move on to a bigger, heavier mannequin like we made.  Al is past the first parts, but needs to learn it is not OK to buck with weight in the saddle.  Since neither of us is good at bronc riding, Manny gets to do the job; hence the reason for tying it to the saddle.  It needs to stay on!
Whatcha' got, Bill?  Notice Alloy is just ground tied.

Wow!  Can that horse buck?  So happy he waited until he was unsaddled and in his corral before the show started.  The mannequin in the saddle was such a non-issue.  He stood so still for saddling, then walked to the round pen and waited patiently while Bill ‘mounted’ the dummy rider and tied its legs to each stirrup, even tying a piece of twine from the waistband to the saddle horn.  

Hardly a blink of the eye, except when the camera would turn on or off, which caused the ears to come forward to alert position for a moment.  Walked around in the pen, got led outside in the driveways, stood tied to the hitchrail while we talked to a neighbor.
Walkin', walkin' outside any pen.
It was decided we should go for a short walk around the area, so I grabbed Washoe (who desperately needed some action) and we walked around a two-block area, stopping at the post office to show off a bit.  How nice – the post mistress had an apple to split for two sweet horses and another neighbor joined us to finish the walk home.  

I think Al has been taught to ‘smile’, because he showed off the flehmen grin a lot, asking for more apple, we’re sure.  He has one very proud owner right now.

Happy, happy, happy.
He finally got turned back out with the other horses and we expected some rolling in the dirt.  What we got was a bunch of ye-hawing and very nice bucks all around the corral!  Then he walked up behind Bill and followed him to the fence.  One big, huge non-event.  Expectations, according to Bill.  He behaved exactly as expected.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The New Guy

This is Ranger.  The horse.

There is a new guy in my herd.  Beel says it is okay for him to stay with me and eat the food we have.  There seems to be enough food so I think it is okay for now.

Beel calls the new horse "Al"-something.  Beel spends too much time with the "Al"-thing.  He brushes it and sometimes HE GIVES IT TREATS.  Beel always brushes me after.  And he gives me treats too.  But it is not right for him to be with the "Al"-kid.  I AM BEELS HORSE.  That is the way it is.  That is the way it should be.

When food comes the "Al"-ish will wait nicely until I have started eating.  Then he will come and ask nicely if he can eat with me.  That is the way it should be.  I do not bite or kick him much because he is good.  "That Mare" will also let the "Al"-it eat with her sometimes  Because he is poe-light.  And he asks nicely.  "The Kid" is not nice to the "Al"-horse even when the "Al"-guy is nice..  Beel says that is because The Kid is a jerk.

On one day Beel did come out and he sitted on my back and I walked around.  The "Al"-boy was very confused and followed Beel and me for a while.  It was good for Beel to sit on my back because I am Beels horse and that is the way it should be.  Beel sayed I looked very smug when he gotted off my back.  I think "smug" must mean handsome.

On this day Beel and the little person Beel calls Spring or Fall or Summer or something camed to us and putted head ropes on all of us the horses.  Winter putted a back chair on The Kid and Beel putted a back chair on me.  Then the Fall girl sitted on The Kid and dragged That Mare and Beel sitted on me and I dragged the Al-low.  We dragged all of the other horses around for some time.  Then we wented home.  Every one was nice and quiet and nobody bited or kicked or nothing.  I am very good at the training. Beel was very happy and I was happy too.

And that is the way it should be.

Ranger the horse.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Day in the Sun, i.e., Playtime

We have now had Alloy integrated into the herd for a couple of weeks; a necessity made by the weather gods.  We kept getting 6 - 12" dumps of snow, which made his little pen nearly impassible.  He was only being kept in it at night, anyway, so he wouldn't go wandering off over the now very short fences looking for human contact.  He is such a people horse!
Love this picture of Alloy and Bill.
Our outside water faucet froze so instead of stringing 125 ft. of hose to fill the heated water tank, we had to do some bucket patrol.  That's always fun!
After this picture was taken, we had another 8 in. of snow, so it came right up to the top rim of the tank.  We had to keep shoveling the path to it so the horses could get a drink without getting on their knees to reach the water when it would get lower.  To them, it was simpler to just eat snow according to Ranger.

We noticed the herd getting a little on the bored side, so we added some rocks to an empty milk jug and took it out for entertainment.  They loved to play with this at the 'cousins' house'.  Just like little children, the same toy was not interesting at home.
Alloy, who follows you around like a puppy dog.   "What's that?"
Jesse, who will wear anything, anywhere.
... and who will toss it back to you if you put it on her head.
Ranger - not impressed.

Don't be putting that on my butt!
Washoe, always glad to be helpful and point it out to you.

But what do you want me to do with it?
So maybe a little lesson time instead?  Such as how to properly stand still when someone is leaning on your back.
Alloy:  what are you doing?

Ranger:  he does this all the time.
Bill quickly learned it was best to spend time with Ranger whenever he spent time with Alloy, or there would be a price to pay.  I just laugh a lot because I've had that issue with my grays for 14 years now.

Bionic Cowgirl

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Raising the Limit

J - Really Alloy?  Another walk-about?  Must keep you from getting bored!
The snow across this back yard is 3 feet deep, but it did not stop his dinner time journey.
B - I have an idea.  We'll make the fence look higher.  It is only about 18" tall right here.

So adding boards to the top of the buck fence and adding two rows of rope ... well, we can only hope.  But for good measure, Alloy has lost his rights to freedom at night.  We spent lots of energy and a good deal of time literally carving him a slot in his pen.
His feeder next to a 5 foot stack of hay.
His heated water tank in the corner, with a path carved around his very own 5 foot pile of snow.
Yep, the water tank is on the other side of the snow pile.  He has to walk in one side and out the other.  Maybe he should learn to appreciate the time he gets to spend in the larger pen with company!
This is where he gets to spend the night time for now.  He gets put in at dusk; out at dawn.  It's working for now.
While we are working?  He's napping in the sunshine.  He seems to have put on a touch of weight and hair.  Not a sign of cold or shivering from him since we brought him home.  We could not have hoped for as much.  Ranger and Jesse have taken to him; Washoe ... not so much, which is part of the reason he goes walk-about.
Bionic Cowgirl

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Coming To Terms

B-  Hey Ranger! How's the old horse doing?

R-  I am good today Beel.

B-  Wonderful!  You are talking to me again.  You've been giving me the cold shoulder for the last few days.  I walk up to talk and you walk away.  Hey!  Where are you going?

R-  I forgotted.  I am going away now.

B-  Come on buddy, let's talk about this.  It's about the new horse, Alloy, isn't it?


B-  Aw, for crying out loud.  He'll never replace you.  You are the horse.  How about a nice head scratch?

R-  That has good feels Beel.  More would be more good.

B-  Okay pal.  Just for you.  (Scratch) So how is Alloy doing hanging out with y'all?  Is he behaving?

R-  He is not very bad.  But he eats my food.  We will run out.  There is always just barely enough.

B-  (Scratch scratch)  Trust me my fuzzy friend, we'll put in more food so you all get enough.(Scratch scratch)  Alloy won't eat it all.

R-  Al-fred eats some and that is too much.

B- Alloy.

R-  What ever.

B-  Any other problems with him or the other two horses?  (Scratch scratch)

R-  That Mare and The Kid do not want him to eat their food.  So sometimes they chase An-noy.

B-  Alloy.

R-  What ever.

B-  (Scratch)  Any other complaints?

R-  He is kind of jumpy when we try to bite him.  It is hard to bite Al-arm like he needs.

B-  Alloy.

R-  What ever.

B-  Other problems?  (Scratch)

R-  He does not follow the rules very good.  He runs away over the fence and down the road.  That is very bad.  I telled him "You should not do that Al-po".

B-  Alpo.   Funny you should call him that.

R-  What ever.

B-  (Scratch scratch)  Well, how about a quick ride around the corral bare-back, Ranger?

R-  Okay.  Say Beel.  Al-ong is following us around the yard.

B-  Alloy.  I think he's a little jealous.

R-  What ever.  I am not ever jell-loose.  Because you are my people.

B-  That's right.  Whatever you say, buddy.  What ever.

Friday, January 13, 2017

A Dark and Stormy Night

A gentle snow was falling, the clouds obscuring the full moon.  The wind was blowing, howling at times, dead calm the next moment.  No problem, Juanita was out feeding the horses and I was inside the lodge getting ready to fix dinner.  I took a moment for a quick trip to the restroom and just as I closed the door Juanita hollered at me from the front door.

"Bill!  Get your boots on!"  I could hear the urgency in her voice.  "We have a horse gone."

"Which horse?"  I asked as I was putting on my insulated boots.  The look on her face explained what a stupid question that was.  "Oh.  Alloy." I said.

We had just spent some time introducing Alloy the mustang to the rest of our herd.  As we had 3 other mustangs that have pretty good manners when meeting new horses, Alloys introduction went very well.  We took the other horses back to their pen, and left Alloy in his.  We were going to spend a little more time the next day getting them all used to each other.

Alloy took offense.  He had a new herd now, and they were gone.  It was obviously up to him to go find them. 

He failed.

The deep snow had made the fence and gates less effective, so he squashed a gate and got out.

Juanita and I split up and followed his tracks around the nearby fields.  The snow was deep.  We had had almost 3 feet of snow with temperatures well below zero degrees F.  Then a day of rain, which crusted the layer of snow.  Then we had another foot or two of snow on top of that.  One would be shuffling along in knee deep snow, and then break through to crotch deep.  I MUST get my snow shoes repaired.

We spent 20 minutes following his looping tracks that finally lead out to the plowed road and off to parts unknown.  He had about an hour head start on us so I went back to start up the pickup truck.  It has 4 wheel drive which I figured would be a good thing.

As Juanita was following the hoof prints left on the skiff of snow on the road, a sheriff's car passed.  Juanita flagged him down with the halter she was carrying.  Sheriff's Deputy Dan rolled his window down and asked her "You looking for a horse?"  She said "Yes I am!"  He told her that he had gotten a call from one of the volunteer firemen in the area about a loose horse heading into Rocky Mountain National Park, a couple miles down the highway from us.  He had tracked it into an area that was too deep to drive through, so he came back to town, and saw her.  I drove up in the truck after he finished talking to Juanita and had headed down the hill and he told me the same tale.  I headed up the hill and picked Juanita up and we headed toward the Copeland Lake area where he had been spotted.

We kept getting out of the truck and following the tracks whenever Alloy left the road.  He would loop out through the deep snow, and then head back to the road.  What a jerk.  He finally decided to stick to the road.  Deputy Dan drove back toward us and said he had found a new set of foot prints on the road another mile or 2 to the north that hadn't been there last time he drove by.

I got really excited and turned the truck around on the narrow dirt road.  About half way turned around.  I'm not sure I've been THAT stuck since I was a teenager.  Deputy Dan drove back and pulled me out.  (Thanks Dan.  I owe you for that.)

We went another mile down the road and the hoof prints lead up someones drive and right by their front door.  But he didn't stop, he just went cross country again.  Jerk.  So I followed him on foot.  I've REALLY got to get those snowshoes fixed.

Alloy found another road after a million miles of cross country in deep snow and went up it.  WAY up the little dirt road. After a half mile or so, the tracks started looking fresh.  Soon the tracks were fresh, and left by a running horse.


He was probably only a hundred yards or so ahead of me, and running away.


I started talking softly and calmly.

"Alloy, come on back here.  Just stand where you are for a moment so I can catch you and take you to the rendering plant and feed all of the good dogs in Colorado with your useless carcass."

I rounded another curve on the road, and there he was.  Just standing there like a good boy.

Now you may have noticed that I have talked about Juanita having a halter, but not talked about me having one.  It was still in the truck.  With Juanita.  Miles from me.


So, I took off my belt, wrapped it around his neck (barely reaches) and started leading him back down the hill to the highway.  I met Deputy Dan about halfway back, and he drove off to meet Juanita and tell her where we were.  She brought a halter.

Now, our horse trailer had been snowed in, so the only way to get him home was to walk.


So I walked him home on the side of the highway, three and a half miles on the slick, ice glazed pavement of the highway.  Alloy and I walking, Juanita following in the truck, with Deputy Dan bringing up the rear.  Looks like we got us a convoy.  Alloy was behaving and leading perfectly.  He would only jump a little when a snowplow went by, or a truck with chains.

But evey time we passed a stretch of his footprints by the road, I would point to them and say to Alloy-


We got home, put Alloy in the horse trailer as a box stall to keep him warm, thanked Deputy Dan for his (over and above) help, and went to bed thinking "Tomorrow is another day."

Then I got to pee.



Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Introduction (picture & video heavy)

We arrived home with Alloy, the new member of our mustang herd, at 11:30 p.m. - after fighting 99 mph winds from the southern CO border - and then hitting ice coming up our own canyon.  20 miles going 20 mph in 4-wheel low.  We, for once, were very thankful we were pulling an old all-steel trailer.  Alloy traveled like a perfect gentleman for the whole trip, but you could tell he was just 'done with it' after the last section.

With the 18 in. of snow we had gotten at home after leaving, we knew we wouldn't be able to move him into his own pen, so plan B was to leave him in the trailer until morning and we could get a slot setup in a neighbor's barn temporarily.  So we took all the panels out of the trailer (a 3 horse slant load) turning it into a stock trailer - essentially a big box stall, got him some warm water to drink and left him munching on his hay net.
Less than enthused, but a good sport.
We had called ahead to have the front parking lot plowed so there would be a place to pull in that late.  It was a good thing.
We tried to dig into Al's pen, but gave it up.
We used some rope and poles laying around to make him an enclosure that was mostly wind proof and kept the snow off him.  It was about 22 degrees here and he had just come from California.
There is a really nice pipe corral connected to this stall and we left the gate open so he could claim it all.  He had a good time exploring the space.

Once he got the feel of it, he did a couple of rounds on the go.  Sure was pretty to watch.
We were only expecting the one good day of weather before another storm, so we decided that we would bring the other horses over for a meet-and-greet.  With this much snow on the ground, they couldn't get too rough with each other and it was a big space if they wanted to rough house.
To say it was anti-climatic is an understatement.  A formal hello from Ranger, a sniff from Washoe, and Jesse wouldn't leave my side.  All done.

Alloy was more interested in digging for grass in the snow.  I don't know how he knew there really was grass under that snow, from the warm weather we had before the storm hit, but he thought it would be better than the hay we had put in his stall.
Ranger  thinks Al doesn't know what snow if really for.

This is Ranger, Bill's 30 year old that will be teaching Al the ropes, so to speak.
Jesse and Washoe have a different way of enjoying the snow.

So, introducing Alloy ....

Bionic Cowgirl

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


One of the Colorado horse trainers that Juanita and I follow trains mustangs.  Her name is Jessica.  She has regularly placed in the top 10 in the "Extreme Mustang Makeover" series.  Raw mustangs are assigned randomly to the trainers, and they are then trained for about 3 months.  Then they are taken to a show with 20-40 other mustangs and put through their paces, so to speak.  After the show, prizes are awarded to the trainers and the horses are auctioned off.

Mustangs that have not been handled are auctioned off by the BLM starting at $125, and go up a little from there if the coloring/confirmation is unique or quite good.  The trained mustangs at the end of the Extreme Mustang Makeover tend to sell for $500-$10,000, depending on how they showed and how many people are bidding.

Now, I trained my old mustang Ranger.  Or more accurately he trained me.  Ranger is now about 30 years old and he is not very interested in rides of more than an hour or so, so I have started looking for a younger mount for longer rides.  I had pretty well decided I didn't want to start from the ground up on another horse, but I did want another mustang.  I think Juanita had gotten tired of only short trail rides, so for my birthday I was going to get a horse.

Jessica the trainer had a horse that caught my eye.  She called him "Alloy".  Short, just over 14 hands.  Plain, just a bay with no white socks or snips or blazes or nothing.  No "chrome" at all. But she felt he would make a very good trail horse.  I followed his training on Jessica's facebook page, and I was going to bid on him at the 2016 EMM show in Ft. Worth, Texas.  Unfortunately, he did pretty well in the show, and the bidding went out of my reach in just a few moments.


I went back to looking for a new trail horse prospect, with no success.


Then, in mid December, I got a call from Jessica.  It seemed that Alloy wasn't going to work out for the lady that bought him, and she asked if I was still interested.  I told her yes, but my cash in hand had stayed the same.  I could not pay more than my last failing bid.  "No problem" was the reply.




So, now we drive to San Diego with a horse trailer and pick up Alloy.  We spent a couple days visiting friends in southern Arizona before going to Alloy's new trainer's facility just north of San Diego to get Alloy.  We stayed with friends about a 20 minute drive from the trainer's place so we could spend a day working with Alloy.

It was in the mid 60's there in California, and we had temps of -15 degrees back home in Allenspark, so we practiced putting him in a plaid school-girl's dress and then loading him in the trailer, just in case we needed it.
He loaded up pretty well.  Better than Ranger, anyway.

So, off we go with Alloy in tow for another overnight stay in Arizona.  It took about 8 hours and then Alloy got to stay in the ranch's round pen from about 10:PM til 7:AM, and we were on the road again.

The trip from southern AZ to Allenspark usually takes about 14 hours counting rest stops for the horse.

Lunch stop at Blake's  LotaBurger.  Double green chili.  Heaven on earth.

 This trip took closer to 16 hours.  There were KILLER winds blowing from Pueblo, CO to Colorado Springs.  We saw 19 tractor/trailer rigs blown off the interstate and lying on their sides  Ninety nine MPH gusts had been reported.  Sometimes I feel bad about having a heavy, steel trailer making bad fuel mileage heading down the road.  Not this time.  The wind beat us up a little, but no real problems.  Then we reached snow and ice heading up the mountain to get home.  Twenty miles at 20 MPH.  We got home late, and just pulled the panels out of the trailer to make a nice box stall for Alloy to keep him out of the weather. 

He was from Colorado originally, so he didn't panic with the snow, but he didn't look thrilled...