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

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Gifts for us

We had some guests that have sent us several rubber duckies for our hot tub.  Cowboy ducks, surfer dude ducks, etc.  We just got a reindeer duck just before Christmas in the mail.  Upon opening the package, our 17 month old granddaughter latched on to it and ran off.  Fortunately, I've got better than 50 years experience and 150 pounds on her, so I got it wrested away from her.  It was a near thing. 

I also collect gargoyles, and a guest/friend found a "Horsegoyle" for our collection.  Cool.

 Thanks Darlene & Randy and Kai & Mike!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Eve

It's getting late on Christmas eve.  We've just come home from a neighborhood potluck and program at the Fawn Brook Inn.  It was a refreshing way to spend an evening of waiting:  our Phoenix son and family are headed our way and still have about three hours drive time before they get here.  It's a 15 hour drive and they got kind of a late start, so we all have bets on when they will arrive.  It's going to be a real weather-shock for them because right now it's 9 degrees outside and windy blasts are blowing our foot of snow all over.    I would bet our horses are standing in the trees on the mountain, shielded from the wind and watching over their landscape in the bright moonlight - maybe checking Santa's progress.

Our other son is on his way home from a party at his grandma's house and both girls and their families will be here tomorrow.  It's truly a Hallmark Christmas.  We are so fortunate to be able to have all the kids and grandkids at the Lodge for Christmas this year.

Merry Christmas and blessings to all!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Just looking...

Yesterday we got a call from Ida saying she was in the process of moving our horses...back to the mountain.  Yeah, we really prefer they be on the ranch's mountain pasture.  We feel it keeps them more in their natural state,keeping their instincts better honed and better on their feet.  They have naturally very hard hooves, which tend to grow too fast and get soft when kept on grassy fields.

Today, we decided to hike up to see if they had settled in OK, pretending they really needed us.  It was a great day for a hike and on the way, we saw the Rocky Mt. Bighorn Sheep on the road.  What a great sight, and they posed for pictures....

A few miles further down the road, we parked by the bridge, put on hiking boots and gators, and headed up the long trail to the back side of the horses' favorite mountain.  We know most of their grazing spots from the previous years, so we thought we could just head to the farthest one and work our way back.  Right!  After hiking uphill for an hour, we got to the meadow; lots of hoof prints, no horses.  So...this is where they spent last night.  A good sign.  We scout around and find some fresh sign (poop) in another pasture - not very old.  No horses.  We were running out of time, but did some more quick scouting, looking for tracks leading away from these pastures.  Nothing.  We finally headed back to the car, going the way we knew the horses would have come up from the road.  Sure enough, we eventually find some tracks from the previous day and nearing the end of our trail we found some obvious signs of play:  snow pegasus (horse version of snow angels)!  We never saw the horses, but we know they are doing well!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Las Vegas WNFR - We have arrived!

After much planning (since last July) the time has come to head for Las Vegas, NV for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.  This is the culmination of all the rough rides the rodeo cowboys have endured over the year; only the top 15 in each PRCA event are invited to participate.  It is the ultimate of fast and furious for any rodeo followers.  They can go through the seven events in two hours without missing a beat:  bronc riding (horses), steer wrestling, team roping, tie-down roping, saddle bronc riding, barrel racing, and bull riding.  Not only are the cowboys the year-round best, so are the animals.

We left early Tues. Dec. 1, giving ourselves two days for the drive, with plans of enjoying some national parks along the way (another post), arriving in Las Vegas on Wed. at our destination, the Excaliber Hotel.

We just had time to change clothes for the night's performance of The Tournament of Kings, a dinner show Renaissance style.  The "tournament" is a jousting competition among 6 kings plus a dragon - we were in the dragon section.  Can't say much for the food, but the performance was a lot of fun; we had front row seats so we got to wear some of the arena dirt thrown up by the horse's hooves as they carried their respective jousters to victory.  The horses were obviously well cared for and you could witness close-up the bond between them and their riders.  It made it a joy to watch.  Later we headed to Fremont St. for a hoedown, which turned out to be not very western and we didn't stay long-or maybe we were just too tired after driving 300 miles, sitting through the show and thinking about dancing!

The next day the rodeos started:  each evening for 10 days.  We waited in line for two hours to get tickets, but were fortunate enough the get tickets for all 5 days we planned on being there.
After getting our tickets we picked up Shawntel from the airport; she had to be there for a work event and couldn't even go to any rodeos - booo!  We did get to hang out with her at the Cowboy Christmas shopping extravaganza for a short time.

Friday, we went to South Point for the cowboy X-Games, which included Cowboy Mounted Shooting competitions and bull-fighting competitions (no longer "clowns"), then rodeo time again.

You can see all the glitz in the background.  We had a great time at the rodeos and I refused to attempt pictures.  It is so fast paced, you just miss too much.

On Sat. and Sun. we went to the rough stock sales at South Point.  It's like being at a different rodeo all day long.  It's an auction where the stock contractors sell off their breeding or bucking stock to other contractors or rodeos, such as college level or high school level competitors.  These bulls and horses can sell for as high as $50,000 each.  Talk about well -cared for livestock!  The riders are cowboys attempting to get enough points to qualify for the PRCA, so they can compete in the big rodeos all across the country.  It's a whole lot of fun to watch.

I couldn't resist this picture of a few of the eight horses that make up the Priefert hitch.  They are magnificent in their size and temperament.  These guys are only 4 and 7 yrs. old; their driver actually rode them roman style as a 6-up during one of the rodeo performances.

All in all, we had a grand time, enjoyed some friends there, and ran ourselves to death as usual.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Truck Ad Responses

 The craigslist ad for my truck a couple weeks ago has gotten a lot of responses.  Here are a few...

Call us if we can help. Outstanding ad, unfortunately we hear that same story every day. If the Ford dealers would take care of their customers we wouldn’t have any business. I forwarded it on to a bunch of folks. If we can ever be of help please let us know.

I'm from BC and got one just like it.
It was broke done 8 months last time.

This made it onto a local Phx, Az forum. Great ad thanks for the humor.

LMFAO!!!  I have a very good friend that went through the EXACT same sh*t with a truck just like that...only his was a 450. Same engine. He ended up just cleaning all his sh*t out of it, driving it to the nearest ford dealer and leaving it with all the keys IN it. Then when Ford credit started calling he just told them where they could find it. LMFAO!

Sorry, I feel your pain. I tell everyone to skip buying anything with a 6.0 in it, while International and Ford sue each other over who is wrong.
PS: Someone posted this on a Ford board.

sounds like you like that truck haha youll NEVER sell it with an ad like that, i admire your honesty bugt youll never get 32 for it expecially the mods you have done and they way you decrivbed the motor, about to blow up is she?
well good luck!

So that's 32,000.00 for the flat-bed trailer. and the truck for free! sorry I don't want the truck, but after reading your ad I couldn't stop laughing. I love this ad and have E-Mailed to a few of my friends. sorry you bought a ford. have a better day Jeff

Sounds Great, I'll take it. Will you take a 3rd party overseas check post dated for 12/20/2012 ?
According to the Mayan calendar, that should be just about right...

Does that truck have the 6.0 engine?????
Have a good time with that truck-----you need to keep advertising it.      Needs to be behind a tow truck.   Again and Again

Say, there's an idea.
Maybe rather than a tow truck, we could hitch a team up to it...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Advice from a Westerner

  We just got back from the first half of the Rodeo National Finals held in Las Vegas.  Always quite the show.  You see more cowboys compete in 2 hours than in most 2 day events elsewhere.  But Vegas is a ... well... "different" kind of town.  It brings right up into your face the assorted cultures we have here in the USA.

North America was heavily colonized by European criminals and malcontents, and the west was populated by the ones that STILL weren't happy.  We have a different way of seeing things.  As lodge owners, we get to meet a lot of folks from all over the US and sometimes I offer them some advice for dealing with the natives on this side of the Mississippi, some of it original and some shamelessly stolen.

Western advice, top 25

25. Pull your pants up. You look like an idiot.
24. Unless you are wearing a catcher's mask, the bill goes in front.
23. Buddy, it's a gravel road.   No matter how slow you drive, you're gonna get dust on your car.
22. They are cattle. That's why they smell like cattle. They smell like money to us. Get over it.
21. It's OK to make eye contact with people as you walk down the street.  In fact, it's kind of expected.
20. Lots of people out west wave.. It's called being friendly. Weird, huh?
19. Colorado just passed a law making it illegal to "text" while you are driving. Duh.
18. We eat beef, pork, poultry, trout, salmon, deer and elk. Sushi and caviar are available at the bait shop.
17. The 'Opener' refers to the first day of deer season. It's a religious holiday held the closest Saturday to the first of November.
16. We open doors for women. That's applied to all women, regardless of age.
15. Ladies, all you need, at least here in Colorado, is SPF 15 and a chap-stick.  Makeup is only used if you are getting married or buried.
14. Gentlemen, a bola (string) tie will suffice for more formal occasions.  A regular "neck tie" may have people thinking you are a lawyer or a used car salesman.  Suits are for getting married or buried in.
13. Often, there's no 'vegetarian special' on the menu. Order the Chef's Salad and pick off the 1/2 pound of ham and turkey.
12. When we fill out a table, there are usually three main dishes: meats, vegetables, and breads. We use three spices: salt, pepper, ketchup and maybe some kind of hot sauce in a fancy joint.
11. You bring 'Coke' into my house, it better be brown, wet and served over ice. You bring 'Mary Jane' into my house, she better be cute.
10. College and High School Football is as important here as the Giants, the Yankees, the Mets, the Lakers and the Knicks, and a dang site more fun to watch. Millionaires should play better than that.
9. Yeah, we have golf courses. But don't hit the water hazards - it spooks the fish.
8. Turn down your car stereo. Thumping ain't music. We don't want to hear it.
7.  "Cow Town" is not considered an insult to the folks from Denver, Dallas, Oklahoma City, etc. so save your breath.
6. I drive a pickup truck because I want to.  Hay is darned hard to unload from the back seat of a BMW.
5. "Cottage" is a type of cheese.  We vacation in a "cabin".
4.  "Mountain" shouldn't be part of the name unless it's over 8,000 feet.
3. When someone says "But it's a dry heat", it is OK to respond with "So's my oven, and I'm not moving inTHERE, either!"
2. Never call a politician a horse's rear end.  This is horse country.
1.Pull your pants up, You look like an idiot. (just can't say it often enough...)


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Posted an ad on Craigslist today...

For sale. 2004 Ford F350 crew cab 6 l diesel. 147K miles. Receipts for $12,000 worth of repairs on the engine in the last 12 months. Running great right now, but I need to sell before it strands me on the side of the road again. I need to buy a truck that doesn't dump all of its engine oil into the cooling system or die as I am rolling down the mountains here in Colorado with a load of horses in the trailer behind me, leaving me with no power steering or brakes on a winding 7% downhill grade, several times a week for months on end, while the dealership changes random components in between butt-cheek clenching episodes. I need $32,000 for this truck, so I can pay off the re-finance with the bank for repairs, and still have some cash to buy a used Chevy or Dodge one ton. I would prefer an out of state buyer so when it takes a dump again, nobody will come by my home and threaten to hurt me for selling them such a turkey. I'll need cash in advance, and will bring it to your home on a flat-bed trailer. I will leave you the trailer rather than risk starting the truck to unload it. Sold as is. Have a nice day!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving week visit 2009

This is vacation week for some of our grandkids, due to Thanksgiving, so the younger ones spent the Sunday night with grandma and grandpa at the Lodge.  We needed to go to town Monday for weekly supplies; of course, that meant stopping by the horses.  It was sunny and quite breezy, so it was a very playful herd that raced down the hill to greet us when they recognized our car.  This time it was Jesse in the lead, Washoe close behind and Peanut dead last, with the other five stretched out in the middle.  They came to a dividing fence and screeched to a halt, until Peanut turned the corner and ran along the fence to the open gate.  Peanut seems to have the best “fence smarts” of the herd, always knowing where the gates are.

The race was on again as soon as the whole herd was through the gate.  What a sight this was for the grandkids, who had never been in the open field with us when the horses came a-greetin’.  They gathered ‘round the four of us, nosing our pockets and asking for goodies – which we had not brought this time.  Well, if we didn’t have treats, the least we could do was play.  Ida’s youngsters, Doc and Cannon, started chasing each other; bucking and kicking and leaping in the air.  Soon the others joined in, until they got too close to us and the kids, then the grays would place themselves between us and the frolicking others.  It was interesting to watch the protectiveness they displayed; getting touching-close to one of us, in a stance, then flicking an ear in warning at whoever came too close.

Ranger really displayed a fondness for our youngest grandson, staying close to him and prodding him gently with his nose – not Ranger-like behavior at all!  When we started walking back towards the car, each gray planted themselves beside a child and walked all the way back with us, the rest of the herd following.  Of all days to not have a camera, but Bill had a picture that was drawn by our middle granddaughter just with this in mind.

Notice Meeker Mt. and Long's Peak in the background.  Can you spot Ranger?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Just can't see 'em

   The wost thing about the winters up here is we take the horses down to pasture and we can't see them every day.  Speaking of horses and can't see...

A champion jockey is about to enter an important race on a new horse. The horse's trainer meets him before the race and says, ''All you have to remember with this horse is that every time you approach a jump, you have to shout, 'ALLLLEEE OOOP!' really loudly in the horse's ear. Providing you do that, you'll be fine.'' The jockey thinks the trainer is mad but promises to shout the command. The race begins and they approach the first hurdle. The jockey ignores the trainer's ridiculous advice and the horse crashes straight through the center of the jump. They carry on and approach the second hurdle. The jockey, somewhat embarrassed, whispers 'Aleeee ooop' in the horse's ear. The same thing happens--the horse crashes straight through the center of the jump. At the third hurdle, the jockey thinks, ''It's no good, I'll have to do it,'' and yells, ''ALLLEEE OOOP!'' really loudly. Sure enough, the horse sails over the jump with no problems. This continues for the rest of the race, but due to the earlier problems the horse only finishes third. The trainer is fuming and asks the jockey what went wrong. The jockey replies, ''Nothing is wrong with me--it's this bloody horse. What is he--deaf or something?'' The trainer replies, ''Deaf?? DEAF?? He's not deaf--he's BLIND!''

or how about...

An out-of-towner drove his car into a ditch in a desolated area. Luckily, a local farmer came to help with his big strong horse named Buddy. He hitched Buddy up to the car and yelled, "Pull, Nellie, pull." Buddy didn't move. Then the farmer hollered, "Pull, Buster, pull." Buddy didn't respond. Once more the farmer commanded, "Pull, Jennie, pull." Nothing. Then the farmer nonchalantly said, "Pull, Buddy, pull." And the horse easily dragged the car out of the ditch. The motorist was most appreciative and very curious. He asked the farmer why he called his horse by the wrong name three times. The farmer said, "Oh, Buddy is blind, and if he thought he was the only one pulling, he wouldn't even try!"

or maybe...

 A city slicker was driving through the country when he spotted a horse standing in a field. He was quite taken with the animal and so pulled over to ask the farmer if it was for sale. "Afraid not," said the farmer. "I'll give you a thousand bucks!" said the city fella. "I can't sell you that horse. He don't look too good," replied the farmer. "I know horses and he looks fine. I'll give you two thousand!" "Well, all right, if you want him so bad." The next day, the man returned the horse, screaming that he had been gypped. "You sold me a blind horse!" "Well," said the farmer, "I told you he didn't look too good."

Ok Ok... I'll quit.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Day of Treats

We had a group of croppers in for the weekend, which meant we had collected some "leftovers" for the horses.  We save the apple peelings and leftover homemade bread crusts for them.  They get laid on the griddle until about spoiling your pets.  Who else would make dried fruit treats for their horses?  While the horses are away at winter pasture we just save them up until we go for a visit, then have a treat day.  Now we have to make sure we have enough for eight horses, though, instead of just three.  (Can't leave anyone out!)

Ranger nicely waiting.
 Cannon, back left, and Brownie finally get something...and Peanut waiting for more.

We toss treats on the ground, to keep from getting too crowded.  This is Cannon, Estes' grandson.  Notice the distinctive crescent on the forehead.  With Meeker as a mom and a Percheron for a dad, this guy is rock-solid, and drop-dead gorgeous.

Sorry, guys, all gone.  Jesse drops her head, looking for more on the ground.  Ranger believes he will get one more by saying, "pretty please."  Doc and Dutch got treats, too, but avoided the camera.

Friday, November 13, 2009

November 2009 Recipe: Pecan Pie Mini-Muffins

Pecan Pie Mini-Muffins                  400 degrees  15 minutes

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
2/3 cup melted butter/margarine (Country Crock OK)
1 1/2 cup chopped pecans

Mix all ingredients with a wooden spoon.
Pour into mini muffin tins (makes 3 dozen) that have been sprayed with non-stick spray.
Top with 1/2 pecan piece and bake.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Checking on the Horses

We took the horses to some of Hall Ranch's leased pasture last week (Wed.)  Thur. I flew to Phoenix to visit our oldest son for his birthday.  On the way, we swung by the horses to see if they had integrated well with the rest of the herd - six others.  It was particularly refreshing to have them - all of them - come racing down the hill to us when we called them.  Well, OK, two of Ida's were a tad stand-offish and didn't come all the way, but our three were plenty happy to come say hi.

Today, when I arrived back in CO, Bill picked me up at the airport and we naturally had to stop by and check the horses on our way home.  We noticed a couple of oddities:  the grays were separated and we could only find two groups of three.  Three horses missing.  The first group was Jesse, Peanut and Cannon standing at the fenceline with the neighbor's two horses.  They came a running when called, got burrs pulled out of their manes and went for water.  We walked up the hill to find the other group of three:  Ranger, Washoe and Doc.  No more horses.  Again, they came a running when called and then followed us back towards the first three.  Wow, what burrs!  Jesse's mane and Cannon's tale were huge knots.  Sooo, Jesse is lording it over all those males.

We decided that Ida must have needed the other three horses-Brownie, Paint, and Dutch-to help her gather her lost heifers.  She was missing three cows and their mini horse, Tigger.  She called Bill later to tell him she had found the cows and gotten them gathered, but (boo hoo) no Tigger.  We all think he has probably become mountain lion chow.  Some neighbors of their property had shown them some pictures of a very large cat in that area.  I think that was the reason for Ida moving the stock in the first place.  We are all really sorry, but he was just the right size to trigger the chase response in a lion, and he could really run - but not faster than a large cat.

At first we marveled that she would use those particular horses for looking for cattle, then realized she has cut herself a little short on rideable horses.  She sold her favorite, Estes, to our daughter a couple years ago, then the next two well-trained cow horses, Meeker and Audobon, have babies at their side.  Doc and Cannon are not saddle trained yet and she says Peanut is too lazy/slow.  Sissy isn't ready for that rugged mountainside yet and Andromeda is barely two.  OK, Ida, you just might have to borrow a gray now and then.  I would love to have her use one of my horses for cow work, even though I know they don't have the caliber of training her horses do.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Last Ride 2009

Well, it's time - time to take the horses to winter pasture - and a last ride.  Hall Ranch Open Space was the chosen location again and the weather was beautiful.  I snagged Thomas to ride Washoe, Bill on Ranger and I on Jesse.  Bill and I chose to end the summer bareback.

As we rode along, the horses noticed something in the brush.  Closer inspection revealed a small herd of deer, feeding on the brush. The horses also spotted lots of hikers and bicycle riders on other trails; it was a great day for being out.  Quite uneventful, thanks to well-trained horses.

Next, the ride to the pasture, 

remembering old friends in neighboring fields,

and.....FREE at last!  Have a great winter, partners of ours!  


Monday, November 2, 2009

Last Ride of the Season for Grandkids

Yesterday was great weather-wise - compared to the two previous snow days!  It was sunny and almost warm, at about 43 degrees.  The youngest set of grandkids came up and we gathered the horses for a short ride around town.  It was too mucky to head up into the forest, but we could do town.  Unfortunately, we could only do a short ride, as there was too much ice still on parts of the road.  The horses were exuberant about being out of the corral and graciously went around several corners multiple times.  It was short, but fun.

While we were out we met one of the neighbors and her dog, Yoda.  Ranger got a special kiss from Yoda.

The real reason we had the horses out was for end of season worming.  We really wanted to get the last dose of wormer in them before turning them loose for the winter, and we always like to keep them a day or two after that to make sure there won't be any colic instances.  We've never had any problems, but with horses, it pays to be extra careful.  They all did great "taking their medication"  so to speak.

Nursery Rhymes

Where does it say that Humpty Dumpty is an egg?  And what kind of moron would send a horse to fix ANYTHING?

Just end up with egg on yer face.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Cameras - Grrrrr!

I bought a new camera for the trip, so Bill and I could both get pictures while riding.  Yesterday, when we took off for our second ride at Ghost Ranch, I couldn't get the camera to turn on, so I stuck it in my pocket and decided to just enjoy the ride.  Good thing, because very soon the ride turned quite challenging.  I was riding Washoe this time so Bill could pony Jesse.  She's a  little better behaved when being ponied in rough country than Washoe.  She can handle any terrain, and will, without pulling her escort out of the saddle - and we were very soon in very rough terrain.  We never know what we will encounter when riding with this particular friend, and we were soon plunged into a deep, steep arroyo which was quite muddy from several recent rains. 

We got to practice a lot of evasive maneuvers back and forth across the stream bed, over shelves of shale, under low hanging shale ledges and sinking well over fetlock deep ooze, up and over steep banks to get around stuff we couldn't go through, then back down into the stream.  Now, Washoe is my horse that had some really bad experiences with water when he was young, taking us a couple of years to get him at all comfortable with crossing streams and rivers, even puddles, without going into a panic.  I must say, I was extremely proud of how he handled all this mess.  It did take a lot of two handed reining, so I figured it was providence that the camera wasn't working.  About the time things smoothed out, I put my hand in my pocket, hit the camera switch, and voila, it turned on and worked perfectly the rest of the ride!  I did get some pretty good pictures, so I was going to add them to the last blog, but guess what?  Again, the camera won't turn on.  As soon as I can get back to town, it's getting returned!  Hopefully, I can get the pictures downloaded first.

Our trip home today was uneventful, even with all the snow we had to come through.  There was a chain law in effect as we crossed LaVeta Pass, but we came across with no problems, driving in snow until just north of Pueblo.  The roads were wet, but got better as we got closer to home, until they were dry coming up the canyon.  What a switch; better roads higher up.  The horses were happy to be home...and so are we.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ghost Ranch, NM

The weather had turned blustery north of us, so we finally headed south - into New Mexico.  Back to a friend's place (she works for Ghost Ranch) where there is always a spare space and corral for the horses.  Our vet was great about changing our horses' travel papers at the last minute and we were on the road again.

We woke up the last two mornings to roosters crowing.  The neighboring cabin has a new brood of chickens, which turned out to be quite the entertainment for the horses, never having been around chickens before.  I got up to let Sophie out, was seen by Washoe who telegraphed Ranger, who let me know I could serve breakfast anytime now.  Oh no, way too early guys.  Back to the sleeping bag - for about 20 minutes, until I hear hooves pounding the ground, racing around the corral.  Sure, feed the horses so as not to wake the neighbor cabins.  I toss a bale of hay and find one of the neighbors standing there with his camera, laughing at the antics.  "Got great pictures of your horses running, kicking, bucking all around the field," he says.  I realize he has let the chickens out and they must have been chasing them along the fenceline, so I explain they have never seen them before.  It also sounds like they may have given the local coyotes a run, that were checking out the chicken pen/shed.  Good watchdogs.

Yesterday, we delivered a horse and picked up another one for the Ranch.  The exchange took place within about five miles of where Bill's mom lived, in the mountains outside Albuquerque.  It was great driving the backroads through the Sandia's and all the fun memories that went with the drive.  By the time we got back to Ghost Ranch, the weather had improved and was begging for a ride, so we saddled up Ranger, Jesse and the new guy, Casper.  May as well start right away getting him acquainted with the trails, since his job was being a trail horse for kids and large riders.  This guy is much bigger, over 16H and powerfully built, but really easy of manner.  He has a scar in the middle of his chest that prevents him from being a proper show horse even though he is a registered Appaloosa.

The ride was super, mostly wandering through the brush and canyonlands of the Ranch.  As soon as I get my camera cables located, I'll post some pictures.  We are planning on heading for higher country today, and taking all three horses.  Washoe hollered all the time we were gone, and showed everybody how well he can buck and move, but at least he didn't go over the fence. 

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Where are we going?

Happy anniversary to you, too, dear.

We started the annual fall evacuaton today; Estes is now back at Hall Ranch.  What a ruckus when we took her away from the rest of the herd.  I brushed her and made her look all pretty.  She kept asking "why?" with those big, soft eyes of hers.  She walked quietly into the trailer and stood nicely - until she realized she was the only one going.  By that time, the rest of the crew was hollering their heads off from the corral.  Where do you think you are going with that trailer, and not us?!  Estes was doing her part by whinnying and kicking inside the trailer.

Then, when we unloaded at the ranch, Estes decided she could follow me back home.  She was trailing right behind me when I left the corral.  I felt sad about pushing her away so I could shut the gate.  I thought she would be delighted at being back at her "other home".  Well, soon they will all be reunited again in a very large pasture to run in and eat all day.

Our trip to SD got changed to NM, due to bad weather.  SD has been hit really hard this last week (with cold and snow), and it doesn't look like it's going to let up, so we opted to go south, back to Ghost Ranch for a couple of nights.  A friend there is acquiring a new horse for the ranch to use in its program, and it needs some riding out.   A good excuse.  When we get home, the Mustangs will be released for the winter.


Juanita likes the sappy cards (My dearest darling, life without you would be...) and I like the funny cards (Our marriage has been better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, to bad there wasn't a dull stick handy all those years ago.) Say- that's pretty good... you suppose Hallmark is hiring?  I got her a sappy one for our anniversary today. When you are lucky enough to be married to your best friend, sometimes you just do that.  Bill

Friday, October 9, 2009

Ranger's in Time-out

Ranger had the audacity to "snake dance" with me this morning!  He decided the hay I had given them didn't have enough alfalfa mix to it, so he very sneakily took Estes' hay, by pretending to eat nicely by her until yours truly turned her back.  I was picking the corral and when I looked over my shoulder he had pushed Estes away.  I moved Ranger away, sending him back to his own hay.  When I turned around again, he was standing in the middle of Estes' hay, giving her what-for to move off.  When I walked over and told him "no", he put the old head down and started the snake dance.  Not a good idea!  I still had a very sturdy manure fork in my hand and it comes in quite handy as "alternative training".  It never touched the old boy, but he got the idea I was not happy about his behavior.
When he calmed down, I leaned the fork against a tree, got a piece of twine and looped it around his neck. (A piece of twine is how I move all the horses around. see Baling Twine)  As I led him to the small pen to eat alone, he danced very carefully around the fork.  Obviously, it wasn't to be trusted.  Funny, I had just walked past him with it without even a flinch (after we had come to agreements).  Bill said putting him in a small pen to eat alone wasn't much punishment, since he was locked in with his own food.  Shows how little he understands his own horse's psyche.  Ranger would take a bite, then walk back and forth along the fence staring at the other horses at the big feeder.  He got the picture.  He's a dominant and he was being kept away from the herd.  He was much subdued when Bill and I let him out three hours later.  He very nicely let me put the string around his neck and lead him back to the herd.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Approved for travel

Yeah.  I just got a phone call from the vet's wife, saying they have received the papers back from the lab already (only 2 days!) and will stick them in today's mail to us.  Even she was surprised at how fast the turn-around time was.  So everyone (horse-wise anyway) is healthy and ready to go to SD.  I hear it's snowing there.  I assured the owners that our horses were well qualified to handle snow.

I also noticed a marked improvement in Estes' eating.  She now keeps her head down and munches along at a good rate of speed.  She must have had a tooth causing pain in her mouth - because now nobody gets near her food.  I have even quit separating her from the herd at meal times; she seems to be able to handle things quite nicely on her own.  Makes me wish I had gotten the floating done earlier, but her teeth just didn't seem that bad.  Probably like us humans; the smallest cavity is sometimes the most bothersome.

Well, back to mundane lodge work.....  I want to get done so Cindy and I can take the grays for a short jog this afternoon.  Looks like it might be the last of the good weather for awhile.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Vet Checks and Dentistry

Trip planning time! We are headed to Spirit Horse Escape just outside Custer, SD in a couple of weeks, so that means health certificate and coggins for the horses. Timing worked out nicely since I needed to have Estes’ and Washoe’s teeth floated before turning them out for the winter. Doc showed up this afternoon during one of our “sunshine and snow” spells to do all the dirty deeds. I had all four horses tied to the rail and groomed.

Who’s first? Estes was the absolute must-do, so we started with her. She stood like trooper to get her teeth done – OK, she was doped up with a light sedative. She walked like a drunken sailor as I took her back to her pen.

Washoe was next, since the equipment was already set up. He also had blood drawn for his coggins, but he’s such a good patient, he didn’t even notice the poke – either for the blood draw or for the sedative. He just needed a little filing and off to the pen with him. I tried to lead him over near Estes so they could commiserate together, but he promptly wandered to the feeder and fell asleep against it!

Now for the two hard ones. Neither Jesse nor Ranger is particularly friendly with vets. Ranger just doesn’t like very many people too close to him, and Jesse has extremely tough skin and tight neck muscles, making taking blood draws quite painful for her. Last spring, Ranger had done very well getting his shots, so he went next. OK, maybe getting blood drawn is a little different than a quick shot. Bill said it was a small rodeo (I was inside the Lodge with other people), with he, Doc and Doc’s dad dodging both ends. Apparently, Ranger has an issue with sharp, pokey things, but it got done.

In the mean time, Jesse had been working herself up a bit at the rail, watching Ranger’s antics. I figured we would have a real fight on our hands, so I packed my pockets with horse treats to sooth her nerves, as did Doc’s dad. I walked her over to the spot and handed her to “dad”. He got a good grip on her halter with one hand and a treat ready in the other. When Doc felt her neck for the vein, she stuck her nose in the air and froze. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. She actually stood perfectly still while Doc had to try twice to find a vein. He drew the blood quickly and she got a whole handful of treats, then she literally pranced all the way back to the corral. She wasn’t pulling on the lead, but she was certainly “bouncy”! She stood still for me to remove the halter, but when I said “Go”, she took off like a shot with heels in the air. She had been still for as long as she could! Bill said it was funny watching me walk the two mares across the road: one leaning on me, stumbling like a drunk, and the other couldn’t keep her feet on the ground.

When I checked them later, Estes was eating like she had never seen hay before. Both horses had come out from under the sedative with no problem and everyone was happy again. The horses are ready for vacation.

(forgot to sign it again)

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Many kinds of horse training

Yesterday I was in the horses' pen moving a watering tank between the two pens so horses on both sides of the panels could reach the water.  As there was still hay in the smaller pen, all of the horses were interested in going past me to get into the smaller pen.  A simple "no!" and a wave of my arms was enough to persuade 3 out of our 4 horses that they were not getting by me.  However, Washoe pushed me out of the way to get at the food.  I felt that was quite rude of him, and as I was carrying a shovel, I jabbed him in the ribs with the handle as he went by me.  It didn't seem to phase him in the least, so I got a better grip on the shovel and ran at him shrieking like a banshee and swinging the business end around my head at him.  He looked up at me still holding a mouthful of hay and suddenly remembered there was an important meeting he needed to attend right away in the big pen.  I hope he took notes.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

Our Daughter Begs For Your Help!

No, it's not life or death.  It's just help choosing a writing contest entry.  I've decided to enter one of my pieces in Creative Nonfiction's writing contest.  For a couple of months now, I've been blogging on my years as a Wrangler and would like to choose one of those pieces to enter.  My readership isn't nearly as broad as Mom and Bill's so I'll be honest - I'm riding their coattails for help.  If you are one of their horse loving readers, please hop on over to Tales from the Trail and cast your vote.

Thanks in advance,
"The Daughter"

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Today is my better-half's birthday, so I would like to wish him a very public "Happy Birthday"! I hope we have tons more riding days together.

Love you, Bill.

October Recipe "Monkey" Bread

“Monkey” Bread (Cinnamon Pull-Apart Bread)
Bundt pan (or whatever type pan you want)
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes

Bread dough – enough for one loaf – or
3 pkgs. refrigerated biscuit dough
¾ cup sugar
2 tspn. Cinnamon, mixed into sugar
½ cup butter or margarine, melted

Heavily spray pan with non-stick spray, such as PAM
Divide dough into 30 pieces and roll into balls. Dip each ball into melted butter, roll in mixture of sugar and cinnamon, and layer in Bundt pan.

Bake until not doughy, set on rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Turn out onto plate.

Top with mixture of powdered sugar and milk glaze.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Monster mum/Mum monster

People's point of view

Horse's point of view-    Bill


Sunday, September 27, 2009

It's a ..... what?

I needed some horse time today so I decided to bring each horse over to the Lodge for a brushing.  I caught Jesse in the corral and headed for the hitchrack in our front yard.  Before we could get there, I had WILD horse on my hands.  What's that on the front porch???  She was swinging around me, snorting and tail raised.  There was a monster in the corner waving its arms and about to jump out at us.  Gotta get away; gotta kill it; gotta do something!  OK, it was a three foot tall mum plant we had inherited the night before from a wedding celebration at the neighboring lodge.  Try explaining that to an irate Mustang.  As soon as I could quit laughing I asked Bill to walk the plant out into the parking lot for us.  He set it down; Jesse did an immediate sniff and investigate, stuck her face in the air with an, "Oh, it's a bush - not even edible."

Wow.  Some excitement. Let's try another horse.  Brushed Jesse, returned her to the corral, and collected Washoe.  Got all the way to the hitchrack and dufus hadn't noticed a thing.  Not surprising.  After all, this is Washoe we are talking about.  So, I go get the plant and set it down by the mounting stumps.  Suddenly, whooooa.  What's that? (He noticed.)  I untie him from the rack and walk him over to the plant with a good show of Arab behavior.  This time, Bill had the camera and we both had some good laughs.  Washoe finally agreed it was just a plant - and non edible.  Go figure; he will usually eat anything that won't eat him first.

Alright, we're on a roll.  Next horse.  Estes was waiting at the gate when I took Washoe back, so she was the next candidate.  (Want to make any bets, Tel?)  Now, the plant is still sitting near the mounting stumps, and she notices before we get across the road.  Monster!!!!  I have to coax her the rest of the way off the road.  Bill is ready with the camera (and I think she noticed).  Suddenly, she's in the "I-can-handle-this mode" and chooses to make eye contact with the "thing", arches her cute little neck in the air and let's me walk her over to it, sort of staying behind me as much as possible.  She bravely reaches out and touches it on command, and again we have the "Oh, it's not even edible."

Three down, one to go.  Ranger is the one who usually has fits with this stuff, so we were ready to help him do battle.  Bill brought him across the street.  We had returned the plant to the corner because guests were arriving, so Bill walked Ranger right over to the edge of the porch.  No reaction.  Bill walks Ranger right up to the plant, under the porch roof.  Ranger walks right over to the plant, takes a sniff and looks at Bill.  No further reaction.  Wow, the scary Mustang says, "It's just a plant.  What's the big deal?"

You just never know with horses!

(She forgot to sign her blog, so I did it for her...Bill)

 Special thanks to The Flower House ( for the mums!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

You call THIS breakfast?

I went out to feed this morning...on a bright, gloriously sunny day.  As usual I was getting the normal sing-song of horse vocals and stompings as I pull a bale of hay from the shed and toss it in the feeder.  It was really nice grass hay from the new load we brought up a couple of days ago.  Soon I realize I must have done something terribly wrong.  Nobody wants to eat; a lot of snuffling and shoving of the hay; a lot of shoving and pushing around the feeder.  I put some hay in Estes' feeder in the small pen; she quickly inspects it and actually tries to follow me back out of the pen!  On the way out, I come face to face with Ranger trying to get into her pen (never before has this happened) - to see if her food looked like their food.  OK, what's wrong here?  I crawl back out of the small pen, walk over to look more closely at the hay in the main feeder.  By this time, Jesse has pushed everybody back and personally inspected every flake of hay.  I soon realize it's not what I see; it's what I don't see.  Not a speck of alfalfa in the whole bale! They had gotten used to the first cutting of hay from a mixed field and now that we had some straight grass hay, they were being snobs about it.  By the reproachful look on Jesse's face, you would have thought I had personally picked every single little alfalfa leaf out.  I shamelessly bid them a good morning and walked away.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


I was going through some picture files on my computer.  I ran across some shots from a trail ride in June of last year.  Some friends from Arizona showed up with their horses and we went up on Meadow Mountain.  One of the horses, a 4 year old Tennessee Walker I'm sure had never even seen snow before, took a misstep and Bucky went "horse boarding" down the mountain 30 yards or so.  Nothing hurt but their pride (I called the horse Toboggan for the rest of the trip).

   But looking more closely at Ranger... was he laughing or just sticking his tongue out at his compadre down the hill?