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

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Trail Maintenance

All of the melting snow was running down the trails, and the forest service hasn't been up to do much trail maintenance (which is true almost every year). Mom and Bill do their part in helping to divert run-off and prevent trails from washing away. The trail maintenance is never done.

Twin Sisters

The Twin Sisters even had a bit of snow on them, but it's hard to tell with the fluffy white clouds covering the tops.

Snow on Meeker

While I woke up to snow in Fort Collins, Mom had woken up to 2" of snow at the Lodge and I was afraid we'd have a cold, lousy ride. Instead, the sun came out and it was beautiful. Meeker was covered in brilliant white snow and was absolutely breath-taking.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Estes' 1st Ride of Spring 2009

Shawntel came up to take Estes out for the first time this Spring. Lots of nice weather last week and this week we have been waking up to new snow every day; it’s called April in the mountains. We had 40” a week ago Saturday. That makes more than five feet of snow just in April! The neighbor plowed the front parking lot and created two huge snow piles, so I had to call Nelle and tell her to bring up the grandkids. We dug out the saucers and they had a heyday! What a great Sunday afternoon, sledding, shoveling, home-made chicken noodle soup and a movie.

A week later we are waking up to 2” of new snow every day. Snow or not, we are going riding today. Tel took the day off work after all the overtime she has been putting in, and stated she NEEDED horse therapy! Understood; Bill had said the same thing the night before and I will always agree with that. She calls saying it is snowing in Ft. Collins and looking yucky. Well, our snow had stopped and the sun was out and the wind was blowing the new snow away. So let’s go riding. The horses agreed.

Now it’s game time. About ¾ of the corral is a muddy mess, leaving just smaller dry patches. Of course, being human, we try to stay on the dry spots and the horses pick up on this quickly, turning catching into a game by wading into the muck and snorting at us. I love it when they are playful; heads and tails up, prancing and snorting. Soon, however, they understood they had to come to us if they wanted out of the corral, because you are only allowed out with a halter on, and they wanted to go, too. This was evident with the frequency of racing to the corral gate and staring at the Lodge hitching post, before racing around crazy again. We don’t have to do round pen work for stress release; we just watch this energy dissipate in the ½ acre corral! Soon they walk up to us and stand quietly for haltering.

By the time we had them brushed out and saddled, the wind had died down and it was a glorious day for a ride. All 4 horses got to go this time (Washoe was ponied) and the trails were dryer than anticipated, although we did get to break through a couple of two foot snow banks. The only near excitement was the horses letting us know “something” has awakened for the spring. About 1/3 of the way down the Rock Creek trail, Ranger was alerted to something below us. Since he is not usually the one to say “not going there” we opted to follow his lead and turn around. We headed off on another trail in a different direction, this time with Estes in the lead after the pivot changed our positions. Now when the trail split, Estes said “nope, something down there in the trees.” We have learned through past lessons to listen to our horses (by checking and finding large animal tracks or fresh kill). So again we take the safer trail, now putting Jesse and me at the end. No sooner were we past the split in the trail than she did a hop, skip, and turn around with the “there is definitely something down there!” message. Well, it is time for the bears to be coming out of hibernation and, come to think of it, we haven’t heard the coyotes lately, which means there is also a mountain lion around. We finished our ride peacefully and safely. Thank you horses!

Later, Bill and I laughed that Washoe was the only one that had not reacted. But then, he wouldn’t notice a mountain lion until it hit him on the nose with its paw.

Friday, April 24, 2009


Well, the better than 3 feet of snow we had a week ago is gone. Just left mud behind. The horses are crazy today. Running like the wind, bucking in the wind, and breaking wind (it's a horse thing)


Friday, April 17, 2009

SNOW DAY: April 17, 2009

It’s 10:00 at night and still snowing; last count 26” deep. It started last night with about 3” on the ground by bedtime. It hit 11” by 8:00 this morning and has continued all day. It hit 2” below the tops of my muck boots when I fed this morning. At 6:30 this evening, when I went to feed again, I figured the muck boots would be OK because I already had a path. Big surprise! No path left so I got to wade through mid-thigh deep, very heavy and wet, snow. I had to laugh at the horses when I got to the corral; they were kicking and racing each other around whenever snow would fall from one of the trees. They were faring much better than I was. They had kept the snow smashed down in a large area near the feeder and under the largest tree for shelter. I didn’t know why they wouldn’t come to me like they usually do, until I realized the electric fencer was under snow, along with all the lower level of hot wire. Every time it pulsed little shock waves shot out through the snow. I got the fencer turned off and there was a collective sigh from all four horses, as two of them dove into their beet pulp. They were very grateful they could finally eat without getting shocked! Washoe was so excited he grabbed the plastic beet bowl and started throwing it in the air. He and Jesse chased it for a while, just like kids playing in the snow. Estes and Jesse had icicles hanging from their manes and tails, rattling as they played. Tomorrow I will have to wear snowshoes to go feed!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Read blog posted 4/14. Change "yesterday" to "today".

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Boys day out

Juanita and I saddled Washoe and Ranger yesterday and went out for a short ride. Sun shining, birds singing, and the horses alert and feeling good. The boys plowed through the drifts like they were made of, well, snow. Great ride!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Picking Up Estes, New Baby, Truck - Again!

Long time since I’ve posted. With sunnier days now and then, it’s easier for me to be outside with the horses, meaning putting off my homework until evening and cutting into my posting time (do you see the priorities here?). So I will try to catch up somewhat, since we’ve had some fun happenings.

We had plans to meet our daughter, Tel, at John’s place to pick up her horse on Tues. For those of you who haven’t heard yet, Tel is getting married in May. After wracking our brains about a wedding gift (they already have all the typical household stuff, since both parties had their own places), Bill found the perfect gift: a horse trailer. About the only thing positive about this recession is prices are dropping, especially on things like used horse trailers. Bill found a jewel close by; not pretty by any stretch of the imagination, but a very serviceable 2-horse, bumper-pull. We decided it would be a good trial run to take it down the mountain to pick up Tel’s horse, and watch her reaction to the sight of the trailer. Of course, the first action needed was to get our truck set up for bumper-pull; all of our trailers have been gooseneck. The good thing about this is now we can pull anything – when the truck is running!

It was a fantastic warm, sunny, class day for me. Tel and I met after class in Ft. Collins, picked up her younger brother and headed to meet Bill at John’s farm. We called Bill and told him we would be there earlier than expected. We arrived and I watched Tel closely for reactions as Bill was pulling up with the “new” trailer. (We had decided NOT to tell her about it, in case she didn’t like it). I hadn’t realized how much it looked like a smaller version of our trailer until she asked what we had done to the trailer. Realizing it was a different trailer, I told her Bill had found a 2-horse, so she assumed he had bought it for convenience for us (we had talked about doing that). I was trying so hard not to give the surprise away.
Tel said, “We forgot to call Ida!” Fortunately, when I called her, she was close by at one of their leased horse pastures, and said she would be right there, to go ahead out in the back pasture to get Estes. Anyone ever tried getting through someone else’s pasture system (lots of cows) on a really mucky, muddy day?! And electrified. Which gates to use? We were having fun figuring it out when Ida pulled up and walked down a DRY alley next to the pastures, laughing at us. OK, Ida is always laughing; she is one of the happiest people I know whenever we see her outside working with animals – even fencing! We got ourselves un-bogged and went after Estes, who was definitely feeling her oats. No way does she move like a 19 y.o. mare. She and her 16 y.o. daughter, Meeker (10 months pregnant), are floating around the pasture like a moving picture of twins. It only took a couple of minutes to convince Estes it was time to get caught, and Bill walked right up to the two of them, putting his arms around Estes while Tel put a halter on her. Meeker sure looks great – expected to deliver about May 10. I will be driving this way to school in May to watch for the new foal.

As we were maneuvering back through the pasture system, Ida asked us to wait a minute so she could help her dad, John, move a pregnant cow into a shed. She said the cow should be delivering soon and they wanted to watch her for problems. Once the cow was moved we walked Estes around the house to the trailer; Ida stayed with her dad. OK, this might be fun. Estes is used to large, open stock trailers. I didn’t know if she had ever been in a small, enclosed one. She looked it over pretty closely, but after just a little persuasion, she hopped right in. Can’t say enough about Ida’s well-trained horses. Tel made a comment to Bill about the trailer, who in turn made a comment about ruining the surprise. Hearing that, I had made a comment on Jay’s willingness to paint old vehicles. Nothing else was said.

Having only been gone a few minutes, we went back to tell Ida and John goodbye, finding Ida behind the house washing her hands in a tub of water, with an even bigger grin on her face. I looked in the shed and saw something small, black and wet-looking on the ground. I said, “Is that a calf?” John walked over, smiling, saying they had just pulled it ‘cause it wasn’t positioned right. Mom and baby doing fine. Son Thomas said he knew he was a city boy, but he thought it would take a little longer than that. John laughed and said, “You never know what will happen around here when you walk around the house.” Worriedly, Ida asked how Estes had loaded; she indeed had never been in that type trailer. We assured her it had been no problem.

Time to head home. Tel, Thomas and I hop into the car and head back to Ft. Collins from Longmont; Bill starts off for the Lodge with the horse and trailer in tow. As soon as we get on the road, Tel looks at me and says, “Is that my wedding present?” with this big, hopeful grin on her face. She was surprised and seemed quite happy. Apparently, she and Jay had been looking at horse-trailers, too, since they want to get another horse for Jay after they get married.

I’m finally driving up the canyon road. I had tried calling Bill while still in cell-phone range and not gotten an answer. This concerned me since he had plenty of time to get home and unload, unless the truck was acting up again. We just can’t seem to trust it right now. In less than 2000 miles it had quit on us three more times, for no reason that could be found. This is after we have put $10,000 into repairs on it in four months. That’s right, $10K!!! Sure enough, I round a corner and find our rig parked on the side of the road at a pull-over. If you let the truck sit for 15 minutes, it will start and run for a short period of time – maybe long enough to get 1 – 3 miles further and hope there is another place to pull over. The 45 minute trip from John’s took three hours that day. Back to the Ford dealership with the truck a couple of days later; no problems found; truck ran great both ways. It’s really frustrating. Right now is when we have the time to travel with the horses and we are afraid to go anywhere because we don’t know when we will be stranded along the highway with live animals in a trailer! I think Bill is starting a blog about no longer wanting to be a Ford truck owner, after having them for 35 years. He will not be good advertising for the 6.0L engine.

My friend LeRoY sent me this picture labeled "Only in Ramona Ca"
I think I want to move there...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

First Ride Spring 2009

Finally, Sunday morning Mar. 22; a nice day breaking and we’re not chasing loose neighbor horses. It’s time to take our guys for a ride. I think they want to go as badly as we do, especially after watching us traipse up and down the mountainside leading all those other horses. Lots of hair flew as we were brushing them out (the second time today, even) and they patiently waited to be saddled. You wouldn’t know it had been 4 ½ months since they had been last ridden. We hopped on Ranger and Jesse, and ponied Washoe.

We headed out, got to the trailhead into Roosevelt National Forest and started up the steep part like champs, Jesse in the lead. Whoa! What’s that!?! Jesse had done an immediate ¼ spin to the right and was side-passing back down the trail while checking out “the thing” up ahead, obviously putting space between use and whatever IT was . I straightened her back out to look at “the thing” and her response, of course, was “must back away from here as fast as possible”, right into Ranger’s face, who also spun into Washoe’s startled face. Remember, we are halfway up a steep cliff face on a narrow rocky trail. Fortunately, our guys are really quite good trail mounts and realized quickly they were putting us all in jeopardy. When Bill and I just calmly sat in the saddle and spoke to them, they quickly stopped motion, took a deep breath and waited for further instruction. I stepped off, since Jesse will go near almost anything if I am leading from the ground. Bill rode Ranger ahead, and we ended up walking past “the thing” quite calmly, after letting them take a good look. By the way, “the thing” was in reality a blue realtor’s sign swinging in the wind that had just been put up right next to the trail, and a lot of downed barb wire fence from the previous day’s horse adventure. The rest of the ride was very pleasant and uneventful. We all enjoyed it.

OK, looking back on the trip (as we always try to do because every ride is a training experience) I see some things to work on with my horse. Startling at a new sight on a “regular” trail is a normal horse thing to do, but she really can’t be allowed to back into someone or something behind her. Part of the reaction was due to it being the first ride after many months and them still not being fully in “ride out” mode. Part of it was the familiarity of the trail; horses are actually much better on strange turf because everything is new. Part of it was the blue, swinging object; blue is a color horses can distinguish and inanimate objects should not move in the wind, injecting horses immediately into flight mode. In actuality, they all responded to us extremely well so nobody got hurt. None of this excuses Jesse’s behavior, though, so some training time is needed. Guess I will have to put “fun” training on hold and get a grip on this, to make her a safer group leader.

April Recipe: Cinnamon Cranberry Apple Crisp

Cinnamon Cranberry Apple Crisp 350 degrees 45 minutes

4 Red delicious apples, cored & cut into 1" pieces
2 c. whole fresh cranberries (frozen OK)
1/4 c. red hot cinnamon candies
3/4 c. sugar
Mix together, pour into baking dish

1 ½ c. old-fashioned oats (not quick cook)
½ c. packed brown sugar
½ c. flour
½ c. chopped pecans /½ c. melted butter (1 stick)
Mix together, sprinkle on top

Bake in moderate oven 45 min. Can be baked without the topping for 30 min.
Great dumped on top of pancakes or waffles or served alone.