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

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.

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.