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

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tick'n Me Off

We hiked back and found the horses yesterday.  Went back into our starting meadow about a mile and a half back in and saw the horses another 3/4 of a mile off.  Fortunately, they saw us and came a running right over to us.

  The last time we got our hands on them, we noticed they were collecting ticks.  Yecch.  So this time we brought down some tick drops to chase away the bugs.  None of them like the smell.  Ticks OR horses.

 I told my horse I must really like him.
This bug was about the size of my thumbnail,
And hanging out on a spot I wouldn't touch on any other friend I have.

            Ranger was none too impressed.


Saturday, March 27, 2010

Another Snowy Weekend

 We still haven't been able to get down the mountain to see our horses.  With all the snow in the last week, we just don't feel up to trudging.

 We did finally have our "icicle meet the ground" yesterday for the first time this winter.

   Or maybe the snow pile on the ground reached up to the icicle.

Day before yesterday we ran to the bank In Estes Park and saw one of the local herds of elk cruising out by the highway.  At least they weren't hanging out in the McDonald's parking lot.

I hardly ever pull over and take pictures of elk anymore.  Never seem to have the camera around when I see them.

Of course, we see so many of them it would be like taking pictures of neighbor kids playing in the road. No, that's not quite right.  We have more elk than neighbor kids.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Tack is done; where's spring?

In case you all haven't heard, we got another 14" of snow yesterday.  So much for going to look for horses; that's just too deep to traipse very far in in winter-couch-potato condition.  I took it upon myself to finish the tack cleaning since there were still 2 saddles and 2 bridles to go.  I plunked "The Mask of Zorro" into the VCR, spread out a sheet, and tore apart saddles.  We are trying a new product this year, Leather CPR, and it doesn't seem to have any odor.  That's great because I could work on the gear even though we had guests in the Lodge, but I sure do miss the normal smells of leather cleaning.  It worked pretty well on most of the gear, but my Jesse really sweats, so I had to pull out the old bar of saddle soap for her stuff.  That's all I've found that just cuts right through dried on sweat, then a good layer of leather conditioner.  It sure feels great to have all the gear ready to go, including clean halters and cinches.  I did discover I need a new cinch for Jesse; hers is falling apart so I am on the hunt for something she will like that doesn't pull hairs.  I don't need non-slip because her saddle goes nowhere when on her back, but the last string one I used seem to pull her very thick belly hairs.  I may try a felt one.   Ahhhhh.  It's so fun to dream of horse shopping.

I've also decided to try a garlic/salt block this year.  Garlic is supposed to be good for fly and tick control.  We use fly predators in the corral and have been extremely pleased with the results.  However, that leaves our guys really vulnerable when on the trail.  Also, we have noticed a bad tick infestation this year where the horses are, so I want something they can self-medicate with if they want.  I have asked one of the ranch stores to try to order one for us, so wish me luck.  I really don't want to pay shipping to have one shipped to us.  I have also had great luck with apple-cider vinegar for keeping the little black face flies away from them.  I just mix some in water and dump it on their hay every morning.  Within a week or so, no more pestering flies around their eyes or noses.  I hope the garlic will work as well.  I would really rather do other things with the horses than pick ticks!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


I'm over at TALES FROM THE TRAIL today guest blogging about my experiences with my first Mustang, Shadow.  Click on the link to see just how trainable I am.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Coat-O-Snow

 For the last week, we had a couple police officers (a married couple, both cops) from Florida staying with us here at the lodge.  He left behind what I feel is a very nice Carhartt coat, complete with an attached foul weather cape.  VERY nice.  My favorite color, too.  Would be wonderful to ride horses in or just use as a barn coat.  I said "I'll return it to him when they come back." (They have stayed with us before).

  We have gotten another 8" of snow since noon today, and I grabbed the coat to use while shoveling.  He is NEVER GETTING THIS COAT BACK.  Mine, mine, mine, mine.

 They both told me how strange it felt running around without a sidearm, as they aren't allowed on the flight from Florida.  HA!  You'll never get the coat back from me Greg!  I've got a shovel!

(Thanks Greg)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Song

 Last September I posted on clicker training and teaching my mustang to "touch" scary things.   After the success I had with him on that, I gave serious thought to teaching him some tricks using clicker training.  Juanita had taught her horse to fetch a frisbee and I thought it might be fun to teach Ranger to "sing" on command.  First get him to huff after I say sing.  Then click, give him a treat.  Then have him make a louder sound before he gets his click and treat.  Finally a full whinnie on the sing command.

I had to give it up, though. I realized I couldn't teach him to sing because he is always just a little horse.
(And no, you don't get your 2 minutes back.)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

1st Day of Spring!

Juanita and I have been going nuts the last week or so.  We are ready to RIDE!  But the horses are still down the mountain running loose.

Today we woke up to 14" of new snow and -3 degree temperature.

Not quite so interested in riding today.

Maybe next week.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Today is March 16th. 16th. 16th...

I woke up this morning and thought to my self  "I need to remember to wish Juanita a happy birthday tomorrow when I first wake up."  Great plan.  Except today is Juanita's birthday.  Damn.  Fail.

Happy birthday my wife and best friend!

Your loving dope, Bill

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Short Hike

Juanita and I were driving back up the mountain yesterday afternoon.  The windshield wipers were on, clearing the "spring slush" that seems to fall out of the sky this time of year, when I looked up the hill off the highway and saw a bay horse.  "There they are!" I hollered and pulled of the road.

I jumped out of the car and trudged up the hill to visit with the horses.  Darn.  Wrong hill.  I clambered/skidded down the hill and trudged up the next hill.  The magnificent seven (malevolent?) were grazing and wandered over to see if I had any treats. No such luck, we weren't planning on hiking in to see them, so we were empty handed. I headed over to see Juanita who was following a horse/game trail up the hill (No trudging involved for her. I need to try that sometime.)  The horses all followed me over to her, probably in hopes that she wasn't as useless as I had proved to be. No luck there, either.  No treats. We spent the next ten minutes or so picking ticks (looks like it's gunna be a bad one this year) and petting some very muddy horses.  We headed back down the hill  to the car and finished our drive home in the snow.

Good timing, guys. Twice in one year.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Our horses are on winter graze right now; actually, a mountainside of many thousand acres to just roam and explore and pretend they are in wild horse days again.  They are truly lucky horses in that respect.  Reading Bill's story over on Tails From the Trail reminded me of the very first time we took them to the ranch for the winter.  For five years we kept the horses up here at the lodge with us full time, but as we learned more about the weather patterns here - cold, blustery winds and low temps, possible BIG snow storms, etc. - we thought it might be advantageous to let the horses have a better location than just a small corral for months on end, especially since neither of us likes to ride in that kind of weather.  By this time, we had managed one of the liveries near us for a summer and had leased our horses from the owners of this ranch, so I approached them about 'boarding' our guys.  They said they did 'board' horses, but that meant just turning them loose on their land and letting them run; no extra care, no blankies, no coddling, nothing different than what their ranch horses got.  Since our three are Mustangs who were born in the wild, they felt pretty secure in taking care of themselves.  I was the worry wart.

So we dropped them off and they got to start on their first great adventure.  They were put in with the same horses we had used and immediately banded up, making 15 of them total.  At first, the rancher kept them on a lower pasture to make sure the herd 'jelled'.  When it was obvious everything was working out, it was time to move them, so he sent daughter, son and hired hand with a trailer;  business as usual.  They loaded up the first 10 in the trailer and delivered them to higher ground, and the two guys went back for the rest.  When they hadn't shown up in a reasonable amount of time, the daughter drove back to see what the problem was.  After almost 2 hours of trying to 'capture' Ranger, the guys were fit to be tied and cussing out wild horses.  In typical Ida fashion, she calmly says, "Sorry, I forgot Bill says you have to 'catch' Ranger to halter him." 

"Fine!  You catch him!  Stupid horse sees the halter and takes off!"

She takes the halter, walks part way to Ranger and then drops the halter on the ground, continuing to walk right up to Ranger and pet him on the shoulder.  Now, Ranger's mane tends to split in the middle and hang on both sides of his neck, so not having the piece of twine Bill told her he uses, she just reached up and took a piece of his mane on either side of his neck and voila, he's 'caught'.  She then proceeds to lead him to the trailer with the remaining horses in it and walks him right on - holding a little piece of mane.

"Why were you guys making it so hard?  He wanted on the trailer with his buds.", and Ida drove off with the horses.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

BIg Time!

I've done it.  I didn't have to press the "PUBLISH POST" button myself.  I'm a featured guest blogger!  Go to "Tales from the Trail" for yet another story about my old man mustang.  No autographs, please.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Loose Cannon

Capturing Cannon-The Long Walk Home

What an adventure. I think we have recuperated enough to recap some of “the walk”. In short, we hiked the mountain to bring Cannon back to the main ranch for some further training. He is Ida’s 4 yo gelding, grandson to our daughter’s horse, Estes, and friendly enough – as long as you don’t have a halter in your hand (hence, the need for more training). The day was beautiful and we found the horses on the nearest pasture from the quarry, and as usual, they came to greet us.

After passing out the dried waffle treats, the horses all settled down to grazing, and thinking we were on a roll, here, Bill started the walk-down with Cannon.
The theory is to walk with them and when they stop, you stop, releasing the pressure.

Soon, they will usually come to you or wait for you to go to them. Cannon would let Bill approach but “don’t you dare show me that halter!” More walking, up the snowy hill, down the snowy hill, all around the herd – for one solid hour! We finally decided to just move the whole herd down to the truck, as I had called Ida and told her we would meet her there. She would bring a trailer to load Cannon and the rest could just come back on their own. The next decision was direction. We were really quite close but would have to go through a very narrow gate, onto the quarry property, then a good mile walk along a jeep road and back through a gate onto the lease land. Since we had only brought two halters, we weren’t sure we could control all 8 horses and maneuver the gates. If they scattered on us on the quarry property, it would not be a fun time! OK, we go down the long way, across the upper ridge, through the trees and down some very steep terrain, in very deep snow…but with the thought that if the going got too tough, we could just release the horses and try another day, but at least we wouldn’t lose any of them. We haltered Jesse, as she is the lead mare, and Dutch, because he can be the stubborn, slow one who just might decide to not go with us (and then all of Ida’s horses would stay with him, including Cannon).

I led with Jesse until the herd got the idea that we were all moving together. They lined up very nicely and followed in a line until we got to a steep, snowy slope that we decided was just tooooo much. We broke into two groups then and scouted along the ridge until the horses recognized a trail down and we headed through the trees. Many times we had to stop and consult them for directions, as the regular trails were not passable with the snow, but they soon got the idea and were very helpful.
Dutch, looking when Washoe says, "Go left."
I wish we had more pictures of the terrain, but there was no way I could hang onto a camera and negotiate the trail leading a horse. Jesse saved me from many falls when my feet would slide off a rock under the snow going down the steep parts, and I would grab for her mane to keep from falling; such a patient horse! Then she would let me ‘tail-up’ to get back up the next steep hill. Once, I even had to turn her loose to slide down the hill and she waited for me at the top of the next slope. In the mean time...

Okay, in the mean time Juanita has some homework to do, so I’m gunna finish this entry.

In the mean time, we were trudging cross country (you know, I have a friend in Arizona who has told me that he NEVER has to “trudge” in Arizona, “trudging” is a snow-step) until we reached a point where the horses seemed to realize “OH! I know where we are heading now!” and off they went down to the river. If I started heading in a “less than optimal” direction, they would veer off until I came to my senses and started following them.
There was a LOT of down and up involved!
 We finally reached the last plateau before the river after a 2 ½ mile stroll in the wilderness.  The horses spread out to graze a bit, until we led them down to the river-road and started the last ¼ mile walk to Ida’s trailer, where she had set up a catch pen.

Cannon went straight into the pen and loaded into the trailer like the whole thing was his idea.   Dork.  If he had let us catch him, it would have been a 1 ½ mile walk on a dry road , with no damn trudging involved.

The horses that accompanied us on the journey got a final treat (hay and grain) to keep them occupied while the truck and trailer went out of the gate hauling the young horse to his next series of lessons, hopefully involving some “standing for haltering” training.

Maybe Cannon is just a big shot that feels he needs an "entourage" for traveling.  Dork.

Juanita (& Bill)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


I am beat to death.  One of us will (may) blog about today's horse finding trip tomorrow. Maybe. If we can drag it outa bed.  Hot tub is screaming for me now...