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

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

What a Day! Cowboy Mounted Shooting (long)

Well, the day we've been waiting for finally got here; a beginner's clinic for Cowboy Mounted Shooting.  I got the horses out and shampooed their tails, brushed them down and fed early this morning.  Last night Bill had hooked up the trailer and loaded any 'gear' we deemed necessary.  Nebalee and family had kindly said they would come lodge sit for the day, so they showed up at the appointed hour.... and we were so excited we forgot the Flip movie camera GunDiva offered up, so you will have to suffer through video clips from Bill's faithful little digital.

We headed down the road for LaFayette, CO and got our first view of the leftovers of last night's thunder/hail storms that crossed our county.
There were so many leaves on the road it looked like we were driving across someone's lawn.

Before we knew it, we were at our destination and the jitters had hit big time.  What had we done, signing up for a young person's sport?  OK, we both love to ride - and we both love to shoot (even though I, personally, had not shot a gun in years).  Good enough reason to give this a try; it's a beginner's class.  How bad could it be?

We were soon put at ease by the instructor, Elizabeth Clavette, a world-class CSMA eliminator shooter and Dick, the firearms instructor.  We got booster lessons on the different types of weapons used in the sport, how to safely handle them, and all the sport specific terminology.  They let us try all the different styles and furnished us with the specialty holsters.
... and then the action began...

You start by walking the course; trying to remember all the instructions:
1) Keep you rein hand in front of you, in a normal riding position.
2) Draw your gun and swing your arm over your horse's head to the off side, aim and fire behind you.
3) Swing your arm back over your horse's head, aim and fire on your strong side, again behind you, to keep your horse moving forward.
4) Take out all five balloons and holster your gun - without looking down to find the holster!
By the way, did I mention you are supposed to walk a straight line down the middle of the course - but watching the balloons!
Since the intended purpose of today's clinic was to teach us proper muscle memory - and teach our horses - we also got a bucket load of small snippets like:
     Aim for the pole, not the balloon.  Breezes blow the balloon around and will cause you to miss.  Works like a charm.
     Always shoot behind you, to keep your horse moving forward.  Aim, pause, shoot, pause, and follow through, before changing sides.
     Learn to find your holster by feel; develop that muscle memory spot; never look down - you lose your perspective on your target and path.
     Swing your arm over your horse's head to avoid any accidental shooting near their ears.  As you get faster and your horse runs faster, you will automatically compensate with a lower swing, but develop the proper one first.
     Don't cock your gun until you have sighted on the target; again, you will compensate with speed later, but learn correctly first.
     Don't pull straight back on the hammer; it causes you to move the muzzle of the gun up and down.  Slide your thumb off the side so you can keep a tight grip on the handle; causes your thumb to move into the correct position to help stabilize the gun.
     By the way, it helps to breathe while you are trying to remember all this.  Yes, I am walking crooked in the video.  I thought I was walking a straight line, but you walk where you look - just like you ride, so you have to practice going straight!

You will notice the camera doing some bouncing; it became obvious very quickly that Jesse was NOT going to like the noise.  We started with cap pistols, then progressed to air/pellet guns, .22's (blank loads), then half and full loads of .45 blanks.  Washoe didn't much pay any attention to the noise until the .45s.  Jesse bounced her head hard at the very first gunshot!  She never did settle down for the 45 blank half and full loads, even after all day.  At the end of the afternoon, she tolerated the .22.

Since I am still recovering from a strained leg muscle AND a sprained wrist, Bill let me trade horses with him, since it appeared Washoe was going to be today's star pupil.  As you can see, it was a good decision on my part; not so good for Bill.
We even tried some horsey ear plugs on Jesse.  She was not at all impressed.

I am going to make some like Elizabeth does, using two small, foam kitty balls and a shoe string, and practice with the horses, until they get used to them.  Both horses seemed extremely bothered by the NOISE.  I know they have acute hearing and it was obvious that was their complaint.  Jesse was still shaking her head tonight at feeding time, like she had a headache, or at least ringing ears.

My first run through on Washoe with the air gun, went so well Elizabeth suggested I do it again with a .22 blanks loaded into the 45.  She handed me a gun and off I went. Down went the first balloon and as I was swinging my arm back across it dawned on me that the balloon shouldn't have broken with the .22.  By this time, I had pulled the trigger on the second balloon and popped it, too.  Washoe and I came to the same conclusion about the same time:  wrong!  As he stopped cold I heard Elizabeth shouting, "Stop.  You have the wrong load in that gun."  It was loaded with .45 full load blanks and sounded like a cannon. Lucky for me, Washoe was as stunned as the rest of us and just did a screeching halt!  With a little coaxing, we tried it again and things improved greatly with the proper load.

This YouTube clip shows you how it looks when practiced and done by the 'good guys'.

On that, we broke for lunch and had hamburgers and hot dogs cooked on a grill, cold pop and a lot of fun chatter.  The clinic furnished all the weapons, the holsters, ammo and lunch for $100.  I bet we shot more than that in ammo!
Bill kept valiantly working with Jesse.  Elizabeth said she thought it was a battle of wills with that horse; she has no idea how close to the truth she was about working with Jesse.  I love that horse to death, but she is as opinionated as they come.  She worked great for him in setting balloons, and following him all over the course, but don't put a gun in his hand!  He never did get to shoot anything louder than a .22.

Sometimes Elizabeth would ride her horse along with the new horse when they got frustrated; it helped the horse to calm, and start thinking.  She had to do this a lot. (I think Washoe is the only one that went totally on his own every time. )
The first two balloons were always the worst, then she would sort of settle like she was saying, "Let's just get this DONE!"

Later in the day, we added the second half of the course and the second gun, so we could practice holstering one and drawing the second.  On this run, I was shooting a mix of half-load .45 and .22.  You do this so you don't get in the habit of anticipating the next round - for you and the horse.  Even Washoe was beginning to tire of the noise by now, so I had to do a second run through without ammo to settle him.

This particular horse was the real trooper of the day.  We called him Eyore, because of his ears.  You can see how Washoe handled all this; just turn away and ignore the sound.

By this time it was about 2:30 and rain clouds were moving in.  Bill and I had already decided the horses had had enough; we didn't want to overdo their tolerance and develop a hate for the sport, so we did one 'clean' run, without guns, just practicing aiming with our arms, and called it quits on a good note.

It turned out not all the participants showed up and there were only four of us riding, with a couple of watchers.  We got a lot more runs in than if there had been many there, so it was a really, really good day.
Bionic Cowgirl

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Neighbor Horses Got Out

This is Ranger.  The horse.

The neighbor horses got out this before night meal.  They are not supposed to do that.  It is against the rules.  You are supposed to stay behind the fence until you are invited out by your peoples.

That is the rule.

But the BIG guys next door walked through the new wood fence and went to eat OUR grass.

That makes me so mad.  It is our grass.  We can not eat it because it is on the other side of the fence.  And our peoples do not let us out to eat it.  But it is still ours.  Because we can see it.

Beel and all of the peoples next door telled them to go home.  They wented home. They did not eat too much of our grass.  That is good.

They have big butts.  And big heads.

                                            They are big butt heads.

They should follow the rules.

And leave our grass alone.

Ranger.  The horse.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Can't Whine for Losing

Today is our last day with a wine and beer liquor license in the state of Colorado.

Step back 15 years.

"Let's get a liquor license so we can serve wine or beer to our guests after they have had a long day of hiking!"

Fingerprinting.  Background checks. Mailed surveys to neighbors.  Public hearings.  Exorbitant fees paid to state and county governments.  Classes.  Inspections. The promise that we will sell food, perhaps frozen burgers or frozen burritos (on paper plates, heated in the microwave by the customers)  to customers.

Done.  Now we can sell adult refreshments to our guests!  Beer from the Estes Park micro brewery.  Good stuff.

 Annual license fees.  Annual inspections. Monthly sales tax forms and payments.  Cutting the dust for our poor, weary hikers.  Loose a little money every year, but all is good.  Not trying to run a "BAR".  Don't even have any signs up.

Fast forward nine years.  A county health inspector came by.

"Why, you do not have a restaurant license!" she says.
"Why?  We are a bed and breakfast! Meals are supposed to be prepared in our personal, private kitchen." we says.
"Well, our county does not have RULES for bed and breakfasts!" she says.
"Well it's a good thing the state does.  We're using THEIR rules!"  we says.
"We'll see about that!" she says, and storms off.

Weeks later we got an email from the county.  Turns out the county has no guidelines on bed and breakfasts, and we were in line with the state mandates.  BUT, since they had no B&B rules, we were going to magically become a "boarding house"  as they had rules for them.  That means all meals served to guests must be "all inclusive"... as in pre-payed.  Okay, we can deal with that.  Only breakfasts for guests, unless they pay for other meals in advance. No biggy.

Oh yes, and no serving of dinners to bar patrons that are "compromisable" as in requiring freezing or refrigeration.  Okay, no frozen burgers or burritos.  Only the yummy shelf stable type meals.

The new bar menu listed Cup-O-Soups.  Awesome.

Fast forward another 6 years.  Flashing badges a couple state liquor inspectors showed up.  For the first time ever.

"AH-HA!" they exclaimed.  "You have hard liquor in your store-room by the kitchen!"
"Yes we do." we replied. "The kitchen and store-room are not part of the bar area.  We wanted them exempted so we could make hot sherried fruit, and rum cakes, and bourbon balls, and scrambled egg flambe if we wanted."
"Well, the whole first floor is listed on the license as bar area." they informed me. "Or I think it would be if we could find a copy of the license."

Really?  They THINK it said?

"And you must serve sandwiches."  They said.

"We cannot." we responded. "The county will not let us."

"Then you must have a different type of liquor license." they proclaimed. "A Bed and Breakfast license."

"You must start over."they told us. "Fingerprinting.  Background checks. Mailed surveys to neighbors.  Public hearings.  Exorbitant fees paid to state and county governments.  Classes.  Inspections. Annual license fees.  Annual inspections.  And oh yes, you can only GIVE the beer away to your guests."

Really?  REALLY?  They are offering to allow me to jump through their hoops and pay fees all over again so I CAN GIVE BEER TO PEOPLE IN MY OWN HOME?

Words fail me.

So, today is my last day with a Colorado State liquor license.  Turns out  you can give someone a beer in your home, as long as they are over 21. And you like them. And you want to.

State and County employees need not apply.
Except for the snow plow guys.  Y'all can stop by any time you are off duty.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013


(Yesterday) Call to daughter GunDiva:  "So, while I'm in town today, do you suppose you could wrap my leg for me?"  (She spent many of her younger years as an athletic trainer, so this is a specialty of hers.)

GD:  "What did you DO???!"

Me:  "Well, I was sort of showing a guest a special side lunge, and my foot landed on the edge of a rug - which slid out from under me.  I just pulled a muscle; I think it would feel better wrapped."

GD: (Later, as she is inspecting my right thigh)  "Explain to me again just what you did."  So I proceed to show her.  "So, you did the second-base stretch!"

Me:  "Yep, that would be it, but I'm not quite as young as when I used that stretch."

GD:  "Have you called your doctor?"

Me:  "No.  It's just a pulled muscle."

GD:  "How do you know?"

Me:  "Well, everything still moves in the right direction; it all works, I just have no ...."

GD:  "strength in that leg, right?"

Me:  "Yeah. - and I have a knot on my knee from where it hit the floor."

GD:  "Have you called your surgeon?"

Me:  "No.  Why?"

GD:  "You could have messed up your hip ...."

Me:  "Nope.  It still works."

 I sort of forgot to mention I showed up using my cane heavily again.  She graciously did a beautiful wrap on my leg and gave me many warnings about calling my surgeon if the leg didn't feel better in a day or two.  I did my normal town stuff, gimping about with my cane and gobbling my ginger root, which I use as an anti-inflammatory instead of Ibuprofen.

Fast forward to today.

Compass (at the Livery):  "Juanita, can you come help me out for about 20 minutes?  I have a big ride going out and could use an extra hand getting people mounted."

Me:  "Sure, be right there."

We get all 15 kids on horses and just as they are leaving the yard with two wranglers, she gets a call from her vet, saying he is on his way up.  Now she can't go out with the ride...

Compass:  "Can you go out with this ride?  I have to stay and wait for my vet.  It's only an hour; take my horse."

Right.  My leg is wrapped and I don't even know if I can throw it over a horse; it was a fairly major sprain...and her horse is BIG.

Me:  "I'll go it I can get on, OK"  Amazingly, it was pretty easy to get on the horse and felt quite good, so off I went on a ride that turned into a 1 1/2 hour ride.  I even managed to get off and help with a cinch check half way through the ride.  It was a big help that I know where all the embankments are to make it easier to mount and dismount a tall critter!  (I did learn that her horse has a much rougher trot than either of mine.)

I had just gotten home, when the phone rang.

GD:  "Hi Mom.  How's the leg?"

Me:  "Great.  You do a great wrap.  Just got back from an hour and half ride."

GD:  (Silence, then..)  "What?!  Are you trying to mess up your body before your clinic?"

Me:  "Hey.  No cane; no limp; the ride felt good."  She's still a really good trainer!!!

And yes, Bill and I both get to go to a clinic in a week.  It's a beginner's Cowboy Mounted Shooting clinic, and it's the first time we get to go do something like this together.  I am mega-excited!!!  We will be taking my two grays, so they can learn how to handle all the sights and sounds involved in this type of sport.  So, I was a little worried when I injured myself, that I wouldn't be able to ride for the clinic.  I guess that's why I hopped on the horse today; it was a good test.

Bionic Cowgirl

Thursday, June 13, 2013

It Could Have Been Worse

This is Ranger.  The horse.

At the last some dark times ago many peoples were at the people barn.  I heared some of them say that there was a weeding.  And a man and woman were getting buried.  Every one seemed very happy.  I do not understand.

When all of the peoples left the barn, Beel and Waneeta comed over and sayed we were going on a walk.

"Weddings are tough, Ranger.  We need some time outside now.  Let's check out the trail to Calipso Cascades in the national park."

Beel put the chair on my back and the iron bar in my mouth.  Waneeta put the chair on That Mares back and the iron bar in That Mares mouth.  Then we went for a walk.  When the peoples just sit on our backs and use the head ropes it is only a short walk. When the chairs are on our backs I know we are going for a long long walk. 

I like short walks.  I do not like long long walks.  They are hard and it is a long time before you can roll and make the itchies go away.

We started to walk down the rocky-dirt-car-road to go to the the far away trail.  This was not a good thing.  I tried to show Beel how to get home faster by going into the neighbors yards to turn around.  I tried to go into EVERY YARD and he never understanded what I was showing him.

He is not smart.

"You nitwit!  Stop it.  We are going to Calipso Cascades."

After a long enough walk on the dirt-car-road we got to the too long skinny trail.  I telled him-This is the last time to turn around Beel.  But we keeped on going.

Not smart at all.

I gived up.  We were going for a too long walk.

"Man, it's about time you settled down, Ranger!"

I think the trail does not end.

We walked next to a tree that had scratches on the outside.

"Look at that!  A bear climbed that tree and dug it up good!"

He is not there now Beel.  Why are you looking.

We did pass some crazy things on the trail.

 We passed some logs stacked under the trail.  Beel sayed they were there so the trail did not fall down the hill.  I did not like that very much.

"Hey Ranger,  we're within a half mile of the Cascades!"

This is not a good thing Beel.  The log is in my way.

Beel taked the chair off of my back so I would be shorter and could walk under the log.

Have I sayed Beel is not smart?

Beel put the chair on my back again and we turned around to go home.

"Jeeze Ranger, I still think you could have gone under it if you had just TRIED"

Going home we went over the stacked logs again.

I runned fast so the trail would not fall down the hill.

We finally stopped for a picnic.

"Wow Ranger, just look at that view!"

Picnic Beel.  I can not eat view.

"Well, Ranger, Juanita made me a peanut butter on tortilla with honey rather than tobasco sauce so I could share with you."

"You get a bite too, Jesse"

We finally gotted home so I could roll and make the itchies go away.

It would have been much faster if Beel had just listened to me.

He is not smart. 

Except for the peanut butter and honey thingy.  That was a good idea.

Ranger.  The horse.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Llama, llama

First I have to say thank you to a very special person who sent us these cookies.  Haven't eaten them yet - 'cause they are just too darn cute!  The two 'Rambos' go to the GunDiva & JayBird - but aren't the cowboy squirrels great?!

Yesterday, just prior to the farrier arriving, a pretty, newer, red horse trailer was pulled up to the livery across the road.  We saw movement inside the trailer, then ignored it as the driver headed toward the livery office.  Anton, his apprentice, and I walked to the corral next to the livery to find the horses very intently watching the new trailer.  Anton chose the spot where he wanted to trim the horses when the two grays got very excited - as the trailer door swung open and out climbed llamas.  Under my breath I uttered, "Ah-oh."

Anton (incredulous):  "Your horses aren't trained to llamas?"

Me: " That's not the problem.  I think they know these guys; they lived here last summer.  This is an old friend greeting; they could be pretty excitable.  It should be fun getting them to stand quietly."

It turned out fine; they each settled in when asked.  I think they were just so surprised to see the llamas getting out of a horse trailer because last year, they were transported in the back of a pickup truck with
panels on it.

Today, we took Queen Estes and Ranger out for a short stroll on the mountain; passing the llama pen was so mundane, I'm not sure why I took the camera. 
When I looked at our pictures, I realized a good deal of the snow is now gone from Meeker Mt.  Just a couple weeks ago, that mountain looked like this...

Tomorrow, we will try the grays - which could be a lot more fun since Washoe thinks they are attack animals, and the llamas are now in a newly built pen that the horses have to walk beside at the very beginning of the horse path to the road.
All three of the new neighbors.

Estes seems quite happy with her new shoes.  She and Ranger had a great ride...and when we got home, Bill put them to work mowing the yard.  These two senior citizens really look over-worked!

Bionic Cowgirl

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Spring Trim

When you own a horse, your horse's behavior is a DIRECT reflection on you.  Right or wrong that's the way it is.  People look at the way your horse acts as a direct result of your training.  If your horse acts wonderfully around strangers and caregivers, it means you must be wonderful.  And if he is a jerk, well...

Our trimmer/farrier showed up today to give the mustangs a trim for the summer, and put shoes on our daughter's horse, Estes.  He had a MAJOR case of tendonitis in his right wrist, and of course he is right handed, so he brought up an apprentice/partner to work on our horses.

Juanita's horses, Jesse and Washoe were just fine.  They both stood for their trims with a minimum of muss or fuss.  Estes was getting shoes put on, and was a little twitchy when the shoes were going on, but that's kind of understandable.  I mean, nailing an iron bar to your foot?  How would YOU feel.

Then we have Ranger.  Each time the farrier comes up, I hold my breath.  The first time that he worked on Ranger... wasn't real good.  The phrase "Double-tap"  was used.  Ranger took offense  to having his foot manhandled, and kicked the poor guy twice in his thigh before you could say "ouchohmygodouchohmygod".  That ended his day, and I sent him home with a couple of beers.  It was about 6 months later before he came back to work on our guys again. That time, it went okay.  Ranger wasn't happy about it, but he put up with it.  Our horse shoe'r said he HAD to come work on Ranger again, because he had never failed with a horse before, and he had to keep his record clean.  He figured he hadn't failed with Ranger now.  It had just taken a while to finish him up...

Today, Ranger stood like a rock star.  No, a "rock star" would have been jumping around a lot and making all kinds of noise.  Ranger just stood there. Licking his lips and letting me scratch his head.  Dead calm.

My horse behaved well.  On this day, I am not a jerk.



Sunday, June 2, 2013

Lookin' for Wildlife

We'd heard through the grapevine - small town telegraph - that a moose and a bear had been seen at the neighboring lodge this morning, so when we finished our work we grabbed 'the boys' and headed for the mountain to see if we could find our friendly mama moose and her baby.  I got all excited because just at the top of the first switchback, we spotted a very dark back side of an animal - was it the moose?
Not quite, as we got closer the heads came up and they turned to face us.  A tad smaller than moose, but very pretty anyway, and perfectly willing to wait for a photoshoot.

We continued on for a long way, just enjoying letting the horses mosey in the sunshine.
As you can see, we were a bit lazy about our gear, so it was probably a good thing we didn't come across anything too dangerous.  In fact, about the most excitement was Ranger going under a branch too low for Bill and knocking his hat off, which called for a short discussion....
Farther on, we did come across a few trees that could use a chainsaw.  This one is right at head height, so we had to go around; the Forest people won't like too much of that.
Looks like Beel and Ranger are back on hospitable terms for the rest of the way home.
Great day!
Bionic Cowgirl

Saturday, June 1, 2013


The weather has been poor for the last couple days.  We haven't been able to do any riding.


So I was sitting here, trying to think of something to post, and I remembered a game I used to play with family and friends as a kid.

I give the punch line, and you see if you can remember the joke. Note: They have to be REALLY OLD jokes.  Sorry.

So here you go....

Horse Joke Punch Lines                                                                                   

1) No, but I once told a mule to kiss off.            
2) Of course, my fence can't jump at all.
3) Because it gets you nowhere.
4) He has two left feet.
5) Then the manager unplugged it.
6) "Your horse phoned."
7) Nag, nag, nag.
8) No, but it sure keeps me from lickin 'em.     
9) A cab. He's to drunk to ride a horse
10) His condition is described as stable.
11) If he thought he was alone, he wouldn't pull at all.
12) Why the long face?

How many do you know?

(I really, really hope the weather turns nice soon.)