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

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

A Poem

 The field that's their home was going quite bare,
they spend all their days just eating out there.

 It's time to move to far greener fields,
before the grass they're eating finally yields.

 So off we went, halters in hand
to move the gang to a new bit of land.

 The two gray horses ran up to be caught
"Who was to be first?" was why they fought.

 Gathered and standing they watched while in hand,
whilst I pursued  my horse Ranger.  A cranky old man.

 "The grass is still here and I want to stay."
Said he "for at least one more night and maybe a day."

  "Ranger" said I "It's time you should go.
I don't want to chase you when it starts to snow."

 "No" said the old horse "And that is how I feel
I am not leaving this place today Beel"

 So I went in pursuit of the crusty old horse,
me trudging along and him running, of course.

 The sun was bright and the weather was warm,
and the old horse was moving with very good form.

 His thick winter coat would shimmer and flash
with each step he took in this "for freedom dash".

 So close I could get at the end of each sprint
I could darn near touch him 'fore again off he went.

 I stayed in pursuit "I'll sure make you work
If you keep on running you evil old jerk."

 At last he stopped, and he spoke with a snort-
and he put on his halter, I'm glad to report.

 To the new field we took them and then set them free.
One more day in the life, 'twix Ranger and me.


Friday, November 28, 2014

If It Ain't Broke, It Ain't Mine

It's been a while since I've posted here, because I really try to keep things kind of "upbeat".  No one wants to hear about my problems, except for my friend Bucky.  He says it makes him feel so much better about HIS life.

The month of November started off amazingly well.  Temps were in the mid to upper 30's for the lows for the first week and a half.  Then things went straight to Hades.  Except it's supposed to be warm there.  We went from 42 degrees (f) at 7am on the 10th, to 2 degrees (f) at 7am on the 11th.  For you English majors, that's 40 degree difference in one day.  And the temperatures went down from there.  Driving back from a meeting in Estes Park, we watched the thermometer go down to -24 degrees.  I walked into the lodge muttering "I'm glad I'm not a brass monkey".  It stayed below zero for DAYS.

During the very unseasonably cold stretch, an outside sewer pipe froze solid, and several water pipes in our "Sunroom" froze and ruptured, spraying water all over inside the walls.  Both of the shut-off valves for the hot water line chose the same night to fail, so I had to shut off the hot water to the entire lodge to stop the spraying water, and then scramble to find fittings to replace the broken joints before guests arrived the following night.  In case you ever need to know, PVC and CPVC fittings and pipes are not the same.  At all.

Each time I would fix one break, the next one would thaw out and spray.

I hate plumbing.

Also during this period, the wind picked up in earnest.  It has been blowing between 20mph and 80mph nonstop for the last two weeks.  We quit riding our horses, and even feeding them turned into a life threatening ordeal.  I finished the plumbing.  At least it was indoors.

We then took the horses down the mountain to stay with the "other herd"  that they stay with in the winter.  They kept crashing through the hot wire so they could bug the cows in the field next to them. After a couple trips back down the mountain to fix the hot wire, they finally decided to stay put.  Bless their pointy little heads.

All of the extra driving at sub zero temperatures made the "odd-little-grinding-noise" in the front end of the minivan turn into a "horrific-helicopter-crashing-killing-all-on-board" sound.  No way in heel was I going to work on that in the cold.  We took it to the dealer.  They tore it apart, but couldn't get the parts (both front wheel bearing/hub assemblies) until the next day.  We had to borrow my mother-in-law's Pontiac-Buick to drive home in.  I could feel myself shrinking until I could only see between  the steering wheel and the dash.  I left the blinker on.  We got the van back the next day.  Fixed, but not free.  Something about it being a quarter million miles out of warranty or something.  Crooks.

Now, last summer during our busiest, I broke a molar.  I finally got an appointment made to get it looked at during the first part of this month. At that point, they scheduled me for a root canal on the 25th (only one more shopping month til Christmas!).  Joy.  I got that done and got a temporary crown.

I think I enjoyed it more than plumbing.

On the 26th, we made the decision to put our dog to sleep.  She had been fighting seizures for a year, and was losing the battle. It was time.  Sophie the lodge dog, you will be missed.  Damn.  I'm crying again.   I'd rather have another root canal than go through that again.

Yesterday, on Thanksgiving, all the kids showed up with all of their kids and spouses.  We had two turkeys and enough sides that there was barely room for peoples plates on the table.  We even fed the folks in the two rooms we had staying with us that night.  The food was great, the conversations were great and the people were wonderful.  World problems were solved and history was rewritten.  The laughter was loud and continuous.  After the meal was over, the evening continued in much the same vein.  After all was said and done, and the leftovers were divvied up and everyone had driven back to their homes safely, I realized something.

It was a good month after all.



Friday, November 21, 2014

Loose Again!

It's that time of year again - when we turn the horses out to pasture for the winter.  They weren't as fortunate this year to get to stay at our altitude on the many acres of mountain terrain they so love.  However, they are on a nice grassy pasture, keeping a couple fellow buddies company.

We had quite a welcoming committee....
These are Ida's new passion:  we are not allowed to call them miniature cows; they are officially 'low-line' Angus.  They really are not that much smaller than their normal counterparts, but it is easy to confuse them with yearlings, although they are not.

We were surrounded!  Notice the ice on top of the trailer; that's why we moved the horses a little earlier this year.  We have already had -23* and 80 mph gusts...and winter is still a month away.  No way was I going riding.  The only days it was possible, Bill was working on frozen pipes in the lodge (water tends to gush from breaks as soon as they thaw).
Meet Audobon.  She was the love of Washoe's life when he was younger.  The first time we turned Washoe out to winter pasture, he was just two; I had only owned him a few months.  Audobon, who is about a year younger - and now stands a good hand taller - was in a neighboring pen when we first took the horses off the trailer that year.  He was beside himself trying to get to her; we had to chase him away from her several times before he would finally go off with Ranger and Jesse.  They have since been pastured together during the winter season and she was pretty glad to see him in the trailer, racing around the trailer several times before finally coming to this pose.

After a bit of excitement trying to get all the horses into a roped off corner of the pasture - to keep them away from the cows - we watched the interaction of the first get-together.  Jesse has always been the herd mare, but Audobon is quite a bit bigger than her now and I was curious to see the current status.

It's interesting to see the nuances that we miss watching horses.  In the movie, you actually miss the important parts because they happen so fast.  Bill shot these stills in sequence, and you can see just how subtle their language is.
See how the two 'herds' are separated?

Jesse has started  making her move...see how she has started moving herself away from our other two?
Now she is totally hidden by Audobon, who has turned slightly away from her.
Jesse is continuing to circle her, continuing the turn.
Now you see Jesse coming out from the back with her head in a very slight 'snaking' position.
This is the important shot; notice Jesse's left ear.  It's pointed toward Audobon, essentially asking her to go that direction.
And we have the turn, with Audobon obliging.
Moving in toward the others.
Herd mare has been established....
...and they are all grazing together as one herd.  Peaceful and no theatrics.  Boy, do they love the grass!

I already miss them terribly, but I love seeing them get to be 'free' for awhile.
Bionic Cowgirl

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


date twelve november twenty fourteen

internet down in town stop internet system repeater solar panels snow covered stop battery backup system frozen stop must post using dialup stop temperature of minus twenty three seen earlier this evening stop only one comment that comes to mind stop oh my god that poor brass monkey stop


Thursday, November 6, 2014

A Visitor

This is Ranger.  The horse.

On the day before this day Waneeta did not feed me the morning food.  Beel feeded me.  He sayed Waneeta and An-dre-a had goed to Mon-tan-na.  I think that means they were bad.

At night food Beel feeded me again.  He sayed they had picked up the strange horse and his girl in Mon-tan-na and they would be home very late.

In the very dark in the night before this day Waneeta put a strange horse in the next pen.  I would have talked to him but Beel put hay in the food place.  So I eated it.  It was not night food time and it was not morning food time.  Beel made a mistake I think.  I had to eat it.  I did not want hurt Beel's feelings.

In the sun time today I meeted the new horse.  He is nice.  That Mare likes him a lot.  The Kid does not like him at all.  It is the usual.  Beel and Waneeta and An-dre-a and the girl took us for a walk after morning food.  Waneeta gave me morning food this day.  I like morning food.

It was a good walk.  Not very far. Beel and Waneeta and An-dre-a were very mean to the strange horses girl.  They would smile and say die Anna when they talked to her.  But she never did die.  That was good because she is nice.

We stopped and the peoples all barked and chirped at each other and then we wented home.  Beel sayed that the strange horse will leave on the day after now.

I hope Beel gets me food again in the very dark time.  I would be very polite and eat it for him.

Ranger the horse.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cavalia's Odysseo

The best I can say is it is one of the most professionally presented shows I have ever seen.  I have been trying to come up with the right words to explain this show, other than 'phenomenal', because I am sure that is how most everyone describes it.

Bill and I attended a mid-week performance last week as an anniversary gift to ourselves, justifying the amount of money spent - but it was more than justified!  I went expecting to see a great 'horse performance', but it is soooo much more.  Everything about the show exuded excellence in performers, from the equines and riders/trainers to the musicians, acrobats, aerialists, dancers ... and on and on.  Pictures weren't allowed, and rightly so.  You needed to just sit and watch, and take it all in.

It did indeed have wonderful horse sessions, some with horses performing at liberty (without any gear), doing their trainers desires at the mere motion of a finger.  Other sets had riders performing jumps and precision teamwork.

The big surprise for me was the sessions of music, dancers, acrobats and gymnasts that performed among the horses.  The landscaping inside the big tent lent itself to a desert dune scene, which was changed constantly with the help of finely engineered sets and a super projection system.  At different times you were in a rain forest, or on the desert, or in a winter snow storm, or a summer thunderstorm.

This show had 61 horses performing at one time or another: 21 stallions and 40 geldings.  That alone amazes!  They were all in excellent condition, as were the performers - but you could certainly see why as you watched the tricks that they did.  The African music performed on authentic 'jungle drums' with the dances made you feel like you were peeking through the trees at a ceremony.

The carousal that dropped down from the center of the tent, complete with horses, poles and pole dancers,  started turning and horses on the ground performed around it.   I have a new found respect for 'pole dancers', along with the hoop dancers and the ones scaling the long pieces of fabric dropped from the ceiling.

The finale was a super exhibition of dressage by a single performer, while the other horses were doing precision 'military' work around them.  I can't imagine the concentration on the rider's and horse's minds.  True partnership.

If you ever get a chance to enjoy one of these shows, know that you will be amazed!
Bionic Cowgirl

I took a picture of our mugs.  Juanita thinks the 2 white ones look like her horses.  I've seen them move like that when there was food was involved...

Saturday, October 11, 2014

'Grandparent' Training

We spent some time with the kid's horses this week; it's an ongoing process - but they are learning so much so fast.  We introduce some new ideas to the horses once a week and the kids reinforce that and add to it.

This week's goals were:  hard tie Copper for the 1st time; saddle Skeeter while tied (always had her at liberty or on a loose lead before), more Copper leading practice, put a bit in Skeeter's mouth; more ride time on Skeeter; ... and anything else we could come up with, depending on their mental  attitudes.

We arrived shortly after GunDiva and needed to get some hay off the truck.  After unloading her 30 bales, she thought the truck would be a really good practice 'patience post', as it has good steel side rails and would be pretty hard for the horses to get loose from. 

Since Copper had not had any tying practice, we opted to 'soft tie' him to the horse trailer inside the pen first.  However, on the way to the trailer, Bill decided a little trailer loading would also be good, so .....
Is this a chin scratcher?
Skeeter thought she knew how to do this.  She has been half in and out several times, but ...

... to everyone's surprise, she stepped all the way in!  Just like that!  Even AliBird was amazed.  Well, let's see if Copper was paying attention.
 Copper:  "So what is so interesting in here?"  Maybe not yet.

Well, if you won't go IN the trailer, we will just have to tie you TO it.

 He was pretty cute.  When he realized he couldn't just walk away when he wanted, he tried all kinds of evasive techniques to go away - everything short of panicking and yanking on the rope.  He never once got scared or snorty.  However, he did get in trouble for pawing at the wheelwells and the hitch.  Soon, he was standing still enough, we thought he could go to the truck.

Parking the truck in a central location close to the tack room, both horses were brought out.  They sure do like getting outside the pen.  After this day, they might not be quite so anxious - as it does involve work!
Copper doesn't think this is too bad; sometimes there is hay leftover to nibble on.  Skeeter isn't too sure about this not being able to move around.  Both of their ears tell the story.
Well, since you are just standing here, let's try this bareback pad on you.  Hey, this one has a belly strap!  What do you think, Copper?
Look, there's a breast collar that goes on here.  Well, the front strap is way too long; that will get taken care of this week.   Something else is missing.  Braids!
After they got all pretty, they each got to go for a walk - Skeeter discovering the breast collar was not going to eat her - and Copper learning that he could stand next to a tree, also.  Amazing the things you can get tied to.  Next came the bit.  Just for a minute to get the feel in Skeeter's mouth.  She wasn't quite sure what to think of it, pushing on her tongue.  This week she will be getting to wear it around for awhile.

In fact, the horses were having so much fun, they didn't want to go back in the pen.  I had laid my camera down on a concrete block near the corral alleyway, and Copper stepped on it when he objected to going back.  I know better than to put it down, but even we 'forget' the kinds of things that can happen around horses.  End of pictures for the day.

However, it was not the end of work.  The gear came off of Skeeter and GunDiva got on;  a little more bareback practice.  It just keeps getting better, with a short walk around the area and successful dismount.

After Skeeter's ride, Copper got introduced to clicker training.  He 'charged up' pretty quickly and had fun looking for a silly little wood block we were playing with.  I bet he spent plenty of time that night wondering why he wasn't getting a treat for touching it.
It was a great day with both horses.
Bionic Cowgirl

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Cancelled Day Off

Yesterday we had a scheduled day off.  We were taking NO bookings so we could have some time to ourselves.  After our guests left yesterday morning, we locked up the lodge and ran down the mountain to visit with Juanita's mom, work with our oldest daughters new horses, and buy groceries for the upcoming week.  Then we were going to go on a DATE (movie and dinner at a place that doesn't serve in a bag).  Since today is my birthday, we were going to be able to sleep in.  Sounded perfect.

We got the visit to Juanita's mom taken care of, and we were working with our daughter's horses when we got a call from our neighbor.

"Where are you guys?  Your guests are waiting at the lodge."
"But we don't have any guests tonight.  We're closed."
"They say they reserved room #6, the Teddy Bear Room."
"Dammm.  We are two hours away.  Tell them to eat dinner in Estes Park, and we'll head straight up."

We quit playing with the horses and drove to Loveland and  made a lightning stop at Sam's Club for supplies for the upcoming week.  Then we headed up the mountain.  One hour and forty five minutes later, we pulled into the parking lot.  We unloaded groceries, turned on the lights-hot tub-wood burning stove-and heaters.  Then we checked the reservation book.  Okay, they had booked room #6 with us.  But it was for Tuesday the 7th of October, NOT Tuesday the 30th of September.

Double dammmm.

Oh well, we were home now and good to go, so when they came back from dinner we checked them in.

As the evening wore on, I decided a glass of wine would be good, and dull my disappointment.  So I had one.  I then decided if one was good, two would be really good.  About the time I reached Super Splendiferious good, I ran out of wine (I'm a light-weight, it was only three or four glasses).  I said good night to Juanita and staggered off to bed.

This morning I woke up with my first and worst hangover in YEARS and looked out the window.

Oh yeah.  Today was the day seven tons of hay was being delivered.  And Juanita and I had to unload and stack it all in our storage shed.

Triple dammmm.

Breakfast was prepared and fed, hay was unloaded and all was well except for my head.  All day I kept asking myself why I did that to myself.

I have decided that-


Monday, September 29, 2014

Skeeter's First Ride

I've been lax in keeping up with the blog.  We've been pretty busy here at the lodge, and when we do get away, we have way too much fun playing with the 'grandhorses'.

Last week we spent about 1 1/2 hours at GunDiva's place, continuing with 'training'.  She was delayed at a funeral, so Bill and I just entertained ourselves -at her horses' expense, of course.  After spending time grooming, I started re-braiding Copper's mane.
Copper likes to sleep while I braid.

Bill was leading Skeeter around and somehow ended up on the tub/mounting block.  I turned around in time to see him sitting on Skeeter.  When I asked him why he decided to get on her, he said she made the decision.  As he swung his leg up to rest on her back, she took a step sideways and he could either fall between her and the tub, or just slide on - obvious choice there.
She took five or six steps backwards and stopped.
Bill only had the lead rope so he just sat there waiting to see what she would do; she just stayed calm and thought things through, so Bill stayed put.  He had just about decided to get down when Skeeter relaxed so he tied up the other end of the lead rope to use as reins, and did some flexion exercises with her head, getting her to turn her head from side to side until she actually turned around in a circle in both directions.

 Finally he sort of encouraged her to take a couple of forward steps.
Soon she was moving around at a nice walk like this was a normal thing.  Check out the video clip on GunDiva's blog.  The next time she stopped, Bill slid off with a 'job well done' pat.  The only sad part was GunDiva not being there to see it; it was totally unplanned!

When GunDiva did arrive, she tossed the saddle on again, just for practice - and Bill had to give her a new hairdo.
When the saddle came off Skeeter, it seemed only natural to toss the pad on Copper, who had stood patiently by while all this was happening.
Copper was a tad apprehensive when Bill approached with the pad, but after a couple of rubdowns and sliding it on his back, it was no big deal.  Soon he was walking all over the pen - being careful to not let it fall off.

They are such good horses!
Bionic Cowgirl

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Broken Link

The link to the video only worked yesterday.  After some digging, I was able to find a permalink that should work.

To see Ranger on tell a vision, click HERE.

Saturday, September 27, 2014


B-  Ranger, that was quite a day you had yesterday, wasn't it?  It was still really dark when I climbed into your corral to catch you.  I was kind of surprised when  we heard something crashing around by the stream and all three of you horses just about ran me down.  What was down there, anyway?  Moose?  Elk?  Deer?  Bear?  You all left in a hurry!

R-  Monster.  There was a monster by the water Beel.

B-  Well, you were more than happy to let me catch you after that.  We trailered you down to Denver and you got interviewed for a morning news show.

(Click for Ranger's interview)

B-  So, Ranger.  How'd  you like being on television?

R-  Beel I standed in the rolling shed behind the stinky truck.  Then I standed on a par king lot.  Then I was on a very little grass field.  I was never on a tell a vision.
Getting a little grooming with the mane brush.

A neighbor dog out for his morning walk stopped by for his first visit with a horse.  He was very well mannered!

B-  Sure were buddy.  Do you remember the camera and microphone?
R - "I got a little bored waiting."

R-  I did not stand on them either.

B-  Yes, I mean no... but...  never mind.
Best buds.  "Tessa helped keep me company."

R-  I did see many very nice peoples that gave me nice head rubs.  But I wanted to eat the grass.

B-  You were very patient with them.
Mic check.

R-  They talked a lot.
Anticipation .....

B-  That is part of the interviewing process, Ranger.  They ask, we answer.
LIVE - and on the air!

R-  She sayed some crazy things.

B-  Yeah.  I noticed the only time you spoke up was when she told me "You tamed this horse, this was a BLM horse, a wild mustang".  Then you snorted.

R-  Yes Beel.  Crazy things.  "Tamed"... snort.   And you sayed mean things.  You sayed my tongue weighs more than my brain.

B-  But, that's true.  It does.

R-  But my heart weighs even more than my brain AND tongue.

B-  Well, that's true too.  And it may be a more important thing, at that.  I suspect that's why your folks will work with us and let us sit on your backs in the first place.

R-  We let you because you are part of our herd.
The rock star!

R- And oats.  You have oats.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Short Ride, Long Overdue

B-  Hey Ranger!  I've got a few minutes, and some of our guests are going for a ride.  Let's tag along!

R-  Okay Beel.

B-  They're only going out for an hour, so let's just use a pad.

R-  Okay Beel.

B-  We're in the early part of hunting season, so I'm putting your BRIGHT ORANGE halter on you so you don't look so much like an elk.

R-  Okay Beel.

B-  Great.  We get you all dressed up and it starts to rain.  I know, let's go sit in the hay shed for 15 minutes.  It'll probably clear up by then.

R-  Okay Beel.  Look Beel.  I see hay.  LOTS of hay.  I will eat it now.

B-  Stop that. You turd, you're tearing the bales apart.  Let me stack some pallets on the bales and drag the wagon in front of them...

R-  You are mean Beel.

B-  There is still hay ALL OVER the ground.  Eat up buddy.  I'm just going to sit here.

B-  Alright!  The rain has stopped.  Let's ride.

R-  The neighbor horses are being nice today.

B-  Yeah.  With the feedbags on their faces, they don't get to graze.  Makes them much more polite.

R-  Do not do that Beel.

B-  What?  I'm just singing.

R-  No Beel.  I have heared singing.  It is not that sound.

B-  Geeze.  Everybody's a critic.

B-  Okay Ranger.  Just an hour on the trail, and we're back home.  Let's turn you back out with Jesse and Washoe before they have a fit.

R-  Beel.

B-  Yeah Ranger?

R-  This was a good day.

B-  Yeah buddy, it was.