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

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Calling All Snowshoers!

We got twelve inches of snow three days ago - and then the wind blew our parking lot clear.  This morning we woke up to four more inches of new snow - and it hasn't quit snowing all day - so I think we have probably accumulated another four to six inches, but it's really hard to measure because it tends to compact when you get his much.  A few people have said we might get up to 36 inches before this storm is over, so --- it's time for the winter attire and sports.  Great plans to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday, and then hit the trails next week to check them out.  I'm sort of sorry the horses aren't here; gotta go on our own feet!
Bionic Cowgirl ... on foot.

Monday, January 27, 2014

NWSS Draft Horse Finals

Some friends got us tickets to the last day of the National Western Stock Show for the Draft Horse Finals.  We knew this year was a big deal there - because they had a record number of entries. There were 20 teams this year; this is the 12 finalists.  There were teams from as far away as New Jersey; and the weather in that part of the country has not been good for hauling 8 to 10 2000 lb. horses and all their gear, plus the semi it takes to haul the wagon!

I was using my friend's iPad to take videos for her, so I only got a few on my own camera, and it was hard to get so many horses all in one shot, but here are a few snaps.
Believe it or not, there are 12 wagons and teams lined up here - and this is to determine the World Champion Six-Up Team for 2014.  The turquoise wagon at the farthest end took 1st place and the darker red wagon that you can barely see placed second.  I think the white wagon was 7th or 8th.  This is important, because for the eight-up teams, they usually unhook the lead team,and add a second team, called the swing team.  The third team becomes the point team and the ones closest to the wagon are the wheel team (if I understood it all correctly).  

You would think the placing in the eight's would be pretty similar, but the whole team's dynamics change when you add horses.
All of the teams are not lined up yet, but this is the best picture I had of the winning team.  Yep, the same team took first; that turquoise wagon.  Look at the placement of the feet on the lead team.  You would think it was two halter-class horses being judged.  Every time they stopped, they lined themselves up like that.  You notice there is nobody in front asking them to do that.  It makes me think that was part of the reason they took the first slot.

This time, however, that white wagon placed second and the red wagon (in the middle) took third.  You just can never tell.  That black shire team was really pretty and flashy to watch, with such pretty white faces and white, hairy fetlocks, but they just didn't have quite the precision of the others.
This video was taken as the winning six-up team was leaving the arena after their 'victory lap'.  Notice the precision of the lead teams feet.  Wow!
Before the eight's came out, Bill and I moved from the top of the arena down to the floor - right next to the rail, so it was pretty exciting watching these big horses come right next to you - and feel the ground shake as they go by.  This team took third.

As entertainment between the two heats, they had mule barrel racing.  Due to the incoming weather, only three mules were able to stay and compete, but they were fun to watch.  This video shows the second place mule.  Don't laugh, but I think it's easy to see why it's usually horses running the barrels!
We also got to watch the feed team race finals (six teams), where two teams race against each other to deliver hay to platforms, with 'swampers' (the guys who shuffle the hay bales from the flat sled to the ground and back again).  They are really racing the clock; the fastest time wins; teams are penalized if the horses break into a canter, though - must walk or trot. We got a good video but it's too long to upload here.

Last, but not least we watched the heavy-weight draft pulls.  Teams of two horses are hooked to a sled with bags of sand, starting at 5,000 lbs. weight.  There were 10 teams challenging each other.  Bags were added until non of the teams could move the sled the required 20 ft.  The last team moved 15,000 lbs.  It turned out that the middle-weight horses had also stopped at that weight the day before..
This team placed third; look at all that sand.
Well, we had a great time, and the weather in Denver was quite pleasant.  However, when we got back up the mountain, there was the glisten of snowflakes in the air.  This morning we woke up to about four inches of snow, and as I write this we are topping 12 inches and 4* outside, but NO wind at the moment.  Yeah.  I shan't complain as I feel really badly for all of you in the east!  Here's to warmer days ahead for all of you.
Bionic Cowgirl

Friday, January 24, 2014

Forced Relocation

 B-   Ranger!  Jesse!  Washoe!  Come on guys!  We have to move y'all to another pasture!

B-   Thanks Washoe.  Got your halter/lead rope on and you're ready to go.  Jesse, You're next.  Thank you Jesse.  You're good to go.  Okay Ranger, you are next.

R-   No.

B-  What "no"?  We need to move you to another pasture!

R-   No Beel.

B-  Awww, come on buddy.  The guy that owns this mountain side says he's got a couple neighbors that are worrying about you horses being outside in the snow all of the time.

R-   Are they crazy Beel?

B-   No, Ranger.  It's not really their fault.  They just don't know much about horses.  They are worried you don't have a barn to hide in, and we aren't giving you hay every day.
R-   Beel.  Many trees grow out of the dirt here so we can hide there. The grass grows out of the dirt here and we eat it.  This is a good place.  So no.

B-   Now darn it, the folks see you standing outside all day.  They think you will be cold.

R-   Go catch the deers.  Go catch the elks.  Go catch the moosemonsters.  They might be cold.  Leave me here. 

B-  Awww Ranger, now you have riled Jesse up and she's running off with you, dragging her lead rope.

R-   Good bye Beel.

B-   Ranger, dog gone it!  We have guests showing up at the lodge this afternoon.  I don't want to spend all day tracking you two through knee deep snow!  Just stop moving!

R-   No.


R-   No.

B-   You jerk.
B-  Your mother was a dope.  Your father was a dope.  And if you have any siblings, they're dopes, too.
B-   We can see where you're going, you two.  Your foot prints kinda stand out.
B-  I'm cold and wet.
B-   I wish I had a barn.

B-  Alright, we've been after you knot heads for 45 minutes now, wading through snow drifts on the mountain side, and Juanita finally spotted you two standing in the trees fifty feet away from us.  Just STAND STILL!

R-  No Beel.

B-  Look, Ranger.  Jesse went to Juanita.  Jesse is a good horse.  Just wait for me a minute.  Come on, buddy,  please?

R-  Okay Beel.

B-  Jeeze.  'Bout time.  Okay, now we get to walk back.  Can you hear Washoe hollering?  I'll bet he's tired of just sanding in the trailer.

R-   The kid is noisy.

B-   Wait.  We are still following y'alls tracks.  You went almost all the way out to the trailer, and then turned around and came BACK to us?!?

R-  You were very slow.  We had the time.

B-  Great.  Load up.
B-  Okay buddy, this is your new pasture.  It's down out of the mountains.  Flat and grassy.

R-  It is hot here Beel.

Friday, January 17, 2014

The PBR!!!

On Tues. a friend gave us tickets to the Pro Bull Riding competition at the National Western Stock Show.  This has become a yearly event for the four of us; it's a time when we make time to get together, as our busy schedules seem to pull us in different directions, even though we have similar likes.  So when the NWSS comes to Denver, we get food and chase bulls and horses.  This year, instead of eating out, we fixed a picnic supper - and ended up eating it in the car because of the traffic going into Denver.  We still laughed a lot and poked along in the traffic.

We had wanted to arrive earlier this year so we would have time to check out the event center before the bull riding began.  On the walk from the stadium to the event center Bill and I were asked if we wanted to look around the booths, or join them checking on the horse stalls for the upcoming draft horse events.  Duh!  Like we would choose stuff over seeing horses!

As we traipsed through the cattle barn, we saw some of the biggest Hereford bulls I have ever seen.  I heard that they now breed for flatness of back and length of leg:  equals more space for meat.  They all looked like they had just stepped out of the beauty shop; I commented that the guys must have to have lessons in how to shave the tails "just so", as they all had the same 'styling'.

Entering the next building, we saw the 'nursery'; a family of goats with two of the cutest kids; a very large sow pig with eight very hungry piglets,

 and an alpaca mama and baby.
We noticed some paint horses being warmed up in the neighboring arena, so we walked over to watch for a couple of minutes.  OMG  I almost cried; I couldn't believe how these horses were expected to move!  I am sure I will be insulting showmanship here - and I am sorry - but if I ever saw one of my horses moving like this, I would think it was in terrible pain - and that's the first thought that went through my head watching these horses.
I only saw two horses out of the whole bunch moving in a natural state.  I'm sure they wouldn't place, but they looked happy, and so did their riders.  They were just having a good time.

At that, we moved back to the stadium and the bull riding.
We saw a lot of this ...       blurry, very fast bulls ....
and a lot of this ...     'cause a good deal of the bulls wouldn't hold still in the chute long enough for the cowboy to get situated.
Mostly we saw a good deal of this ....     The bulls were ahead about 3 to 1....
However, there would be a really good ride now and then ...
This is what it looked like in still life .... when the bull decided to chase the horse...
I couldn't blame the horse for looking a tad worried.

During a break in the rounds, we saw some team penning.  If any of you have read Mark Rashid's stories about team penning - this is a prime example - of how to scatter cattle and NOT win a competition.
Yep, the winners did it moving calmly into the herd, gently sliding the calf out and getting three into the pen in 19 seconds.  Another example of how going slower is really faster.

At half time, we got a short exhibition of truly good teamwork... a six-up team of black quarter horses pulling the stagecoach and a team of Percherons on the white wagon.
After the show, we went downstairs and chatted with the owners of the Percherons.  We are constantly amazed at the traveling schedule these guys keep and still keep these horses healthy and in top shape.  Their harness and gear is kept spotless.

Sunday, we get to see them perform at Big Thunder at the Budweiser Event Center, and again the following Sunday at the NWSS for their final performance.  If ever given a chance to see them... GOOOO!
Bionic Cowgirl

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Moose Crossing

Today we decided it was time for our weekly horse check; just to make sure they were still where they belonged (sometimes Jesse takes them on a walk-about).  About 200 yards after we turn onto Hwy 72, we see this sign:
Now this always causes a chuckle from Bill and I because we are not known for moose on our side of the Continental Divide, although we have heard that they are spotted more frequently now; but really - a sign!

So another mile and a half down the road, I see this:
I start hollering, "Moose, stop!"

Just to make sure, Bill turned the car around and we drive slowly by as this beautiful, juvenile, female moose happily chews on bushes - right at the edge of the road.
Talk about making our day - and of course, now we have to quit laughing at the sign.

We did get over to the horses, too, who were more than happy to enjoy the apples we had taken for them.
Last week we brought them no food, just a drink.
They were kind enough to take an obligatory drink of water after we painstakingly hauled it over to them in 5-gallon containers.
 I love this picture of the wind blowing Ranger's mane.  They are all so furry and shiny; I think they like their "wild days".

We spotted 'other' large tracks in one of the fields next to theirs.  Some we checked on and they belonged to our guys, but others were obviously a 'different' animal.  Wonder if they have met their neighbor moose yet?
Love mountain life!
Bionic Cowgirl

Sunday, January 12, 2014

"Crafters' Special" Weekend

Well, we just finished up a "Crafters' Special" weekend; it's when we, personally,  host a weekend for crafters.  Many years ago it started out as a "consultants only" weekend, when we invited all of the Creative Memories consultants who had done retreats up here to come up for a special time just for them, so they could work on their own projects without having to tote a lot of stuff for sale and take care of other people.  It was quite a popular time until the recession took a huge bite out of everyone's travel pockets.  Then we missed a year when I had both hips replaced and I needed that particular time to learn to walk again.

After that, we started it back up as a crafter's weekend.  It's a time when Bill and I experiment with new foods to offer our groups and just get to enjoy the company of people who have become good friends over the years.  Some of these people have been coming to retreats here for 15 years; talk about loyal!

The early arrivals faced forceful winds blowing snow in their faces while they packed their stuff in - didn't bother them a bit.  Later the snow cleared but we ended up with 87 mph winds on Sat.  We were all glad to stay inside the Lodge that day.  We got to try a couple of new soups on Friday night and a whole new menu on Saturday night.  I think all the new items are 'keepers', according to the 'judges' - so we are calling it a successful weekend.

Until January 2015, stay safe and take lots of pictures!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

At Breakfast This Morning

At breakfast this morning, while talking with our guests, the conversation went to horses.  No surprise there, it often does.  You know how horse people are.

We were discussing what we had learned about horse communication, and how it helped in training our mustangs.  One of our guests asked if we knew whether different herds in the wild used different "dialects" in horse language.  As it turns out he had read several articles on orca (killer whales) and that different pods of whales, even neighboring ones, used different "words" to communicate with their pod members, as compared with the neighbors.  I said I didn't think horses had any particular dialects, as theirs is a visual language consisting of pinned ears, bared teeth, bugged eyes and the like.  Not much room for accents.

The conversation went on to what our guest's current job was.  A freelance cultural anthropologist.  Apparently he was in fairly high demand, as not a lot of US citizens speak much Mayan.


We talked for quite some time about his trips to southern Mexico, and how difficult it was to find a good representation of the Mayan language, because, like the killer whales, different villages use a lot of different words.  And now there is a huge amount of Spanish mixed in.

Surprisingly, there is no Mayan word for "internet", or even "telephone".  Who have thunk.

I love my job.


Monday, January 6, 2014

Winter Buffet

We took hay over to our horses a couple days ago.  We had below zero(f) temperatures and a little under a foot of new snow with no wind, so the grass in the meadow they like to eat at was pretty well covered.  As I drove up in the truck with the bales in the back, I saw Ranger pawing at the ground to get to the snow.  I over heard him muttering:

"This is the dumbest place I have ever lived.  In the before people time I lived in Nee-va-da.  The white stuff did not fall ALL OF THE TIME like it does here.  When I lived in Air-a-zona I never saw the white stuff."

He continued his monolog until he noticed me bringing a couple bales to the fence and tossing them over.  Then he and the grays came at a run.

None of them seemed worse for the wear, but they were glad to see some food they didn't have to dig for.

The wind picked up last night, and has blown things clear, so we won't need to take them any more hay right away.

Horses are well designed to handle cold like this.  Juanita commented this morning that with that long nose warming the air they breath, they are pretty well equipped for these temps.  I'll bet it's not usually too pleasant on the Mongolian steppes this time of year, and their ancestors did pretty well there, without our help.  

On the other hand, for us hairless beach apes...

Stay warm.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Welcome 2014

Well, for all of those who have not heard through the Facebook gravevine, I have to announce that we have added a new addition to the family.  Bill and I are now officially great-grandparents!  At 6:40 this morning, "The Girl" presented Deejo's family with a grandson, weighing in at 7 lbs, and 19 ins. long, with a full head of hair!  Way to go Grandpa Deejo (get used to it, kiddo).  Congratulations to all.  Babies are such a joy!

We had a good gathering last night for our Candlelight New Year's Eve party; lots of pics taken but none with my camera.  Sorry.  Maybe if I beg real hard, some of those will show up on Facebook pages or we will get an email.  It was low key, laid back, and totally enjoyable, ending with champagne, shrimp, cocktail weiners, fruit plate, cheese and crackers and a myriad of cookies and fudge - plus singing by the great maestro, Bill, at the stroke of midnight.

We woke to a new inch of snow on the ground, bright sunshine and some blue skies.  Welcome 2014 - and happy birthday to all our horses.  Jesse and Washoe really were born at this time of year; Ranger just gets to claim the 'regular horse birthday of Jan. 1st' since he was 8 before being 'captured' and nobody can even guess what time of year he was born.  I'm not sure where the time has gone, but I am having a difficult time accepting that none of our herd are youngsters now.

Happy New Year!
Bionic Cowgirl

Juanita wrote the post, but she let me caption the picture of the baby blanket she made.  Do you suppose the root for the word "crotchet"  comes from the base word for crotchety? Bill

Bill is off to a real good start for the New Year!!!  BC