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

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.

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-