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

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Training of a Trail Horse - Skeeter

Well, we have had a few successful outings with GunDiva's horse, Skeeter.  We had to forego training for a bit while we took out the rides for Blue Sky (Bucky rides), so she got a bit of a rest.  Not sure she wanted the rest, as she was always the first to the fence when we entered with a halter.  Such a good sign.

Bill, Autobot and I had finally found time to try a short ride in the forest - Skeeter's first time 'out of town'.  Autobot led out on Washoe, I followed on Ranger and Bill brought up the rear on Skeeter, so she was among friends and could watch how the "old pros" handled all the trail type obstacles.  Skeeter can tend to get stuck sometimes.  When she sees something that is new to her, she just stops and stares - then it is like she has forgotten how to move her feet - so it was a slow beginning.  She does eventually remember that she should be moving.  We hadn't planned on going very far; just enough to see how she would respond to all the new stimuli.

Of course, Ranger and I had to add our share of suspense.  On the first downhill, Ranger's knees gave out and down we went.  Occasionally that would happen with Bill, but Ranger would catch himself and pop back up.  This time (maybe because of the downward slope) we went all the way down, with him rolling to the right and pinning my leg.  He was able to right himself, so I checked him out and climbed back on.  Of course, there was this huge new bruise inside my right knee.  Poor boy seemed so embarrassed.  Skeeter?  Just stood there and watched; no spook in her.

Not too much farther it was becoming apparent that she was working too hard at staying calm, so we turned around and headed back home.  She did a great job.
* * * * * * * * * *
A few days later, GunDiva came up and took her for her first official trail ride, completing what we call the 'short one-hour ride'.

 Again, a few stuck places, a few places of not staying on the trail, but overall a very successful, complete ride.

 She is handling some tough trail elements and learning to wear her boots.

She handled the switchback well and finished the circuit.
* * * * * * * *
Today, Autobot climbed aboard Skeeter and I rode Washoe.

The goal was again to complete the short one-hour ride.  Many parts of it were much smoother and we found a couple new 'sticking places', but not the small creek crossing.

She is going to be a super trail horse.

Bionic Cowgirl

Friday, July 14, 2017


On Tuesday, May 30th 2017, I got a phone call I had been dreading.

I have been working on this post for months now.  It's not easy.

When Juanita and I moved up to Allenspark to run the lodge in December of 1997, one of our goals was to own horses.  The Allenspark Lodge is right across the street from what was billed as Colorado's oldest, continuously run riding livery.  (It opened in the late 1800's renting burro's for rides in the mountains.) We hoped that would help us learn about horses and gain some experience with horses before buying our own.  The first year the livery was run by Chris, and we learned some good stuff about horses.

On the second year, Bucky took over managing  the livery.

Now Bucky was a unforgettable character.  If you spent much more that 10 minutes with him, you would remember.  Up-front.  Outgoing.  Funny.  All "old west cowboy".  He could tell you a story that you knew could not possibly be true, and then bring in a witness to verify the story as true.  I know, because sometimes, I was the witness and had done that $#!T with him.

He became an integral part of our lives and our family.  Our kids and our grand kids all had favorite Bucky stories.

Miles Buckley,"Bucky" to his friends (and everyone else) was born a little over 65 years ago in Maine.  His parents were not poor, and I believe they expected great things from their son.  Doctor, lawyer, politician.  Something along those lines.  But from the time he was a small child, he wanted to be a cowboy.

And he never outgrew the desire.

When we met he had a small acreage outside Nogales Arizona.  He lived there with wife number 4, and he was coming up alone to Colorado during the summer to escape the heat, and probably his wife.  The first year he came up here he ran the Wild Basin Lodge Livery.  (Juanita and I ran that one for about 30 years one summer a few years back.)  The next year he ran the livery across the street from us in Allenspark.  We developed an unexpectedly close friendship.  That may have had something to do with the fact I had a liquor license and sold beer...

The next summer, Bucky tipped his hat goodbye to 'ol number 4 and rode up to Colorado on horseback.  He had one saddle horse, and one untrained 2 year old Mexican mustang that he broke to ride on the trail.  He rode from right at the Mexican border to the middle of Colorado in 9 weeks.  No support team, no cell phone, no GPS (I'm not sure the army was allowing civilian use of the satellite system yet), just him and his horses and a compass.  He had lost about 20 pounds by the time he got here in April.  He made me take him into town to buy some tennis shoes.  "I'm DONE with these boots." he said.

Over the following years we gave each other support or grief, depending on the circumstances.  We knew each others strengths and weaknesses and would respond accordingly.  I knew he was afraid of electricity, so if I saw him working on an outlet or switch, I would sneak up behind him and CLAP loudly by his ear.  He'd jump out of his skin, and I'd laugh.  But then, he knew I was afraid of heights so when I was challenging myself and looking off a cliff during a rest stop one ride, he snuck up behind me and grabbed my shoulders.  I got to ride home in soiled underwear.  Jerk.

Bucky introduced Juanita and I to our first horses.  He had a friend at a livery in Estes Park that wanted to unload sell a couple mustangs that he had not had much time or success in working with.  Bucky gave us a lot of advice on how to work with the animals, and some of it was good.  Some of it... well we still have Ranger Mustang, and he came out okay.  They didn't get along too well.  Every time Bucky would see Ranger Mustang, he would tell me "As soon as that 'sum bitch dies, you let me know.  I'll climb on and ride him then, but not before."

Bill, Juanita--------Bucky, 'Ol Number 5

When asked about the wife he left behind, Bucky would say "Wives are like fence-posts.  You just go on a little further, and you'll find another."  Well, Number 5 found him.  Andrea stayed married to him longer than all of the others combined, I think.  Which was something of a surprise.  One time he came over for a beer (or 3) and when Juanita asked how Andrea was doing.  He suddenly leapt up shouting "Oh no!" and ran out the door.  Turns out that as Andrea had dislocated a knee-cap in a horse related accident, she needed help getting into and out of the shower.  He forgot her.  For an hour or more.  The hot water had run out LONG before he remembered her.  Sitting on a short shower stool and not QUITE being able to turn the water off.

A number of my blogs featured Bucky, sometimes under an alias such as "Cowboy" or "Ham".
Vacation, Another vacation, Work related.


Early last January when Juanita and I went to pick up Alloy the mustang from the San Diego area, we stopped at Bucky and Andreas' ranch in southern Arizona both going out and coming back.  It was a nice, if short, couple of couple day visits.

Then, about a month and a half later we got a call from Andrea.  Bucky had gone into the doctors' office complaining of shortness of breath and thought he might have pneumonia.

Turns out he had cancer.

In his lungs, his liver, his stomach, his bones, all stage 4.


The VA hospital made a good faith effort, but there wasn't much that could be done, really.

Bucky had a group of riders scheduled to ride in Monument Valley in northern Arizona/southern Utah from mid to late April, but he was in no shape to take the rides out.  So I filled in for him.  I stopped by his place and visited with Andrea and Bucky before picking up their horses and heading up north for a couple of weeks.  He did not look good.  He had lost probably 30 pounds in the 2 months since I had seen him.  Two weeks later when I brought the horses back, he was completely bed ridden and home bound.

On May 30th, I got that phone call from Andrea.  Bucky had passed away.

They had a ride scheduled in Colorado for July, so Andrea brought up the horses, and Juanita and I took out the rides.

Yesterday, after the guests had gone, Andrea and I took our horses up into the mountains just out of town and sat on a hill top and toasted Bucky with some good, aged, single malt scotch.

"Thanks for the time you spent with us, Bucky.  You will be missed."

Ranger had carried his ashes up with us in his saddle bags.

I got him to ride Ranger after all.


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

I Love a Parade

B-  Hey Ranger!  You've lived here in Allenspark for 18 or so years and you've never been in the 4th of July parade.  You're about 30 years old now and there won't necessarily be many more chances for you. It will be fun!  Let's do this!

R-  Okay Beel.

B-  So let's clean you up a bit and put some tinsel on your breast collar...

R-  No Beel.

B-  Come on, buddy.  It's purdy!

R-  No Beel.  Ten-sell is very scary.

B-  Okay then.  No tinsel.

B-  All righty then, let's hit the road!   We'll just follow our truck and ride next to Washoe...

R-  Beel there is a monster on the back of the stinky truck.  I must not go there.

B-  Ranger, it's a banner.  It will not hurt you.  Just touch it.

R-  Okay Beel.  Oh.  It isn't very scary Beel.  You should not worry about it.

B-  Right.  So far so good.  Okay, it sounds like the parade is starting.  We seem to be DEAD LAST .  That's probably just as well.  Nothing will be chasing us.

B-  Okay, here we go!  Hey look!  We are just behind a truck with a killer sound system and some HUGE speakers!  They've turned it on just as we're rounding the corner in front of the post office and...


B-  CHEESE AND CRUST, RANGER!  It's just a bunch of people and kids!  And a little loud music...



B-  Jeeze.  It may be about 500 people, but most of them are just kids holding plastic bags to catch candy with.  And a few pinwheels, flags, crazy hats and costumes and stuff.

R-  Say Beel.  These are just many many peoples!  You do not need to be afraid!

B-  Great.  Can I climb back on now?

R-  Okay Beel.

B-  Wonderful.  I just got a standing ovation for climbing back on my horse.  Thanks for embarrassing me in front of the crowds of strangers and neighbors, buddy.

B-  Okay, we've finished with the biggest part of the town and crowds.  Let's call it a win and go home.

R-  Okay Beel.

R-  Beel?

B-  Yeah buddy?

R-  How about no more parararades any more.

B-  Sounds good my friend.  You're  old enough to make that choice.  But at least it's off your bucket list.  That's a list of things you want to do before you die.

R-  I do not want any thing to do that will make me think I am going to die Beel.  Please empty the bucket.

B-  Okay buddy. But wouldn't it be fun to-


Monday, July 3, 2017

A Bad Thing Almost

This is Ranger.  The horse.

On the day before this day we the whole herd almost starved to death.

Many days ago more horses moved into my herd.  We barely had enough food before the new horses comed.  Then the new horses started to eat here.  We barely had enough food still.  We would run out of food just after the sun wented up and the peoples would bring more food before we died much.  I was not happy but it was okay.

On the day before this day the food was gone away before the sun EVEN WENTED AWAY!  We would have gotted dead.  I think the new horses eated too much of the food.

It was a good thing I knowed what I needed to do.

I yelled and yelled and yelled.  A people from the next door people barn commed over and gived me some grass so I stopped yelling while I chewed.  But I runned out of grass so I yelled and yelled and yelled.

Beel finally wented over to find out why I yelled.  I showed him the no food in the food places.

It taked a long time for Beel to understand and I had to show him a lot.  But he finally understanded.  Beel broughted more foods for all of us the horses to eat.

It is very hard to train peoples.  It is even more harder to train the doe-mestic peoples.   You have to be slow and con-sistant . 

I think they are not too smart.

Ranger.  The horse.