leaving colorado

Our last day was spent at the ranch, one more trail ride made leaving Colorado a little easier...there is nothing I would rather do. Good friends, good horses, surrounded by beautiful scenery, add a sprinkle of funnies - makes for a perfect ending to a memorable trip. I rode Trevor's roping horse Penny this time - wow is she fast! Rode her last year too, guess I forgot that about her (duh). What a good girl, altho not the smoothest going down steep inclines (can't have everything). After we got back down I was asked, do you still like her? Yep, without hesitation - Penny is fun to ride! The last incline we went down completely cracked me up. I swear at one steep point I was shifting more side-to-side than moving forward lol. It's great fun to ride so many different horses, the ranch has every shape and size and temperament. On other rides I chose Leonard, a huge black gentle giant draft who is extremely sweet - but waaaay too slow for me (what the hell was I thinking?) and Gravy a dapple grey draft cross - a good boy.

Every year finds us spending more time up at the ranch, and doing more things - which we love. This year we helped finish clearing their new trail, keeping them clear is a never ending job for them. I'll try to snag a photo from my daughter from this trip, if not post one from a previous year.
I left my big 'ol camera at the ranch so I could completely enjoy the rides. After seven years lets just say I've got a few I could share, along with many special memories.


white river national forest

Our first full day in CO found us trail riding up at our friends ranch, absolutely priceless! Got to ride my favorite ranch horse Shadow. She is used sparingly since she is 26, altho she doesn't know it - or show it, other than the need for a few extra breaks. Fine with us, gives us more time to soak up the breathtaking views. She was so happy to get out on the trail, what a workhorse - you have to hold her back. We had lotsa fun bush-wacking off the beaten path, cantering on the flat part and good laughs while moving a few large fallen branches - it was a great time. We are forever greatful we get to spend with them, and truly enjoy our special rides.

My favorite part is riding through the absolutely beautiful aspens, it's surreal. Your surrounded by them, with the sun shining through the tree tops - it's simply magical. We beat the sheep their this year (they mow everything down) so the aspens not only looked beautiful, they smelled great too! Cow Parsnip blanketed the area, along with some areas of moonkshood, wild geraniums and other wild flowers. If your ever in the area, be sure to take in a beautiful trail ride at Vail Stables it's well worth it.


Mandts Show

We had a good time at the Mandts Show this weekend. Ali and Harmony did awesome, and took home many ribbons - but more importantly, they had fun. Always more enjoyable when a friend is showing too. Ashley used to board Bill at the same stable as Harmony, so the four of them know each other well. Enjoy the pics, but don't laugh too hard at the adult dork on a lead-line who got called out of the audience to hop on Harmony for the last fun class of the show!
Ashley (Ali's friend) on Bill (Haflinger) and Ali on Harmony

Ali and Harmony waiting to hear the results

Four buddies in a friendly competition

Ali (in blue) riding Harmony western

Fun ending to the show, smiles all the way around


vet visit

Koda & Nemo surprised us with how well behaved they were during their first vet visit (with us as owners) we had no idea how they would react - they couldn't have behaved better! The boys got their vaccinations updated, and Koda had his wolf teeth removed. We were really happy with Lodi Vets/Madison Equine's service, it was unrushed, good advice and they answered all our questions. Looks like we just need to keep on doing what we've been doing :)

Speaking of what we've been doing, last night was another successful saddling session - we added desensitizing with our son shooting air from his paintball gun nearby, while standing still & lunging in saddle - wasn't very exciting, the horses didn't seem to care. Then we took them hiking while saddled - complete with close-by moving bobcats, trucks, etc. We haven't been hiking on the path since early June (thanks to the bugs) but decided to brave it, other than being aware of their surrounding - all went well.


another exciting night

Tonight turned out to be another exciting "saddle lesson" night, guess who lunged both saddled horses for their second time - ME! Doesn't take much to make this girl happy, altho I know someone who would beg to differ ;) First time I've ever lunged Nemo, an interesting time to start...but he did awesome for me and figured out all my non-perfect cues right away.

Koda seemed a little stiff at first, loosened up and got into the groove in no time - he was such a good boy tonight. He also did everything he was asked, no sign of a pogo stick. I think it really helped that Brad did some light lunging with both of them prior to handing them over to me (who knew?). He introduced a new directional change to the boys, which they both got right away. Pretty darn good for 2 year olds, if you ask me.

also wormed them and gave them a salt block, maybe they'll stop licking us/everything? We have a wellness vet visit scheduled Friday, should be interesting?!

Enjoy the photos from tonight. Koda's went first, Nemo second - he anxiously awaited his turn and was caught on camera with a goofy close-up!



first saddling experience

Last night we clipped bridle paths, and the boys got their first experience with a secure saddle! It was pretty exciting, our boys are growing up! I'm really proud of both of them for taking it all in stride (pun intended).

We only had the saddle on them one short session, unsecured a couple days ago. We also did some work prior to that with just blankets. Interesting that Nemo initially cared more about the blanket pad, than the saddle. Maybe it was the white color, or that it smells like our mare, or just that first feeling of something covering their back (besides dirt). The wool blanket proved to be less scary.
We were suprised how well Nemo handled having a saddle on. Brad pretty much threw the saddles up on them both - and said "walk 'em" lol. He took over from there, it was uneventful even at a trot.
Koda could have cared less, all he wants to do is play with the blankets/saddle. He did however care about the feeling of moving with a cinch on, and did the little pogo stick thing a couple times each direction. Nothing major, barely got off the ground and over as quick as counting - one, two. Not surprised considering his personality, and better than I thought he would do. I'll try to get pictures of them saddled-up soon :)


hoof care

We had the boys feet done last weekend, and started Nemo on Horseshoer's conditioner. We have been feeding him their supplement for several months now - it seems to make a difference. Do you use hoof supplements/conditioners with your horses?

Nemo may very well need shoes in the future...which would make two out of three with the need for shoes, sigh. Oh well, time will tell - either way we wouldn't trade him for the world. Such a sweet guy, who is easily misunderstood. He is always watching out for us (aka everything) and we have every intention of doing the same for him. Thankfully Koda's feet are rock solid, as far as his sweet personality - let's just say he keeps us guessing :)


do it yourself

Koda & Nemo are doing well and continue to progress with their training in/out of the round pen. We recently added desensitizing with blankets, and I am beginning to do more advanced ground work with Koda myself...it's exciting, but different not having a trainer to rely on. I'm used to being told what to do, or not do, or do better or different - guess I've got to figure most of that out on my own now?? That's a scary thought. On the other hand I can listen to trainers orders, read, watch and learn from them all I want - but sometimes the only way to really learn, is to do it yourself. Thankfully Koda is very forgiving. Brad is there, and helpful (some days more than others...) and I know things will get easier as my confidence & knowledge increase - until then, I'm just thankful our horses have such great temperments! We really lucked out, someday they are going to make great riding partners :)