Sunday, July 31, 2011

Getting Dressed

Okay, Estee, we're gonna try a saddle today...

Let's get the bird poop off...

Let's see...yeah, first the saddle pad...

Oof...this saddle business is so foreign...



Wait...these straps...I know I'm supposed to do something with them...

Oh, that's right, we have to tie the saddle on...

Good thing my hands know what to do...thank God for muscle memory...

Whew!  All saddled up!

And I even managed to get in the saddle.

I've got some great pictures from our ride up the Goat Trail today, but those are going to have to wait until I get back from HorseMaster.  It's that time again, time for me to load up and head down to southern Colorado to work as a crew member for Julie Goodnight's TV show.  It's a blast, but I'll be super busy and wireless is spotty down there. As soon as I return from HorseMaster, I head up the hill to the Lodge for the High Country Rendezvous.

Ride safe and hug your horses; I'll see y'all after HCR.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Willow Tree Trail

On Saturday, Beel Bill and I went for a ride on one of my favorite trails.  We don't ride it often, which makes it a huge treat.  It's what I would consider an "extreme" trail in that there are parts of it that you can't see and you absolutely must trust your horse to pick its footing properly.  This is not a competition trail, with one obstacle then another that you're scored on.  At several points, your horse is picking its way over downed branches and water while you're pushing tree limbs out of the way (or, if you're me, using the Flip camera to protect your face).

This is the same trail that many years ago Estes' daughter Meeker refused to take.  That was the last time I ever attempted to take a dude string along that trail - I had nightmares of what could have happened if the critter hadn't made noise until we were halfway in the willows.  I don't know if Compass' new wranglers even know the trail exists.  We talked about taking it for HCR last year because we knew that everyone could ride; in the end, because Baggins was being such a jerk for Rachel, we bypassed it. (<--- That didn't come out the way I meant it to.  Baggis was being a jerk; I wasn't sure how he'd handle the close quarters.  Has nothing to do with Rachel's riding ability.  She doesn't give herself enough credit in her ability.)

I had my sights set on doing the Willow Tree trail this year and spent the last week working up my courage to do it bareback.  I knew Beel Bill would be up for it - heck, he wants me to do the Goat trail bareback - so off we went.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Queen Estes Says

I'm busy putting together a video of the ride we took on Saturday, so Queen Estes agreed to help me out while I'm working on the video.

Mom - GunDiva - came up for a ride on Saturday, but the Bionic Cowgirl had borrowed my pretty purple halter for Jesse.  Oh, you should have heard Mom holler about that!  I thought we'd just get a spa day instead of a ride, but Mom came up with something else to catch me with...

"Really Mom?!  Ashinator's barrel rein?  I look like a dog on a leash. Really?!"

"Psst.  You there, Asset.  Yeah, you.  Come cut me loose."

Ugh.  I'm so embarrassed.

Mom did say that she would only do this with a well-mannered horse that she could trust to stand still.  I think she was trying to flatter me so I'd forget that she tied me up like a dog.  And Beel was standing next to the rail with the little silver flashing box (really, I don't know why Ranger freaks out about it).

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Estee and Kiddos

Estes is truly the equine version of me.  A crusty old bitch on the outside, but a total marshmallow on the inside (don't tell anyone!).  Usually she does a pretty good job of hiding her soft, gooey insides, but she totally blew it a couple of weeks ago.  A friend of mine from way back (we're talking 19 years - yes, I just cried a little bit, I'm not old enough to have known anyone for 19 years!) came to visit her family and brought her kids up for a "ride".  With kids, normally we just throw them on bareback and lead them around the block.  Gives the kids the feeling that they got to ride without the trauma of taking them up on the mountain.  Trust me, going up on the mountain the first time you've ever climbed up on a horse can be very traumatic.

Jen's daughter, E, happily climbed up on Washoe and waited for D to get settled on Estes.  Only, he was having no part of it.  We managed to get him up on her, but that was as far as we could go.  His poor little nerves were shot just at the thought of being on her - and she's a short little mare.  Despite being absolutely terrified, he managed to find a smile for the camera...

Mom headed out, leading Washoe with E on board and I followed up riding Estes. 

We made it around the block intact and stopped just long enough for Jen to snap a picture.

I was able to convince D to give Estes a treat for letting him sit up on her.  I just love how soft her eyes are and how gentle she's being taking the treat from his hand.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Queen Estes Says...

"Stand still?"

"You want I should stand still?  Fine!"

"This is what I think of this Standing Still Lesson!"

"Are we perfectly clear now?" (look closely)

"Standing still again? I won't have it!"

"I won't!"

"I won't!"

Dang, I love my opinionated mare!

Friday, July 8, 2011

This and That - 4th of July related

On my way up to the Lodge last week, I was astounded by the St. Vrain River.  It's higher than I ever remember it being.  Part of it is the fact that Winter forgot to leave, Spring never showed, and Summer cranked up the thermostat.  We were well above normal for snow pack, so once Summer showed up, the run-off has been astounding.  Also, Summer brought a friend, Monsoon, who has been determined to cause flash floods.  Winter, Summer and Monsoon have worked together to bring record highs for our river levels.

This is just crazy...

You shouldn't be able to see the river that close to the level of the road.

I had a harebrained idea to paint the horses' hooves red, white and blue for the parade.  Since I had no idea where to find hoof paint in those colors, I settled for non-toxic poster paint.  It worked out pretty well...

Except for the dirt that the horses managed to kick all over their pedicures.  *shrugs* It was worth a try and it was fun.

The morning of the Fourth, Nebalee got in on the action and put the sparkle polish over the paint.  I don't know how I managed to not get a picture of that.  I decided the week before that I was going to ride bareback in the parade - if Estes hasn't killed me on the mountian, she probably wasn't going to kill me on the same road that we ride when we don't have time to go up the mountain.  The problem of riding without a saddle meant that we couldn't do a whole lot of decorating.  Instead of wearing the "skirt" she usually does for the parade, she got a big pretty bow in her tail...

...and the 3 Heathens "brand" in blue sparkles.  None of the kids were at the parade, so they get a nod with the brand. 

Poor Washoe had to wear a pretty bow too...but what a cool picture...

Strutting our stuff...

Even Ripley got in on the action (as a spectator)...

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Equine Bloggers! It's Almost Time!

Can you believe there's less than a month until this year's HCR?  Where did the time go?

With Mom's hip surgeries, recovery and the beginning of their season, it took us a while to come up with a schedule for HCR, but we've got a tentative one hammered out.

3:00 - Check in at the Lodge
6:00 - Welcome dinner

8:00 - Breakfast
Saddle fit seminar by Dr. Dave (time TBA)
Horse games (time TBA)
12:00ish - Lunch
Free time for shopping/touring RMNP/Estes Park (time TBA)
6:00 - BBQ at Livery

9:00 - Breakfast
11:00 - Ride to Calypso Cascades, sack lunch furnished.  Cost $65/horse
3:00 - 6:00 free time
6:00 - Dinner at Lodge

9:00 - Breakfast
11:00 - Check-out

By extending HCR a day, we've increased the amount of free/blogging time.  After all, we are a group of equine bloggers, right?

If anyone has any other ideas for activities or has an area of expertise that they'd like to share, let me know.  I am considering doing a short presentation on the Bosu ball and exercises that helped improve my balance; I'll bring the Bosu up so everyone can give it a try if they'd like.

If you haven't yet registered for HCR, click here for information.  The Lodge is filling fast, and HCR is just next month, so if you've been on the fence about joining us, just do it!  You won't regret it, I promise.