Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Lost Valley Horsemanship Week October 2012

I arrived a few days before Horsemanship week so was able to get in a number of good small rides. On recommendation I tried Puzzle and she is small and neat and easy to get on and off her only quirk is that sometime she will jump logs and sometimes she will step over them. So her small size came in handy when biggish logs were encountered. She also had long reins so she very politely waited till after I had scrambled over and then asked her to jump over them!

We had a hilarious excursion to West Creek (the other side of Snoopy rock) to look for cows that had been seen over that way by the locals. A small group of us took our horses and rode for about an hour but seeing no sign of cows we gave up and resorted to driving around this quaint part of Colorado but without any luck. But we had a lot of fun.

We then had a very unusually rainy day and after taking tack off horses I was soaked through. What a good excuse to have a fire in my cabin.

It was also great to meet new dog Shelby. Young and a lot to learn, but so sweet!

As Horsemanship week started there were a good number of new people some of whom had never ridden before but as usual, due to the hard work and personal charm of Jeff and Laurie, everybody learned a lot and we had the usual amount of fun and learning of new riding and cow working skills.

We managed to get enough riders to go on a day ride to the South Platte and had more adventures than we bargained for. Jan took the more scenic route into the South Platte – virtually diving off a bank into deep water and getting herself soaked – lucky no injuries to either her or Ben. We then rode home the way we had come to avoid people shooting on the south side of the river and had a great day out.

The usual ranch entertainments were on offer and the melodrama was very good this year with excellent singing. Spike kept us entertained with the square dance and the prize giving was as hilarious as usual. Everyone finished the week in great spirits but sad to go home, as usual.

I used Rosie (4 years old) in the arena for cattle work, obstacles and the competition and she was great at the obstacles having been so well trained by Chelsea – the gate opening was no problem and she looked like a professional.

I rode Jade towards the end of my stay. As she is notoriously spooky and it was very windy we had a sedate ride around Goose Creek loop. As she didn’t have to be “on guard” as lead horse I think she settled quite well with me. She is another small horse, so handy to get on when you have short fat, hairy legs like me (English reference to Morecame and Wise joke!! -).

It was great to get to see old friends, meet new ones, talk about controversial books and enjoy my second home, as usual.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

For all riding holdiay enthusiasts

Fed up of the cold weather, muddy riding and newpapers trying to get us all worked up about weather to come!?

Look at this new blog about riding holidays and dream on!!


Friday, 1 June 2012

Lost Valley Ranch – Spring visit 2012
The lobby was being renovated as I was there and is now modern and beautiful. I was privileged to meet a couple of young ladies who perform in Anchorage, in a trick riding team. They were not allowed to show us their moves (parental control!) but showed us photographs - what talent and bravery.

Casper was great especially leading rides as we showed new wranglers some of the routes. I led a very interesting ride to Salt Lick 7 - unfortunately I didn't really remember the proper way back from Stag Rock, in fact I'm not even sure we ever were at Stag but after bushwacking up and down very steep draws we got home with a sigh of relief.
The weather was exceptionally warm and in the high 60's.
I was very privileged to ride Rosie the daughter of Smokey now aged 4, whom I was allowed to name when she was born. Chelsea has been her wrangler since the beginning and is very fond of her. She is going to be a little bit chunkier than the average Quarter horse due to her ancestry and not a fast girl but she was very well behaved for a youngster and did everything asked of her.

You can't catch us!

On Monday I was lucky to go to Kansas. Well, I thought I was lucky. Two of the guys were fetching horses from winter pasture and to try and ensure my favourite Iron Man came back I went along for the ride. It was a long 4 and a half hour journey there but the flatness of Kansas was relieved by little farmsteads and interesting hills. The horses were supposed to have been lured into a holding pen but when we got there not a sight of them was to be seen. We found a small bunch and Charlie managed to get hold of Oliver and tack him up but when they got bored with the feed we had with us they decided to have a new game of letting us chase them over the 9000 acres available to them. Well, we didn't actually traverse 9000 acres as there were a few wire fences but as they galloped off into the horizon it looked a hopeless task. After Oliver was worn out, Charlie continued on foot while Jeff and I followed in the truck trying to help without wrecking the vehicle. I say I helped - I just sat there and gave encouragement! After a few abortive attempts with Charlie heroically running to and fro they appeared to give up and went into the pen where we caught and haltered them and loaded up into two trailers- 15 in one and 10 in the other and drove back to the ranch. We stopped at Wendy's (other hamburger joints are available!) and a man who had looked at our horses tried to keep us there - he obviously wanted to talk about horses but we had a long journey ahead of us and couldn't be as chatty as we would have liked. We had a safe journey home and who knows if the horses were sad or glad to be back at the ranch with work instead of play to look forward to for the next few months.

On Thursday an early foal arrived, born to a rather grumpy mare with the name of J-Boy. There was a bit of a crisis due to a retained placenta and although I won’t go into the gory details it was good that Tony had been on a special foaling course!  Later on I got to hold the foal to have it’s first injections and Adrienne got to sterilise it’s navel.

New Foal
Me on Rosie

Can’t wait for Horsemanship Week in October!!