Friday, September 30, 2011

Saddle Fitting Demo

Jan's neighbor Nanci invited us over for a saddle fitting demo on her gelding Duvall.  Duvall is a 10 year old 16.1 hand Trakehner.  Nanci wanted to check the fit of her Schleese dressage saddle.  Schleese is a Canadian brand of saddles, and they are marketed as saddles designed for women.  They are the most comfortable saddles I've ever sat on.  They are also way out of my price range - thank goodness I don't need a saddle!

The demo started with an analysis of Duvall's confirmation and muscling.

Next his back angles were measured.

The saddle fitter adjusted Nanci's saddle's frame to Duvall's measurements with a pneumatic tool and re-stuffed the panels while we watched.

Nanci made a quick test ride -
such an elegant pair -
then final adjustments were made.

This is the Reader's Digest version of a two and a half hour appointment.  For those who would like more detail, here's a link to Step 1 of Schleese's 9 step video series -

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Driving Home

I had a really nice ride on Elvis this morning.  As I was driving home from Jan's, I saw a horse and cart coming down the road.  They looked familiar.

It's Boomer!  And Bob!  And our friend Kay!
Look at that smile!
Is it because Boomer is so much fun?
Or is it because Kay's Borzoi won Best of Breed yesterday?
It's both!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Meet the Neighbors

This was a big day for our neighbors.  Kate and Mike raise alpacas, and today they hosted an open house for National Alpaca Farm Days.  Kate calls the alpacas "the kids".  Here is one of this year's cria (babies) BG.  Isn't she pretty?
After the farm tour, we enjoyed a potluck lunch and a good gab.  Then there was the grand opening of Kate's fiber shop.  Kate spins her fleeces and does all the fiber arts.  She plans to give classes too.  Congratulations, Kate and Mike.  Oh, and before you say "Mike loves his wife.  How sweet", let me tell you what Mike's T-shirt really says.  Big text, I Love My Wife.  Tiny text, when she lets me go fishing.

If you would like to see more beautiful alpacas and meet an amazing can-do woman, please visit my blog friend Jayne in Scotland at Zanzibar Alpacas.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sound Again

Due to a series of unfortunate events in which I wrenched my knee, I've been gimping around for about a month.  I couldn't put weight in my stirrup, so it's been a great time to work without stirrups.  I'm sound again, but here's what I've been working on -
Trot work
Look up!
Sit up straight!
Shoulders back!
Rotate that toe in!
etc, etc, etc
That's better.
Elvis, you look great.  Keep doing what you're doing.

photos by Jan

Sunday, September 18, 2011

School Days

Mickey and I are on week 2 of a 5 week basic dog obedience class.  Week 1 we learned "sit" and "down".  Sit was a piece of cake.  Down was much harder.  The teacher uses a lure technique, where you have the dog sit, then slide the treat down and in front of the dog, luring the dog to lie down.  Mickey is so polite that when I'd pull the treat in front of him, he'd say "awww, she's taking the treat away.  How sad" and he'd stay in his sit position with hurt eyes.  It took us a while, but he's got "down" now.

This week we covered "stay" and polite walking on a loose leash.  Mickey got "stay" immediately, and does just great on the leash in class.  That's because class distractions don't hold a candle to ranch distractions.  He's totally focused on me in class, but the ranch is full of wascally wabbits and ground squirrels.  Polite loose leash walking here is a challenge!

Only about half the dogs came back to class 2 - the instructor doesn't have a very pleasant teaching manner with humans but she's good with dogs. Mickey seems to enjoy class, so we're in it for the long haul.  We are down to a nice size group of 6 dogs.  The star is undoubtedly an adorable Shih Tzu.  This dog knows all her commands in English, doggy hand signals, and American Sign Language.  And she has a huge bag of tricks to boot.  There is a beautiful black collie that yap-yap-yaps, a huge young yellow Lab and a playful gorgeous Akita.  The Akita's owner has done an amazing job getting that dog's attention.  In the first class, the dog was paying attention to anything but the owner.  Now the dog still has puppy moments, but he has some really nice work too.  The class terror is a big unruly boxer.  He's so aggressive that they put a barrier on either side of him.  I feel sorry for the owner because this is a dog that could bite.  The teacher's good about keeping the dog away from others.  When we do group walking exercises, she takes the dog from the owner and stands in the middle.  The dog is very strong.  Mickey and I know where he is at all times, and make it our business to keep far away.

So class is going really well, and more importantly, Mickey has learned good ranch manners.  He knows he's not allowed in the horse's stalls (safety) and will wait right by the doors as I clean the stalls.  He's not allowed in the room where I feed cats, and I can leave the door open without him running in and eating cat food.  He's a good little dog.  I'm so glad he chose us.
That's shavings (horse bedding) in the photo, not something Mickey did!

Friday, September 16, 2011

I See Snow

Pikes Peak has snow on it this morning.  There's so much to do before that snow gets here - I think I better pick up the pace.

Monday, September 12, 2011


We had a beautiful sunset tonight.

It is a good sky for Lori's MasterPiece.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

But Wait! There's More! (Good News, That Is!)

First thing this morning,
I drew blood from Ben
and drove it to the clinic.
We are thrilled to let you know
that Ben's blood work was...

We love you, Ben

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Whoopi Ti Yi Yea!

Jan's back in the saddle again, out where a friend is a friend
Where the long horn cattle feed on the lonely jimson weed
She's back in the saddle again.

Whoopi ti yi yo, rockin' to a fro, back in the saddle again
Whoopi ti yi yea, she'll go her own way
Back in the saddle again.

Oh what a happy day.  After months and months off due to health concerns, Jan is back in the saddle. She hopped on her appaloosa Lakota yesterday, and got on Elvis today. They look marvelous! 

If I knew she was going to do this, I would have brought a real camera!  But cell phones are grand. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Change of Pace

Yesterday Mickey and I visited my old stomping ground, Golden Colorado.  Before the ranch days, David and I kept our horses in Golden.  It's one of my favorite towns.  Golden lies between North and South Table Mountains to the east, and Lookout Mountain to the west.

South Table Mountain

Clear Creek cuts through the north part of Golden.  It's a popular spot for kayaking, tubing, and wading.  It can be a treacherous river after a good rain.

I found a nice shallow wading spot, but Mickey wasn't interested in putting even a toe in.  I'm thinking my dog is pretty smart.  We wouldn't want him slip-sliding away.