Friday, May 30, 2014

The Stuff of (Dressage) Fairy Tales

Remember Lakota?  I rode him in 2011 while his owner Jan was laid up.  At that time, he was working solidly at 1st level and schooling 2nd.  To read more about our adventures together, click here.  

 me and Lakota
please don't look at my wretched toes

Even then, Lakota was in self carriage, cheerfully offering a more advanced frame than you would expect for a horse at his level.  That should have been our first clue that he would excel at dressage.

A year ago, Jan showed Lakota 1st Level at "Dressage at High Prairie".  Today Shannon showed him at the same show, only this time he competed at Prix St. George.  If you are wondering what the heck PSG is, click here to read the test.

Today -

 Shannon and Lakota Lace

in the midst of canter pirouette

a split second after a flying change of lead

So how did the little Appaloosa stack up
against the big warmbloods?

1st place

Shannon and Jan

Lakota and Shannon moved from 1st Level to PSG in 8 months.
Lakota skipped showing at 2nd Level, 3rd Level and 4th.
That only happens in fairy tales.
I'm so impressed.
Good boy, Lakota.
Shannon and Jan, I salute you.

You know what I liked best about today's test?  Lakota went in a snaffle bridle, not a double.  That's a rule change I really like. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

I Spy with my Little Eye

These days, when I look down the barn aisle,

I see a change.

See that lump on the horizon?
It's a ...

 new house!
No more barn visits in my pjs!


Off the Loom

 tencel scarf in M's and O's pattern

for Suzanne

If it looks like we were enjoying
Margaritas at a Mexican restaurant,
we were!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Severe Weather

For three days, we have watched the severe weather
that has hammered Denver slide around us.

We watch wall clouds form in the afternoon

and hope the tail clouds

are mere clouds

and not the start of a tornado.

We've been lucky
so far.

Monday, May 19, 2014

First in the Pool!

Karen at "Thee Ashke...Horse Extraordinaire" said it best; Colorado is bipolar.  Early in the week, we struggled to get above freezing.  Now we're in the 70s.  Winter left the ranch a little worse for wear, so yesterday, Jenny and Rey joined us for a work day.

 Jenny, Rey, Dave and Mickey
take a break

We got a lot done.  We cleaned pastures, moved more gravel into the runs, redesigned the barn's roof drainage system and put up the dressage arena.  

Rey is as strong as an ox.

With the dressage arena back up for the summer, I was dying to be First in the Pool!  

 Boomer was a little less thrilled.
 I give you the raspberry, lady.

We had a nice ride.  Actually, Boomer did better than I did.  He had moments when he was a little behind the bit - we'll work on that - but otherwise he was really good.

He had nice crossing on the leg yields, and was just a really good boy.  I, on the other hand, rode fairly poorly, especially at the trot.  Head and eyes down, shoulders in front of the hips, yuck.  We'll work on that too.  I love trail riding, but it was grand to be back in the pool.  You're next, Paj.  David, thanks for coaching and taking pictures!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

...and After

After the storm, the horses were thrilled to get back out to pasture.  While Paj, Reggie and Boomer happily grazed, Ben hopped all over the place.  He was overjoyed.

 Boomer and Ben

 Ben (yep, he's wearing Boomer's blanket)

Let's Play!

 That boy is a ton of cute.

Monday, May 12, 2014


We didn't get as much snow as predicted, but we did get snow, ice, and wind.  We're at 32 degrees right now (our high) and headed to 22 tonight.

 lilac encased in ice

I like to think I would have taken more (and better!) photos if it hadn't been for the ice needles boring into my face.  

I'll leave you with a photo to warm up the coldest day -

baby Hannah and her blankie!

 To read more about Hannah, Kate and feisty mare Lucy click here.

Saturday, May 10, 2014


It is lovely today.  We are in the 60s.  I walked around the ranch taking pictures of the fresh Spring growth before tomorrow's snowstorm.

tiny leaves on the ashes

 tender shiny aspen leaves

 first buds on the crabapple

It's hard to get a deciduous tree established on the high plains.  Two years ago, I saw a small crabapple labelled with the variety "David".  I bought it in honor of my beloved.  I have hand-carried water to this tree for two years.  This Spring it rewarded us with its first buds.  And ... (wait for it)'s not a "David", which is a white variety!  The joke's on me!  But hey, anything that blooms is most welcome here!

 The daffodils are almost done. 
This is about the last clump still blooming.

In the first daffodil photo, did you spy who was crouching amongst the blooms?
Here he is -

 the bunnies don't even hop away from us. 

We are expecting 2" of snow tonight, 8" tomorrow and a high of 33 degrees Monday.  Hunker down, little bunny.  Goodbye, flowers.  Don't break, trees.  And most of all, stay safe dear horses.

Tune in next post for "After...".

Monday, May 5, 2014

My Big Denver Weekend

I rarely go to Denver.  It's a very long drive, and I don't enjoy traffic.  So to go twice in one weekend is ... crazy.

Trip 1 - The Furry Scurry


The Furry Scurry is "the nation's largest dog walk".  It benefits the Denver Dumb Friends League, a cause I support.  It was a lovely day and a ton of fun.  I could not find my camera battery, so click here to see official photos. 

Trip 2 - The Great Western Alpaca Show and the Denver Fiber Fiesta

Neighbors Kate and Mike planned to participate in this show, and I wanted to see them.  But as luck would have it, they had a sick alpaca and needed to stay home.  

This was a three day show with alpacas from all over the West.  I must have been there on Brown Boy Day, because all I saw was brown boys.  Lots and lots of brown boys.

The classes were what horse show folks call "reason classes"; when the judge pins the class, he/she explains why they were placed in that order.  I know nothing about alpaca conformation or fleece judging, so this was very interesting.  I heard a lot of "his fleece was more organized" (what the heck?) type of stuff.  

 It was nice to see the camaraderie.

There were fiber demonstrations
and all things alpaca for sale.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I finished weaving the baby blanket.  I threw it in the washer and dryer, ironed it, trimmed the fringe and sent it off to baby Hannah.

 it turned out a-okay