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Intermountain Horse Association 2016-2017

As we enter the fall, riding weather becomes cooler and the foliage more colorful.  While the cool weather certainly brings lovely riding weather, we all know that winter is not far in the distance.  Winter is beautiful in its own right and brings a season of new outdoor activities, although for some of us it is a forced break from any kind of significant horse activities.  Trails can be slippery, outdoor riding arenas are snowy and hard.  Not to mention, riding your horse to a certain level of activity while they have their “winter jacket” on is just not ideal.

Are you missing that connection to the outer horse world in the “off season”?  Want to use your sojourn for a productive use?  Intermountain Horse Association – IHA might be the answer.

Intermountain Horse Association has been going on for over a decade after the Denver Foothills portion of a “down the hill” group decided to bring a horse group closer to home.  Members from Bailey to Golden meet once a month, September through May to hear speakers on a variety of horse related topics.  All of the topics are directly applicable to horse owners and horse property owners in the mountain areas.  That said, we have a contingent of horse enthusiasts that do not own horses, but are looking for horse knowledge and fellowship with other horse people.

Meetings are held on the third Tuesdays of the month in the Downtown Evergreen Beau Jos from 7-8 pm.  Members often arrive around 6:30pm to socialize with other members in the horse community.  Beau Jos graciously offers the room free of charge and has wait staff ready for anyone who would like to enjoy dinner or beverages during the meeting.

Please join us on October 18th for our next meeting.  The special guest is Colorado Water Commissioner, Tim Buckley.  After his informative talk last year regarding legal use of water in Colorado, he was the number one requested speaker to return this year.  Whether you keep horses at your property or not, you do not want to miss Tim.  At the meeting we will also vote on the new board nominees for 2016-2017.

Some of the other meetings topics that will be returning this year are mountain pasture management, weed management and specific veterinary topics.  Members have asked that some of the new content be related to topics such as forest management related to horses and our area, trail safety, trail riding and horse camping.

The Intermountain Horse Association also hosts the IHA Poker Ride at Alderfer Three Sisters Open Space park the Saturday following Labor Day Weekend.  The Poker Ride is not only a way to get horse people together, but it helps to bring ambassadors for our trails to the local open space parks.  Riders have the opportunity to win cash for high and low poker hands while all proceeds go to local horse related non-profit groups such as Colorado Horsecare Foodbank (horsefoodbank.com) and HEAT – Horse Evacuation Assistance Team (jeffcoheat.org – supporting all large animals in case of natural disasters or other emergencies).

Meeting dates for the 2016-2017 season year will be as follows:  October 18, November 15, December 20 (Christmas Party!), January 17, February 21, March 21, April 18, May 16.  Please consider being a part of this important local horse group!

Email [email protected] to be added to the IHA email list.  IHA now is set up for membership at intermountainhorse.org, or just join us at an upcoming meeting.

Failure and Success in Competition

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is not effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;  who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly. Theodore Roosevelt

I did not grow up showing much, just a little during a couple summers on a friend’s horses that she wasn’t riding.  You could never paint us with any discipline brush because we entered as many classes as we could English or Western, including any sort of Gymkhana classes.  Then a little showing again in college on the equestrian team.  I don’t remember any great successes, but I really enjoy showing, similar to the way I enjoy horses.

I love every part of horses.  Hauling hay, cleaning stalls, their smell, the way they move and talk to each other, grooming, caring and riding them, just being a part of their world.  With showing, I love the show preparation of packing, laundering pads and show clothes, cleaning tack, bathing the horses, getting up super early and spending the entire day/s immersed in horse.

Looking back on the last six recent years that I have been showing (the mid part of my forties), I have learned many lessons about myself and my horses.  My horses seem to enjoy getting out and they are different at a show.  More engaged.  Sometimes the engagement comes out in underlying tension and nerves.  You learn your horses.  They many need less time to warm up or more time.  They may need time to just walk around and let it all soak in.  Shows are a great way to bond with your horse and rely on each other.   They learn to be around lots of other horses, cars, people, signs, loudspeakers.  They see new arenas, new scenery, new obstacles.

I learn the most about me.  Being the “doer of deeds” and at most shows my face is definitely “marred by dust, sweat and blood”.  There were times I did it for the color of the ribbon.    But just wait, partnering with a large animal with their own brain will fix your ego.  Then there is the liability of my brain.  Doing the wrong pattern, forgetting the rules, going off course, “because there is not effort without error and shortcoming.” I don’t take much for granted anymore.  The most important lesson I have learned is that it is never the horses fault.

Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat; it’s understanding the necessity of both; its engaging. It’s being all in.  Brene Brown, Daring Greatly

I want to be “all in” for my horses.  It is really all about them and they are without question a “worthy cause”.  We, horses and people, were created to partner.  We work with them to do what they were made to do in a certain sequence.  We add value to who they are in their life with people by exposing them to new environments and by partnering with them to reach their potential as well as ours.

Now I show partly because it gives me goals and a reason to, “actually strive to do the deeds.”  Life is busy and I have to have something I have invested in coming on the calendar to make me get out, ride and improve myself.  I owe it to the horses to continue to better myself through time riding, lessons and by showing to get evaluated on my progress and goals.  I want to ride at the best of my ability in order to show my horse to the best of their ability.  You will rarely be ready or prepared, but go anyway.  Show day is not a day to fix anything, don’t worry about the judge/s, do your best in that moment.  It’s is just a horse show, whatever happens, happens, I guarantee you will both learn, grow and many times surprise yourself.  Most importantly, HAVE FUN and make it a great experience for your horse.

“Competition does not have to be a horse show or a race against another horse.  Competition can be a set of standards by which we measure ourselves.  Your standards have great influence on your perceived results.  Choose them carefully.  It is not about the blue ribbon.  It is about evaluating the direction of our work and establishing deadlines for reaching goals… I will always compete, as I need to be challenged and held to an honest evaluation of my progress.  I don’t have to win the blue ribbon, but I need to know if I’m as good as I think I am.”  Trainers Aaron Ralston in “Ride Up:  Live your adventure.”  Co-written with Edgall Franklin Pyles.

Set goals, challenge, push and stretch yourself.  Get out of your comfort zone.  Don’t just do what’s necessary, do what’s possible.  Be relentless, because it is not how you start something, but how you continue.  Expect to fail.  Success does not come without failure.  Then accept your failures.  After all, we connect with each other through our flaws.     

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.  Martin Luther King Jr.

As we reach the end of the summer show season, I encourage riders to set some goals for next year, to find a couple shows or trail rides or team events to participate in.  If it seems too intimidating at first, start by volunteering.  There is a kind of horse sport, competition or group for everyone with any shape or size of horse that you will enjoy and meet new horse people along the way.  Encourage each other and the strangers you will meet along the way who will become your friends.  You will see new places and know victories “and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly”.

Feel free to contact me if I can be of any assistance in helping you find a challenge or to share your horse story.  [email protected]  Heather McWilliams © 2016.

Trail Riding Competition with local David Richards

David and his wife Elizabeth live in the Hangen Ranch area and David is more familiar than most with the country around Alderfer Three Sisters, Elephant Butte and more as he keeps his horses fit for competition.  David moved to the US from the United Kingdom in the early 1980’s.   His love for the horse is apparent as you learn more about him and how he has been a continual student of the horse to give his own the best care possible.  In trail riding competition there is something for every level of rider and type of horse.  As with any sport, the higher level of competition, the more intricate the training, nutrition and fitness.  David started competitive trail riding as a novice just getting into horses and found his niche in this great sport.  In addition to the benefits of just being outside with your horse, is the gorgeous scenery to be found at the competitions.  Check out the websites for more information.  David is currently competing on “Chanz”, a 12-year-old Arabian from the Rush Creek Ranch in Nebraska, who bred and used Arabians for their ranch work.  Rush Creek Arabians are sought after endurance horses and have won many top competitions.  His former competition horse, Excepzional is an 18-year-old gray Polish Arabian. 

David and Excepzional in Moab

David and Excepzional in Moab

 

My wife, Elizabeth, and I moved to Colorado in 1996 for a better quality of outdoor living than was possible in NE Oklahoma. Also, having determined we needed a hub airport, four-year public university availability, and a high quality of life to be able to attract engineering talent to my company, we begun a location search. After considering the Chicago, Dallas, Salt Lake and Atlanta areas, we settled on Denver as our hub. Following an extensive tour of Front Range communities in Colorado, we finally arrived in Evergreen where it was evident that this was THE place to experience mountain living while enjoying easy access to the amenities of a major metropolitan area.

Around 2000, we decided that an ideal motivation to get out and explore Colorado, would be by owning horses of which neither of us had done before. For my wife this meant purchasing an ex national champion Paso Fino who turned out to be one of the most difficult of horses away from the arena.

I was undecided since my limited experience in organized trail riding had not excited me. However, once I learned about endurance competition and the fact that you did not have to grow up on a horse to participate, I realized I had found my sport. This led to the purchase of a breeding Arabian stallion, Excepzional. This 3 ½ year old, magnificent animal was almost totally “green” and with little experience being a horse. Consequently, I suffered many unscheduled dismounts and usually arrived back at the barn considerably later than my horse.

David and Excepzional in South Dakota

David and Excepzional in South Dakota

Three months of six evenings a week training loosely based upon Pat Parelli’s methods, yielded a completely different horse: one that I was able to put into conditioning training and limited distance competition as a four-year old.

There are two primary types of long distance trail competition. One, organized by NATRC (North American Trail Ride Conference NATRC.org) is like time trials where a set distance has to be completed in a certain time with penalties for too early and too late. Rolled into this is horsemanship judging where handling of the horse on the trail and in camp is judged along with evaluation of horse and rider to negotiate obstacles in a controlled manner. Typically, NATRC has 25 to 35 mile one day rides and 40 mile two-day competitions in novice and experienced categories.

The second competition is AERC’s (American Endurance Ride Conference AERC.org) endurance competitions. These events are offered as single day competitions, or multi-day longer distance rides including 5-day 50 miles per day. Endurance competitions are 50 miles or more each day with a completion time of less than 12 hours. 100 mile competitions have to finish within 24 hours (including vet checks). Riders compete by weight class from feather to heavyweight as well as classes for juniors.   Endurance rides are outright speed competitions with the fastest horse across the line that can be considered “fit to continue”, the winner.

For either type of competition, the training is similar. First is the building of cardio-vascular systems, then muscle, and finally bone density. This is accomplished by gradually increasing the distance and then speed of training but overall, long and slow is the best means to build endurance. Heart rate monitors are often used to measure the horses’ response to training with lower heart rates corresponding to higher fitness levels for given training intervals.

David and Excepzional

David and Excepzional

Horses often start out competing at shorter distances such as 25 miles and then progress to full distance in their second season. However, for many riders, the shorter distances are fun and less stressful on the horse and they stick with the shorter distances for their entire career.

Getting started in trail competition is as simple as just turning up and volunteering to help out. This can get someone comfortable with the how the events are run and a great way to meet people who can mentor the newcomer.

There is nothing like competing to provide the motivation to get out of the house and spend some quality time with your horse. All breeds can participate but, of course, some may be more competitive than others. Trail Riding Competition often suits owners who enjoy visiting fantastic locations around the country and the camaraderie that competing brings.

David Richards (and Heather McWilliams) © 2016

Summer Horse Calendar 2016!

Listed by Entity – Get out there with your horse!

Centaur Rising Horse Camps, Clinics & Shows

Anchorage Farm, 12889 S. Parker Ave. Pine, CO.  www.CentaurRising.org. [email protected] 303-838-5086.

July 10 – Centaur Rising Dressage Show I

August 2-4 – Dressage Camp

August 14 – Centaur Rising Dressage Show II

See website for remaining spots for:

Little Kids Camp/Basic Horse Camp

Basic Horse Camp/Intensive Horse Camp/Advanced Horse Camp

Little Kids Camp/Basic Horse Camp/Intensive Horse Camp

 

Colorado Horsecare Foodbank FUNdraisers!

See website for more info and to sign up online. www.horsefoodbank.org.  303-670-1470.

July 16 – Black Tie – Silver Shoes.  Enjoy an evening with horses at the Queen City Horse Show at the National Western Events Center in Denver.  Fine dining ringside, cocktail attire.

August 26-28 – Ranch Ride Weekend is a fundraiser with long-time CHF friends and supporters: Tom and Darcy Carr, owners of the beautiful Colorado Cattle Company – an authentic working cattle ranch in Northeastern Colorado. This year, Colorado Horsecare Foodbank and the Colorado Cattle Company are offering a late summer Ranch Ride weekend.  The Ranch Ride Weekend includes trail riding on the ranch’s 10,000 acres, learning to team pen cattle, delicious hearty meals, storytelling around a campfire, and charming accommodations where you can sit on the porch of your cabin and watch the horses & cattle peacefully grazing. The cost is $575 for the weekend – Registration is open.

October 14 – Hay Bales & Horse Tails – Amazing evening of food, fun and shopping for horse stuff!  At the Hudson Gardens cabin on Santa Fe Blvd in Littleton.  Sign up now, last year sold out!

 

Evergreen Ranch Sorters Association

Reffel’s Arena, Wandcrest Drive, Pine Junction.  Alternating Saturdays and Sundays, 10am-2pm.  For more information, go to:  the Facebook page at “Evergreen Ranch Sorting Association”.

Try as a guest for up to 3 times for a fee.  Come see why ranch sorting is the fastest growing equine sport in the country and fun for riders of all ages!

 

Evergreen Rodeo Association

RODEO WEEKEND!  EvergreenRodeo.com for full schedule. Volunteers still needed!  Don your cowboy boots and hat and enjoy the festivities while you help support this amazing local historic tradition!  Contact Marty Unger – [email protected]

June 17 Friday – Friday Family Fun Night Benefit for Tri-County Little Britches. 3:00pm and 10:00pm.  Great family event including Muttin Bustin’, stick horse races, barrel racing plus many more activities. Music by Arena Rock All Stars.

June 18 Saturday – Rodeo Parade, 10:00 in downtown Evergreen

June 18 Saturday – Rodeo Performance at El Pinal Rodeo Grounds 2:00 pm, Mutton Bustin’ and Pre-Show starting at 1230pm.

June 19 Sunday – Rodeo Performance at El Pinal Rodeo Grounds 2:00 pm, Mutton Bustin’ and Pre-Show starting at 1230pm.

 

Intermountain Horse Association

intermountainhorse.org or Facebook page “Intermountain Horse”

September 10 – Poker Ride at Alderfer Three Sisters Park.

Monthly meetings 3rd Tuesdays September – May at Beau Jos in Evergreen.  Various horse related topics.

 

Jefferson County 4-H Open Horse Shows

English, Western, Showmanship and Gymkhana classes.  More information, contact info and show bills at: http://www.extension.colostate.edu/jefferson/4h/4h.shtml

June 28 – Horsefeathers Show – El Pinal Arena (Evergreen) – Outdoor

July 9 & 10 – Pleasant Park Horse Show – McKeever Arena (Conifer) – Outdoor, 2nd day is the speed events (Adults can ride both days in this event)

July 17 – Golden Spurs – Jeffco Event Center Arena (Fairgrounds) – Indoor

July 24 – Fair Clinic – Table View Arena – Outdoor

August 7 – Pleasant Park Gymkhana – McKeever Arena (Conifer) – Outdoor

August 11 & 12 – County Fair – Jefferson County Fairgrounds – outdoor, only kids can compete

August 25-28 – State Fair – Pueblo

September 4 – Equine Event – Rodeo Arena, more info to come!

September 25 – 4-H Fun Show/Clinic – Table View Arena

 

Kip Fladland Clinic – All Disciplines Welcome

Kip’s website:  LaRiataRanch.com.  Hosted by Pikes View Ranch, Conifer.  Call Kelly Hendricks for more information 303-918-9570.  An encouraging and thoughtful teacher, Kip was born and raised in Montana. He has spent the last 30 years of his life working with and riding horses. In addition to riding horses for the public, Kip has also spent a considerable amount of time cowboying on several large Montana ranches. Working for these ranches would include starting colts, educating riding horses, and using them to care for and watch over the cow/calf operations. He met Buck Brannaman while cowboying and he spent 5 years with Buck on the road doing clinics.  Kip’s wife Missy is a top Dressage trainer.  Several of our mountain area horse people have had great experiences at clinics out east with Kip and wanted to bring him to Colorado for a chance for locals to participate.  Spaces are filling up, call Kelly today to sign up!

September 23-25

Ground Work Class in morningaddresses doing ground work exercises before riding towards the end of each class.

Horsemanship Class in afternoonsa riding class for all levels and disciplines of horses.

 

Starry Night Ranch – Riding on Faith Youth Camp

Llaves, New Mexico.  jubileehorse.com.  [email protected]  575-638-5661           
July 10 – 16  We are a horse lovers dream vacation, spending all day with our horses.  Youth campers will learn basic care, grooming, ground work and riding skills.  We usually ride twice a day and plenty of time in the saddle.

 

Syzygy Coaching

Evergreen, Colorado.  syzygy-co.com.   [email protected]  303-670-7244.

August 27-28 – Equine Vision Journey to Your Next Chapter – an equine guided personal growth retreat.

September – Extraordinary Women Connect Gala

November 10 -Extraordinary Women Ignite – Golden Hotel, Golden, CO

 

Tucker Black Horsemanship Clinics

Red Hawk Ranch, 12754 US HWY 285, Conifer. Check website for latest information. tuckerblackhorsemanship.com or call Tucker at 303-870-8389.

August 27 – Cow Working Clinic, 10am to 3pm

Most Sundays & some Wednesdays, June – September Cutting/boxing cows.

 

Working Equitation

Join on Facebook at “Foothills CO Working Equitation” or contact for more information Christina Turissini, [email protected]

Second weekend of the month – Lessons and/or clinics with Jennifer Holroyd.

Playdates during the month at various locations.

 

 

The Heritage Ride comes to Evergreen June 12th!

The Heritage Ride was started in 2013 by the Colorado Horse Council – CHC.  For the first three years it has been held solely at Greenland Open Space in Douglas County with well over 100 riders and spectators in attendance.  This year there will be five Heritage Rides over 2 weekends in Colorado!

If you are new to our area, the Colorado Horse Council was established in 1972 and has been responsible for protecting and promoting the interests of horse enthusiasts throughout the state and nation.  Based on a study done by the American Horse Council in 2005, the horse industry accounts for $1.6 billion of our state economy.  Much of the work done by CHC is on the government level protecting the interests of the equine industry regarding decision making and the passing of laws and regulations.  The role of the CHC is to educate and inform individuals about the equine community, the equine industry and its heritage in the State of Colorado.

Stemming from that heritage is The Heritage Ride.  The three main purposes of the ride are:

  • To PROMOTE the Heritage of the Horse. Rich and meaningful in Colorado, promoting the equine industry requires continual education in the areas of welfare, training, legal responsibility and cultural understanding.
  • To PROTECT the Heritage of the Horse. This encompasses the rights of individuals to enjoy, own and actively use the natural resources and the manmade infrastructure our state has to offer for equestrian activities.
  • To DEVELOP the future Heritage of the Horse. This has a meaningful human and financial impact on our state which includes quality of life components that is inherent in the reasons why people choose to live work, work and play in Colorado.

This year the Colorado Horse Council has set the financial goal for The Heritage Ride at $14,000.  On two different dates and in 5 locations (so far!)  there will be five rides.  The $35 / rider entry fee will directly impact the equine industry in Colorado.  Lunch is included.  There will be vendor booths for perusing and great fellowship with other horse enthusiasts.

The Evergreen Rodeo Association stepped up to host the Jefferson County Heritage Ride in Evergreen the weekend before the Evergreen Rodeo comes to town.  The ride will be starting at the Evergreen Rodeo Grounds and take a “trail boss” guided loop through Elk Meadow Open Space Park.  Vendors and lunch will be back at the rodeo grounds.

The 5 scheduled Heritage Rides are:

  1. Sunday, June 12 at 9am 2-3 hour loop through Elk Meadow. $35 per rider (includes lunch).  Evergreen Rodeo Grounds – 29830 Stagecoach Blvd, Evergreen, Colorado.

The other 4 scheduled rides are the following weekend on Saturday June 18th at 4 locations:

  1. Greenland Open Space – Douglas County, CO
  2. Arapahoe Park – Arapahoe County, CO
  3. Fort Collins
  4. Bennett

 

In addition to riding, there are other ways to support The Heritage Ride.

  • Send a representative from your club to ride along with pledges from the clubs members.
  • Organizations – Reserve a booth and recruit members to provide educational materials.
  • Volunteer to help, even if you are riding!
  • Organize a group of your friends to come out to ride together.
  • Make this your family ride and enjoy networking with other horse folks.
  • Just get out and ride to get your horses ready for the rest of the summer!

 

For more information, registration forms, directions and pledge forms, go to:  ColoradoHorseCouncil.com or text “horses” to “70000”.  Colorado Horse Council, 22 S. 4th Ave #106 Brighton, CO  80601.  303-292-4981.

The following weekend (Father’s Day Weekend!), please join us for the 50th Evergreen Rodeo and Weekend Events! 

Rodeo Weekend Schedule:

Friday Family Fun Night to benefit Tri-County Elks Little Britches- June 17th 3 PM to 10 PM Adults $10, Children 6-12 years $5, Children under 5 Free!

Saturday Parade – 10AM in Downtown Evergreen

Rodeo Performances Saturday & Sunday – June 18th & June 19th 11 AM – Gates Open, 1PM Pre-Show, 2 PM – Rodeo Start, Online ticket prices are $16 for adults, $8 for kids age 6-12, kids 5 and under are free.  Admission is good for either performance.  Online ticket sales close on Thursday, June 16th.  For more information and tickets, go to evergreenrodeo.com.  Volunteers still needed for rodeo weekend – all kinds of fun positions open!  Every 2 hour shift receives a free rodeo ticket.  Please call or email Marty Unger at 303-204-6442 or [email protected]

Heather McWilliams © 2016.

Small Acreage Management Resources

CSU Extension Small Acreage Website http://www.ext.colostate.edu/sam/

Manure Management Guide for small acreages http://www.ext.colostate.edu/sam/manure-mgt.pdf

Colorado Forage Guide – http://www.ext.colostate.edu/sam/forage-guide.pdf

Managing Pastures Before and After Droughthttp://extension.colostate.edu/…/managing-small-acreage-pa…/

Grass Growth and Response to Grazing http://extension.colostate.edu/…/grass-growth-and-response…/

Jennifer Cook
Small Acreage Management Coordinator
NRCS/CSU Extension
57 West Bromley Lane
Brighton, CO 80601
303-659-7004 ext. 116
(cell) 717-645-7817
[email protected]
Small Acreage Website: www.ext.colostate.edu/sam

Sign up for her quarterly newsletter by emailing her at [email protected]

Nancy Hladik – longtime horse gal and Kittredge resident

Nancy is a woman of humility, kindness and class.  She and her family share the Pine Grove Ranch in Kittredge where a few lucky people get to keep their horses.  Nancy moved to Kittredge with her family from Pennsylvania in 1953.  Her dad worked for Public Service in Denver and passed away in 1956.  Nancy’s mother was the school Office Secretary at West Jeff in Conifer when it was K-9th grade.  Driving past the Yellow Barn on Hwy 73 on her way to work was something she loved.  Nancy has three kids – (plus six grandkids) Kevin (Lauren and Hannah), Kendra (Morgan), and Chad (Deryn, Macall and Jarek).  Kevin and Chad live on the ranch and are the Owner/Operators of Pine Grove Excavating.  Enjoy this thumbnail autobiography!

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Kittredge 1953

Over the years, horses have been a big part of my life.  When we first moved to The Kittredge Log Cabin in 1953, I started a whole stable of broom stick horses under the steps. I had yellow, black and red brooms, each relating to a different color of horse.  Eventually, my friend Cindy and I would do chores for my mom and gather pop bottles to trade in for cash to go riding at the livery stable at the far end of Kittredge where Kittredge Village is today.

Glen Christmas, the owner of the stable, was kind enough to allow us to hang around and eventually put us to work scooping horse manure.  Glen taught me how to ride: kick to make them go and pull back to stop, and that is what we told the people who came to ride.  Glen also taught me how to bridle, saddle and brush a horse, but the most important lesson I learned from him was his kindness towards horses.  Each horse at Kittredge Stable had their own stall with hay in front of them all day. When they were brought down from pasture in the morning, each horse knew his stall and willing went in.  It was Cindy and I’s job to give oats and hay to each horse.

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Cindy on Candy and Nancy on Coalie in front of Kittredge Log Cabins

In exchange, Glen would let us ride and take people out on guide trips. He had two Shetland Ponies, Smokey and Snifters that Cindy and I would give pony rides on. Children were brought down from the Evergreen Conference Center Summer Camp to ride Glen’s horses.  My mom said she had fond memories of my ponytail swinging from side to side as Smokey and I trotted along ahead of the big horses when we would go by the cabins where I lived.

Glen did breakfast rides and “steak fries” where you would ride out on horseback to have a meal out at a wilderness camp then ride back to the stables.  The wilderness camp was where he pastured his horses at night.  It was half way up Parmalee Gulch Road on the right.  After unsaddling the horses at the barn and brushing them, they were turned loose in the corral. A couple of us would ride ahead and position ourselves at the couple of driveways along the right side of the road to prevent the horses from going in those yards. One person rode in front and another in the back to herd them up to pasture. Glen would come up with his stock truck, we’d jump in the back with our bridles and head back to the barn.

Cattle drive in Kittredge mid 1950's

Cattle drive in Kittredge in 1954

Joe Wiliford, owner of Joe’s Stable located just below the Church of the Hills on Buffalo Park Road (there is a car wash there now) and Glen would borrow horses from each other when they had an event and not enough horses at their stable.

When I got my own horse Little Red, I would ride him down to the stable when the horseshoer Kayo Morgan, would come to shoe the herd. I would also ride Red down there when the vet Tony Anderson (who I later worked for) would come down to do routine veterinary work.  In the fall 3 or 4 of us, Pam Bowling, Bobby Price, Barbara Smith and I would ride our horses up Upper Bear Creek Road to pasture them during the winter at the Evans Ranch with the caretakers, Marg and Jack Brasel.  In the spring, we rode them back to our summer pastures in Kittredge and Evergreen.

There were a lot of trails in the area and we often rode, mostly bareback, to Indian Hills to ride with friends or to Evergreen and get popsicles at the Thrifty food store on main street.   We would ride in O’Fallon Park at the far end of Kittredge and swim in Bear Creek. The last day of school was casual so you could ride your bike or horse to school, of course we rode our horses.  The Junior and Senior High were where the Evergreen Library is today, so we’d leave our horses at Joe’s Stable just across the road for the short time you were at school. My horse was pastured about a half mile from our house and almost every day during the summer, he was a part of what I was doing. Horses, dogs and kids were a big part of Kittredge in the mid 1950’s, we all knew each other, kids and parents.

Nancy & her father riding - Nancy on Smokey.

Nancy & her father riding – Nancy on Smokey.

My husband Jerry and I bought Pine Grove Ranch in Kittredge in 1969.   In the late 70’s we use to hold an “Old Folks Gymkhana”, 30 and older, in our arena.   My husband Jerry would carve trophies out of wood and we had ribbons for each event. The day ended with a camp fire and steaks on the grill.  It was usually held on labor day and became a yearly event for many years.

In 1981, I was Mrs. Evergreen Rodeo and Donna Brunton was Miss Evergreen Rodeo. We had great fun traveling throughout the area to local parades and rodeos with my horse Suzie and her horse Blossom.

Donna tried to teach me barrel racing, but I was never much good at it so only competed in the local Gymkhana at Indian Hills, winning a pink ribbon once.  Later I bought a black thoroughbred named Cheena to learn dressage.  Carol Scott, from the Bits and Pieces store in Bergen Park, was my instructor.  The main skill I have mastered with horses is shoveling.  Currently I own a small palomino, Pardner.  He is easier to get on and I had never owned a palomino, so he was exactly what I was looking for.

Today I don’t have to ride horses to enjoy them, it’s good just to be around them caring for them. My granddaughter Morgan loves helping me feed and clean stalls.   She has a miniature horse Lakota, (Julie Phillips was the previous owner, whenever I mention Lakota’s name to horse people in Evergreen they say “oh yes, I know Lakota, my son or daughter learned how to ride on him”).

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Kittredge July 4th Parade 1958

Lakota is quite the little man, Morgan rides him and drives him with his little cart.  My granddaughter Hannah rode a beautiful white Arabian we named Boston, that I received from Chris Sletten.  My grandson Jarek drove Lakota with his pony cart.  Both Hannah and Jarek are allergic to horses and hay so they stay out of the barns and are involved with their other sports.  My granddaughter Lauren is the current Miss Evergreen Rodeo and was last year’s princess.

She does her share of manure shoveling.  She has 2 horses, Eddie a thoroughbred and Sugar a Quarter Horse that she uses for queen appearances and high school rodeo. She has tried her hand at ranch sorting and enjoys that too.  I loved going horse shopping with Lauren, looking for the perfect horse. When she was very small she rode Suzie, at that time Sue was in her 30’s.

Horses have always given me such comfort.  When I was a teenager riding Red out by myself would give me peace and an “attitude adjustment”.  Later they were a comfort to me when my husband past away.  And what a great way to start the day, they can quickly make a bad mood turn good!  Nancy Hladik & Heather McWilliams © 2016.

Helen Mleynek and her Icelandic Horses

In an area full of interesting people with fascinating stories, Helen Mleynek of Elk Ridge Ranch is no exception in our horse community.  Although she has lived in Colorado for over 50 years, her Australian accent and ingenuity remains strong.

Helen was born in Southern Australia.  While her father was an engineer in the city of Adelaide, his family were farmers.  She began riding at the age of 8 and by 15 she was the head wrangler of the pony rides at the Adelaide Children’s Zoo.

Helens path to Colorado began in 1965 when she met who would become her husband on a passenger liner traveling from Fremantle, Western Australia to Genoa, Italy.  He left the ship in Singapore, but they met again when she was traveling across the United States heading back to Australia. Several weeks later he went to Australia, married Helen and they settled in Colorado in 1966. They purchased a 200 acre farm in Longmont where Helen raised black Arabians.  By 1973 they were tired of the “flat land” and found the ranch off of Buffalo Park Road which Helen still calls home. Evergreen offered the perfect location between Stapleton Airport and the ski areas, yet still had the lovely ranch pastures for raising horses.vitringur fra curtis dec 2015

In the early 1980’s Helen was one of the first two importers of Australian Saddles into the United States.  She brought four Syd Hill Australian saddles back from Australia and passed them around for people to try out.  Riders were sold on their comfort for them and their horses as well as the secure seat, similar to a western saddle without the horn and weight.  From there she became the Marketing Director for Australian based Wintec Saddles and again the first to bring them to North America.

Around 1985, Helen and her business partner Kathryn Martin were in Calgary Canada at Spruce Meadows showcasing the Australian Saddles.  Every now and then these gorgeous, smaller statured horses would fly by their booth as if on a test drive.

Helen had to investigate.  It turned out that they were part the fifteen Icelandic Horses that were imported from Germany to America to ride in the 3,000 mile Bicentennial Great American Horse Race – GAHR in 1976.

Linda Tellington-Jones, who most of you have heard of (Tellington TTouch Training) arranged for the fifteen to be brought over and be ambassadors for the Icelandic Horse breed in the GAHR.  Her sister Robyn Hood and her husband Phil Petty helped condition them in California before they were taken back to New York for the start of the race.  While they did incredibly well and brought much attention to the breed, the race was not managed well toward to end resulting in many horses pulling from the race.  Incredibly, all fifteen of the Icelantic Horses finished the race.  Some of the horses went back to owners in Germany, but Robyn Hood bought as many of them as she could and was showing them off at the famous Spruce Meadows horse venue.

Helen was immediately taken with these stunning horses and eventually bought nine of them, including some from Robyn and Phil’s program.  There are now just 5,000 of them in North America.  With around 317,000 people in Iceland, there is about one Icelandic Horse for every 3 people.  Throughout the world there is about 100,000, with 50,000 of those being in Germany.  The breed has remained pure in Iceland for centuries as no other breeds are allowed to be imported since 982 AD and once an Icelandic Horse is exported, it cannot return.

Icelandic Horses have the typical three gaits of many breeds with the addition of the four beat ambling Tolt and the fast two beat lateral Flying Pace which includes a moment of suspension.  Not all Icelandic Horses have the additional gaits, but those that have both are considered the best of the breed.

Icelandic Horses are placid, surefooted, and study easy-keepers.  They have had no natural predators for over a thousand years in Iceland, so they do not have much “spook”.  They were originally brought to Iceland on Viking ships to serve as the only source of transportation over Iceland’s rough terrain until the first automobile arrived in 1913.  While they tend to be pony sized at 13-14 hands, they are referred to as horses.  They ride like horses, they can carry up to one third of their bodyweight, not to mention the Icelandic don’t even have a word for pony.

While Icelandic Horses are not typically ridden until they are four, they have an incredibly long life expectancy including being fit for breeding up to 25 years of age.  They come in a variety of colors and in the Icelandic language there are over 100 different names for colors and color patterns.  Their herding instinct is unrivaled.  When one is sold in Iceland, they have been known to return to their original home.  Helen recalled that when she first went to see them at Robyn and Phil’s farm, they are so people oriented that the horses actually fought over putting their nose in the halter and wanted to be the one that was picked to go with “the people”.

Helen’s passion for these horses is unmistakable and coming from Helen, that is an endorsement to pay attention to.  You would never hear this from Helen, but her friends speak of her true expertise in any venture she has taken.  Saddles, breeding, black Arabian’s, horse care and management, and of course Icelandic Horses.  Juliana Lehman, hay expert and founder of the Colorado Horsecare Foodbank, is a neighbor and long-time friend of Helen’s.  Juliana said that Helen taught her everything she knows about hay.

Helen has a daughter who is a well-known artist under the name of Dark Natasha and her son Lance is an Electrician in Arvada who has a one-year-old son.  Heather McWilliams © 2016.

Rocky Mountain Horse Expo March 11-13th!

This column is dedicated to connecting local horse people within the readership area of the Colorado Serenity Magazine.  While the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo is held at the National Western Complex, it is chock full of connection points for horse people in the Denver Front Range, Foothills, not to mention the entire western region from Texas to Montana.  Several of our local horse trainers and business people will be putting on clinics, participating in challenges and hanging out at their booths to chat with passersby.

What better time of year for those of us horse folks who are just catching the hints of spring all around in melting snow, mud and shedding horses.  Our plans for our Colorado summers are filling our heads with activities like horse shows, trail riding, horse trips with friends, sorting, roping, rodeos, endurance rides, clinics and more.  We are setting goals for number of rides, rodeos, shows or clinics.  Maybe to try a new discipline out like Working Equitation, Western Dressage or Ranch Sorting; experience some of our amazing local parks; or just improve our riding and communication with our equine partners.  Maybe none of that sparks your interest, but most (if not all) of you just like to be around anything horse related and window shop.

The RMHE is for all of you. There are ticketed events like The Mane Event on Friday and Saturday night, showcasing all shapes and sizes of horses doing their thing from Dressage, Team Penning, Driving, Reining, to Vaulting and the list goes on.  A great event to entertain horse and non-horse people alike.

With the price of admission, you can audit clinics going on simultaneously at different locations throughout the NW Complex.  The list of clinicians includes:  Russell Beatty, Eitan Beth-Halachmy, Sarah Bohnenkarp, Mike Brashear, Nicole Collins, Dr. Elizabeth Dooher, Justin Dunn, Dr. Regan Golob, Kami Guildner, Van Hargis, Cody Harrison, Shawna Kairasch, Cindy Loader, Dr. Barbara Page, Steuart Pittman, James Shaw, Anna Twinney, Terry Wagner, Carol Walker, Wayne Williams, and Brent Winston.

Masterminded by the Colorado Horse Council, the RMHE has approximately 100 presentations at 7 different venues.  If you have been to the NW Event Center where other equine events are held throughout the year, they also utilize the warm up arena aka The Event Center Paddock and have an arena set up in the barn aka The Event Center Barn.  Lecture type classes are held at The Horseman’s College on the 2nd floor of the Hall of Education and perhaps one of my favorite events is on the 1st floor of the Hall of Education called The Horse Experience.

The Horse Experience is set up for horse crazy kids and people to come get their hands on a horse.  They can touch, pet, brush, smell, learn, walk around on and ask questions to people who understand horses and horse keeping.  Parents of horse crazy kids can ask questions to figure out safe and professional outlets for their kids to get involved with horses.  What a brilliant idea and a great way to promote horses and agriculture.  It is a wonderful starting point for kids and people to be welcomed in and feel the freedom to learn about horses and how to connect with horses in our area.

Competitions or Exhibitions showcased include the Colt Starting Challenge USA, bringing rescue horses back in the Comeback Challenge, Mustang Days, Forever Home Adoption Showcase, Team Penning, Cowboy Dressage and Working Equitation.

The NW Complex Hall of Education is full of all sorts of horse related venders and exhibitors, in addition there is the Art in the Park, a Holistic Horse Fair and a Craft Fair with all sorts of goods from homemade soaps to handmade furniture.

Equine Art in the Park is a juried fine art exhibit and sale celebrating the spirit of the horse. The show features contemporary original work including paintings, pastels, drawings, mixed-media, photography, pottery, and sculpture/3-D.

Mark off the weekend and plan to spend some time supporting this important regional event for horse people of all backgrounds!   MtnHomes4Horses will be at booth #1308 in the Hall of Education.  Please stop and say Hi to Andrew and I!

Admission Costs: 

3-Day Grounds badge – $25 (5 and under are free)
Adult 1-Day Grounds pass – $10 (5 and under are free)
Student/Senior 1-Day Grounds pass – $8 (5 and under are free)
Children age 5 and under – FREE
Family Pack of 1-Day Grounds passes – $40 – includes 5 tickets, one person must be an adult  (5 and under are free)

Special Youth Coupon – $2 off   FFA, 4H Clubs, Little Britches, High School Rodeo, etc. (redeemable at National Western Ticket Office ONLY) 

Mane Event Passes (for Fri. or Sat. at 7:00 PM)
Admission – $10 – all ages
Family Pack of Mane Event Admissions – $40 (Includes 5 tickets for all ages, one person must be an adult. All 5 tickets must be used on the same night.)

Combination Passes
1-Day Grounds pass and 1-Mane Event pass- $15 – all ages
Family Pack of 1-Day Grounds passes and 1-Mane Event passes – $65 (Includes 5 grounds tickets and 5 Mane Event tickets for all ages. All 5 tickets must be used on same day/night.)

For the full schedule, go to:  http://www.coloradohorsecouncil.com/rmhe.  See you there!  Heather McWilliams © 2016

Support Jessica Austin January 23rd at Lariat Lodge Brewing Company!

One of our local fixtures in the horse community needs your help.  Not because she is asking for it, but because that is what we do as a community.  When people are vulnerable and share their struggles, it allows others to share the load, the struggles and the joy.

Jessica Austin, “Jess” has lived in Evergreen since 2010.  Jess is one of those individuals that people gravitate to.  She is warm, welcoming and a ray of light in the world.   Jess has been riding and has had horses since her Grandfather gave her a pony at 8 years old. From there she says, “the rest was history and I’ve been riding, rescuing and restarting horses ever since.”

She is an animal lover to the core and has rescued three horses – Kola, Zoe and Courage.  All three had a rough life to begin with, but once under her loving guidance, have come to trust people again.  Animals and people alike are drawn to her home at the Broce Ranch.  A friend of Jess’s describes her this way, “Her door is always revolving with people stopping by to talk to her, get horse advice or relax. She opens her door to all . . . She’s the type of person that would put herself in debt to give to someone else in need or to save an animal.”

Carolyn Knapp-Nelson met Jess boarding at Helen Mleynek’s Elk Ridge Ranch when Jess first moved to Evergreen.  They connected as two English riders in a Western world. Carolyn rode Dressage and Jess at the time rode to condition for Fox Hunting. They had great respect for one another and rode the back trail to, and in Alderfer Three Sisters Open Space together.  Through riding together on our mountain trails, Carolyn found Jess to be an accomplished rider with soft hands, respect for her horse, and fearless.

Carolyn states, “Jess has great insight to horses and loves all her animals dearly.  With Jess, knowing how she approaches riding and life in general, I think she will meet this cancer thing with the same fearlessness.  Jess will be okay, as she is smart and brave to be meeting breast cancer head-on. Her bravery and strength will get her through the medical and emotional challenges, and Zoey and Courage will be waiting, at the gate, when she is ready to get back out on the trail.”

After moving to Evergreen in spring of 2010, between the fall of that year and May of 2015, Jess was locked in one medical battle after another.  What began with the discovery of masses attacking her kidney and ovary progressed into a frightening timeline of surgeries:  A partial kidney removal, then another, then finally a complete removal.  More masses led to a full hysterectomy, plus removal of lymph nodes, adrenal glands, and part of her stomach lining.  After a surgery early this year, a pulmonary embolism (blood clot) nearly killed her.  Her medical staff was astonished at her sense of humor and resilience, even in the face of these horrific procedures, and nicknamed her “Star Pony.”

Back to work with $12.34 in her pocket, it looked like the worst was behind her.  Although this fall, she was diagnosed with a form of breast cancer — HER2+/estrogen negative/progesterone positive — that has mystified and intimidated even her doctors.  Jess underwent a double mastectomy surgery on December 30th.  The costs are above and beyond her insurance coverage.

Jess is one of the welcoming front of the house staff members at the amazing new Lariat Lodge Brewing Company near downtown Evergreen.  The Lariat Lodge is dedicating Saturday January 23, from 11am to 11pm the Star Pony Fundraiser.

The Star Pony Fundraiser will be an all-day music event with local musicians donating their talents, fantastic barbecue from Chef Michael, an amazing silent auction and many ways to come alongside Jess with a portion of the proceeds for food, drinks and tips going to help Jess with medical expenses.  HOW CAN YOU HELP?  Please come share the load for Jess on January 23rd 11am-11pm at Lariat Lodge – 27618 Fireweed Drive or donate to her You Caring page:  www.youcaring.com/jessica-austin-494391.

Visit her Facebook page for updates at “Star Pony Fundraiser and Updates”

Thank you Margaret Rode & Carolyn Knapp-Nelson for your words and Tanya Buck for the great pictures!