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Intermountain Horse Association Poker Ride Results 2015!

Saturday September 19th, 72 degrees F and sunny!  59 riders of all ages participated in the IHA Poker Ride at Alderfer Three Sisters Open Space Park in Evergreen.  The last two years were cancelled due to Insurance Issues and Vesicular Stomatitis, but this year brought in one team shy of the 60 horse and rider record set a few years ago.

Ashleigh Olds DVM of Aspen Creek Veterinary Hospital and several of the staff helped check all horses for Vesicular Stomatitis.  In addition, Jeffco HEAT and the Colorado Horsecare Foodbank volunteers showed up in force to work the stations, set up, clean up, help with registration, serve food and help with parking.  Riders left at their own pace and picked up five cards along the set trail course to make up their five card poker hand.  At the finish, while the horses munched on their hay at the trailers, the riders enjoyed a catered lunch while they awaited the results.  Mary McGhee won the highest poker hand receiving $300, and Jess Austin won the lowest hand and $100!  The remaining proceeds of over $1200 was split between two of our local, but nationally known organizations – Jeffco HEAT and Colorado Horsecare Foodbank.

Jeffco HEAT (Horse Evacuation Assistance Team) was founded in 2002 in Conifer by resident Scott Halladay.  It is volunteer organization that is dedicated to serving and rescuing large animals because of wild land fires, natural disaster, accidents, animal cruelty and impounds.

Under the direction of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Animal Control Division (or other County law enforcement), Jeffco HEAT has assisted in the rescue of more than 2,500 animals and has been on the scene of many of the front range’s major wildland fires (i.e. Hayman, Lower North Fork, Black Forest, Lime Gulch) as well as the flooding in the fall of 2013.

The dedicated volunteers of Jeffco HEAT are committed to a high degree of training and safety. All members are certified in First-Aid/CPR, basic wild land fire training, possess a working knowledge of the Incident Command sys­tem and are familiar with radio opera­tions and protocol.  The “fire” team has further wild land fire certification training obtained through the Jefferson County Incident Manage­ment Team and other local fire depart­ments.

In addition to the fire training, some members also have certifications in tech­nical animal rescue, high angle rescue and swift water rescue as well as formal radio operator training.  Jeffco HEAT is equipped with a Colorado Department of Agriculture rescue trailer, containing essential lifesaving equipment needed for rescues such as an Anderson Sling, a rescue glide, a generator, and rescue ropes.  Go to JeffcoHEAT.org to learn more, volunteer and donate to this important organization.

Colorado Horsecare Foodbank was started by Evergreen resident Juliana Lehman in 2009 after the economic crash of 2008.  The drought across the United States sent hay prices sky high, while people already struggling in the economy were losing ground trying to feed and care for their horses.  Knowing the importance of keeping horses with their families going through temporary hard times, CHF formed and raised funds for hay, farrier and veterinary care for these horses and people in need.

CHF has continued to keep up with the needs of horses, other hooved animals and their people.  In the fires of 2013, CHF supplied over 90 tons of emergency hay to the Black Forest fires to feed starving horses whose owners had lost their homes, barns and significant stockpiles of hay.  That September brought the devastating floods in Northern Colorado.  CHF supplied over 500 tons of emergency hay and established a hay storage station to help to feed horses, llamas, alpacas, cattle, sheep and goats, whose hay, shelter and barns had been washed away.

After six years in operation, dealing with natural disaster response with an all-volunteer team, Colorado Horsecare Foodbank earned the attention of several prominent animal welfare groups which provided grants for growth, expansion, more hay, outreach, and education, including the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Banfield Charitable Trust, Colorado Unwanted Horse Alliance, and the Sally Beck Foundation, businesses, and charitable foundations.

Moving forward in 2015, Colorado Horsecare Foodbank is working to secure multiple locations along Colorado’s Front Range for permanent storage of emergency hay, as well as obtaining more heavy equipment, building up its education and outreach programs, and much more.  For more information go to www.horsefoodbank.org.

The Intermountain Horse Association invites you to the first meeting of the fall on October 20th.  IHA meets in the slower horse activity months of October – May, every 3rd Tuesday at Beau Jos in Evergreen in the Event Room from 6:30-8:30pm, the speaker starting at 7pm.  Food and beverage are available for purchase, but optional.  It is a perfect way to socialize with other horse people in your community, enjoying interesting and informative speakers.  A great line up of speakers are in the works that apply to all shapes of horses and saddles!  Visit the IHA facebook page at www.facebook.com/IntermountainHorse for the latest.

Thank you to all of the IHA Poker Ride sponsors:  MtnHomes4Horses.com at RE/MAX Alliance 303-638-0994 – helping buyers and sellers of properties for horses and their people; Aspen Creek Veterinary Hospital  303-697-4864; Amy Dunkelman – Double H Horse Boarding & Training at Broce Ranch + Mountain Homes & Horses, LLC.   Coldwell Banker 303-921-0315.  See you at the October 20th meeting!  Heather McWilliams © 2015.

Ireland in the Fall

(Continuation of “Three Summers in Kentucky”)

The Keeneland Summer Select Sale is one of the top sales for bloodlines and the finest Thoroughbred yearlings money can buy.  It is truly an international affair with buyers from all over the world gathering to carefully go over the horses with their trainers, blood-stock agents, breeders and conformation consultants.  Sheik Mohammad is always one of the significant spenders and after the sale, he ships the long yearlings to his Kildangan Stud in Ireland to be started.

Brenda riding La Luche by Kris near Garden House

Brenda riding La Luche by Kris near Garden House

After graduating from Colorado State University in of May 1992, I made my way back to Kentucky for the third summer to work at Sheik Mohammad’s Gainesborough Farm until I would catch a flight to Ireland with the recently purchased horses.  In August, the horses going to Ireland were sent to Louisville to load the plane.  I was amazed at how easily they all walked up the narrow ramp into the windowless cargo plane.

The plane crew constructed standing stalls, three across as the horses filled the plane.  The rows alternated nose or tail forward so that they were facing each other.  In the very front was a box stall for a mare and foal – 41 horses total.  A narrow aisle ran along each side with a few rows of plane seats in the tail.  A manager of one of the King Ranches and I sat in the seats.  Otherwise, the only other people were grooms for the horses.  At take-off and landing, the grooms asked us to stand with a row and help keep the horses calm, for the rest of the flight we were just passengers in the misty rain created by the condensation from all of the horses breathing.

When we arrived in Dublin, the horses were unloaded and loaded on to several horse boxes (mid-size cargo trucks built to carry horses).  We made the one hour trip south to Monasterevin, just south of the town of Kildare in County Kildare.  The horses were then delivered to one of the 10 Yards (aka Barns) spread over the several hundred acres at Kildangan Stud.

Upon arrival, one of the security guards asked if I wanted a lift into town to get some groceries.  Soon we pulled up in front of a grey stone garage and I realized we had arrived at the shop aka grocery in the tiny town of Monasterevin!  No sign, no one around, but sure enough, I went in and there was a shop keeper and one or two of a modest variety of items.  One orange, one apple, one loaf of bread, two jars of jam and so on.  He drove me to my new home which was a flat aka apartment at the far end on the top of the main estate home that was being renovated.

Over the next six months or so, my three roommates and I – Nina from Norway and Lisa and Emma from England – braved the

Main house - Our flat was the upper right section with 3 windows.

Main house – Our flat was the upper right section with 3 windows.

halls and staircases of dark rooms and flapping plastic to our flat.  Since that home, I have never been afraid in a house alone again!  Grooms lived in various places around the Stud including the Garden House, the Gate House, the Main Yard and in a few homes grouped together.  Each fall, Kildangan Stud hires help from all over the world to start the few hundred young Thoroughbreds for flat racing (horse racing without jumps).  There were people from Japan, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Scotland, England and Ireland of course.  With about forty mostly 20-somethings coming together in one place with a passion for horses, the culture was lively and social.  All of the grooms were devoted and experienced horse people.  Several worked or had worked as jockeys and a head trainer was always present to oversee the horses.

In the first few days after arriving we were fitted for shoes by the local cobbler by them measuring and tracing our feet.  We were also given jumpers aka sweaters and jackets with the Stud’s logo for work attire.  Our hours were an unwavering 7am to 4pm, Monday through Friday and Saturday 7am until noon. There was of course a 20 minute tea time at 10am and an hour lunch at noon.  At tea time, one was invited to the closest house or flat for a cup of black tea and lots of toast with Orange Marmalade Jam.  After I had been there a couple weeks the Guarda (aka Police) somehow had been alerted that I had come over from the US and stopped by the Stud to check my passport.

Ritchie Driving Colt

Ritchie ground driving

Each week everyone was rotated to a different Yard except the Yard Foreman’s who stayed with their horses.  The horses were brought up from the pastures in the morning and we were each assigned certain horses for the day, told where they were at in their training and then we went to work.  Not much different than what is common here, we did a lot of round pen work and slowly added tack.  Different from some programs, we did quite a bit of driving from the ground (driving is the term used to drive a horse and carriage, like driving a car).   We started by double lining them in the round pen and then once they were ready, we drove them around the farm extensively to get them used to being out on their own in new surroundings before anyone was on their back.

Per usual, each horse progressed at a different pace.  When they were ready, we “backed” (got on) them in their stalls until they were comfortable with a rider and had some steering, then they went out in groups to the gallops (the track) with an older horse aka Hunter.  Like the horses in Kentucky, these yearlings were the who’s who of the Thoroughbred world.  They were doted on, groomed and cared for.  Some even had their own goat if they needed to have a constant companion to keep them happy.

At the end of the day my friend Marie (from Cork Ireland) and I, would occasionally get a lift into town to hang out at the local

Marie in foreground riding Brigata by Nijinsky.

Marie in foreground riding Brigata by Nijinsky.

pub.  The town of Monasterevin was small with no signs that I remember, to tell someone which building was which, but it had a grocery, church and a pub.  Going to a pub in a small Irish town is much like sitting in someone’s living room and sometimes it is!  Most of the time there was singing by anyone and everyone in the pub and one of the favorite tunes was of course American Pie by Don McLean.  The pub’s typically closed at 11pm, which was good because we had been there since 4:15pm.  Fortunately, the Stud’s night Security Guard was usually sport to give us a lift home.

In 1992 there were around 35 horse race tracks of sorts around the country.  Some were on the beach, all were grass and most were not flat, but instead followed the lay of the land.  Of course many of them also had jumps for National Hunt racing (horse racing over jumps).  One Saturday afternoon a few of us went to the races.  Instead of going to the window to bet, a live “Bookie” stood on a pedestal next to a chalkboard with their individual odds for the horses.  They had a wad of cash in their hand to take your bet and to pay out after each race.

In addition to the races, four of us went on a weekend trip to Ballenasloe in County Galway on the west side of Ireland.  The Ballenasloe Horse Fair and Festival is Europe’s oldest horse festival.  It was an incredible scene of people and horses covering an expansive field.  With no fences or barriers, horse shoppers wandered the field to view the horses and if they were interested in trying out a horse, one would hop on and take it for a ride.

Being one of two American’s, the non-American’s decided that we should all have Thanksgiving Dinner together.  One of the grooms’ family worked on a turkey farm and brought a fresh 21 lb. bird for the celebration.  It was a successful feast with turkey and accompanied by mashed potatoes, gravy, steamed broccoli and carrots, pie and egg nog!  No one had ever had egg nog before and they likely never did since.

Matt Nina with La Dolce by Sadlers Wells

Matt & Nina tacking up La Dolce by Sadler’s Wells

Late in the year, most of the horses were solid in their initial training and we started shipping them to different trainers in England, France and Dubai.  Grooms would ride with the horses in the horse box to the airport.  If the timing happened to fall over tea time, the horse box driver pulled off to the side of the road to break out their stash of tea and biscuits.  Once the horses were loaded on the plane, we waited to make sure their plane took off.  Interestingly we always knew which one had the horses aboard because, the passenger planes make an abrupt 45 degree angle after take-off, but the horse planes stay fairly level and gained altitude much slower.

My time in Ireland is quite distant in time, but made a significant impression on my life.  The involvement of working with so many horses in a short amount of time was a noteworthy lesson in learning to read a horse quickly.  More than that, the opportunity to live and work in a different country was an immeasurable experience.  One truly becomes immersed in the culture and becomes a part of it.  Shortly after I arrived in Ireland, I was talking with some grooms and someone in the pub said, “Oh, you’re from America.  Do you like American Football?”  Toward the end of my stay, I was asked when visiting Dublin if I was from Kildare!  Heather McWilliams © 2015

Conifer Resident Brittnee Woodward-Whitehead Wins Equine Comeback Challenge!

This past March at the 2015 Rocky Mountain Horse Expo, Brittnee Woodward-Whitehead and Forgotten Fortune aka Fortune won the Equine Comeback Challenge.  The 3 year old Appaloosa was one of 11 horses sent home with 11 different trainers last December. The horse and rider teams would meet again in March to compete in an AQHA style versatility trail class with 2 minutes of freestyle at the end.

A Home for Every Horse’s Equine Comeback Challenge started in 2014 when Mariah Hammerschmidt, the Project Coordinator for A Home for Every Horse, realized there was a need to find new ways to assist rescue organizations in their efforts to find homes for horses.  The Equine Comeback Challenge was modeled after the Extreme Mustang Makeover, to showcase unwanted rescue horses and their ability to become willing equine partners.

Founded in 2011, A Home for Every Horse is an outlet for Equine.com—the World’s Largest Equine Marketplace—to develop a long term partnership with equine rescues all over the country and use their resources to help find forever homes for the more than 170,000 unwanted horses in the United States.

Rescue horses have long been a passion for Brittnee and as a board member of the Colorado Horse Rescue Network, she remembers when they talked about starting the Equine Comeback Challenge.  “We decided, ‘let’s do this, but let’s do it with rescues (rescue horses)’.”  Not only does the competition raise awareness for the horses that need to find homes, but for also for the work of the non-profit horse rescue organizations.  Horses in rescues that are untrained are typically difficult to find homes for, but the Equine Comeback Challenge provides a platform for them to get started under saddle, opening up their prospects to find forever homes.  Brittnee states, “This competition is very much about the rescue horses and giving them value.  The horses that go through it walk away and they are all worth something in the end.  That’s the biggest win you could ever ask for.”

The 11 rescue horses selected to compete at the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo this spring were provided by regional rescues; Colorado Horse Rescue Network in partnership with Ruby Ranch Horse Rescue and Spring Creek Horse Rescue, Triple Acres Horse Rescue, Far View Horse Rescue, Mountain View Horse Rescue, CANTER Colorado and Shiloh Acres Horse Rescue.

All of the horses were deemed unwanted and randomly placed with the 11 trainers.  Fortune was surrendered as a stallion after his owner and breeder had passed away.  Castrated just before Brittnee brought him home for the 90 days of training before the competition, he was basically untouched. 1617696_10153153110873023_8991216957498889039_o

Not new to horse training, for the last 10 years Brittnee has been starting young horses and rehabilitating troubled ones for many of the horse rescues in Colorado as well as individual owners.  She has also started and finished barrel horses for the local X2 Ranch for several years.    Brittnee anchors her training in putting a correct foundation of trust and confidence into her horses to set them up for success for the rest of their lives.  With that in mind and with Bailey trainer Rod Miller as her coach, she started to earn Fortune’s trust.  Within a week they were able to have their first ride.   With limited access to an indoor arena, starting a young horse in the middle of a Colorado winter can be a challenge, but that did not stop Brittnee and Fortune from getting outdoors and many miles under saddle.

Since the competition, Brittnee and her husband Charley Whitehead purchased the boarding and training facility on the corner of Pleasant Park Road and Oehlmann Park Road in Conifer under the name Old Glory Equestrian – OGE.  They offer the highest level of horse care in boarding and training services surrounded by a family friendly environment.  OGE offers full training and lessons with a combined 50+ years of experience between 3 trainers.  They offer training for everything from starting young horses to trail riding to making a finished Reiner.  Old Glory Equestrian incorporates into their business model funds from their boarding and training business to support saving, re-training and finding homes for several rescue horses a year.  Brittnee understands that the key to the rescue horses finding a good home is training.  The private horses in training and boarders make it possible to take in some “freebies” every year, give them a proper education and find them a suitable home.  Old Glory Equestrian is not a non-profit business, but they feel that as a part of the horse industry we all have the responsibility to give back.

Fortune can be found this summer showing at the local 4-H and club shows with Brittnee’s 14 year old sister Kassydee.  They have a growing collection of first and second place ribbons to show what a great team they are making!  Heather McWilliams © 2015

Contact Brittnee at 303-901-3740, [email protected], 23615 Oehlmann Park Road, Conifer oldgloryranchconifer.com, www.facebook.com/OldGloryStables.

Video of Brittnee and Fortune’s winning run:  https://www.facebook.com/339401218022/videos/vb.339401218022/10153241976033023/?type=2&t

Evergreen’s Rodeo Royalty: Meet Sierra, Lauren & Gabriella

With the coming of the Evergreen Rodeo on Father’s Day Weekend, the 2015 Evergreen Royalty will represent their town, the history and the tradition of the Evergreen Rodeo.  These three young ladies have spent the last year serving our community, preserving our western heritage and promoting rodeo.  They represent the Evergreen Rodeo Association and community as ambassadors with the highest level of integrity and professionalism.

The Evergreen Rodeo Royalty spends numerous hours volunteering for events throughout the year, starting with the National Western Stock Show and various community events throughout the state of Colorado. They volunteer several hundred hours promoting the community, local rodeos and rodeo events all over the state of Colorado, including our own this year June 19th-21st.

The Evergreen royalty includes, Miss Evergreen Rodeo (ages 17 – 24), Evergreen Rodeo Princess (ages 15 – 17) and the Evergreen Rodeo Junior Princess (ages 10 – 14).

Contestants go through an extensive competition that takes place over several days and events.  The girls are judged based on the following criteria: formal and casual modeling, impromptu questions at each event, two personal interviews with the judges, a speech, a written exam and a full day of horsemanship.

Jody Benefiel, Evergreen Rodeo Royalty Coordinator states: “they work all year round going to various events representing our rodeo. They are amazing, intelligent and beautiful young women who will get up at the crack of dawn, drive several miles or hours to reach an event, be royalty ready with hair and make-up done and an assortment of outfits for whatever comes their way and always ready to help out where ever they are needed.”

In their own words, the Sierra, Lauren and Gabriella talk about their horses and what being part of the Evergreen Rodeo has meant to them over the past year.

Sierra Knodle, Miss Rodeo Evergreen

Ever since I can remember, I have had a passion for horses. When I was much younger, I was like any other little girl, posters of the majestic animals on every wall, horse stuffed animals everywhere, not to mention every Birthday wish list began with one item; My very own horse. At this time I was only four or five and what did horses mean to me? They were big, fast, beautiful animals. They were outstanding pets that could, of course, be dressed to match in all purple. I could braid their beautiful manes and tails and maybe even add a couple of flowers.

As I continue through the journey of life, I have had many passions, but they have come and gone. It is my horses that have been there through everything. I fell in love with the sport of rodeo, as well as the rodeo queens, early on in life. However my thoughts on them are similar to the horses. It wasn’t until much older I learned what it was really about. Rodeo was something greater than I had ever imagined. A sport that was all about hard work, bringing athletes together through man and animal.  Queening is also similar. As a child, I saw the rhinestones, the pretty horses and the crown. But as my last few weeks as Miss Evergreen Rodeo are soon to be over, I am reminded daily that having the opportunity to represent the Evergreen Rodeo as their queen isn’t just about wearing the crown. It is about sharing my passion for rodeo and my unconditional love for horses, and helping others find their passion too.

Now over 12 years later, I can again share with you what horses mean to me. Yes, they are still big, fast, and beautiful animals – and I do enjoy braiding their tails. But to me, they are so much more than that. Horses are teachers, best friends, and one in a million partners. I wouldn’t trade them for the world. There is only one thing that makes me even happier then working with my own and that is sharing my passion with others. My goal is to help young cowboys and cowgirls discover everything these magnificent animals have to offer. I hope to help them to find not just the beautiful animal, but the partner, best friend, and teacher, all in one.

Lauren Hladik, Evergreen Rodeo Princess

I own two amazing horses, a 9 year old AQHA mare, Sugar and a 22 year old Thoroughbred gelding, Eddie.  I’ve lived on Pine Grove Ranch in Kittredge my whole life, so I’ve always been attached to my horses at the hip!  My Grandma, Nancy Hladik had my sister and I on horses since we were about 3 years old and I’ve been in love ever since.

My family has been involved with the Evergreen Rodeo Association since it was called the Bear Creek Rodeo Association.  My Grandma, Nancy Hladik was Mrs. Evergreen Rodeo in 1981 and the Evergreen Rodeo is something that my family always plans ahead for a year in advance!  I grew up there and always wanted to be a member of their Royalty.  I knew when I was crowned the 2015 Evergreen Rodeo Princess, I would be able to represent the Evergreen Rodeo, but as my year advanced, I realized that I am representing the rodeo that helped shape who I am today.  The Evergreen Rodeo has helped cultivate my love for rodeo, my hometown and my overall personality.

My sister and my parents would say I have definitely become more full of myself, ha-ha, but they would also agree with me that being royalty has helped me mature as a person.  I have learned to be punctual, more responsible and polite, while representing the Evergreen Rodeo.  These qualities have carried over into my personal life as well.  I have received compliments about my level of maturity, in the most random places, anywhere from my physical therapist office to my school!

Since I had the rare opportunity of being able to grow up on a ranch, I think having a connection with animals is extremely important as a young child.  It develops certain traits that you can’t learn any other way, such as responsibility, respect and millions of things about animals that helps expand your overall life knowledge.

Gabriella Otero, Evergreen Rodeo Junior Princess

This past year as the Evergreen Rodeo Junior Princess has been amazing.  Each event taught me more about the rodeo’s rich history and I was able to share my love for riding and horses. It is impressive how the rodeo association is able to dedicate their time and energy to the community of Evergreen, not just the rodeo and I was a part of that. Most importantly, I learned how to be confident around others and to do what was in their best interest.

I enjoyed meeting new people and going to new places. I never realized how many community events there are in Evergreen throughout the year. I had to build my stamina to help at each one and never lose my smile! I think my favorite was face painting. I cannot wait until rodeo weekend when the whole community comes together again and I can ride my horse in the parade. See you out there!

Join us Father’s Day Weekend!  Go to evergreenrodeo.com for more information on the Evergreen Rodeo Royalty and a complete schedule of events.

2015 Summer Calendar – Listed by Entity

Colorado Horsecare Foodbank FUNdraisers!

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

May 16 & 17 and May 23 & 24 – Flowers for Food. Buy amazing flowers for your home while helping fill the coffers with hay! 2 Denver locations – Central – West Washington Park, 760 S. Emerson Street, Denver or North Denver – 5175 Perry Street, Denver. Pricing and products on website.

July 18 – Black Tie Silver Shoes. Enjoy an evening with horses at the Queen City Horse Show at the National Western Events Center in Denver.

October 2 – Hay Bales & Horse Tails – Amazing evening of food, fun and shopping for horse stuff! This year will be at the Hudson Gardens cabin on Santa Fe Blvd in Littleton.


Colorado Corral Western Dressage Clinic & Ride-A-Test

October 3, Evergreen Rodeo Grounds. See 10/3 on Event calendar at MtnHomes4Horses.com for more information. Clinic in morning, Ride-A-Test in afternoon.

Colorado Corral Ranch Race Competition & Clinic

October 4, Evergreen Rodeo Grounds. See 10/4 on Event calendar at MtnHomes4Horses.com for more information. Clinics in morning, competition in afternoon.


Centaur Rising Horse Camps, Clinics & Shows

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

June 7 – Foothills Dressage Schooling Show

Little Kids Camp/Basic Horse Camp

June 9-11 FULL; June 23-25 FULL; July 7-9 FULL

Basic Horse Camp/Intensive Horse Camp/Advanced Horse Camp

June 15-18; July 14-16

Little Kids Camp/Basic Horse Camp/Intensive Horse Camp

July 28-30, 1 space remaining

July 19 – Centaur Rising Dressage Show I

August 4-6 – Dressage Camp

August 9 – Centaur Rising Dressage Show II


Conifer Area Gymkhana Series

McKeever Arena, 12190 S. Ridge Road, Conifer, CO.  303-697-9537.

Sunday June 7, July 12 & August 2


Double Header Performance Horses – Clinics & Competitions

Tombstone Ranch in Pine, Colorado. www.dhperformancehorses.webs.com and www.facebook.com/dhperformancehorses. [email protected] Micaela 303-918-6367, Luke 303-993-9038

May 23 – Beginner Trail Clinic (for beginner riders or green horses, anybody who wants to introduce their horses to the obstacles)

May 30 – Roping Clinic (will be towing a roping dummy around with a four wheeler so will be on horseback)

June 13 – Intermediate/Advanced Trail Clinic (for anybody who wants to fine tune their skills or their horses skills on the trail obstacles)

June 27 – Roping Clinic (same thing as the first one)

July 11 – Beginner Horsemanship Clinic (for anybody needing help with their horses or themselves)

July 25 – Trail Course Challenge (will be a competition scored on the extreme trail course and timed on the property trail course)

August 8 – Roping Jackpot (normal team roping jackpot but will be using the dummy not live steers, geared towards beginners in previous clinics)

August 22 – Advanced Horsemanship Clinic (for anybody wanting to fine tune their skills or their horses skills)


Evergreen Ranch Sorters Association

Reffel’s Arena, Wandcrest Drive, Pine Junction. 10am-2pm. [email protected] 303-674-0340.

Annual membership is $150 for the season plus $25 weekly sorting fees. Come as a guest for up to 3 times at $50 per weekly sorting. Come see why ranch sorting is the fastest growing equine sport in the country and fun for riders of all ages!

Sat. 5/30, Sat. 6/6, Sat. 6/13, Sat. 6/27, Sat. 7/4, Sorting and BBQ/4th of July Potluck, Sat. 7/11, Sat. 7/18, Sat. 7/25, Sat. 8/1, Sat. 8/8, Sat. 8/15, Sat. 8/22, Sat. 8/29, Sun. 9/6, Sun. 9/13 Buckle Sort, Sat. 9/19, Sat. 9/26. Sun. 9/6, Sat. 10/3.


Evergreen Rodeo Association

RODEO WEEKEND! www.EvergreenRodeo.com. 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 19 Friday – Friday Family Fun Night Benefit for Tim Shirley 3:00pm and 10:00pm. Great family event including muttin bustin, stick horse races, barrel racing plus many more activities. Live music will be provided by ‘Runaway Train’ from 8:00pm to 10:00pm.

June 20 Saturday – Rodeo Parade, 10:00 in downtown Evergreen

June 20 Saturday – Rodeo Performance, 2:00 at the Rodeo Grounds

June 21 Sunday – Rodeo Performance, 2:00 at the Rodeo Grounds


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

May 17 – Arvada Hoofprinters Show – Westernaires Arena – Indoor Arena at the Jeffco Fairgrounds (Adults can ride in this one)

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

July 11 &12 – Pleasant Park Horse Show – McKeever Arena (Conifer) – Outdoor, this is our club’s event, 2nd day is the speed events (Adults can ride both days in this event)

July 19 – Jeffco Ranger/Wranglers Show – Jeffco Event Center Arena (Fairgrounds) – Indoor

July 26 – Ranch Race Trail – Table View Arena – Outdoor – Adult classes

August 2 – Pleasant Park Gymkhana – McKeever Arena (Conifer) – Outdoor, not a show, just speed events – adult classes

August 6 & 7 – County Fair – Jefferson County Fairgrounds – outdoor, only kids can compete

August 27-30 – State Fair – Pueblo

September 6 – Equine Event – Rodeo Arena, more info to come!

September 27 – Horse Council Fun Show – Table View Arena


Syzygy Coaching

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

June 26 – Leadership through the Eyes of the Horse–an equine guided course in leadership development

June 27-28 – Equine Vision Journey to your Next Chapter –an equine guided personal growth retreat

July 24 – Millennials! Generation NEXT! Leadership Through the Eyes of the Horse – an equine guided course in leadership development for millennials

August 11 – Mom’s Daughters and Horses – an equine guided retreat to celebrate the mom and daughter relationship

September 12-13 – Equine Vision Journey to your Next Chapter- an equine guided personal growth retreat


Trail Riding

Ever wish you had people to trail ride with and see all of our amazing local parks? Now you do! Most of the rides are on varying weekdays and are at a different park each time. This is a small group and safety is key. We ride to the level of the greenest horse or rider. Dates and times vary. Email me at [email protected] to be added to the list. Questions? 303-638-0994.


Tucker Black Horsemanship Clinics

Red Hawk Ranch, 12754 US HWY 285, Conifer. Other events coming, check website for latest information. www.tuckerblackhorsemanship.com, or www.rhrconifer.com. [email protected] 303-870-8389.

June 13 – Horsemanship

August 1 – Ranch Riding & Horsemanship

September 26 – Ranch Riding & Horsemanship

Front Range Backcountry Horsemen

The Front Range Back Country Horsemen (FRBCH) work behind the scenes, unknown to many trail riders and campers, to clear the trails, educate and to serve as advocates for horses on the trails. In more detail, their three main objectives as an equestrian service club are to keep the trails in the Mount Evans and Lost Creek Wilderness areas, as well as the Pike and Arapahoe National Forests outside of Denver, open to horseback riders and pack stock; to educate the public about various horse related topics such as camping with horses; and to act as equestrian advocates with local, state and federal governments.

Whether you trail ride or not, it is critical to recognize the importance of the few groups that actively work to ensure the usage, safety and condition of the trails. New members of FRBCH are always welcome and will enjoy not only the comradery of the group, but will ride and camp in some of the most spectacular places on earth.

Last September, several FRBCH members met to be re-certified as “sawyers” for the US Forest Service by Forest Ranger, Ralph Bradt. The certification took place at the south end of the Ben Tyler trail in South Park where the trail was in desperate need of clearing. They met in the morning, some with horses, although many did not bring their horses because of the Vesicular Stomatitis outbreak. The group, Friends of Mount Evans also participated and many planned to stay and camp for the weekend. The certification included demonstrating all of the saw cuts the club uses in the forest to clear trails.

FRBCH carries four different sizes of club-owned saws, including two 42 inch crosscut saws that can be used as two person saws and bypass loppers, used to cut back overgrowth. In the wilderness, mechanical saws are not allowed. Most members receive certifications for clearing down trees, while some are certified to fell trees and use chain saws. Every trip includes certified members to supervise the activities of those who are not certified. By the end of that weekend, they had cleared 64 downed trees and had received their re-certifications in preparation for this year.



The busiest time for the FRBCH is late spring, summer and early fall. They meet several times a month with their horses, at various locations, to work on clearing the trails and making sure they are wide enough for a packed horse or mule to navigate. Trips range from day trips to camping trips, during the week and on weekends. Members participate in the trips when they can and they are typically ready to ride at 9:30am on work days. Some days involve quite a bit of tree clearing while others are light. On weekend trips, the group stays at the trail head to allow members to pitch tents or sleep in their trailers. On occasion, FRBCH brings along their club camp-stoves and everyone pitches in to enjoy breakfast and dinner together. In addition, many members are very experienced at camping with horses and packing into the backcountry and they are always willing to share their knowledge.

One of the yearly highlights is the Colorado Trail ride that FRBCH hosts for members. This year the ride is seven days long, with one day off in the middle. By doing several segments each year, FRBCH completes the entire Colorado Trail in five years. It is a completely catered ride where a support team moves the camp daily, supplies and prepares all of the food for the people and horses. It is a great way to experience the Colorado Trail, get your feet wet backcountry camping with your horse with experienced packers and riders. This year the ride is July 18-26 and is broken into three segments, allowing people to do all 7 days (Platinum Membership, $780), 4 days (Gold membership, $480) or 3 days (Silver membership, $380). Visit the website for more details.

Other services FRBCH provide are carrying water up to noxious weed spraying areas, building corrals, mapping trails with GPS and packing out abandoned camps for the US Forest Service. Furthermore, they have an Ambassador Ride to patrol the Christmas tree cutting areas on behalf of the US Forest Service and ride in the annual Parker Carriage Parade in December.

As advocates for horses on trails in the backcountry, some FRBCH members attend meetings held by local, county or state government when there is support needed related to the use of horses, access and parking, and whether trails in a particular area should remain open to horseback riders. Horse people attendance at these meetings is critical to show support in numbers for horse activities, alongside the hikers and bikers.

Front Range Back County Horsemen holds monthly meetings for business and planning. Find the schedule and more information on their website, www.frontrangebackcountyhorsemen.org (or www.frbch.org), or call President Kitty Bladt at 303-984-2387 or Vice President Linda Baur at 303-670-3550.  Please consider becoming a part of this fun, educational and important group! Heather McWilliams © 2015.

HORSE CAMPS! At Centaur Rising

If there is one thing that parents are often seeking, it is horse camps for their horse crazy kids. The first place that always comes to mind is Centaur Rising at Anchorage Farm in Pine. Owners Jim and Kris Cooper have been putting on summer horse camps every year since 1992.   In 2006 the horse camp entity became Centaur Rising (CR), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Kris realized after 20 years of working in the corporate world as a psychologist, that it was time for her to combine her training, passion for animals and the outdoors into a horse camp that would prepare kids with life skills for the future. Overall, Centaur Rising strives to help kids develop self-confidence, a sense of mastery, a feeling of uniqueness and the ability to make wise decisions.

The camp is thorough, teaching all aspects including the responsibilities of horse ownership, horse care, safety (they have an impeccable safety record), basic horse knowledge (colors, markings, breeds, tack) and a correct foundation for riding. A key aspect of that training is educating the students to learn compassion for the horses and learn to effectively communicate with them.

The first day of camp, each camper adopts a specific horse, which means that the camper is responsible for horse turnout, stall cleaning, grooming, tacking and learning to ride their adopted horse. Camp staff intentionally helps to foster a relationship between the child and their horse, so the child learns to understand the horses individual personality and unique view of the world.

Recently a young student asked Kris if she loved horses, Kris responded, “yes I do; but even more than loving horses, I like teaching people how to get along with horses and how to make a commitment to them.  I like people too.  If I can teach them to better relate to horses, they learn how to get along better with other people too.”

Advanced students help to operate the horse camps learning life skills in how to teach, supervise, plan, delegate and work together. Of course Jim is a vital part of all that goes on behind the scenes and in the operation of Anchorage Farm, including shoeing all of the horses.

CR offers five types of camps: Little Kids’ Camp (ages 5-7), Basic Horse Camp (one lesson/day), Intensive and Advanced camps (two lessons/day) and a Dressage Camp (August 4-7, 2015). Nic Sigler, an FEI level instructor/trainer/competitor from Evergreen, will be co-instructor of the latter camp, geared to both adults and more advanced young people. The Dressage Camp will be followed by a Rocky Mountain Dressage Society sanctioned Dressage show, which will include classes in Western Dressage.

Centaur Rising also offers riding instruction for adults and children year-round, including after school programs. They are hosting three Dressage shows (the first is a schooling show) and several clinics this year. For detailed information and the full schedule on the Events page, go to their website, www.centaurrising.org. Reach Kris and Jim at 303-838-5086, [email protected], address: 12889 S. Parker Ave, Pine.

Dates Basic Horse Camp LittleKids


Intensive HorseCamp Advanced HorseCamp Dressage


Rate $300 $60 – 1/2day$100 – all day $400 $400 $450
March 24-26 x
June 9-11 x x
June 16-18 x x x
June 23-25 x x x
July 7-9 x x
July 14-16 x x x
July 28-30 x x x
Aug 4-6 x x

Come see us at the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo March 13-15!

The Rocky Mountain Horse Expo is this weekend March 13-15!  I hear some of you are doing clinics, competing, or just coming to walk around and see what’s going on.  If you have never been, there are always clinics going on to watch in all parts of the complex, as well as special events, horse shopping, booths by local groups, i.e. associations, breeds, events, and more!

Come by our booth #1308 at the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo in the Education Hall at the National Western Complex! We will be having drawings all day, every day for lots of fun horsey gifts — Not to mention free giveaways and chocolate of course!

We will be featuring current listings as well as displaying just a few of the ways that we help our sellers get the best price for their homes.

If you are interested in giving away a lesson or service to promote your business, just bring it by the booth.

Website:  http://www.coloradohorsecouncil.com/, click on RMHE link.  See you there!

You might be a Horse Nut if…

…all of your shoes have traces of manure on them.

…you walk behind your car and touch it so it knows you are there.

…you see a golf course and think about how great it would be to gallop across it.

…you have to wash your hands before you go to the bathroom.

…you know the towing capacity and wheel base of most trucks.

…your friends and family check the barn before the house to see if you are home.

…horse breath is your favorite smell.

…the majority of your shoes are for the barn.

…you have two piles of dirty clothes – still clean enough for the barn and definitely dirty.

…your Christmas and birthday lists are all horse related items.

…you know where you can park your truck and trailer at your errand stops in town.

…you say “whoa” to your dog instead of “stay”.

…you click to your kids to get them to move along.

…you reach in your pocket for change and come out with horse treats.

…if someone is going to the barn before you meet them, add 2 hours to the original time.

…you back a truck and trailer better than most truck drivers.

…your hair style is determined by how well it will fit underneath a helmet.

…when you cut your finger, you have to run out to the tack room because that’s where all your first aid supplies are located.

…you know not to wear fleece around your horse.

…you have nail polish just to keep your Chicago screws from coming undone.

…you know what Chicago screws are.

…your work outs consist of riding, shoveling manure, stacking hay and hauling buckets of water.

…you spend all of your birthday and Christmas money on competition entry fees.

…you can fit your truck and trailer through most fast food drive thru’s.

…you can fit a ride into a spare 45 minutes.

…you watch the zookeeper cleaning up after the Zebra’s and envy them.

…you don’t know that you smell like horse urine.

…you think that horse poop is not smelly and gross like other kinds of poop.

…you make a sweet feed cake with carrot candles and handpicked grass decorations for your horses birthday.

…hay can be found in your bra and/or shirt.

…you go outside in the cold to put a blanket on your horse, but can’t be bothered to put a coat on yourself.

…you love to browse the latest colors and designs of muck boots.

…new footing in your arena is more exciting than any new furniture, jewelry, clothing, etc. (or any other non-horse item).

…you buy items for your horse without question.  When you or your family needs something, you ask yourself , “do we really need that?”

…you feed and care for your horse before yourself, in your pajamas.

…you go to Florida for the winter, but must come home every two weeks to see your horses.

…you would rather watch your horse graze than watch TV.

…you have major medical for your horse, but no health insurance for yourself.

…you are an expert at working with hat hair.

…you consider yourself a winner if you take home first prize and $24 at a competition and it cost you $240 to enter.

…your barn is exponentially cleaner than your house.

…hay is a daily hair accessory.

…you have a Corgi.

…when driving down the freeway in your car, you shift your body weight and put on leg pressure anticipating a “shy” when passing a big noisy truck with a flapping tarp!

…you know exactly when your horse had their teeth done last, but can’t remember the last time you had yours done.

…you drive 4 hours for a one hour lesson.

…your yearly one week vacation is going to a clinic with your horse.

…you spring out of bed at 4am for a horse competition, when you really just needed to get up at 5am, take a shower, pick up donuts, wash the truck, get gas, feed, clean stalls, drive to the show, get tacked up, braid if necessary, warm your horse up and are ready for your 8am class, but you are regularly late for work.

…you can fix anything with bailing twine or wire.

…your idea of buying new shoes involves meeting your farrier every 6-8 weeks.

…that said, you buy $200 shoes for your horse every 6-8 weeks, but struggle to buy yourself a pair once a year.

…your favorite free time is spending a long weekend 
in front of a horse trailer by a dusty arena.

…you think 101°F is 
a normal body temperature.

…instead of giving someone directions to turn “left” or “right,” you tell them to “gee” or “haw.”

…your favorite outfit is mostly leather and may include
 a whip and spurs.

…you cringe at paying six bucks for lunch, but won’t
 blink at spending sixty on a riding lesson.

…you complain about being sore after a hike, but would
 never complain about the pain from your ride the previous day.

…any object is evaluated for how you might use it at the barn.

…when you go to the mall, you look for horse items in every store and usually buy them because they are “hard to find”.

…You love Ralph Lauren and Hermes because they have a horsey theme, not that you could ever afford them because you have horses.

…your home is covered in horse art, sculptures, knick-knacks, calendars and pictures of your loved ones riding horses.

…your phone ring, computer background and icons are horses.

…at any time in your life, you set up jumps in the backyard and had your dog jump the course.

…instead of skipping, you “canter”.

…you know more knots than most sailors.

…you know the first four generations of Native Dancer, King P-243, Furioso II., but you can’t remember your siblings age.

…you lean forward as your car goes over a speed bump.

…you and your horse both use Mane & Tail Shampoo and Conditioner.

…you go to the supermarket in your breeches and boots.

…your tack room and barn are neat as a pin; not so much your house.

…your veterinarian is number one on your speed dial and your spouse is number two.

…you are still reading these and s-nickering to yourself.

Thank you to everyone who contributed!  Heather McWilliams © 2014.

Three Summers in Kentucky


Main House

Early in 1990, as a sophomore at Colorado State University studying to get my BS in Equine Science, I decided I was not going to come back to Evergreen for another summer. Leafing through the pages of my Blood Horse Magazine, I picked out ten big farms to send internship request letters. I am not sure what originally drew me to Thoroughbreds, except that I knew it was an enormous industry with tradition, palatial farms, famous horses and connections all over the world. I was fascinated by yearlings selling at the Keeneland Summer Select Sale in the mid-80’s for numbers like $17 million! Surely they would have a job opening.

Gainesborough Farm in Versailles, Kentucky was my only response and invited me to take a Groom position from May-August. Gainesborough was owned at the time by Sheik Maktoum of the United Arab Emirates. His brother Sheik Mohammad did not have a farm in Kentucky at the time, so he kept many of his horses there as well. The farm did not disappoint. It was everything I would have imagined and more. It was 600+ acres of meticulously groomed horse heaven. Huge double wood fenced pastures, four lovely homes, sections for stallions, mares & foals, barren mares and yearlings. There was the stately main house where many of the Sheiks entourage stayed when they visited, although the Sheik stayed off site. The Manager, Assistant Manager and Personal Manager occupied the other three homes.

Stallion Complex 2

Inside of Stallion Barns. Copper ceiling in cupola, stained glass silks in every barn.

There was also a Maintenance Manager, Stallion Manager, Mare & Foal Manager and Yearling Manager. Each barn had a Barn Foreman and then 2-4 Grooms. The stallion complex was complete with the latest footing, excessive padding and exotic trees imported from all over the world. Much to the embarrassment of the Stallion Manager, Jimmy from Ireland, he had to feed all of the exotic foul that adorned the lovely lake. When I went to the stud (aka farm) he was from in Ireland a couple years later, he asked me to please not tell people back home that he had to feed the ducks!

Stallion Complex

Stallion Complex

Mares & Foals had four 20 stall barns, one being the foaling barn; yearlings had three 20 stall barns, there was a 10 stall quarantine barn, a 20 stall Barren Mare barn and the Stallion Barn had 6 stalls. Each section was architecturally unique from the octagon stallion barns to the circular yearling barns with meticulously groomed gardens in the middle courtyards. Every barn had brick floors, pristine oak lined stalls and walls with brass hardware everywhere. That was another thing that Jimmy asked me to keep quiet on, how many hours we spent cleaning brass… Door knobs & handles, halter hangers, halters, and feed tub and water clips, yes the snaps on the feed tubs!

Our work days started at 7 am, bringing all of the horses out of the pasture every morning to give them grain, groom them, palpate mares, treat any cuts and scrapes, etc. Mondays were bath day. Mares with appointments with stallions were vanned with a groom to farms while their foals stayed home in their stalls. As you may know, to be registered with the Jockey Club, Thoroughbreds have to be bred by live cover, meaning mare and stallion are both present and you can fill in the rest. Of course with the value of the horse flesh, experienced handlers keep it all safe and orderly. Mid-afternoon, all of the horses would be turned back out and the night crew would take over, touching every horse on the farm at least once every two hours.

Abeesh by Nijinsky & her Rahy foal.

Abeesh by Nijinsky & her Rahy foal.

The Sheik arrived in July to attend the famed Keeneland Summer Select Sale at Keeneland Race Track. As expected, he came with mass amounts of family members and staff. They landed their too large plane at the Blue Grass Airport, paid the $30,000 dollar fine to the FFA and left the plane running at the end of the runway in case he had to go at a moment’s notice. One summer they had to send the plane back to London to retrieve the suitcase of cash they left in the hotel. His entourage included a food taster who took a shine to me and would bring me food to my barn every afternoon including fruits, breads and meats. All of the other farm employees would come by my barn on their way home to stock up for dinner!

Looking toward Stallion Complex across lake from Yearling barn

Looking toward Stallion Complex across lake from Yearling Barn.

While Sheik Maktoum and Mohammad were looking at the Keeneland sale horses, he would also come through the barns and look at his own. Prior to their visit, we would practice taking the horses out to the presentation areas at each barn while we paraded around in sheets to look like robes, getting the foals and yearlings used to standing nicely while robes flapped and walked around them. While they were in Kentucky, we worked every day for over 20 days just in case they stopped by. When they did arrive at the farm, we snuck in and out of the back stall doors, being unseen, but sending out gleaming coats from each stall to be presented. After they left we all received cash bonuses. $2,500 for grooms, $5,000 for foreman, $10,000 for division managers and who knows how much for upper management. I heard $50,000 for the General Manager. Pretty nice little bonus! Speaking of money, the farm budget was $8 million a year, the Sheiks income for one day. That puts it in perspective.

The following summer I returned to work at Fares Farm in Lexington, just over the fence from Calumet Farm (home of Affirmed, 1978 Triple Crown winner) and down the road from the back gate of Keeneland. Fares Farm specialized in fitting yearlings for sale at the Keeneland Summer Select Sale as well as lay ups off of the track. We spent a good amount of time hand walking yearlings and lay ups, as well as wrapping legs and grooming.

When sale time arrived we had one particularly smart and feisty filly, Skillful Joy by Nureyev. The Farm Manager handed me a box of sugar cubes and said, “I think she likes you best, just try to keep her happy.” Thoroughbreds are usually named later as two year olds, so they are typically identified by the mares name and their birth year. Skillful Joy the mare won over $1 million on the track and I believe Nureyev’s stud fee at the time was around $250,000.   Skillful Joy would demand some attention.

Skillful Joy & I at Keeneland Sales

Skillful Joy & I at Keeneland Sales

At the sale, many of the top trainers, owners and bloodstock agents came by to see Skillful Joy. Trainers D. Wayne Lucas and Nick Zito were among them. Each groom had specific yearlings that they presented to interested parties and Skillful Joy was mine. Showing the yearlings entailed bringing them out to the ring from their stalls, standing them correctly for prospective buyers to evaluate their conformation and then walking them around the ring. She really only did two ornery things while there. While she was tied to the back wall of her stall as I groomed her, I left to get something and she double barrel kicked the heavy mesh door closed behind me. Then once while I was showing her she intentionally stepped on my foot in perfect stride, never missing a beat. Of course I had to act like nothing happened.

That same summer I worked on Saturdays in the breeding shed at Gainesway Farm for Dr. Umphenour which scored me the shoes of Thirty Six Red and Cahill Road (same shoes he won the Wood Memorial in) as they retired to the breeding barn from the track.

In 1992, when I graduated from CSU, I headed back out to Kentucky to work at Gainesborough Farm again and for the third summer live above Wilson’s Pool Hall in Versailles. This time, at the end of the summer the plan was for me to fly to Ireland with 41 horses that the Sheiks had bought at the Keeneland Sale. Once in Ireland, I would join a crew of hired help from all over the world at Sheik Mohammad’s Kildangan Stud to start training the long yearlings for flat racing. Ireland in the Fall to follow later this year! More pictures on my blog at MtnHomes4Horses.com. Heather McWilliams © 2015