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Intermountain Horse Association Poker Ride, Upcoming Meetings and The Westernaires!

As a horse person around our foothills community, I often get questions about where to meet other horse people and how to find people to ride with.  As a member of the Intermountain Horse Association, I have found this group to be one of the most diverse groups of local men and women that are passionate about horses.  People in this group are trail riders, dressage riders, barrel racers, ropers, eventers, fox hunters, ranch sorters, endurance riders and more, not to mention that many of them are active members of other horse organizations.

IHA meets from September – May on the 3rd Tuesday’s of the month in the event room (take a left before host stand) at Beau Jos in Downtown Evergreen.  Come early to socialize at 6:30pm.  Food and beverages available.  The meeting starts at 7pm and topics include subjects such as pasture management, saddle fitting, weed management, Africa on horseback, trail riding in Colorado, the Colorado Horse Industry, joint therapies, infectious diseases and more.  Plan to come out this year to these meetings and get to know others in your horse community.  The IHA group is welcoming and made up of passionate horse people throughout the foothills community.  See more information at intermountainhorse.org or find them on Facebook at IntermountainHorse.  The meetings for this season are:  October 17, November 21, December 19 (Christmas Party at The McWilliams’- not at Beau Jos!), January 16, February 20, March 20, April 17, May 15.

IHA presenting $1200 check to Westernaires

Ever year in the first couple of weeks of September, the IHA organizes a Poker Ride at Alderfer Three Sisters Ranch Open Space Park in Evergreen.  Winning high and low hand riders split the pot with a local non-profit horse organization.  This year’s ride fell on September 9th with The Westernaires as the beneficiary.  This spring, The Westernaires horses suffered an outbreak of a highly infectious disease often called Strangles.  This resulted in veterinary expenses and lost income due to a quarantine of the facility.  The IHA Poker Ride was able to donate $1,200 to The Westernaires thanks to the participants and sponsors!

If you are new to the area, The Westernaires are a world-renowned horse program that was started in 1954 in Golden, Colorado.  Because of its high standards and success, similar programs across the country have been modeled after The Westernaires.  The non-profit organization is represented by over 1,000 kids from 9-19 years old.  They encourage “self-respect, responsibility and leadership through horsemanship and family participation”.  At its foundation, The Westernaires is a precision mounted drill team, but it is much more than that.  Kids progress through levels of teams that include reenactments, Dressage teams, jumping, driving ponies and so much more.  Learning proper horse care is a foundational value and the kids and families are dedicated to immersing themselves in excellence, Western heritage and values.  The Westernaires organization owns over 80 horses and ponies, plus some mules and draft horses, making this a great place for horse crazy kids to get started and involved with horses.

To learn a little bit more about them, their annual show called Horsecapades is coming up at the end of this month.  Please buy tickets at the grocery from these hard-working kids and take your family and friends to a performance.

Performances are:  Saturday, October 28th — 10am;  Saturday, October 28th — 2pm*;  Saturday, October 28th — 7pm*;  Sunday, October 29th — 2pm**a pre-show begins 30 minutes in advance.

Go to their website at Westernaires.org for more information on the program or Horsecapades.

Overnight Colorado Horse Trips

Fall is one of the most beautiful times to ride in Colorado with the changing leaves, cool weather and minimal tourism traffic.  In the last couple of years, we have explored a few Colorado places to camp with our horses and trail ride.  Here are some of the places offered in our beautiful state that provide overnight facilities for people and horses.  For more information, details and additional ideas see Margi Evans’ book:  Riding Colorado III:  Day and Overnight Trips with your horse.

Make reservations as far ahead as you can, but often in the late fall there are openings for spontaneous trips.  Make sure you have all of the health papers you need ready specific to the facility.  You may need a current negative Coggins test, possibly a vaccination record and/or a health certificate within the last 30 days.  If travelling over 75 miles from home, you will need a brand inspection.   Some places require certified weed-free hay.

Beaver Meadows Resort, Red Feather Lakes, CO, beavermeadow.com, 970-881-2450

Beautiful common area with beaver ponds, general store and restaurant.  A great place for non-horse folks too!  Many, many well marked trails for different loop options every day.  Several small stream crossings.  Horses:  Pens at the horse stable area or large pens at campsites with nearby water.  People:  Many options including cabins, condos, hotel rooms and horse camp sites.  There are no hook ups at the horse camping area, but it is along a beautiful stream in a private setting.

Mill Creek Ranch (formally known as Old Cow Town Colorado), Saguache, CO, millcreekcolorado.com, 719-655-2224

No expense was spared designing and building this recently built cow town.  There is a restaurant, saloon, general store, museum, social club and more.  Bring more that your horse friends and family, there is something here for everyone.  Surrounded by National Forest, there are many trail riding options to explore like Hoaglund Mountain and the Hodding Creek Area.  Horses:  Very nice stall barn to outdoor pens.  People: Many options of cabins, the Social Club or a nice RV area near the barn and pens with hookups.

Homestead Meadows from Hermit Park Campground, Estes Park, CO, 800-397-7795

Ride to Homestead Meadows from Campground.  The trail tours through a registered National Historic District.  The area was first settled in the 1800’s and the last resident in 1952.  Each homestead is labeled telling about each homesteader family.  Two days recommended to really explore.  Horses:  One or two pens per site, but keep in mind they are too small to really put two horses in one.  Nice pens with good ground and shade.  People:  Tent camping or living quarters trailers, but no hook ups. Restrooms available and water down near pavilion or entry.  Bring water for you and your horse.

Indian Creek Campground, Sedalia, CO, fs.usda.gov/activity/psicc/recreation/horseriding-camping, 877-444-6777

Several options for trailing riding in the area including the Indian Creek Equestrian Trail, a segment of the Colorado Trail, and the Ringtail Trail.  Horses:  Hitching posts, water spigots and pens at sites, some shaded.  People:  Nice campground with restrooms in the loop, picnic tables, fire pits and tent sites.  There are a couple sites that would work well for living quarters trailers, but there are no hook ups.

M Lazy C Ranch, Lake George, CO, mlazyc.com, 719-148-3398

Meals available for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Some nights there is a chuckwagon dinner with hay rides, reservations required.  Surrounded by National Forest, there are many trails to explore.  On the 4WD roads you may encounter ATV’s that were always very respectful of the horses.  There are plenty of single track trails to explore with no ATV’s.  Beautiful open areas and distant mountain views.  You can camp here and trailer to Dome Rock as well.  Horses:  Two pens at each campsite and the ability to add more.  Some of the pens have roofs. Water at each site.  People:  There are some cabins and rooms available near the main area with pen options for horses as well as a round pen and outdoor arena.  Great camping area with different configurations.  Water, electric, fire pits and picnic tables at sites.  Also, a round pen and several trail obstacles in camping area.

Mill Creek Ranch (formally known as Old Cow Town Colorado), Saguache, CO, millcreekcolorado.com, 719-655-2224

No expense was spared designing and building this recently built cow town.  There is a restaurant, saloon, general store, museum, social club and more.  Bring more than your horse friends and family, there is something here for everyone.  Surrounded by National Forest, there are many trail riding options to explore like Hoaglund Mountain and the Hodding Creek Area.  Horses:  Very nice stall barn to outdoor pens.  People: Many options of cabins, the Social Club or a nice RV area near the barn and pens with hookups.

Mueller State Park, Teller County, CO, cpw.state.co.us/placestogo/parks/Mueller/Pages/Activities.aspx, 800-678-2267

Extensive trails for riding, plus you can connect to the Dome Rock area with additional trails.  Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument in this area as well.  There are a few areas where horses are not allowed which are marked.  Horses:  Stalls/pens available at the stable area.  There are only two horse camping spots with pens that are a little ways from the main area.  No hookups here.  People:  Lodging available at the main area or there are the two horse camping sites.

Oleo Ranch, Lake City, CO, oleoranch.com, 281-728-0267

10,500 feet elevation.  There is an old 1800’s stagecoach road bed, local trails and the Colorado Trail and Continental Trail both come through here.  Horses:  free horse corrals, water available.  People:  Seven different cabins to rent with refrigerators and hot water.  No internet or wifi.

Sun Canyon Ranch, Dove Creek, CO, suncanyonranch.com, 970-677-3377

Great riding from the ranch as well as fishing, nearby historic Indian Ruins, Cowboy Supper and Show, and more!  Horses:  Stalls, paddocks, panel pens, pasture and round pen.  People:  Beautiful lodge as well as 12 RV sites with water and electric and 5 tent sites.

Tutor Rose Bed & Breakfast, Salida, CO, thetudorrose.com, 800-379-0889

The Tutor Rose property adjoins BLM land through which you access the Lost Trail, to the new Little Rainbow Trail, to the Rainbow Trail.  Head north or south from here.  Beautiful trail along the east side of the Sangre De Cristo mountains.  Old roads, lakes, mines, and stream crossings over decent footing with some exposed roots and rocks.  Horses:  Various horse accommodations from stalls to paddocks.  People:  Main house with rooms as well as Chalets that sleep up to six.

The Wilderness Cabin, Gunnison County, CO, coloradowildernesscabin.com, 970-527-3010

Trails like Little Robinson Trail #850 and Kaufman Creek Trail #852 are highly rated for beauty and views.  There are some full day rides as well.  Horses:  Metal sectional pens that the owners will reconfigure for you with water near pens.  People:  Large, beautiful three-story lodge with a hot tub plus an additional cabin.

Winding River Resort, Grand Lake, CO, windingriverresort.com, 970-627-3215 or 303-623-1121

Trail ride into Rocky Mountain National Park and there is also forest service land that adjoins one side of the resort that ATV’s can access – bring ATV’s and horses to ride in different areas.  The check in for horses was a bit stringent.  We saw moose every day.  Recommended trails are the River Trail, Green Mountain Trailhead to the Big Meadows Loop, and Onahu Trail all in RMNP.  Pancake breakfast on Sundays.  We went to Grand Lake Lodge that was about 5 minutes away for breakfast one day and a couple dinners in Grand Lake at night.  Horses:  Nice panels pens which can be made larger or smaller with water close by.  We did not see any flies and noticed the wranglers using Fly Predators.  There is a general pen area if you are in a cabin or lodge or pens at your site if you are camping.  People:  Lodge rooms, separate cabins and many campsites available.

Cowboy Pursuit – Cole Piotrowski

“Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of solitaire. It is a grand passion. It seizes a person whole and once it has done so, he/she will have to accept that his life will be radically changed.” – Ralph Waldo EmersonFullSizeRender (21)

At 7 years old, local resident Cole Piotrowski asked his parents if he could learn to ride a horse.  After searching the internet, they found Fiona Laing at Skye Stables in Evergreen.  An accomplished horsewoman and a student of well-known trainer Chris Cox and his methods.  Cole began learning the fundamentals through weekly lessons on Fiona’s black and white paint, Ace.  Knowing that horses are much more than just riding, Fiona taught and exposed Cole to all aspects of horse ownership.  The spark of interest Cole had in horses soon turned into a full-blown fire and he was asking to do any chores that needed to be done at Skye Stables including feeding, cleaning stalls and unloading semi loads of hay in order to be immersed in this new life he found.

Cole continued to become a better rider and horseman.  Fiona has a gift of looking past her students fears and worries and challenges them to become better partners with their horses.  Cole’s confidence continued to grow and his family decided it was time for Cole to have a horse of his own.  Fiona helped Cole’s parents find a 5 year old gray gelding named Blu and they gave him to Cole for his 10th birthday.

From the beginning, Cole was drawn to all things “cowboy”.  He didn’t miss the Evergreen Rodeo or National Western Stock Show.  He couldn’t watch the ropers and riders enough as he carefully studied their every more.  When Cole was 12, he had the opportunity to attend a roping clinic with Krece Harris.  Krece took him way out of his comfort zone by having him ride new horses and team rope steers. Krece told him that roping is “80% horsemanship and 20% roping skill” and because Cole had put so much work into his horsemanship and so much ground work into practicing roping, he would be an excellent team roper! The clinic with Krece was a defining moment for Cole and his dedication and focus intensified.

Around the same time, Cole started Ranch Sorting with ERSA (Evergreen Ranch Sorting Association) in Pine.  Cole quickly picked up the skills necessary to move the cattle between pens in this competitive and timed sport.  However, Blu was not quite as interested in Ranch Sorting.  Blu was a steady, strong, and reliable partner when Cole visited the working ranches of friends. He would drag calves to the fire for branding, go on long drives, and work his heart out all day for his boy. But Blu did not possess the athleticism needed in the sorting ring.

Cole had a strong interest in ranch sorting, but needed to find the right horse for the sport.  His family decided to contact Chris Cox, to see if they could find the right horse through someone they trusted.  While Chris does not usually sell horses as part of his training business, he invited Cole to Texas to try out several horses that might be a good fit for him.  Cole immediately took to a 4-year-old bay gelding named Scooter and they have been an amazing team in the sorting pen ever since.

IMG_5054Cole and Scooter have competed in the Colorado state finals 3 times; finishing his first year as the Youth champion, second year 3rd in the Rookie Division and in December 2016 they finished 3rd in Colorado in the Novice Division and 2nd in Wyoming. He has competed in Wyoming, Colorado, Oklahoma and Texas. Additionally, he and Scooter qualified first in Cole’s division the past two years for the World Finals held in Texas.

While Cole loves competing, he is most passionate about his horsemanship. Now 15, he rides and practices every day to increase his skill set. He has been attending Chris Cox Horsemanship Clinics for the past two years and will complete his Level 5 horsemanship this year. As Cole has heard Chris Cox tell his students, no matter who you are or how long you have been working with horses, they have something new to teach us everyday – Cole looks for and seeks those opportunities to learn. Chris went on to tell one class, “This will not be the last you hear the name Cole Piotrowski. I am sure he will make a career with horses and will go on to do many great things.”FullSizeRender (22)

Cole is already training horses and helping others to improve their horsemanship. He purchased three ponies to train in 2015, and has sold one finished pony to a delighted 5 year old girl who loves her calm and trusted new best friend. He also purchased a 2-year-old Palomino this past summer who is already showing promise under saddle to be great athlete in the sorting ring one day.

While horses have brought Cole and his family on an amazing journey in the past 8 years, one of the best parts of the adventure has been the opportunity to be involved in the “cowboy lifestyle”.  Through traveling and competing, they have forged friendships that will last a lifetime.  People who share simple family values, generous and loving spirits, and a passion for horsemanship and competition. All because of a 7-year-old cowboy who wanted to learn to ride a horse.  Heather McWilliams © 2017.DAE94CFB-B55C-4C2B-A056-DE104A8AB6E7

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.

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.

 

 

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

MtnHomes4Horses Client Appreciation Party and Artist Exhibition

Please join us for our 1st annual Client Appreciation & Artist Exhibition Open House at Junction Box – 1075 sophybrandingdayPark Ave W, Denver.

Thank you for making us your go to REALTORS when it comes to Ranch, Recreation and Residential Properties!

We are honored to be able to host this soiree at the Ranchlands Art Exibit.  Artists who have taken their inspiration from the Chico Basin Ranch and the Zapata Ranch managed by Ranchlands, have offered to extend this exhibit just for you!

As you savor the delicious appetizers and libations, we hope you will find a piece to take home.  All art sales benefit ongoing projects at Ranchlands, plus 5% of art sales will go toward Colorado Horsecare Foodbank.

Several of these artists can also be seen at the Coors Western Art Show running January 9 – 24th.

ARTISTS INCLUDE :  DUKE BEARDSLEY, SOPHY BROWN, TERRY GARDNER, MARK GOULD, JILL SOUKUP, LANI VLAANDEREN, STEVE WEAVER.  Click HERE to view entire exhibit.  Select artists will be attending this soiree.gouldchicoranchhouse

soukupdarkandlightcrisscrosslanithesecretofsundownterrymorningatchicobasinweaverbuildingstormbeardsleyhuck
ranchland logoRanchlands
is a diversified ranching company that owns and manages large-scale ranch operations. Our goal is to preserve ecosystems and our ranching heritage on a profitable basis from what the land will produce. For more information visit RANCHLANDS.COM

GIVE-AWAYS FOR ATTENDEES INCLUDE –

Tickets to RAM Invitational Freestyle Reining at NWSS

Tickets to An Evening of Dancing Horses at NWSS

3-Night stay at Zapata Ranch for 2 people –Zapata Ranch is a working bison, cattle and guest ranch owned by The Nature Conservancy and operated by Ranchlands in the San Luis Valley in Colorado

RESERVATIONS REQUESTED

please rsvp by December 30th

303.638.0994  [email protected]

Venue:  1075 Park Ave W in Denver, not far from Coors Field.  Junction Box is a brick building at the corner of Arapahoe and Park Ave W – The gallery entrance is off of Arapahoe.  Parking is available on the street or in nearby parking lots.

Map Junction Box

Please Be Our Guest! Client Appreciation & Artist Exhibition January 9th, 1-4pm!

Please join us for our 1st annual Client Appreciation & Artist Exhibition Open House at Junction Box – 1075 Park Ave W, Denver – January 9th between 1-4pm.

Thank you for making us your go to REALTORS when it comes to Ranch, Recreation and Residential Properties!

We are honored to be able to host this soiree at the Ranchlands Art Exibit.  Artists who have taken their inspiration from the Chico Basin Ranch and the Zapata Ranch managed by Ranchlands, have offered to extend this exhibit just for you!

As you savor the delicious appetizers and libations, we hope you will find a piece to take home.  All art sales benefit ongoing projects at Ranchlands, plus 5% of art sales will go toward Colorado Horsecare Foodbank.

Several of these artists can also be seen at the Coors Western Art Show running January 9 – 24th.

ARTISTS INCLUDE :  DUKE BEARDSLEY, SOPHY BROWN, TERRY GARDNER, MARK GOULD, JILL SOUKUP, LANI VLAANDEREN, STEVE WEAVER.  Click HERE to view entire exhibit.  Select artists will be attending this soiree.gouldchicoranchhouse

 

soukupdarkandlightcrisscrosslanithesecretofsundownterrymorningatchicobasinweaverbuildingstormbeardsleyhuck
ranchland logoRanchlands
is a diversified ranching company that owns and manages large-scale ranch operations. Our goal is to preserve ecosystems and our ranching heritage on a profitable basis from what the land will produce. For more information visit RANCHLANDS.COM

 

GIVE-AWAYS FOR ATTENDEES INCLUDE –

Tickets to RAM Invitational Freestyle Reining at NWSS

Tickets to An Evening of Dancing Horses at NWSS

3-Night stay at Zapata Ranch for 2 people –Zapata Ranch is a working bison, cattle and guest ranch owned by The Nature Conservancy and operated by Ranchlands in the San Luis Valley in Colorado

 

RESERVATIONS REQUESTED

please rsvp by December 30th

303.638.0994  [email protected]

Venue:  1075 Park Ave W in Denver, not far from Coors Field.  Junction Box is a brick building at the corner of Arapahoe and Park Ave W – The gallery entrance is off of Arapahoe.  Parking is available on the street or in nearby parking lots.Map Junction Box

Working Equitation – It may not be what you think it is!

When I first heard of Working Equitation, I only heard the last word, Equitation and had flashbacks of rail classes growing up and in college.  Of uncomfortably hollowing out my back to get the right look for the judges.  Please forgive me Equitation stars, but that is my memory.  Then sometime this year, I saw a YouTube video on Facebook of Pedro Torres of Portugal on one of several fabulous Lusitanos he rides in an event called Working Equitation.  I was intrigued.  High speed, over and around obstacles with impeccable form and finesse.  It was kind of like Dressage, at high speed with obstacles.

Reviewing past information I had come across with my newfound knowledge of this sport, I realized that people in our community had already been honing their skills in Working Equitation (WE).

Italy, France, Spain and Portugal pioneered WE.  The discipline was created as a way to enhance the riding techniques developed in countries whose riders use horses in different aspects of ranch and fieldwork.  The goal of WE is to preserve and perpetuate each country’s style of equitation as well as their cultural traditions of dress and tack.

The first international competition was in 1996 and in 2004 the World Association for Working Equitation (WEWA) was established to govern the sport.  WE has continued to grow throughout Europe and is rapidly catching on in the Americas.  Christina 1 al sh100WEWA rules are used for international competitions, but each individual country maintains their own rules.

In WE competition, there are four trials or tests that make up the event. The first three, Dressage, Ease of Handling, and Speed, are required for both individual and team competitions. The fourth trial, Cattle Handling, is included for team competitions. It is mandatory at national championship competitions and encouraged at all other competitions when facilities allow. From the www.weiausa.com website:

Dressage – Dressage tests are ridden at each level. Each movement is given a numerical score, and collective marks are given for impulsion, compliance, calmness, rider’s position, etc. The dressage tests are designed to both test the horse and rider as well as to serve as an aid in training. The movements at each successive level build upon movements of the previous levels and coincide with the type and difficulty of movements expected in the Ease of Handling and Speed trials at the corresponding levels.

Ease of Handling – Obstacles are set up to simulate the difficulties encountered by a horse and rider in the field. Obstacles are numbered and are ridden in order. The goal of this trial is to negotiate the obstacles with accuracy, ease, and smoothness.

Speed – The obstacles utilized in the Ease of Handling trial are ridden at speed with no emphasis on style. Individual scores are based on elapsed time through the obstacles with time penalties added for mishandled obstacles. This trial is designed to test the rider’s co-ordination and capacity for anticipation in addition to the horse’s qualities of submission, speed, attention, and finesse.

Cow Trial – This trial tests the ability of a horse and rider to work, individually and as a team, with cattle. The test is performed with a team of 3 or 4 riders. The objective is for each rider to individually sort, cut, and herd a pre-selected cow from the herd and then as a team put it in a designated pen. As a timed event, there are time penalties for course errors.

Indian Hills resident Christina Turissini was seeking to get more involved in WE and found that most of the Working Equitation clinics and competitions were either north or south of Denver, leading her to start a local group.  To keep informed of local events coming up, find and join our group on Facebook under the name, Foothills CO Working Equitation.   The group is for any type of horse, rider or saddle interested in honing their horsemanship skills via the sport of Working EquitaWorking Equitationtion.  The news feed and “Files’’ section on the Facebook page is full of information about WE.  After creating the group, Christina has organized local clinics and individual lessons with Instructor Jennifer Holroyd.  In addition to the clinics, some of the members are hosting play days at their homes, which will continue through the winter months.

Jennifer Holroyd was born on a ranch in Portugal where the skills for Working Equitation were the daily standard.  She started competing in Show Jumping competitions at the age of 10 and eventually competed at the international level all over Europe.  In 1974 she married and spent 25 years in California where she taught and competed in Dressage, Combined Training and Show Jumping.  She is also considered a leader in the field of alternative therapies for horses including Chiropractic and an innovative technique using acupuncture points and sound vibration using tuning forks.

After attending a WE clinic in Indian Hills this September with Jennifer, I discovered that not only was she an excellent teacher for basic riding fundamentals, but the WE obstacles gave a focal point to many of the training maneuvers riders of different disciplines often strive to improve.  In a nutshell, this local group is focused on using Working Equitation as a basis for good horsemanship and technique in any discipline, Western or English.  In addition to the information on the local Facebook page, go to http://lusitanoportal.com/working-equitation. Also, at the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo in March 2016, look for WE clinics being put on by the northern WE group. Now, go watch a video of Pedro Torres and you will be compelled to know more about this fast growing discipline!  Heather McWilliams © 2015

Working Equitation Clinic 6 med Working Equitation Clinic Sept. 1 med (1)

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