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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. info@CentaurRising.org. 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 – skymoma79@hotmail.com.

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.  jubileejp@msn.com.  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.   info@syzygy-co.com.  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, christuris@hotmail.com.

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

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


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



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



please rsvp by December 30th


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

I Love Summer

The season too, but I mean my horse Summer.  Well, really she is my son’s horse that he lets me ride.  She is not cuddley or lovey, but I am pretty sure she likes me.  I hope so at least.  She puts up with a lot from me.  I first saw her as a foal when I was checking horses with my 92 year-old employer at the time, Buss.  At his ranch there were a few mares that were the result of decades of natural selection, their foals and one stallion to populate the riding horses.  At Buss’s South Dakota ranch, the horses live on about one thousand acres.  They were looked at about once a week, never de-wormed or vaccinated.  No hoof trims or shoes.  If they are not immune to whatever comes their way, well, you get the picture.  These were a tough group of horses.  Cowy too.  If someone had to get off their horse to move a rig down the road, you looped your reins around the saddle horn and your horse would continue to do their job pushing cattle with the other riders keeping any cow that had a different idea, with the herd.

This is not a cushy place weather-wise either.  The first winter I was there in 1996, the year Summer was born, it was never above -20 degrees F for two months.  That doesn’t count the wind-chill factor.  There were about two weeks straight that the wind chill was -65 degrees F.  It was cold.  I know.  I was out in it trying to get the tractors to start to feed the cattle.  Cold.  The snow never melted until spring.  Every morning I walked past the trailers, they seemed a little shorter due to the increasing depth of my path.  There didn’t have to be any snow falling from the heavens, all it took was a little wind and you have what you call a ground blizzard.  Never experienced that before coming from Evergreen Colorado.  Everyone in the area kept saying how unusually cold it was that winter.  Still not sure I buy it.

Back to Summer.  When she was two, Buss and I were pushing cattle in the cold of course; he turned to me and said (he didn’t say a lot, but when he did, you were listening), “if you want that blaze faced mare, you can have her for killer price.”  That may sound a little crude, but that was just his way of giving me a deal.  I was psyched to say the least.  She was still my favorite of the four foals in her crop that I had weaned, halter broke those deer-wild weanlings and then watched them grow up out in the pastures.  I brought Summer back to the place and started my ground work routine.  Buss asked his son Donnie why I didn’t just get on and ride her…

Between then and now, Summer has willingly carried me through many types of competition – reining, cow horse, trail, dressage, stadium and cross country jumping – to marked success that I credit wholly to her awesomeness.  She has carried me and my loved ones down many trails. We had to sell her once because of finances and thank God, I was able to get her back a couple years later.  She has lovingly raised four amazing foals for us, much to her evident enjoyment as well as ours.  Summer devotedly cares for her foals like no other and passes along her beautiful head, good bone and feet, great disposition and South Dakota orneriness.

A couple years ago Summer and I did a little Eventing with decent results, especially when you consider the typical competition against my six-hundred dollar cow pony.  She was off last year to enjoy motherhood and I started out this spring full speed ahead to compete in Eventing again.  I don’t know if it was my lack of riding last year, competing or what, but I was on a mission.  Four competitions into that mission, I have been slapped around in a few different ways, nothing to do with Summer and I have to say I am a better person and horse owner on this side than I was at the beginning.

I am just so thankful for Summer and her tolerance of my whims.  She is game for anything, takes care of us as part of her herd, she invented power naps and wholly prefers wide open spaces to any stall.  She enjoys showing and working toward something as much as I do.  Hopefully it keeps things interesting for her.  Summer doesn’t like to do much if it doesn’t have a purpose.

I know that as a long-time horse junkie, I take for granted the therapy that I get from horses.  This time I got something I lacked from Summer’s success.  I wanted more.  I don’t know really if it was some kind of validation for me or if I wanted to impress people, but that really doesn’t matter.  Summer is not my therapist, nor does she need that burden, but she inspires me to want to improve who I am as a person and as one of her people.   She makes me want to keep learning, go back and re-learn, be patient, quiet and listen better.  For me, it is not about what I can get her to do – the destination, but the journey of learning and doing what is best for her.  She makes me want to improve, change, get rid of old ways and habits to learn a better way to communicate with her.  Let go of my ego and learn from my failures.  To still compete, but do it in a way that puts her first and doesn’t look at what the results are, just that we did our best that day and learned something from it.  To always consciously have her best interest in mind and to see her world through her eyes.  Thank you for putting up with me Summer.  I love Summer.

Heather McWilliams 2013 Copyright

Wildfire Large Animal Evacuation

As with every incident, the recent Lower North Fork Fire has resulted in continuing to improve our protocol for large and small animal evacuation in our area due to wildfires.  Jefferson County Animal Control, Jefferson County Horse Council and Jeffco HEAT (Horse Evacuation and Assistance Team) all continue to work together to learn from each wildfire to improve their methods for what we all hope won’t happen again.  While it is still early, these local groups are putting together updated literature that will be available to the public in the near future.

With the help of Jeffco HEAT, Jefferson County Animal Control and Jefferson County Horse Council, the following is meant to give you some tips if your horse or other large animal needs to be or has been evacuated; including some rumors put to rest.  Keep in mind that these services are provided at no charge, by volunteers.  Be generous to these organizations in regular contributions and especially when your animals have benefited from their help.  The trucks and trailers in particular are owned, fueled and maintained by the individual Jeffco HEAT members.  These people care about your animals and that is why they are a part of this effort!  During a wildfire, time is precious; please look over the following information and pass along to others in order to help with the process.


  • Jefferson County  303-271-5070
  • Park County 719-836-4380
  • Clear Creek County 303-679-2376


  • It is essential that horses be able to lead and load in different trailers.
  • Other people should be able to load your horse.

WHAT EVACUATOR’S NEED FROM OWNERS – this information is crucial to the people evacuating (i.e. if they show up with a small trailer and you have a draft horse, precious time is lost):

  • Size (breed, age) and number of animals.
  • Have halters and leads in plain view.
  • Keep copies of proof of ownership in a safe place other than your home or barn.
  • Loading Order (i.e. Bay goes in first).
  • Property access – large or small trailer maneuverability, access to horses, turn-around.
  • Owner present for evacuation:  HEAT will document your drivers license and paperwork for each individual animal.
  • Claiming animal:  Bring with you Livestock (Brand) Inspection Papers or Drivers License for proof of address (if you were present at evacuation).  In some cases, pictures of you with your animal will work.


  • All animals go to Jeffco Fairgrounds unless otherwise stated.
  • Animal ID at holding facility:  All animals have a numbered tag that acts as a tracking number until they are released to owner.
  • Microchipping and Livestock (Brand) Inspection is the best form of ownership.
  • Visitation hours are between 8am and 7pm – owners are allowed to exercise, ride, groom, etc.
  • Owners can feed their animals, but are asked to do so at the feeding times of 8am and 5pm for the happiness of the other animals.
  • Jefferson County Animal Control is ultimately in charge of the animals.
  • Animals at holding facility are considered impounded; therefore the owner does not need to be contacted if the animal needs medical attention.
  • Once the animals are released to their owner, if they have no other way to get them back to where they were picked up, Jeffco HEAT is available to haul them (no cost, but DONATIONS ACCEPTED!).


  • There is NO CHARGE to haul or keep your horses.
  • Animals are watched over 24 hours a day at holding facility.
  • Animals are fed grass hay and water, unless otherwise prescribed by veterinarian.
  • Veterinarian must give medications.
  • The light is always on – Animals always accepted!
  • Animals can be released to owner or owners agent at anytime.

Thank you to Ingrid Spikker and the rest of the Jeffco HEAT, Barb Suggs of the Jefferson County Horse Council and Carla Zinanti from Jefferson County Animal Control.  Heather McWilliams MtnHomes4Horses.com 2013 Copyright.

Back In The Saddle with Stephanie Bell – Coming Back to Riding

There seems to be a trend lately and it is that people who grew up riding are getting back into horses.  A few of these people are all connected to one of our local trainers, Stephanie Bell.  Stephanie has some great thoughts for people getting back into riding and states that one of the great things about riding is that you can always come back to it, no matter how long it has been, even in your retirement years.  Each section has tips for riders coming back after years out of the saddle as well as just a few months.

Lessons and Trainers – Years off:  Review the basics with a trainer.  When looking for a trainer, do some research.  Talk to other horse people you know, look for directories like NewHorse.com that sorts trainers by discipline and area, go observe trainers giving lessons to see if they suit your learning style, take lessons from a couple different trainers and ultimately, find someone you trust.

Months off:  Stephanie suggests setting some goals for the new season. These can be anything from riding a certain number of times a week, moving up a division at the horse show, or improving your sitting trot. Depending on your goals, it may be productive to take some lessons and share your specific goals with your instructor.  They can give you feedback on a realistic timeline and plan.  Even if you have your own horse, it might even be a good idea to take a lesson or two on a school horse.  For example, if you are hoping to learn a new movement, it may be helpful to ride a horse that already knows how to do the maneuver and get the feel for it.  Also, ask your instructor for “homework” to practice in between lessons and recreate some of the exercises you felt good about. If you are taking lessons, both private and small group lessons are valuable.  The private lessons allow you to focus on issues specific to you and your horse while the group lessons give you the opportunity to learn from others’ mistakes.  Taking a video of you riding can be very helpful.  Sometimes in riding things will feel very different than they look.

Horses! – Years off:  Initially, school horse lessons are a good place to start.  You can get your feet wet again without a big commitment and you get to try different horses.  If you had been a more experienced rider in the past, it may not take long for you to outgrow school horses.  Leasing or a partial lease on a horse is a good next step.  Leasing is a good way to experience some of the benefits of horse ownership without as much of a financial and time commitment.  Eventually, you may decide to buy your own horse.  When you are looking to either lease or buy it’s a good idea to enlist the help of a trainer – they can help search for, evaluate, and negotiate prices for horses.  They are also great resources for getting you connected with a vet, farrier, etc.  Also remember that if you hire a trainer to help you find the right horse, they have a vested interest in doing everything they can to make sure that horse is a good fit for you.

Months off:  Make sure your partner is up to date with their dental work and their hooves are in good shape and shod, if necessary.  Put together a fitness plan for your horse.  While you’re getting them in shape again there’s a few exercises that are always good to include:  TRANSITIONS!, adjustability – lengthening and shortening stride, bending, and eventually riding up and down hills – even consider riding bareback a little.

Equipment –Years off:  If you still have some of your old tack, it may be time to update.  Some of your items may be just fine, but others may need to be replaced for reasons better than just keeping up with trends.  If you have a saddle you love, it may work – you’ll need to have the tree checked and if an older English saddle, it may need to be re-flocked.  It’s also important to check all of the leather, stitching and hardware.  If you have an old helmet, Stephanie suggests investing in a new helmet regardless of if your old one still looks great.  New safety standards have been implemented in recent years and it’s recommended that helmets be replaced after each fall or number of years.

Months off:  Clean/condition and look over all of your tack to make sure it is in good repair and nothing needs repaired or replaced.  Also, if you ever ride alone Stephanie suggests getting the Horse Rider SOS App (HorseRiderSOS.com).

Fitness– Stephanie believes that a rider’s emotional confidence improves when they feel stronger and have more body awareness, translating into better riding.  When you’re only riding once or twice a week, it’s great if you can incorporate other activities like yoga or Pilates.  These will improve core strength and body awareness.

Your fitness level should relate to your goals – but no matter what they are, improved fitness does translate into improved confidence and better riding at all levels.  There are fitness classes specifically designed for riders – a great way to meet other horse crazy people!

On a final note Stephanie states, “expect riding to be as rewarding as you remember, but there may be some other things you experience differently.  As a child you may not have had much interest in the “why?” behind the exercise.  Typically adults understand the theories intellectually but struggle when their execution isn’t perfect.  It’s important to remember that although riding is and should be challenging, it should primarily be safe and fun- forgive yourself and your horse for mistakes.”

Stephanie Bell’s lesson, training and showing program is called North Star Equestrian LLC (see www.northstarhunterjumper.com) and operates out of Lone Star Equestrian in Evergreen as well as other venues in the Denver area.  Her students range from 6 to 60’s. She teaches the basics in most all riding disciplines, but the majority of her education and experience is in English. She lives in Englewood with her husband and 4-year-old daughter.  Stephanie can be reached at stephanieabell@msn.com or 720-209-8361.  Heather McWilliams © 2013.  For past articles, events, business directory and horse properties, go to MtnHomes4Horses.com.


Buffalo Bill Saddle Club

If there is one thing horse people like to do it is get together and talk about horses.  The Buffalo Bill Saddle Club (BBSC) was founded in 1947 by Evergreen and Golden area residents as a way to fellowship and to promote and preserve Western heritage.   This doesn’t mean what shape of saddle you use or what type of horse you ride, but just enjoying horses and all that goes with it – caring for livestock, working together, preserving the land and giving the general population the opportunity to enjoy and learn more about horses and their gear.   The main way BBSC does this is by creating activities for families and riders of all ages to enjoy their horses and each other.  Trail Riding is a big aspect of this along with parades, camping, a gymkhana, social events and monthly meetings.  Members participate in only the events that they are interested in and that fit their schedule.

TRAIL RIDES                 

BBSC started with trail rides originating from member homes in Evergreen.  They then added three trail rides each year up the Apex Trail originating from Heritage Square and ending at the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave Site.  This evolved into adding Washington Street as part of that ride which turned into the Buffalo Bill Day Parade.  In addition to keeping up this tradition, many of today’s rides are in our local parks that are within an hour or two drive of the west metro area.  Horse camping with BBSC ranges from primitive tent camping to heading to a ranch like Winding River Resort in Grand Lake with accommodations for both RV’s and those who need a room to stay and even rental horses for themselves or friends and family.  This June, some of the eighty members and their mounts headed up to Custer State Park in South Dakota to stay at a horse friendly campground and enjoy daily rides through the park.  This month they went to Beaver Meadows Ranch Resort near Red Feather Lakes in Northern Colorado.  Every year they incorporate a breakfast ride, moonlight ride and poker ride.

BBSC trail rides are organized for safety and fun.  They have thorough guidelines that members follow out of respect and safety of other riders, horses and the land.  I met with Jan Kray who started with BBSC in 1998 right after she purchased her horse, Apache.  Her first ride with them she had a borrowed saddle and a rented trailer.  She was immediately part of the group and felt at home with the diversity of riders, horses and experience levels of both.  One member even brought his truck and trailer to where her horse was boarded to help her and her horse become more trailer savvy.  Over ten years later and an active member of the group, Jan states, “If you want to have fun with your horse, you want to do it safely and you want to make some nice friends,  you like to laugh a lot, come and join us, try us out, come on a ride and see if you like the group.”  BBSC also has a Facebook page to facilitate ride sharing and invites to short notice rides by members.

As individuals, some of BBSC’s members are involved as equestrian advocates with the Jefferson County Open Space Trail Use Task Force, which serves to protect the land and acts as a voice between hikers, bikers and equestrians.  Jan Kray is personally involved with Jefferson County Open Space as a volunteer Equestrian Patroller.


To get together, talk horse and just enjoy each other’s company, BBSC members plan gatherings each year such as dinners or attending cultural events.  In addition, monthly meetings, consist of planning upcoming rides and events, a time to share information and experiences and many times in the winter months, have horse related outside speakers.  In addition, BBSC does a yearly fun family Gymkhana with ribbons, trophies, food and fellowship.


As mentioned earlier, BBSC started the Buffalo Bill Days in Golden, which starts each year with a parade and has grown to the largest community festival in Golden, including a car show, golf tournament and Wild West show.  Along with participating in the Buffalo Bill Days Parade, BBSC members are regulars at the weekly Golden holiday parades, the Evergreen Rodeo Parade, and the Denver Saint Patrick’s Day Parade – one of the largest “green” parades in our nation.  After some of the Golden parades, BBSC members set up corrals and their equipment in Heritage Park to allow the public come to pet the horses, pick up horsey coloring books, ask questions and learn more about our equine companions.

An organization like Buffalo Bill Saddle Club is an excellent advocate for horses as a part of a lifestyle and the community.  It is vital to our future as people to keep our relationship with the land, animals and agriculture not just selfishly for the obvious physical and mental health benefits, but as a connection to beauty, wide open spaces and to care for this amazing creation of molten crust we call home

Particulars:  Go to their website at www.BBSCGolden.org for more information and to view the calendar.   Email them at info@BBSCGolden.org.  Meetings are at Jefferson County Fairgrounds the second Wednesday of the month in the Green Mountain Room B, 7 p.m.  Membership fees are $25 per family or $20 per individual.  Find them on Facebook for the latest and more communication between members.

Copyright 2013 Heather McWilliams. MtnHomes4Horses.com.

Intermountain Horse Association

IHA Poker RideThe new year is underway and if you are not a member yet, the Intermountain Horse Association (IHA) is a vital group for local equine folks that you should consider becoming a part of.

With a solid history and strong base of local horse people, the IHA traces its origin to the Rocky Mountain Riders (RMR), which was an active trail riding group of the 1980’s.  At a point in time when no one could be found to fill a vacant presidency, the RMR died out and some of the members joined the Jefferson County Horse Council (JCHC) based in Golden.  Recognizing the need to have a group in our immediate area, those members formed a branch of the JCHC, called the Intermountain Horse Council (IHC).  IHC was successful for many years with a similar format as today’s IHA.  IHA was formed officially in January of 2009 when the group had to become separate from JCHC when they began contributing to charitable causes.

Today’s IHA serves the Evergreen-Conifer corridor and has the 501 (c)(7) classification of a Social and Recreational Club.  The group meets every third Tuesday in the meeting room at Beau Jo’s Restaurant in Evergreen at 6:30pm for social and educational purposes.  The business of the IHA is conducted separately by an open membership steering committee.  In addition to the monthly meetings, the group puts together interactive horse events like the Poker Ride and various horse clinics as well as social events for their human counterparts such as the Summer Picnic and Winter Party.

Examples of meeting topics include speakers on government and legal issues, horsemanship, medical information, and fire preparedness.  The schedule for the first part of 2013 is as follows:

January 15th:  Jennifer Benda- 2013 Tax Increases: Are you one of the (un)lucky ones?

March 19th:  Holly Ulyate – Competitive Trail Riding Experiences

April 16th:  Eryn Wolfwalker – Problem Feet

May 21st:  Bruce McReynolds – Horse Packing

The IHA Poker Ride is an annual fundraiser in September benefitting local charities such as the Special Needs Therapeutic Riding Program of the Evergreen Recreation District as well as other horse organizations like HEAT (Horse Evacuation and Assistance Team) and Harmony Horse Works (local horse rescue).  One of the most important goals of the Poker Ride though is to promote riding in our community.

Of the 45-55 riders that attend the annual Poker Ride, most of them are not a part of IHA, have not been to Alderfer Three Sisters and some even travel for 2-3 hours to participate.  Participants also help to act as horse and rider ambassadors to other park users.  Hikers and bikers enjoy seeing the horses, riders, costumes and rigs that come to the ride.

Poker Ride participants find a self-paced, social and low-key environment with a diverse skill sampling of riders and horses.  Last year, my 9 year old rode his mare and I walked with our yearling filly.

Members of IHA come from a variety of backgrounds including endurance riding, Dressage, trail riding, ranch sorting, Arapahoe Hunt Club members, reining, horse training and breeding, HEAT members, horse rescue facilitator, veterinarians and ropers.  All are welcome to join.  Membership is from January 1 to December 31.  A family membership is $25 or individuals for $20.  The first portion of your entry fee for the Poker Ride this year will pay your membership fee.  As mentioned above, IHA meets at Beau Jo’s in Evergreen at 6:30pm on the 3rd Tuesday of the month.  For more information go to intermountainhorse.com.

Copyright © 2013 Heather McWilliams MtnHomes4Horses.com.

Western Dressage

Western Dressage

For centuries before most of us were a part of the American west, Europeans had been refining their horse training techniques in Dressage, a French term meaning ‘training’.  The purpose of Dressage (quoted according to the United States Dressage Federation) is to “develop the horse’s natural athletic ability and willingness to work making him calm, supple and attentive to his rider.”

Then as the American west was settled, Western Horsemanship was practiced on the ranches of the American West and earlier still through the Spanish vaqueros.  This better way of training rose to the top and became known to the horse world first through trainers like Tom and Bill Dorrance.  True Western Horsemanship simply put is where people learn to communicate with the horse in their language with patience and understanding creating a willing partner in the horse.

While the methods came from two sides of the Atlantic Ocean, the core values and the value of the horse stood true – inevitably, Dressage and Western Horsemanship, East and West came together to create Western Dressage.

As a result, in 2010 the Western Dressage Association of America (WDAA) was created. Plus, with many local roots at the national level, the Western Dressage Association of Colorado (WDACO) was the first affiliate to be established.

The mission statement of WDAA says it well:

Our mission is to build an equine community that combines the Western traditions of horse and rider with Classical Dressage.

  • We honor the horse.
  • We value the partnership between horse and rider.
  • We celebrate the legacy of the American West.

Western Dressage brings together the skilled horsemanship, history and techniques of the American west with the art, ancient traditions and systematic training of the European institutions of riding.

Why is it the discipline you have been waiting for?  Over the years, it is evident to me that many people feel intimidated by training, skills, showing, and clinics; but most everyone I know would like to be a better rider and partner to their horse.  As a non-profit 501(c)3, volunteer run, educational organization, WDAA’s focus is the horse.  They have created affordable ways for anyone, with any kind of horse, with basic western tack to improve their riding and communication with their horse through affordable clinics, training and even showing opportunities with clear and concise skill sets for any level of rider.

The training world can seem overwhelming at times in any discipline and it can also seem like trainers have all been to some exclusive mysterious school where they hold the secrets hidden and only certain people can know or even understand them.  Western Dressage breaks principles of riding into “skill sets”, giving an organized method of breaking skills down, all while laying the foundation to result in better communication between horse and rider.

There is an entry point for all levels of riders in Western Dressage.  Beginners will find an inviting, non-intimidating environment to learn in, while more advanced riders will find a supportive place to hone their skills.  Skill sets are taught in a sequential manner and build upon one another. As the riders develop their skills, their horses learn to carry themselves in a more balanced, cadenced manner.  Horses develop and are looked at as individuals according to their type.

For the past year, Evergreen resident Chris Sletten has been serving on the board and helping with the foundation of WDACO.  In a recent interview regarding finding Western Dressage to add to her current riding program Chris stated, “ I feel like I have the best of all areas of horsemanship…  And I still get to dress like a cowgirl!!”

Kelly Hendricks of Pikes View Ranch in Conifer is another local that was invited with 30 other riding instructors from across the nation to be a part of the first “Train The Trainers” seminar this past month in order to learn the rules, tests and methods of the WDAA.

With such a strong membership and presence in the organization of WDAA, Colorado will have many opportunities for horse people in our area to participate.  My research for this article convinced me to join and I look forward to my first chance to get involved.  If you have been hesitant to get involved with an organization, training or clinics in the past, I challenge you to give this one a try.  Andrew McWilliams of MtnHomes4Horses.com wants to pay for an introductory lesson to Western Dressage with Kelly Hendricks for two area riders.  Submit a short email about your horse journey to heather@coloradocorral.com to be considered.

Visit WDAA at www.westerndressageassociation.org or the Colorado Affiliate at www.wdaco.org for a full explanation of Western Dressage, listings of upcoming events and demo videos.

Heather McWilliams © 2012 MtnHomes4Horses.com


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