Archive for the ‘Horses’ Category

Tolerance and Gratitude

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

I admit it. I am overwhelmed by the information explosion surrounding me. I can't keep up. Fast paced rapid fire info confuses me, especially if it comes thru gadgets smaller than my hand that fill my head with details.

My disability has become apparent with situations with friends, like horseback riding pals. Something as simple as what time to arrive at a trailhead gets tangled up in a series of cellphone calls, and I miss important details.

For example, two times this week I showed up at what I thought was the correct time only to find them waiting for twenty minutes, horses already saddled--the morning air filled with tension and hostility of unmet expectations all around. Not pleasant for anyone. Now, I too dislike waiting, especially when I have hurried to get there on time. But I was there; I thought I was on schedule; I did what I agreed to. For these particular friends, I had not done enough.

The lesson of the week--give yourself a break. You tried to show up for life and inane details got in the way. Some of my friends and family are more into high expectations than I am. And they get snippy about it. My style is more along the lines of gratitude that another human decided to spend time with me on a horse outdoors. Horses don't know about time, or being late or early.  They just are. Horses also forgive easily, naturally, and I can do that, also. Why is it always the people I have the most problems with?

To my horse pals, I say "Seriously girls-- Tolerance and forgiveness make a nicer morning ride."




From Wild to Wow!

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011


Eight horses, all mustangs of assorted sizes and colors, march by twos into the center of the arena, split to the rail and circle back around. They trot into a line and form a pivot. On cue, the pairs turn and execute a circling pinwheel formation. The Mustang Riders of Northern Colorado wear traditional cowboy scarves around their necks— fun splashes of reds, blues and pinks. Each American Mustang sports a long white neck brand--to identify the Federal lands they roamed and the year they were gathered. Like the cowboy scarves, the mustang brand evokes a Wild West mystique and says “Wow! I am a mustang.” They recently performed at CSU, Ft Collins, CO for the June 10-12, 2011 EMM, sponsored by the Bureau of Land Management and the Mustang Heritage Foundation.

I admire the calm horses and the horsemanship. Even more impressive when I consider that five of the eight mustangs on the team are from the 2010 CO Extreme Mustang Makeover, (EMM). A year ago they were wild.

Each horse is unique. Cindy Loader, our hostess at the Spirit Dancer Ranch arena, describes her chocolate gelding, Calypso, as “totally loco” last year, a real challenge to train for the 2010 EMM. Today, he trots calmly next to Bo, husband Marks’ mount. She laughs and says “Here we are having a good time, showing off our mustangs and what we have done with them -- from wild to wow!”

There is Marvin, the dapper sorrel. He has curious ears and a sweet expressive face. He is ridden by Pat Burge, the founder of the group. A lifelong horsewoman, she wanted to showcase the versatility of the mustangs and to help everyone see how much fun they can be. She says, “I got involved with the Mustang Heritage Foundation in 2007 when I realized that wild horses are gathered on federal lands – taxpayers lands. I wanted to do something to help these animals find homes and jobs.” She adds, “These are great horses to adopt. They make wonderful mounts.”

Taryn Hillman, a therapeutic riding instructor with Loveland’s Hearts and Horses, trained the bay gelding, Coda, for the 2010 EMM and then, also bought him. Today, he is a beautiful citizen, friendly and confident under saddle.

Nevada, owned and ridden by Megan Jones of Loveland, marches obediently. His brand gleams against his black neck. They recently graduated from an intensive mounted patrol clinic. He looks solid and dependable.

More than one spectator exclaims “Wow! Who knew you could teach them this stuff?”

Kudos all around for these Mustang Riders.

Check out this website—for more information and a chance to Ride for the Mustangs, on September 10, 2011, in Ft. Collins, CO sponsored by the American Competitive Trail Horse Association (ACTHA):


I Breathe You

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

From the Ditch Witch Chronicles --

April is finally here. The long winter is over and I can see green, everywhere.

†I manage a 110 acre agricultural farm in Larimer Countyómy job is to irrigate the pasture (thus the moniker ìThe Ditch Witchî) and provide forage for the free ranging 20+ horse herd living there.

Most of the horses are older, retired show friendsómany are lame or exhibit the typical neurological or health problems inherit in aging.

These old ones are my favorites. No matter where I am working they amble over for a visit. One by one, they come in close and touch me with their noses and then they stand quietly next to meÖlike in the movie ëAvatarí, they ëseeí me, but in old horse speak they are saying ìI breathe you.î

It means they trust and recognize me, I am accepted. What a gift! Every time it happens, I hope I smell trustworthy and dependable, solid and memorable.

Too often, I am filled with self doubt; I do not feel confident or very solid. Some days, I see me as unremarkableómy hair is grey and my left shoulder doesnít work so well right now. The horses simply remind me that they know me and accept me as part of their herd. I value that trust and am always grateful to belong near them.

It sounds so simple. Take the time to really notice others you encounter, check out their demeanor. See if you can notice their life force and honor each of them by speaking clearly, softly saying ìI breathe you. I care that you are here.î This is a good practice.