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Competitive Trail Ride

By Bob Silbernagel
Thursday, July 8, 2010

This sounds like fun, and a great opportunity to learn about competive trail riding through a sanctioned organization. Here is the flyer for the event:

Come try Competitive Trail Riding  -  At
Island in the  SKy
Grand Mesa National Forest
August  7-8, 2010
Type A (2-Day Ride)     Rider Limit 60               NATRC Sanctioned
 
Competitive Trail Riding is a really fun, family friendly event. The trails are well marked and incredibly beautiful and interesting. Novice competitors will ride 15-24 miles a day at 3.5-5.5 mph and more advanced competitors will ride 25-35miles/day at 4-6mph, before returning to camp each afternoon.
The horse will be judged on soundness, manners, condition and the rider will be judged on trail riding horsemanship, care of horse on the trail and in camp plus courtesy and safety. The horse will be monitored on the trail and in camp for any metabolic or soundness problems.  The judges are helpful, friendly, educational and approachable.
 
Island in the Sky is located high above Grand Junction in the Grand Mesa National Forest .  Give yourself a treat and come ride the Mesa .  This is the land of lakes, some 350 of them.  Ride through Spruce and Aspen forests, around beautiful lakes and lush, alpine meadows.  This is the summer pasture for huge elk, deer and cattle herds and the views are wonderful.  Located just south of Grand Junction , Grand Mesa rises abruptly to an elevation of 10,000 feet and a whole different, alpine world. Bring your fishing poles if you fish, there are lakes full of trout everywhere. We recommend horses have hoof protection as the trail has rocky sections (this is the Rocky Mountains ).
 
CAMP - Camp will be in a high mountain meadow. Elevation is  10,000 feet.  Bring blankets for you and your horses.  The weather can be anything from warm to cool and rainy.  Porta-Potties and Horse water will be provided. Weed free hay is required.  If you need hay to be provided make arrangements with the Ride Secretary.
 
SHEDULE- Check in will begin at 2:00 on Friday afternoon until dark.   Depending on the weather the ride will begin at 8:00 on Saturday and 7:00 on Sunday.  Awards will be presented as early as possible on Sunday as soon as the scores are talleyed.
 
RULES:   The ride will be conducted under current NATRC rules Colorado State law requires that ‘out-of-state’ horses have a current Coggins and health papers.  Please be prepared to show the ride secretary.  Registration papers must be shown or sent to ride secretary to be eligible for breed awards.
 
MEALS:  Price includes dinner Friday night,Lunch and Dinner Saturday, and lunch in camp Sunday.
 
ENTRY FEES: - Senior Entry $105, Junior Entry  $50 includes meals. Non-working guests may purchase meal package for $15.   Deposit of at least $30/rider must accompany entry.  Cancellations received by July 15 will receive $15.00 of deposit back.   Please cancel if you cannot make it and allow someone else the chance to ride.  Warning: Send entries to Ride Secretary only or they could become lost.
 
Contact : - Ride Chairmen: Judy Wise Mason  (970) 856-7022, Masonranch@aol.com . See  natrc.org for rules and information or natrc3.org to register in the rms system or send entry form to ride Secretary.Ride Secretary:  Rich Garrett (970) 835-8194 or bgarrett@Alliancepaper.com PO Box 70 Eckert, CO.
 

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Halters for Charity

By Bob Silbernagel
Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Purchase a halter worn by a champion and help a charitable organization known as The Race for Education.

The halters come from Zenyatta and Rachel Alexandra, the two female stars of the Thoroughbred horse racing world. That's Zenyatta, pictured here.

The Race for Education is a non-profit organization that provides scholarships to the children of low-income families working in the equine industry. The halters are for sale on eBay.

To read more about the program from HorseChannel.com, click HERE.

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Iowa carriage horror under investigation

By Bob Silbernagel
Tuesday, July 6, 2010

More information is coming to light now regarding the runaway team at the Fourth of July parade in Bellevue, Iowa.

For one thing, it appears the driver was an experienced teamster who'd had his team in parades many times before. He was dragged down the street, hanging onto the reins, even after the carriage overturned and the team broke free.

Also, the woman killed was the driver's wife, who had been riding in the carriage with him.

But I have found little  information about the horses -- what kind they are or what happened to them. Although one item said they appeared to be in good health after they were finally halted.

It's a little difficult to believe that an experienced team bolted because one horse rubbed his head on the other and rubbed his teammate's bridle off. I'm not alone. One article I read quoted a gentleman from Minneapolis who has been showing horses in parades for 28 years. He didn't believe the bridle being rubbed off was the primary cause of the wreck. But we all know stranger things have caused horses to bolt. One reason I've never participated in a parade with any of my horses.

The damaged carriage is moved out of the road in this photo from Mike Burley, of the Telegraph Herald, via the Associated Press.

To read more from the Associated Press, click HERE.

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Precision on the side

By Bob Silbernagel
Monday, July 5, 2010

This article appeared in the Horseplay section of The Daily Sentinel on Sunday, July 4.

Next weekend, July 10–11, dozens of riders and their horses will be at the Mesa County Fairgrounds for the 23rd annual Frontier Belles Horse Show. Saturday will be hunter, jumper and English equitation classes while Sunday will be Western pleasure, trail and performance classes.

Many of the Belles will be there — keeping the show moving, helping to set up and take down equipment. Some may even be competing. But don’t expect to see them in their period costumes, riding sidesaddle, as you will see them when the Frontier Belles perform.

The annual horse show is strictly a fundraiser for the Frontier Belles — its primary fundraiser of the year — said Connie Klauzer, the group’s treasurer. It is not a time when the group performs.

But make no mistake about it, the Frontier Belles are performers. The group is a precision equestrian drill team. But drills are conducted with the members riding sidesaddle and wearing colorful replicas of historical dresses. The next scheduled performance for the Belles is in Steamboat Springs at the end of July, Klauzer said.

Various sidesaddle designs have been around since Greek times, but a forerunner of the modern version is believed to have developed in 16th century Europe. The current design of the sidesaddle, with two pommels — one for the right leg to rest in and a “leaping horn” to support the left leg, which uses a stirrup, developed early in the 19th century. All were designed primarily for women, who wore long dresses, and when it wasn’t considered lady-like to sit astride a horse in a conventional saddle.

The Frontier Belles were formed more than half a century ago, in 1958, and have performed at big shows such as the Denver Stock Show and Cheyenne Frontier Days, as well as smaller events and parades throughout the Rocky Mountains.

Connie Klauzer has been a member for much of the group’s history. She joined in 1967.

The sidesaddle, she said, looks hard to ride in. “But it’s really not that difficult. The sidesaddle is made to hold you in.” Klauzer and other members of the Frontier Belles have taken their horses over jumps while riding sidesaddle during some performances.

Members of the group come primarily from the Grand Valley, but some have come from Collbran, Parachute, Silt and other communities around the region.

The Frontier Belles “are always looking for new members,” Klauzer said. Women who are interested in joining need their own horse, well-trained and controllable, because “We do our drills at a lope,” she said. They also need to be ready to practice every Monday evening at the Mesa County Sheriff’s Posse arena on 25 Road.

Newcomers usually start out riding in Western saddles until they become familiar with the drills and comfortable in a sidesaddle. They don’t need their own sidesaddle. The club has sidesaddles it leases to members, Klauzer said. Dues are $40 a year.

Those interested in joining should call Klauzer at 243-0591, or visit the Posse arena on Monday evening to watch the drill and talk with members.

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Fairgrounds at full gallop

By Bob Silbernagel
Monday, July 5, 2010

This appeared in the print edition of The Daily Sentinel Sunday, July 4

Later this month, the equine facilities at the Mesa County Fairgrounds will be buzzing with activities. First there is the annual Frontier Belles horse show, July 10 and 11, in conjunction with the Grand Junction Horse Show Association. That will be followed the next weekend by the Mesa County 4-H Horse Show. And the week after that, there is the remainder of the country fair, during which some of the livestock exhibitors use stalls in the horse barns.

A year from now, when the same shows occur, exhibitors are likely to find very different, modernized and expanded horse facilities.

As part of the $17 million in capital projects approved by the Mesa County commissioners earlier this year, the county will spend $1 million to improve the equine area on the east end of the fairgrounds. A new barn and expanded covered arena are the main features of the planned improvements.

In a related effort, the county also is developing a new master plan to guide redevelopment of the entire fairgrounds complex on Orchard Mesa.

With that in mind, the county has held a series of meetings with residents of the area near the fairgrounds, business owners, Realtors, tourism officials and more, to help determine what the fairground should look like and accommodate in the future.

But that work will require other funding. The money for renovating the equine facilities already has been identified and the project is moving forward.

Six firms have submitted proposals for designing the renovation of the horse area, said Marsha Kosteva, the fairgrounds manager, and the county is in the process of evaluating them. The commissioners are expected to accept one of those proposals this month, with the intention of having a construction plan in place by late this year.

"We hope to be under construction as soon as this show season is over" late in the autumn, said Tom Fisher, regional services director for the county. "Our ambitious goal is to be open for shows next March."

Whether that deadline is met, users of the fairgrounds equine area will see significant changes once the work is completed. Most dramatic will be a new barn at the far east side of the fairgrounds.

It is anticipated that a single large barn will include 70 to 90 horse stalls, although the actual number won't be determined until designs are finalized. The new barn will replace six old steel barns estimated to have been built in the 1970s, which are in rough shape.

Those buildings are immediately north of the covered arena, where most horse events are held. When those old barns are demolished, the area they now occupy will be turned into a parking lot for truck and horse trailers.

The covered arena will be expanded to the east — with 25 feet of additional show area and 15 feet of shaded waiting area for competitors and their horses.

A permanent awning will be added to cover the bleachers on the north side of the arena. A new show headquarters building and a new judges' stand are to be constructed.

Discussions at one point called for enclosing the entire arena, instead of leaving it open on the sides, but that probably won't be accomplished because of limited funding available.

Other planned improvements include two new lunging round pens, an expanded warm-up arena, and a new small arena designated for trail classes.

"We've known from several studies that there's been a lot of deferred maintenance of the horse facilities," Fisher said. "The $1 million being spent on the equestrian facilities the commissioners hope will be catalyst for boosting the entire fairgrounds."

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Malnourished horses seized near Colorado Springs

By Bob Silbernagel
Friday, July 2, 2010

The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region seized five horses — three adults and two foals — from two different private owners in Fountain this week.

Details about the owners weren't available, but the Humane Society said that although they agreed to turn the horses over to the animal welfare group, they will still face animal cruelty charges.

The statement from the Humane Society was a little confusing, say the society "executed a warrant and seized five horses." I assume it did so with the assistance of law enforcement authorities, because nonprofit organizations don't generally have the authority to execute warrants on their own.

In any event, it appears the horses were in bad shape, as evidenced by this photo from the Humane Society website. Here's hoping they'll be restored to health and find good adoptive homes.

To read more from the Humane Society, click HERE.

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Graveyard of Dutch cavalry horses?

By Bob Silbernagel
Thursday, July 1, 2010

An equine burial ground discovered near Amsterdam contains the remains of at least 51 horses that appear to have been killed in battle during the 1600s.

Archaeologists who discovered the horse graveyard were actually looking for evidence of prehistoric human settlements. But, as one researcher put it, "From the first shovel, it was horses, horses and more horses."

Historians say there were two large battles that the Dutch fought in that region during the 17th century. One involved the Spanish and one was against the French. It is not clear which army the horses belonged to, but there is definite evidence they were cavalry horses, not draft animals.

The Associated Press photo here shows as archaeologist working to uncover one of the equine skeletons Wednesday along the Maas River.

To read the Associated Press article on the discovery, click HERE.

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A royal pain?

By Bob Silbernagel
Monday, June 28, 2010

Even prince's occasionally dismount unexpectedly. Prince Harry of British Royal family, did so Sunday during a polo match at Governor's Island in New York.

Numerous news stories told how the prince, age 25, laughed at the incident, remounted and later went on to score a point, even though his team lost the match 6-5 in overtime.

The polo match was a charity event to raise money for the American Friends of Sentebale, a charity Harry co-founded in 2006 to benefit children in HIV-ravaged Africa.

David Goldman of Associated Press snapped this photo of the incident.

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Horsemen’s Town Meetings

By Bob Silbernagel
Monday, June 28, 2010

This is from the Colorad Horse Council newsletter called "In Stride:"

Town meetings sponsored by Colorado Horse Development Authority are starting soon. These meetings will provide a good place to express the needs and concerns of horse owners across the state so that the Colorado Horse Council can do a better job understanding the needs of those it serves. They will also include guest speakers who will address issues that may include legislation issues, trails, and your rights as a horse owner, just to name a few.

The Colorado Horse Development Authority is still looking for locations and coordinators for these events. If you or your organization is interested in holding a Horseman's Town Meeting, please contact the Colorado Horse Council at (303) 292-4981.

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Horse-care products from Palisade

By Bob Silbernagel
Friday, June 25, 2010

Horse-show participants in western Colorado may run into Mary Leonard this summer. The Palisade woman has developed and is selling her own line of horse-care products through her company called Lineshack. They include a mane and tail detangler and coat sheen called Shine Hiney and Show Blaze, to make the white on a horse's face or feet stand out. She also has a lavendar-based fly spray, some horse treats and cotton grooming pads.

I bought a bottle of the Shiney Hiney to try on my horse, Moose, whose tail has been tangled for too long. After a couple uses, it has made it quite a bit easier to work a comb through his tail. That's Mary applying some of the Shiney Hiney to Moose's tail, while his buddy, Turk, looks on. I haven't tried any of her other products.

Mary spent more than three decades showing horses, mostly in the paint horse world. She developed her horse products as a result of that experience. She lived and had a ranch in the Winter Park area for most of that time, and had a riding school in Winter Park. She moved to Palisade about six years ago, and though she doesn't own any horses now, she tries to "always keep that horse connection."

You can reach Mary via e-mail at linescha@gmail.com. Or call 970-464-9022.

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