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By Bob Silbernagel
Sunday, January 22, 2012

As mentioned in the post below, March is shaping up to be a busy horse month, and one of the big events is the annual Rocky Mountain Horse Expo, March 8-11 at the National Western Complex in Denver. The event is sponsored by the Colorado Horse Council and features a number of exciting and informative events. I'll post more later, but for now, click on the link below to read the Horse Council's January newsletter with details about the Expo.

Oh, and this wonderful photo came from the newsletter.

To go and access Colorado Horse Council's January newsletter, click HERE.



By Bob Silbernagel
Saturday, January 21, 2012

It looks like the Grand Mesa Back Country Horsemen have a busy spring and summer scheduled. This is from President Terry Gray's message in the February newsletter.

"The President’s Saddlebag
I would like to welcome Scott & Jennifer Fogarty.
2012 dues are now due so, please mail them in or bring to next meeting on February 6, 7 PM at the Mesa Mall meeting room. Please remember if you joined after October you will not need to pay until 2013.
I am in the process of contacting committee members to see who is still interested in working on their committees. If you are interested in working on a committee please let me know and we will try to put you on that committee. We need someone to volunteer to take over the library.
I would like to thank Penny Ackerman for her hard work last year and last year’s Board as most of the goals that were set, were achieved. So thank you everyone who worked so hard on our projects.
It looks like we are going to have another busy year. We are going to put on a program for the Glade Park Elementary School. The Fruita Co-op has ask us too return this year and participate in their Co-op Country Day March 24. We have been ask to have a booth at The Horse Expo March 24 & 25 as both of these are on March 24, I would like to ask for some additional help. We will possible have additional other educational programs throughout the year.
We are going to host the Back Country Horsemen of Colorado Leadership Clinic June 16 and need volunteers to help.
We need your help to keep working on the right to ride in the National Forests, as there are groups that would like to keep us off these trails. I have an article put out by the BCHA 02/12007 titled Why We Need the Right to Ride Protection. The following are excerpts from that article.
In 1956 when the First Wilderness Bill was introduced by Senator Hubert Humphrey stated that "existing uses and privileges are respected in this bill.” “This bill will not interfere with but will perpetuate, the present multi-purpose administration of these National Forest areas."
A travel management plan for White River National Forest had areas of the WRNF closed to horse use in some these areas. The proposal creates new areas where hikers will not run into stock (limiting current horse access). challenged and changes have been made. The WRNF was not the only NF to have issues on trail use in this article detrimental to horse use.
Jan has information on the GMUG travel plan coming up. There are a very large number of trails on this travel plan. So you might offer to help him with the trail inventory.
This is the reason we all need to continue working to keep this from happening. So please renew your membership and try to get others to join as the more of us there are the bigger voice we have. "



By Bob Silbernagel
Friday, January 20, 2012

I posted something about this shortly after these twin horses were born almost three years ago, to surrogate mothers after their real mother was killed in the 2008 Windsor tornado. Doctors at the CSU Vet School's equine reproductive lab harvested eggs from the mother, named Tuesday, before she was euthanized due to a broken leg.

The Denver Post has updated their story, now that the foals are three-year-olds, and tied it to the fire that destroyed the lab last year, and efforts to raise money to rebuild it. It's an interesting story.

Here is the link:



By Bob Silbernagel
Thursday, January 19, 2012

This blog has essentially gone dark the past couple months, but it wasn't in protest over the SOPA legislation. I just got busy, primarily with events and writing related to my book, "Troubled Trails." But I'm back on line now and hope to be posting information about horses far more frequently.

I figured I'd start with the first big horse movie of the year, "War Horse," which I was greatly disappointed in. See my thoughts below.



By Bob Silbernagel
Thursday, January 19, 2012

My wife will tell you that I'm a sucker for horse movies of nearly any sort. From "The Black Stallion," to "Secretariat," I'm usually lined up early to see a horse pic. So, my daughter Kara (the other horse nut in our family) and I were eager to see Steven Spielberg's "War Horse." I'd read a lot about the play, and the trailers for the film looked great.

But Kara and I both walked out of the theater very disappointed. For a variety of reasons.

First, it seemed like Spielberg couldn't decide whether to make a Disney-style, feel-good fantasy like "E.T.," or a gritty war movie like "Saving Private Ryan." The result is it switches back and forth from hoaky, feel-good scenes to gruesume war scenes with little rhyme or reason. And human characters come and go so quickly (mostly go as war victims) that you don't know whether you're supposed to like them or not.

Second, I don't mind a horse fantasy. "The Black Stallion," after all, did things that most of us know a horse is never going to do. But what Joey, the War Horse, does was too incredible for me to suspend my disbelief.

Finally, I can think of only one other movie where I felt like the director was so blatantly trying to manipulate my emotions, and I didn't like that one either. I expected "War Horse" to be a tear-jerker -- sort of "Black Beauty" and "Ol' Yeller" rolled into one. But instead of getting teary, I got angry about feeling so manipulated. The "Gone With the Wind" sunset at the end was particularly annoying.

Speilberg is a great filmmaker, but this wasn't his best effort. And if you want a great, upbeat horse movie, go rent "Seabiscuit" again.


Trail horse TV show is a chance for Western Slope horse to shine

By Bob Silbernagel
Monday, September 5, 2011

From The Daily Sentinel Horseplay section, Sunday, September 4, 2011

Rita Tupa hopes her friend will soon become a reality television star. There’s no doubt that Tupa and her trail-riding companion — a paint mare officially named R Trail Callie, but called Callie for short — will be on a reality show. They will be part of a program on HRTV called “America’s Favorite Trail Horse,” which was organized by the American Competitive Trail Horse Association.

The show begins airing this month, and Tupa said she and Callie will be among the horseand- rider teams featured in the second episode, which is scheduled to be broadcast Sept. 20.

The question, for Tupa and all the other riders, is whether her horse can win enough viewer support to be one of the cash-winning finalists. If she is, Tupa said, most of the money she wins will be donated to an organization that helps finacially strapped horse owners provide feed for their horses, and a spay clinic for cats.

Tupa and Callie live near Almont in Gunnison County, where husband John manages a horse development known as Danni Ranch. She has also ridden in this area, such as at the annual Trail Horse Trials in Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area. (See upcoming events, below.) Tupa, 52, has been riding horses her entire life, and is a former horse trainer. Most of her working life has involved jobs in which she rode horses, including working from horseback in feedlots and sales barns in Nebraska, South Dakota and Texas, and working as a wrangler on a horse ranch.

Recreationally, she used to compete in trail classes in conventional horse shows. She also has participated in sanctioned American Competitive Trail Horse Association trail rides and in ranch competition.

Tupa acquired Callie, who is now 15, when she was an unbroke three-year-old. She used her at a sales barn in Texas and on numerous trail rides since the family moved to Colorado three years ago. She also learned that the quiet little mare would do almost anything asked of her. She has won in trail competition and been a lead-line winner with Tupa’s young grandson aboard.

Tupa learned of the competition for America’s Favorite Trail Horse back in February, through an email that announced auditions throughout the country. The closest, for her, were in Denver or Pueblo.

She and Callie made the trip to Pueblo last April, and on a chilly, windy day, they competed with roughly 100 other horses to become one of seven horses chosen to go to the finals in Austin, Texas, in May.

Colorado was well-represented at those finals. Of the 100 finalists, nine are from Colorado. Western Slope finalists include Tupa, Francine Acord Brown of Rifle and Rheta Strong of Aspen.

That Texas competition involved three days of difficult and varied trail work at the Franklin Family Ranch near Austin. It included a six-mile trail ride with obstacles such as jumps, creek crossings, steep hills and backing the horse through a narrow, L-shaped opening in the trees. Wellknown horse trainers from around the country, including Aaron Ralston of Silt, were on hand to offer tips to riders after they completed each section.

There were more obstacles and difficult maneuvers in a different trail area the second day, and some horses failed to complete all of the requirements. Callie did, however.

The final day was a freestyle trail presentation, and Tupa knew she had to do something different to win the attention of judges and the television viewers.

Several riders had attempted to take their horses up a lengthy staircase made of earth and logs, with varying degrees of success. Tupa and Callie easily made it to the top, and then descended. Near the bottom they stopped and, with Callie’s hindquarters one step higher than her front legs, they sidepassed easily across the wide stairs. It was a maneuver that caught the attention of several observers. Ralston told her, “Your horse looked like it had been doing it forever.”

She hopes television viewers will be equally impressed. But, Tupa noted, the competition isn’t called “America’s Best Trail Horse.” It’s “America’s Favorite Trail Horse.” So equine personality is also important, and Tupa believes she has an advantage there.

“My little mare is a sweetheart,” she said. “All the clinicians loved her. The spectators were attracted to her and children love to pet her. She is very willing and very calm.”

Whether that translates into enough votes for Callie to be one of the horses that wins $5,000 or $10,000 won’t be known until later this fall.

“Please vote for Callie, No.

211,” Tupa said.

Viewers can watch the program beginning at 6 p.m. MDT on the cable channel HRTV.

They can also view the program, and vote for Callie, at beginning that evening.



By Bob Silbernagel
Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A fire at the Equine Reproduction Laboratory at Colorado State University early on the morning of July 26 remains under investigation, although authorities are not saying that it was arson.

This statement has been posted on the lab's website:

"Colorado State University's Equine Reproduction Laboratory office building was heavily damaged in an early morning fire on July 26. The fire only impacted the office building, which also housed some laboratories. At this time, the ERL can confirm that no people or horses were injured in the fire."

To read more from, click HERE.



By Bob Silbernagel
Sunday, June 26, 2011

A benefit concert to raise money for Dream Catcher Therapy Center in Olathe will be held Sunday, July 24, at the Botanical Gardens in Grand Junction. The concert will feature Flat Top Reed, New Country, and Jeff Pine. Tickets are $10 at the door.

In addition to the concert, Dream Catcher and Andrea Datz Integrative Horsemanship of Fruita are holding a series of seminars to teach peole simple tools for assessng their horse's posture and movement. They are scheduled for July 16 in Olate, July 30 in Fruita, Aug 20 at the Healthy Horse Boutique in Carbondale, Sept. 17 in Othathe and Oct. 8 in Fruita. Cost of the seminars is $70, with 50 percent of the proceeds going to benefit Dream Catcher. To register, contact Andrea Datz at 970-640-9880. Or got to

Dream Catcher Therapy Center uses horses to work with people who have physical disabilities. It's sister organization, End of the Trail Horse Rescue — also located in Olathe -- provides a home and helps find adoptive owners for abused, neglected and unwanted horses.



By Bob Silbernagel
Thursday, June 23, 2011

From the Grand Mesa Back Country Horsemen June newsletter:

"Work Day June 26th. We will be working on the Glory Trail. This is also the known as the Haystack nd Turkey Flats trails. Meet at Fruita Reservoir #1 parking and camping area at 9:30, ride out at 10:00.
Go through the Colorado Monument. Turn Lt at the Glade Park store. Follow that Rd. past Mud Springs campground and the Echo Lake turn off. Staying to the right. The Fruita Reservoir parking area will be on your left.
The trail is still muddy etc. but there are downed trees, a sign to be replaced, a couple of water bars that would be helpful and some trash pick-up in the amount of trail that we could access last weekend. It would be helpful if you could RSVP to Terry at 596-6640, so I would be able to have appropriate tools available etc. Bring work gloves and lunch."

Click HERE to go to West Slope to download June newsletter



By Bob Silbernagel
Thursday, June 23, 2011

The number of horses sent to slaughter didn't decline after Congress effectively shut down horse slaughter plants in the United States in 2006, but horse welfare did because horses going to slughter now have to travel further, to plants in Mexico and Canada. Meanwhile, prices for lower-end horses fell, over and above the amount caused by the recession, and animal cruelty cases have increased.

So says a report released Wednesday by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, a report sure to provoke controversy among animal welfare groups and horse welfare advocates who pushed for the ban on U.S. slaughterhouses.

Among a herd of recommendations, the GAO suggests Congress should reconsider the legislation that halted horse slaughter in this country.

Click on the link below to read the summary of the report. At that GAO site, you can also link to the full, 68-page report and a highlights page.

Go to GAO summary of horse welfare report HERE.

Page 5 of 29

Upcoming Events
Entry forms and Fliers

Entry forms and fliers for upcoming horse events are available at

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Colorado Horse Council

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