Riding: The Home Ground

Over the past few years, it has been riding away from home. The level of competition is much greater and more varied. Riding at a higher level certainly warrants this kind of approach. It is important to measure individual progress and to improve riding skills. It also requires more selectivity while constructing the show schedule. Traveling a long distance for one show and back home, that show likely does not make the schedule – though we’ve done it a few times. Making all the pieces fit – shows, practice, downtime – on the calendar is the difficult part. It provides invaluable experience for the younger equestrian contemplating a professional career.

Walk of Champions (Colorado Horse Park, July 2016)

This week, and next, the riding will be closer to home. These two shows are part of a summer series, which begins in early June and ends in late July, or early August. It is a nice series drawing riders from the Four Corners zone, the larger Intermountain West and the Midwest. With the away schedule, my daughters have used the month of July as downtime while maintaining their in-season practice schedule. Last summer, they rode the last show of the series. This summer, it is the last two shows of the series.

Riding the home ground has given the girls the opportunity to renew their ties with riding friends who still make the trek, here, for two, three or four weeks. They’ll also be sharing some of their experience with the five junior riders from RRC. Trish will have them shadow Deborah, Elizabeth and Tara like she had them shadow Greg, Sarah and Megan. Trish, she’ll be watching everything from the sidelines.

end of the day: Trish and Perry head back to the barn (RRC, July 6 2017)

Snow Day

With the 2017 MLB season beginning, it is very appropriate to have challenging springtime weather. (The Rockies’ home opener is Friday, April 7.)

snow-covered: in the neighborhood (Tue, Apr 04 2017)

tree-bending snow: winter white (Tue, Apr 04 2017)

measuring the snow: 6+ inches (Tue, Apr 04 2017)

The snow ended in the late morning, followed by partial clearing in the early afternoon. With temperatures climbing into the mid-40s, the melt off began in earnest.

snow free feeder, nearly dry street (Tue, Apr 04 2017)

In the forecast, sunny and warmer (nearly 70) by Friday.

Chasing The Sun

My friend, Elisa, at Eleven Summer Roads loves a good sunrise and a good sunset. Sunrise, it is the promise of a new day with endless possibilities for the making. Sunset, the end of a day in which memories were made. From her recent travels, Elisa posted her sunrise and sunset images of Key West.

While not exactly a Key West sunrise or sunset, Colorado can occasionally produce a stunning sunrise and sunset, or two.

sunrise, from the front yard (Nov 01 2012)


sunset on the back deck (Sep 19 2012)


Most times, one does need to travel far to a find a good one.

On Christmas Eve

A calmness and quiet has descended on this Christmas Eve. It is a day we’ve enjoyed very much with sounds of laughter, and sounds of quieter moments. It is a day when worries and concerns are set aside. In waiting for Christmas, our anticipation is much like a child’s.

Tonight, it’ll be an early dinner followed by a small part in the musical program at one of the larger, local evangelical churches. Though we are not evangelical by persuasion, anytime there is a chance to sing praise to God, it is taken. Andrea will be one of the featured vocalists. She’ll be doing “In The Bleak of Mid-Winter” and  “Beautiful Seed“. I will accompany her on piano and keyboard.

From our home to yours, may you have a Blessed Christmas.


Notes –

A video performance of “In The Bleak of Mid-Winter” by Corrinne May can be seen here. Also, the video performance of “Beautiful Seed” by Corrinne May can be seen here.

For more information on Corrinne May, please visit her site here.

Winter Driven

Coming home from the Las Vegas National Horse Show, my daughters and I knew we would likely run into the storm on our way home. We had kept an eye on the weather forecast indicating a winter storm was taking shape. From our stopover spot in Utah, we made an early start Monday morning. The plan was to be ahead of the worst part of the storm as much as possible. The last place we wanted to be was in the mountains, in blizzard conditions, with the horses. We stayed on schedule, Monday morning, with my girls having their turns in driving.

Snow began to fall when we made our way through the very scenic Glenwood Canyon. We stopped at the Hanging Lake Rest Area to check on the horses, and, if possible, get an update on the weather. The horses were good, very comfortable in their warm trailer. The weather update, not so good. Snow was beginning to fall heavily between Vail Pass and the Eisenhower Tunnel farther to the east. By the time we made Vail Pass in the early afternoon, I-70 was pretty much snowpacked. Before making our run up the pass, it was time to chain up. We pulled up behind a trucker who was chaining up also. After I finished chaining up, the trucker asked what kind of horses I had in the trailer. I told him we had show horses, four of them of the hunter/jumper kind. “Sounds expensive,” he replied. The trucker offered to lead us up to the tunnel. I accepted his kind gesture.

snow and ice on the window, right (middle-row) passenger side (taken at Vail Pass, I-70 eastbound)
photo credit: Elizabeth


Slowly, and steadily, we drove from Vail Pass to the Eisenhower Tunnel. In winter conditions, it is one of the most difficult stretches of I-70 through the mountains. We passed several slide-offs and accidents along the way, which became more numerous between Silverthorne and the tunnel. About 10 minutes after we passed the Silverthorne exit, the Colorado State Patrol closed I-70, east and west, due to the numerous accidents.

I-70 (eastbound) before the steep grade to the entrance of the Eisenhower Tunnel
photo credit: Deborah


Slow and steady remained our pace up the steep grade to the tunnel entrance. In making the steep grade, everyone kept their momentum going forward. When the tunnel entrance is reached, one cannot help but to relish the drive through the tunnel. No snow, no wind. And, a short stretch of dry road.

at the western entrance to the Eisenhower Tunnel (I-70 eastbound)
photo credit: Deborah


It was snowing heavily, probably more heavily, as we drove out of the tunnel. We pulled over to the side where many truckers were checking their chains, before making the long drive down the steep grade. The trucker who led us up was glad to see we made it through. He thought he had lost us. I told him some other cars got in between us, but we kept sight of his rig. I thanked him for his generosity, that it was much appreciated.

While the intensity of the snowfall was varied, it was time to heavily concentrate, again, on winter driving, but in diminishing daylight and on icy roads. Driving downhill was easier, but it is also keeping the speed under control. With the icy road and snowpacked conditions, you couldn’t use your brakes too much. Apply too much brake, the horse trailer would fish tail. The horses wouldn’t like it, and neither would I.

the steep downgrade from the Eisenhower Tunnel (I-70 eastbound)
photo credit: Deborah


The last road section of concern was Floyd Hill below Georgetown. It is the curvy part of I-70 coming out of the mountains. In snowy and icy conditions, Floyd Hill is notorious for accidents. But, if taken with caution, it is easy to navigate the curves.

The remainder of our drive home was largely a slushy one. The only remaining icy and snowpacked spot was Monument Hill on I-25, also another accident magnet in winter conditions. Having driven Monument Hill many times in winter, it is the matter of keeping the speed under control on the downgrade.

A longer than normal drive because of the winter conditions, it was a safe one. When we reached the JN Ranch to stable the horses, Monday night, they had four inches on the ground and more still falling. Though it was windy, the blizzard conditions came very late in the overnight. By Tuesday morning, the JN Ranch had 15 inches of snow and drifts at 6-7 feet in height. This morning, they were finally able to clear the snow from their access road. Here at home, we had a couple of inches but plenty of wind.

It’s safe to say winter has begun.