Our Favorite Month- October
Sep30

Our Favorite Month- October

Thanks once again to Country Living Magazine for inspiring us! Love “paint by numbers” Art and we had to use horses of course!...

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Wild Horses Roaming Free – By Linda Ballou
Sep22

Wild Horses Roaming Free – By Linda Ballou

Wild Horses Roaming Free By Linda Ballou Photos by Tony Stromberg To see wild horses roaming free across the rolling green hills of California makes my heart sing. There is a long-standing battle taking place to save the herds of wild horses emblematic of the American west from the slaughterhouse. Presently, fifty thousand horses are being held in Bureau of land Management holding pens awaiting their futures. Sadly, they will most likely be destroyed if an answer to their dilemma does not come soon. The Return to Freedom organization with two central California locations, one in Lompoc and one on a 300-acre ranch in San Luis Obispo give safe harbor to 400 wild horses. You can see from this video that they have a good life, are fit and roaming free in this bucolic setting. The plight of the wild mustangs in America is not new. The cattlemen want the rangeland owned by the government for their stock. The Bureau of Land Management contend that the wild herds are over-grazing federal lands and must be culled. They continue to use helicopters to round up thousands of horses each year. Only 32,000 wild horses out of the 2 million that once roamed the west remain. Meanwhile, the battle in congress to pass a bill that would protect the herds and provide a budget to handle the situation humanely continues. Return to Freedom is a non-profit organization provides some fun and informative ways for you to support the cause. They offer a docent guided walking tour of the sanctuary with some time for quiet observation of the herd. You will meet some of the mustangs that live there and learn about the horses as a native species with its origins in American history. They also offer a photo safari on the San Luis Obispo property On 2,000 acres of horse heaven in Central Coastal California, 70 wild horses and 16 burros roam free. Safaris last 3 hours and can be scheduled for early morning or late afternoon. Picnic basket with healthy snacks and light meal provided – end your Photo Safari with a pre-arranged picnic lunch or dinner in the hills with mountain top views to the sea! On the Return to Freedom site under “Issues” tab you can sign a petition to let your representatives know that you care about the future of the wild herds, or you can simply donate funds to this very worthy cause. Visit the www.returntofreedom for more information. Photo Credit: Tony Stromberg Linda Ballou is the author of The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon available on Amazon and her site www.LindaBallouAuthor.com Audio Book coming soon! Editor’s note: Linda is a...

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Stellar Stallion Finds Forever Home in Hidden Hills
Sep21

Stellar Stallion Finds Forever Home in Hidden Hills

He was supposed to carry stars in the movies, but instead has found a pleasant home at the Diamond Barn in Hidden Hills, California. Formerly known as Media Noche 1, “Blanco,” a 16 year old Andalusian Stud has found peace with a new owner and a trio of Mustang geldings as pals. With plenty of space to move, this Stallion is perfectly content to work in the round pen or the track extending around the property. His diet consists of an orchard-timothy mix with a little alfalfa and he gets a bucket of integrity senior in the evening. Blanco works with the rope with ease and takes his rider’s cues in stride. Happy...

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Laramie Ride – By Linda Ballou
Jul29

Laramie Ride – By Linda Ballou

Every summer author Linda Ballou goes on an adventure that almost always involves horses.  “Lose your Heart at the Laramie River Ranch” is Linda’s latest exploit as she traveled by horse through parts of scenic Colorado and Wyoming. You don’t have to be a horse person to enjoy the Laramie River Ranch, but if you are, you will fall in love with the miles of trails in the vast expanses of Colorado and Wyoming. The ride to Crazy Mountain is a steady climb to a knoll with a head-spinning view of the snow-streaked Rewah Range. Long’s Peak in the Rocky Mountain National Park is seen poking into blue skies in the distance, and to the north, the frosty white Snowy Range of Wyoming rests on the horizon. In between there is nothing but you and the Wild West of America. The Laramie River Ranch is a breath-taking stop in time that reminds us how the world was before our ancestors came to tame this land. Krista Burleigh, leading my ride, dreamed of owning a ranch and spending her life sharing her love of the outdoors and horses with her guests. She and husband Bill, roamed the West to find the perfect spot. They picked the Laramie River Ranch for its isolation and endless miles of trails that fan from the ranch and offer a variety of terrain and great footing for the horses. I have sampled many dude ranches and the LLR offers an unrivaled, rustic, authentic western experience on the back of well-trained, fit horses. From a distance the sage-covered hills look barren, but on closer inspection you find they are peppered with a profusion of wildflowers; giant white angelica, lavender lupine, pink vetch, yellow cinquefoil, and orange Indian paintbrush brighten the scene. This is a land of extreme beauty and extreme moods to match. Our ride started out with a blustery wind that kept the bugs at bay. Then an intense sun shone through a mountain of mushrooming clouds forcing us to shed layers of clothing. When we returned to the barn, a cloudburst sent us running to the shelter of the lodge. All of the guests congregate for happy hour at the end of a riding day. Jalapeno poppers and Buffalo wings were my favorite appetizers. Dinner begins with fresh greens, followed by a healthy entre choice, and ending with divine desserts. The day’s activities are shared in the dining hall. Non-riders may hike with a naturalist, do a little fly fishing in the Laramie River, go birding, or just read a good book. A spate in the hot tub under velvet heavens scattered with stars...

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Everyday Wisdom – Mounting Block Mishaps
Jul20

Everyday Wisdom – Mounting Block Mishaps

By subscriber Vanessa Larocque and Alice Champlin                         Vanessa leads Hadley properly. They two are in step. His head is in a natural head set, no stress here, and parallel to her shoulder. Vanessa is “in charge.” If Hadley is lazy and not moving forward, Vanessa taps him gently on the flank with her dressage crop (in her right hand) telling him to pick up the pace. The more you practice leading horses properly the easier it gets and the more you are in control of the situation. Vanessa prefers to use a rope halter for the “teachable” moments in horsemanship. The rope halter gives her leverage; when Vanessa applies pressure Hadley feels tension over the poll and near the nose bridge and across the face. The rope halter is a tool that is to be taken seriously as it can also hurt a horse if used improperly. In other words, “DON’T YANK THE HORSE” especially when they are in a rope halter. Vanessa knows whenever teaching a horse something new, you allow time. She intentionally  set aside at least an hour today to work on leading skills before she tackles the mounting block.   Vanessa deliberately leads Hadley improperly to demonstrate how easily people get hurt because they are leading a horse wrong. If he lunges forward, he will knock her down. If he pulls back, he’ll wrench her arm or shoulder.                                             After showing Hadley the mounting block, Vanessa squares him up with the with it then stands on it. She wants to get him accustomed to her being there. She rubs his back and verbally tells Hadley to “stand.”  This becomes an daily ritual as she reminds Hadley consistently what her expectations are. Hadley learns through repetition, he is to stand quietly when it comes to the mounting block.  ...

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The GOOD HORSE – “BRONSON” July’s Horse of the Month
Jul01

The GOOD HORSE – “BRONSON” July’s Horse of the Month

The GOOD HORSE – “Bronson” By owner Bianca Lukasik Thank you Malibu Feed Bin for your gracious prize for “Bronson” and his family.             Our story begins with the rescue of a Lusitano, gelding named “Bronson.” A year ago, when we first met Bronson we had high hopes of bringing him home. He was standing in a pile of filth; his head was tied straight up to a tree and bound by a rope and chain. He had bleeding lacerations running down both front legs resulting from a cruel and unconscionable act known as “rope tripping.” Horses that fall prey to this inhumane practice are usually used for entertainment purposes before slaughter. The horse is terrorized and chased out of a shoot or pen only to have a single rope thrown around the pastern forcing the horse to flip over on its back; the outcome is usually a horse with a broken leg or snapped spine. Bronson was lucky enough to escape this horrible fate thanks to our perfect timing. We rescued him from a hellish situation and everyday he shows us how grateful he is. Bronson has shown great promise in the area of three-day eventing and has shown a natural aptitude for the sport both physically and mentally. He’s improves strength-wise thanks to the right diet, supplements and the right amount of exercise. Good ownership has helped on my part and the right training, with Jessica Karlsson, has also been a great help. Bronson is full of life, love and has a commanding presence; he draws you in. Our whole family adores him. I can’t believe how satisfying it is to see a horse transformed from a starving, neglected, abused animal and become a healthy, energetic, and happy equine. He got there because people wanted to save him. It’s awe-inspiring to see Bronson achieve and through recovery we are reminded how terribly he has suffered but yet he still has such a will to live and allow people love him again. Happy horsing,...

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