Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Monday, June 20, 2005

Happy Tails Dog goes live

OK, so the domain and a page has been up for awhile. But then we started getting phone calls... and found out that people we actually seeing our new Yellow Pages advertisement - that was sending folks to go see the really junky set of pages we had out there for testing. OOPS. So we cleaned them up a bit this weekend.


Wednesday, June 15, 2005


Sunday morning at 9:45 Ginger passed a newspaper ad for a nearby auction to David and I - saying "I know we said we'd never do another auction, but this one is really close by..." As the auction started at 10:00, and she has a lesson at 10:00, it was up to us to go. It was only 6 miles away, and the preview pictures on the website looked somewhat interesting, so go we did.

Well, as is typical for one of these auctions, it took an enormous amount of time. This is precisely what made us swear off auctions last year. You go, look at thousands of items laid out on tables and stacked around the yard, and then have to wait forever for the auctioneer to come down the row to get to the thing you have your eye on. AND THEN - someone out-bids you and you get nothing for your time. It is not uncommon for people to totally pay more than something is worth, new, just because they get caught up in the bidding. (Have we? Oh absolutely not. We did not, for instance, pay $65 for a stock tank that last week we just bought new on sale for $50. AND it was cracked to boot.)

So we got there about 10:30 and found a few things we were interested in. We ran into a neighbor so we got to shoot the breeze while waiting. About noon we'd scored a couple of big savings - a ladder and hay tarp each of which we a significant amount on. Yes, I said Hay Tarp. These things are in high demand, let me tell you - the first big crowd of the day was around the tarps. The one we got is something like 50 feet long by 15 feet, and really heavy duty. Would probably be at least $150 new and we only paid $75 for one in good condition. Since it was going to be quite a while before they reached the next thing we wanted, we carried those items to the car, got a burger for lunch, and hung out. Borred, we started wandering through the back of the lot, and found a stash of chain link panels. It was pretty hard to figure out what was to be sold, but the ad had mentioned some chain link panels, so we immediately started looking through them.

We all have a lot of contacts who are asking when our kennel will be open because they have vacation plans for the summer. Since the kennel opening is continually being pushed farther and farther out, we've thought that if we just had some pens we could at least do some dog sitting for friends. So we managed to score something like 100+ feet of panels plus a stack of gates in a variety of conditions, for less than $300. About 4:00 we were on our way home.

Last night I took the bush hog to mow the flat-ish area just north of the dog barn. Next I'll need to take the box scraper to it to level the area and more importantly lower the grade a few inches so that it is no longer higher than the barn foundation. After we get a truck load or two of gravel, courtesy of the neighbor we saw at the auction, I'll level that with the scraper. (How has my life changed since moving to the ranch? 2 words - tractor implements!)

When that's done we should be well set to erect some dog runs.


Tuesday, June 14, 2005

1 Year Milestone #1

It was 1 year ago today that Ginger, David and I closed on the ranch. And, wow, what a crazy time that was.

At the time, David and I (and the pups) were living in the first of our temporary homes (Ginger's condo) since we'd already sold our house - and if I remember correctly we were trying to figure out where our second temporary home was going to be since Ginger had just gone under contract to sell the condo with short notice. Actually - Yes - it was while we were waiting in the lobby of the Title Company that Ginger gave us a scrap of paper with her friend's name on it who had an empty rental they would let us stay in for a few weeks.

We had just bought Shoshoni two days earlier, with the understanding that the seller would be able to keep her for a few weeks only to be told that day that that was not the case. So we were scrambling to find somewhere to put her. At the property closing we settled arrangements with the seller to let us take her to the ranch even though they were going to rent back from us for 6 weeks. Jordan moved to the ranch at the end of June.

Then began 6 weeks of us visiting the ranch frequently to see the horses. My family reunion in Estes Park conveniently fell during this time frame so much of the family also got to traipse around the barn and oogle over the seller's herd of miniature horses. Ginger sold not only her condo, but also her Broomfield townhome in which she was living. So she moved the bulk of her stuff into our rented house while she and Patches went to live with Roger for several weeks.

I have to say, I really have no desire to repeat those particular weeks, from the time we sold Deer Trail until we moved in to the Ranch, ever again. July 23rd is when things really got fun - we finally moved to the ranch! That will be the real anniversary - so I guess I'll pick this thread up again in 6 weeks.


Monday, June 13, 2005

Ginger moves to SPR full time

A week ago Friday was Ginger's last day at her 'old' job. She'd been with Thermo Electron for.. well - longer than we've known her. I think that is actually where I met Ginger first. I was consulting with a guy in their IT department and I peripherally met her then. Then we found out we lived in the same condo association. Then she found out I volunteered for the Colorado Horse Rescue... and the rest is history.

The reason for the timing is that Summer Horsemanship Camps started at Sun Pony last week. Camp runs for 5 days at a time, 9:30 to 2:30. We have planned to accept up to 12 kids at a time. Last week we had 6, and this week we're set for 7. I think she's glad to not start out absolutley full, but still with enough kids to form 2 groups.

The kids double up and share a horse. They ride in the morning, do ground work and other stuff, then do some fun activity in the afternoon, like trying out bareback riding, or English riding, etc. On Friday they hold a little show for parents. They spend much of the day getting the horses all spiffied up - braiding manes and tails, etc. And then they do a demonstration ride. Well, last Friday it was pouring down rain. So they did their demo ride indoors.

We've never had three horses mounted up in our indoor area before - note we call it an indoor area and not arena because it plain old isn't big enough really to ride. BUT - in a pinch it's come out very handy. An considering that one of our student's mothers pointed out to us this weekend that it has rained for each of the last 8 Saturdays in a row... we've been in a pinch more often than not it seems!

Anyways, no good pictures from this week's show - maybe next week. Dave did grab a few on Wednesday... but really looks like the dozens of other lesson pictures we've posted before so I won't bother you with these.

A very interesting outcome from our first week of camp, however, is that several of our horses are clearly enjoying the benefits of being fawned over for hours at a time. Jordan has always been ear shy, and doesn't like to be bridled. He and I basically had a good understanding and thus had no issues over bridling any more. But then he had a series of several unfortunate experineces with some of our students, and he reverted to being VERY phobic. So we were doing all his bridling. Well - unbenownst to anyone, on Friday his camper decided to not wait and bridled him by her self. Then she did this again later in the day. This is impressive - particularly considering she's 10 and not tall enough to reach his head if he chose to raise it like he often does for bridling. Likewise, Shoni is also shy about being petted and approached. Yet within a week of the girls loving on her we can see a difference in her reaction.

Of course I miss out on all of this fun - I may have to take a few days off to help out. After basically spending zero time in the barn last week, this week we've got some chores more evently split so that I will continue to do some barn stuff in the mornings before I go to work. It was really disorienting last week having no barn chores to do!


Friday, June 03, 2005

Say Hello Gracie

On Wednesday Style n Grace - aka Gracie - joined our ranks. She's a cute 7 year old paint with really fine boned legs and quite the thoroughbred look to her. Shes a sweetie. I haven't yet met the owners but Dave says they're quite nice. They are a family with 4 kids, 2 1/2 of which ride.

However, adding another mare to our mix has brought up again the topic that we probably really need a mare pasture. We've had a number of troubles what with Shoshoni throwing the guys into tizzys making them difficult to impossible to catch, and that is just really annoying. So she's been separated from the herd for a while. But somehow the thought of building another fence really isn't attractive.


Wednesday, June 01, 2005


A week ago I was feeding the horses their breakfast and noticed that Shadow had three wounds on his neck. Small ones, each round and about the size of a dime or less, but scabbed and pussy. That they were round was strange - most bites and cuts are rips. I took him into the barn and washed them off, then told Ginger about them before she left.

Wed and Thursday I was in California for work (I swear - I have never traveled this frequently for work before!) and on Friday Ginger said he'd gotten more spots so she'd called the vet. He said it was most likely ringworm - a skin fungus that erupts into round scabby wounds. And, is very contageous - to humans and dogs as well as other horses. Ginger called David and had him pull him out of pasture in order to quarantine him in a stall.

That said, it isn't dangerous or even debiliatating, just messy if left untreated. So Friday night we dove in to get Shadow cleaned up. This routine consisted of shaving all of the wounds. Since the fungus feeds on hair, depriving them of such is step one. Then scrub them with betadine, let that sit for 10 mintues, then rinse, then rinse with a vinegar solution (to make an inhospitable environment), DRY - as in blow dry or thoroughly towel dry - each area and then apply an athlete's foot treatment. Woowee! Sounded straight forward enough, so we donned rubber gloves and got started.

What we quickly discovered, however, was that Shadow's spotted coat was an extremely effective camouflage for these fungus wounds. Many were as small as a pea and only puckered up a little bit. The more we examined him, the more we found! It got pretty absurd, us not wanting to touch any un-affected coat, yet we couldn't find affected areas with out doing so. Poor guy looked like a very raggedy patchwork quilt by the time we were done, having shaved probably 25 areas. Then for the next 6 steps, multiplied by 25 areas, by a horse whose incredible patience was more than wearing thin - made for a very long evening.

Before the light disappeared entirely I went out to feed dinner and do a once over on the other horses. Chaco got to come in to a stall as well. We didn't have time to do the full regimen on him so we scrubbed his 3-4 spots down and sprayed with Lotramin.

In the morning we checked all the horses more thoroughly, and found that Romeo also had 5-6 infected areas. Jordan, Rio, Shoni and Harley all appeared clean, so they stayed out in pasture. Romy and Chaco got their first treatments and Shadow got a second. We also washed and sterilized all of our grooming tools and tack boxes.

Meanwhile we'd talked with the Vet again about our findings on Shadow, and he suggested we might bathe him with medicaided shampoo. We decided that all the horses probably should be bathed, though the 'clean' ones could probably skip the medicaided shampoo part.

I picked up the shampoo from the vet that afternoon - while Dave and Ginger were taking Harley over to a 5-year-old's birthday party to give pony rides! We advertise for doing B-Day parties, but our plan is for people to bring the party to our place. Bring your cake and such, and get pony rides as part of the deal. This person called only a week or so in advance, and really wanted to find someone to come to her place. We hummed and hawed for awhile - but after our insurance rep said that our policy would cover us off property we decided that revenue is, after all, revenue! Harley aparently was a huge hit and behaved absolutely perfectly for the kids.

Because we needed another project for this weekend, we'd also emptied the two shelving units in the tack room with the thought of painting them. We got paint, so I started in on that just as Dave and Ginger returned from the party. We got one coat on both units and left them outside.

Sunday the temperature plumeted to in the 60s and threatened rain. We finally decided we HAD to bathe at least Shadow, so we did. We don't have a water heater in the barn, and again the poor thing was subjected to an hour of not-so-comfortable ministrations in the washstall. He was shivering like mad the whole time. But goodness does he look beautiful and shiny-white now! It isn't the last bath for him, but he is much improved. That afternoon it rained, and then got even colder and poured down rain Monday - no more baths took place. No Memorial Day BBQ either, nor painting, I might add. But Ginger has spent what seems like days in washing the saddle pads.


Yesterday we took an assessment and decided that Shadow's wounds all look noticeably smaller and in the process of healing! We went a head and turned Romy and Chaco out today -- because we have a new boarder arriving today and we needed the stall! Because of our lack of preparation the three of us got up way early to prep the stall for our new arrival today.