On the first very cold and snow day (currently 3 degrees and we got about 4” of snow overnight) I hide in my office finding inside tasks to stay nice and warm. However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t have to bundle up to feed and break ice for all the ponies on property first! This time of year we only have about 15 horses to look after on Fish Creek Ranch. All of the rest of horses reside in eastern Colorado, about 2 ½ hours away. They’re well looked after and enjoy the freedom of 8+ months off.
The horses in Estes Park tend to experience more snow and colder temperatures than their eastern counterparts, so we try to only keep around the ones that need work and/or more attention for whatever reason. Some horses still here are Monroe and Lancaster, who are both moving towards being ridden and Max and Tiger, who are spending their time learning ground manners.
During the winter a lot of what I do, with a lot of help from the year round team, is maintenance and getting camp back up to top operating condition. A lot of time is spent working with the horses left on property and making sure they’re in a better spot than they were at the end of last summer. This includes ground work for the young ones, moving towards saddling or riding for others, and taking lessons to help improve both my riding as well as our overall horse herd. One thing I absolutely love about working with horses is that there is always more to learn. For those of you who have been to the colts program you may know Lancaster, one of the mustangs, working with him to get him ready to ride has been a huge lesson for me. He’s easily been one of the toughest cases I’ve ever worked with, not that he’s wild or overly naughty, he just thinks differently than I’m used to. Putting in the hours to get him to where he is now, ready to ride, has been both frustrating and extremely rewarding.
Well, I’m off to spend a little more time breaking ice and making sure all of our critters, including our newest ranch addition, the goats, are healthy and good. Enjoy your winter, stay warm and positive and we can’t wait to have you back, hopefully for the summer of 2017.