ID MyHorse

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Devil's Backbone Open Space

Devil’s Backbone Open Space

A beautiful and diverse topography can be found at Devil’s Backbone Open Space in Loveland, Colorado. This was another place that Alan and I checked out on a Saturday morning. NOT a good time to show up here! We returned on a weekday and essentially had the place to ourselves. We had Kara the Border collie with us. Larimer County regulations stipulate a leash, but we had a remote collar. The two…

Disaster Emergency Plan... Are YOU Prepared?

Disaster Emergency Plan… Are YOU Prepared?

I recently attended an Emergency Preparedness Clinic sponsored by several organizations within Boulder County, Colorado. The clinic was held because recent events here demonstrated that very, very few people have a disaster emergency plan. Are you one of those people? Late last December, the Marshall Fire burned over six thousand acres and destroyed over a thousand homes in one afternoon. This…

Memorable Round Mountain Mayhem

The parking lot and trailhead for Round Mountain Nature Trail in Colorado is visible to me when I hike from home to the top of Palisade Mountain. According to AllTrails and Colorado Trails Explorer (COTREX), Round Mountain Nature Trail is horse friendly. In fact, you can hike or ride to Stone Mountain as well, and the trailhead starts at the same place. The trail to Sheep Mountain splits off from the Stone Mountain trail. But here is where it gets interesting... COTREX says that all three trails are horse friendly. AllTrails does not include horseback riding as allowable on the Sheep Mountain Trail. And Alan and I are here to tell you that we don't think either Sheep or Stone Mountain trails are very good for horses... and we have done some tough trails. Let me tell you how our ride unfolded.

Because I was under the impression that there were at least 5 or more miles of trail to ride, Alan and I decided to haul the horses to this trailhead so close to our home. Dogs were also allowed, and this trail isn't as heavily used as those in Loveland or Fort Collins. The parking area isn't very large, and there were 6-8 cars already there when we arrived. However, we managed to find an out-of-the-way area to park the truck and trailer. We tacked up and headed out. Which trail to take? The trailhead is clearly marked and quite wide at the beginning. We hadn't ridden very far when we came to a split in the trail. One way was marked "Nature trail" and the other way pointed to the "Summit Trail." The research I had done talked about the Round Mountain trail but didn't describe it as a "nature trail." We decided that the Summit trail was probably what we wanted, so we turned left and headed that way. We hadn't gone far when we found ourselves on a narrow, rocky trail with pretty significant drop-offs on our left. The dogs were ahead of us, single file, and doing okay... but this was not what we had bargained for. I was in front, with the dogs in front of me. I passed a small, carved-out area on my right. It was large enough for Alan to come up behind me and turn Sadie around. After he completed his turn, I backed Kadeen a few steps and did the same thing. Now Alan was in front, followed by me on Kadeen, and the dogs behind me. The dogs get a bit discombobulated when they are behind us. However, there really wasn't a good place for them to pass. We hadn't gone too far when Alan spied a trail leading off to the left. For some reason, he decided that was the trail we were looking for, so off he went! I must claim some ownership as well, as we swapped places again and I was now in front, with the dogs in front of me. This trail was also narrow, but not so rocky. What it lacked in rocks it made up for in slope and soft dirt... The horses worked hard to keep their footing. I could tell Kadeen was questioning the wisdom of our route. While he was busy keeping his feet underneath him, I was watching for the very low branches and closely spaced trees. I acquired a few scratches and bruises as I dodged trees and rocks. Once again, we didn't go far before I declared to Alan that clearly, this was not the trail we wanted either! We turned around for the second time. Back on the Round Mountain Nature Trail We finally made our way back to the wide, dirt, solid nature trail. Horses, dogs, and humans breathed a collective sigh of relief! Unfortunately, the nature trail is short. It didn't take us long to get to the top. There is a cute little hut at the top, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps, or CCC. There is a loop that takes you by the hut and back to the main trail.

We did a little off-trail exploring but didn't get far. We didn't even get 5 miles in that day. There is a little trail that leads to the park across the street, and we followed that too. We covered enough to make the dogs happy and it was a beautful day... so it was good. Well, almost... A lost phone We got home and followed our usual routine... I head to the house and rescue Mica, the left-behind German Shepherd. Alan unloads the horses. Within a few minutes, Alan shouts to me to call his phone. I do... but we don't hear his phone ringing. He searches the truck, the trailer, and everywhere else... no luck. We decide he must have lost it on the trail. We both have Otterbox Defender cases on our phones. Mine never comes off my belt. It has occasionally been snagged when I am mounting or dismounting, but even then it has stayed attached to my belt. We presumed that Alan's must have come off during the ride, or perhaps as we were tacking up or untacking. We really didn't want to load up the horses again, and I really didn't want to ride them again on the crazy trails we had encountered. Instead, we headed back to walk the trail. Neither one of us was at all in the mood to walk a few miles, but finding an iPhone was somewhat motivating! We didn't find the phone near where we parked. We headed up the nature trail and split up... I took the angled dirt trail with the low branches, and Alan took the cliff trail. I added a few more nicks and scratches to my body as I tried to retrace our steps. Neither of us found the phone. As we were starting the climb up the nature trail towards the CCC hut, we encounted a family coming down. We asked if they had found a phone... they had not. But they had thorougly explored the area with their little kids, picking up rocks and other treasures. We figured if the phone was there, they would have found it. We accepted our loss and headed for home.

The wide and easy nature trail A new phone The next day, we headed to the Verizon store and Alan bought another phone. Sadly, he still remained on the dark side with another iPhone, even though I have repeatedly tried to convince him to see the light and get an Android! The day after acquiring a new phone, we headed to Kansas. (I had a medical treatment, something I will write about in a future blog. It is an amazing therapy... applicable to both people and animals.) As we were settling in for the night in our new-to-us motorhome, my phone rang. It was a neighbor on our mountain. Alan's phone had been found by the guy grading our pot-holed access road! The workman had flagged down the first car he encountered coming up the hill and turned over the phone. We decided that Alan must have set the phone on the truck tailgate or somewhere similar. He has done that before. It is amazing that the phone rode there all the way up Highway 34 to Drake. It was only after we started up our access road that it was bounced off!

Looking down on Highway 34 from Round Mountain Coming soon, I'll talk about our rides to Bobcat Ridge Nature area, and Devil's Backbone. We got into some technical stuff on Bobcat Ridge, and made decisions about which loops to ride at Devil's Backbone based on some concerns about safety. We have done some very technical rides, such as Odessa Lake. However, we have nothing to prove and we really don't want to get hurt... life is way too fun right now! Read the full article

Equine Recurrent Uveitis or Moon Blindness

Equine Recurrent Uveitis or Moon Blindness

Uveitis means inflammation of the uvea. That doesn’t tell you much, does it? The uveal tract of the eye is comprised of the vascular (blood vessel) and pigmented structures of the eye. Equine Recurrent Uveitis (ERU) is the leading cause of blindness in horses worldwide. The prevalence of this devastating disease is reported to be between 2 and 25%! Statistics for the United States state that…

The Shocking Shortage of Veterinarians

The Shocking Shortage of Veterinarians

When I applied to the Purdue School of Veterinary Medicine in the mid-70s, there were roughly 9 applicants for every spot. There were only 72 students accepted every year. Some students that were not able to gain entrance to a veterinary program turned their efforts towards medical school instead. This article, written in 1978, discusses the surge in interest in becoming a veterinarian.…

Harry and Snowman, a Dynamic Duo

Harry and Snowman, a Dynamic Duo

I subscribe to the Horse Network and a little while ago the story of Harry and Snowman showed up in my inbox. I don’t think I had ever heard or read about this amazing duo before that email appeared. I decided it would make a great blog post because it is a great story. In fact, it is such an awesome story that there is a movie about them as well. Let me start by sharing the first paragraph…

Canine and Equine Gastric Ulcers

Canine and Equine Gastric Ulcers

All types of living creatures can suffer from stomach ulcers. Alan and I both suffered from severe GERD, gastroesophageal reflux disease. Among the many, many characteristics we share, we have both had fundoplications to treat our reflux. I recently started treating my dog for gastric ulcers. And I have treated Kadeen in the past for equine gastric ulcers. This past week, I fell into a pattern…

Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire!

Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire!

Arizona is heating up, literally. It was time for our semi-annual trek from our winter home in Arizona to our summer home in Colorado. As we were preparing to leave Arizona, fires were burning in multiple locations. Additionally, fires were burning in Colorado, some with such intensity that they were reported on the news in Arizona. Extreme fire danger warnings were issued for Arizona, Colorado,…

San Pedro River Trail South

San Pedro River Trail South

The San Pedro River The San Pedro River is a northward flowing stream that has its origins in Mexico, not too far south of where we rode the river trail. Alan and I only live in Arizona in the winter, not during the summer monsoons. Therefore, our perspective is that it is merely a dusty, dry riverbed. However, this year we did find a little water. To be sure, the future of this stream is in…

Boondocking With Horses: Terrific Tips from the Pros

Boondocking With Horses: Terrific Tips from the Pros

According to my Facebook memories, my maiden voyage with my beloved Cimarron LQ horse trailer was 8 years ago this month. This was during the previous era of my life, when I was married to a guy who never went camping with me. Fast forward to now, when Alan and I enjoy one adventure after another together. We have covered a lot of miles equitrekking. Now, we are planning on doing some boondocking…

Equestrian Apps and Great Gadgets

Equestrian Apps and Great Gadgets

I am somewhat of a techie junkie. That is probably a bit unusual for someone in the Medicare age range! Nevertheless, I really like computers, smart phones, smart watches and other technological advances that provide me with data about what is going on around me. I like the concept that, “There is an app for that!” Except that, when it comes to equestrian apps, there really isn’t… I wrote a blog…

The Incredible Back Country Horsemen

The Incredible Back Country Horsemen

According to Montana volunteer Mark Himmel, vice chairman of BCHA, every single trail you have ever ridden has been touched by the hands of a BCHA volunteer. Next year will be the 55th anniversary of Back Country Horsemen of America. Oh, and I should mention… about half of their members are women! Their website states: Back Country Horsemen of America (BCHA) is a nation-wide organization that…

Traumatized Ukrainian Animals and People!

Traumatized Ukrainian Animals and People!

I have been glued to the news all week. I can’t decide if I should limit my exposure to protect my mental health, or continue to soak up every bit of news and education about what’s happening that I can. Thus far, I’m sticking with the latter plan. The Ukrainian people can’t turn off their reality, so why should I? I am horrified by what I am seeing. Not only must I process what is happening to…



Alan and I are no stranger to wildfires threatening us, our home, and our animals. Our Colorado home was within a couple of miles of the Cameron Peak Fire in Colorado late in 2020. As close as that was, it is even scarier to have a wildfire burning along the other side of the fence that contains your horses! That happened to us this past week. Alan and I were working our way through the Bible…

Turkey Creek Take Two!

Turkey Creek Take Two!

For the past couple of months, Alan and I have been doing quite a bit of traveling. Our trips have been fun, but they have definitely cut into our riding time! We jumpstarted our new resolution to make more time for riding by hitting two beautiful trails last week. The first day, we rode 8.5 miles on a 68 degree day in the Dragoon mountains, up the Cochise Stronghold trail and back. The next…

Little Miss Leah has Canine Lymphoma

Little Miss Leah has Canine Lymphoma

Sometimes, I wish I didn’t have any education in veterinary medicine. That is never more true than when one of my own dogs presents with a problem. I go from A to Z in a heartbeat… but strangely enough, this time I was right. My sweet little Leah has been diagnosed with canine lymphoma. Leah is my rescued smooth-coat Border collie. She was a physically abused and starving mama with 8 nursing…

A Paddock With a View... CJM Stables in Kauai

A Paddock With a View… CJM Stables in Kauai

Most horses don’t have a view of whales spouting in the ocean behind them… but the horses of CJM Stables in Kauai do! “CJM” stands for Come Join Me, and Jimmy Meranda, the personable owner of the stables, really wants you to do just that. Jimmy started constructing CJM Stables over 30 years ago. He ignored the naysayers, and has created one idyllic spot for horses and horse people alike. The…