August 18th, 2019, Volume 14, Issue 31

The beauty of a peaceful evening

This week was originally dubbed as an “off-week” by Shayne and I.  Off-weeks are dedicated to re-riding through the string, catching up on ranch projects and tending to various odds-and-ends.

However, when we were notified that there was a chance that the ENTIRE Seattle Mounted Police Unit might be able to come out that week, with ALL of their horses, the week was opened up!

And since it was officially opened, we started filling it up with more and more really neat people—We had stayover guests Rainer, Genna and Diana from Germany.  We had the Binninger family.  We had former employees and interns, Brooke, Eden and Nathan (with his better half, Marianne).  AND to top it all off, we had two members from the Army Caisson from D.C.—Robert, their civilian trainer and all-around program director, and Staff Sgt Adam, one of their riders.

So basically, our off week went from zero guests to our busiest week of the season thus far!

Roby working the Unit’s colt in our round pen

It was actually a ton of fun, working with so many dedicated students of horsemanship and (in the case of the Mounted Unit) working with their horses too!  Stephan, the head trainer in the Unit, was even able to bring a new horse, and get it re-started and ridden with the help of Roby!

Since everyone was super dedicated on the horsemanship end, we created multiple “stations” for the guests to rotate through.  Roby covered groundwork in the old indoor arena and horsemanship outside.  I covered cantering exercises in the outdoor arena and lots of refined soft feel work.  Shayne was in his NEW arena of course!  He covered all aspects—from short serpentines, the hind and front exercise and leg yields, to cantering arcs and beautiful straight lines on correct leads to work on the cutting machine.

Chief Diaz and Shayne

Janice bounced around getting a few of our greener riders up to speed so that they could come into the larger classes with confidence.  She did an amazing job!  This was the first time that we had the mounted officers out here withthe full support of their superiors.  Sgt Kevin had never ridden before, but he came out and entered up so that one day he could deploy with his men to “lead from the front!”  Speaking of leading from the front…CHIEF DIAZ from Seattle surprised the Unit by ALSO showing up at the ranch to learn to ride!  Both men showed their leadership and focus and blew our minds with how good they got in such a short amount of time.

Robert was a guest at the ranch 9 years ago, and came here at that time to go back to the Caisson with tools to take back to their training program.  It’s been a long stretch away, but he was finally allowed to come out again for more training.  We think this is the start of many more training weeks ahead!

Des’ apprentice, Flora with Trump

This was the Binningers 3rdtrip out here this year.  They are the most dynamic family I’ve ever known!  How much of a blessing to have an entire family of dedicated horse-people!  This trip they are leaving behind one member—little Flora is going to be my personal apprentice for the next three weeks!  I’m not sure who is more excited about it between the two of us.  It is certainly going to be a fun, fun experience!

And my goodness…I cannot even begin to describe how good it felt to have Brooke, Eden and Nathan back “home.”  These people are family to me, I love them to pieces!  Riding horses with them every day made this week so special.  Just thinking about it gives me all the warm and fuzzies J

It was a big week but it paid big dividends!  We are excited to see how the training this week translates into better riders, better horses and (for the Mounted Police and the Army Caisson) better overall training programs that are sustainable.

Have a great week everyone!



Genna getting a soft feel on Paco

Nathan, Marianne, and Chad- what great friends to have back with us for the week!

We will all miss our Josie <3