Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The News from Springvalley

It's been another amazing summer. Fun, challenging, hot and busy. We've made new friends and spent time with familiar ones, run some  successful events and made quite a few improvements to the place. I'm afraid it didn't leave me enough energy for blogging, which I often regretted, but hopefully I will do better now! So much has happened since that last time I posted that I think a catch up is in order.  

Coming Events
We need to have some fun in this cooler weather, so I'm organising a playday on Sunday, the 26th of September. I plan to organise some challenges for us, which will involve a look at some of the Patterns and 7 Games as you've probably never imagined them! Just purely for Savvy fun for our regulars and their horses. I can't wait!

More Fun!
This time with Petra Christensen (who is now a 2* Instructor), 2* Kime Conkright and 3* Instructor Jena Cody. On October 17th, they are offering a morning of free (yes, it did say "free") lessons, followed by an afternoon of Parelli Games. We hope to see lots of new local faces and make new friends at this event. We are hoping that Livia will also be around for this. More information coming soon!

And Cooler Weather

This summer was a challenge for me, and others, too. However, we are lucky to have  nice autumn weather here, which often stretches into the early winter. September, October and December are usually pretty dry. (Statistically, November is a little wetter, here.) It's a great time to visit us. Why not hook a few extra days onto one of our events, like the Playday or Funday? Staying on after an event is particularly useful, as it gives you the opportunity to play with your horse and consolidate what you learned before returning to the distractions of "real life".

Of course we can't promise that any week of the year will have a particular type of weather, but there is a good chance of dry days which are mild to crisp in temperature. We are keeping our prices the same for now, with short breaks to suit even the tightest budget, money saving working holiday options or easy-going bed and board options that are still great value. For lots more information, and a complete price list click here. We look forward to seeing you!

Bruce on the Loose!
In July, Livia Meneau, from Switzerland, arrived to spend a week with us before taking Bruce to the Colorado ISC (Parelli ranch in Pagosa Springs) for 3 months while she does her externship. We were very impressed with her attitude and I feel she has potential to become a great Parelli Professional. She and I spent an enjoyable week together - playing, riding and preparing. We even managed to fit in a trail ride one day. That may sound like no big deal, but it had been almost two years since I had ridden off the property! The opportunity has been there for awhile, as our neighbor to the east has generously allowed us to ride on his 800 acres. There is a lot of great riding over there, which I'm having fun exploring.

Livia and Bruce checking out our neighbor's water hole
Livia and Bruce are doing well at the ISC, and of course Brucie is a bit of a celebrity, as I would expect. I get little snippets of news from Livia. Being and extern is not an easy road, and she doesn't have much time to write. I also hear a little about them from Petra, as she is working at the ranch and keeping her horses near Bruce. Livia will be back in October for another visit. I am looking forward to spending time and sharing Savvy with her. And I will be thrilled to have Mr Bruce home again!
Partners at the ISC

Petra spent a week with us near the end of July. She had the brilliant idea to offer lessons to anyone who wanted to stay here at Springvalley that week, and she also was a very dedicated horseman, herself, spending all the moments she could grab riding and playing with Cash and JB. It was nice to have her around, and to see "The Browns" again. Cash made some nice changes during their week here.

Toward the end of the week we were joined by Harlene and JoAnna and their two horses. They travelled up from the Walsenburg/Gardner area, a couple of hours to the southwest of us.  Linda came and stayed and took lessons, too, so we were quite a party. They all had daily lessons, played with their horses and we watched Parelli DVDs together in our spare time. It was a very hot week, in a very hot summer, so a little challenging for all of us, at times. I hope we might see them again when things cool off!

The week was rounded off by the second lesson in the Summer Series with Petra and Kime. It was great to see the group progressing. I felt a little sorry for our spectators, who had to sit in the heat all day, however, Mark had a plan, and it was just a question on time...

Our Auditors Now Have it Made in the Shade!
We became aware in the spring that our clinic and lesson auditors were struggling in the summer heat. We considered various solutions, then Mark had a brainstorm. A carport! So he ordered one of those super-duper pre-fab metal ones (in green, of course!). It provides plenty of sun (or rain) shelter for auditors, and we can park things under it the rest of the time. Unfortunately it took it's time arriving, but we were finally able to use it at the last summer lesson, and what a difference it made! Just as well, too, as the temperature was 105F. 
Our Big Arena
Barney and Ducky enjoy the acres of sand!

Somehow, over the summer, my "playground" has morphed into an arena. My idea of having some semi-permanant obstacles on a natural/native surface was gradually defeated by our climate and weeds. The only thing to do was turn it into a sand arena. Mark has put in a lot of time and effort to make this happen. Luckily, we are sitting on pretty good sand, so it's been a matter or hoeing out the weeds (with a tractor) then using a revolving arena harrow to fluff it up. We bought in some sand to top things up around the obstacles and near the front, where it had hardpanned over the winter, but now we wonder whether that was actually necessary. The result is great. We have an almost 300' x 300' arena. The only problem is the semi-permanent obstacles, which have to be moved every time we harrow. Well, that's the next challenge, I guess.

We have another area earmarked for a playground with permanent obstacles, but this time we will have to do some serious thinking about the surface before we start.

Grass + Cows = Beef
Up until the last four or five weeks, we've been blessed with generous rainfall again this year. The pastures are responding well to this and I have managed to do a lot of mowing for weed control. As a result, the grass is coming back surprisingly well. We still have years of pasture improvement ahead of us, but it's nice to see it paying off already. The calves are looking fantastic. They have grown and fattened up really well. So we are now taking orders for grass fed beef for local customers. We put no chemicals whatsoever on our pastures, and of course we don't give our cattle growth hormones, routine antibiotics or other nasties.

But you won't be eating Bonnie here.
We hope this heifer is going places in our breeding program!

To email me about upcoming events, holidays or beef click here


  1. WOW Kris, you and Mark have certainly been busy bee's over there. Your place is really getting to be a home from home, paradise for horse and play and you sound very very very happy ;-) Keep it up it's lovely, great to get a 'catch up' blog too, thanks for sharing.

  2. Thanks for the update Kris, it's great to see how you're developing your space. Will give you a call with all our news.
    lots of love, Sue x

  3. Thanks for saying "Hi" guys. I really need to catch up with both of you!

  4. You'll have to catch me first. Last trip of the summer coming up next week, then I'll be home for a wee while !!!!

    btw, had you heard that Noor has her first star? Did she make it to visit when she she arrived in CO ?