Reading for Riders

Welcome to the Bitterroot online magazine. From discounts and recent press to ranch videos and recipes and from tales about the first days of the ranch to helpful riding tips you will find all sorts of information in these pages. We hope this is a great resource as you decide were to go on a horse riding vacation or as you reminisce about your past experiences at the ranch. If you would like to share a story, images or a video from your visit we would love to hear from you. Happy trails!

I apologize it has been a few weeks since I entered a blog post, everybody! I went back to North Carolina to see my family for a week, met Richard in Columbus, Ohio, for Equine Affaire and have been busy trying to get my life in order since I got back to Wyoming. To let…

The Stage: A 70 acre pasture filled with sage brush and native grasses, two shallow ponds, the perfect duck habitat for Bayard, and Russian olive trees galore: The Players: Hadley, Richard and Whistle. (Gupta’s role is to stay in the truck and provide a soundtrack of desperate barking throughout the entire mission. She doesn’t understand…

On Wednesday Richard and I, along with Bob and Jim (the two men who work for us year-round at the farm), processed the heifers. To give you a feel for the day, you need to meet my “heifer processing” teammates (at least, you need to meet them photographically!).  And,  yes, “heifer processing” is unquestionably a…

Feeding the horses at the farm is a little bit different from feeding the horses up at the ranch in the winter. For starters, we have about 150 horses in the field, rather than 30, so that means a lot more hay piled on the truck! I normally feed the horses on  my own when…

On Saturday Richard and I attended an important community event: an auction. Around here, auctions typically indicate the death of a farmer or a rancher (to distinguish: a farmer raises crops, while a rancher raises livestock), a retirement or a foreclosure. Some people attend auctions to purchase farm equipment, some to see what the going…

Pirate is about to be five years old, and she happens to be one of my personal riding horses, an Arabian mare of CMK bloodlines. She is “sabino” in color, which is quite unusual. She is steel grey with white legs, a white blaze on her face, and a splotch of white on her tummy….

I must admit that I was not present for The Great Trailer Extrication of 2011. I was busy getting ultrasound on my knee at a physical therapy appointment. BUT, I did extract a promise from Richard to photo-document the event, and I think he did a very good job. Mel and Bayard returned from India…

I woke up on Sunday to see grey skies and heavy snow falling outside my window, not the ideal weather for the outing Richard and I had planned. John Finley, a neighbor of ours on East Fork Road, bought two tons of alfalfa hay from us for his cows. Richard agreed to deliver the hay…

The combination of cold weather and slow recovery from surgery has got me reminiscing about active moments in warmer weather. One of my favorite such memories involves climbing the legendary Castle Rock this past summer of 2010. Castle Rock is a beautiful landmark near the ranch, an outcropping that earns the name “Castle” even from…

Going to town from the ranch is an expedition, especially in the winter. One of our lovely Danish guests, Nethe, suggested that I write a blog entry about a trip into town, since most people do not have a 40 minute drive and a 17 mile dirt road to contend with when they want to…

The ranch is quite the haven for wildlife in the winter. Every time you glance over your shoulder you are bound to see mule deer. The prevalence of deer has been a real blessing during my convalescence from knee surgery. I am regularly seeing deer stroll by my bedroom window, one even paused at the…

I believe we ended Part I of Garnet’s tale just as she was taking her first steps in our kitchen. Soon after those monumental steps, Garnet was reintroduced to her mother, and 517 accepted her, which was another remarkable event. Most cows will not accept a baby after a few days, but 517 was willing…

We got very exciting news today– Garnet, my pet cow, had her baby calf, a boy! She had her first calf last year, a little girl named Sapphire. I’m holding off on naming her newest gem until I meet him on Sunday…be prepared for pictures! Garnet is a four year old black Angus cow with…

If you have been to the ranch, chances are that you have noticed Mel’s ancient light blue Chevrolet truck, Archie. Archie is the stuff of legends. Mel has been driving him for almost 30 years to feed the young horses, and the stories of his survival and dedication to service are unparalleled. Like the time…

Any of you who came as guests during  the second half of summer 2010  might remember talk about a wild horse that was patrolling the perimeter of the ranch. When we first noticed the wild horse, there was cause for immediate concern. The horse was right outside of the pasture where all of our young…

It is now Monday, and I had my surgery on Thursday. Certain things are definitively better: 1. Sleeping 2. Getting in and out of bed 3. Bending my knee (I try to do 30 repetitions of bending and straightening the left knee each time I get back in bed after a jaunt around my cabin.)…

Our plan for February (I, taking care of the ranch, and Richard, taking care of calving season at the farm) had to be seriously revised this week, thanks to an unexpected knee injury. My knee trouble started about seven months ago, during the first week of July. Each year on July 1, we have our…

After my first week of taking care of the ranch on my own, Richard came up to visit, which is always fun for me. I spend quite a bit of time talking to the animals (Whistle and I have lengthy conversations each day!), so it’s a treat to get responses in English when Richard comes…

One of the most common questions I get from our summer guests is: What do you wear in the winter? It’s a good question, and before I moved to Wyoming and learned the meaning of -40 degrees Fahrenheit, I would have wondered the same thing. The trick is to layer. I am normally wearing five…