Have any 2016 Events/News to Share with BCHA?

Spring has sprung, and BCHA wants to reach out to its membership and remind you that we can post your upcoming event, show, clinic, sale item(s) and news on BCHA Nicker. If you have something to share please submit it by filling out the form on the Upcoming Events page, or e-mail me direct.

Linda P

I Beg to Differ

I recently received an e-mail newsletter from the Boulder County Horse Association in support of trail development on the West side of Highway 36, the North TSA area up for discussion. Well I Beg to Differ and I think you should be informed of a different point of view.

I am of hiker, dog owner, and horse owner and yes I could be selfish and support this trail construction—I love trails. But actually I am very disappointed in three of our five Open Space Board of Trustees and their vote to move ahead with a plan to develop a trail on the highly-sensitive habitat on the West side of Highway 36. I am also disappointed in our Boulder County Horse Association’s Board as they support this trail construction.

What is the Mission of the Boulder County Board of Trustees?
The Open Space and Mountain Parks Department preserves and protects the natural environment and land resources that characterize Boulder. We foster appreciation and use that sustain the natural values of the land for current and future generations.

This area contains several key drainages that are extremely important to wildlife. I think that three of our five Open Space Board of Trustees are moving ahead too fast in approving this area for development and are not acting true to the oath they took. The impact of a trail on the West side will be detrimental to the hillside and the wildlife that use it.

What will be the visual future as you come into our city from the North? It will become a bike highway smack in the middle of this now beautiful hillside—a negative impact in my opinion. The outcome will be a highway of bikes moving at high speed along this corridor— and this will affect these important wildlife corridors and habitat. We need to preserve our lands not continue to cave in to the pressure of an increasingly hungry and growing population of recreational users with no care for the future.

Cyclists and some other users cry for a better “user experience” and are supporting a trail on the west side for this and many other reasons. But I point out that a cyclist can not enjoy the view, their eyes must be focused forward not outward on a landscape or they will crash or ride off the cliff side.

I urge you to get informed of all the facts before supporting any trail development. Review the minutes and maps but stay true and protect the future of our “natural environment and land resources” first, before providing recreational access to an increasingly hungry and insatiable population of tunnel-visioned users.


NCHA Western National Championships

Cutting: a western-style equestrian competition in which a horse and rider work as a team before a judge or panel of judges to demonstrate the horse’s athleticism and ability to handle cattle during a 2.5 minute performance, called a “run.”

21st Annual National Cutting Horse Association
Western National Championships
April 27 – May 6
National Western Events Center
Denver, CO

For all our equine enthusiasts out there, the next 10 days at the Events Center are full of some must-see cow horse action. The 21st Annual National Cutting Horse Association Western National Championships have officially kicked off here in Denver!
The talent assembled at this year’s Western Nationals gets nothing less than a five-star rating. The Open and Novice classes will see NCHA Hall of Fame riders going head-to-head, including the likes of Tracy Barton, Pete Branch, Randy Chartier, Scott Martin, Russ Miller, Mike Wood and Guy Woods.

It is going to be a rainy weekend so if you are looking to get out this might be your ticket!
– LindaP

Share Your Story: One Wild Ride #6—New Ideas!

Update from Maggie:RowanHugs copy

Rowan, my Mustang filly, has been doing super well for the past couple of weeks, and has come a long way in her training! We have been working on showmanship, jumping, picking up all four feet, lunging, join up, and respect. She has definitely come a long way from when I first got her and continues to show me how willing and talented she is!


Update from Emma:Drifter

Round Penning
Recently, as I have been round penning Drifter more often, I’ve gotten a few requests from people at my barn to share some tips on using a round pen. Along with teaching lessons, I was happy to show a few friends what works for Drifter and me. Keep in mind that every horse is different, and when working with horses it is important to explore their individual behavior and what works and doesn’t work for them. This helps advance your relationship with your horse and better your understanding of his/her manners on the ground and in the saddle.

Boulder County Fairgrounds
Lately we have found ourselves at the Fairgrounds more than usual. A couple of weeks ago we helped out our riding instructor at the annual 4H Tack Sale. We quite enjoyed the sale, met more youth in our community, and were able to find some great deals on tack!

We are also excited about our first show of the season this Sunday, April 24th with the St. Vrain Roundup Club (SVRC). The SVRC is a non-profit, “for fun” organization of horse lovers and families.  The club provides an opportunity for people of all skill levels to participate in low-stress, low-cost horse shows and gymkhnas as well as social events including: monthly pot-lucks and club meetings (some featuring equine-related guest speakers), clinics and ride-outs such as and trail rides, a Thanksgiving pot-luck and a holiday party combined with a year-end awards banquet.

SVRC has regular shows at the Fairgrounds in Longmont during the months of April through September, and the Wrangler Roundup a large open gymkhna of speed events, during the Boulder County Fair.

Boulder County Horse Association Youth Group (BCHAY)

We would like to announce the creation of the Boulder County Horse Association Youth, a newly formed youth group for ages 8-18, that hopes to unify all riding disciplines in Boulder County. BCHAY is for kids and teens who may have anywhere from one day to 10 years or more of horse experience. It is our goal to bring together Boulder County horse lovers through tons of fun activities. Both Maggie and I are on the BCHAY Board of Directors. Look for more on the Boulder County Horse Association’s new website set to launch soon!

Save-The-Date: Extreme Mustang Makeover

Don’t forget to mark your calendars and come out in support of Maggie’s Mustang Makover Challenge in Fort Collins in May! Looking for a new horse? Maybe consider adopting one at the conclusion of the event.

Extreme Mustang Makeover
May 20-21, 2016
CSU B.W. Pickett Equine Center
701 S Overland Trl Ft CollinsCO 80521
Click here to purchase tickets.


Enjoying this beautiful Spring,
– LindaP

Core Fitness and Riding

For more than five years I have been doing Pilates after my doctor who specializes in chiropractic, cranial and visceral therapies, Tui Na, Tai Chi and QiGong, suggested I look into Pilates or Yoga to build core strength and maintain flexibility as I age.

I began working with a local Pilates trainer and Pilates-based riding instructor Julie Leiken—I have never stopped. Recently, I had a conversation with my farrier, who also has been doing Pilates for a few years. He mentioned how it has had a significant effect on his core strength, allowing him to keep working and changing his life physically.

What I soon discovered was that my body began to maintain it’s alignment and my posture improved. The core strength I developed prevented injuries, and after those occasional falls I would recover quickly. In my riding, as I became more balanced so did my horse. Pelvic alignments have a direct correlation to your horses back. If one of your pelvic bones or a shoulder is lifted it is difficult to stay balanced in the saddle, and ask your horses for specific movements, he/she will also then develop an imbalance. How stiff are your feet? Are your shoulders concave or convex, do you ride hunched over or with an open and relaxed chest? All these things make a huge difference in how stiff your horses back is. Keeping flexible and building your core strength prevents injury as time ticks on.

Riding is much like two dancers working together…They each have to be a strong beautifully tuned entity so that when they dance together they are able to feel each other working togther… – Ron Fletcher

Here is a recently published article I came across on Equisearch that originally appeared in the January 2016 issue of Practical Horseman.

Rider Fitness Can Affect Horse Soundness

Recent studies show that horses are sounder and move better when their rider is fitter. Your horse isn’t moving forward with the freedom you know he’s capable of and his back sometimes seems sore around the withers. Your veterinarian has checked him out and found no underlying soundness issues. Your saddle fits his back perfectly, and you’ve splurged on a plush fleece saddle pad. What more can you do?

Maybe you should start an exercise program—for yourself. Horses move with longer strides and more freedom in their backs after their riders complete core strength training, says researcher Alexandra Hampson. That’s because core fitness helps riders sit more symmetrically in the saddle, reducing uneven pressure on the horse’s back.

For her study, Hampson recruited 10 healthy mid-level dressage horses and their riders. Each horse/rider pair was outfitted with a pressure-sensitive electronic saddle pad and reflective markers and then filmed at the sitting trot with high-speed video. The saddle pad detected peak and uneven pressures on the horse’s back and relayed the information to a computer. The reflective markers allowed precise measurements of stride length and other movements. Not surprisingly, all the riders were asymmetrical, resulting in significant pressure differences on the left and right sides of the horse’s back.

Meet two new City of Boulder OSMP Managers: March 28th

The Boulder Area Trails Coalition (BATCO) is a group of environmentalists, hikers, equestrians, dog guardians, trail runners, bicyclists, and others who believe it is in everyone’s best interest to work together on trail issues.

This month BATCO will have two new guests from the City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks:
– John Potter, Resources & Stewardship Division, Manager
– Mark Davison, Community Connections & Partnerships Division Manager

Monday, March 28, 2016
7 – 9 PM
Boulder Alfalfa’s Community Room
Broadway & Arapahoe

John and Mark are new to OSMP — and they are eager to get your input as recreationists on how to make a great open space program even better through this informal and open conversation!

Please join us, your skills, involvement, and support are welcome.
If time permits we may also discuss the North Trail Study Area, Growing BATCO, and upcoming BATCO Meetings.

BATCO Mission:
To promote non-motorized, multi-use, environmentally responsible trail systems.  Multi-purpose trails are a valuable community resource that provide recreational benefits and enhance the quality of life for area residents and visitors alike.

By joining together we can fulfill the vision of accessible, healthy open lands. Please visit our website at www.bouldertrails.org For more information please contact us at info@bouldertrails.org

Not Guilty, As Charged

A follower, Randy W, recently sent me this article for Horse Science News. This issue has been under discussion many times in the Boulder area and here is a recent study that disproves the old question: Do horses spread weeds?

Do Horses Spread Weeds Along Trails?

By Liz Osborn, HorseScienceNews.com

Pagosa Ride 033Horses have been blamed for scattering unwanted weeds across the landscape as they travel down public trails. This accusation has now been scientifically investigated. The results reassure trail riders that horses in the United States are not guilty as charged.

Research probed from several different angles the possibility of horses causing non-native plants to take root alongside trails. The raw material examined was horse hay, manure and hoof debris. Samples were collected at endurance riding events in five states: North Carolina, Kentucky, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

The study investigated whether weeds would germinate from the material when carefully cultivated in pots under ideal conditions. Researchers also looked at what grew from the horse debris left alongside trails.

They found that only a tiny portion of the potted hay samples actually sprouted any non-native plants. Meanwhile, no exotic species emerged among the cultivated manure or hoof debris.

Alongside the horse endurance trails, nearly 300 plots of hay, manure and hoof debris that got left behind were monitored to see what plants they produced. Only three of these plots sprouted anything, and all were native plants. By the end of the second growing season, no plants had survived in the trailside leavings.

A third angle of this study compared plant species growing near trails used by horses with plants along trails used only by hikers. Botanists detected no differences between these two trail uses in the number of exotic plant species.

This study concludes that horse hay does contain some non-native plant seeds. But because of the harsh environmental conditions near horse trails, it’s rare for any plants to establish from the seeds that horses leave behind.

Stith T. Gower. 2008. Are horses responsible for introducing non-native plants along forest trails in the eastern United States? Forest Ecology and Management. 256(5): 997-1003

Share Your Story: Meet the challenges, enjoy the process!

I want to personally thank Randy, for sharing his story with our readers, and I hope to see you and Cheryl out and about on those lovely horses soon.

Share Your Story by Randy WinterDSCN3203

A recent ride sparked my interest in writing this op ed piece. A woman from North Carolina had moved her horse here six weeks ago. At the boarding facility, near her home, where her horse was settling in nicely, she sought out people to ride with. Her inquiries were unproductive so she called the American Endurance Ride Association, of which she is a member, to get the phone numbers of other P1150863members who she might call to be able to ride trails with. She was given my phone number and called one evening with lots of questions about things she had heard about riding in the area.

What she had heard was that there was nowhere safe to ride; too many bicycles, no parking, poor trail conditions (prairie dog holes) and more. She wanted to know where we rode. We talked for awhile to get a feel for each others backgrounds and experience. Soon we arranged to meet for a ride and all went well.

How this sparked my interest to write is that over the years I had heard the same sorts of justification from people to not ride out on the trails. At one meeting a long time resident hadn’t ridden her horse off her property for years, expressing her concern that both the City and County had taken away all the horse riding trails and there was no place to ride.

It seems many riders want to justify not riding out because of the City, County, bicycles, trail conditions, parking limitations, riding environment and whatever it is they deem to be a problem.

It’s fine not to go out on the trail if you choose. Riding on trail is a challenge. There are many issues with safety, experience, knowledge, comfort and training. But it has begun to upset me that some people jump on the “everyone and everything is against the horses” bandwagon to justify their not going out on trail. My opinion is you don’t have to justify that by bashing the many wonderful trail opportunities that do exist in the Boulder County area.

Be safe, meet the challenges, enjoy the process of you and your horse learning, be social, enjoy your horse in any way you choose, and ride on.

– Randy Winter

4-H Annual Tack Sale: February 27th

Don’t forget about the 4-H Tack Sale this Saturday at the Boulder County Fairgrounds!

BCHA Nicker

February 27, 2016
Boulder County Fairgrounds
Exhibit Building
Longmont, Colorado
10:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Come out and support our local 4-H at their Annual Boulder County 4-H Tack Sale. What can you expect to find? Great values on new and used tack and horse supplies. Need a little updating? A new look? Come see what’s been around and what’s new. Local feed stores, tack stores, saddle shops, 4-H and horse clubs. Food concession will be available on the grounds.

Download the flyer, post it around the community, your barn, and/or share it with friends.

– See you there… Boulder County 4-H and friends.

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Share Your Story: One Wild Ride #5

Welcome to One Wild Ride # 5
We are so excited— Maggie got her mustang!

Hello all, this is Maggie and I have some very exciting news to share with everyone about our Extreme Mustang Makeover journey!

The Extreme Mustang Makeover is returning to Colorado in May, where youth and adult trainers will have a chance to showcase their assigned Mustang’s talents after just 100 days of training for $25,000 in cash and prizes. Competing adult Mustangs will then be available for adoption at the conclusion of the event.

This past weekend I went down to Canyon City, Colorado with my mom, and instructor Liz Johnson to pick up my mustang for the Extreme Mustang Makeover. The Mustang pick up was at the Colorado Correctional Institute, where they are used for the inmate program. They have more than 2,000 mustangs and only 200 are adopted out each year.

My Mustang is a 1 1/2 year old beautiful mare we named Rowan. Rowan is super sweet and quite calm for a wild Mustang. I have begun working with her and can already tell she has a lot to offer! I am so excited to be able to share Rowan’s journey with the BCHA. So please stay tuned for more on our One Wild Ride!

Extreme Mustang Makeover
May 20-21, 2016
CSU B.W. Pickett Equine Center
701 S Overland Trl Ft CollinsCO 80521
Click here to purchase tickets.

Additionally, Maddy Rodcay has also been making fantastic progress with her horse, Paisley. Please watch our video, New Horse and New Tricks to see our progress. Thank you so much and we hope you enjoy!

The One Wild Ride Mustang Group
Emma B., Maggie R., Maddy R

Disclaimer: Training a horse, and especially a wild mustang, is a dangerous activity that can be harmful and potentially fatal. We ride and train at our own risk. Before you think about attempting this please consult with an equine professional in your area.



Dark Horse

DarkHorseCaptureCommunity marketing volunteer Sue Jotblad, working for the Boulder International Film Festival (BIFF), has reached out to the BCHA and asked if we could share this with our readers. We’d be happy too! 

Dark Horse, directed by Louise Osmond was the Winner of the World Cinema Documentary Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2015. It is an the inspirational true story set in Wales where a group of friends from a working men’s club decide to take on the elite ‘sport of kings’ and breed themselves a racehorse. Raised on a slagheap allotment, their foal grows into an unlikely champion, beating the finest thoroughbreds in the land, before suffering a near fatal accident. Nursed back to health by the love of his owners—for whom he’s become a source of inspiration and hope—he makes a remarkable recovery, returning to the track for a heart-stopping comeback. 

Dark Horse
Saturday, March 5, 2016
Boulder High School

Follow this link to see the trailer.
To purchase tickets and to see more of what The Boulder International Film Festival (BIFF) is offering up to our community  March 3 – 6, 2016 please visit biff1.com.