A Little Bundle of Burro

Burro number 9192, now known as Wallace

Burro number 9192, now known as Wallace

Cute burro faces and persuasive auctioneers make for a dangerous combination. Together, they have a way of convincing you that bringing home a 450-pound burro isn’t much different than bringing home a bunny. If you add to that scenario a cocky belief that handling this animal can’t possibly be more challenging that handling your once-unruly pony, then folks, you have yourself a Set Up.

During the Impact of the Horse event at the Wasatch County Events Center, I’d visited the burro paddock earlier in the day and watched them mill around, looking placid and adorable. I picked out Number 6 for his wise looks and initiative (he made eye contact with me and came over before his herdmates).

I should have noted that none of the BLM handlers were actually handling the burros. They moved

BLM folks at the Impact of the Horse. Why are they smiling so much?

BLM folks at the Impact of the Horse. Why are they smiling so much?

them by opening gates and shutting others. When it came to loading Wallace into my trailer, I backed it up to a corral chute and they waved flags and closed off all other exit options.

With a wave of thanks and a nervous giggle, off I drove with my new cute-n-cuddly charge, onto the mountain highway and into the darkness of one exciting Saturday night.

I arrived home and parked the trailer near our corral. I figured I’d just halter the little fella and lead him into his new home.

Opening the trailer’s center wall, I felt a heavy pressure from the other side. It was Wallace, pressing with all his might, seeking to escape. I reached in to push him off the wall. He responded by trying to bite my arms and quickly resumed his pushing.

While Steve held firm to the wall, I squeezed into the space and attempted to halter him. Wallace’s main interest now became defending himself (more biting as well as kicking) and avoiding the halter.

Wallace is slowly getting used to direct human contact

Wallace is slowly getting used to direct human contact

After 15 minutes of struggle, we had a haltered burro. Steve cautiously opened the barrier and Wallace bolted for his escape, halter-be-damned. Thankfully, I’d looped the line through a brace. When we failed to hold onto him, it held.

With both of us holding steady, we moved as an awkward, frenzied trio towards his enclosure. Later, Steve compared it to deep sea fishing and trying to land a marlin or maybe a tuna. If either of us had let go, Wallace would surely have taken off into the night and into the Oquirrh foothills. That we abut BLM land seemed wickedly ironic at this point.

Steve muttered something about a “recapture fee” and I yelled back, “just don’t let go!”

At last, we maneuvered into the corral and closed the gate. We put our hands on our knees and took a breath. It took another cooperative feat of strength and patience to approach him (by snubbing the line around a tree stump) and to untie his rope halter.

In the moonlight, we watched from the gate as Wallace contemplated his new pile of hay and bucket of water. He glanced back at us, making sure we didn’t have any plans to re-approach. Not tonight, my friend! I’m going up to the house and have myself a big slice of Humble Pie.

Perfect Barn Coat Found

IMG_4054Some years back, I got quite a scare. Within 24 hours, my horse went from fine to perilously sick. Dr. Charlie Brown from Annabessacook Veterinary Clinic answered the midnight call. She initiated the intensive care that helped save the big thoroughbred gelding. Read more about it here.

In the eye of the storm, I noticed Charlie had a pretty nice-looking barn coat – brown, cotton, multi-pocketed and falling below the hips. Cabela’s sold them, she said.

As a sort of celebratory purchase, I bought one. It was functional but didn’t shed hay or horse hair. I brought plenty into the house or car whenever I wore it. Nor did it look nice enough to wear in town without looking and feeling frumpy. So, I kept looking. Carhartt and LL Bean jackets have served me well, but they didn’t exactly ooze femininity or fit the horse-tending bill.

Now, the quest for the perfect barn coat is over. I found it in Cotopaxi’s Bengal insulated waxed canvas jacket.

Enter “nickernews” at checkout to receive 20% off.

bengal-side-pockets-2Surprisingly enough, Cotopaxi didn’t design it with us horse gals in mind. You’d never know. Here are some features which suit our needs and wants:

  • Waxed canvas means you don’t bring hay, hair or shavings with you. They shed off, along with the rain and snow.
  • Side snaps at the hips make it perfect for riding.
  • Pockets don’t billow out, giving it a tailored look while still retaining functionality.
  • It’s insulated with Polartec, but has a nylon lining. Layers slip under it easily and you don’t inadvertently turn the sleeves inside out when taking it off.
  • It falls below the hips, making it all the warmer and classier.
  • Snaps and flaps on pockets means they don’t fill with hay (or snow). Nor does your phone or camera fall out.

It’s good to note that this jacket is styled for slim figures. If you’re between sizes, order up.

bengal-lifestyle-oxford-blue-womens2_7dd245e4-3755-4fd1-9ecb-983801fc1feeCotopaxi is a Utah company that partners with non-profit organizations. Their “Gear For Good” is direct to consumer and helps fund a wide array of charities.

Purchase of the Bengal jacket helps fund Radiating Hope; it provides radiation equipment, training, and cancer treatment in developing countries.

Enter “nickernews” at checkout to receive 20% off.

Read Cotopaxi backpack review.

Holistic Healing Events in Maine

seSerendipity Farm in Raymond and Ever After Mustang in Biddeford will each host a day of holistic healing next month – Serendipity Farm on December 6th and Ever After Mustang on 7th.

Lisa Kent will treat and demonstrate in this two-day event for equines, people, and pets.

Kent is a holistic trainer, massage therapist, farrier, and riding instructor. She will teach and demonstrate the power of healing through nutrition, essential oils, T-Touch, proper hoof balannce and essential leadership learning skills.

For information on Saturday’s event at Serendipity Farm, contact Jan Lamontagne (207) 252-8655. If you’d like to have more information or attend the Biddeford event at Ever After Mustang, contact Mona Jerome (207) 284-7721

It’s just $10 to audit and $50 to bring a horse for treatment/assessment. Those bringing horses must call and preregister.

For more information or to contact Lisa Kent, visit Kent’s Stables here.


Montana gal crafts what we crave

AdvStu-9-editloresHere’s the thing about jewelry and women like us (smart, lively, and outdoors-y):

We appreciate style, but will choose no-fuss over fashion.

We enjoy earrings and necklaces, but not if they get in the way or cost too much.

We especially like products and companies with a good back story.

Adventurista Designs has these elements in spades.

We met founder Meghan Holler at the Outdoor Retailer this summer.

Holler is an adventurista, defined here as an active woman with a passion for travel and exploration.

She lives in Missoula, Montana, but has traveled widely. She’s hiked, biked, and kayaked in Argentina, Ecuador, and Peru. She took a horseback tour in Bolivia, checked out the Galapagos Islands, Cuba and parts of the Middle East as well.

Over the miles and years, she honed her sense of what works and what wholly fails when seeking to look good on the go. She sought out jewelry for active women, but found a whole lot of tribal and stick figure stuff. “It was all kind of masculine,” said Holler. “Not something I’d want to wear if I was going out ad vento dinner or dressing up.”

Soon after landing in Missoula, Holler decided to solve the problem. She created Adventurista Designs to fill the niche, to “offer something I could never find.”

The result is lovely, functional pieces you can wear in the barn or boardroom, on a horse, mountain, or plane.

I tried Puff Drop and Large Open Oval earrings. Both were so light, I forgot I was wearing them until a friend said, “I love your earrings!”

The Puff Drops are made of sterling, but are hollow so they swing easily and don’t pull on your ear. If pearl studs are that standard go-to earring for a classy look, these are the happier, more fun-loving alternative.

I also wore the Water Drop necklace which features enamel beads and a sterling drop on a colorful cord. It has a fabulous magnetic clasp which not only makes it super easy to attach, but proved itself worthy on a recent ride:

My horse and I were navigating a tricky stretch of trail, thick with juniper and very steep. I asked her to turn off an AdvStu-21lores-2embankment, but she balked and barged through the brush. I ducked quickly and felt juniper branches scraping down my neck and back. They snagged the necklace’s thin cord. Had the clasp not released, I’d either have a broken necklace or a very sore neck. Thankfully, I had neither and retrieved it from the trail, still good as new.

Another nice thing about Adventurista Designs? No middle man. You can order straight from home and take comfort that in a little western Montana shop, a few like-minded women are crafting your next favorite trinket.

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