Goodbye Utah, Hello Colorado

After two years in beautiful Utah, the NickerNews herd has headed to Colorado!

The decision was a tough one, mostly having to do with knowing we didn’t want to live out our lives in the Beehive State. Read more about that here.

IMG_9783Our ties to Utah will remain strong: my partner, Steve Peters, will live there until he retires, several years from now. We picked a place that’s just a half-day’s drive from his work, so he will travel here regularly. I will return often enough, too.

We chose Mancos, a small town in southwestern Colorado, near the Four Corners (where the borders of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Utah meet). Coming from the small town of Harpswell, Maine, it feels great, like returning to my roots. In towns like these, you get to know people and they get to know you. You feel your involvement might be appreciated and that folks are more accountable for their actions.

Though its population is under 2,000, Mancos has a great bakery, a vibrant library, a brewery, and is home to many artists, artisans, and ranchers. The local package store (A “package store,” I’ve learned, is strictly New England vernacular. When I’ve asked, “where’s the packy?” locals replied, “Huh?”) has a beautiful mural of a cowboy moving cattle.

IMG_9789The riding opportunities are tremendous. Our property borders public land and the San Juan National Forest has scores of trail heads within a short hauling distance.

We moved five of our seven equines, leaving two for Steve to ride and care for.

The five – Comet, Pep, Jolene, Shea, and Wallace – seem to love the new place. For the first time in two years, they have grass to graze and flat space to stretch their legs.

Winters, admittedly, will be tougher and longer (elevation is 7,400 feet, 1,500 higher than our Utah place). Even in the summer, nights routinely dip into the 40s. I’ve dug out my long underwear, scarves, hats and coveralls for the coming winter.

Here’s to putting down new roots, meeting new friends, and learning the lay of the land!

Mural on the Mancos liquor store

Mural on the Mancos liquor store

Ramblers Way Trails to Town: Sara

ramblers way  Trail to TownSara writes from Eureka, Montana:

I’d love to enter the Trails to Town contest! I’m a mother of three (with number four on the way any day now!), wife of a Montana outfitter, and operator of River Stone Family Lodge.

On any given day, I’m welcoming guests, wrangling horses for/on backcountry trips, picking the kids up from school and running to town on a moment’s notice for various errands. A garment that would take me seamlessly from one activity to the next while looking great would be a blessing!

Thanks for a great contest!

Vote for Sara by leaving a comment below

Read more about the contest here.
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Ramblers Way Trails to Town: Amy

ramblers way  Trail to TownAmy writes:

I need this versatile top because I live a versatile lifestyle!

From taking care of a menagerie of farm animals to shopping for farm supplies or supplies for the home. I love clothing made of wool because it keeps me warm and dry in the cooler temperatures! Love products made from natural fibers!

Vote for Amy by leaving a comment below.

Check out the Ramblers Way Trails to Town contest here.

Ah-Helmet: Claire

Read more about the Ah-Helmet contest here.

ah-helmet-300x235VOTE for Claire by posting a comment below.

My Ah-Helmet moment: When I was helping my horse Tonto with some stretches, nose touches to hind hoof, and a neighbor’s builders dropped their scaffold poles from the top of the house, just across the field. It made a helluva noise. Tonto jumped, ran over me. I had footprints on the back of my jacket, taken a hoof to the head, I had been rolled over by his feet and didn’t have a mark on me! No helmet on!

Whoops! My Ah! ha! moment…..

Ah-Helmet Moment: Nanon from Georgia

Read more about the Ah-Helmet contest here.

 VOTE for Nanon by posting a comment below.

ah-helmet-300x235My ah- helmet moment came several months after falling off of my horse and suffering a helmetless concussion. I was talking with my doctor, a triathlete who had suffered a head injury while wearing a helmet when a dog ran in front of her bicycle. Right then I said to her that I would never consider getting on a bicycle without a helmet, so why would I consider getting on a horse without one? I have worn a helmet ever since!

Ah-Helmet: Christina from Pearblossom, California

Read more about the Ah-Helmet contest here.

ah-helmet-300x235 VOTE for Christina by posting a comment below.

My Ah-Helmet Moment: My home born and raised 5-year old gelding got a little excited about his nice first barrel turn —  Suppose that’s more of a ‘Glad I was protecting my noggin’ moment!

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Ah-Helmet: Zoie

ah-helmetRead more about the Ah-Helmet contest here.

 VOTE for Zoie by posting a comment below.

I have not had a Ah-Helmet Moment until I read Eadith Smith’s comment. Because of her financial issues, I would love to WIN this Helmet and give it to her daughter to wear when riding western.
As I was a western pleasure competitor years ago, I would like to “Pay It Forward” to this family.

Ah-Helmet: Barbara

Read more about the Ah-Helmet contest here.

 VOTE for Barbara by posting a comment below.

I really like this helmet and I always ride with a helmet. I’ve always loved horses and never thought I would have one. My ah-helmethusband had been around horses when he was growing up.

Two years ago our dream came true and we built a barn, started looking for horses and I got my horse at 60 years old. I will be 62 in November and I am so in love with our boys – Charmer and Charlie – Charlie is my horse. Both are QH Geldings. Charmer is 16 hands and Charlie is 14.3 hands.

Would love to have this helmet..

Ah-Helmet: Eadith

Read more about the Ah-Helmet contest here.

 VOTE for Eadith by posting a comment below.

ah-helmetOur show horse is almost three years old. My daughter wears a helmet while practicing at home. But will not wear a helmet while in the western show ring, only during her English classes does she wear a helmet. Fallon Taylor has made great progress exposing people to helmets in the speed events. But it is very hard to get a cowgirl in cowgirl clothes in a western class wear a helmet. We need a cowgirl to stand up and wear a helmet, your helmet looks so western,

I feel that my daughter would be proud to wear it. My funds are limited, Social Security only goes so far, I had to retire when I found out I had kidney cancer needing surgery. We do everything on a shoestring budget, so I would love to win this helmet for my daughter.

Ah-Helmet: Nancy in Steelton, PA

Read more about the Ah-Helmet contest here.

 VOTE for Nancy by posting a comment below.

My Ah-Helmet moment actually occurred after the “moment.”

I signed up to take part in a “Saddle Up for St. Jude” ride near my barn. At that time, I had an Appaloosa gelding named Killian’s Irish Red. He was something of a character, so I went into the ride knowing he could very well decide he’d had enough, ah-helmet-300x235and turn into a raging nitwit. He surprised me, though, and after a short Come-to-Jesus session at the ride’s onset, he settled right in and was just a stellar ride.

A horse in a pasture, fenced with high-tension wire, tore from his barn and right at our group as we rode. He slammed on the brakes a good two inches from the fence, and the fence let loose a good “twang!” I thought for sure that Killian would freak. Instead, he looked at the raging horse in the pasture like, “What’s YOUR problem, dolt?” Three horses refused to go around a landscaping rock the size of a VW Bug; he walked right up to it and commenced licking it like a Tootsie Pop. So, I began to let my guard down, and by the end of the ride, I was feeling pretty happy. Instead of continuing to the driveway where the ride would end, three of us cut through the grass toward where a heaven of cold water and Amish BBQ chicken was waiting for us.

And then a generator sputtered to life at the side of the nearby building.

Killian shot three feet to his right, which kicked my right leg up in the air and over his back. For one Wile E. Coyote moment, I hung there, suspended, with my legs pointing skyward, my hands still nicely on the reins in front of me, and Killian’s cinch breezing by my left ear. Positioned just so, doing my best impression of a reverse pike, my shoulders hit the ground first. My rear end impacted second, and I took a time-warped moment to congratulate myself on not hitting my he- *crack* Nevermind. I still hit my head.

In the end, I came away from the experience with two cracked shoulder blades, an injury which still makes my chiropractor shake his head. I took my helmet home, and in the light of my bedroom, saw a number of small cracks spider-webbing around the interior of the helmet. That moment, my Ah-Helmet moment, coalesced into a cold ball of certainty in my gut: I would never ride without a helmet again. No way, no how. I hadn’t even thought I’d hit my head that hard – my shoulders had (painfully) borne the brunt of my fall. However, the cracks in that helmet could have easily been cracks in my skull.

 VOTE for Nancy by posting a comment below.

 

 

 

 

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