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Message from Alayne: Where Did Summer Go?


Providing winning solutions for horse management and the environment since 1997

Message from Alayne: Where Did Summer Go?

Alayne Blickle

Where oh where did my summer go? I can't believe Labor Day weekend is behind us, the holiday that traditionally bookends the summer. It seems like I just got going on summer activities and there's so many more things I'd like to do yet. I didn’t even do a single camping trip, nor did we visit a national park—something I usually do with my brother every summer. And I hardly got to ride my new Specialized mountain bike…

While it feels like I didn't do much this summer, a look back through my calendar shows that it was jam-packed, and I recall that neither Matt nor I ever had time to twiddle our thumbs.

One of the big things I did this summer was facilitate two Sweet Pepper Ranch Cowgirl Retreats, one in June and the other the end of August. These retreats are the focus of a year’s worth of my attention. We highlight healthy living skills and good horsemanship, and when they end, I am always left feeling a little sad as they are so full of great people and fun activities.

My husband Matt went sailing with some friends (but without me!) through the Croatian Sea for 10 days at the end of June. At the beginning of July, I had a 4th of July family reunion on a lake in Wisconsin—how fun is that?! Then Matt judged Mustang Mania here at the Idaho Horse Park and we both competed in the open Mustang show on Sunday (under a different judge), me with Stellar and Matt with Mesa. Both of our ‘stangs did well! We also competed with three of our domestics at the Snake River Reining Alliance’s summer show. We managed to do well and have great memories from that show as well.

Matt in Croatia

Matt in Croatia

In July, I had some Horses for Clean Water work in Jackson, WY, with the Teton Conservation District. It was an awesome opportunity to help more horse owners learn how to make their horse keeping practices more environmentally friendly. Unfortunately, we also experienced a truck crash that same week. Our totaled truck changed a lot of things for us—but it also brought an exciting new truck into our lives. And while we were in Wyoming, we did get to do a little mountain trail riding which was very memorable!

The highlight of our summer was Matt and Mesa competing in Mustang Madness in Cle Elum, WA. The event was so fun and just a blur of activity. You can watch the video of their captivating freestyle here. They won the freestyle and got Reserve Champion overall. It still amazes me to think Mesa was only 100+ days from being a wild horse when they walked into that competition. Once again, Matt won more money in that event then he's won in any single reining event. The most exciting outcome of all was that Mesa found a new home... with us! Matt is looking forward to having her as an ambassador Mustang going forward.

The top left image shows Mesa on day one. Top right is her at 100 days, and the bottom image is after she and Matt won Reserve Champion at Mustang Madness in Cle Elum, WA.

The top left image shows Mesa on day one. Top right is her at 100 days, and the bottom image is after she and Matt won Reserve Champion at Mustang Madness in Cle Elum, WA.

Mesa’s debut as an ambassador was a big horse and wagon parade in Ketchum, ID, which she and Matt were invited to participate in over Labor Day weekend. Stellar and I rode along for moral support. Mesa excels as a Mustang cheerleader. She looked like she had it all figured out as she calmly walked along, looking around and inspecting the crowds and chaos. Riding in such a big parade was a new experience for all of us and it was a lot of fun. As a bonus, the horses are now used to bikes, kids, balloons, barking dogs, flags, strollers, wheelchairs, roller skates, trucks, wagons, camels… Wow!

Moving into fall, we have a variety of great events where we’d love to see you all. Join us in October in New Gloucester, ME, for the Best Horse Practices Summit, which promises to be spectacular. November 1-2, I will be teaching a class and leading a farm tour in South King County, WA (details TBD). And in late February, I will be speaking at the international Eagala conference in Lexington, KY.

In a nutshell, that was our summer! How about yours? I would love to hear what's been going on for you! Leave us a comment below or on our Facebook page.