November 19, 2009


What a weekend! We spent the better part of the summer battling rain and thunderstorms. We figured we'd all be bundled up in our rain gear as we hit the trails over Labor Day weekend at the M Lazy C Ranch near Lake George, Colo. To the pleasant surprise of everyone, we had BEAUTIFUL weather each and every day! The temperatures were also very comfortable for the three full days on the trail.

We hit a combination of fairly mild trails and some more difficult trails during the clinic. Riders learned how to control their horse's speed on the trail, practiced emergency stops, learned how to ride in a group, practiced trail etiquette as well as navigating rocky portions of the trail, tightly-spaced trees and even some swampy areas. In addition, Debbie addressed any specific issues riders needed to work through such as horses being nervous in a big group and buddy sour horses.

Since many people arrived Thursday evening, we had a short campfire get-together where we got to know each other and share some snacks and horse stories.

Friday we got started with some trail safety issues and a short practice ride on the trail to see how the horses responded to being in a group. Jill Morgan from MannaPro continued her company's support of our clinics by presenting some great nutrition basics and how to best feed horses properly on a tight budget. She also presented riders with some Apple Flavor Wafers treats for their horses and a trial bag of Sho-Glo™ nutritional supplement.

Friday afternoon we hit the trail for our first longer ride. We rode some mild trails in the beginning and then worked our way up to some log crossings through the woods and several swampy areas. After a short rest, everyone enjoyed a great dinner prepared by the ranch staff before calling it a day.

Saturday we spent the whole day on the trail. The morning portion of the ride featured a several rocky climbs with some terrific views at the top. Riders were able to work on their hill climbing skills, including staying well-balanced in the saddle to help their horses climb and also being able to pick their horse's path through the rocks. The afternoon portion of the ride allowed the horses to rest a bit as we covered some more forested areas and some nice wide-open fields with more amazing views of the Tarryall Mountains.

After a long day on the trail, riders enjoyed an early award ceremony just before dinner. All riders received a certificate for completing the clinic. We also had a few door prizes for participants - a pommel pack with a clear pocket for storing maps, a trail training book and a ground training manual. In addition, Margi Evans graciously donated the second volume of her Riding Colorado II trail riding book. As a special surprise, Larry Killam who participated in our first apprenticeship program this year received an early graduation gift (see more under Apprenticeship).

Riders were treated to a hay ride and chuck wagon dinner Saturday evening. The folks at the M Lazy C Ranch really know how to put on a great dinner! We all enjoyed the steak dinner with all the fixings - including a terrific dessert! After dinner we were treated to live entertainment by cowboy singer Ted Newman. It was a great end to a long day of great people, horses and trails.

On Sunday we did some cross-country exploring, thanks to Mark's GPS. We again took in some fabulous views and covered a wide variety of terrain. The adventure of the day featured a steep downhill through tight trees and rocks. Once we all gathered at the bottom and realized there wasn't really anywhere to go from here, we all had the opportunity to practice a turn on the haunches to reverse direction and the line of horses and make our way back up.

We all had a great time and wish the weekend didn't have to end. We are planning on this clinic again next year so check back on our website for more details. We may offer another advanced trail riding clinic at a different location as well for those interested in seeing some other great scenery.

Last, but not least, a big THANK YOU to Jamie, Randy and Brenda as well as the rest of the staff at M Lazy C Ranch!!!

It's been quite a year this year! We've really enjoyed seeing our old friends and making new ones along the way. Check out our pictures in the Ranch Photo Album. Here's what we've been up to lately. . .


Congratulations to Larry Killam for his successful completion of our very first Apprenticeship program! Larry gained experience working with a wide variety of horses and riders by helping out with just about everything. From working the Expo booth, prepping horses for demonstrations, assisting with clinics and even cleaning a stall or two to even trailer loading training at the end of a long clinic weekend, Larry really worked hard at everything that came up. It was very rewarding to watch Larry improve his skills each day. And, his hard work was very much appreciated by me, Mark and all of our clinic participants this year. Check out Larry's website at

If you are interested in participating in our apprenticeship program, please contact us for more information. We will only be accepting one or two people per year for this well-rounded program. In this program you'll learn to improve your training skills, improve your skills in working with horses as well as learning about how to run a business. We are now accepting applications for 2010.


This June we offered our first 10-day colt starting clinic. We plan on offering this format on a permanent basis. Participants worked with their horses Monday through Friday during a two-week period. With a limit of four horses and riders, this class offers a tremendous amount of one-on-one help and great group support for all. This year's class offered a wide variety of horses to learn from. We had two mustangs who already had a considerable amount of ground work prior to the class. Terry and Jan brought Pancho and Little Girl all the way from Durango to take part in this class. In addition, we had a rescue horse who was being re-started. Lori's focus with Rhadé was building up his confidence in trust. Anne brought her home-bred Connemara pony Maggie who was a clean slate with just a bit of ground work as a youngster. Everyone worked very hard in the class and made great progress with their horses. While everyone started in the same place the first day of class, we made sure individuals were all allowed to progress at their own speed throughout the clinic.

Again, Larry was a huge help in this clinic providing assistance when people were needing some extra help, carrying tack and providing great moral support. Congratulations to everyone in this clinic who are off to a great start in Building The Horse Of A Lifetime™.

Check out the pictures in our Ranch Photo Album from this clinic. Thanks to Terry and Jan for providing most of the pictures for the site. There are a lot of pictures here, but they really show step-by-step some of the exercises we worked through with the different horses. If you're interested in a thorough, safe and non-traumatic approach to starting your young horse, join us next year for this clinic.

Copyright 2008-2013 Debbie Bibb "Building The Horse of A Lifetime"™