Some of the most sensible beings ever to grace the White House grounds are the horses of the Presidents. When the country was just beginning, horses were the best means of transportation, and many of our presidents have been land owners, country folk, who loved a daily ride for the exercise and the chance to clear their heads. George Washington started the tradition by bringing his horses to his presidency, always white horses and always six. He kept them in gleaming condition and was even known to brush their teeth. Thomas Jefferson was said to love to ride, but he never mounted a horse before wiping its back with his handkerchief to remove any unwanted dirt. All of the presidents who rode during their time at the white house paid for their own horses and their feed, and purchased their own riding accompaniments. Ronald Reagan may have been the greatest lover of horses in modern times. He was partial to Arabians and he and wife Nancy rode at their California ranch whenever they broke away for a vacation. There is something about a leader who understands the value of a horse. Winston Churchill once said, “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” He was a smart man.
So amidst the excitement of the Royal Nuptials one thing rang true at every turn. The horses were the stars of the show. As they pulled the carriages down the cobbled streets, winding their way through the throngs of well-wishers, standing at attention as they waited for their valuable cargo to load, never looking left or right, it was obvious they knew they carried a weighty responsibility and they knew the world was watching. Horses, perhaps more than all other four legged creatures, seem to accept and respect their place in pageantry. They have come to understand that there are important moments in life that simply can’t come off without their regal stature or their enduring strength. They have led the charge in battle, carried the common and the elite, run the range, trotted the polo fields, raced the track, and danced under the lights and they do it every time as though they were born for the fanfare. They seem to know, that despite the fuss being made over the royal couple, and the fact that the queen believes she is pulling the strings, they clearly realize that none of this happens without them. They have carved their place in the pages of history and they aren’t going anywhere soon. The equine kingdom reigns supreme!
If you want to talk about cowboy heroes, and it is a subject we love, you simply can’t keep your mouth shut about country music super star George Strait. Strait’s phenomenal career has won him 57 Number One Singles, more than any recording artist in any genre of music … ever. He is the only musician to ever hit Billboard 200s top ten list for thirty consecutive years, and in several years has made the list more than once. His straight on his head cowboy hat and honey coated voice give him a prominent place in the cowboy book of favorites, but, strangely enough, he is an actual cowboy, with a ranch and cattle and horses. He still partners in Rodeo Team Roping Competitions and his son is a professional rodeo cowboy. He is married to his high school sweetheart and they live in Texas. The Straits lost their daughter Jennifer to a car accident in 1986, prompting them to open the Jennifer Lynn Strait Foundation, which donates to children’s charities in and around San Antonio, Texas. George Strait graduated from college with a degree in Agriculture, and managed his father’s ranch for years, all the time singing with different bands. Then one day the right people heard him and the next year he produced a record with MCA Records, releasing, of course his first Number One Hit, Unwound. There is no more loved face or voice in all of country music, and how refreshing to know that his success is all wrapped up in a boatload of character.
There is nothing we love better in this country than a come from behind win, a tale of unlikely success and insurmountable odds. We are, after all, Americans, and our country began with an unpredicted and unexpected victory. In 1933 a Bay Colt was born with a good pedigree. The horse was named Seabiscuit and it was hoped that racing would be in Seabiscuit’s blood, because his grandfather was Man O’ War, who was considered one of the greatest thoroughbred racing horses of all time. Seabiscuit however seemed lethargic, spending most of his time eating or sleeping, and was thought to be lazy by expert horse people. Then a man named Tom Smith came on as the horse’s trainer and things started changing. Smith believed that Seabiscuit’s apparent laziness came from a need to be challenged, so the jockey, Red Pollard, was instructed to push the horse into the lead then let Seabiscuit see another horse gaining on him, giving him the incentive to push harder. Between Tom Smith and Red Pollard, “the Biscuit” began winning races, often coming from behind with an explosive finish, until in 1938 he was named “Horse of the Year” and the “Number One Newsmaker “ for that same year. After a nearly catastrophic injury to both horse and jockey they came back in 1940 to win the Santa Anita Handicap, the only race that had eluded them up to that point. Seabiscuit was hailed as America’s horse because he gave this country more than a win on the racetrack. At a time when the depression years left us with a general feeling of hopelessness and despair, this unlikely hero raced upon the scene and gave the country the shot in the arm it needed. He won when he shouldn’t have because he had the heart to do it, and people who believed he could, and that in American terms, is truly winning.
“We’re alike. I, too, believe that everyone should have a chance at a breathtaking piece of folly once in his life. I was twenty when they said a woman couldn’t swim the Channel. You’re twelve; you think a horse of yours can win the Grand National. Your dream has come early; but remember, Velvet, it will have to last you all the rest of your life.”
Mrs. Brown to Velvet Brown - National Velvet made in 1944
“You’ve stolen my heart. Happy Valentine’s Day!”
Winter can be a harsh reality for everyone, but for the local bird population winter can be catastrophic. Many of our feathered friends don’t migrate for the winter, but stay and deal with the meager winter conditions. Martha Stewart Living Magazine says that putting up a bird feeder is “like inviting several guests to dinner”. They come expecting food and they will be back hoping for more later. Pine Country Feed is keeping the avian population in mind this month by offering 15% off on all bird feeders and the purchase includes bird seed. There is an attractive array of easy to hang feeders to choose from at Pine Country, and while you’re choosing yours you’ll have a chance to peruse the tempting choices of jewelry, clothing and home accessories in the gift shop. Pine Country Feed is the perfect marriage of your ranch and feed supplies and that certain something you’ve been pining for. Feed the birds and treat yourself this February. Everyone is a Valentine at Pine Country.
We have waited for winter to actually come and it is here – with bells on. The snow is piling high and the temperatures are dropping low, which are the two extremes required to make winter in all its glory. The roads seem to get plowed and sanded adequately, leaving the driveways blocking all means of passage. What we need is Willard’s two Percherons with a sleigh attached, a pile of blankets and a thermos of hot chocolate. We could fly like the wind over the mountain roads and think of ourselves as pioneer adventurers, reliant on our trusty steeds, and our wits, our only concern, whether or not the fire will still be burning in the fireplace when we get home. There is something invigorating about the weather when it takes over our lives, reminding us that we don’t really have the say over the universe that we think we do, and that regardless of how busy we are, or how smart we are, if the snow is blocking the drive and making it impassable there is nothing to do for it but enjoy!
Go back to grade school and remember the dilemma of the hot lunch service. On pizza or taco day you could pretty much plan to spend an extra ten minutes in line, which when you were seven years old was like spending ten years in line. I on the other hand was not drawn by the pizza (weird cheese) or the tacos (wilted lettuce) but would have climbed Everest for the Cowboy Bread. It really wasn’t bread at all, more like cake, and the thought that cowboys ate it gave it a romantic element that was irresistible to my young heart. I have included a recipe from Leslie in Minnesota, where they know little about cowboys, but everything about baking. Enjoy!
- 2/3 C shortening shopping list
- 2 1/2 C flour shopping list
- 1/2 tsp salt shopping list
- 2 C brown sugar shopping list
- 2 tsp baking powder shopping list
- 1/2 tsp baking soda shopping list
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg shopping list
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon shopping list
- 2 eggs shopping list
- 1 C buttermilk shopping list
- cinnamon as needed
- Combine Shortening, Flour, Salt and Sugar. Mix until Crumbly. Reserve 1/2 cup to sprinkle over the batter. Add other staples to remaining crumb mixture. Add buttermilk and eggs. Pour into a 9×13 pan. Sprinkle with reserved crumbs and extra cinnamon if desired. Bake @ 375 for 25-30 Minutes. Test middle to make sure it is done.
What could be better than a store where you can by feed for not only your horse or your dog, but you can get groceries for your goat, your bird, your chickens and your llama? Nothing, unless you could also buy a pair of sterling silver earrings, and perhaps a designer handbag, and what about a hand tooled saddle and some killer jeans, and a rug made of hand tied leather strips. Pine Country Feed is not your ordinary feed and tack store. It is a feed and tack and dog toy and cowgirl fashion and home accessory and turquoise bracelet watch store. Stop in for pellets for your stove then take a gander upstairs and see if you don’t find the belt of your dreams and some handmade natural soap to go with it. Pine Country Feed offers you an eclectic, “I have to have that” shopping experience and it all comes together with a big “welcome you home” atmosphere where you can shop for your horse and your wife in one fell swoop. Brilliant!
Say the word thunder and an image of skies flashing and clouds crashing come to mind, but around here, in Bronco Country, say the word Thunder and an eleven year old white Arabian, and the mascot for the Denver Broncos comes into view. It is only natural that Denver would name their team the Broncos, which refers to “bronco busting,” which is when a cowboy deliberately seats himself on the back of horse that does not in any way want him there. The goal is to stay on the horse for eight seconds, not a long time, unless you’re being tossed in the air by a twelve hundred pound animal that is literally frantic to land you in the next county. This image works both for Colorado and the Broncos because we are all about taking chances, thundering hooves, muscled chests and flaring nostrils, and when we think of Thunder we think of the white, sleek Arabian that races out of the portal on a Sunday afternoon to the roaring crowds of Invesco Field. Thunder represents that undying belief that lives in the heart of every Bronco fan, that regardless of last week’s outcome, we are winners and we will again be on top, because that is what we do in Colorado. We change the plan, get creative, believe like a bunch of kids, plant both feet firmly on the ground, work it like we mean it, knowing that tomorrow is another day and we’ll be there, ready to win, and happy to shout about it. Saddle up, Thunder, we are ready to ride!
The condition of today’s world leaves reasonable people asking one question. Where is Wyatt Earp when you need him? Where is the guy in the black cowboy hat, and the long black denim duster that catches on the gun at his hip – the guy who was willing to fight for a decent way of life in a west that refused to be tamed? What happened to the man with the badge who didn’t stop until the job was done, didn’t care how long the ride, never asked if there was someone who could take his place? Things were easier in Wyatt’s day for the man who wanted to stand for right. You had to know how to shoot, a good horse was a must, and if you expected to live long a good buddy who could also shoot proved helpful, and of course you had to be brave. What you didn’t have to be was politically correct, college educated, connected to the people at the top, or certified in your field of expertise. You were respected for what you had done, not what you had trained to do, and if you put your foot in your mouth from time to time, nobody noticed, or at least they didn’t say anything, because you were Wyatt Earp for heaven’s sake! Where does this leave us? We must be brave, put on our dusters and whistle for our trusted steed. It’s time to fight for a decent way of life in a west that still isn’t tamed. Wyatt would be proud.
“Letting the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier ‘n putting it back in.” Cowboy Rules for Living
The huge misunderstanding about cowboys is mostly Hollywood’s fault and it all stems from fashion. When they tried to make people like Sylvester Stallone play a cowboy, you know they were reaching and they missed the mark completely. Real “cowboyism” has to go back to Gary Cooper and John Wayne who walked as though they were born astride a saddle, and talked as though they considered communication a courtesy, but not anything to get too excited about. The key was, they always wore the same clothes. Jeans and vests and shirts that buttoned, and no matter how long they had been on a cattle drive, or how many gunslingers they had faced, they never saw a need to change their clothes. They seemed to need the dirt and the frayed edges to keep their gun belts in place. Unless they were going to meetin’ (church) they pretty much kept to their boots and their belts and the jeans that were broken in to the point of actually having a distinctive shape, like other people’s shoes, you couldn’t loan them to anyone else because your imprint had taken over. Awards were never given by the Academy for the costuming in a real western, but that was the whole point. When you walked out of the theatre you couldn’t remember what the stars were wearing, but you never forgot their hard lined, squint into the sun faces. They were cowboys, and they were the real thing.
Just two days left until the NATIONAL WESTERN STOCK SHOW rolls into town. This event is one of the best Denver has to offer. Here is some great information about it!! We hope to see you there!!!!!!
History- See how the National Western Stock Show has changed over the years by browsing our timeline from 1899 to 2010. Here are some excerpts:
|1906||First show opened on Monday January 29 and ran for six days. Attendance was estimated at 15,000 and the Grand Champion steer sold for 33 cents a pound, 23 cents over the market price!|
|1932||The 25th National Western presented the first Rodeo in conjunction with the Livestock and Horse Show.|
|1954||The Westernaires made their first appearance at the Rodeo.|
|1981||The show increased to 12 days and included 21 Rodeo performances. A still-standing record of $301,000 was paid at auction for a Hereford bull.|
|2006||National Western celebrates its 100th anniversary! The show’s attendance reached 726,972 for the 16-day show and the grand champion steer sold for $75,000 or $58 per pound!|
Just a Little Taste- See what’s happening all week long! Here’s just a sample!
$15,000 Dodge RAM Invitational Freestyle Reining Sunday, January 9
Beautiful spins and powerful stops mingled with original costumes and musical themes make this one of the National Western Stock Show’s hottest tickets! For more info
How to get there- The National Western Complex is located just east of I-25 on I-70 and is easily accessible by taking the Brighton Blvd. or Coliseum exits.
National Western Complex
4655 Humboldt St.
Denver, CO 80216
We found this information at: http://www.nationalwestern.com/