Special Needs Horseback Rides Bring Smiles

Riders, volunteers, and even horses are smiling

In between teaching shotgun at the Women’s Outdoor Weekend and helping at the Youth Fishing Derby in Pagosa Springs Wolf Creek Outfitters (WCO) hosted the special needs children of Pagosa Springs for the annual horseback ride.

Each year our team gives the kids the opportunity to watch, pet, lead, and if they desire, ride a horse. This is a day the WCO team and our friends look forward to each year.

Twelve children along with their instructors and a couple of parents arrive for the big day. The morning begins with adjustments to boots and cowboy hats, followed by greetings and instructions. Then everyone meets the horses.

Many of the children have been to this event in the past and are comfortable around the horses. Others take a little warming up. Then before you know it they are off on a ride.

We start off with our team of volunteers leading the children via horseback on short rides around the arena. For those who are up to it, and capable, they’re handed the reins and get to be in the “driver’s seat.”

We also make it a point to try to get the instructors and volunteers a-horseback. After all, why should these children ride if the adults won’t? This year we had two of the group’s instructors or leaders, who’d never ridden before, take a ride.

This year we also have a new addition to this special day. Loud, “OOOHs, AAAHs, and WOW’s” were heard as Ombré the pony led out for his grand introduction.

Ombré proudly packed around a few of the smaller, more timid children. One of these only rode once, but had Ombré not been there she may have not ridden at all.

Each year it seems there’s at least one who doesn’t want to hop on a saddle. Don’t worry. We put them right to work. They get to smile, wave, and cheer in support of their friends. Some of the more brave ones learn to lead the horses too.

Another youngster, who is deaf, climbed atop Cowboy (aka., Mr. Man) and rode the entire time. Having been to this special event before, he wasn’t getting down from the horse until it’s time to go.

At WCO we are honored to be a part of such a great event. It’s rewarding to meet these great youngsters and to have them back year after year. The horses love them too. It’s amazing how they have a sense of who they’re packing around and know they need to take care of their riders.

We’re proud to have such a great team of horses that take care of this precious cargo and a fantastic group of volunteers who find it rewarding to give back to this special group of people.

We know they all find great reward in this day, but we’d also like to give a huge thanks to our volunteers, Terry Eschelman, Jordan Lindsay, Lea Leggitt, Laura Jacobson, and Tucker Jacobson.

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LG’s Chasing a Colorado Mule Deer Buck

It’s day three of LG’s quest to bag a mule deer buck. She is determined to get a “good one” and has passed on three so far. Check out today’s pass. This is a mature 4×2 mule deer buck. We watched him from sun up until he wandered away.

She has much more determination, patience and will power than I ever imagined. I would have told her “Choot im”, but we have a couple of days to go. No deer down yet. Still hunting.

We are rooting for a “good one’ for the LG!

The buck was bedded beneath the trees and just after sun-up came to rake the willows.
The buck was bedded beneath the trees and just after sun-up came to rake the willows.

This 4x3 mulie sauntered away after giving the willows the "what for".
This 4×3 mulie sauntered away after giving the willows the “what for”.

Special thanks to:

Mia Anstine Prois Elite Field Staff; Prois Hunting;
Prois Hunting and Field Apparel

TenPoint Crossbows
TenPoint Crossbows

Girls with Guns Clothing
Girls with Guns Clothing

HerCAMOShop.com
HerCAMOShop.com

Hunting with Mia Anstine, Hank Anstine and the Little Gal

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WCO Hosts 5th Annual Special Needs Ride

Special needs group excited after day of riding horses.

www.wolfcreekoutfitters.netThursday, July 14, 2011, Wolf Creek Outfitters, Inc. (WCO) hosted the special needs children of Pagosa Springs for the fifth annual special needs horseback ride.  Each year our team gives the kids the opportunity to watch, pet and if they desire, ride a horse.  This is a day the WCO team looks forward to each year.

This years horseback ride was attended by fourteen children along with their instructors and a couple of parents.  The morning began with greetings, and instruction followed by meeting the horses.  Many of the children have been to this event in the past and are very comfortable around the horses.  Others take a little warming up and then before you know it they are off on a ride.  Enthusiasm exuded from the children as they spent the morning with giant smiles on their faces.

Special needs group excited after day of riding horses.

The children took short rides around the arena and then if they were up to it got to go out on the trail.  It is the 5th year and one attendee still had yet to gain the courage to climb atop a horse.  He loves them so much and enjoys coming to see them.  He trys to gain courage each time and then opts to help out each by leading a horse.

The team braces a wheel chair bound friend as he enjoys ride around the arena.  It is not only fantastic for the rider, but rewarding for the proud helper as well.

Special needs children interact with horses

Hank thanks him for his help.  It is a pleasure to have him involved as always.

 Hank thanks an attendee for his help with the special needs horseback ride.

Another child and his mother attended the event.  Both are deaf and had a fantastic time interacting with the horses.  The boy uses sign language to communicate.  They were ecstatic to get to ride Huckleberry.

Yet another boy wants to help as well as ride.  The team dubbed him the ranch hand for the day.  He was up and ready to help out with everything.  He was even excited to hop on Jake the mule to go for ride!

Special needs attendee rides Jake the mule.

At WCO we are honored to be a part of such a great event.  It is so rewarding to meet these great kids and to see them come back again and again each year.  The horses love them as well and we are so proud to have such a great team of horses that take care of this precious cargo as they head out on the trail.

The group of children at the special needs event head out on the trail.


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Best Day Ever! #FlyFishing

A friend of mine recently posted that he was trying to figure out how to get away from his wife to go fishing.  I posted “TAKE HER WITH YOU!”  Why wouldn’t you?  The best times you ever have can be spent together – fishing.  This past weekend, I have to admit that Hank and I spent some GREAT quality time together.  We were thankful to have our three day weekend free with no work and nothing to stop us from hitting the river for some float fishing.

The season for float fishing is not very long in our little town.  Some years the season is early and others it is late.  This year it happened just right and we happened to have time to blow up the raft and get our fly rods out.  Hank and I spent three days on the water and watched as it went from good to better.  Hank was patient as I got the swing back in my cast and tried not to decorate too many trees with my bugs.  Once my rig floated along as we drifted and then the tip jiggled.  I yanked and set the hook.  I jumped up and down as my rod tip sank and then I slowly drug in…. wait for it!  Wait for it!  A little stick!  I drug into the boat and cleaned off my fly then we chuckled about how it faked me out.  We laughed as I caught my first “fish”.  We continued and floated along and held our breaths as we moved a few fish that didn’t take my fly.

Changing fly rigs a couple of times, and replacing the ones I left in the trees, I finally got it right.  I was casting well and hitting almost every hole as we floated by and then  WHAM!  A hard hit!  It yanked my rod and it jerked left to right.  I let out a little drag and then stripped some in.  All the while Hank was maneuvering the raft trying to help me land this monster fish.  I held my rod up and the tip bent down toward the river bottom.  More drag let out.  More stripping in!  What a fight!  Finally, he aired out and I saw it was a beautiful brown trout.  I did my best and worked him in.  Finally, landing him.

Hank was proud as I jumped up and down…. gently mind you because I had a beautiful, delicate creature in my hands.  I had the biggest smile anyone has ever seen because this was the biggest brown I had ever landed.  I quickly said take his picture!  Hank couldn’t find the camera, and I of course couldn’t hold onto him for long so I gently place him back in the river and watched as the “Big Brown” swam away.  Wow!  What a great fish!  I screamed to Hank “Best day EVER!”  He laughed and told me to get back in the front of the boat.  We had more fishing to do.

We floated our way down the river for three separate days.  Some fish were big, some were small and each time I caught one it was the “best day ever!”  And why wouldn’t it be?  We were having so much fun floating, enjoying the gorgeous scenery, fishing and spending quality husband-wife time together.

The last day I hooked the largest rainbow ever.  What a great fight he put up as well.  He aired out and I held tight to my rod being sure to keep the tip up as he fought.  The water splashed and the sun glistened off of him.  A wild rainbow with his amazing iridescent strip on his side.  What amazing fish they are.  I managed him safely to the boat and gently returned him to the water.  Then with another “best day ever!” under my belt, I continued to cast away.

Mia with the
Mia with the “best rainbow ever”.

Finally, I offered my rod to Hank and rowed for a short time.  My shoulder was so sore by the end of that third day that I was happy to take a break and try to man the oars.  Wouldn’t you know it?!  Right away he catches a great brown!  He is such a good teacher and such a great fisherman.  It was a happy ending to my “best day ever!”

Hank with a brown trout
Hank with a brown trout

It’s always an adventure!


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