towe of pisa

April Fools

We have officially made it through another April Fool’s day! With friends pulling elaborate jokes and fake news articles flying around it was pretty hard to not get sucked into believing someone’s April Fool’s joke along the way. I am proud to say that this year, I wasn’t fooled at all. Yep, and let me tell you that isn’t something I can say every year. So, in honor of April Fool’s day 2015 being over, here are some of my favorite April Fool’s gags from yesterday. Did any of these fool you?
Danielle's Excited Face

Danielle’s Excited Face

Well folks it is official, Western Pleasure Guest Ranch is now open for trail rides for the 2015 season!  I took a couple on the first official spring trail ride of the year this morning.  It was a beautiful day, temps in the high 40’s, and clear blue sky as far as you could see.  This calls for Danielle’s Excited Face:


Winter Arena Exercises: Part 3

Part 3 of Winter Arena Exercises is going to be pretty simple. Stand in your stirrups while riding. That’s it. Whether you are out in the pouring rain or lucky enough to be in an indoor arena, take the opportunity to build those leg muscles (yours) and improve your balance at the same time.


How to Row a Boat

While the Northeast part of the U.S. is being covered by a massive snow fall, we here in the Northwest are beginning to wonder if its time to brush up on our nautical skills. If you feel the need to  review your boat rowing, here is an excellent link to show you how: How to Row a Boat

Yesterday was beautiful. As we were driving to Post Falls, Landon kinda reminded me of a happy lab that has been stuck in a dark house for a week straight and then gets taken out into the sunshine for a ride in the pickup with the windows down. He was that excited about the sunshine. Which brings me to this:


C.S. Lewis on Real Life

C.S. Lewis is one of my favorite authors and although I have not read even half of his books, I hope to (someday). He wrote both fiction and non-fiction works and while his fiction is magical, adventurous and exciting, his non-fiction is wise, educated and inspiring.  Here is a little inspiration for today from C.S. Lewis.

TO ARTHUR GREEVES: On the meaning of interruptions and real life; on the difficulty of being patient; and on expiating through embracing one’s own sufferings.

20 December 1943

Things are pretty bad here. Minto’s varicose ulcer gets worse and worse, domestic help harder and harder to come by. Sometimes I am very unhappy, but less so than I have often been in what were (by external standards) better times.

The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own’, or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life—the life God is sending one day by day: what one calls one’s ‘real life’ is a phantom of one’s own imagination. This at least is what I see at moments of insight: but it’s hard to remember it all the time—I know your problems must be much the same as mine (with the important difference that mine are of my own making, a very appropriate punishment and, like all God’s punishments, a chance for expiation.)

Isn’t it hard to go on being patient, to go on supplying sympathy? One’s stock of love turns out, when the testing time comes, to be so very inadequate: I suppose it is well that one should be forced to discover the fact!

I find too (do you?) that hard days drive one back on Nature. I don’t mean walks . . . but little sights and sounds seen at windows in odd moments.

I had a most vivid, tranquil dream about you the other night, just chatting in the old way. Let’s hope it will happen sometime. For the rest, I’ve no news.

From The Collected Letters of C.S. Lewis, Volume II
Compiled in Yours, Jack

The Collected Letters of C. S. Lewis, Volume II: Family Letters 1905-1931. Copyright © 2004 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved. Used with permission of HarperCollins Publishers. Yours, Jack: Spiritual Direction from C. S. Lewis. Copyright © 2008 by C. S. Lewis Pte. Ltd. All rights reserved.

Roley and Chrome

My Professor the Horse

By Guest Writer: Roley Schoonover

My Professor the Horse

In the summer of 1991, three years after graduating from college, my wife and I started out on an adventure that would change our lives forever.  Janice took one lady out for a horseback ride on the family ranch and a new way of life began.  It was the beginning of the Western Pleasure Guest Ranch. It wasn’t long after this new adventure began when I met my new professor the horse.  Janice and I decided that to sustain a string of willing horses we wanted to raise and train our own.  Even though I would start out trying to teach these new young horses what they needed to know about their job, many times they ended up teaching me about what I needed to know about me.  It was life-changing because to be successful I had to take principles I learned and apply them.  I think they call this wisdom and here’s where it began.

Groundwork Professor

Groundwork Professor

Communication.  Ever travel to a foreign land?  It’s kind of handy to know the lingo.  When I opened the gate to go in the pen with my horse, I crossed a boarder metaphorically as much as physically.  Horses speak using their own dialect of sign language. So, as soon as I enter the pen, I’ve communicated something to the horse.  More than likely the Professor of the pen has said something back if I am not visibly deaf.  My horses have taught me volumes about how my body language communicates and what they are saying in response.  As I have learned to pay attention to their language the training process has gotten better.  While I won’t profess to have graduated “Summa com laud”, I have seen positive results as we continued our “class time”.



When our family traveled, I was accused of taking everything but the kitchen sink.  I also have a tendency to do that when I start training.  Again, my professor, the horse, would tell me, if I’m listening, that I need to slow down and work in the moment.  I had to remember what I went in to do and leave the tax preparations for the ranch, the family that is checking in with the dietary needs, and the kindling that needs to be cut, at the gate.  I could pick them back up when I left the pen and likely I didn’t have to worry about anybody stealing them; they would be there when I returned.  I had to focus on one thing, my prof would remind me.  Like my old football coach would tell me, “Do one thing well, instead of a bunch of things poorly.”

Finally, the professor is seldom ever wrong.  He is who he is.  I have learned they really are pretty simple creatures who operate on their need to survive.  My professors would learn from the release of pressure.  Once I understood this point, next was to make the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard.  With consistency, creativity, and these two principles, we began to achieve some neat results.  Horses will do anything to squirm away from pressure.  So I applied a reasonable amount of pressure, watched for the desired reaction, and rewarded them for a reasonable response.  I did this consistently over and over and I was training horses.

These have been some valuable lessons from Equine Communications 101.  With the help of some great advisors along the way, we have had some really satisfying results.  Mostly it has helped make something we love to do into a living with people we treasure.  Happy Trails and never take your professor for granted.




Roley and Chrome

Roley and Chrome

Hind End

Hind End

Groundwork hip yield

Groundwork hip yield


The Bosses Are Back


The bosses are back at the ranch after heading to Arizona one week ago for the annual Dude Ranchers’ Association Convention.  They like to take the opportunity to go to this convention to stay up-to-date on industry trends, marketing, products, problems, and to get a bit of a jump start to the guest ranching year.  Getting to spend a week in sunny Arizona sitting next to the pool sipping ice tea and going on desert horseback rides may be a small reason they go as well. But now that they are back, they have set right to work on a list of projects they compiled while at the convention. I can’t give away all the things they are working on but I can let you in on a few.

Ever heard of Fodder Feeding systems for horses? Neither had I, but everyone here is very interested as several other ranches have implemented this system with great success in their horse herd. More to come on this later.

My husband, Landon, works at Keokee in Sandpoint as a web developer. Lets just say that Landon is going to be working on a project for the ranch starting tomorrow.

I am looking forward to posting a guest blog topic coming up very soon. Any guesses who the guest writer will be?

I even got a little project of my own schemed, planned, booked and mostly organized while the bosses were away.

I look forward to sharing the finished products when all of our projects are completed.

See you down the trail!




Verse of the Day – January 27, 2015

1 John 4: 7-21

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

13 This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God,God lives in them and they in God. 16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 17 This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

19 We love because he first loved us. 20 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.”


Another long verse of the day, but how could I possible not share all of this part of 1 John 4? When love (God) lives in us and we love others, we are showing God to the world because God is love. We love because God loved us first.