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Need a break from the frosty winter weather? Head south next month for the NAPHA Annual Conference in New Orleans Feb. 24-26.

Discussion topics include marketing, funding, member engagement, making the most of your volunteers and more. There’s also a special judge’s panel planned to discuss trends in the show ring, gait, conformation and other good info.

You can sign up for the  2012_Conference via that PDF, or call Arlynda Castro at  707-544-5807.

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No, I did not forget to send you a Christmas card this year. I just forgot to make Christmas cards important enough to get them done. If I catch a magic shot of my kids with my horses over the next few days, I might get some out. But I’m not holding my breath. I know me too well.

But I will share some of my favorite seasonal shots of Peruvians:

DB Romance Joven — or Jr., as his friends call him — is doing a great job putting up with his owner Emily Knight’s Christmas spirit.

Here’s a fun one of Lisa Bialy’s horse — I believe that’s Vista del Dragon. Scroll through and see some other fun snowy pics from Rancho Paso Fuego.

This is my favorite. I love the way the horse is framed through the wire — never seen anything quite like it. It’s from Mer-Girl Gardens, which grows fabulous organic goodies alongside the horses of La Estancia Alegre. You can see more beautiful shots from LEA here.

Happy holidays, everyone!

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Fall is my favorite time of year. It’s one of three seasons I missed growing up in the endless summers of South Texas. So I get positively giddy over the changing leaves and cooling temps.

I’m also thrilled that so many of us are getting out there and enjoying the wonderful weather, our fabulous horses and our good friends. The CSPHC had a great time in September as guests of Terri Miller and Amanda Speaker at their family homestead near Buffalo Creek. There’s also a ton of great pictures from the group who enjoyed Dawson’s Butte Oct. 22, and the Rio Grande Peruvian Horse Club had more than a few Colorado folks in their ranks that same day as they rode along Rio Chama.  Several of us are looking forward to a ride in Cañon City on Bobbi Taylor’s ranch on Oct. 29. And if you’re a Facebook friend of club member Emily Knight, you’ll see fabulous new trail photos just about every week.

Garden of the Gods is one of my favorite spots to ride in Colorado Springs.

At the moment, our first real snow of the year is coming down hard enough that I didn’t quite make it out to the barn this morning as I hoped I might. But it will be gone before we carve our pumpkins, and we’ll have more scenic trail shots to share.

Send me yours or links to your albums if you’d like to add your photos to our site.

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Well, by the time I hit “publish,” this won’t be the latest. I signed up for email updates from my vet, I’m wearing cyber tracks into Google and haunting the Colorado Department of Agriculture’s site. Friends send me updates — some legit, some questionable. So I’m doing what I can to stay informed and to share what I know.

And I’m doing what I can to keep my horse safe. Even before my barn manager here in Colorado Springs decided to quarantine the animals, I decided to leave Wonder Pony here rather than trailer him down to La Estancia Alegre for this weekend’s clinic. (Thanks so much to Barbara Windom for offering up her horses to those of us who can’t bring our own.) I’m canceling next week’s vet appointment — teeth floating and Coggins can wait at this point.

But I’m also not freaking out. Six infected horses — two euthanized —  in Colorado is concerning, for sure. But I’m grateful that the flow of info is so quick, so thorough and so constant. I’m optimistic that this has been caught early, and the measures horse owners and professionals are taking will minimize the disease’s impact.

Here’s hopin’.

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Just want to say thanks to everyone who participated in and supported the Southwest Peruvian Horse Show. I enjoyed fantastic horses, exceptional people and nonstop laughs for the entire weekend. It was great to catch up with old friends and make new ones down in Glen Rose, Texas. Check out some of the great photos here.

I’ve decided I definitely want to be a ring steward when I grow up. My first time down there on the arena floor was a phenomenal chance to learn more about our breed and see the show from the judge’s perspective.

It was also helpful to see the inner-workings of a well-established, well-run show. Hats off to the entire show committee, volunteers and Southwest Peruvian Horse Club board for all their hard work. And special thanks to Judge Nazario Villafuerte to putting up with and answering my nonstop questions. I know I talk too much.

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I’m about to have the best Mother’s Day ever.

Tomorrow I’m heading down to Texas to be a part of the Southwest Peruvian Horse Show. Wonder Pony will not be joining me, sadly. But I’ll still get three days to enjoy great horses and friends as my kids get quality time with my mom. It’s the perfect Mother’s Day weekend for us both, actually.

I’ve been looking forward to this for almost a year. I was invited to be ring steward (really I prefer the title “ring leader”) by a friend who’d made the long drive to Denver for last year’s Denver Queen City Horse Show — a fantastic combo show with the Colorado American Saddlebred Horse Association.

Texas shows are always a blast. I have deep roots in the Lone Star State. It’s where I grew up, and it’s where I first fell in love with our breed. So many wonderful people down there have offered me help, advice and encouragement — I’m really happy I can contribute to their efforts to showcase and show off their horses.

When we cross state and club lines, we’re supporting our breed and our friends. I hope my Texas pals will haul north to take part in our show July 21-23. Or out to Vegas for the Gold Rush Classic June 24-26. The full NAPHA show schedule can keep us busy from February to October.

You don’t have to cringe as your child gets patted down by the TSA because he insists on wearing overalls that trip the sensors to make it to distant shows. (I won’t, either. Those overalls magically disappeared after the last pat-down.) Do what’s easy, fun and practical for you. Cheer for friends at your closest show. Volunteer to hand out ribbons or work the gate. Sponsor a class. Enter your 50 finest animals in every show on the calendar.

Or get out on the trails and answer strangers’ questions about what’s wrong with your horse’s legs. Mount up for a parade. Take your horse to a local 4H class. Perform in equine festivals and other events.

It’s up to us to preserve and promote our historic breed. It’s an animal well-worth sharing.

What can you do?

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New year, new start.

Every January we step on the scale, make our lists of resolutions and look ahead.

As a club, CSPHC is looking forward to a lot. The Rocky Mountain Horse Expo, The Denver Queen City Horse Show and the Colorado State Fair are circled on the calendar right now.

As much as I love shows, I’m putting a gold star next to the Expo; it’s the first on the list (March 11-13). This is a fantastic venue for promoting our breed. Tens of thousands of horse lovers from throughout the region will converge on the National Western Complex in Denver to ride with experts, hit the trade show floor and enjoy equine performances in the Mane Event.

I really believe we have to reach out to the larger horse community to help sustain our breed. As much as I love hanging out with other Peruvian aficionados, we need to make connections with other horse lovers. We have a lot to offer, and a lot to learn.

Last year’s Queen City show is proof of that. It was a beautifully run weekend, we had a great turnout and enjoyed sharing the facility with the Saddlebred folks. I’m looking forward to more of the same this year (July 21-23).

So from where we stand as a club, we have lots of opportunities to make the most of our horses and our equine connections.

From where you’re standing today, what do you see?

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