Saturday, July 31, 2010

Paso Fino Single Footers Horses near /Cedar Crest

While Chuck and I were camped in Cedar Crest NM, we found this great rib restaurant. While feeding our faces,Chuck overheard the conversation at the next booth..... horse talk. That was when we met Liz. Liz and her husband Leigh, raise Paso Fino Single Footer Horses.

We had heard of the Paso Fino breed, but the term single footers... well we didn't have a clue. These are the most magnificent horses! What makes a Single Footer unique is that when they reach their fast lope they are soooo smooth, the rider never bounces and they have only ONE foot hitting the ground at a time! They are amazing to watch moving! That is why I included this link so you can watch several single footers as they canter gracefully high stepping and seemingly effortlessly! In fact, the horses seem to love doing what they do. Please take a minute or 10 and click on the link below and watch several of these amazing horses! They will take your breath away!

When you finish the video's come see the photographs or Liz and Leigh's horse ranch and see Leigh break a young horse in front of your eyes. No rough breaking, just lots of talking, walking, adding weight and finally adding Liz. No bronco busting like the old western movies.

Leigh works the young horse in the round pen, always talking. always encouraging,

Around and around Leigh works the horse for almost an hour.

Then Leigh added a saddle, and the horse goes around and around again, getting used to the weight.

Now Liz comes in. It's her turn to help Leigh gentle break this horse.

Liz slowly puts her weight on the horse. letting the horse get used to her weight. But her feet are still on the steps.

Now Liz puts all her weight on the horses back while Leigh continues to talk and encourage the horse.

Finally, she mounts the horse and both Leigh and Liz talk to and encourage the horse.  Loving pats and touches are part of this training.

Slowly Leigh leads the horse around the ring with Liz riding.  This was the very first time this horse had carried a rider, no stress, no trauma, no bucking.
Gentle Broke!

In a few more months, this two year old will be trotting like the horses in the video!

This is LadyHawke. She is Liz's favorite! Her mane is the longest I have ever seen! A beautiful horse!

Liz with LadyHawke

 I really loved this horse! Beautiful! Gentle! Felt like an old spirit!

Shame on me, I don't remember the names of the other horses I met! All were beautiful! I'll just let you look and enjoy!

Curious ??

Liz's newest horse! Still unbroke but very gentle and people friendly.

Thank you Liz and Leigh for inviting us out to your ranch and introducing us to your horses and educating us about one footed trotters!

On the Turquoise Trail

            There is a beautiful two lane highway that connects Santa Fe to Albuquerque NM. It is known as the Turquoise Trail, or Highway 14.  It passes through several small towns. We camped in Cedar Crest and explored north. In the bump in the road known as Golden exists a beautiful little mission and cemetery.
I first discovered this mission about 30 years ago and it was in sad shape, but made for some wonderful photography!


The cemetery is in front of the mission, parishioners must walk through the cemetery to get to church.

Spanish influenced cemeteries are much different than the Anglo cemeteries in  the Eastern USA. 

The mission has a new coat of adobe and paint and looks less abandoned than 30 years ago.

The cemetery still looks much the same.

You can attend Mass the first Sunday of every month.


A bit further north you arrive at Madrid. Not pronounced like the Madrid of Spain, but pronounced like MahDrid of NM.  Madrid is a very old coal mining town, once abandoned and very much a ghost town. In the early 1980's, aspiring artists who could not afford to live in the towns of artists Santa Fe and Taos, moved into the abandoned houses of Madrid. One of the shopkeepers told me that back then the houses sold for as little as $3,000. Now they are all spruced up and turned into funky galleries, restaurants and motorcycles everywhere. Why motorcycles?? The movie "Wild Hogs" was filmed here!

A lot of craftsmen & artists must use old railroad cars as studios or storage as we saw several around town.

City Limits

Motorcycles everywhere!

The artwork on this one was unique!

The old hotel all fixed up and renting rooms and serving at the saloon!

Unique street signs!

Madrid has grown a lot in 30 years and creative people have taken a dirty old, abandoned mining town and built a thriving community of artists and musicians.

Hope you enjoyed your visit! We sure did!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cumbres Toltec Scenic Railroad

 Cumbres Toltec Scenic Railroad

While we were visiting Larry and Betty at Trujillo Meadows CO (read blog posting below this one)
they introduced us to the  Cumbres Toltec Scenic Railroad that travels from Antonito,CO to Chama,NM

Betty, Larry and Chuck at the old railroad station.
This railroad has been in operation since the late 1800's.

Old water tower...
all the train engines are steam engines.

This is the train station where the trains stop and feed all the tourists and volunteer workers! We ate there and YUM! good home cooking!
There  is also a nice gift shop inside.

The next few photos are of the trains we saw while we were there.

Cute kids enjoying their train ride!

Chuck jumped onto the caboose of the Antonito bound train for a quick photo op!

Railroad workers take a break after lunch, waiting for the tourists to board.

The interior of these coaches is old age elegance!

Trains coming and going.

Tourists being tourists!

The wild iris in the foreground made for a good photo of the departing train.
Just a few days after we left Colorado, one of the railroad trestles caught fire and burned! This has put a serious crimp in the tourist trains! The R.R. insurance isn't nearly enough to cover the cost so they are accepting donations to help with repairs. The cause of this fire is unknown, but lightning is suspected.
Hope you enjoyed this visit with the trains!

Happy Trails from Geri, Chuck and our Hound Herd: Scotty, DoogieBowser and Radar!