Posts Tagged ‘Steve Edwards’

Spring: It’s the new winter

April 1, 2009

Aprils Fools, and it’s hard to remember a nice weather day since the first day of spring. A storm March 26-27 left about 10 inches of wet snow here, with a water content of about 1 inch.

April Fools elk.

April Fools elk on Bear Basin Ranch.

A small but wicked storm Monday morning brought little moisture but the accompanying high wind whipped up a vicious ground blizzard. Sometime during this our little calf was caught out in the open and when I found her covered in windblown snow I thought she was dead. As I was walking away I saw a twitch and realized she actually was still alive.

I moved the calf to the barn on a sled, then rounded up the mother cow and put her in the paddock with her. Since Monday the calf has been under a heat lamp and I’ve been feeding it milk and milk replacement with an esophogeal tube and bag. Also, injections of vitamins A-D, B and C, and a drug called Nuflor. Three days later the calf is still unable to stand and nurse. Will she survive? I haven’t the slightest idea, but am surprised she has made it this long considering she was all but dead when I found her.

Word came yesterday that Neal Hart has passed away at the age of 84. Neal, the father of fellow pack-burro racer Steve Hart, has for years headed up the Ham radio team that keeps track of runners and their burros on the courses at the Leadville, Fairplay and Buena Vista races. His face was always a welcome and reassuring sight when I would see him on Mosquito Pass along with his faded-orange International Scout with the antennae for his radio equipment. I can still hear him — and it could be in a lightning storm, fog, blowing snow or hail, on a hot sunny day, or through a hypoxic haze. I didn’t matter whether I was winning or off the back. He would ask: “You need anything, Hal?” Neal always struck me as a kind and gentle man. I was very said to hear of his passing and know he will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Here’s the good news: Steve Edwards and I are planning a donkey and mule training clinic here in Westcliffe in September. The bad news: The clinic will limited to only 12 participants and their animals, though spectators will be welcome.

Steve is a renowned longears trainer and also has developed his own line of saddles and tack. He’s been featured on the Rural Heritage Hour on RFD TV and also teaches classes at Central Arizona College. Stay tuned for more details or contact me for more info or to reserve a space.

Saddling donkeys for riding

October 23, 2008
Redbo in a Steve Edwards Trail Rider Light saddle. Note the breast collar goes with the saddle but the britchin' is not Steve's design.

Redbo in a Steve Edwards saddle.

A favorite old rancher once told me: “It’s better to get where you’re going on a slow horse than to go to the hospital on a fast horse.” Frankly, I won’t ride anything with ears that short.

When I first started riding my donkeys it was purely bareback. Back then I didn’t really ride often enough to make buying a saddle worthwhile. Over time, however, I became more interested in my donks as riding animals.

Thus began my great saddle search. First was an old McClellan infantry saddle that I found in the corner of a local saddle shop and had jury-rigged to make it easier and quicker to saddle my animals. In many ways, this was one of the best choices I made. It was light and fit the donkeys well, but it was hard as a rock and not very comfortable for me.

I went through a series of other saddles, all of which I bought, rode for a while, and then sold when I found them to be less than ideal. These included an Australian saddle, a treeless saddle, and a synthetic Western horse saddle.

My most recent saddle has been a Steve Edwards Trail Rider Lite, and this saddle has by far been the best. Steve designed this saddle around mule bars that he also developed. I like the way it fits my animals and also the way it fits me. It’s light at just 18 pounds. The breast collar rigging is unique and does not fall down around the donkey’s chest. I’m sure Steve’s Britchin’ is nice too but I’m still saving my pennies to completely outfit my rig.