Celebrating 20th Winter in Arizona! Wil Howe Ranch bids farewell season at Cochise Outpost
Dear Friends of WHR,
It has been silent here in the news department the past 6 months as we keep cutting back our commitments and taking pleasure in the simple things of life.
Summer has come and gone here in Richland, our little remote Eagle Valley, a peaceful haven abundant in the good things of rural life… Great views, wildlife, rich soil & clean water, affording lush pastures surrounded by the beauty of the high desert canyon country & framed by the Eagle Cap Mountain Wilderness of the Wallowa Mountains. From cottonwoods to Ponderosa, sage brush & alfalfa fields, fruit orchards & black cattle dotting the landscape of meandering irrigation ditches, creeks, and rivers, roaring seasonally, all flowing into the mighty Snake.
It’s been “Home” for Wil and I with our little log cabin & horse training ranch for 27 years now. Digging roots deeper than we had ever expected… feeling all the more cozy & comfortable as the years pass, and pass they have. 16 of those years we have trekked south to our Southwest Outpost in Cochise Arizona, two big rigs and up to 13 horses horse in tow! Spending the first 4 winter stints in Tucson before Cochise, so it actually means this will be our 20th winter season in Arizona!
Milestones mean all the more with the passing of time as one becomes more reflective, sorting out the important & essentials in life. We responded last spring to the need to simplify and listed the Arizona property, now successfully getting it sold and off our plate, and we are excited for the opportunities ahead of us! All we can say is how grateful to God we are. It's been beautiful and an utter blessing being able to do this and share the fruits of our labor & love through our horsemanship schools and gelding sales with so many wonderful people and sharing the SW desert and SE Arizona and all of its splendor: the Cochise Stronghold & Dragoon Mountain trail rides, the views & Apache history of the Chiricahua National Monument, the old West of Tombstone & Bisbee and the frontier heritage of the “Old Pueblo,” Cowtown of Tucson and it’s majestic Sonoran desert surroundings. We’ve inspired many with the Southwest experience.
We have been wrapping up here at home after a summer of healing for Beverly in the loss of her Father in January 2017 and her Mother in May of this year. New beginnings, as childhood takes a different hue in the rainbow of life... from child to adult and beyond, to caregiver, as roles reverse, and we learn how to say goodbye. As one dear friend put it in perspective… “They are never really gone, for when you look in the mirror you see both your Mother & Father forever.” Words to remember.
Even yet, this summer with also taking on the tedious job of irrigating our pastures by flood & tarps, Beverly managed to get into a rhythm of riding and seeing the WHR program through on a handful of choice geldings. One was a special golden palomino, “Yellow-Jacket.” A handsome 7yr and reminiscent of our legendary chocolate palomino “Bling,” was a sure delight for us to train on and develop in the bridle, and in turn, his new owner to enjoy. A classy, handy cowhorse, a quiet cool minded, dream horse in the mountains or arena. Also, we had the opportunity to re-home one of our all-time favorite ranch horse deluxes, “Big Country,” the buckskin, now called “Woodro.” Both of these are now in Montana. That’ll be a change from California & Arizona climates!
August & September we were frequented by friends and spent time putting on the miles in the high country with the horses. Long time client/friends from the Seattle area were here rekindling their passion for backcountry riding and refreshing their WHR horsemanship skills for 10 days. No greater time spent.
Fall came with early rains in September, and we almost thought we’d lost out on our usual Indian summer as temperatures plummeted in October into the teens, bringing on a premature fall, losing some leaves early. But it soon warmed up, and we have been experiencing a gorgeous late October & November Indian summer of perfect cool nights & bright sunny days of golden cottonwoods & orange hackberry bushes. Just this past week, the last of the leaf blowing is over at the barnyard, as rain is in the forecast. Our horses have to get used to the leaf blowers and this this year our tree trimmers were back, with boom trucks, chain saws, and chippers running full steam as the horses stood tied and ridden amidst the activity. Another opportunity for desensitizing, exposure training!
Still working through our current herd, like making good wine, we take our time, as Wil always says.. “Take time to take time, in training horses and in life, as horses and life go hand in hand.” Now we savor it all the more, the slower we go. Life lessons learned from Wil, who’s just as passionate as ever in the simple things of life, good horses and a good view.
As we prepare for our trip south, many year-end things are taking place, trips to the mountains are over, and we now have about wrapped up shutting down the ranch for the winter.
Again culminating at Thanksgiving, our hearts are grateful and we encourage others to embrace the attitude of gratitude and a returning to the recognition of God's sovereignty and His blessings in our lives, that we all might keep our lives, families, horses, and service to others in that "proper perspective."
As we all age, keep in mind riding with safety & common sense is even more important in enjoying a good to horse and giving yourself the best odds for the best ride… Use our pertinent principles we stand on by preparing your horse with a pre-ride Warm Up no matter what! with Regular round penning, long lining, & bitting up routines to ensure maintaining their attention and a willing attitude. Keep the respect of your horse as the leader through consistent ground work and keep your horse accountable for good behavior. Seek a cooperative attitude & work ethic in your horse by riding with purpose & praise & staying true to the rules of tying up after the ride for a ½ hour minimum, preferably an hour. Review our fundamentals and keep striving for refinement... take time & enjoy the journey.
Stay tuned... & may continued Blessings and a Good Ride be yours...
We're here to help.
Beverly & Wil
& Katie Ranch Dog