Somewhere in the mid-nineties, when Bud was just a youngster, he and Rick joined the Northern Colorado Mounted Patrol.

They were part of a group of horse and rider volunteer teams whose job was to perform trail assessment and make courtesy trail contacts in Lory State Park.

It was a cool gig. But before they could “be official,” Bud had to go to boot camp. And he had to pass a full day of intense training.

The horses were required to stand in a line, and basically take whatever came at them. If they shied away, they were brought back to the line.

The Tests

The series of tests was to determine just how bombproof your horse was. Here’s what Bud handled:

  • A hula hoop was rolled at him. He stood firm, though I suspect he wondered what in the heck that round thing was.
  • A tarp was put over his hindquarters. Again, no problem.
  • Plastic trash bags were crumpled around his feet.
  • Someone rode a mountain bike through the line of horses.
  • There was a lot of noise, loud music and general uproar. Think a wild party on a college campus.

The Budster handled all of it.

The horses also had to complete an obstacle course, which Bud did with flying colors.

He passed all the tests and became part of the Mounted Patrol.

The only indication that he may have been stressed was the sweat that poured off him.

This boy was working hard, even though it was mostly a series of mental challenges.

Appaloosas Just Don’t Quit

Appaloosas are known for their endurance. They don’t quit. They’re like the Marines of the horse world. They will go and go and go. They’re willing workers with big hearts.

And just enough stubbornness to make life (yours and theirs) interesting.


At the end of the training, Bud went back to the paddock where Miss Pepper had spent an anxious day worrying about him. She’d called, and whinnied and paced for a good portion of that Saturday.


So Bud ambled in, got a huge drink of water, and collapsed in a horse heap on the ground. If he’d had a couch, he would have stretched out on it. But the ground worked just fine.

And what did Pepper do?

She got down beside him on the ground.

I can only imagine their conversation.

Boot camp was a tough day for both of our sweet horses.


Now that I think of it, Rick was pretty worn out as well!