Instead of our regular meeting this month it is our Christmas Party!

December 18th

Hello members! It is once again time for our annual Christmas Party. And for those who don’t come to the meetings on a regular basis, PLEASE don’t let that stop you from coming to the Christmas Party. This is a good chance to meet people you might not otherwise meet, eat lots of good food and play our annual gift exchange game.

There will be a decorating party on December 16th, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. at the clubhouse. Bring something (potluck) to eat and your “decorative” ideas. We will be making popcorn balls and the candy bags for the kids who come to the Christmas Party. Everything is provided so all you need to do is show up with a yummy dish to share. If anyone has questions call Roberta Lawson at 459-3130, and she wrote to me to say “to all who volunteered to cook turkey and ham, and volunteer to make POPCORN balls, bless your hearts!” Turkeys will be cooked by Marcia Gray and Shirley Herrin; the ham will be cooked by Bob and Jan Braico.

The Christmas Party will be held December 18th starting at 2:00 (if weather permits wagon rides) and dinner served at 4:00 p.m. In the past we’ve always printed a suggestion of what to bring alphabetically (of your last name). This list is only a guideline and not set in stone. Some people like having an idea of what to bring, others like to bring their favorite dishes to share. For some of us old timers who need the extra help…no names please...

Here is our traditional list.
A-L bring salads and/or side dishes
M-Z bring Holiday deserts

A gift exchange (and game) is the highlight of the festivities for me. If you want to play, please bring a wrapped gift to put under the tree ($10.00 limit). Trust me you won’t be disappointed if you play this game. If you are bringing children and you wish them to receive gifts from Santa, bring your wrapped gifts with your child’s name on them and place them under the tree. Santa will either pass them out from under the tree (or bring them in his sack) when he comes.

Upcoming elections: The club holds our annual elections at the January meeting. The nominating committee’s slate of officers for 2012 will be announced at the Christmas Party.

At the January meeting, nominations will also be accepted from the floor. There are three director positions open. In addition, the President and Vice-President positions are on a yearly basis so they are up for election also. The President will then appoint a secretary. If you have a talent, don’t be shy about being an officer or on the board of directors. If you know someone who is interested in becoming more involved in the club, let the nominating committee know at the Christmas party or nominate them at the January meeting. I can say from experience, it’s a wonderful way to get to know people and share your ideas about the direction of the club. This year’s nominating committee: Shirley Herrin, 442-8858, Mary Kelley, 458-5296, Cheryl Schmidt, 458-3913. If you have any questions or an interest in being more active in the club, please call one of these people.

Membership Dues: There is always some confusion as to when Membership Dues are due and how long they run. I’ll try to explain it the best I can. If you pay your dues “after” October of the year, they run through the whole next year. If you pay your dues “before” October of the year, you do need to pay regular dues come January 1st of the year. It’s a nightmare for the secretary to have membership payments trickle in on into the summer. Membership for a single person is $25.00 - a family is $35.00. You can mail them to the current secretary, Kate Hollandsworth, at Helena Trail Riders, P.O. Box 4801, Helena, MT 59604, or give your payment to her at the Christmas Party or January’s meeting. You cannot vote in the elections or run for office if your dues are not paid. Please be sure to include your name, address and current email so the secretary has the correct information on our membership list. Thank you! Membership form


Cheryl Schmidt

If anyone has pictures they have taken of club events or rides, please have them printed out and mail to me at: Cheryl Schmidt, 7092 Applegate Drive, Helena, MT 59602. Thank you for getting the pictures to me as soon as possible so they can be included in the 2011 photo album.


Heather Hollandsworth

The program for the November meeting was presented by JoAnna Dove and Barb and Mike Thomas from the Montana Horse Welfare Council.

The Montana Horse Welfare Council consists of groups and individuals who have come together in alliance for the purpose of helping equines in need, advocating equine welfare and improving overall conditions for equines through education of owners, support of law enforcement, and coordination of veterinarian assistance, hay bank and foster care or placement.

JoAnna, the current president, provided the club with some statistics from the 2007 Census of Agriculture. There were 105,243 horses in the state of Montana which was essentially one horse for every 9.5 people. That is a lot of horses and unfortunately some of these horses do not get the care they deserve or need.

They provide a site to anonymously report abuse. While they cannot investigate the abuse themselves, they have formed a network with law enforcement across the state who can investigate.

The club was provided the opportunity to look at some handouts including how to score a horse's body and a success story from a rescued horse. JoAnna and Barb emphasized the need for people to help them by volunteering with various committees to include: administrative, education, hay bank and health, law enforcement and placement/foster.

You can access their information at

In addition:

The Montana Horse Welfare Council will host a holiday fundraising event at Murdoch's in Helena over three Sundays in December: 4, 11 and 18. Gifts and services to be offered include horse cookies, gift tags, artworks and animal communication sessions with your horse or any animal - just bring its photograph.

To donate goods or services for the December fundraiser, please call1-888-417-7477.


Eileen Taylor

Training Tip of the Week Correcting the buddy-sour horse

It's very natural for horses not to want to separate from each other because they know that there is safety in numbers. When you're dealing with a buddy-sour horse, you have to use a little reverse psychology on him. Instead of the horse thinking that being with his buddy is the best place in the world, you have to make the horse believe that his buddy is the worst thing in the world. That is accomplished by making the horse move his feet and work hard around his buddy and letting him rest away from the other horse.

Instead of thinking "I need to separate him from his buddies, think "I need to make the horse uncomfortable for being around his buddies." Instead of trying to drag the horse away from his buddies, make him work next to his buddies. Trot him around in circles, canter some serpentines, anything to hustle his feet. You want him to work hard, preferably at the canter, so he gets to huffing and puffing.

After 10 to 15 minutes of working him hard around his buddies, move him 50 to 100 feet away and let him rest. Rub him and give him a chance to catch his breath. It's important to find a starting point for your horse. In the beginning, you might only be able to take your horse 20 feet away from the other horses. That's OK, you'll gradually build your horse's confidence little by little, until eventually, you can ride him off by himself without a struggle.


This wolf was shot over by Elliston during hunting season this year. A hunter was sitting on a log eating a sandwich and felt something was watching him. He turned around to see five wolves about 40 yards away. This wolf weighed in at 240 pounds and 6 foot 8 inches from tip to tip.

Trip to Ovando November 26th

Eileen Taylor, her daughter, Aspen, and I went to Ovando for the Christmas Festivities. Santa came on his little (but very stout!) Haflinger and the kids went wild. The big kid (me) had to have my picture taken with Santa too and to tell you the truth I think Santa was pretty darn handsome under all that hair!
Cheryl Schmidt and Santa Claus
Perchons and wagon

We really had a fabulous day just wandering around talking to people, looking at (and buying) locally made crafts, going through the museum, warming up at the much needed bonfire by the sheepherder’s wagon and riding in the wagon pulled by a gorgeous pair of Percherons. But I won’t tell you that during the gunfight they bolted and we exited the wagon while it wasn’t “quite” standing still…

There was a very well preserved sheepherder’s wagon…

And one of the gunfighters had a little shop there called “Blackfoot Angler” and she makes the BEST fudge I’ve ever eaten in my life. Her name is Kathy Schoendoerfer. I’m pretty partial to her orange flavored fudge but it’s all wonderful. I would highly suggest if you are looking for a good Montana gift for an out-of-state relative, this is something really worth trying. I know I am going to! Kathy’s email is: and her website is But remember, she was one of the gunfighters so be nice!
Eileen and Aspen Taylor
Eileen Taylor

There is a really nice museum there with a lot of local history and exhibits. All in all, our trip was well worthwhile and I will be going again next year. The restaurant there was called “The Stray Bullet” and serves a great breakfast along with soups and sandwiches. Here is Eileen in front of the museum with Santa’s cute horse.

Inside the museum there were a pair of “Indian Hobbles” and unfortunately they were really used on Indians.
Indian hobbles

Congress lifts ban on funding inspections of horse butchering Independent Record Dec. 1 Tulsa, Okla. (AP)

Horses could soon be butchered in the U.S. for human consumption after Congress quietly lifted a 5-year-old ban on funding horse meat inspections, and activists say slaughterhouses could be up and running in as little as a month.

Slaughter opponents pushed a measure cutting off funding for horse meat inspections through Congress in 2006 after other efforts to pass outright bans on horse slaughter failed in previous years.

Congress lifted the ban in a spending bill President Barack Obama signed into law Nov. 18 to keep the government afloat until mid-December.

It did not, however, allocate any new money to pay for horse meat inspections, which opponents claim could cost taxpayers $3 million to $5 million a year. The U.S. Department of Agriculture would have to find the money in its existing budget, which is expected to see more cuts this year as Congress and the White House aim to trim federal spending.

The USDA issued a statement Tuesday saying there are no slaughterhouses in the U.S. that butcher horses for human consumption now, but if one were to open, it would conduct inspections to make sure federal laws were being followed. USDA spokesman Neil Gaffney declined to answer any questions beyond what was in the statement.

My Favorite Cranberry Conserve

Two 12 oz. bags fresh cranberries
3 ½ cups sugar
2 Granny Smith apples (peeled and chopped)
Grated zest of two oranges and two lemons
1 ½ cups of raisins
1 ½ cups chopped walnuts or pecans

Simmer cranberries, sugar and two cups water on low heat until skins pop open. Add apples, zests and juices from oranges and lemons. Cook 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add raisins and nuts. Let cool and serve chilled. Makes 6 pints.

Bits and Pieces

For information or to submit pictures or comments, please contact Cheryl Bryant – Please submit pictures ONE OR TWO AT A TIME.

If you have anything you would like to post in the Pony Tales, please contact Cheryl Schmidt at 458-3913 or email your request to Please have this information to me before the 10th of the month.

- One of our long-time members, Rita McNees, recently had knee replacement surgery. If you would like to send her a card her address is 5646 Glass Drive, Helena, MT 59602. We all wish Rita a heartfelt wish for a speedy recovery!

- Bob Braico talked to Keith Hatch at the Fairgrounds and gave our old timer stands to them to use. Thank you Bob for getting those darned old heavy things out of our way!

- Carrie Hahn is looking for a couple old wooden wagon wheels to make an outdoor buffet table she found a pattern for. If you come across some or know someone please call Carrie at 458-6151.

- The winning poker hand at the November meeting was Judy Gardner with a straight!!!!!

- In case you missed it…….This is a must see video….the famous “Tonk” on the Letterman show…he is the horse that helped save a boy from a grizzly in NW Montana a couple of months ago.

- How to make better ice…Pour 1 ½ cups water and ½ cup rubbing alcohol in a ziplock freezer bag (quart size); seal the bag and put in freezer. The alcohol will keep the water from freezing solid, leaving you with a moldable slush that conforms to whatever body part you need it for. DO NOT USE THIS ICE FOR DRINKS. IT IS POISONOUS.

Heather and Kate Hollandsworth with their new toys last Christmas.
Kate and Heather Hollandsworth

Kate and Heather Hollandsworth

Did You Know? (From an old book of mine)

Acey Deucy means: riding with one stirrup leather longer than the other, a style sometimes adopted by jockeys in the U.S. to help them keep their balance on sharps bends.

Bayo Coyote: a dun horse with a black dorsal stripe.

Boil Over: to start bucking.

Go Short: said of a horse which is lame or restricted in motion.

Jiggle: the ordinary gait of a cow horse averaging about 5 mph.

Nap: a horse is said to nap if it fails to obey properly applied aids, as in refusing to go forward or pass a certain point. (who of us hasn’t had this happen?)

Owlhead: a horse which is impossible to train.

Saddle Furniture: the metal parts of a saddle.

Sweet Itch: a dermatitis usually found in horses that are allergic to a particular pasture plant. It affects the crest, croup and withers causing intense irritation and producing patches of thick scaly, sometimes ulcerated skin, which the horse often rubs bare in its attempts to get relief.

In Closing…

For those of you who cannot make the party, please have a safe and happy holiday and we hope to see you on the trail in the spring! Cheryl Schmidt

“It is better to debate an important matter without settling it than to settle it without debating it.”

Back to the top