Meeting February 15th, 2012

Board Meets: 6:30 p.m. General Meeting: 7:30 p.m.

Dr. Tia Nelson will present stories on how acupuncture and chiropractic therapy has helped horses.

From the Vice-President          February 2012 Minutes

First and foremost, a wonderful hello and a great start to 2012! I am not sure about the rest of you but I have already gotten to be in the great outdoors riding a couple of time this year.

Thank you for giving me the honor of being the Vice President for our club once again this year and especially Heather for the nomination. I really enjoy my time on the board as well as the time I get to spend with the members of our fine club.

We had a great brainstorming meeting this morning/afternoon and feel that we accomplished a lot in determining what we can do to make a good club into a GREAT club. Lots of ideas and questions brought up today with lots of things to think about. Cheryl will have the goodies in the Pony Tales I am sure. Hope to see everyone at the meeting on Wednesday. Have a super 2012.

Chris Warren, Vice President

Well, hello everyone and please bear with me on this month’s newsletter. There’s a lot of information to fit in and I am going to try and make it short. I waited to do the newsletter until after our “think tank” meeting yesterday so I could get the information we discussed out to the general membership. The mailed newsletters are going to be a day or so late but hopefully will arrive before the meeting on Wednesday. I tape recorded the meeting so I could remember all that was discussed but unfortunately the room was too big and there was too much background noise to clearly hear everyone. I did take notes and will try to remember most of what was discussed.

First, let me say a big thank you to all the people who came and for all their wonderful ideas and for making the effort to come on a Saturday and spend their time and energy to be there. We have an exceptional group of people who truly care for the health of the club and I am so grateful for that. The meeting on February 11 was an attempt to get new ideas and discussions on the table. And we did!

We started off with the budget and Mary Kelley did an outstanding job of putting the 2012 projected budget in terms that can be easily understand. This will help us so much in the future so that we can have an idea of where we stand and what we need to do to keep enough money coming in to run the clubhouse. There is sometimes a misconception when Mary gives her Treasurer’s report saying that we have X amount of dollars. It sounds like a lot of money and seems like we could spend it on a lot of things. However, some of that money is in CDs and unavailable to us (without penalty) and I don’t know if people realize how much it takes to run this clubhouse. Our insurance is very expensive; the electric bill is expensive (although since Bob Braico and helpers put in the new windows, we have seen a reduction in the bill for the winter months). We spend more money each month than we have take in and rely heavily on fundraisers such as working the gates at the Last Stampede Fair just to pay the monthly bills. Membership may seem high to some but it isn’t enough to pay the bills for the full year. In addition, this clubhouse does NOT belong to the Helena Trail Riders. It belongs to the Fairgrounds. With all of their recent changes, upgrades and new buildings, they have told us that in the future we may have to move our building. Some of our savings are earmarked for that purpose.

We discussed updating our Bylaws and decided that it should be done by the Board of Directors and then the draft will be submitted to the general membership for changes and ideas. It will then be revised and presented to the membership for approval. If you have any ideas, please feel free to voice them. That brings up another subject. One thing I would like to clear up is the misconception that new members cannot have a say in how things are done. I have talked to people who say, well I don’t offer my ideas or speak up because I’m a new member or I don’t come to the meetings all the time so I don’t feel like I have a say. That is something that desperately needs to change. We need all members to feel that they have a say or can openly express their ideas without being shot down by “that’s not the way we do it” or “in the past we always did it this way.” This club will never survive our ‘changing times’ without changing with them. Even if an idea is not implemented, it encourages discussion and ultimately solutions.

We discussed marketing/public relations. This is something that we’ve not given as much attention to as in the past and it is something that once again needs to be factored into our budget and our minds. There are so many things we can do without having a large marketing budget and there were lots of good ideas brought forth. And don’t forget, you as members, are marketers too! You can do this by letting friends know when rides are, putting up a riding schedule or meeting schedule in your office, talking to other horse people, etc. This club is for all people who are interested in horses, whether they actively ride or not. Gary Bye and I will be discussing this at more length and if you have any interest in being part of marketing our club, please let us know. One of the things discussed was having a banner at the Stampede Rodeo or having someone carry a flag in the grand entry parade before the rodeo. This costs money but might be well spent. Without having done it before, there is no way of knowing how effective it would be. Also brought up was having a sign at the entrance of the fairgrounds on the fence. Again, it cost money and these ideas will be up for discussion.

We discussed the club’s meeting time. The consensus seems to be that 7:30 is too late for people with children and for people who live far enough out of town that they have to go home after work and then come back to town or wait several hours in town for the meeting to start. We did have enough board members present to vote on this and it was decided to have the meetings start at an earlier time. We voted to have the general meeting start at 6:00 p.m. We will discuss this again at this month’s meeting but please remember we cannot and probably will not please every person on this. This month’s meeting will be at the regular time.

The format of the meeting was also discussed and from the responses Eileen Taylor got from her survey is that people don’t want to spend a lot of time on “business” and would rather have the program first, some socializing, coffee and goodies, then have a quick business meeting. Every one at our meeting Saturday agreed with this. However, again, at our regular meeting you will have a chance to voice your opinion during our business meeting. Having the program first allows the presenters to get on with their evening and not have to sit through our meeting. So come a few minutes early to get settled so we don’t make the presenters wait. They are gracious enough to donate their time and effort to us. Also, I will be sending out the secretary’s report in a separate attachment. This will give you the opportunity to read it or not. This will save time in the general meeting and director’s reports will not have to be repeated.

Also discussed; the dreaded working the gates at the Stampede. We rely so heavily on that money, yet the same people run the gates every year. If we as a club decide we don’t want to do the gates then we need to come up with some other fund raising ideas to pay our monthly bills. And it’s not enough to just have an idea on this subject. You need to run with it and make it happen or we’re back to running the gates out of sheer necessity. We do need to have a fundraising committee anyway, there are lots of good ideas out there; fun ideas, like poker rides and tack sales, etc. But we need the commitment from the members to help so that the same people are not doing these things over and over again.

We discussed calling old members to ask why they no longer belong to the club. This would not be on one person, we would make a list of who to call and then give each person five or more numbers to call and ask old members why they are no longer in the club and ask them for specific reasons. Maybe by changing our meeting times or having more social events and less business meetings are the only reasons they didn’t want to come. Of course there are many other reasons too that we can’t do anything about but we need to know so that we can identify things that need to be changed or added to our club activities. There are a few long-time members who have already volunteered for this.

We discussed opening our clubhouse to the public or to the rodeo contestants during the Stampede Fair as sort of a hospitality suite or just a place to come in a sit down to get some peace and quiet and maybe even have the rodeo announcer give us a plug letting people know the clubhouse is open. We could possibly serve pie and coffee or sell bottled water. The possibilities are endless. Some of the older members who can no longer work the gate said they would be happy to sit in there and talk about the history of the club, go through our old photo albums and be there to keep an eye on things. The 4-H club uses our clubhouse during the fair to take entries from 4-H members but it is not crowded and there is plenty of room for all of us. They may even want to join in our efforts and sell baked goods, etc.

We discussed having club jackets, t-shirts, hats, etc. This is something we used to do and there is no better marketing than to wear a club jacket or hat! There used to be a large “set up” fee for embroidery logos but in the digital age scanning something for set up is quick and less expensive. You would pay for your own jacket or whatever you want but the logo would be available. After some discussion by Jan Braico, we ladies decided we wanted the logo on the BACK. (You had to be there.) That way you could put your name above the front pocket or some other embroidery, like horse shoes or whatever. Already people have signed up to order jackets/coats/t-shirts so this is going to happen. If you are interested please let me know. Next week I will talk to a place that Bruce Moutaw suggested. I had already talked to Precision on Billings Avenue.

We briefly discussed the West Arena, which was an important item before Bob Braico talked to Keith from the fairgrounds. Bob had looked into the possibility of re-fencing the area with steel pipe. It was expensive but we thought a good investment. However, after some foot work by Bob, and getting numbers from the fairgrounds as to how much use the arena was getting, and the fact that the fairgrounds is building a new steel arena, the discussion regarding re-building the West Arena became a non-issue. There is no sense in re-building the arena at this point. However, we still need to maintain it and we still have the right to use it as always, Tuesdays and Thursdays and the first Friday of the month.

We discussed making our clubhouse bathroom more handicapped accessible. Bob Braico, our maintenance director stated that to do it “to code” would mean removing and re-plumbing the toilet and other costly measures. However, he did say he would put a grab bar/hand rail in there and that would help tremendously for some of our members. We are grandfathered in to not be “required” to update our bathrooms and in the event that we opened our clubhouse at the fair to the public we would post a sign saying “No Public Restroom” and that will save us from any unforeseen troubles. In any event, some of our members would greatly appreciate a grab bar/hand rail and that is quite doable.

We discussed “training” trail rides. This was also brought up by Eileen in her survey and there was not much interest. However, it was again brought up in our meeting and these rides will be done by small groups of people with a specific agenda in mind before the ride. If you are interested, please contact Eileen Taylor. These rides will not be regular trail rides and might be on a week day or a weekend when there is no scheduled ride.

Wow, for someone who is in the gray hair club, I remembered quite a lot without the tape recorder! If I have forgotten something, please let me know or better yet bring it up at the next meeting. So, on to Old Business from the last meeting and as Paul Harvey says (said), and here’s the rest of the story.

Well first on the agenda: Our President, Sheri Onstott, fell while fishing with her husband Randy on January 29th. Yes, she was on the front page of the newspaper. She had to be hauled out by just about every organization we have available to us. They listed them in the article: Lewis and Clark Search and Rescue, L&C Sheriff, TriLake Volunteer Fire Department, Sate Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Bureau of Land Management employees and of course St. Peter’s Ambulance. Dang, we have a popular President! And if she’s not embarrassed enough already, they dragged her out with a rope. But she’s a cowgirl and as my Dad used to say, she’ll scab up and hair over… Sheri, we wish you well and we missed you at the meeting. Hope you are feeling better.

At the January meeting we chose an audit committee. For those of you who don’t know, every year we must audit our books. This has been done and they will present their report at this month’s meeting.

The O-Mok-See District Meeting is going to be February 17th, I’m not sure of the location so if you need to know please contact Sandy Merchen at 465-9364.

Eileen Taylor has reserved the use of the Multi-Purpose building 2 nights in March and another private arena for 2 nights in April. These both cost money upfront. If people back out, then the club will get stuck with the cost. Please talk to Eileen Taylor for dates and other information or call her at 461-0821. Also, remember that Sonny got our club members the use of Renee Pipinich’s arena on Wednesdays from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. for $10 per horse. Her website with map to her place is below. To go directly to the site, press control and click on this address.

Eileen had scheduled a Spring Potluck with a Cinco de Mayo theme on May 4th. To be followed by our first ride on May 5th. There was to be a prize for the horse with the best Cinco de Mayo themed costume. However, in light of the very LAST running of the horses in Three Forks, these plans may have changed. The running of the horses is usually the third weekend of April but this year it is the weekend of the 4th and 5th of May. This will be discussed at the meeting this month and dates will be set. If you have never been to the running of the horses through the town of Three Forks, it’s really fun. And again, this will be the Mantle’s last year as the ranch is for sale.

Crockpot Brownie Bottoms

½ cup packed brown sugar
¾ cup water
2 Tbs. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ½ cups packaged brownie mix (gluten free)
1 package (2 ¾ ounces) instant chocolate pudding mix
½ cup milk chocolate chips
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tbs. Butter or margarine, melted

Lightly spray 4 quart crock pot with nonstick cooking spray. In small saucepan combine brown sugar, water and cocoa powder; bring to a boil.

Combine brownie mix, pudding mix, chocolate chips, eggs and butter in medium bowl; stir until well blended. Spread batter into crock pot then pour boiling sugar mixture over the batter.

Cover and cook on high for 1 ½ hours. Turn off heat and let stand for 30 minutes. Makes 6 servings. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Note: I made this for January’s meeting and it was very easy. If you make it, don’t be alarmed that the mix on the bottom is quite dry. It all works out in the end. Jan had left us some ice cream in the refrigerator and oh it was good!

Bits and Pieces

For information or to submit pictures or comments, please contact Cheryl Bryant –, Please submit pictures ONE 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.

Upcoming Events:

For Sale: 2004 Logan Coach Qualifier - $24900 (Helena, MT) Date: 2012-02-07, 6:35PM MST Reply to: [Errors when replying to ads?]

4 horse with LQ; 7' tall 7' wide, 8'6" shortwall, drop windows on head and rear along with overhead vents, mangers, load lights inside and out, escape door, rear tack with swing out saddle rack, blanket bars, walk thru door to horse compartment, two exterior storage compartments for additional storage of tack or feed; also 2 propane tanks/batteries, spare tire and jack. Interior includes a/c, forced air heater, fold out sofa, bed in nose with extra cabinets for additional storage and a TV stand. 3.0 cf fridge, microwave, 2 burner stove, sink, bathroom with shower/toilet combo, am/fm/cd radio with inside outside speakers and newer flooring. The trailer has been well taken care but only using it a couple times a year the trailer does not get enough use. This would be a great rodeo set up. I can send additional pictures or info if needed. Will include a 2000 watt Honda generator if the price listed is paid, will come down some if you do not want the generator.

Hay Hauling: Marc McCauley. Hauls hay for $35.00 a ton. He is very reliable and knows what he is doing. He will go pick it up where you buy it and deliver and stack at your place. or call at 439-5883.

Did You Know?

Elizabeth Lopatto – Bloomberg News – New York

Every horse in the world can be traced to a single mare that trotted the earth about 130,000 to 160,000 years ago, scientists discovered for the first time.

The research identified 18 different genetic clusters that arose from the ancestral mare, suggesting that domestication occurred in many places across Europe and Asia, according to work published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study helps pinpoint the time when humans began domesticating horses, though it was known to be after dogs, sheep, pigs and cattle. The research may also help scientists classify horse fossils, figure out the pedigree of modern breeds and perhaps evaluate how genetics affect racehorse performance, said Samantha Brooks, an assistant professor of equine genetics at Cornell University, in a telephone interview.

“When you think about animals that shaped human history, the horse is No. 1,” said Brooks, who wasn’t involved in the study. “Domesticated animals define what it is to be human. Without that, it’s unlikely we’d have the culture and technology we have today.”

The study analyzed mitochondrial DNA, which contains genes that are essential for the cell’s energy functions. These genes are inherited solely from the mother.

The 18 genetic clusters suggest that horses were domesticated multiple times, in different places. At least one horse domestication happened in Western Europe, possibly the Iberian Peninsula, the authors wrote.

The study was conducted using 83 genomes from horses across Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the Americas.

“Of all one’s fancy attire, a smile is the most becoming.”

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