Feb 17, 2014

Military & Veterans' Day at the Legislature

Februaary 17th, 2014 Military and Veterans Day at the Roundhouse

A view of the Rotunda in our State's Capitol Building.

Horses For Heroes - Cowboy Up! Executive director Rick Iannucci with American Gold Star Mother and rancher Becky Christmas and Cowboy Up!director Nancy De Santis.

Navajo Code Talker Thomas Begay is flanked by Marco and John  Shannon and Rick Iannucci and Eric Yorty

A Standing Ovation Honoring Our Nations Heroes from our home state of New Mexico!

Fallen Warrior Wall for our American Gold Star Mothers of New Mexico by 
Horses for Heroes - New Mexico ~ Cowboy Up!

In a heartfelt gesture of respect, honor and gratitude this 6X8  memorial wall is designed and built to honor our post 9-11 Fallen Heroes.  Our wish was a design that would be both a dignified and moving tribute that would express the feelings of our ranch and the warrior cowboy spirit that is alive here in our Cowboy Up! program and in our veterans and active military.

Designed and built by Rick Iannucci, Nancy De Santis, Lavonne Miller,  Kevin Dugan and Michael Gabbrielli, it is constructed of our re-claimed barn wood and patina metal with hand stamped brass dog tags containing the name, rank, branch of service, date of birth, and place the fallen hero made their ultimate sacrifice.  A large Gold Star circled with a wreath duplicating the American Gold Star Mothers  logo completes the flag like design.

Of the pair, one dog tag is permanently mounted on the wall and the second dog tag hangs from a 4-inch brass chain.  A wind chime effect takes place as the dangling tags flutter in the wind and recessed lighting casts a soft shadow on the patina wall and the dog tags.

At our 2013 Cowboy Christmas Dinner the Fallen Hero Wall was unveiled and the first dog tags were presented to the attending Albuquerque Chapter Mothers and their spouses.  Cabinet Secretary Tim Hale, NM Dept. of Veterans Services assisted us in these presentations.

This one and only privately designed and constructed memorial to our Iraq and Afghanistan Fallen Heroes will be permanently installed on the West wall of our Warrior Bunkhouse at the Crossed Arrows Ranch in Santa Fe.  We will also stand ready to present our Gold Star Mothers their Fallen Heroes Dog Tag when they honor us with a visit to the ranch.

Feb 15, 2014

Valentine's Day

February 14th, 2014                         

Hay hooks make a heart! 

Valentine's Day brought spring-like weather to the mountains and some much needed time in the round pen for some join up with our veterans!

Cowboy Up! participant Lt. Col.Chris Schiano US Army Ret., in the roundpen with Knight.

It's been a while since Chris Chaisson has been able to ride Junior, so they get re-aquainted in the roundpen under Rick's supervision.

Nice smooth change of directions.

And reading the perfect situation, it's time for Rick to exit to allow the "magic" to happen...

...a little closer Junior comes...

... and join up!

Then as widely respected horseman Monty Roberts calls it, "Follow up", where junior follows Chris in any direction Chris chooses to take.  

From the round pen to horseback, fellow Army veterans 
ride side by side...

...and Chaisson imparts his horsemanship knowledge 
to his newest rider.
Well done men!

February 15th, 2014

Gotta take advantage of the mild winter weather... all hands on deck for riding!
Wrangler Bianca leading at the trot, as practice makes perfect!

  Gotta get the feel at the seated trot so that we can now 
rise to the trot.
Rising to the trot is not just for English riding!  It saves your horse and your butt on those long cattle gathers !

Great job!

Before we end our session we go over how to move a horses shoulders and hind quarters, while Bianca does some ankle rolls~ gotta keep those joints nice and flexible, as they are our natural shock absorbers!

Feb 12, 2014


On Tuesday February 11th we were honored to stand as family and veterans with our Chaplin Jose as we laid Staff Sgt. Eloy Tafoya USMC to rest at the Santa Fe National Cemetary. 
We are also humbled and honored to accept the US Flag that draped his coffin and will display it proudly at our  bunkhouse at the Crossed Arrows Ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico. 
From left to right: John Shannon( Army), Jose Villegas (USMC), Rick Iannucci (Army), Nancy De Santis, "Doc", Eric Yorty (Army), Chris Chaisson (Army) , Carl McCabe (Army).      

Staff Sgt. Eloy Timothy Tafoya USMC 1953 - 2014

Feb 3, 2014

Just before the snow...

February 3rd, 2014

The guys got one more session in before the snow storm came
(note snow in the mountains).
Eric takes Andrew through a warm up...

Nothing like taking feet outta the stirrups to solidify the seated trot.

While the guys rode, we had a special visit from Lt. Col. Pat Gaston US Army Ret.

Hollywood thoroughly enjoyed his grooming session!