People honor ancestry in many ways. When it comes to riding styles, LuAnn Goodyear’s preferences are respected for decades.
A native of Brush, Colorado, she grew up in Fort Collins, Colorado and even spent her earliest years around horses. Strangely, none of her parents were particularly equine. However, they undeniably recognized their young daughter’s passion when she snuck into Colorado State University’s bull farm. Then all the riding horses of the CSU were housed there in Elizabeth Street.
The brave and determined 6-year-old waited until the coast was clear. She then climbed onto every single horse in the place to “ride free”. After this episode, her solo activities were probably carefully monitored. In 1960, at the age of 9, she was allowed to take official lessons at the CSU.
There was no turning back – everything related to equestrian sport became her lifelong calling, then her career path. This included founding and directing her own 4-H club, Owl Canyon Vaqueros, from 2007 to 2011. During those same years, she served as coordinator of the 4-H horse program for all of Larimer County.
At the same time, she was instrumental in bringing the Working Ranch Horse Competition to the Larimer County and Colorado State fairs.
Among many other tasks, Goodyear organized the “Prepare For Fair” courses for all equestrian disciplines. She trained both youth and adult horse handlers. She was a Level IV Horse Levels Rater for English, Western and Working Ranch Horses for the entire state of Colorado.
In 1995, Goodyear built a large boarding house at 19 County Road in Fort Collins. But just three years later, she sadly sold her dream apartment as part of a 1998 divorce settlement.
No one to let grass grow under their feet…well, except maybe alfalfa, timothy and the like…it was only three years before Goodyear found the perfect spot for their self-proclaimed “ultimate” boarding stable.
The 200-acre lot at West County Road 70 (flat land, known earlier as Owl Canyon Road) was originally vacant. As with CR 19, Goodyear planned every aspect of this intense project from the ground up, including drawing the blueprints. Construction started in 1999.
MISIDENTIFIED, ALMOST SKUNKED
Goodyear’s monumental building work caught the attention of a neighbor to the south. The late 1990s brought with it a profusion of transplants that had abandoned million-dollar homes in California, that beachfront but far less peaceful western Pacific state.
Yes, their fancy flip-flops thundered east to Colorado, fueled by Rocky Mountain-high dreams of lower crime rates, less traffic, and an easy life. With no jobs but laden with tons of money earned from their expensive real estate sales, they paid hard cash for new homes or bare land. The prices here were then comparatively cheap, cheap, cheap.
So Goodyear’s disgruntled Mr. Neighbor was less than pleased as he drove past the hustle and bustle of construction just a stone’s throw from his land. hmm Maybe this new place would be a damn final resting place for a deceased skunk? McMillan considered a plan.
One day, on a dark night, he would enter their brand-new riding arena, accompanied by a dead, mature polecat. He would then return home, leaving the poor black and white lifeless creature to greet the new owner’s upturned, offended nose the next morning.
Before McMillan could stage his clandestine invasion, he met Goodyear in person and found, to his relief, that she was a down-to-earth, friendly local girl.
Goodyear now laughs out loud as she recalls her first meeting with this Tom McMillan colleague. A Colorado native, his father ran the Larimer County Extension Office. He had been annoyed that this supposedly “snooty, rich Californian” had settled nearby. But it all ended well, no skunk, no confrontation, no range war.
“We’ve bought a lot of hay from Tom over the years,” says his good friend and neighbor Goodyear with a grin.
For those same 23 years, this neighborhood hay-feed horses at the Last Resort Equestrian Center (LREC), as Goodyear called their full-service boarding facility. 10 people with their 24 horses are currently enjoying the wide range of training and leisure riding equipment. Word of mouth fills the stands long before any vacancies can even be advertised.
The large tan barn with a dark green roof is the center of LREC activities. A white with blue trim (still skunk-free) indoor arena welcomes riders into its spacious 80 x 144 foot, a boon in Colorado’s strong winds, winter chills or blazing summer sun.
Outside is a round pen and a 125 x 225 foot arena. Beautiful bridle paths circle the entire 80-acre property. For those who crave even more space, there is access to a 32-acre conservation area owned by the US federal government.
A certain resident enjoys walking around the LREC property. Her owner has housed beautiful black Fiona and three other Mustangs from the Bureau of Land Management there. When she craves lusher grasses, Fiona mysteriously transforms from a normal horse into an Uber Agility Mare (UAM).
Somehow she falls to the ground unnoticed and sneaks/crawls/rolls out of the hot wire fence without ever tripping him. She ends up just nibbling on her tough pick in the front yard, content to be a BLM filly equipped with UAM Spidey sense.
Here, too, it is a question of ancestry. Goodyear’s enduring appreciation for a specific training style began in 1993 with the acquisition of Kit, a problem gelding. She wanted him as a reliable Jäger-Knight, but what she got instead was a consistent Bucker.
Someone she knew sent her a video introducing her to a trainer named Buck Brannaman. Maybe his advice would help. Well, Goodyear never got Kit past his vise.
“I didn’t have the skills or the confidence,” she honestly admitted.
Instead, she applied Brannaman’s training tips to her Arabian gelding Rosh and happily competed in Hunter Spring classes.
In 1994, Goodyear began riding at Brannaman’s Colorado clinics in Steamboat Springs, Longmont and Granby. There she learned ranch-style cow work (just for fun) and Big Loop ranch roping (which she participated in).
In 1997 she began attending Brannaman’s clinics at LREC and has counted him not only as a business associate but also as a good friend for 25 years.
“I have a heart and a passion for quality horsemanship,” Goodyear said, adding that Brannaman’s methods develop those qualities that are based on trust and the bond between rider and horse. No gimmicks, just true horsemanship.
She recently hosted her annual Buck Brannaman Clinic on May 20-22, 2022 at CSU’s Pickett Arena. For those who missed it, there’s an upcoming event with similar content.
DECLINE ON LINE TO JOE WOLTERS
Although all equestrian spots are taken, spectators are welcome to visit Joe Wolters’ clinic at the LREC August 12-14. Lineage again, as Wolters also adheres to the Vaquero style of horsemanship, beginning with Bill and Tom Dorrance, through Ray Hunt, to Buck Brannaman and Joe Wolters.
Vaquero methods came from Spain, Goodyear said, through Mexico to make a proper bridle horse. Specific types of equipment used (Spanish bits, braided leather riatas instead of polylariates, etc.) are all vaquero-style.
The cattle used at Wolters’ August Clinic are provided by Larry Flemming, a friend of Goodyear’s from Hudson, Colorado.
At the clinic, Goodyear will be riding Bella, a lovely 5-year-old Quarter Horse mare, who she is starting. Bella is a granddaughter of Playboy.
The Joe Wolters Clinic fee of USD 30 per day per spectator is payable upon arrival. Bring your own comfortable lawn chair, but there will be a concession stand.
For more information on future clinics, call LuAnn Goodyear at (970) 690-1854.