Wednesday, December 30, 2009

This year is almost at an end...

Where did it go?

I have watched my little girl become a young lady.

I have been reminded by actions and by my heart that I am married to a great man.

I have learned that I have a "do-it-all" horse.

And I have learned that ponies can be as great as a horse.

I have gained new friendships and have had old friendships lost. I rejoice in one and am a little saddened by the other.

I have known the birth of a new life and the loss of old friends.

I have watched history be made and records be broken.

I have become a year older and two years wiser.

What will next year hold? Joy, sadness, gain and loss. Who knows. All I do know is this: Keep your faith strong, keep your loved ones close, charish your time on this earth, build your riches in heaven and do as Tim McGraw sings about and live like you were dying. Because when the Lord calls you home, you can't refuse.

Stay strong my friends who read this, and to stangers who may read this as well and have a Blessed and Happy New Year.

God Bless,
Tammy and her herd.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Cowboy Mounted Shooting

What a fun weekend I had. Don't know if I could say the same for Summer, but Toni said she did great for her first time of being shot off of. She never tried to bolt or buck. Every time the gun went off she would jump a bit and "bop" her head. I guess I would jump a bit too if someone was on my back and shooting a .45 off of me. LOL We didn't put earplugs in her ears because she has a right ear issue ever since I bought her. So after we were done, Kelley showed me a trick to putting the earplugs in her ears and it worked! So next time, she will be wearing them.
The top picture is of me shooting strong hand and the above picture I am shooting weak hand. When shooting in a competition, there are some balloons that you may have to cross your strong hand over the horse and shoot on its other side. So I shot from both sides of her to see her reaction and to let her know that the horrid noise would be coming from both sides. She reacted no different from either side.

This picture is our first cross shot and she did fine.

I shot about 30 rounds off of her. Toni didn't want to push her but totally believes Summer is going to do just fine in this sport should I decide to do it. I love shooting guns and I love riding horses. So why not combine the two? But I need to be careful and not spread myself too thin financially. I love sorting, so I am not giving that up. I really enjoy driving, so I am not giving up the Driving Trail Challenges. And she is too good at competitive trail rides to let that talent go to waste, so I can't give that up. Hmmmm? What to do, what to do. Guess I will have to give up something "non"-horsey to afford another new venue.
I told Toni that if she didn't think Summer would be good at this, to please, please let me know. She firmly believes, Summer is going to be good at this too. She told me that Summer reacted great to her first shoot. I told her that I initially bought Summer for trail riding. But Summer has surpassed my expectations as a horse. I never thought I would be driving her. Never dreamed I would be working cows on her and actually winning money doing that. Now shooting!?! She has gone above and beyond anything I could have hoped for in a horse. I know I say it all the time, but I am truly blessed to have this lovely creature in my life.
Oh, and while at Toni's, Summer decided to be buds with Baxter the Angus steer.

I snapped this picture right before they actually touched noses. It was so cute!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Summer might have another new venue?

Summer watching a competitor shoot. She was very interested in the action
What about...Cowboy Mounted Shooting? Well, I took her to a competition this past Saturday up in Decatur to watch my friends Toni and Kelley compete. We also wanted to see how Summer would react to the gunfire.
Let's take a moment to reflect on another issue we have been having:
I have mentioned that Summer has been having some trailer unloading issues. I don't mind talking about, but just don't want everyone's opinions on why she might be doing it and how to fix it. For this kind of problem, I strongly urge anyone to go to a trainer. This kind of problem can literally kill your horse. I will tell the story quickly. A few month ago, Summer started blowing out of the trailer when it was time to get out. I thought she was just being a snot and didn't really think about it. That is, until a few weeks ago when she came out and slammed her head into the roof of the trailer. She started stumbling and shaking her head. That scared me to death. As I have mentioned also before, my new friend Toni is a horse trainer. I confided in her my problems. Since then, she has helped me and schooled me with this issue. This past Saturday night, after the trip to watch Toni at the CMS, when we got home, she unloaded quiet as a church mouse. I buried my face in Summer's neck and cried.
I can honestly say, nothing Summer has ever done has terrified me, but this did. I was terrified I was going to loose her if something wasn't done. I had even contemplated buying a taller trailer. But Toni said, "No, we will fix this." This had to be fixed because what if I had to use a shorter trailer again. And of course, she was right.
You would be shocked at what some folks suggested I do to fix this issue. All of which were dangerous in my mind. And what some folks thought Summer's problems were as to why she was doing this. I sit here and just shake my head. If this ever happens to you, please, please, PLEASE seek the help of a REAL trainer. I can pretty much teach Summer to do anything, but this was just something I couldn't do by myself. I just can't thank Toni enough.
Anyway, back to the Cowboy Mounted Shoot. When Summer and I got there, we parked right next to Toni and Kelley. Toni said, "Let me see you unload her."
Now, let's go back to the previous night (Friday), when Summer and I went sorting. It took me 20 minutes to get her in the trailer. And she literally tried to run me over several times. Yes, I took a whip to her everytime she did that. Once I finally got her in, I was sweating and shaking. When we got on the road, I called Toni and as soon as she answered the phone I said, "I'm sorry." I then explained to her what just happened. She said, "Don't you remember me telling you that I expected this?" She did say it would get worse before it got better. "Good, Bad, Better, Worse, Trained". She believed that this was the worse. When we got to sorting, Summer sort of blew out of the trailer. But when sorting was done, got back in the trailer pretty good. And when we got home, sort of blew out again.
Back to Saturday and Toni wanting to see me unload Summer. I showed Toni what and how I was working her (what Toni had taught me to do the previous weekend we went to her place)(see previous blog), and Summer backed out VERY good. Not quiet as a church mouse, but much better even though we had issues just that previous night. Toni was very happy with the progress. I was going to leave Summer with Toni for a week because I honestly didn't think I could do this as I just didn't want to hurt her. But when she just unloaded the way she just did, Toni had all the confidence in me. She said she would keep her if I wanted, but believed that Summer and I would be just fine. So I agreed, and took her home after the shoot. And was glad I did because of the "quiet as a church mouse" unload she did when we got home
Now back to the shooting event. Summer could give a rat's patooty about all that gunfire. I saddled her before the event and took her straight in to the arena as it was drizzling outside. Toni and I were very proud of her as that gunfire was loud. .45 caliber pistols are pretty noisey in a covered arena. Summer and I watched for awhile then went to the warm up area and rode. Went to the little pasture and pushed the roping calves back. (I knew they were roping calves cause they had horn protectors on).
So, if all goes right, I am going to go to Toni's this weekend as she is going to use my trailer for a lesson for one of her horses, then we are going to (hopefully) shoot off of Summer. Oh yes, there will be pictures!
Oh, and BTW, she was excellent Friday night during sorting pratice. My instructor and I rode 1 round and got all the calves. And no, he didn't "carry" me! LOL But I love running with him cause I am getting a lesson while we run. Can't wait to start competiting at Southwest next year! YeeHaw!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Amanda's senior pictures and a productively fun Sunday at Toni's

Friday night was a nice evening. David, Amanda, Andy and I went out to eat then dress shopping. Yes, you read it right, David and Andy went dress shopping with us. David had to be forced (of course), but Andy wanted to go. (You think the boy is a little smitten with my daughter?) LOL

Anyway, the first place we go, we find the dress for her senior pictures. It is gorgeous. So we head home and put the guys in front of the TV and head to the kitchen so she can dye my hair. YEAH, all my grey is gone, once again!

Saturday morning, one of Amanda's friends comes over and sets her hair and does her makeup for her senior pictures. She did a wonderful job. We get her clothes and props in the car and head on over to Glamourcraft studios. She had 3 different outfits plus the 2 school shots. Her first was the formal dress, second was her cosmetology set with all kinds of props and the third was casual outside shots. I get to see the proofs January 5th, and I can't wait. They looked so beautiful.

Saturday night was supposed to be my first night driving for this larger carriage company, but that fell through. Long story. But my thoughts, if you call me and need me, and I ask 2 days in advance of the event "where is the location?" and I ask you twice, then you call me 53 minutes before the event to give me an address to a town I have never even been to, well, thanks, but no thanks. Apparently, you really didn't need me. Don't waste my time.

Okay, off my soap box.

Sunday, Summer and I went to my friend Toni's house. Toni is a horse trainer and does Cowboy Mounted Shooting (and after watching the videos of her doing it, "Guess what Summer? Momma wants to play that game too!" LOL) Anyway, I have been having bad issues with Summer blowing out of the trailer. She just started this a few months ago and it has steadily gotten worse. So bad that she is almost always hitting her head on the roof and just the last week, she actually refused to get out of the trailer. So, Toni told me to bring her to her place and we would work on it. Well, maybe 30 minutes or so of work, and Summer was coming out, but it was still kind of blowing out. However, Kelly (Toni's beau), noticed that Summer was slipping on the mat when she came out. So, he flipped the mat over as is has a more course side to it. And guess what? When she came out again, it wasn't quite as bad and actually improved each time she came out. I was overjoyed! The slipping on the mat must have been what triggered it all and it just took someone else's eye to see it. There is still work and exercises that need to be done before she is 100% back to "normal", but we are on the road to recovery.

After our first session, Toni put Summer in one of her turn outs and we loaded up in Kelly's truck and headed to lunch. We ate then went to Tractor Supply as they need dog and cat food. TSC had stall mats out front (as usual), and they were on sale for $30.99. They have a grippy side, so I bought one. When we got back to their place, we went in and watched vids of Toni's shooting events. All I kept telling myself was, "I WANT TO DO THAT!" LOL Toni got her guns out and I played with them for a minutes and she said I could come out some time during a practice and use her guns! WOOHOO... They are single action .45s. Which means, you have to cock the hammer before every shot. No just pulling the trigger like my double action .357. I can't wait! I plan on going out to her next event next Saturday. I may take Summer and just tie her to the trailer so she can hear the gun fire. Once we got done watching vids and playing with guns, it was time for Summer and I to go home. Kelly was very sweet and put my new mat in the trailer for me. We did a couple more load and unloads. She was still a little too fast with the front feet, but she is much better than when we got to Toni's.

I feel very blessed that I have met Toni and Kelly. I honestly don't know what I would have done if she hadn't helped me with Summer. Her approach on the issue was of calm and gentleness with Summer. Summer never got upset and only tried a few times to avoid the training, but never in a mean or dangerous way. I can pretty much fix issues I have with Summer, but when they become a danger to themselves, I strongly suggest a trainer to anyone out there. Thank you so much Toni.

Oh, and I don't want to forget Toni's critters. She has a bunch. She is where I want to be. A large piece of land and a bunch of critters. David has been warned! LOL A couple of critters she had in particular were a pygmy goat named Louise. Once I gave her some horse cookies, she was my bestest buddy. I literally believe that she would have gotten in my SUV had I asked her to. And she also had an Angus steer named Baxter, which I did get pictures of. Matter of fact, that is his pic at the top. That is me peeking over Baxter. He is a really sweet boy.

Thanks for reading...

Friday, December 4, 2009

GiGi decided she wanted a vacation day...silly car.

My car decided for me yesterday that it was just to cold to go to work. So, she (GiGi) decided to have engine problems.

Called David and let him listen, via cell phone, to the horrible noise coming from under her hood. And the engine wasn't even on, not to mention I had the keys in my hand while holding the phone to the engine. David came home to fix her. Once again, thank God I am married to a mechanic.

Once he was done, he said the cost of what he did at home, would have been between $500 and $700 at a garage. His cost was $127.00. My cost, a warm lunch and good dinner. I could handle that! He finished about 3:30pm. Since it was too late for me to go to work, we just went to WalMart and I bought oil and a filter and he did that for me yesterday too.

Have a busy weekend this weekend. Taking Amanda shopping tonight for a new dress for her senior photo shoot tomorrow. After that, she is dying my hair. Tomorrow is her shoot, then she, Taylor and I go to Roenoak tomorrow night to work for a carriage company. I will be a driver and Amanda and Tay will be hostesses. They will help folks get on and off the carriages. I think they will get $75 for 4 hours of work. Pretty good $ for teenagers. Then on Sunday, Summer and I are going to Toni's house. Going to work with her obstacle course and work on Summer's trailer issues. David may go. I told him he would get along well with Kelly, Toni's beau. I think they have 4 wheelers, so he could go play with those. Plus, I am taking a pet carrier. Toni has several cats that she is trying to home. I have a feeling David will find something that he may want. He loves cats and I just hope we find something remotely close to the personality that Mia had.

Andy came over last night. And Libby was not fond of him last night. She snapped at him and barked at him. After I scolded her, she sat by me the rest of the evening and just glared at him. It was kind of funny. She was fine with him last week, but I did keep her locked out during Thanksgiving because I didn't want her jumping on my dad's bad knee. So maybe, she really didn't get to know him like I thought she did. Anyway, not sure if I want her to like him or not. LOL

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What a great lllooonnnggg holiday weekend.

I took Wednesday off to get house cleaning done as my parents and Amanda's boyfriend Andy were coming over for Thanksgiving. The house wasn't bad, but there were things that had to be done before I wanted to cook a Thanksgiving feast and have company over on Thursday. And I did get quite a bit done.

Andy came over this day also as I have never met him. It was time to get it over with. He seems nice enough, but don't they all at first. He helped me load the car to take some items to Good Will. I treated us to lunch. He went to Cowboy Junction with us as Amanda and I shopped for candles. And went to the barn with us while I turned out horses. I bomb barded him with questions. I even threw a trick question in and he failed that one. But what can I do but pray I raised my daughter right. David treated to our usual pre-Thanksgiving dinner, pizza and at 11pm I had to shoo the boy home.

Thanksgiving came and went very well. We had the usual spread of food. All the Thanksgiving norms. Turkey, stuffing, cranberries, gravy, etc... We watched the movie Angels and Demons as Dad and Andy had never seen it. Took pictures and just hung out. Mom and dad left about 3 o'clock or so and once again, I shooed Andy home at about 6pm. Amanda then went to Taylor's house and hung out and played games until about 10:30pm. So it was a nice day.

Friday came and David, June, Tracey, Amanda and I went and bought hay from our usual hay guy. Plus David did some other "heavy" chores that us chicks didn't need to be doing around the barn. (Yes, I am very blessed to be married to a non-horse guy that doesn't mind doing horse chores).

Anywho, I wasn't sure if I was going sorting or not. But decided I would. We didn't go the previous Friday and I don't like missing to much practice. And I was glad we went. However, practice was a bit different. Instead of 11 head, they were only running 8 head. I guess they couldn't get all the calves out of the pasture so we had to make due with what we had. I did my first run with a guy named Jimmy. We got all our calves in right at 60 seconds. But remember, we were only running 8 head. How would we have done with all 11? Anyway, the rest of the evening, I ran with Robin. It was bust after bust. I still don't understand why we don't do well together. Our second to last run, we got 4 and our last run of the evening together, we did get 6. After that she was a little beat, and wanted to stop. I was already in line and wanted to do one more with this young girl named Kim. She is 12 but looks like she is 15 or so. Anyway, we got all our calves and had several seconds to spare. I was really proud of that run. She is a beginner and was taking direction real well when I was communicating with her. We were just peeling our calves off the wall and working great as a team. So after that run, I called it a night and put Summer on the trailer and went back in to watch the jackpot. There were no novice teams running, just Pro/Am. During practice however, Retty, the announcer, asked if I was running jackpot and I told her no, and she called me chicken so everyone could hear her. LOL Just don't think I am ready to run with the big dogs yet. I am still just a pup in this sport. LOL

On Saturday, Tracey and I headed to Six-0 Ranch in Cleburne. We made plans with Kim W., Toni J., her beau Kelly and Alice Y. Kim invited a co-worked named Katie who invited another friend named Judy. Alice invited Karen H. and in the end, we had nine folks all together. It is hard riding in a large crowd on single track trails if some horses walk faster than others. But at Six-0 there really aren't that many single track trails. There are plenty of trails where you can spread out. That is what I like about that place. Plus, we did inadvertently break up into groups. Kim, Karen and I way out in the front in some areas where we did some fast cantering when the others were safely, far enough behind us. Tracey, Toni and Kelly in the middle where Toni was giving instruction to Tracey and Amira. And Alice, Katie and Judy right behind them. But there were several areas where we just stayed together as a group. It was just such a fun and relaxing ride. We all did the first "loop" for a total 10.7 miles and Tracey, Alice, Karen and I went back out later for about a little 3 mile loop. Very relaxing. Can't wait for the next one.

Me, Kim W., Toni J. on Amira, Judy, Tracey on Sammy, Alice Y., Karen H. and Katie. Kelly was the photographer.

Sunday was "get my barn chores done day" and go home and chill the rest. Plus get a little scrap booking in. And that is just what I did.

So, I couldn't have been blessed with a more perfect 5 day holiday. I could have asked for better I guess, but that would just have been plain greedy of me! LOL

Thanks for reading.

Monday, November 16, 2009

What a first "cart accident", my first trophy halter and a guardian angel.

What can I say? I have a lot of "thank yous" for this blog, but my first thank you goes to God. You will read more about what happened later. But first...
Well, I have been getting my cart and harness ready for the first ever Driving Trail Challenge on Sunday, November 15th, hosted by Candy Bradford and Kate Love.

Thursday, while at work, I wondered what time ride out would be for the TTC to be held on Saturday, November 14th. I thought that if it wasn't too early that I could make that drive in the wee morning hours and do that too! So, Tracey texted Kate and found the ride out wasn't until 10:30! I could do that! So I called Kate and told her to hold me a spot.
Friday night Summer and I went to the sorting arena and just practiced. I didn't even stay for the entire two hours. I was exhausted. I also told my friends that I was just too tired to jackpot and besides, I was leaving at 6am to head to C-bar for the weekend. They were a little bummed but understood. Heck, I was a little bummed, but I was just SO tired, I just didn't think I would do anyone any justice by jackpotting that night anyway. Even though I was very pleased with our practice runs. These were some HUGE calves. They were the biggest Summer and I have ever worked and I was real pleased with her performance.
I awoke Saturday morning and got to the barn at 5:30am as I had a several horse and ponies to feed. Barb, June and Paula were at a CDE in Navasota and Tracey was already at C-Bar. So I got everyone fed and loaded Summer up. She looked at me like I was nuts, but was a good girl and hopped in.
We got there at about 8am. Got settled in and I went and checked in. Trot out at 10am. Your horse was tacked up but you did the trot out in hand. There was a question prior to the trot out by Linda Courts. Mine was, where is the croup? So, stupid me, points to under the dock of the tail to where a crupper lies. Duh! What a Homer Simpson moment! LOL Once Tracey got done trotting Amira, I asked her, let me know if I am wrong when I point to the croup. So I pointed at it and Tracey said, "yes, that's it". LOL, I was just thinking crupper instead of croup. Oh well, brain fart.
The ride went pretty good. One thing I am noticing with Summer, even if her "buddy" is in front and does the obstacle first, she still does the obstacle quite well herself when it is her turn. I still like to leap frog obstacles as I don't want her to always have to do them after her trail partners, but she keeps her head for me. And I also must remember to stay out of her mouth. She just walks so darn fast that I just can't keep doing this. I am just going to have to ride out in front of the pack. She has that 4.5 to 5 mph walk and I can't keep staying in her mouth to slow her down from something she was born to do. So game plans are going to have to change for us. I think it stresses her when I try to keep her at a 4mph walk. I know it stresses me cause I feel horrible for holding her back when she isn't being bad.
The obstacles were technical and I LOVED that! But once again, Tammy read too much into an obstacle instruction and lost 1.5 points at the mount obstacle. Complete horsemen error, NO error on the horses part, she was just trying to do what momma was asking, even tho momma was asking it ALL wrong! LOL But the rest of the day went very well. Too many obstacles to go over, but I loved them all. But I have to tell you about one. It was the last mounted obstacle. Candy had a timed obstacle. It was, once you go between the flags, your time starts. Go to a tree, get a clipped ribbon, go over cavalettes(sp?), do a bow tie figure around some cones, come back, clip the ribbon back on the tree and go back between the flags. Summer kicked butt there. She was hauling some TWH butt! LOL When we were done, one competitor asked me if I did speed events with her, I told her we did team sorting and she said she wondered where the speed came from. LOL I took that as a compliment. And we got a perfect 10!
Awards were very cool! Kate makes BEAUTIFUL hand made lamp shades. And each placing got a lamp shade. The higher the placing the bigger the lamp shade. I looked at them longingly as I have always wanted to win a Kate Love lamp shade. When awards started, and they got to our division, they started at 6th and went up. As any awards do. I about fell out when they called me and Summer for first place!!!!!! I finally have a huge KL lamp shade!!!! It is SO gorgeous! Here is pic:

It is bigger than it looks in the picture. It is almost taking up one whole cushion of my love seat. I have a floor lamp that it is going to go on.

Tracey and Amira came in 2nd and Amy and her new boy Knox came in 3rd! What was cool was, we rode the whole trail together and came in 1st, 2nd and 3rd. LOL

There were 45 riders at the TTC with 7 different classes. So you know Kate worked her caboose off making all those lamp shades for all those placings. Thank you Kate!!!!

After the placing, Candy walked out with 2 trophy halters. A red one for reserve high point and a blue for high point. We were all joking about them and how bad folks wanted them and to give Kate a credit card if you wanted one bad enough. Okay, I know it doesn't sound funny now, but it was funny then. LOL Well, when they said my name for the reserve I almost cried. I put my hands over my mouth and just sat there for a second. I sucked that stray tear back into my tear duct and got up to get Summer's first ever trophy halter from Candy. I was just overjoyed! Once again, my girl did me proud.

And here is Summer's halter. The picture looks orange, but it is red. *
I am so proud of this, I don't know if Summer will get to wear it or if it goes on her wall of fame at home! LOL
Sunday was the first ever, Driving Trail Challenge. Saturday evening, Tracey and Jim Edmondson helped me unload my cart and put it back together. Now, to let you know, my cart had pneumatic wheels. I noticed during the TTC that the trails were pretty rough in some places. And Sunday morning, Rea, a driving friend of mine that came in the AM, told me that pneumatic wheels don't hold up too well on this kind of terrain. And she was right! Read on...
Let's back up to several days before the drive. I had been bugging Tracey to be my navigator. I don't know why, but something was nagging me to have a navigator for safety reasons. As of Sunday, I realized it was the voice of reason/the whisper of God telling me, I REALLY needed a navigator. Paula was my navigator for this DTC. Tracey went and worked with the judge, Linda Courts, on her driving obstacle. I had all my safety gear with me. Spares kit, whip, map, lead rope. Summer had her driving halter over her bridle. We were set. The first two miles went GREAT! Summer was a little antsy when we had to stand still. She must have had a bug up her butt or something, but she just wouldn't settle when we had to wait at some points. There were a couple of areas where we had to wait and she was good, but she was full of herself yesterday. There was a cones course that we FLEW through and that was FUN! There was a bow-tie obstacle that, due to pilot error and not listening to my co-pilot(Paula), I missed completing the bow-tie.

The obstacle that Summer was most antsy at was the water crossing. It was VERY muddy and boggy, but that isn't what was making her antsy, she is plenty used to water and mud. We caught up to the three other horses that were in our class. Oops. The reason, the first QH had to be whipped to cross the water. Now don't get me wrong, she didn't flog the poor beast to death, but she was DEMANDING he cross the obstacle. The second QH was hand walked by the driver because he was refusing to cross it and the mule driver refused the obstacle. I think Summer got so antsy was the pure fact she could hear the horse getting the whip and she was just like, "GET OUT OF MY WAY AND LET ME SHOW YOU HOW IT'S DONE!" When it was our turn I told Paula to hang on. Summer plowed through that water like a tank. LOL We got wet and muddy but it was so much fun! And we got a perfect 10!

Once we completed our first loop, we got back into camp to time out for our second loop. The two QH drivers were going to allow me to go out first since Summer is so fast and we knew the trail. We were started out on the road which is VERY rocky and rutty, at a nice little clip. I was trying to be aware of our terrain and trying to avoid the ruts. I saw one coming on my side and before Summer veered to the left, we hit it. I had the momentary feeling like Summer was now dragging the cart instead of pulling it. When I looked down, the entire wheel on my side was underneath us. I quickly pulled Summer up and stopped her. Paula jumped out and grabbed her halter. When my wheel collapsed, Paula's wheel collapsed due to being the only supporting wheel. But Summer was wonderful. She never lost her cool. She just keep trying to pull us and not trying to run from the horrible noise of the cart's wheels being drug on rock. Both the wheels were lying on their sides under the cart on the rocks. So it was a horrid noise. But she just kept trying to truck on. We unhooked her and drug the cart off the road.

Needless to say, I was bummed. But, looking for the blessing, I found these: I got the navigator I knew I needed, and a professional navigator at that. We broke down right next to camp instead of out in the middle of no where. And Summer didn't loose it when the wheels were torn to shreds. I definitely had a guardian angel by my side on this day.

I was told by more that one person, that Summer would have had first place had the cart not broke. Don't know if that would have happened, but she was out there whipping butt and taking names. But you know, that is okay that I didn't get to finish the trail. What she did do, she did with my extreme approval. And when she messed up, (except for not settling in some areas), she messed up due to pilot error. And the best win was her not exploding when the wheels fell apart. That was a 3 way win. One each for Paula, Summer and me. Here are a pic of the tires. They are in the trunk of my car so my hubby and daughter could see them. Wish I had gotten one while they were on the cart. But you can see how badly they were damaged.

Guess what I get for Christmas? New, solid metal wheels! YIPPY!
Now for the continuation of my thank yous. To Candy and Kate for one heck of a weekend! To the judges for the fun and challenging obstacles and the friendly smiles each of you had. To the volunteers for all that you did. To Paula for keeping your cool during an emergency situation. To Kim W. for helping me bring my cart back to camp with your truck. To Jim, Kim and Cheryl for some outstanding photography! To Alanna for some awesome stew! And to Tracey for being my tail lights all the way back to the barn from the ranch when I lost the light plug on my trailer.
Thanks for reading...

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Nice, quiet evening with my Summer and getting ready for the DTC.

Well, since the darkness comes at 6pm now, not much riding gets done during the week. I could ride around the barnyard, but I love the trails better. And with the early darkness, I get a little lazy and just want to go home and veg with my family. So...instead of riding or vegging with the family, I ground work Summer in our lit round pen. Doing some exertions of speed to help with her wind. As that is what we do in the sorting pens when we are hauling butt after a calf. She pants worse than most of the stock horses and it seems it takes her longer to stop panting. So, we need to work on that at home. Once we are done in the round pen she goes on the hot walker to cool down. While she is doing that, I am cleaning her pen and feeding all the ponies on "pony row". That is where Summer, Amira and Gypsy live as there are more ponies on the lane than there are regular sized horses.

After I put Summer back in her pen, she got a nice grooming. The full treatment. A brushing with all three different brushes, hard, medium and soft. Then a mane and tail brushing. A face brushing. Hooves picked. And a spraying with Mosquito Halt. She didn't know what to think that I didn't saddle her up for a ride after that grooming. I need to do that every night. I did that with Fawtal and we had a much closer bond than Summer and I do. Summer and I are a good team (or so I'm told), but we are not close like Fawtal and I were. Maybe it is a gender thing as he was a gelding and she is a mare. Who knows. But I do know that grooming is good bonding time with your horse, so I will be doing it much more often and without expecting her to work afterwards every time.

Last night after our routine that I have started as stated above. I got my cart out that I am taking to the Driven Trail Challenge this weekend and washed it. Tonight it gets a new coat of paint so by Friday it will be good and dry for me to load into my SUV.

I think this might be the one big thing I am getting tired of the most about doing any type of competitive trail anything. The packing of the truck and trailer, and the trying to not forget anything. That is the most time consuming and racking of the brain thing that there is. Meaning, probably more stressful than the actual competition its self! LOL At least for me.

But this weekend will be fun. Seeing folks I haven't seen for months and trying something new and praying that it works so we can have more of them.

Monday, November 9, 2009

God has yet to bless me with another great weekend.

What can I say but thank you Lord.

The weather was just too absolutely beautiful Friday to stay at work. So I asked my co-worker Sharri and my Sergeant if I could just take off the rest of the day and that is where my blessings began!

I left work at 1pm, went home, changed into fun clothes and headed to the barn where Tracey already was. She was off this day too. So I did my chores, we saddled up and went for a very lovely ride. The sun was shining, the temps were perfect and the horses were good. What a great way to start the weekend.

Friday night I had a hard time falling asleep. I had a sorting lesson with my instructor on Saturday with my friend Robin. I was excited and nervous as I realized Friday, Summer was in her monthly season (if you know what I mean). And during that time she usually seems extra spooky. I think I fell asleep about midnight.

Well, I woke up at 5:30 Saturday morning. Yuck! Of course when I woke, my mind started working and there was no shutting it off.

Got to the barn about 8am. Did chores (again). Got the freshness out of Summer in the round pen. And she was feeling her oats. Running, bucking, snorting.

We got to James' at about 10:30am. And started our lesson at about 11am.

Summer is getting more and more relaxed with sorting. She still gets a little nervous about the breaking the herd up, but she is more willing to try. Our lesson lasted about 2 1/2 hours. During one point of the lesson, James pushed the calves from the round pens to his larger arena. He wanted us to practice heading the calves. That was fun! It was sort of like cutting, but on a more distant scale. We weren't right in the calves face like a cutting horse is. Summer was very responsive to me. Again I rode in the S-hackamore with a neoprene cover on it for comfort. She is doing very well in that rig. Then James had me ride another horse of his that is for sale as he has already sold Larkn. I was bummed, but I couldn't find that buried treasure so it wasn't meant to be. But he quoted me a price on this guy that I might be able to do. Gonna ride him this next Friday night to see if we "mesh". Sorrel is not my favorite color, but like I have said before, no good horse is a bad color.

Anyway, back to Summer's lesson. Once I rode the sorrel for a minute, I got back on Summer and we pushed the calves back into the round pens for more sorting work. Robin and James ran several times while I watched, then James and I would run while Robin watched. But the thing that happened that I was REAL proud of Summer for was this; when Robin and James would bust, he would talk to her about what happened and why. While he did this, I would push the calves back into the other pen for their next go around. I really noticed Summer penning her ears snaking her neck at the calves when we were doing this. I wondered, "would she take a nip out of one if I let her get close enough?" So I tried, and she did!!!! Now, that is not allowed in sorting as it is called "roughing up the stock" and can be grounds for DQ. But I was just AMAZED that she is getting so comfortable with them that she did that. I started laughing and told James and Robin what she did. That she must have wanted to see what steak tasted like. LOL

As for our lesson it was GREAT and I can't WAIT for this coming Friday night. James is bringing the sorrel up for me to ride too, but I will be on my Tennessee Walking Cow Pony as well! LOL

Sunday brought ANOTHER beautiful day. My plans were to drive Summer to make sure she is ready for the Driven Trail Challenge at C-Bar next weekend. So I drove her around the barn yard a bit with Tracey riding Amira. Once I knew Summer was relaxed, we headed out on the trails. And she was SOOO good! I gaited her out there and she would come right back down to a lovely relaxed walk when asked. So I think we are ready for next weekend.

This is to be the first Driven Trail Challenge and I SO want to see it succeed. My barn owner is going and so is my friend June. They want it to succeed as well. If it does, we are thinking of holding one at our barn. We have enough mileage to do it and it would just be great fun!

Anyway, that is my blessed, horsey weekend. My "do-it-all" horse, did it all this weekend! LOL

Thanks for reading.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Another great weekend...

Went sorting Friday night...again. Had a good time. We didn't win this time but we didn't bust either, so that was a good thing. We just didn't have the luck of the cow.

I sorted with Robin and a girl named Kim. Robin and I didn't bust on the first go around, but we did bust on our second, we just didn't bust with a cow. Sound odd? Well, as we were switching places, our left knees collided and it hurt like hell. However, I shook it off and went after the calf that she had trouble with. I never thought to look back to make sure she was okay. Mistake. I was bringing about 5 calves around and when Summer and I turned around to face the hole, there was Taz with no Robin. CRAP! I pulled Summer up and a couple of guys were jumping in the pen to back the calves off. Robin was bruised up but not broken. I never thought that our colliding would knock her off as it didn't knock me off. But 20 years of riding compared to 7 months, might make a difference. I felt HORRIBLE! I was so focused on that number 4 calf (see, I even remember which number I was going for!) that I didn't realize that the spectators were hollering at me to stop. Maybe had they hollered my name I would have realized they were talking too me and not just yelling cause they were excited about the action. Heck, they may HAVE hollered my name. Stupid Tunnel Vision! You have to get out of that tunnel vision if you're going to do this sport I guess.

Kim and I finished with 4 head. Robin and one of her other partners finished with 9! I was real happy for her. She has had several wins but is still having some confidence issues. She and I are having a lesson this next Saturday so we can work on our team skills. I want so bad for her and I to have a win together. We practice together and we jackpot together a lot, but just no wins. Our horses are even starting to get along we run so much together! LOL

Robin and I talked for about 30 minutes Saturday morning and all was good. I just told her that I felt bad as Kim's dad wanted me to run with her so he paid for her to run an extra run with me. I told Robin that I felt like I wasted his money. She told me to quite thinking like that. I told her that Kim and I have never run together and we only did 2 practice runs that night. I think we just need more practice runs together and we should be fine if we jackpot again. But, Kim and I didn't bust, so that is a plus.

Summer was real "on" again. She worked REAL good for me. She was working that hole like a experienced Quarter Horse. 3 times, she used her chest to block a calf. I put her chest right on the corner of the hole to block a calf and she totally listened to me and did it without loosing her cool. One of the three times, the calf was going to go through no matter what, it pushed it's way between Summer's chest and the pen and she still didn't loose her composure. That was a win for me. Just her not loosing her cool when a bust was going to happen no matter what we did, even with a calf pushing it's way through the hole. I told Robin that even when you don't actually win $ at the end of the night, you still have to look at the personal wins. And Summer working that hole like she did was personal wins for us.

Saturday morning, about 10ish, found Summer and I on the Trinity Trails in Fort Worth with Tracey and a new friend, Toni James and her beau, Kelley. Tracey got to go as something happened with someone that was to come look at Gypsy that morning. Not sure of the story, but I talked her into going with me as I didn't leave the barn till about 9:20am. So she threw her saddle and Amira in the trailer and was glad she did!

That Toni is a hoot!!!! We had a great ride on good horses. Toni had never ridden there and was pleasantly surprised. I just think it's neat to ride near and around the city. I love regular trail rides, but it's nice to change up the view once in awhile.

We stopped at the little train station in the Trinity Park and the kids had a blast. We let them sit on the horses while parents and grandparents snapped pictures. Once the train was ready to pull out, I made Summer go stand next to the engine as it pulled out, then we started gaiting with it as it moved down the track. She was so good. She left the other three horses to do this and did it willingly! Toni said I looked like a train robber! LOL But the kids and families ate it up. I was glad we could be a part of their day.

After our ride and practicing city type obstacles, we went and had lunch and promised that we would go to places that neither of us had ridden. Tracey has been to more local trails than Toni and I, so she promised to be our guide! LOL And Toni has never been to the Six-O ranch, so I think if the weather holds up, that will be our next destination!

Sunday was chores day. I got all me pens cleaned and I cleaned the bathroom as June is always the one doing that. Tracey had some folks out to look at Gypsy and they fell in love. I let the experianced 8 year old daughter ride Chompers and she just rode him and he behaved like he had been doing this forever. No lead line. She just took him off and rode him around while her mom rode Gyp. Her dad took video and they said they would send Tracey the vid so I could have it too. It was so cute, here is her mom on Gyp and her on Chomps riding down the barn rode. Tracey called them David and Goliath. LOL

After they left, we went to lunch, got back and I harnessed up Summer. The last time I drove Summer she actually scared me. She was a ball of nerves and was NOT good. I had worried that doing the sorting was screwing her up. Barb said no, it was not. She was not an idiot and sorting would not mess her up. So I ground drove her last night and she was good. Tracey helped me hitch her up. I asked Tracey to get her helmet and Summer's lead rope and ride with me. If Summer started to act up again, she could get out and go hook to her halter while I still had the reins. But Summer was her old sweet self and we had a good drive. Tracey had to remind me that even horses can have a bad day and she said like Barb did on that bad day, Summer was just having her bad day. I guess we all deserve to have our bad days every now and then.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Another Sorting jackpot win for Summer!!!!

I just don't think I can truly express my excitement over another jackpot win with Summer. Just thinking about the events of this past Friday night, I get that excited feeling in my chest.

This was my forth time since I have been ranch sorting (about 3 months now) that I have competed in the beginners jackpot. So few times, that I can actually still remember each one. LOL The first was with Cynthia and Robin...bust and bust. The second was with Cynthia and Robin...1st place win with Cynthia, with my girl Summer. The third was with Connie and Robin...2nd place win with Connie, with me on Lark N Lena. And this past Friday with Connie and Robin and another 1st place for me with Connie, with me on my girl again.

Friday I took a vacation day and Tracey and I hung around for most of the day. Going to Horseman's Supply and Teskeys. Bought a little of this and that. Had a really nice day.

We got back to the barn and rode a couple of miles around the barnyard before I had to load up and go to the arena. I think that was good for Summer. She had been out of her stall all day in a grassy turnout and then I had a chance to warm up her muscles before taking her to Roy's. Got to Roy's (the arena), tacked her up again and warmed her up some more.

She was really on, she was really good for me during practice.

As the evening crept in, the temps started to drop pretty good. You could see the steam coming off the horses rumps. About 30 minutes before practice was over, I tied her to the trailer with a bag of hay. I went back inside and just visited with some folks and watched the rest of the practice session. At about 9:15, the Pro-Am jackpot started. I watched the qualifying/first round of the jackpot. That took about 35 minutes...maybe. I didn't watch the second round as I knew I needed to go get Summer and slowly warm her muscles back up. It had gotten down right nippy. I was wearing a sweat shirt, and light jacket and gloves, pretty chilly out. I walked Summer quite a bit in the warm up arena and then gaited her. Got her good and ready for our jackpot runs. Most everyone else runs 3 to 5 runs. My finances (after buying, feed, hay, shavings, stall rent, etc...) only allows for me to run the minimum of 2 runs. (Beginners have to run a minimum of 2 times) Anyway, There were a total of 11 teams. Being the nervous nelly I can be (aren't we all that compete in anything?), I just continued to ride Summer around at a walk to keep her muscles and such warmed up. I didn't want to watch and see what we had to beat. LOL Of course, I couldn't help but look over when a team was running. Most qualified for the second round. Robin and I busted on the first round and I think another team busted. But my other partner, Connie, and I qualified with 3 head. However, Connie and this new guy qualified with 4 head. That made me a little more nervous. I sure did want to win. But don't we all want to win at whatever we are competing at? Isn't that the point? LOL Anyway...I couldn't help but watch the second round while keeping Summer warmed up. (Did I say it got down right cold? LOL) I watched as Robin and a male team mate finish with a total of 6 head. She was happy. But Connie and her male team mate finished with a total of 7. All I was thinking (and I always tell myself), "slow and diliberate, slow... and diliberate." I have learned, going in as a beginner, don't go in with guns a blazin'. That's okay if you have been doin' this awhile, but not good for a beginner to do. You will end up busting. Well, Connie and I got 4 for a total of 7! I threw my left fist in the air and then laid on Summer's neck and gave her a good pat and hug. I was just happy we finished with 7 and no bust. Then the announcer gave us our time, our head count and stated that we were sitting in first!!!!! OMG! She and I gaited like champs out of that sorting pen. I was so happy! However, there were still 2 other teams to go. I couldn't watch. I just kept riding Summer to help her muscles cool down slowly after that fast exersion with the calves. Once again, couldn't help but watch as I rode. (I know...I'm bad) Both of those teams busted. Then Reedy (the announcer) tallied the placings and I heard that Connie and I had won! Connie and her male team mate came in 2nd.

I didn't cry this time. I was just over excited!

But to be honest...I didn't think this would happen again. So why did I compete her again? Hmmmmm? Maybe, deep down...I knew it would happen again. Maybe I have more confidence in Summer than I even know I have. Maybe only Summer knows how much confidence I really have in her and she just sets out so show me everytime I get on her back. Kinda like, "Let me show you what I can do today mom!"

Thank you for reading...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Trinity Trails ride with friends....

Well, I didn't realize how long ago this had been, but here it goes.

Saturday, September 20th, Tracey and I went to the Trinity Trails in Fort Worth. I have driven Summer on those trails, but never ridden them. It was quite nice and not muddy like every other place there was to ride.
We met Cythia and Emily there and a couple of other boarders (Sarah and John) from our barn came with us. The weather was gorgeous and it is kinda cool riding near the city. Don't have much to write about as it was a month ago today, but have lots of pics. Here you go:

*************************The city of Fort Worth to the right.
**************Summer's ears and Fort Worth...what a combination!

Fixing to ride under a train trussle, that is Cyn and Em in front of us.

*****************A metal recycle facility...pretty huh? LOL

******************************The Trinity River

**************************Under University St bridge

Very pretty trails through here. There was a large cemetery on the left. And the horses were a little spooky as there were people there that they could hear but not see. LOL

The pedestrian bridge we had to cross. It was little creepy for me but the horses took it in stride. It is used for runners, walkers, bicyclist and of course us.

******Cyn, Em, Sarah and John in the lead to cross the pedi bridge.

Here we go. Actually, this was the fourth time to cross such a bridge. We crossed this one going out and then crossed another one a short time later. We crossed the other one coming back and this one again going back to our trail head. I took pictures this time as I knew Summer didn't care about crossing them. I wasn't sure what her reactions were going to be the first couple of times and didn't want to take a chance dropping my camera if she boogered at something.

***************On the pedi bridge looking to the right.

***********************Trinity River looking towards Main St. bridge

Summer and I after the Main St. bridge with the Tarrant County court house and the Tandy towers in the back ground.

Crossing the wooden Davis Bridge. I drove across this when we drove our carts and buggies out here. My most favorite driving picture of Summer is her crossing this bridge while hitched to a cart.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Another weekend of sorting...what a blast!

Well, Summer and I met Robin and Taz at Roy's Friday night. I tell you, those calves were rank and the horses were "up"! I am guessing it was the weather.

Well, I decided to go ahead and run the beginner jackpot with Robin and Connie. But Summer was extra nervous and I was starting to feel bad about agreeing to run with them. I am sure it was because the calves were so "up" as she was good the previous Friday. But I was afraid that Summer might get too nervous and blow it. I would have felt like I had wasted their money. About 8:20pm, Robin and I were near the front of the right pen. James was riding by on one of his horses and I hollered out to him that I was ready to ride one of his horses. (Back up to the previous Friday. He offered for me to ride one of his finished horses in the jackpot. I just didn't feel right about it, but was very honored that he would entrust me on one of his horses. I did tell him I would like to ride one during practice sometime and he said, "okay".)

James was on a big bay when I said I was ready. He told me to do my run and come to the warm up arena to get to know the horse. After our run, I went and tied Summer to the trailer and met James in the arena. The horse was a clients horse and was for sale. Well of course he was! LOL But I felt honored once again, that he entrusted my riding abilities to ride a horse of this caliber and it also being a clients horse. But I guess you have to test drive the Corvette before you buy it! LOL

OMG! Could this horse move or what! I know I am a big girl, but thank God I have a pretty good seat and have taken riding lessons. This horse was so sensitive to everything I asked of it. And boy could he spin! He and I worked together for about 10 minutes and then James and I got in line to practice. It was just a rush! I love my Summer and am VERY proud of what she is capable of for not being a cow horse, but this horse was just awesome! Then again, he was trained as a cutting horse. (The horses name is Lark N Lena)

After our practice, I asked James if he was using Larkn in the jackpot. He wasn't. He was riding his blk/wht paint mare. So I asked if I could ride him in the jackpot. And he let me! There were 11 teams. Robin and Connie got 1st with 4 head and Connie and I got 2nd with 4 head. Robin and Connie received a little bit faster time. But with 11 teams competing, 2nd place received a cash prize as well! WOOHOO! LOL

James invited me to his place on a dry day to ride Larkn. Well, Robin and her hubby keep their horses at James', so I asked Robin what day she was going to ride. She said she was riding the next morning (Saturday). So I met Robin on Saturday morn at 9am. I thought we were just going to ride around in the arena and the pasture. But no, James had other plans for us.

James met us at the barn and we all saddled up and went out to the pasture and brought about 10 head of calves in. We got them in the pens and James cut one from the herd and put the other 9 in the opposite pen. He told me he wanted me to see what Larkn could actually do! OMG, I was going to get to cut! He gave me some instructions and boy did I have a blast! I have never rode a horse that could turn on a dime and give 9 cents in return! LOL James was using lingo I wasn't used to. Like how Larkn "rated" a cow. I kind of understood what that meant, but asked my friend at work who used to ride cutting horses. Now I understand completely.

I almost came off the first time Larkn moved from left to right as he was "rating" the calf. But I didn't, it was a good save. LOL James told me to be more relaxed and just let my body move with the horse. After a bit, it became easier. Once I saw what Larkn could do, we started sorting. We sorted for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. It was so much fun. I wish I had brought Summer. It was a more relaxed atmosphere and the calves weren't near as rank as the ones on Friday. Once we were done, he had me cut one from the herd and play with it on the back wall. Once that one finally got away he made me cut one more and play with it for a minute. That was just so cool. As long as he has this horse, I am hopeful he will let me ride it, but if I can find the money, I want Larkn to be Summer's baby brother (as he is a year younger). LOL Besides his abilities, he had such a sweet personality.

Yes, I know what James was doing. I'm not stupid. Get me to fall in love so I would buy him. Well, he did it. Now I have to play the lotto, find a buried treasure, sell a kidney or something to get this cool animal.

And I was reminded that I say Summer is my do it all horse. Well, she is. She is fine for the kind of sorting we do at Roy's. But if I want to really advance and up my playing level in sorting, then I will need the caliber of horse that Larkn already is.

Oh, and nobody tell me to sell Summer to get Larkn. Cause that ain't happening.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My first sorting jackpot win!

Well, I am posting this late as my blogger has been acting up. Either that, or my computer was acting up. Either way, I am just now being able to blog.

Sunday, September 6th, I went sorting. Met my friends Cynthia and Robin there. They were both vying for the buckle in the 5 week buckle series that Roy Goldsmith was putting on at his arena. This was the last week and Cyn and Robin were neck and neck for the beginners buckle. They both were going to run 4 times. There were 8 teams that entered. They ran 4 times, Lane and Kim ran 3 times and I ran twice. I know it sounds confusing, but it was a total of 8 different teams.

Well, still learning this game, I thought that when you did your first run, you had to do it clean and try to get as many calves as you could. Which you do. But if you did that, it would qualify you for the real run. Which it does. But I thought the first run was just a qualifing run, I didn't know they added the first head count to your second run. But they do. So during Robin and I's first run, we got 4 head and Cynthia and I got 6. WOOHOO, that is the most I have gotten with another beginner. Anyway, all 8 teams did a clean first run. Even though when Lane and Kim teamed up, they got 0 head, they still didn't bust. And because there were only 8 teams, they qualified for the second run. If there were more than 10, they might have not.

Anywho, I was really happy with both my runs. Again, I still didn't know that the first head count gets added to your second run. That is, until the first team ran and the judge announced the total head count with the total time. Then I knew how the game was played. I knew I had to try to run good and clean. Robin and I got 3 calves, and as I was working the hole, a calf was right at Summer's chest, she was real good for me and we jumped at the calf, the calf turned slightly to the left, then darted right past us and we busted. I was heart broke. I felt bad for Robin as I felt like I had let her down. I went and asked her husband, Anthony, if there was anything different I could have done. He said no. That even a good cutting horse doesn't work calves that close and they probably couldn't have stopped it either. He said I was doing a great job. That made me feel a little better. Well, Cyn and I entered and got 4 head. For a total of 10. And for the win!

I was so happy! We won a total of $160 and Roy gives you a t-shirt for first place. And Cynthia got her buckle.

I went back to my trailer and cried a little. I am so proud of Summer. My Tennessee Walking Horse is now a money earning cow horse. LOL I don't know if we will ever win again, but at least I can say I won once. I have done a lot with Summer and she has always done me proud, has always given me her best and she has a lot of heart. Even when she is nervous she seems to trust that I am not going to let anything hurt or kill her, she has always tried to make me happy. But never have we done anything that put money BACK in my pocket, so that night was pretty cool!

And as for those nay-sayers...I wonder what they are saying now? LOL

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Yes, this IS an obsession!

Okay, I am sure that the folks that read my blog (only because you are board! LOL) may not know much about drag racers and their names (I only know a couple myself). Most of you do know however, that my hubby drag races. So, I get to watch it on TV at home. I do enjoy watching it with him, and my favorite racer is John Force. I have recently compared myself with John as after he finishes his run he is just FULL of adrenalin. It is fun to watch him when they interview him after a race. He is loud, and very hyper when he talks. You can just tell that he still loves what he does after all these years (about 25 of them). So I have had to apologize to some folks when I talk about sorting. I get loud, hyper and just reved up. I get all "John Force"y. LOL

I attended a private clinic Saturday morning with a small group of ladies that are beginners such as myself but very much serious about the sport. It was so fun and Summer was really on. We each even got to do a run with the pro/instructor. And that was real fun.

When I got there, we all saddled up and warmed up in the deep sandy arena. Summer was a running walk fool and it was fun to watch James (instructor) watch her go around the arena. He started asking me questions about her different gaits and how I learned the difference in each one. I just told him it took me about 2 years to tell the difference as she has about 9 different gaits, from dog walk to gallop and everything in between.

We had a real good 2 1/2 hours. It was me and 4 other beginners, and another lady (a rating of 4 sorter) who kind of acted as an assist for James outside the pens when we had questions while he worked with a team in the pens. I just got so much out of it.
Sunday we went to the arena and I started off not doing to well. I guess I had other things on my mind. One of the pro guys named Pete said he would run with me early in the day and we got 5 in. So, either he made me look good or I made him look bad! LOL But my theory is, if a pro runs with a beginner, they know what they are getting into. LOL Later in the day, I ran with Starla and we got 5, then my last run I went with Cynthia and we got 4.

**********************Connie and I waiting for the words, "flag is up"

Not bad as I did get about 9 runs in that day. A few were busts right away, so that is probably why I was able to go so many times. James was there and was giving us, that went to his place Saturday, side line instruction, which I thought was just super cool of him to do.

*******************Summer and I bringing one through the hole

*****Once you get the calf in, you got to turn quickly to guard the hole.

*************Connie guarding the hole while my calf and 2 bad ones come to her

************************Summer and I in the hole

I really tried to put into use everything that he taught. There were a few times I caught myself making a mistake and I would try to correct it before it was a major boo-boo.

I think my major issue is getting to fast and trying to hard for my level. I think I am getting ahead of myself and my abilities at this point. I know I need to back off a bit and learn more. Just quit getting so dang excited! I guess I just watch those pro-am folks and the speed they go at and I think, "I can do that!" But, Summer is not ready for that and I need more learning. James said that two things that Summer needs to work on, and that they both would come with time and experience is, seperating the herd when there are a bunch standing together, and if too many come at the hole at once while we are guarding it. He said she get nervous. And I know that, cause while he can see it, I can feel it. But, he said, she is very responsive to me and that could be why she is doing what I ask her to do. She may be nervous on those two issues, but she is doing it. Her strongest issue I think is, once we get our calf between her and the wall, she is all business.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Is this an obsession or what!?

Just thinking about sorting gets my adrenaline up! What is it with this sport?

I went again this weekend. Met my friends, Cynthia, Emily and Robin there. Even rode with a lady named Connie. It was her first time. So there was someone there newer than me! LOL

Summer and I got 5 runs in. We could have done 6, but after our 5th run, I quit on a good note. Our 5th run was with Cynthia and we got 5 calves in. I got 3 and she got 2 and she was working on her 3rd when the buzzer sounded. I was so happy. I thought we only got 4 in and I turned around and we had gotten 5. I hollered I was so excited and shouted to Dennis, "We got 5!" LOL I know, I know...might have embarrassed myself a little, but I just can't believe that Summer is starting to pick this up. I know there have been sneers and remarks made about Summer and I. I have heard them repeated to me. But we are showing those few nay-sayers aren't we! LOL

Summer was gaiting real good in the warm up areas and when I was waiting in line for our turn, a cowboy came up to me and said, "You could get somewhere real fast on her can't ya?" LOL I guess he had been watching us, and probably trying to figure out what kind of horse she was. When I told another guy named Larry what she was, he said, "You should get a prize just for doing this on a Tennessee Walker. " LOL Guess they don't see to many of those around the sorting pens.

But once again, I can't wait until this weekend. Now don't get me wrong. I ain't giving up on trail riding. She is too good at that to let that go. I just feel that I have such a willing mare that it would be shameful not to let her try new venues.

So her resume' is this to date:

Trail horse

NATRC Safety Horse
***Rides Double

Competitive Trail Horse
***NATRC - several
***TTC - 1
***STC - 1

***LD -1 (but we ain't stopping at 1!)

***2006 Stock Show
***2007 Driving her cart behind the longhorns in the stockyards

***since 2006
***Endurance Distance Drive 2007

Ranch Sorting

More to follow, God willing...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

More Ranch Sorting...

I tell you...I am really digging this sport.

Maybe I watched too many westerns when I was a kid. I have pictures of me dressed in cowboy gear when I was little. I was standing next to my grandpa and my granny took the picture. On weekends on channel 39 (which is now a latino channel), it was cartoons until noon and westerns the rest of the day. Bonanza, Raw Hide, Gun Smoke, The Rifleman, etc...It fed my dreams to someday have horses and ride. Ride the open range and herd the cattle home. Head 'em up and move 'em out! LOL

Well, I've done a lot of trail riding (that is the open range part I guess), now I have the urge to herd the cattle home (or in the case of sorting, put 'em the other round pen LOL). Last Friday I met some of my friends at the arena and we had a blast. As soon as Emily gets the video uploaded to youtube I will have a video of mine and Summer's run with Cynthia and her boy Monte. If Doug can get a shoe to stay on Summer's right rear foot (horizontal crack), I will be going again this Friday and then to a sorting clinic next Saturday. I found out the clinician doesn't like anymore than 6 folks, so that will be a lot of good one on one with him.

Summer was real good this past Friday. She wasn't a ball of nerves. She was calm and did what I asked. I think the only mess ups were with the pilot(me) not communicating the right signals to ground control (Summer). LOL

Who knows how far this will go. Maybe this is just something I need to get out of my system. Maybe, secretly, it is just one of my things on my "bucket list" I want to mark off. Or maybe it is something I want to see if me and my non-stock horse can actually do. Who knows...all I do know, as long as we are having fun...then let's do it! YEEHAW!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Update on equines part three...My girl Summer.

*************************Cow horse in the making****************

Glad I only have three horses. Don't know if my typing could hold up to anymore! LOL

Here is what Summer and I have been doing. Cows. Well, not exactly cows. More like calves. Weanlings I guess you could call them. Anyhoot...Tracey and I had decided to try our hand at this thing called Ranch Sorting. Also called Team Sorting. You and a partner enter a round pen that is attached to another round pen. Forming a figure 8. At the center of the 8 is an opening the size of 1 panel. About 12 foot or so wide. This area is called the "hole", it is the area that you herd your calf through and try not to let all the calves or the wrong calf through. One person protects the hole and one sorts the calves. You can either rotate or keep your job the entire 60 seconds.

The calves have numbers chained around their necks from 0 to 9 and there can be 1 or 2 calves with no numbers. These are called "trash cows". They make the game harder. Trash cows cannot go through the hole at all. If they do, game over.

The first couple of times we went, we wore our helmets. I know, I know...people were looking at us like we just got out of an asylum. Especially since neither of us were on stock type horses either! LOL My biggest issue with the whole thing of why wear a helmet I guess is, if Summer trips, or moves to fast for me to keep up because she is frightened, etc...I come off, then I am in a round pen with 1000lbs of freaked out horse and 11 crazy eyed calves running all over the place. Including running over my head. I did let vanity take over last Friday night (our third time out there) and didn't wear my helmet. I got chastized by David and Patti. So I will be wearing it if I go this Friday.

So far, Summer has gotten a calf everytime. Now, is she doing it willingly? No. LOL But she is doing it. I can still feel the tension in her body, but she is trying desperately to please me. And for that I am grateful. I hope that with more time, she will become more relaxed. I am really enjoying this. I need to find an instructor with cattle/calves and take lessons. I have one in mind that lives in Crowley and is absolutely wonderful. He mostly does cutting, but I have worked with him at the AHA show for the past two years and I think he might give me some instruction.

As of yet though, I do not have pictures. If I go this Friday night, I will try to con Amanda into coming out and taking pictures.

Mostly I am doing this for fun and just to say I did it. But it really is fun. I don't know why I like it so much but I do!

Update on equines part two...Hansom Hank.

*********************So good he ought to be in print!*****************

Well, Hank and I had been getting ready for our first driving show. I admit, the closer it got, the more nervous I got. Had I been taking Summer I would have been fine. I know how she reacts to new situations. But Hank...I have never driven him off the property and never driven him in a situation I was about to take him in. On the good side however, it was an Arena Driving Trial, not a Combined Driving Event. You do basically the same things, but in an arena setting. So it is more controlled for green horses and novice drivers.

I had been driving him quite a bit and felt pretty good that he was going to at least not kill us. And I was right. However, there were a couple of times I was very glad I had a helmet on. (smile)

We left Friday morning (July 24th) as it was a one day show in Tyler, TX at the Texas Rose Horse Park on July 25th. It is a very lovely place. VERY "fru-fru". You saw no one there with a western saddle on, only English riders.

Once we got there we unloaded and got the ponies comfortable in their stalls. After a brief rest and a look around, we took turns harnessing and hitching up for each other. We got June off and then Barb helped me with Hank. She didn't harness her pony as she is kind of my instructor and wanted to help me. I have to say, Hank was a pretty good boy. There were a lot of things there that were kinda scary to him, but he handled it to my approval. They were going to do the dressage test outside as they thought the indoor arena might not be big enough. But my oh my, that ground was horrid! It was WAY to rough. But, Hank was wonderful. We imagined where the letters were (as they didn't have them out yet) and drove our test. Barb was very proud of us. I told her after we were done, if he didn't place at all, I was very proud of his results just on Friday. He calmed down and respected my reins. After we unharnessed, I helped her harness her pony and off she went.

After everyone tried to drive on the "dressage field", it was determined that it was WAY to rough by everyone. Even folks driving horses and large carriages. The show manager and some other volunteers measured the indoor arena and thankfully it was plenty big enough for the dressage tests.

It was a little hard sleeping Friday night. My mind wouldn't shut off. What is nice about driving shows is, your horse is comfortably stabled in a nice barn and you are housed in a hotel room. So not like what I am used to doing CTRs! LOL

We got up and headed to the farm at about 6:15am. Barb's test was at 8:10am, June's was at 8:30am and mine was at 10:35am. I harness up about 9:30 to warm him and settle him down. At 10am was my safety check on my harness and cart.

At 10:35, we entered the arena. I actually dressed up a bit and was thankful that I was wearing a vest with my sateen shirt. It was hot and I was sweating like crazy! We entered and I drove him around a bit. As we were fixing to pass the judge, she asked me if I was ready, and we started our test. I tell you, I couldn't have been more proud of him. He looked like he had done this a 100 times. He executed every thing I asked. If he was crooked or anything, it was pure driver error. Once we completed our test, all I felt was relief. With dressage, it is like golf, the lower your score, the better. Barb and June always seem to get low to mid 50's. So I was hoping for a 60. I would have been thrilled with that. About 2 hours later, they posted my classes scores. Would you believe, I got a 47.4! OMG! There were 5 ponies in our class and Hank and I came in second! Once again, I cried. We accomplished something neither of us had done before. Now my thoughts were of the obstacle course and the cones course. All I had to do was try and run a clean course. This means, don't knock any of the tennis balls off the barrels or cones.

Once our test was over, I unharnessed Hank and put him up. I changed into shorts and a t-shirt for the next two events. I had about two hours to rest and get a bite to eat.

About 45 minutes before my next event. I was hurried by Barb to tack up and get ready to enter the arena. I knew I had awhile before my turn, but did as I was told because I had never done this before and didn't want to do anything wrong. Well, due to hurrying and tacking up, it seemed to upset Hank. When I started driving him off, he was REALLY acting up. To the point, I couldn't stop him. This actually scared me because he has never acted like this before. He wanted to canter so I did my best to keep him at a trot, but still couldn't stop him. I drove by the barn and hollered to June that I needed Barb, there was something wrong with Hank. When Barb came out to the field we were on, I took him straight to her. She told me that I was tense and to calm down. That he was feeding off of me. I told her that he has never acted like this before. Then she checked his mouth as he used to get his tongue over the bit. Well guess what? His tongue was over the bit. He was trying to get away from the pain. It must have happened when he was fidgeting with me bridling him. Once we corrected the problem, he became my sweet boy again. But during this whole incident, I was so thankful I had my helmet on!

About 25 minutes after this, we entered the arena for our obstacle course. We didn't haul butt, but we ran a clean course. Both June and Barb were eliminated after their obstacle courses. Barb did the wrong course first and June did a letter backwards. So I was relieved when I was told that I was safe.

About 1 and 1/2 hours later was my time up for cones. Barb is a dear friend, but once again, she was trying to rush me to re-harness and hook up. I told her not yet. I told her that I was just as anal as she was about doing my equine things on time, but Hank is not the type of horse that you rush. And I was right. I re-tacked him and hitched him and then just stood in front of his stall and let him watch the action. He was so relaxed. When I saw the person that was ahead of me head for the arena, then I started that way as the cones only take a couple of minutes to do. Well, we ran a clean cones course. I did go over my allotted time by 3 seconds so received a -1.5. But I was okay with that. For every tennis ball you knock off is a -3. I'll take the 1.5 over even a single 3 any day!

The others that scored a higher dressage score than I did, needed to make up for it in the obstacle and cones to try to knock us out of 2nd place. Well, they didn't succeed. Some of them hurried and received several faults compared to my little -1.5. And Hank and I took home a second place ribbon and some great memories!
Thanks for reading!
BTW. forgot to mention, no one in my class was eliminated, so I was competing against 5 other large ponies the entire time. Way cool! (big grin!)

Update on my equines...It's been awhile! Chompers...

Let's see...Well, first off, my mini man, Chompers, is officially broke to ride and drive. As a 14 year old stallion, he had never done either. He did his first birthday party pony ride at his previous owners house. Her name is Nancy and her grandson had turned 5 and was having a big party. I offered to bring Chompers for riding and my friend June brought her mini named Jarret for cart rides. The kids had a blast and both ponies were perfect gentlemen. We couldn't have asked for better behaved ponies. After it was over, I had to admit to Nancy that, that was Chompers first time as a riding pony. She said she figured, but knew Chomps had a good temperment and was a good boy. I was real proud of him. Here is a picture of him giving a ride to Rylan.

*****************My mini man being a perfect little gentleman*********

The rest of the following week I spent training him to drive. Near the end, you always need help from second or third parties as you can't do it all by yourself. When it was time to show him the cart, June helped me. He could care less. Barb was our main assisting person, but when we were ready to drive him, she wasn't at the farm. So June and I slipped the shafts in the tug loops and just let him pull it around with me driving from behind the cart and her holding his lead rope. We didn't hook him as if there was an emergency, he would just slip out of the cart.

Once Barb got to the farm, we hitched him up and I ground drove again from behind the cart. We only did this for about 5 minutes and then all agreed it was time! I was so excited! I know Barb and June will let me drive one of their many ponies. But I wanted to drive MY pony! So we headed to the out door arena and I got in the cart. They had two lead ropes on him and they each got on either side of him. Again, in case of an emergency. After we did once around the arena. June took off her lead rope. Barb lengthened her rope and gave me all the control of him. After another time around. We agreed it was time for me to take the controls. She let go and he drove off like he had done it all his life. I admit, I cried. I am not a trainer, but I felt such an accomplishment at teaching another one of my kids to drive. Here is a picture of our first solo drive:

**********************Isn't he just the cutest thing!******************

He is still very green of course. Still has a lot to learn, but hopefully next year, he will be ready for his first show.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Summer and Gypsy's day of adventure!

Well, on the weekend of June 27, Tracey and I took Gypsy and Summer to Grapevine lake for a ride. The heat was actually pretty tolerable. Well that is, until about 4pm. Then it was almost unbearable. UGH! It actually started to get to me. So Tracey gave me some of those pills called Succeed(sp?), they contain nothing but potassium and sodium. Electrolytes for humans basically. And they helped tremendously!

Anyway, the girls were really pretty good. And Tracey finally got to see Summer have one of her "moments". I had to take a crop to her butt to make her move. A large rock really had her freaked out and when she did this, she was in front of Gypsy, you know, the one that is supposed to be in training. Summer is supposed to be "Miss Rock Steady"! LOL I told Tracey that it is good she is not riding Gypsy with a "bomb proof" horse. Gypsy needs to see a horse be naughty too. And she did. And what did Ms. Gypster do? Nothing...except look at Summer and say, "What you do that for?" LOL Once Summer got it out of her system, off we went.

Gyp lead most of the way unless she came to something that she wasn't sure about, then Summer got in front. We took them into the water several times. Gyp wasn't sure about those waves at first though. So I grabbed her bridle and lead her in. After that, she wasn't bothered by them anymore.

All in all, we had a very nice ride. Except for the killer rock, Summer was her good girl self.

At about 2pm we left the lake and headed to the Keller Horse Owners Association arena. We got there about 2:30 due to stopping at the store and detours.

I am thinking the horses did not find this amusing at all. We were supposed to be going home after the morning workout!
********Gypsy and Summer, they have no idea what is in store! LOL**********
I had never been to this facility before and Tracey said we should take a canopy. My hubby let us borrow his. But, we were very fortunate. There was one, lone little tree, and no one around it. So of course we nabbed it and didn't have to put up a canopy! Yeah!

This was a trail course day that they are going to start putting on once a month. All but a few are contrived obstacles. Which I don't mind. I figure, if Summer will do a contrived one, maybe I will have a better chance of her doing a natural one. We can only hope! (smile)

There were 21 obstacles. Some of which, Summer has never been exposed to. A cowboy car wash. A teeter toter bridge. Dropping a hoola hoop over a fake cows head. Cowboy polo and actually penning a calf. Course, there was more to the calf than just penning. I will explain later.

From 4pm to 6pm was practice. You could do all you wanted with your horse either in hand or mounted.

The first was a mount from a block. This is about the only way I mount. No problem, so we didn't practice that. The next was the cowboy car wash. She wasn't sure about them things flapping around, so I had to borrow Tracey's crop and tap her belly. She went in. You could see it in her eyes she was nervous, but she trusted me, and just stood there. 3rd was the teeter toter bridge. Now, she has crossed many a wooden bridge, but I didn't tell her it would tip once we were almost over it. When it tipped, she jumped a little, but was very good. 4th was, as soon you came off the bridge, pick up a lope and lope over cavalettie. 5th was pick up a hoola hoop off a pole and drop it over a fake cow's head. 6th was pick up a flag pole bearing the KHOA flag, walk around another flag, then place it back in a bucket of dirt. 7th, place your horses front feet on a raised wooden platform.

Let's talk about number 7 for a minute. 2 years ago at a TTC at Parrie Haynes, there was this same obstacle. Read that blog entry to understand my qualms about obstacle number 7.

Anyway, I was real proud when she tried and succeeded in doing it. Of course, not before she knuckled over trying it the first time. 8th was placing a rain slicker over your horse and then walking in and out of two horse shoots. 9th was front feet over a log, side pass to the right, open a mail box, remove mail, wave it in the air, return mail and close box, then side pass to left to get off of log. 10th back through barrels in a key hole pattern. 11th, drag a bois'd arc log with a lasso. (they said that thing weighed about 100lbs, my hand believed them) 12th was a blue tarp held down at the four corners with planters and the center of the tarp was filled with water. 13 was trot up to three jumps. You could trot them or jump them. They were kinda large to trot, but she gave it her best shot. 14th was 4 decorative lumber poles lying on four tires in a box shape. Enter and do a 360 degree turn. 15 was back up pole bending. 16 was lope over a clover leaf pattern. 17th was lope up to a gate and stop. 18, back up 20 feet. 19 approach gate, open right handed, go through, then close. 20 was working a calf. (that was FUN!) 21 was cowboy polo.

Now, everything above, we tried in hand first. Duh...

After practicing, we went and took a break. This is when the heat started to get to me. I am usually pretty good with the heat, especially if I let myself acclimate to it like I did on this day. This is when Tracey had me try some of those electrolyte tablets. And they really helped.

After break, we tacked up and entered the arena. I was so proud of Summer. She either did, or tried to the best of her ability, to do every obstacle they asked of us. Her only troubles are loping from a stand still and I have never asked her to jump.

At 6pm they were holding a friendly competition. So I entered the novice. I entered novice because of Summer's two issues I stated above. But I tell you what. She gave me her best and I couldn't have asked for more.

After it was over, they called me and this one other gal to the front. We had tied for 3rd out of 13. We were to do three obstacles of the judges choice. And which one do the choose? The first one was the jumps. Oh well. I was tired, she was tired and we didn't make the cut. But you know, I am so proud of her for trying.

The two things I am most proud of was number 7 and number 20. The platform and the calf. She did the platform like a circus horse. And worked that calf like a Quarter Horse. Who says Tennessee Walkers can't do it all?! LOL
The job for the calf was to get it out of its pen, move it between two cones and get it back in its pen. 21 horses worked the calf for competition. Luckily, Summer was number 6 and the calf was still pretty fresh.

**********************************Teeter toter bridge


********************************Work that cow girl!

************************************Pen it, job done!

************************************Cowboy polo