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!