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.