Monday, December 13, 2010

Awesome horsey weekend!!!

My weekend started out okay. I was going to go riding Saturday, but circumstances caused me to not stray far from home. So, when Saturday morning rolled around, I decided that it was just too pretty not to do something outside. I got to the barn (my second home) at about 8:30 and got my chores done, then loaded my trail cleaning and marking stuff into the mule and headed out to do some much needed trail work. I guess I worked for about 3 hours and I was having a blast. Sometimes we just need that alone time with nature to recharge our emotional batteries. I took silly pictures of things I saw, texted 3 different friends repeatedly, and listened to my iPhones ipod. Had a great time!

Then about 12:15 James called me. (my sorting instructor) He called and asked if I was coming to my lesson. I wasn't sure if they were having one as I couldn't get a time from anyone and decided they must have canceled. So I quickly got back to the barn, unloaded and cleaned out the mule. Loaded my saddle and Summer in the trailer and off we went. (a whole 6 miles from my barn)

Let me just say, Summer was total game on this day. I was so proud of her and our lesson. James noticed one thing that Summer has always had a problem with and that is initially separating the herd when going for our first cow. He and I both noticed, she didn't hesitate once. I just felt that this was one of our better lessons and wished I hadn't missed so much time with my back issues. Oh well, God does everything for a reason.

On Sunday, Tracey and I went to the arena for sorting practice. Roy is starting up Sunday practice at $5 a run. This was Amira's second time to try this as the first time (a bit over a year ago) she decided it wasn't the right sport for her at that time. LOL She has since learned that cows are our friends and that horses and humans are the bosses of cows. And Summer has told her they taste pretty yummy too. LOL Amira has learned to move them around in open pastures, however, working cows in a little round pen is much different than working them in a pasture. But she was a good girl and decided to "cowhorse up" and show those stock horses that Arabs can do this too. Everytime she went in, she got a little more comfortable. It's just gonna take a lot of practice like Summer and I did.

Summer was very "game on" again this day so I was once again real happy with her performance. I did 7 runs with Tracey and James saved me one of his runs. James and I ran real good together until he let a trash cow by him. LOL I told Tracey that even the best can bust.

Another thing I like about how Roy is doing this now, is this. You buy tickets for your runs. You hand the gate keeper a ticket when you enter and you get your full 60 seconds. If you bust within the first 10 seconds, you still have 50 seconds for practice so you can still keep going. But, because you have to pay per practice run, you kinda have to have your partners lined up. I spent $35 to run with Tracey and Amira. I won't do that for just anyone else, just like I wouldn't expect someone to do that with me. But Toni and I both knew Amira had it in her. We all know that a horse can feed off fear and nervousness from another horse, but I have also read that they can feed off of the confidence of another horse. Maybe even Summer was "telling" Amira she could do this too.

Tracey also said yesterday that Amira would never win a jackpot. I told her I thought that exact same thing until Summer won 2 of the 5 I entered her in last year. Never say never. You can't have "can't" in your heart as Joe Dirt would say. Cause if you do, then you won't. Ever. But I have also learned in this sport, you MUST be an aggressive rider. No timidity allowed when working with cows. That's for sure. Just like the barrel racing saying, "Ride It Like You Stole It!" : )

Monday, December 6, 2010

NATRC Christmas at the Ranch 2010

Well, this was my first time I have ridden this ride as I have been ride secretary a few times and a go-fer one year. So it was a different feeling being on the other side of things at this years ride. I did help decorate the barn last weekend before the ride with Alanna and Liz so that was fun as I love to decorate. But to sit and just be a competitor had a weird but nice feeling about it.

I took off Thursday to get things done that I hadn't got done during the week to get ready to leave Friday morning. Lucky me, the ride is only 40 miles or so from my barn. Anyway, Friday I got to the ranch and set up my camp site, then saddled Summer and went on a 3 mile hack. We walked mostly and cantered a bit just so I could see where her head was for the competition. She was great.

At check in with the judges she was a good girl. Not fidgety or anything like some other horses were. Some just wouldn't stand still and made me nervous when their rear ends got way to close to the judges secretaries table. I am sure points were docked for that. Anyway, after the vet judge checked her in, I was to go to a horse trailer and tie a quick release for lead ropes with the horsemanship judge.

Saturday morning was okay. We timed out the head of the CP/Novice pack but that didn't help. Apparently, someone had switched the horse I rode Friday for an evil twin. I thought it was Summer, but apparently I had been had! She was very forward, too forward for what I would call a nice ride. But, she was a gaiting machine. She was SMOOTH....My only true complaint was she seemed to me, to rush through the obstacles. But I only lost 1 point on Saturday from the horsemanship judge for backing crooked up the hill. Summer lost 1 point from the vet judge at the side pass on the hill obstacle.

On Sunday, someone had come to my trailer in the middle of the night Saturday night and switched Summer back with her evil twin. So my Sunday ride was AWESOME! I rode with Sue and her molly mule, Sugar. They paced very well together. Sugar's dam is a TWH so there were no problems with them keeping up with each other. And Summer's Sunday obstacles were just flawless. The horse I rode Saturday reminded me to appreciate the horse I rode Sunday! There are still minor things on the obstacles we still need to work on, nothing that we had to do this weekend tho, just future ones we might encounter. But mostly, I need to work on her conditioning and getting that right so that someday my girl will finally get a NATRC blue ribbon.

So I finished the weekend with a Horsemanship score of a 99 and second place out of 3 in my class. And trust me, the two ladies I was competing against are good. I just knew I was gonna get 3rd. Which I would have been fine with as long as I had a decent score on my card. Cause I try to remind myself, I am competing against myself, not the others. I really liked the horsemanship judge too. His name is Kim and was a very nice guy and eeriely looked just like my sorting instructor James. Sounded just like him too. It was just weird. But they say, everyone has a twin.

Summer however, lost 15 points from her metabolics over the weekend. The judge is a AERC judge and they are very metabolicly conscience. I was glad for her judging as it showed me what we needed to work on and how to fix some of the little issues Summer was having over the weekend. And besides, Tamara is a super nice lady. And I would like to thank her too as she is a reserve, in the Army I believe, and is about to be deployed for a year. Thank you Tamara!

Summer received 3rd with a score of an 84. But I must remember, we haven't competed in NATRC in about a year and eight months. Now we just have to get ready for the next one which is in March.

All in all, I had a great weekend. Great horse, great company, great conversation and great food.
Can you tell I had a great time! LOL

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Well...where do I begin?

I guess at the beginning. Makes since I suppose.

Sounds like the start of an old western novel don't it? LOL

I haven't blogged in over 2 months. Not for the lack of wanting to, but I started a new job within my old one here at the county and have just been real busy. And on weekends, just busy there too.

All my equines are doing pretty good. At least they aren't complaining. Course, they might if they could speak "human" I suppose. : P

Guess I will just skip all that and talk about my last minute entry into The Galloping Goblins Texas Trail Challenge this past weekend (Saturday October 30th).

It was like this...I'm going, no I'm not, I'm going, no I'm not, I'm going, no I'm not....I could go on but I am sure you get the gist of it.

Well, I ended up going down there early that Saturday morning. Now, it isn't a far drive at all, about 68 miles or so one way. And it was a nice quiet drive for me. When I got there it was still dark. But the neat story of that was right before I turned into the ranch's driveway off of CR 172, about a 1/4 mile before the driveway, I noticed something running down the middle of the road about 100 yards ahead of me. I thought to myself it was a buck as I could see what I thought was antlers. But the closer I got the more I realized it wasn't a buck, but a huge mountain goat with a very large set horns. So I will honor him by calling him a Ram. Huge! And he ran that entire time down the middle of the road with me behind him. And just as the road curved right and my turn was on the left is when he finally jumped off into a wooded area. I thought it was pretty cool for God to send me an escort.

Once the sun came out, the office opened for check ins. I went in and this day decided I would step out of my comfort zone. My comfort zone would be anything novice in NATRC or intermediate in the TTC world. The intermediate class in a TTC is called Maverick. So this day I decided to step it up a notch and do the advanced class which is called Horseman. There is Adult class and Senior class. These are the hardest obstacles in the TTC competitions. I told the gentleman checking us in that I would do it for "poops and giggles" and whatever we bombed on I could go home and practice. And that is really what I said.

It was about 10am or so when the show got on the road. Here were our 14 obstacles and 1 extra credit:

**Mount your horse, but your left arm is broken. My first thought, "well, here is our first obstacle to practice at home". LOL But we did it with flying colors. Summer stood like a statue and didn't move until asked. Which is what she is supposed to do, but sometimes she forgets.

**Back threw an "L". We do this all the time at home so it was no biggy for her. Course I say that now and she'll blow the next time we are asked to do it. LOL

**Show the judge your hoof pick. After that, she handed you a magazine. Side pass to the mailbox, place the magazine in the mailbox, side pass away from mailbox. Another one we do all the time at our place.

**A steep down hill with judge watching.

**Approach the judge, a slicker is handed to you on the near side. Take the slicker to a large boulder, and pull the slicker over your horse and place in on the boulder from the off side.

**Emergency stop.

**Side pass thru a mud bog.

**Ride thru a pond. Half way thru, turn your horse 180* and finish by backing out of the pond.

**Approach a judge sitting in a wheel chair. She rolls up to you and hands you a creepy looking Halloween hand with streamers hanging off of it. You are to take the hand from one side, pull it across your horses neck, to the other side, take a horse treat out of it and give it back to the judge. Summer tried to stick her nose into the hand. No fear with that obstacle. I guess her stomach is stronger than her right brain. LOL

**Cowboy carwash. Back thru it.

**Gate with wood debri all over the place and several strands of surveyor tape tied to the gate and the wind was blowing. We had to dismount, open the gate and back your horse thru the gate and remount.

**A wooden bridge. We had to stop in the middle of the bridge and answer a question.

**Pulse check. The judge was looking to see if your horse would stand quietly while you either did this or learned how to do it.

**Trailer loading and unloading.

**And the extra credit was a side pass obstacle which Summer got a Good on and an extra 6 points as she bumped one of the logs and it fell. But she didn't kill the obstacle like a few others did.

I felt that we did have a good ride, and decided to enforce what my very first instructor told me 20 years ago. "As long as you are pleased with you and your horse's performance, then that is all that matters. If you win, then that is just icing on the cake." And I was very pleased with our performance. I couldn't have been more pleased, especially when awards came and Summer and I took first in our class, Adult Horseman. When I got her card she either got a perfect score or an almost perfect score. But more perfects than almosts. (Can you hear the pride in my typing?)

Once again, that sweet but tough mare of mine showed me what she was made of. True grit, but with lots of "pretty" on the side. ; )

Thanks for reading.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hot but nice weekend...

The weekend started earlier that I had planned. I was to have a 3 day weekend, but due to a bad rash, it was a 4 day weekend. Can't wait for this heat to go away down here in Texas. I love the heat when it is at 97 but 104, I just can't do.

So Thursday was a stay at home and treat the rash. I was going to go to the doctor but called Dr. Mom and told her what was going on, and she told me what to go buy. That saved me about $40 as she was right. Of course she was right, she's the mom!

Friday was David and I's 22nd wedding anniversary. I couldn't go away for the weekend as I promised to feed some horses Saturday morning for another boarder. And with this rash, I didn't feel like spending the weekend away from home anyway. So David and I went to Choctaw Casino in Durant OK. I wasn't impressed. It took forever to get there due to traffic and construction on the roads. And it just wasn't "eye candy" like WinStar is. I did win some $$ tho. So we left with as much as we went with and that is always a good thing.

Saturday morning I got up and headed to the barn early. Got horses fed and Summer's pen cleaned. I didn't even break a sweat. So I decided for an early Saturday morning ride. The wind was up and it felt good. Summer was a good girl in the woods but a bit nervous in the open pasture. Don't know why as with all those trees creaking while in the woods from the wind, she was fine, but not on the mesquite trails. Oh well, most of the time have her I figured out, but once in awhile, she still confounds me.

Sunday was just a stay at home in your PJ's day. And I loved it.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Way over a month since I have blogged....

I can't believe it's been over a month since I have blogged. I really haven't been doing much with my equine kids so I guess that could be the reason for my absence.

I haven't been sorting in 3 months. I didn't compete in May due to my Driving Trail Challenge on the same day. I didn't compete in June due to me throwing a birthday party for a senior friend of mine. And I didn't compete in July just cause it was hot, I have been having tummy problems and I was a bit short on funds. And I may or may not compete in August. That is going to depend on my mood and this blasted Texas heat.

But my kids are doing good. Summer is doing well. We trail ride mostly in the pasture as I just don't see hauling out somewhere in this heat. I can go to my barn (6 miles from the house), ride as much as I want and go home. Granted, it ain't no 1500 or 20,000 acres, but it is hard for me to reason on hauling my horse in the heat of the day in that hot trailer. I know hauling to the ride is fine, but by noon or later, it is just blasted hot in a horse trailer. Call me kookey, but I wouldn't want to be in that trailer if I was a horse. Just saying. Maybe when I finally get some bus fans in my trailer, then I won't feel like such a heel for hauling in 105* weather.

Hank is looking real good. It took all of the winter and spring, but I have really fattened him up. When we did the ADS July of 2009, the judge spoke with me on Hank's weight. That he was a little lean. Course, I was pouring food to him at the time. At least I thought I was. So, I did a power pack on him and uped his feed a little. Plus he gets out for about 8 to 10 hours a day now on coastal. So he looks wonderful now. Once this heat starts to give us a break, I will be taking lessons with him. It is just so hot that I don't go out to the barn until about 8pm now just to try and beat the heat.

Chompers is fat and sassy as ever. He got a new/used biothane harness the other day. I have been borrowing one that isn't pieced together right. And it's leather so it has to been cleaned a lot. Now that I have my own and he has his own cart now, I see us driving much more when the weather cools a bit. But he looks real snazzy in his new harness.

Anywho, that is pretty much about it. If we finally do something that folks might actually want to read about, well, y'all will be the first to know! LOL


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Shiney new toy...maybe not

Well, a few weeks ago I started messing with a 9 year old Arabian mare named Harper. She is a sweet little thing. Has had professional training, but that was about 5 or so years ago. So, she is a total greeny as her training was not reinforced. But she is not mean or an idiot either, she just doesn't know what is right. She will move out when asked, she "plow-reins" as she doesn't know how to neck rein, but she gives to the bit wonderfully. She is also broke to drive. But again, it has been even a couple of years since she has driven, and that was only a couple of times around the barn yard.

Harper belongs to my barn owner who just doesn't have time for her right now as she has several horses. So, she told me to use her as I wished. If she did well moving down the trail, take her to CTR's or endurance. Her sire was a roping horse and grandsire was a cutting horse, then I could see if she took to sorting. But here in again, she needs a lot of wet saddle blankets and time before I would take her into a cow pen.

So I did a couple of weeks of ground work with her to see what she remembered and what she might spook at before I climbed aboard. Again, she was good mannered, but needs a lot of trail time.

Well, this got me to thinking when Tracey and I were riding around the barn yard. I have a great horse in Summer, but even she isn't "finished". There is still so much for her to learn. I didn't complete our homework from Toni J. in Summer's trailer issues (which I started back up doing the other night). I haven't driven her since last November and I haven't driven my ponies in a year.

So...what do I do? Play with my new shiney toy (Harper) and leave my "unfinished" projects by the way side. I know it may sound stupid to some, but when I started thinking about my other 3 equine kids and all the things that they have yet to learn, I started to have second thoughts about Harper. I talked to Barb the next day and told her my thoughts. She agreed. She told me that I had a blue ribbon pony in Hank as he proved himself last year at our one and only show. That I needed to drive him more, show him and bring home some more ribbons.

So, Harper is back out in the pasture. Barb told me though, if Summer ever comes up lame or something, to just pull Harper out of the pasture and use her anytime. But I have to say, as Tracey pointed out, riding Harper those couple of times, sure makes me appreciate the great horse I have in Summer.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

May Flowers DTC is done...whew...

What a long, hard, hot, tiring experience that was....whew...But in the end, it was fun and I am glad I did it. BUT...I would not have been able to pull this off without the help of good friends.

Barb, June and Tracey were a huge help when working, marking, and clearing trails. Then I had Diane and her hubby Jerry (have chainsaw, will travel). Jerry cut some trees down for us with his trusty chainsaw. Then Barb, June and I made some gorgeous red and white numbered boards for the cones course. They looked very professional. Saturday morning, the day before the drive, my hubby David came out and pounded stakes into the ground for the plates that were to be the trail markers. Then June and I went back out and did the trail markers later that day with colored plastic plates.

There was just so much that was done to get ready that I know I am going to forget something or someone, but I appreciate it all so much that words are just not enough.

Then I had my judges. Tracey, Toni, Kelley and Alice. My photographer Peter. I had a couple of folks donate drinks. I had some volunteers come out and help the judges with their obstacles, Teresa, Jean, Maggie and Amanda. I had a Facebook friend that I hadn't had the pleasure of meeting yet come out and learn about this new driving venture, Noreen. Thank you Denise, who is a trainer/instructor, did a Q & A after the drive while the judges did the riders cards.

Again, I am sure I am forgetting someone and I am so sorry if I am. But know this, I am so thankful I had such a wonderful group of people to volunteer and compete. This was very stressful yet satisfying for me. I was the ride manager, ride secretary, trail master and senior judge. Once I (sort of) learned every thing, it started to flow more easily.

Thank you Candy for re-doing the riders cards for me so that they "fit" my drive obstacles.

I have to say, I was stressed and my hubby said that if I did this next year, I better find a new place to live. LOL But I will be doing this next year and he will be pounding the stakes in then too.

Now...on with the drive story...

We did a drive briefing at 8:30 am, and soundness check at around 9am. Everyone harnessed up and hitched up and Denise did a tack safety check for me. I really appreciated having her there for her knowledge of everything driving.

The drivers began with my first obstacle, I called it Balls and Barrels. In our out door arena, I placed 5 large plastic barrels, 1 in each corner (but out far enough that carts could go around them) and 1 in the middle. The 1 one in the middle had a bucket on it with 4 tennis balls. The object of this was to go to the middle, settle your horse, pick up the bucket and drive to each corner barrel. When you arrive at each barrel, you are to settle your horse to a stop and place a ball on the barrel. The driver was to do this to each corner barrel. After all the balls were in place, the driver went back to the center barrel and returned the bucket. This was a walk pace, not a timed obstacle. The drivers really seemed to like that as it started their horse thinking but didn't jazz them up. And that is what I was going for in this obstacle. Calmness and responsiveness. Plus, it timed my drivers just right to head out to the pasture for their trail course.

Once the drivers were on course, they were to follow the plates. Red plates for all:

Green plates for Horse and Ponies, and pink plates for VSE's:

The first obstacle that they encountered on trail was a Back 1-Stride. After that, the horse and ponies were to do a clover leaf obstacle (barrel racing pattern). On each barrel was a cone and on the cone was a tennis ball. This was a timed obstacle with penalties. All my paced obstacles were walk/trot only. If they broke gait into a canter, that counted as a penalty.

After this obstacle, Tracey pointed them down the trail where they entered the Old Woods. No obstacles in there, but there might be next time. It is very pretty in there. Here is a picture of Summer and I riding in the Old Woods:

The VSE's next obstacle was the Marie Laveau trail. This was their paced obstacle since they didn't have to do the Clover Leaf. From start to end is 3/10ths of a mile. On this course, they had to pick up and return to judge, 3 clothes pens. Each clothes pen had a different colored ribbon on it. This was a walk/trot pace. I used the clothes pens to make sure the competitors didn't canter. This kept them aware of their trail and for each clothes pen they didn't return was a 2pt penalty. This trail is also decorated with cool yet creepy decor: This is the entrance to the trail.

Here are a few trail decorations:

The above picture is the end of the trail and where carts must turn around. Here is a close up of this trees decor:

The next obstacle for all was the cones course. It turned out better than I could have ever imagined. The only thing missing from making this look like a professional course were FEI cones! But I couldn't have asked for better! This was a 10 gate course and just looked wonderful with the meadow surrounding it.

Once they completed the cones course, the drivers were directed to the next trail which was lined with Pinwheels. I spaced the penwheels out from the trail enough that it wouldn't cause a wreck if the horse should decide to refuse. But my judge said they all completed it with flying colors.

Once they exited the pinwheels, they continued on trail and came to a figure 8 pattern which was a walk pace only. Once they completed the pattern, there was a mailbox at the end. They were to settle their horse, open mailbox, removed contents (rolled up magizine), return contents, close mailbox and continue on down the trail.

Two different trails returned the competitors home. The VSE trail was approximately 2 miles and the Horse and Pony trail was approximately 2.5 miles.

Once home, they were told to untack and return in 10 minutes for a P & R check. The horse was done immediately upon returning home and basically had a resting heart and resp rate.

After the P & R check was the final obstacle. Send your horse over a caveletti.

It took a bit to figure the cards as I couldn't get the computer to work so we had to do it all by hand. I was glad I made several copies just in case this occurred.

For awards I purchased blue feed buckets for first, red brushes for second and large sponges for third all along with 1st thru 3 ribbons. For high point I purchased a very nice helmet case and a grand champion ribbon.

This drive only had 6 entries, but I am grateful for that. I was competing with an established show in Houston. Next year I am going to shoot for May 22nd/23rd as there isn't usually a driving show that weekend.

After awards several of us went to Sam's Cafe and just enjoyed the air conditioning and good company.

Again, thank you all who attended to compete or volunteer and please know how grateful I am for you.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

May Flowers DTC

Well, I am trying to do it. Manage my first horse event. A Driving Trail Challenge at B-Tex Farm. MayFlowerDTC I am getting the trails ready with a good group of hard working friends. Last night we got the Marie Laveau trail done and tonight we are working on 2 other trails. Besides getting them ready for driving we are cutting up high to get rid of the face slappers for riders.

I have 3 judges in place, I just need one more. That shouldn't be too difficult though. If you know how a horse should go, then you can judge this. If all you know is that a horse should have 4 legs, then you may not be qualified. LOL

I have some pretty cool and fun obstacles in place. Some obstacles in the pasture will be a combination obstacle, where you do one obstacle then immediately do another one. We have thought of the prizes I will give as awards. I am working on completion gifts, a high point prize and a prettiest hat prize.

I have THE best safety person on hand. Mark Cole and his horse that would run thru fire for him, Gypsy. I also have a couple of volunteers lined up, but totally could use more. So if you read this and know where my barn is, let me know! I will put you somewhere. I need a couple of P&R workers too. If you don't know what that is, it is Pulse and Respiratory. And I will teach you how to do this job. It is easier than it sounds. Mark's wife, Melinda, is working the ride too, and being a nurse, I may utilize her skills for this job as well.

It looks like I only have 4 entries at the moment, but I have several "maybe's". I have to have at least 10 drivers show up to make this work financially.

Another plan I have is, if we have a decent amount of funds left, I am going to donate a check to It is a therapeutic riding center not too far up the road from us. It is a neat place. And to watch those children and adults ride those great animals, and that smile that is on their faces, is just more wonderful than words can say. When I told Barb, June and Tracey what I wanted to do, there wasn't even a second of thought that they all said that was great idea.

Thanks for reading, and contact me if you want to help!

Happy Trails!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Another blessed weekend...gone to soon.

Another sorting lesson at James'. Summer was very tense at first for about 20 seconds. Then her Quarter Horse spirit kicked in then she was all about the cow. I even had to pull her back 3 times to keep her from biting them. I let her get whisker close then tweaked her back a little.

I asked James why she is so good at his place, but gets nervous at the arena. He just said, it was all the excitement and the PA system. He said I would be surprised at how many horses are like that. He said that she would never be a Dunny (his prize horse), but she is doing things that she isn't supposed to be doing. You just don't see to many walking horses doing this sport. He gave me some more pointers on what I can do to help her. As a team I guess we are 60/40. 60% me and 40% her. My big mouth and aggressive behavior really helps her when we are working the gate/hole. Her positive role in our team is that she responds to me. Even when I feel her tense up, I give her a little spur and push her forward and she does it. She could easily, ignore the spur and just run for the hills, but she doesn't. And for that, I am grateful. I remember when we first started this, I have to say, she is MUCH better than she used to be when it comes to her fear issues.

I have another horse that I am going to take to James' when Summer and I have our next semi private lesson. She is a 9yoa Arab that is cow bred. Her sire and grand sire were cutting horses. But just because she is cow bred doesn't mean she is cowy. But all we can do is try and find out. If not, maybe Competitive Trail Riding will be her calling.

After our lesson, we got back to the barn and June, Tracey and I worked some trails out in the pasture, I was very pleased with what we got done. Also feel very blessed that those two help as much as they do. There is no way I could keep those trails up by myself.

Sunday was just spent at the barn. Sarah and I helped Barb doctor one of her horses that had a severe laceration on her left hind leg. June, Debbie and I took a ride on the mule down to the pasture to show Debbie what we get to enjoy everyday. (Debbie is June's grandson's girlfriend's mom. Whew.) Then went on a nice little ride with Tracey and Amira to finish this beautiful day.

Good weekend, hated to see it end.

Happy Trails!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Jaws at James', Minnow at the Arena...

I think it's me, but not sure.

Summer is a shark at James' during lessons. But is more timid at the arena. Is it me?

At James' she is pinning those ears and snaking that head and has on occasion, bit a cow in the rump. Our last lesson she was right on those cows, pushing them and just showing all kinds of cow horse potential. But this past Saturday at the competition, she was tense, and nervous about going to get our cow. I mean, we did have two short runs out of 77 teams, so I am not complaining there. But what's different?

Is it me? Or is it the difference in James' place verses all the action at the arena?

I know I am more relaxed during lessons which I know transfers to her. And of course, during any competition, I get butterflies in my stomach. Which again, I know transfers to her. But during our other sports, she still does fine even if I am a bit nervous.

Maybe it is just a combination of both. My nerves and the location. Just something I need to work on. She has proved too many times that she can do this. Maybe not to the caliber of an open cow horse, but definitely a novice cow horse.

Thanks for reading and Happy Trails!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I still can't believe it...

I know whoever reads this blog may get tired of me talking about it. But I just still can't believe that my name is on the board with all those good cowboys, cowgirls and their stock horses.

Summer and I may have only placed far (smile), but I go and check occasionally as we may be low in the standings, but we aren't last! (smile again) I know some folks that all they want is their name on the board, period. They don't care where it is, just so it's on the board! So, being new to this sport, I guess that is pretty neat that I have mine on there already.

My name is on the #3 sorting standings and in the Top Hand Novice standings. Very cool. Well, at least it is to me.

If all goes according to plan, we will be sorting this Saturday, and I will be wearing my new Troxel Cheyenne helmet. It is gorgeous. So western looking. Maybe it will turn some heads and make other cowgirls and maybe a cowboy or two want to start thinking about safety.

I bought the chocolate one. I received it exactly the day they specified. It is so nice.

After my accident, I have worn a helmet every time I have climbed on Summer's back. And when I ride by that tree stump, I think of how close it was to my head. You know, the head that wasn't wearing a helmet. Yea, that one.

Well, wish us luck on our sort Saturday. I would like to finish the day with some points. But mostly, I just want to finish on top of my horse. You know the saying, "The art of riding is keeping the horse between you and the ground."

Happy Trails!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Blast from the past...

What a nice week so far. I went to church Sunday and got to see my old high school friend Lisa RR. (will get to visit more this Sunday I hope!) Then got to talk to my dear friend Jennifer last night for over an hour! I hadn't talked to her in 23 years. It was so good to hear her voice and catch up. Of course, 23 years can't be caught up in over an hour, so there were be more visits. But is was so good to know that she is doing well. I wish we lived closer, but at least God let us find each other again. We were pretty much inseparable in high school. We had our stupid friend squabbles, but nothing a good friendship couldn't over come. I still have two gifts she gave me when we were in high school. An ivory "shrimp" ring and a Christmas ornament. The ornament is a brass unicorn (I was so into unicorns back then) and she had it engraved, To Tammy, Love Jennifer. Being an only child was hard, but if God could have chosen me a sister, it was/is her. I pray to never loose touch again.

I know this isn't a horse related post, but it was one I just had to share.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Another nice weekend...

...horses, friends, and a new church.

My friend Robin came to my barn on Saturday with her mare, Taz. Taz is a finished cow horse and this was Robin and Taz's first trail ride since Robin has owned her. Taz was wonderful! The only real problem she had was water. She would cross it, but she didn't like it. LOL We went out 3 times for a total of about 13 miles or so. We got some nice cantering in, and I took several pics of Robin and Taz so she would have some lovely, frameable pics of their first trail ride. Tracey joined us the 3rd time and the horses did very well together. I think we have Robin hooked as a trail rider now. Her main passion is sorting, but I bet trail riding might come in as a very close second.
Me and Summer, Robin and Taz (thanks for taking our pic Tracey!)
Sunday, June and I visited a new church called Three Nails Cowboy Church. We loved it! My old friend from high school (23 years ago), Lisa, goes there and is always talking on facebook about their acitivies and just how much she likes this church. The people were kind and friendly, the music was great and the sermon was wonderful. I told June on the way home that I would be going back. She said, "good, cause I was already thinking that if you weren't, I was!" LOL

After church, it was lunch time and then back to the barn for chores and just relax with the critters that we love.

This is gonna be a short blog, but it was just a wonderfully nice weekend that I had to share.

Happy Trails

Monday, April 5, 2010

Update on me and my equine kids.

As of yesterday, it has been 3 weeks since my accident with Summer.

Last Saturday (March 27th) was SWTPA March sort and I didn't compete but I did go watch my friends. And of course I was glad I didn't take a horse as I probably would have entered. I was glad I went though as even watching from the side lines teaches you a lot.

I did have a few folks that knew about about the accident ask me if I have ridden yet. No, I hadn't as of then. I knew what they were thinking though. The longer I wait, the tougher it will be, because I will just become even more nervous.

So Sunday (March 28th), Tracey and I saddled up and rode around the barn for about 25 minutes then hit the trails for about 20. When we first started out around the barn, the wind was blowing and Summer was a bit "up", but I think it was because I was nervous. You can't take a fall like that and can't say you aren't even a tad nervous getting back on. Anyway, after the 2nd loop around the barn, I noticed Summer's head was down and she had relaxed. I then noticed that I had relaxed by then too. Which is why she had settled. After about 5 loops, we hit the trails and it was real nice.

Monday evening, I rode the trails by myself. Summer was a pretty good girl. And it was just something I had to do. Getting over these little fear humps is just an exercise I must do.

Wednesday, Hank and I had our first driving lesson with Denise. All we did was longe line but it was SO informative and she taught me so much about my pony and why he is doing some of the things he does. Things like getting his tongue over his bit. The hour just flew by. And while she was working him, I heard her purr to him. I asked her if she had just done that and she shyly said yes, that it was to calm him. I told her that she and my dressage instructor in California from 20 years ago were the only two I had ever heard do that. So, back to purring I will go to settle my hyper pony. But it was so great and I can't wait for my next lesson!

Saturday came and we had an AWESOME sorting lesson! Robin, Anthony and I just had a great lesson with James. We all had things that James critiqued us on. One of my worse runs of the day was when tunnel vision kicked in and I put a BUNCH of pressure on James when he was working the hole as my partner. Tunnel vision usually doesn't happen to me, but it did this day. I also pushed her pass our cows shoulder a couple of times, causing the cow to turn back away from the hole, which will cause us precious seconds in competition. My bad again. But at least I am catching my mistakes as I make them. That shows that I am learning something I guess.

But Summer was really good for me. When we were done with each run, I would try to be the one to push the cattle back thru the hole for the next run for Summer's sake. Summer was pinning those ears and putting her head down to push the cows with her nose. Next thing I know, she bit one again! LOL Once again, this isn't allowed as it can be construed as "roughing" the cattle. But with Summer still having a bit of fear issues, I will let her touch them and such at James'. She also got real close to them when we were cutting them from the herd too. And when we would push our cow on the fence to the hole, she was much closer to their hip than she usually is.

I had a talk with James after the lesson and told him that I knew that I didn't have the kind of horse that he and the others had, but I had a horse with a lot of heart and a lot of want in trying to please me and he agreed. And that for now, she will have to be my cow horse if I want to play this game. She just shows me that she can have potential at this sport because of the way she handles the cows at his place.

After we got home from our lesson, we had a nice ride on the trails. Just she and I. It was so peaceful and quiet. She was so good.

Of course Sunday I woke up feeling muscles that I hadn't felt in awhile. LOL

I am feeling those same muscles today as well. Guess I need to start hitting a gym.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Wasn't gonna, but I guess I will...

Did the title peak your interest?

Well, Summer and I had a bit of an accident last Sunday (March 14th) evening at about 6:45pm. At least this time I got to enjoy the ambulance ride to the hospital. Eric drove and Clint did all the paramedic stuff that is required on the trip.

I bet that has really peaked your interest now! LOL

I was not going to write about it, and even as the paramedics were putting me on the gurney, I told Tracey (in a very weak voice), "don't put this on Facebook." The paramedics laughed. Tracey said she was gonna take a picture and put it on FB. Then in a world wide known finger gesture, I told her she was number 1. The paramedics laughed again.

But I had to take that expensive ride as we didn't know if my hip was fractured, broke, dislocated or what.

While in the ambulance, Clint took off my socks and boots. I thought I might be getting a foot massage, but he said he was doing something about a pulse thingy (darn it!). Just then though, I realized I hadn't shaved my legs in a week and apologized. (he giggled at me again) Then the pain meds really kicked in and I remember telling him I sure was glad I listened to my momma and put on clean underwear everyday. LOL

When we got to the hospital they put me in my own room in the ER that actually had a door and not a curtain. Next thing I know one of the female nurses says, "Mrs. Haley, we are going to have to cut your clothes off." Crap. Of course I am more worried about horse stuff than myself as I was wearing my Freeze R Burn t-shirt that Summer and I earned last year at our 1 and only LD endurance ride. So I asked the young lady, "could you cut that picture out and give it to my husband?" So I have basically a wash cloth with last years logo on it. That's okay, I am gonna wash it, frame it and put it on Summer's brag wall.

Anyway, they got the hospital IV in me and shot me up with more pain meds. I asked my ER nurse Eric (yes, another Eric, remember, the ambulance driver was also an Eric), what is the worse case scenario? He said, "the way your leg is laying and the description of your pain, I would say a possible fractured hip." Then I say, "Okay, worse case for that?" Surgery. Crap again. He told me not to worry about it though, let's just see what we are dealing with.

We were there for a bit when they finally got me in for my CT scan. And we had to wait a bit longer for the results. My doctor (Dr. Brown) came in and said they were supposed to X-ray me first but that was okay. He said my CT scan came back normal. No head injuries, internal injuries and no hip injuries. Thank God. He said he still wanted X-rays done but the CT scan was actually better than the X-rays. X-rays came back normal as well. My ER nurse told me and another orderly that he would have bet a $100 that my hip was fractured. That it was amazing that nothing was broke or dislocated. All I kept doing was thanking God. I was constantly asking God to let everything be okay. Guess what folks, the power of prayer is amazing. The doctor just said that I would be feeling this for about a month. I am okay with that.

Now, as for the accident. Well, Summer spooked. It was the worse spook she has ever done with me.

Tracey and I had gone out for a ride and the girls were real good. When we got back to the barn yard, there was a white pipe that I had brought back in from the pasture the weekend prior. I had said it would make a good jump for ponies and a cavaletti for horses. Well, one end was on a cinder block and the other in the fork of a tree trunk. I had Summer walk over it and she bumped it and knocked the cinder block over and now the pipe was even lower. Which was fine. So I walked her back over it. Tracey then took Amira over it. Well, Amira kind of drug her left front foot going over it. No big deal. Unfortunately she did the same with her right front foot. This time the pipe moved but didn't give and hit the ground as that one end was in that fork. Had it not been in stuck in that fork, all of this may have been prevented. Live and learn. Anyway, When it moved, it hit the back of her front left leg. She panicked. Now the pipe was between her front legs with that one end still in the fork of that tree and she started backing quickly. Then the pipe (not a PVC pipe) sort of bent around her left leg. Then she REALLY started to panic. Well, that was all I got to watch as Summer decided she wasn't hanging around as the horse eating pipe ate her BFF. (So much for BFF. What kind of BFF won't help their buddies that are in trouble? Oh, that's right, horses!) Anyway, Summer started to back up REALLY fast. So fast, I could feel her rear end WAY under her. Well, in my infinite wisdom and immediate lack of proper horsemanship, I was asking her to whoa while putting on the brakes (pulling on the reins). Unfortunately, I wasn't putting on the brakes, I was kicking her reverse into over-drive. I knew we were almost on top of a large fence and a large stump. By the time I realized what I was doing with the reins, it was too late. I let go of the reins just as she hit the fence and stump. This completely made her loose her footing. She sort of sat down and roll backwards on top of me. Now I was lying on the ground with 1000lbs of horse lying on her back between my legs.

She just laid there as I was screaming for someone to get her off of me. I honestly don't think I have ever been that scared with horses as I was right then. All I could imagine was her panicking worse and fighting to get off of me, then putting a hoof in my chest or my face.

But she didn't, she just laid there. Most of her weight on my left hip and leg. After about 4 or 5 seconds, I moved my right leg just a little, then I must have blinked, because the next thing I knew, she was gone. I never lost consciousness, though I wanted to as the pain was so bad. But Tracey, Barb and June kept me awake. Barb called 911 then called David. David arrived just as Eric and Clint loaded me into the ambulance.

About 1:30am, when the doctor told me nothing was broken, I called Tracey as I know she is a night owl. She told me something that started me crying again, as with this story, I knew God was there and that my mare really does care about me.

Tracey said that Summer did actually lay there for a few seconds as it looked like she didn't know what to do. It must have been when I moved my right leg ever so slightly that the next event occurred. Tracey said that it looked like Summer looked at me, then looked at the ground, saw a clear spot, then ever so gently, rolled off of me, then looked at me as if to say, "get up now". Tracey said she didn't bolt or panic, that she just stared at me.

We didn't get out of the hospital until about 3:30am and didn't get home till about 4:00am. David didn't go to work as he got no sleep and needed to take me to get my meds. We got my meds about noon and then I asked him to take me to the barn as I just felt I needed to see Summer and let her know I was okay.

Now, you have to know this about Summer and I. We have a good relationship, but different than Fawtal and I did. I could holler Fawtal's name and he would holler back and come running to me know matter where he was or what he was doing. If I do that to Summer, she flips me the hoof and continues grazing without nary a whinny or a neigh.

Anyway, David took me to the barn about 1pm on Monday. He pulled right up to my pen. Summer was standing in the back of it near my barn owner's stud (No, he can't reach her, they both just do a lot of wishful thinking). As soon as she saw me come around the truck, she nickered at me and here she come. My heart about exploded. She NEVER does that unless it is feeding time, and even then that is rare. Right then, I knew she understood and I believe she was honestly happy to see me and that I was okay.

Thanks for reading

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Things that make you go...hmmmm?

A friend of mine on Facebook just posted this quote:

"Believes some things will fall apart, in order for other things to fall into place."

At 41 years of age, this quote immediately grabbed my attention and automatically made me start thinking. And the older you get, the more and more this quote will relate to the life you have lived.

Bad things happened in my life in my late teens, and due to those circumstances, I met and married David in 1988.

Something bad was happening in our country and overseas when David was in the Army, and for fear of loosing him during that war, I decided to get pregnant. Maybe that was greedy, but if I lost him, then I had to have a part of him with me forever. Amanda was born March 16, 1991.

It only takes a moment for me to think of so many other stories I could share, but then this blog would be mile long. And all because of a one line quote that got me to thinking on my life.

This quote can also be compared to:

"When God closes a door, He always opens a window."

It is up to you to go threw it. And I have gone threw many windows. Thank you Lord for opening them and for allowing me to see them when they have opened.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I am very honored by this award...thank you.

I am honored to be one of the recipients of this award. A wonderful thing about this award is I have discovered new blogs that can/will help me on life long path with my horses.

It comes with three conditions. Links back where they come from (here), 7 things about me and 15 new blogs to pass it on to.

Unfortunately, I don't think I follow 15 bloggers, but I will post the ones I do keep up with.

7 things about me:

1. I have loved horses ever since I can remember. I started sketching horses at about 7 years of age. If I couldn't have a real one of my own, I would draw them and dream of riding them across open plains. That is how I made myself fall asleep at night as a child. Galloping astride my horse, into the sunset and into the land of sleep.

2. I wanted to be a veterinarian when I grew up. But the thought of putting an animal to sleep tortured me. I just couldn't do it.

3. I am a brown belt in Karate. I haven't practiced in approx. 11 years. If I went back, I would start again as a white belt.

4. I have worked in law enforcement for 16 years. In those 16 years, I have seen things that might make your toes curl, but I wouldn't give those experiences back for anything. However, law enforcement has put a hard outer shell around me most of the time, I am glad for this shell, but once in a blue moon, I wish I didn't have it.

5. I am an extreme animal lover. Within my financial means, I will take any animal in that I think needs help. I even took a 7 1/2" Boa Constrictor in. Just call me "Urban Elle Mae". My husband dreads when we get a place in the country.

6. I have been blessed to get to know my Grandmother and my Great Grandmother. My Great Grandmother passed away in 2000 and my Grandmother in 2008. Which means my daughter got to know her Great Grandmother and Great-Great Grandmother. I possess 2 pictures that are 5 generation pictures. One when my daughter was about 5 months old and one when she was 8 years old. Those are priceless to me and I will always treasure them.

7. I save the best for last. I am married to a man with the patience of a saint. I don't think any other man on this planet could put up with my shenanigans, my temper, my willfulness and my mood swings the way he does. The Lord truly does make someone for everybody.

Now for the blogs I follow and to pass on this blogger award (which some of you may have already received):

Facing 40 - Mid Life Musings
Deals with my personal friend Tracey and her life with her family and her beloved mare Amira.

I am just getting to know this blogger who calls herself Breathe. I love reading about her own personal "road to the horse" with her horse Cibolo.

Green n Green = Black n Blue
I just started following this one and can't wait to read more.

Endurance Granny
If you need a good source to follow to get your horse ready for endurance riding. Follow Granny!

sweet horse's breath
About a sweet horse named Lazarus. But be careful, you will need a tissue.

The Joy of Horses
Just joined this one also and can't wait to read more.

A Horses Spirit Is A Fragile Thing But With Loving Hands Is Easily Healed!

Just started on this one. Looks to be a good one!

Adventures Of Me and G
I have been cyber friends with Kate for several years via a gaited horse site. What she has accomplished with her boy G is inspiring me to do more with my TWH.

Trot on Hank
And last but not least is another personal friend, Jonni. Read about the horse that had major colic surgery in 2008 and went on it 2009 the win the coveted NATRC President's Cup. A truly inspiring blog.

If I can remember the other blogs I follow, I will attach them to my side bar.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

What a "fantabulous" weekend!

Saturday morning I borrowed David's truck as I didn't feel like unhooking my SUV from my horse trailer to go get a round bale. Got to the barn, wormed my ponies as they were in much need of a good worming, hooked up my barn owner's round bale picker upper trailer thingy (did ya like that? hehe), and headed to the feed store a whole mile and a half away from the barn. Got a round bale loaded on it and headed back to the barn with Summer's buffet.

While I was doing that, Barb and June headed to Rio Vista and picked up 60 square bales of some of the most beautiful hay I have seen in a long time. 10 of those bales were mine so when they got back, I helped unload and stack them all. My little feed room is now full and I have enough hay to last me hopefully till the first cut of the year. My ponies only go through about a bale a week and Summer's round will last for approximately 5 weeks.

After we got done with the hay, I realized it was a few minutes after 1pm. I loaded up Summer and headed to our sort lesson. Got there, unloaded Summer (and she was very good doing that), tacked up and Robin and I headed out for a few minutes in the pasture. After about 15 minutes, we saw James heading to the arena with a tacked horse so we headed that way ourselves. He brought 10 head of what appeared to be Angus cross cattle up to the pens. He got them in and Robin and I assisted him the best we could (without getting in the way) getting the cows in the squeeze shoot and placing the numbers on them. Before we got started doing this though, James warned us that these cows had never been worked before and we were to watch ourselves and be careful. (James also told us that the cows we worked the weekend prior, were also like the ones we were preparing to work and that is why folks were having a bit of a problem).

Once we got started, we had a good lesson. Summer was a bit spooky on her first entry, but wasn't a complete idiot. Being that these cows had never been worked before, they had no clue to the rules of the game. But that really gave me some learning and I loved it. Another good thing about these cows was, once you pushed them through the hole, they wanted back to their herd and since I had that same problem the last two SWTPA competitions, it gave me a chance to learn to watch the cows behind me while working the hole.

4 of us showed up for the lesson and it was a very nice day. I got to make one run with Allison and we did very well. Allison is the partner that I placed with in January and I think if we had more pratice time, we would do really well when competiting. Praying that Roy starts the Friday nights back up!

Robin's little mare Taz, has learned a new trick that terrifies me every time she does it, and she is doing it a lot. Rearing straight up and pawing the air. I have lost a friend to this and I will not loose another. James is going to put 30 days on Taz and I really hope he can stop this. I can tell this is breaking Robin's heart as she really cares for this horse and loves sorting. I pray that James can stop Taz from this dangerous habit.

All in all, it was a productive day for Summer and I. For the most part, we did better this day than the previous Saturday. But now I know what to watch for as the cows we are preparing to work may have never been worked before this day, and to not just go in balls to the wall. James also gave me something I can work on at home too using our barrel racing barrels.

Sunday was a semi work day at the barn. Barb, June, Tracey and I moved the dressage arena over. Now, you may think this a simple task, but this is not a normal arena, everything has to be precise. So that took a couple of hours, just moving markers on the ground, but it is done! Then I got my few chores done, saddled up and went for a nice ride on the trails with Tracey and another boarded.

It was a great weekend filled with horses and horse activities!

Monday, February 22, 2010

February's sort

Well, I did exactly what I did in January. I got to the arena around 8:45 or so and set up Summer with her hay bag and water bucket. Got her good and groomed, tacked up, then I left her to eat her hay and I went in to visit and watch some penning.

We didn't start our class till about 4:30 or 4:45pm, almost like last month. There were 55 teams in my class again. I ran the maximum of 5 times, 3 partners and 2 draws. I partnered with Anthony, "M" and Allison and my 2 draws were "B" and "S". Both of whom were very nice and a pleasure to compete with.

I was totally off my game this day. The morning didn't start out to great as there was a bit of an accident at the barn before I got Summer loaded up.

Let's take a step back to Thursday night. I realized Thursday night that it had been almost 5 weeks since I had worked Summer on her trailer training. My bad. However, she was really very good when we practiced Thursday night. She went in front feet only then stepped out. Then I made her completely load up and asked her to back out. She got half way out, then sort of blew out. I told her in a very calm voice, "No, that is not what I wanted." So I loaded her back up and asked her to back out again. She backed out like a champ. We were done. End on a good note.

Back to Saturday morning. I asked her to load up, she got half way in, she had a momentary relapse and she blew backwards, she didn't hit her head, but when she did that, she lost the footing in her rear feet while her front feet where still in the air, she sort of spun around (not intentionally) and landed full on her right side. She jumped up and looked at me and I thought, "Oh crap, she is gonna bolt and I am gonna have a chase on my hands". But she didn't, she trotted off a few feet and I could tell she scared herself, but when I told her whoa in a calm voice, she just stopped and waited for me to come get her. I asked her if she was done and apparently she was as after that, she loaded right up. When we got to the arena (remember, it's only 4 miles from my barn), I fulled expected her to unload with no problems, and she was wonderful.

Anyway, Summer was working pretty good while warming up, so I figured she was fine from that mornings mishap. I even lunged her and noticed nothing out of the ordinary. However, she is in season and was somewhat apprehensive when sorting the cattle, which took precious seconds away from us. But there was no lacking of pilot error as well. I went into the herd too fast and didn't let her have time to think about what was going to happen. I was too far away from my cow when working it. I didn't read my cow fast enough at times. I am sure the list goes on, but I also have to say, those little buggers will a little tougher than last month.

With 2 of my partners, we weren't able to sort any. I went in first, worked the number called, after the 30 second buzzer went off I hollered "switch" to my partner and that takes about 3 seconds to switch which gave them 27 seconds to work it and they still couldn't cut it from the herd. One of those was with "M" and the other with "B".

With Allison, I had brought her the first cow and when she went in, she just couldn't get hers. Once she finally got it, that one and a trash cow came at the hole and even tho Summer actually seems to do pretty good in the hole, we just couldn't stop them. They both pushed through her and the fence.

With my other bust, it was another rear bust. Remember last month when that one cow came back thru the hole once it had been sorted, well it happened again! I thought those were rare!?! Well so far, I am 2 for 2! LOL That one was with "S". She brought me one, it was clean and I moved out of the hole, she pushed it thru, I went out, actually got my cow pretty fast and it was a clean one, she left the hole to go to the herd as that's how clean mine was, but when she moved out of the hole, the first cow was right behind her and shot right back out the hole! OMG, not again! LOL She kept apologizing and I told her unless she had eyes in the back of her head, to quit saying I'm sorry! LOL

With Anthony, we only sort 1 head. Not near enough for the short go.

Robin was there, but didn't sort as Taz was having some issues of her own. But we will be sorting next month. Heck we may be going to Gainsville this Saturday if the weather doesn't get too crappy! Yee Haw!

On a down note, I won't be sorting with "M" again, at least not as a write in partner. It may sound petty, but when she came to me after our ride and said we should have switched sooner, that really put me out. It was the way she said it, it was in her voice that it was my fault we didn't sort any. WT...? I won 2 jackpots, and a second place out of the 5 I entered last year, which means money in my pocket with all 3 and we placed last month. She as been doing this longer and hasn't done either. So don't sit there and make it sound like you are better than me when I was being nice when you came to us looking for partners and everyone else that was with me said their rides were full. I will take my chances with a draw next time. That just rubbed me the wrong way. If she is a draw next time, I will just make the best of it, but if she says something like that to me again, I will call her on it. She is no better than me and we both have a lot to learn, so, I will respectfully decline if she asks me again. Okay, off my soap box now. Had to vent. Sorry.

"B" (the other one I sorted with and got 0 cow) was super nice about our run. He actually apologized to me later cause he said his horse locked in on the first cow it saw and he couldn't get the horses focus on the cow we needed. Heck, no ones fault, just wasn't our luck. No biggie. We'll do better next time. And he said he liked that I switched cause he knows of times when the first sorter goes in and can burn up the entire 60 seconds cause they are so tunnel visioned. I took that as a compliment. Thank you sir. I hope to have the privilege of sorting with you again someday.

Anyway, all in all it was a real nice and fun day. I really enjoyed seeing my friends and just watching those extremely experienced guys, gals and their horses working those cows.

Thanks for reading

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Record snow in Texas pictures.

Downtown, aka: work

Home, aka: rest

Hank and Summer, aka: play and where all my money goes. (smile)

Hansom Hank my Hackney Pony
FMK Imperial Summer
My first ever snow ride:
I do feel a little bad as I didn't get any shots of Chompers in the snow. Sorry Chomp-Chomps

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

SWTPA February we go again.

I can't believe it is this coming Saturday. It has been almost 5 weeks since our last sort and Summer's last contact with cattle. I hope she is mentally ready for this Saturday. My game plan is to get up there early again (even tho they are talking more rain) and just do what I did last month. Just hang out, ride a bit, tie her to the trailer with a hay bag in front of her and just let her chill before the sorting starts. That really seemed to do the trick last month as she was very relaxed and her game face was on.

If her game face is on this month, I will be more aggressive this time. I really wished I had been more aggressive last month as I really think we would have done even better than we did. But my nerves got in the way as I was afraid to mess up and bust.

I plan on doing 5 runs again and hope to get the partners that ran with me last month, Robin, Anthony and Allison, and do 2 draws again. I want to do some penning, but really would like to just get Summer moving thru 30 head of nervous cattle before I possibly waste my money and others money before I actually sign up to compete. I need to see what 30 cows will do to Summer's mind first. She may take it like a champ or say "forget you, I'm outta here!". You just don't want to waste others time if your horse isn't going to do well at it. I mean, it took several months before Summer's nervousness settled down in the sorting pens. But with my determination and aggressive riding in the pens, she has really learned to just do it and trust me. My instructor was impressed at how responsive Summer is to me. And I am always humbled by his compliments to me and Summer as he is a very good competitor. I believe her "inner cow horse" has really come out to shine.

My last two blogs were borrowed from a web site that I found and those tips REALLY helped me and I hope they help others as well.

Watch the blank and have a blessed week...

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Positive Benefits of a Draw

When sorting or penning, you must do at least one draw. That means, they pick your partners for you. This un-nerved me a bit, but I was happy to meet the two fellas I sorted with. It does make for friendships and camaraderie. And these folks I do this sport with are just all around nice folks. I have noticed that these cowboys and cowgirls, once they know that you are in this for real, are so willing to teach you and guide you along the way. Heck, even before I knew I was in this for real, these folks at the arena were nice to me then. I feel blessed to be doing this sport, for meeting the people I have met and to have a horse that is willing to let me play.

Here is a list of the benefits of a draw:

1. Creates New Friendships

2. Makes a positive atmosphere

3. Creates one group unity

4. Creates balance

5. Lets you focus on the sorting & penning instead of finding team mates

6. Your competing "with", not against

7. Let's you focus on becoming a better penner/sorter

8. You can focus on making your horse better

9. Focus on getting the best out of your teammates

10. Creates more fun when you don't have to worry about finding a partner or the let down of not being asked on a team

11. Creates the excitement during your drive when your mind is on the sorting/penning not on who will be there to partner with

12. Creates Relaxation

13. Creates peace

14. Let's you detach from the outcome, "winning/losing"

15. Allows you to reach your full potential, as you will sort with all levels

Friday, January 29, 2010


1. Know your horse, ride your horse, become one.

2. Bond with your horse, just like a car you should be able to get in it in the dark, you know where the light switch is, you know where the key is, the brake, the gas, just by driving it every day.

3. It doesnt matter the color, the breed, the size or the age of your horse! Your horse doesn't need 5 years of pro training to sort or penn, they just need you to believe and trust in them!

4. You dont have to ride your horse fast to get to know them, or even sort or penn cattle or be with anyone, just like your car, you dont have to go fast to know everything about it!

5. Your horse also needs to trust you, and you can get that by just being with them. They dont have to have a sliding stop, a roll back, or any of that fancy stuff to be a good sorting or penning partner. All they need is to be willing to do what you ask, and be able to relax in the heat of battle. That confidence comes from you, goes to your horse, and then to the cattle, to your partners and then to your partners horse!

6. Focus on what you want! Not on what you don't want! Alway's looking and focusing on the next numbered cow! What you focus on happens!

7. Start slow, if you dont start a fire, you dont have to put one out!

8. Adapt, accept a role, holder, sorter, rotate 1st in the herd or last in the herd and remember the word "Team". More power in We than in Me!

9. Always be in the present moment. Develop a ritual, two fingers up when you cross the line, or anything else that tells you that your mind is in the present and being able to leave all the problem's, all the work, all the week's activities behind you. Just play the game!

10. Always communicate with your teammates, calling out the next number of cattle, slow down, step up, move over.

11. Practising all these positives and having fun is the only way that you get great and to do what you need to!!


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I hate back injuries but I love riding horses!

Well, Monday, January 18th, I loaded Summer into the trailer and we headed to the LBJ Grasslands for a nice ride with Toni and two of her other friends. Summer loaded great and unloaded just a good. I got there and saw Jonni Jewell and we chatted a bit. She is a super nice lady and has a super awesome horse named Hank. It is quite a story about him. Go to her blog and get to know NATRC's 2009 Presidents Cup winners, Jonni and Hank. (Can you tell I am a little proud to call her my friend.) (smile)

Anywho, Toni, Gail and Kathy got there and tacked up and off we went. We were having a great ride and we broke into our second canter of the day (which was about 3 miles out from camp) and that is when Summer and I got out of sinc with each other. She was moving out very nice, but when we got out of rhythm in our canter, she came up and I went down, hard. My back then screamed, "you are done!" I felt horrible. It hurt bad. Bad enough I missed work the next day. Toni and her friends escorted me back to the trailer. I couldn't get off and walk back, not 3 miles. And I couldn't get off as I knew I probably wouldn't be able to get back on. So I had to ride it out. And that hurt. I noticed though that if I kept one of my hands on my back for pressure and kept talking with Toni, it took my mind off of the pain.

What made me feel worse though was there were three large gullies we had to go down then up in. NATRC has taught me to get off the horses back when going up a hill. Especially steep ones like the three we had to go back on. I felt horrible. I could not get off her back. She had to carry me up with my full weight on her back. At the first one, I cried, because I felt like I was hurting her. Toni settled me and said she noticed Summer moving so quietly and gently. Like she knew I was hurting. That she was really taking care of me. So the next two hills, I didn't get so upset and Summer maneuvered those just a quietly and gently as she had done the first one.

Once back at camp, I used the handicap mount to dismount and hobbled with Summer back to the trailer. Toni untacked her for me and even loaded her up. Thanks Toni. You're a super good friend. One of these days, we will get to ride a whole loop at the grasslands! LOL

I hate having a bad back, but I have to say, this is the first time I have hurt my back by riding a horse. And I haven't hurt my back this bad since the beginning of 2004. It still hurts from the accident, but not enough to keep me off. I rode Sunday evening and yesterday evening. Course I used my 18lb endurance saddle and not my 45lb western saddle. And I used a tall mounting block to get on and off. I usually just kick my right leg over, and kick my left foot out the near side stirrup and just drop to the ground to dismount, but, don't think that is a good idea right now. And we are only walking, no moving out fast. My biggest thing is, I just have to be ready for February 20th, my next sorting competition. I think I will be as long as I don't push it right now.

It hurts and stiffens up most when I sit, but not when I sit on a horse. I guess because it is a different posture than sitting in chair. But this injury is a sign that I NEED to loose weight and exercise. Guess I will join the WW online. I have a friend that is doing that too. Guess we could do it together so we could be accountable to each other with our losses and gains.

Anyway, that is my blog for this week. I know, I know...not as exciting as my last blog, but there is a lesson in my injury for my other horse friends out there. Don't get out of sinc with your horse, it could be hazardous to one or both of you. And by this I mean, don't get out of sinc physically or mentally with your mount. And if you do, then do what you need to do to get back into a good "rhythm" with your animal. Whether it be lessons for you or training for your horse or both. Just do it. A horse and rider team with a good rhythm physically and mentally, and that stay in sinc with each other is a winning team. Whether pleasure riding or in major competition, you and your horse should be in harmonious state with each other. A true team.

Thanks for reading

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Our first SWTPA competition

Where do I start? Well, I guess at the beginning....

Summer and I started sorting about 6 months ago. It was just for fun to see if we could even do it. And look where we have gone. Entering 5 beginner jackpots and getting 1st place in 2 of them which put money back in my pocket. That was way cool! Now I have joined the SWTPA and we have competed in our first organized event. Wow, never saw that one coming. Never dreamed that we would be competing with all those stock horses and be the only non-stock horse there. That right there is cool in its own right. At least it is to me.

So, here goes my story: January 16th, 2010, found me loading Summer in the trailer and pulling out of the barn at about 8:20am. We arrived at about 8:30am. I know, that 10 minute drive is a booger! LOL The team penning started at 9am and sorting was to follow. Since I had never been to one of these events, I just wasn't sure when I needed to be there. But it was fun to watch the penning and now I am jonesing real bad to do that too. There were 4 penning classes and 5 sorting classes. I was in the "3 sorting" class. What that means is this; you are rated by your abilities and the ratings go from 1 to 6. (they actually have a board of directors that rates you) I of course, am a 1. The 3 sort means that only 1's and 2's can compete in this class. 1's can run with 1's and 2's can run with 1's, but 2's cannot run with 2's as that would equal to 4 and this was a 3 sort class. Confusing, but I understand it now. Anywho, I was only going to run 3 times. I was going to run with Robin and her husband Anthony and do my one manditory draw. But, I got brave and decided, what the heck, run 5 times! (which is the maximum you can run). So, I put in for 3 draws and my two partners. Well, Ken Stoker was there as was his wife Allison. He is a director for this association and is TWH knowledgable as his father raises and shows plantation walkers in Arkansas. He finally talked Allison into competing and using his QH, Salty. So she was my third partner and I changed to 2 draws. (hope this isn't too confusing).

Our class started about 5pm. There were 56 teams just in my class! OMG, all I wanted to do was not bust on my first go 'rounds. My first run in was with a draw. He was an older gentlemen (well, older than me) named Sam. We got 2 head, but didn't bust. I was happy with that. What I wasn't happy with was my performance as I got past my cows point of shoulder which caused her to turn around. That took up precious seconds to go get her before she got back into the herd. But we did it and I was proud of that. Summer was hauling butt and we headed her right before she got to the herd.

The second run was with Anthony, Robin's husband. He is experianced at this and is also a penner. Well, we got 3 head and he was trying to bring me the forth, but steer number "0" wanted to cross the hole real bad. It was all Summer and I could do to keep him back. We timed out with only 3 head. Anthony really complimented me and said I did great though. That steer wanted past me real bad and we didn't let him past. Summer kept up with "0", lunging at him, cutting him from side to side. I was real proud of Summer's performance with this steer.

My third was with Allison. She was riding Ken's horse, Salty. We had never rode together before, so I was a tad nervous. We went slow and deliberate and got 4 head. I feel a little bad though as Summer was really on. I should have pushed myself and her a little more. We probably would have done better than just 4 head.

My fourth was with Trevor Brooks. He was my second draw and is only 10 years old. He is a little feller. Looks like he could be 7. His grandpa is the president of SWTPA. What was funny was, I was more nervous riding with him than with anybody else. If you ever see this kid sort, he is good. He is better at sorting than working the hole. So that was our plan. I was to work the hole while he brought me the cattle. He is wonderful at that. He brings you a clean cow almost everytime. Well, the first one he brings me is #9. I get out of the hole and he pushed it through. He goes and gets #0. It is a clean one again so I get out of the hole so he can push it through. Just as I moved out of the way, #9 bolts back to the herd! OMG! Bust! Those busts are rear, but they happen and hard to control if no one warns you. I felt bad as I am sure we would have had a good run. Maybe next time.

My fifth and final was with Robin. Now, if you have read my blogs about sorting, you will know that Robin and I always seem to bust when we jackpot together. So that was our goal, DO NOT BUST on the first go 'round. And we didn't! We got 4 head, which qualified us for the second round. I was real proud of us and that alone was a personal win for both of us.

I qualified for 2 go backs with Allison and Robin, and Allison qualified for 2 with me and Heather. I think there were 15 or 20 go backs. (BTW, not sure if you call them "go backs" but that is what I am calling them right now) Anywho, Allison and I got another 4 head for a total of 8 and Robin and I got 2 head for a total of 6. However, Allison and Heather got all 10 head on the second round! It was amazing and was total, luck of the cow. They already had 7 head and were working on the 8th, when the person working the hole moved wrong and all 3 head ran past her. Everyone watching was like, "awwww" in disappointment until the judge announced that the cattle ran thru in the correct number order! OMGosh! It was crazy! LOL That is what they call "luck of the cow". So they finished with a total of 16 head and for 1st place!

In this sport, they place the top 10, which is unusal for me as anything I have done only places up to 6th. So, you can imagine my surprise when Summer and I with my partner Allison, got 8th place! Remember, there were 56 teams in my class. So yes, we took 8th out of 56!

I think had I been more aggressive, we would have done even better. But since this was my first time, I was a little nervous and held back when maybe I shouldn't have. But no matter, I am real proud of our first time. Once again, I am just so darned proud of that mare of mine.

I keep hearing from some of the guys that I will need to get a QH eventually when I start moving up in this sport. And they are being real nice about it and totally not trying to hurt my feelings, but I think,"Really? Why?" Honestly, who says a TWH can't do this? Who says they can't keep up with a stock horse? Isn't it all just "cow sense" anyway? If she learns to rate them and keep up with them, why would I need to get another horse? I mean, maybe I will someday, I don't know. But let me just see how far Summer will take us. You just never know...

Thanks for reading

Monday, January 11, 2010

Haley's Liberty Belle...aka "Libby"

Want to know how to stop this:

Bulldogge on the leather couch syndrome. Very common and sometimes fatal to the leather.

Well, I suggest you going to Petsmart and purchasing one of these:

However, common side effects are these: sleeping, snorring, lack of duties as a guard dog and the final one could be fatal to the Bulldogge itself:


The possessive 4.5lb Chihuahua named Tigger. Very deadly.

Friday, January 8, 2010

First SWTPA sorting event next weekend!


Summer and I haven't worked any calves since December 8th. I so hope she has her head on straight next weekend. This will be our first "real" competition with an organization that I have to join (if I don't chicken out). It is $25 per run and a $10 a day fee. We have a 2 run minimun and a 5 run maximum, that is, if I can find 5 #1's and and #2's to run with. I know of 2 partners I have already, Robin and Kimberly, but, 1 person you run with has to be a draw. This means, they draw your partner from a hat. Oh fun. I just have to remember to tell them mine and Summer's weaknesses and our strengths.

I am gonna give James a call today and ask for a lesson/refresher course for this next Sunday when it warms up a bit. Just need to make sure Summer has her head on straight. I started thinking about next weekend last night, and the butterflies started. Geeshe! Why do we get nervous about this stuff? I am always telling myself, it is just a game. But maybe because this is a game where you have another person counting on you. You don't do this one by yourself like you do in CTR's or driving events. But I have to imagine that the other persons who are as new as I am and even newer in some instances, are just as nervous, and worried that they may let me down. But, in the words of a very wise man that I talked to about this, "if you can't afford to loose then don't play the game." Words from my hubby David. And I remind myself of those words all the time when I am playing the sorting game.