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.

Monday, January 4, 2010

What a way to start the new year.

I started my new year on the back of my trusty steed. We rode at the barn, just Summer and I. We practiced some shooting with a cap gun I bought per Toni. We worked on our trailer loading and unloading. Then we just rode around while I chatted with Toni on the phone. It was a real good day, that is until when...hold that thought while I tell you first part of the story.
Once Summer and I got done, I decided to put her, Amira and Hank in the big outdoor arena for the day to enjoy each others company and to get to graze and get out of the mud. This is not the first time they have been together. They have been turned out COUNTLESS times before and do very well together, that is until when...hold that thought again, here it goes...
Once I turned the horses out, I noticed that some fencing was loose and decided to fix it before I left the barn. Thank God for that decision! Once I got back to the fence that needed repairing, I heard a fight going on. I look up and Summer had Amira in the alley way of the arena just wailing on her with both back feet. I started screaming at her, yelling her name and screaming "NO". I dropped my tools and started running towards them. At almost half way across the arena, Summer stopped and looked at me. At that time, Amira saw her chance out and ran. Both girls came cantering back into the main arena. Summer went off to the side and started grazing and Amira came to me. I checked Amira's injuries and was relieved that they were superficial. There was swelling of course, but no major damage as it appeared Summer had only hit her in the fatty part of her hind quarters. But here is the bad part, just as I had thought Summer was being the biotch, I took my hands off Amira to go get her halter to take her out, she penned her ears back and went after Summer! OMG! All I could do was scream at her and say NO! And my next thought was "did she have a death wish?" Summer is a good herd animal, but will fight hard when challenged. When I hollered at them, neither let out a kick, just penned ears and nasty looks and Amira went trotting the other way.
I got Amira out of the arena then called Tracey. I felt horrible! Tracey had a competition that very next day. But Tracey was very kind about it. Thank God she has the same attitude I do about what happened. Horses will be horses. That is how I feel. But you just never know how the other horse owner is going to take news like that. However, she like me, was just a little amazed that Amira was the aggressor. Course we discovered just a very short time later that Amira is in season as is Summer. So, two grouchy, moody mares does not make for good company.
There was no apparent lameness and heck, we even saddled up and along with June on her trusty mount, went for a nice little ride in the pasture.
And I am happy to report that Amira was fine the next morning and competed and took 5th out of 8 horses!
Here are her battle wounds. If you look at the hip just right, looks like a ski mask.