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