Tuesday, January 18, 2011

January 2011 SWTPA. What a way to start the year!

Well, Summer and I got to the arena at about 9:30ish thinking that they penning had already started as it is supposed to start at 9am. But no. Computer issues caused the show to start an hour and a half late. Oh well. Lot's of extra time for visiting. Not that I am a penner anyway, but at least I got to watch some of the beginning of the competition.

But I think next month, I am not gonna get there quite so early. Think I'll sleep in a little later and leave my barn about 11am next time. At least that way, I can stay all night to help with the rest of the show and help tear down when it is all done.

Summer and I have taken a couple of lessons, gone to 1 practice day and have attended 1 clinic since I have been back to sorting. I had to stop early last year due to time constrants, finances and then my back decided it was going to go out for a few months. So here we are, picking up where we left off.

While at the arena this past Saturday, I saw a new friend that I had made last year at a SWTPA show. He was a draw back then. His name is Buck and he's a real nice fella. Reminds me of a little older version of my friend Mark. That's what I like about draws though. You really do make new friends. I saw Buck and we said our howdys to each other and then he asked if I wanted to run in the 8 mix sort with him. Cool. Okay.

The 8 mix sort is a new class that they started this year. It is a man/woman team only and your ratings together cannot equal over 8. He is a 2 and I am a 1. There were 46 teams in this class and he was the only one I was running with. He had 2 runs in this class. Myself and a new friend I made, JoLynn. Well, he and I finished the first run with 4 head which gave us a run in the short go. I didn't do to well in the short run and we finished the class with a total of 5 head. I felt bad, but, it is still anybodies game. And sure enough, out of 15 teams in the short go, 7 of them busted. So, Buck and I ended up in 8th place! Not a check, but it will give us points for the year end.

Next was the 3 sort. My regular class. I had one partner, Robin, and 4 draws. Not a whole lot of folks know me or know what Summer and I can do yet. But maybe they learned a little more about me and my girl this day. I had 3 runs in the first set and 2 runs in the third set. There were 72 teams so that made it 24 teams in each set. The first three runs were clean with three head each. My forth run was with a guy named David. Now, let's talk about him for a minute. I am sure I was his draw. Poor guy. I am sure when he saw he was going to have to run with the lady wearing the bucket on her head he was like, "okay, let's get this over with". Sometimes, I can just imagine what is going threw these cowboy's heads when they see me comin'. LOL Well, we got 4 head. On my last run, my partner busted on me. It happens. There were 20 teams that went back in the short run. David was my only short run. He had two, me and a guy he was running with named Frank. Well, David and Frank went before David and I and they finished with a 10 head total. I knew I had to get at least that. That's what I wanted anyway. So I rode up to David and told him that I took lessons from JB and that I was just gonna run with him the way I do JB. He said, okay. And we got 6 head for a 10 head total. I was happy with that, but several folks finished with a 10 head total. Our times would place us. 1st place finished with 12 head, 2nd with 11 head, 3rd with 10 head....and they called mine and David's name! I let out a squeal! OMG! I just couldn't believe it that we had the fastest time. I was just elated! My first SWTPA check! And more points!

That evening made me decide to quit telling people what breed of horse Summer is. I tell them to prepare them. But what I am really doing, is expecting to fail my partner. Summer may be a TWH, but she can sort, chase, and with the help of my big mouth, work the gate. And that night, they also saw, that just because I wear a helmet, doesn't mean I can't whup and ride with the best of them. Maybe I wear a helmet because I whup and ride harder than the rest of them. Yea, that has to be it. ; )

Friday, January 14, 2011

First SWTPA show of 2011

Am I ready? You bet!

Is Summer ready? I sure hope so!

Got her SMB's (boots) cleaned this morning and they are lying on the counter drying. Washing my jeans and getting things ready tonight.

I get a bit nervous the day before a competition like this. Besides trying to do my best for Summer, I have a human partner that is counting on me too. I pay $25.00 per run and so do they. I always think that I don't want to waste their money. But then I think, if you can't afford to loose it, don't compete. Cause odds are, you're gonna loose it. There are more losers than there are winners in this game.

Then I ask myself, why on earth do I spend all this $$ just to loose it? Maybe I know deep down that Summer and I do have the right stuff. And with the right partner and good cows, we will bring home some money someday. We have won in other, smaller jackpots, why not in a big one? I'm not saying we are U.S. worthy because I know better, but we might have a fighting chance here. We did place last January and the other two shows we did, we had short goes at each one of those.

But most of all, it's not the money, it's the sport itself. If I could do this all day long, I would. I just love ranch sorting.

Now dust off your jeans, tighten up your spurs, grab a good horse and chase some fresh cows!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Awesome sorting clinic this Saturday!

About a month ago, my friend Robin called me and said they had a spot open in their sorting clinic and asked if I wanted it. Of course I jumped on it and said yes!

They started this clinic a few months ago with just 8 people as the coordinator said that is a good number for everyone to be able to get some good runs in and some good one on one training with the clinician, James. James is also the person I take my regular 2 hour lessons with.

Anyway, Summer was a bit nervous as she separated her first herd, then settled into it very well when she remembered what she was supposed to do. We all got to run with each other one time then run with James when the clinic was over.

This was a very informative session and I learned a lot of why Summer does some of the things she does. Rider error! I have always noticed that when she and I are working the gate, she starts moving and getting real antsy. Well, it is me. James showed me what I am doing with my hands when we start working the gate. My hands are all over the place so to speak. So I need to quiet my hands and quit "talking" to her. We also learned team work. And by that I mean, if you have a cow that just absolutely will not go through the gate and your partner is working it and there are no other cows around, then go in and help your partner push that cow through the gate. Mike and I had this happen to us several times and it was a fun lesson to work on.

What was also good about this clinic was the cows we used were "fresh". Meaning, they had never been worked like this so they didn't know the "rules" of the game, which made it more challenging for us. I loved it!

I also got more than one compliment on Summer's abilities. I told one guy, before the clinic started, that she was a Walking Horse and he "jokingly" apologized for that. After he saw us run a few times, he came up to me and said, "She's pretty good." Well duh! LOL

After the clinic, I told the coordinator that I would love to be the first on the second list of folks to be called if there were anymore cancellations in the future. She said no problem. She told me, with Robin standing there, that 8 was a really good number for the clinic that way everyone got to run 7 times and then with James. I had absolutely no problem with that and told her I would be honored if they called me again.

After I left the arena, I guess it came to James' attention about what Connie (the coordinator) had told me about only 8 people taking James' clinic. Robin said that James seemed a bit put out/frustrated about that and told Robin to call me and tell me that I was invited to all of his clinics and then said he would call Connie and tell her that too. WOW! I was so happy! I just hope Connie won't be put out by this as I was totally okay with what she had told me about me being the first call on the second string. But it is his clinic and he is the one getting paid. I just felt very honored that James would invite me to come to all of his clinics as I learned so much Saturday about the sport that I love and doing it with a horse that technically wasn 't built physically or designed mentally to do. I sometimes feel like I am wasting his time when he could have others in there with better trained horses and such. I have even asked him personally about this. I told him privately at our last lesson, that I had a thick skin and he wouldn't hurt my feelings if he told me the truth, so I asked him if I was wasting his time and to please let me know. He said I was NOT wasting his time.

I'll never forget our first lesson with him. There were 4 other ladies there besides me and all of them were on stock horses. After our lesson, he pulled me aside and told me I was his strongest rider that day. And here I was on my little ol' TWH. But I have to say, I am a pretty aggressive rider and I just LOVE this dang sport!

Now that we are getting back into sorting, I put Summer back on a joint supplement. She has been off of it for several months so I decided that if we are competing again, I must protect her joints. I am sure she will appreciate that.

This weekend is our SWTPA show for 2011. And if Summer is good physically, we will be there with our boots on! (Which I finally got dirty this weekend! See pic above!) YeeHaw!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I hope this isn't a sign of what is to come in 2011!

January 2nd, I go riding at Six-O with Liz. We ride the rocky side first and Summer just doesn't seem "right". She is off a little. It's felt like riding a barefoot horse over gravel. Very tender and tip toey. In the grass, she seemed better. After about 4 miles, we head back to the trailers to meet Mary and grab a quick bite. I pick Summer's feet and find a stone in one about the size of a shooter marble. I figured that was her problem and we head back out to the other side of the ranch. She is moving much freer now and seems like her old self. Even picked up a wonderful QH lope without being asked. We ride another 8 miles or so and head back in. Besides the first 4 miles of Summer feeling funny, it was a wonderful ride. Summer cantered and gaited so nice on the second half of the ride.

Well, when I get her home, she is off again. Doug, my farrier, checked her Monday night for me and gave me an idea. But the main consensus is that she has a stone bruise in her right frog. There is also a tad bit of swelling in her pasturn. No heat, just fill mostly.

Tuesday night I slather Ickthamol in her hoof and make her a boot out of gauze, vet wrap and duct tape. Before I do this tho, I notice she is walking a little more freer and natural, and I even walked her over gravel and didn't see any tip toeing. I also noticed the fluid in her pasturn was gone.

Last night I pulled the boot and all was about the same. She was walking okay and even out walked me. I did notice some slight fill back in that pasturn and rubbed some Thermaflex on it.

When I got home last night from the barn, my back decided it had had enough and started acting like a jerk. I took some pain meds and crawled into bed to let it rest. I have a sorting clinic on Saturday and sorting on Sunday. Our first SWTPA show is on the 15th. I just pray that my back and her hoof are ready by then. As I sit here and type this, my back is reminding me it is still there. Stiff and sore.

I just pray that these two issues that Summer and I are having aren't a sign for things to come in 2011.