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Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened.

Ride with your heart and soul ~ your horse can feel it

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Horse are Humbling

It's funny how horses can do that.  My confidence has never been super high, and from time to time something will happen that makes all of us take a step back and look at your horse life.  My biggest 'stumble' as far as confidence was the whole debacle with Quinn.  My confidence in myself as a horse person was at an all time low but thankfully I rebuilt and ended up more confident than before.  However there are times and horses that bring you down a peg and for me recently that is Tavi.
He's not a bad horse but the two of us together are like firecrackers.  We just set each other on edge, maybe if he was my only horse I'd dedicate more time to working through things but I have plenty of others to ride which makes it really hard to chose the tough horse, especially when horses are my "fun" thing.
(don't get me wrong, there are plenty of challenging times with the others!) ;)
Tavi is six now and not getting used anywhere near enough and I hate to see him wasting as a pasture ornament, especially as he's matured into a really nice looking horse that seems to have more athletic ability than what I would have thought if you'd asked me about him a year ago.  He was bought to be Hubster's horse, but that's not quite working out either.  Hubs has medical issues that have become very serious these last few months.  Not to mention he never did find time for more riding lessons, which he would need with a green broke horse.  So last year I had decided I wanted to sell Tavi.  Hubster didn't agree, and as it was his horse I agreed to keep him and try some more.
Coach put another month on him for me.  I rode him at her place (I also take lessons with her) and he was fine but something just didn't feel right.  Then I tried to ride him at home and it was fireworks again.  aargh!!
Now here's where the confidence takes a hit... I really don't know why Tavi and I have such a bad relationship.  Actually to be specific it's a bad riding relationship, we're fine on the ground.  Other people ride him, and some are not very good riders, and everything is fine.  As a matter of fact a friend got on him after he'd been sitting since last fall and he was peachy keen.  That kind of thing really makes you take a look at yourself, am I that bad a rider?!  Are my other horses just way more patient or forgiving than him and put up with me?  Very humbling.
Instead I choose to think that it's like any other relationship... not every pairing of people get along, even when both of them are lovely people... not all horses get along with each other... not every rider and every horse get along. 
So where is this all going?  After all this Hubster has finally agreed that IF the right situation were to come along Tavi could move on and through a twist of fate that might just be happening.  So while my confidence has taken a hit it's also about to be challenged and hopefully like last time I'll have come out with more confidence!

Saturday, April 23, 2016

D System Barrel Racing

If you've read my blog for any length of time, or picked out the labels for barrel racing, you'll know I barrel race but on a low level of the sport.  I don't rodeo, I don't futurity, I do compete in a provincial organization that is based on a 3D format  
(there are some 4D events as well).

Why?  Well there's a variety of reasons but chief among them is I don't have the time or money to rodeo - heck it ain't cheap!  Nor do I have a horse that would be competitive at that level - although maybe one day that won't be a factor.
(sidenote, you can spend $8K to get a 2-3D jackpot horse in my area, and that's on the low end)
Another big reason for me is that horses are my hobby not my career, they're supposed to be fun - and usually they are, but of course there are 'those days'.
(I need to bring my competitive side out more - as per some friends - and trying to find the balance between that and fun is a whole 'nother blog post!)

Every once in awhile some discussion will pop up in some form or another regarding barrel racing and the D system and often in these discussions there will be some disparaging comments about the girls that place in the bottom Ds, things like "they could be 1 or 2 D if they worked harder".
Now there may be some that take it lightly or don't put much effort in, but there are others that do take it seriously (even if, like me, it's "just for fun").  They may not be able to afford the kind of athlete that places in the 1D so they take the horses they CAN afford and make them what they can.  They train, take clinics, take lessons, read, study and devour everything barrel racing that they can get their hands on.  They study feed, supplements, and therapies.  They work to keep their horses conditioned and in shape.  They work their butts off.  
Comments about 1D (and sometimes 2D) riders and horses *deserving* better prizes/payout because they work harder may not be outright calling down on the 3/4D horses but it is belittling and saying they don't deserve the same for their achievements and is really  disheartening for those riders to hear.
Now I'm not saying give everyone a participation ribbon, but if someone places they deserve to be treated like a winner because in their D they are!

Another one of the comments that is ugly is that because they're "only" 3 or 4 D they aren't really barrel racers - and to that I say excuse me, I've got a buckle that says otherwise ;) :p

(let's hope it's less than 20 seconds!)

What upsets me about this type of thinking, other than the fact that it's small, petty, and mean, is that in the grand scheme of things the horse world is a small place and it is widely acknowledged that equestrian sport (or heck even just owning and/or riding without competitive goals) faces a decline of new people - those baby boomers are aging out, who is stepping up to take their place!?
We need to do what we can to promote our sport and encourage others to give it a shot, which is exactly what the D system was designed to do!  It creates a chance for riders and horses of any calibre to get some experience and maybe earn some cash/prizes/bragging rights.  Instead of belittling or negating the achievements of the lower D people we need to encourage them... heck some of those "little" 3D racers ARE going to be 1D and rodeo winners some day!  Might as well be on friendly terms with your competition ;)


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Barrel horses - Gate Issues

Ocassionally Voodoo has a bit of a gate issue, not terrible **knockwood** but still, not a fun or good thing.
I stumbled across this short video by PJ Berger and really liked what she had to say:

Some of the stuff I liked and took away:
* check out different reasons for the issue: maybe your horse needs some down time, maybe it's a pain or medical issue.
* stay ready to run but keep relaxed while you're waiting.  It won't kill you to not visit your friends for a few minutes.
* some horses need to move to stay relaxed, it doesn't take a lot of space to keep them moving
* try to avoid turning around if you get held up
* ride like you train!  If you train with hands low, keep them low and vice versa
* keep yourself relaxed, did y'all catch how her horse reacted when she 'tensed up'?

Friday, April 8, 2016

My heroes have always been cowboys

If you're at all interested in barrel racing you are probably well aware by now that we lost a great man, a true horseman and teacher.  Ed Wright, "papa Ed" or "grandpa Ed" to many, many barrel racers, was found dead in his barn Monday 28 March 2016.

I consider myself so fortunate to have ridden with Ed and have him for a friend and mentor.  He may have been tough but he was always fair and he tried to temper the tough love with humor.  When I'm struggling with something and get it right I often hear his "good job baby" - high praise from Ed indeed ;)
Ed was kind, tough, funny, humble, a heckuva horseman and so strong in his faith without "pushing" it at people... I have so much respect for who he was and consider him a role model both in my horse life and personal life.

**pic from Heather Smith's Barrel Racing Tips Facebook page**

To show our appreciation for his teaching and in honor of Ed there is a 'movement' (for lack of a better word) to put a lime green ribbon in your barrel horse's mane while racing this year.  I know my horses will be rocking their ribbons!   Thank you Ed -- RIP

Link to the obit on /W Facebook:

Sunday, January 24, 2016

We Have a Winner!

This is pretty much the mantra I've had training Lefta on barrels.  I've brought her along really slow, focusing on correct and toward the end of last season I started asking for some run.
The last jackpot I entered was in September, and the last time I did any barrel work with Lefta would have been September or October.
There are some winter jackpots this winter at Prairieland, which is also where we have our SBRA provincial finals so anytime you can get in that arena and make a run is a bonus.  I've been wanting to take Lefta but most of them are on Saturdays and seeing as I have team penning Saturday evenings it can make for a bit of a full day.
This Saturday though I decided to go ahead and go.  One of my boarders was going and Lefta and I hitched a ride with her.
It sure didn't seem like she'd had time away from the barrels.  She didn't run really hard, she's still figuring that part out but she sure looks for those turns.  She turns really nice, pretty much anytime she makes a run someone comments on how pretty and correct her turns are lol  Now to keep them nice while adding speed ;) 
We placed in the 3D in both jackpots, 2nd in the first jackpot and won it in the second one!  My little girl's first win!