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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


Friday, December 23, 2016

A Christmas Win!

Usually Hubster is IMPOSSIBLE to buy for but this year, this year I came across the PERFECT gift when I saw this on a friend's Facebook post:


I messaged her immediately and sent a deposit. Hubster has wanted a longhorn skull for quite some time now and up here they're not just something you run out and get.  I was 100% certain he hadn't bought one for himself lol
KB (the talented young lady that put this together) brainstormed back and forth with me on ideas and I settled on browns and sandy colours with some turquoise.  The main feature I wanted was my brand in the centre of the skull.
The other day KB messaged me that it was done and sent me a pic, it had turned out even better than I had hoped :)  A few days later we met in the city and she dropped it off for me.  I was so excited to give it to Hubs that I literally jumped up and down.  And yes he got his Christmas gift early, I just couldn't wait! (plus I couldn't think of a suitable hiding spot lol)  To say he was surprised and loved it is an understatement.  Pretty sure I banked some serious wife points on this one ;)

finished product
 
It is an absolutely fantastic feeling to give someone a gift that you are truly excited about and know that they'll love.  It's even better when you are receiving a pretty great gift yourself* but you're more excited about what you're giving :D
* I received my gift early as well, a 2016 red roan filly!  I'll fill y'all in on Shine in a later post :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Short Go!

I was in the office helping with envelopes while our Chair person, Ash, and another director, Jewls, were getting the short go figured out. Short go was based on the average of your two running times so things got moved around a little bit but not too much. We were taking back 15 in each D, Ash was reading out the names and Jewls was writing them out.  When Ash got to the 13th spot in 3D she giggled and said "Wow, I can't believe this person made it" in a joking voice.  Jewls and I looked at each other and said "Who?" at the same time.  With a sly grin she looked at me and said "You're back on Lefta!"
Shocked to say the least, I asked if she was sure, and yes it was correct.  The 14th spot was read out and then she burst out laughing when she got to the 15th and final spot... I had made it back on Frosty as well! :o
I'll admit my first reaction was "Oh crap!"  Between not having a lot of time to get both horses ready and the fact that he had been humpy earlier I wasn't too sure what to think.  I quickly texted Janelle and she called right away for a pep talk.  She said he had felt great when she worked on him and she was confident he would run and be fine.  One of the other board members hadn't made it back and I really like how she handles a horse so I asked if she'd warm up one of mine and she said yes.  Lefta was first up so CB warmed up Frosty for me. 
Lefta ran clean and pretty, but not fast.  The poor girl was t.i.r.e.d. 4 runs in two days were enough!
I cooled her out and put her up in her stall then went to the warm up ring.  CB smiled and said "He's really nice!  Like, I want him nice".  I told her she'd have to get in line behind MJ's daughter who is in loooove with him lol
As soon as I swung on I felt better, he just felt good.  We walked and loped a few circles to confirm it and he finally felt RIGHT for the first time all week.
We went to the arena to wait for our turn... then we were going in for our run!  I was a bit hesitant to push him to first, so I let him cruise in (oh what a mistake that would end up being!)  He turned nice but hadn't gotten much speed going in and was a bit wide (my fault).  Second was good, pics below:

*Photo credit for these two pics to Humphrey Tam of Wildting Photography*
 

He rocked third and I rode and kicked all the way home* I could hear some cheering from my friends and new we had had a good run :D
*not stopping riding/kicking before the timer has been a mental issue I've been working on.  Riding harder has been something I've worked on this year too, with support/verbal butt kicking from my friends*
I'll admit, I was almost in tears once I had him stopped in the holding pen.  He had felt so good, it was a really nice run and it just felt so damn good to have him feeling right again, I was a bit emotional.  One of my friends ran over and was super excited, congratulating me on my run and then said something that blew me away... She was pretty sure I was sitting in the top couple spots in 3D!  I knew it was a good run but I didn't think it was that good... not for the team that had barely made it back to the short go! :o   Now there was nothing to do but wait.
Once it was all said and done, yes Lefta finished pretty much at the bottom (if not THE bottom) and Frosty, well my golden boy finished 2nd in the 3D.  We missed the buckle by 0.026!!  Not giving him that push to first, and not keeping it a bit tighter cost us the buckle!
Instead he got a swanky BOT sheet with SBRA 25th Anniversary embroidered on it.  Not mad at all, love those BOT sheets!
All in all I am pretty pleased, making the short go was on my goals list this year.  I've never made a short go and I got back with both horses and finished in the prizes with one.  :D  I'm really looking forward to next year... already planning a goal list and game plan!

Friday, October 7, 2016

SBRA District Finals - Day 2

I arrived at the barns on day two and both horses seemed happy and comfortable, which was nice to see because it was Lefta's first time being stalled over night.  I was up on Lefta first so I did chores and a quick walk with the ponies then let them settle for a bit before I started to saddle up.
Lefta mosied over to the trailer when it was time to get ready.  Once she was saddled she knew it was time for business and had her "let's get there now!" walk when we headed to the warm up pen and then to the arena.  It felt like everything was going to be good and I was really looking forward to our run.
We went in with our set of five and our run wasn't good.  We hit first, unusual for us as Lefta rarely knocks.  I bought back, in fact I told the arena director before I'd even stopped Lefta :p 
My rule for myself is that we don't do a buyback unless 1) something goes wrong/we knock a barrel and 2) I honestly think it'll do good to run again (as in we may place) or the horse needs it for training/confidence.
I was heading back to the trailer to untack and beating myself up a bit on my crappy run when a fellow competitor pointed out that my line to first was messed up by another girl in the holding pen and that in the future I should politely ask the other rider(s) to get out of the way when it's my turn.  She also said that if I had had a better run into first that I probably would have been clean.  That made me feel a bit better.
Awhile later it was time to get Frosty ready.  He still felt NQR in the warm up but again nothing drastic and the couple friends I asked said he *looked* fine.
Well, that wasn't quite the case.  He felt a bit better in the holding area and when I came around the gate he was eager to run in... and then on the way to first he felt just a smidge humpy.  Tiny enough that I doubted and second guessed it as we turned first and lined out for second.  And then on the way to third it was there again.  Just the tiniest bit but more definite.  And then again on the way home.  Never a full fledged buck, never even a noticeable hump to anyone watching, but just that feeling like there's a bump under the saddle that could turn into more.  And I have to say, when looking at the photos from that run it was noticeable in the pics (at least to me).
and no those won't be shared :p
I was pretty worried about my poor yellow horse but then something awesome happened.  I picked up Lefta from her stall as I was taking Frosty to get untacked so that I could get her ready for her buyback run and when I got to MJ's trailer Janelle (sponsor/friend) was there to work on MJ's mare!  Janelle was taking the weekend off to visit family but happened to be in the area and came to work on Lux after hearing she was sore and why (MJ's daughter's gelding put her through the panels in a little argument overnight, no major injuries but the mare was sore!)  Anyhoo... Janelle asked how my runs were that day and I let her know I was doing a buyback with Lefta and that Frosty's NQR had progressed to feeling humpy during his run. 
I had Lefta tied to the trailer with Frosty to the right of her.  As I was finishing saddling and beginning to boot her up I noticed Janelle come around to Frosty but didn't really think anything of it until I went to mount up to re-warm up Lefta and take Frosty back to his stall and instead of just petting on him Janelle was working on him!  Janelle said she'd take him back to his stall and for me to just focus on my run.  Dang it almost made me tear up, if I hadn't been getting into "game face mode" it probably would have.
Lefta warmed up decently, I didn't ask too much of her though because she was seemed a bit tired, I just wanted her muscles loosened up and her brain on barrels.  It was her third run in two days, which isn't the norm for us, plus she wasn't in the best of shape (my bad for sure!  but she wasn't too out of shape to enter or I wouldn't have)
I was up at the top of my set after the rake, and I kept the advice from earlier in the day in mind and used it!  There was a woman circling her horse along the back wall/entry to alley and I gave her a heads up a couple times that I was up first after the rake, and she'd just smile and nod and stay in the way.  Finally I said "could you clear that space please, I'm up first".  She gave me a bit of a snitty look but she got out of the way ;)  then the announcer called and I came down the wall into the alleyway, lined up nicely and off to first for a good run. 
Alas it was not meant to be.  For the first time ever (with Lefta) my reins flipped over so that both were on the inside of first.  She had just a tiny bobble and they swung right over.  Finishing first was no problem but now my reins were to the outside for second and third :o 
I'll admit I hesitated a moment, I probably would have just gone on with it and salvaged what I could with a more seasoned horse.  And in the nanosecond it took for that to cross my mind I came back to myself with "well how the heck is she going to learn to deal with it if you don't just go on!" and I kicked into gear and got riding again.  Another confession, I actually laughed out loud on the way to second when I heard MJ yell from the stands "Switch hands!!" and another person yell back "She can't!!"
Then I was at second barrel and it was time to put 'er to the test, would Lefta turn or blow past.  No fear, she turned but it wasn't pretty.  I couldn't get her rated and shaped quite right (duh!) but she is a turny little thing and turn she did.  Then we were hustling off to third and again she turned but again it wasn't pretty. 
On the way home I had another moment of hesitation, would she stop or should I quit pushing her?  Then I thought "well there is a solid wall and a gate, what's the worst that could happen?" so I kicked her on home.  Oh, and she did stop pretty nice.  But my poor tired, confused horse... she didn't clock too well.
So there we go.  Both long goes done and that second day had been pretty craptastic.  Just the short go left later in the day.  I'd be there due to being on the board, but for me and my ponies finals were done.

Or were they?

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

SBRA District Finals - Day 1

First off, I'm a tad late posting this... our district barrel racing finals was the first weekend in September (3rd and 4th).  Oops!
This year it was our 25th anniversary and the board had done a ton of work to make this one of (if not THE) best district finals we've ever had.  For the first time it was held INDOORS.  We had a lot of really, really nice prizes and a good cash haul to boot!  
I had entered Frosty and Lefta, and thanks to a good friend I was able to get them there.  My darn truck isn't running so I wasn't going to enter even though I would still be there due to being on the board.  But MJ, a good friend and fellow board member/barrel racer, wasn't going to let me miss running my ponies!  She picked them up the Friday evening while I was at work and I went to Prairieland to help set up as soon as I was done.  Man oh man it was hot and humid in there and setting up panels for the holding area/alley way just about did us in. 
PL is the same arena we had our provincial finals at and we set up pretty much the same.  However our pattern was slightly larger and because of that first and second barrel were quite close to the alley, which meant you didn't really see them until you were out there (kinda made me think of the NFR lol).  And like at finals we set up to bring in 5 racers at a time and rake at 5, I love that!  It gives the horses a chance to settle and their eyes to adjust and it just makes everything run so much smoother and quicker.

Saturday morning I was up early to get to the barn to do chores and help with entries.  I wasn't nervous about my runs really, although I was a bit concerned with how Frosty was feeling because he'd been sore all week.  Thank goodness my sponsor Janelle was able to come and work on him a few times between Monday and Friday, and she said to go ahead and enter him because 1) he wasn't sore enough to vet out and 2) if he wasn't entered she'd be telling me to work him anyway to keep him from getting stiffer.  And like the late, great Ed Wright had told me "we all have to work a bit sore sometimes, horses and humans". (and goodness knows I'VE worked sore lol)

I was up on Frosty first, he warmed up decently but just didn't feel right.  Like MJ said, it was so subtle that it was more I could feel it because I know my horse than obvious enough that someone would see it.  We went in and made our run and it was okay.  Not great but okay, an 18.244.  At provincials he'd run a 16.804 and a 17.217, so I'm not surprised with the big pattern and being a bit off he was slower.  And to be totally honest I probably didn't ride as hard as I wanted to because I was worried about him being off.
Then Lefta came in... she warmed up nicely but seemed a bit distracted.  I haven't run her much this year and while she was very well behaved you could tell she was paying a lot of attention to everything around her, even in the holding pen she was a bit more looky-loo than I would like.  It was funny though, because she knew she was at a competition and was still very business like.  Her little "I need to get SOMEWHERE trot" going to and from the warm up/barn/arena whenever she was saddled just cracked me up.  Once it was time for her to go make her run though she was focused!  She clocked a 17.559, considering she was still carrying quite a bit of extra weight and wasn't legged up as much as I'd have liked I was pretty happy with that :)

We were bringing back 15 in each D on an average.  With Lefta's run I was fairly hopeful, and with Frosty... well that was all going to depend on how he felt the next day.  He got a good rubdown and all his BOT on for the night, chores were done and I just had to wait and see how day 2 played out.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Problem with Boarding

Its always tough when a boarder you really like leaves, especially when you like both the person AND their horse.  This spring/summer I was lucky that a girl I know through mutual friends, and that is also a barrel racer, came to board at Rafter K and through her time here we became friends ourselves.
Tonto, Two Eyed Jack bred I believe
 barrel & "all around" horse

Tonto fit into the herd really well.  He was easy to handle and be around, heck even little Carlos! (so often a jerk to the horses) became smitten with Tonto and would often play with him through the fence, and try to steal his grain lol
Unfortunately, for us, Tonto's owner CH had a sudden change in direction in her life... she's off to further her education.  Now that's a good thing!  The not so good thing is that its hours from here and it makes no sense for Tonto to keep living with us.  So he's headed home to her parents's farm for a winter vacation and in the spring she'll move him closer to her.
Tonto went home on Saturday, CH left a bag of coffee (haha she knows the way to my heart! ;) ) and a thank you card (that made me tear up) in the barn.  I was sad I couldn't be around to say bye, but its probably good that I couldn't be there, I probably would have gotten a bit weepy.

It didn't take long to find a new boarder to fill Tonto's spot.  Shortly after CH gave her notice another friend through barrel racing messaged me asking if I had a full time spot and a temporary spot.  The temporary spot is for September and October while her horse is her for a lameness study being done at the veterinary college nearby and then she'll be moved, she should be arriving next week.
On Monday the full time horse moved in, meet Oakley:
cute as a button little red mare
great grand-daughter of Peptoboonsmal

Her owner plans to introduce little miss Oakley to the world of barrel racing, take her team penning, and just flat out enjoy her horse - I love it! :)  I'm looking forward to seeing their progress.  
If things go well Oakley and Lefta will share a pen for the winter.  First up though, pasture introductions!  So far everyone seems to be getting along fine over the fence so fingers crossed it will go well!

**horse photos for this post were shamelessly acquired from their owner's instagram accounts**

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Sponsor?!

When my good friend Janelle (aka Marge, in past blog posts) asked me if I was interested in having a sponsor I laughed, and almost fell off my horse.  Maybe she could have brought it up at a better time lol

You see Janelle is a (fantastic!) equine therapist.  Among her tools are massage and chiro.  You can find out more about her here Natural Balance Equine Therapy.
She's also a BOT dealer and I looove my Back on Track products, both for my horses and myself! 
Also, I already am a loyal client of hers (and not just because we're friends, the friendship came later) and usually sponsors go for the girls that rodeo or at least compete at the top (1D).  I'm just a little 3Der trying to crack in to a higher level.  (and, and, and... ;) )  So yeah, I was a bit surprised!

When I reminded her of that she explained her reasoning... she knows that I'm her client with or without sponsorship, so it's not like she'd be gaining a temporary client.  And, here's the big one, while lots of people realize the top end riders use services like hers they don't necessarily think that "they" need to or should.  ("They" being the lower level riders and backyard riders.) 
But really, some of those horses need it as much and sometimes more.  She also added that quite a few people know that even though I'm not 'big time' I do what I can to keep my horses happy, healthy and comfortable which makes me a good example for those lower level and backyard riders and could possibly help add some of those lower level/backyard riders to her client roster.  Or get those riders thinking about adding that kind of care even if they use someone else, which will lead to more happy horses. (see?  Janelle is a good egg, she's all about making horses happy and keeping them feeling good!)

Janelle and a friend of hers, that is also an equine therapist, are so passionate about helping horse owners take better care of their horses that they've started teaching clinics.  I've taken a few and definitely plan to take more!  Check them out, Natural Touch Equine Therapy Program.  Between the tools Janelle has been teaching me through her clinics, and as a client, and having her work on my horses I honestly think they are doing better than before.  I've even had her scheduled for an appointment and she checked Frosty over and said that I had been doing such a good job with my "homework" that she didn't need to work on him!  I tell ya, that made me pretty proud :)

Who woulda thought... me a good example?  And me, having a sponsor? lol

Sponsor?!

When my good friend Janelle (aka Marge, in past blog posts) asked me if I was interested in having a sponsor I laughed, and almost fell off my horse.  Maybe she could have brought it up at a better time lol

You see Janelle is a (fantastic!) equine therapist.  Among her tools are massage and chiro.  You can find out more about her here Natural Balance Equine Therapy.
She's also a BOT dealer and I looove my Back on Track products, both for my horses and myself! 
Also, I already am a loyal client of hers (and not just because we're friends, the friendship came later) and usually sponsors go for the girls that rodeo or at least compete at the top (1D).  I'm just a little 3Der trying to crack in to a higher level.  (and, and, and... ;) )  So yeah, I was a bit surprised!

When I reminded her of that she explained her reasoning... she knows that I'm her client with or without sponsorship, so it's not like she'd be gaining a temporary client.  And, here's the big one, while lots of people realize the top end riders use services like hers they don't necessarily think that "they" need to or should.  ("They" being the lower level riders and backyard riders.) 
But really, some of those horses need it as much and sometimes more.  She also added that quite a few people know that even though I'm not 'big time' I do what I can to keep my horses happy, healthy and comfortable which makes me a good example for those lower level and backyard riders and could possibly help add some of those lower level/backyard riders to her client roster.  Or get those riders thinking about adding that kind of care even if they use someone else, which will lead to more happy horses. (see?  Janelle is a good egg, she's all about making horses happy and keeping them feeling good!)

Janelle and a friend of hers, that is also an equine therapist, are so passionate about helping horse owners take better care of their horses that they've started teaching clinics.  I've taken a few and definitely plan to take more!  Check them out, Natural Touch Equine Therapy.  Between the tools Janelle has been teaching me through her clinics, and as a client, and having her work on my horses I honestly think they are doing better than before.  I've even had her scheduled for an appointment and she checked Frosty over and said that I had been doing such a good job with my "homework" that she didn't need to work on him!  I tell ya, that made me pretty proud :)

Who woulda thought... me a good example?  And me, having a sponsor? lol

Friday, July 29, 2016

Provincial Finals and a quick July catch up

Holy smokes I've been b.u.s.y. lately!  Happily I've spent more days riding than not riding this past month, and about half those days I got in rides on multiple horses :)

Mr. Frosty is fairly fit, Lefta is coming along, now I need to get Voodoo legged up and miles on Odin.  We have our district's barrel racing finals at the beginning of September.  Voodoo, Lefta and Frosty are qualified, I just need to decide if I'll enter on Voodoo or not.  I probably won't have my decision made until the 22nd of August (entry day lol)

At the last Biggar valley jackpot I went to (first week of July) I took Lefta and Frosty and they placed 2nd and 3rd in the 3D.  Then this past Saturday I took Frosty to the Prairieland jackpot and he won the 3D (and there were a lot of entries!)  I'm fairly sure they'll both make 2D horses yet.

Little Miss Sarita spends her days with Uncle Applejack and gets some time in the grass pen by the barn to graze.  Lefta has been in the pen with them lately because I haven't had time to ride her enough and on pasture she balloons right up.  Seeing those two bays together, oh my what a pretty sight :) Once Sarita is grown up I'm going to have a couple really nice mares.

SBRA FINALS!

Our provincial finals were this past week, the 25th to 28th.  Move in day was Monday, my friend MK hauled Frosty in with her mare and her daughter's Peewee horse.  Got settled in, rode some, and of course visited!

Sidenote, I love how they've started doing things the last few years.  It makes things so much smoother and the runs go way faster.  It probably saves at least two hours, if not more, running the open. 
There are two 'round pens'  at the start end of the arena and the space between them forms an alleyway.  The overhead door at that end of the arena is open and there are gates there.  The gate people bring in riders in sets of 5, after every 5 they rake and change riders.  This is nice because it gives the horses time to settle and for their (and the rider's!) eyes to adjust. 
While the set of 5 is in to run the gate people call the next set up to the gate so they're ready to enter during the next rake.
If you are not at the gate when the rake is done you are called a few more times and if you're not there when the gate closes you do not get your run.  Once that gate is closed it stays closed.  I worked the gate for the first 50 on day 2 and there were a few that cut it close.  One was even riding along the fence on the other side of the pre-hold area and I called to Chas (arena director) "That's her!"  He yelled her name and said you have 10 seconds and hit his stop watch!  She hustled right over just in time
Riders wait in either round pen.  When you make your run you go up that short alley into the arena proper, when you come back you run down that alley and either stop at the gate or circle off into either pen.
If for some reason there's not 5 in the set due to a turnout or a scratch, they stick to the program and bring in whoever is in that set and still rake at 5 on the program.  When you come in the arena director quickly confirms he's got the right people and reminds riders to stay toward the front of the rounds pens so as to leave the back wall clear for the rider finishing their run.  If someone knocks a barrel, or even touches one a smidge, he lets the next rider know the barrel is being reset/picked up and when they're ready he waves you in.

The first of two long go's was on Tuesday.  Frosty clocked close to what he did in the jackpot on Saturday (same arena) but it felt rough and sloppy and he was slinging/shaking his head a bit.  He did just get his teeth done the night before so I chalked it up to being a bit tender from that, but I know I didn't ride as well as I should have. It wasn't quite fast enough to place in the money but we were sitting pretty good to make the short go on Thursday.  Our run on Saturday had been smoother and I had rode better so I thought hard about where I was messing up and what to do differently.   It wasn't nerves though, I was just too complacent and sloppy :/  Seriously, so many people were saying "Are you nervous?"  Not just to me, I heard them saying it to other people too, it was kinda weird.  But I guess it is our "big event" so people are supposed to be nervous?  I just answered with a smile,  "No, it'll be what it'll be."

Day 2 Wednesday... when I was tacking up and warming up for long go #2 I visualized what I wanted to do and mentally made my run.
I went in with my set of 5 and waited my turn.  Day 2 runs in reverse order, so I was second out on the drag.  When the rider before me was rounding 3rd I started circling Frosty at a walk.  I was right where I wanted to be when she got back and her horse was out of the way for me to enter, right at the top of my circle.  I squeezed him into a lope and when our circle got to the back wall we made a right turn into the alley and I let him run into the arena.
I rode pretty much exactly what I had visualized: I let him go faster to 1st, I picked up my inside rein and grabbed horn with my outside hand when/where I wanted to while I said "easy" (I tend to want to rate too soon), I took up both reins and kissed as I was finishing 1st instead of a few strides later (he runs much better to 2nd - for me - with two reins), kissed to second, set him up better there, smooched coming out of 2nd and all the way to 3rd, "easy" and set up at 3rd and smooch and kick all the way home (seriously, I watched for the timers because I have a bad habit of quitting too soon).
I rode much better, my horse handled better, and our run felt smoother... and it clocked slower :( 
We were out of the day money again but still sitting well to make the short go - the short go is based on your fastest time of the two days.  I wasn't feeling too badly, a lot of girls were saying the runs were slower.  And it looked like they were... until Bailee smoked a gorgeous run and fastest run of the week (til the short go) and changed all the brackets. 
Honestly, yes I was a bit sad to not make the short go but I figured I was out by a lot after that run... later that night I found out I missed the short go by two. freaking. spots!!  So yeah, disappointed but you know what, let's keep things positive... I am way more comfortable with Frosty now, my horse worked well and my mental game was strong! 
Rounding 3rd on day 2 ~ photo credit to Wildting Photography

Because our cutoff for provincial finals was July 7th I've already got Frosty 1/3 of the way qualified and next year we're going for it!!  But first, we have district finals and we're going hard for that too!  ;)

Friday, July 1, 2016

Happy Canada Day!



I'm fiercely proud of this amazing country I call home.  

Happy 149th Canada!!

**photo found via Google images**

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Hoss Tradin'

Life is funny.  Any of you fellow bloggers know that some of your blog/Facebook friends become *real* friends, whether you ever meet face to face or not.  Some you hope to meet and make plans for it to happen, some you would like to meet but figure it's not going to happen for one reason or another, and some you're okay remaining "computer friends" with.
Well a couple weeks ago I met a fellow blogger that I've been friends with for eight years now, one that I figured it wouldn't be likely that I'd ever meet even though I wanted to. (I just don't get to travel much!)
Anyway it all started over, what else, horses.  She had a horse that didn't fit in her program and she didn't want to just sell him on the open market.  One night we were chatting and she offered him to me, and I'll admit I thought it was a joke at first.  We chatted about it off and on over the late winter/early spring and the I realized, I had a trade for her!  Tavi and I just didn't get along, and he's a nice enough horse that someone experienced could bring out his potential better than I would be able to, not to mention the whole butting heads made him the last horse I wanted to ride.
We fleshed out a plan, originally we were going to meet but then she said it's not that much further just to come all the way to Saskatoon.  Well okay then, the best part was we'd get an actual visit in not just a quick meet and trade!
So two weeks ago she rolled into my yard late one night.  I met her down at the barn and as she climbed out of her truck she said "I'd hug you but I'm smelly from traveling" (or something along those lines) and I said "Hey I just did chores!", and that's how BEC and I met face to face for the first time! lol
We got Frosty unloaded and settled then went up the the house where Hubster had a very late supper waiting for us.  The three of us ended up talking til 2AM then we chatted all the way into the city while we got BEC to her hotel.
The next morning we rode and visited.  Marge (my equine body worker) came over and talked to BEC about some maintenance stuff for Frosty and then they both rode him, that's right Marge got on before I did! lol 
Later on BEC and I rode some more, she tried Tavi and I rode Lefta.  (thanks for the tips BEC!) and of course we visited a ton.  Then early that evening we realized we had no pics!  So I got Hubster to take a pic of the four of us :)
Hoss tradin' ;)

Hubster, BEC & I went out for supper that night and visited pretty late again.  Then the next morning there was a short visit before BEC and Tavi loaded up to head back stateside.  It was a short visit, and it sure flew by, but it was awesome to meet in person and have it go so well!  Especially when we had both joked we felt a bit of "first date" jitters lol

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 ;)

#donthatemotivate

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:

http://www.trainingbarrelhorses.com/video-vault/horse-health/gate-issues/

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:
https://www.facebook.com/SlashWBarrelHorses/posts/1318865718139582?fref=nf

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!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

So this happened...

A week and a half ago we went to pick up my Christmas present...
Fuegos Cuda Girl
The Hubster and I had a good chat early this winter about what our plans and dreams are for the future.  I told him that I want to do better and have better horses.  We talked about things we can do to help get there, hard work of course is part of it but better quality horses would help out.  Unfortunately a better quality  horse that's ready to go, or even green broke, just isn't in my budget (holy crap, try buying a decent barrel horse or prospect in Saskatchewan or within a reasonable distance... or maybe I've been sheltered by the prices of average horses for too long) :/
Anyhoo, we decided that a weanling/yearling would be possible and Hubster gave me the go ahead to start looking.  I found a lot of nice colts, but I wanted a filly.  Part of the plan is to stick with mares* so that if (heaven forebid!) it got hurt there is still the possibility of a broodmare career (or resale as a broodie).

Most of the fillies I was finding were 8-10 hours away, but then a Facebook friend reminded me that there was a breeder with nice horses not too far away (less than 2 hours).  I hadn't actually forgotten about them, I'd drooled all over his posts every time he put up a foal this spring and summer.  I just thought they'd all sold.  There were a few left though, mostly colts but a couple fillies, so my friends Shelbs and Jada went on a quick road trip to Starlight Quarter Horses with me right after Christmas and I found this little girl.
Kelly & Michelle were awesome.  It was so darn cold but they took the time to let us look at all the babies, showed us both studs and walked us through the broodmare herd.  The pride they have in their stock is obvious (and deserved!).

January 4th Hubster and I returned to pick her up, Hubster got the tour as well. :)  
Her registered name is Fuegos Cuda Girl, we've given her the barn name Sarita.
Her sire, Frenchmans Fuego is Frenchmans Guy and Firewater Flit bred and her dam is a nice big mare with old school cowhorse breeding.

Sarita has been here a week and a half and is settling in well, she was a bit flighty but is coming around, Kelly had warned me all of that mares foals are like that at first.  Already Sarita is showing she's got try and smarts, I'm really excited to what the future holds for her!

*the plan may be mares, but there are always exceptions to be made for the right gelding.  And Voodoo of course, he's not going anywhere even if he doesn't fit in the barrel horse plan lol