Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I am an adult!

Sadly, I feel the need to state that right now.

Next, I have to state that I really love drill. I LOVE RIDING DRILL. Drill is SO much fun when things go right.

Unfortunately, things can go so, so wrong.

If I could repeat the glory days of my first couple years of drill every year, I'd only be drilling. No reining or cutting for me. I'd be perfectly happy.

But somehow my team has morphed into some sort of drama central full of bickering kindergartners. I really, honestly felt like I was back in grade school tonight at a team meeting.

For the record I also must state that my coach is absolutely awesome and probably a saint. I guess she'd have to be to put up with all of us as much as she does and I know I only see a fraction of the drama that she deals with.

We had a round table discussion tonight in an attempt to air out some feelings with the hope of getting past some of the drama. Members were asked to talk about how they are feeling about things, both good and bad, and then any helpful suggestions or constructive criticism that might help get us back on track.

There were comments along the lines of people not talking to particular people while we're warming up, so that obviously means that they don't like them. Seriously? Just because I don't talk to you doesn't mean that I don't like you. Sometimes it does, but usually it just means that I'm enjoying being on my horse (or really pissed off at her and concentrating!) and just don't feel like gossiping. One of my very good friends is on the team. I do usually manage to at least say hi at some point, but I'm sure there have been times that we've gone entire practices without speaking. It doesn't mean I'm mad at her. It just means I didn't get the opportunity to chit chat because I was otherwise occupied. The end. We're adults and secure enough to not need that interaction every single time.

My favorite comment on this point was the person that argued that she's concentrating on warming up her horse so others shouldn't take offense if she doesn't say hi, then two sentences later whined about how she feels like she's ostrasized and no one wants her to be part of the team. Wow.

There was the suggestion (again) of making some sort of seating chart at meetings or assigning people different partners to ride with during practice so we can all get to know each other, not just stay in our cliques. Again...seriously? A seating chart? Assigned partners?!? I haven't had a seating chart since I was in junior high! We generally end up randomly spread out and riding with different people throughout the practice and in our drills anyways. If you want to make friends, go make friends. Don't wait for a seating chart to tell you who you need to talk to today.

There were tantrums thrown and personal attacks made, broad ambiguous statements made that people took as personal attacks and of course bickering, though that was mostly moderated. It was ridiculous and made me realize why I just can't seem to get motivated to get my ass off the couch on Sunday afternoons to go to drill practice. I'm only an associate member this year so I don't have an assigned spot in the drills and don't feel obligated to go. If I had a spot and knew people were counting on me, I'd be there with bells on.

Can't always promise a smile on my face though.

I love my team. I work my butt off for my team. When I am at anything having to do with drill I'm there 110% for my team. I make absolutely sure I am ready to go and on time. I volunteer to do things for the team and make sure I get them done to the best of my ability. I am conscious of the fact that at competitions and drill functions I represent my team and make a point of smiling, saying good luck to passing teams and making sure I don't do anything that would make my coach or any of my team members embarrassed to wear the same team shirt as me. My coach is very involved in the area associations and I believe one of her main goals at drill functions is to try to bridge the gaps between teams. I'm not outgoing by any stretch of the imagination, but I try because it's the way I believe my coach wants our team to be.

I also don't throw tantrums or play the blame game. You can't. It's just not productive. Or healthy. I want to win as much as the next person, but blaming other people for the team's short comings doesn't get you any where. All you can do is take responsibility for yourself and figure out if there is anything you could be doing differently to make it easier for other people to be correct. Or talk to them, adult to adult, about the issue. No yelling, no tantrums, no blaming. Take responsibility for your part and don't get defensive.

There are people on my team that throw tantrums. Big ones. They give the silent treatment. They stomp off (or ride off if they're mounted). They slam doors. They rip their horse around for no good reason. They send out mass emails to the team arguing and denying any responsibility or wrong-doing. They tell the teacher...er...coach. There are people worried about cliques and whether this person likes me or that person picks on me.

I absolutely cannot stand the drama. I'm an adult. I am on the drill team because it's a blast to ride and gets me on my horse. A lot. I do enjoy the camaraderie that comes with being on a team. I have extremely fond memories from my first year drilling of team meetings at the end of the day with a pitcher of margaritas and lots of laughter and good times. But I don't need or want to be every one's best friend. There are certainly some people on the team that I'd rather avoid. As long as they make an effort, are prepared and on time and don't cause drama I will absolutely respect them as a teammate. Regardless of their horse's breeding, their riding skills, how nice their rig is or whether I like them on a personal level. I think that is all you can ask of people when you have a large group spending that much time together in a competitive setting.

I just want to have a good time, enjoy my horse and hopefully kick some butt while we're there! Why do people have to make it so difficult?!?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Round Two Thousand Five Hundred and Thirty Eight

Ya, it snowed again yesterday. Started out raining a whole lot and as the afternoon wore on it turned to snow.

That is what we had when I went to bed around 11 and it was still coming down like crazy.
When I woke up this morning it was sunny and beautiful outside so even though I'm totally OVER the snow I had to take some pictures. It was all foggy outside too, very pretty.

The snow was really wet and heavy and falling off the trees very quickly. I had to dodge falling snow to take this picture.
Ok, that's all. Enough snow. When is summer?!?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sunday Stills Challenge - Landscape

This weeks Sunday Stills challenge is Landscape. Since I've been slightly preoccupied and more or less stuck at home this week (see previous post) I haven't been able to get out and challenge myself with new landscape pics. I went thru some of my archives though and found some decent shots that I'll post instead. Please ignore the time/date stamps. I know they're ugly. Love me anyways?

The first two shots were taken on a camping trip to Nachese. It was a totally last minute, sick of being trapped at home all summer because of the boyfriends broken leg, let's just get the heck outta here, load up the Land Cruiser and head to the hills to go camping trip. Unfortunately, his Cruiser was having some issues so trails weren't a great option for us. We decided to head up the road to Ravens Roost instead of taking the trail with a group of friends. It was a beautiful view from up there and a perfect sunny day!

Doesn't that fence make you feel nice and secure?!? Fun fact of the day: I discovered I'm a little afraid of heights up there. I literally could not get within 10 feet of the edge without starting to hyperventilate.

This third picture was a trip I took to Ellensburg with a good girlfriend in '06. We were going on our annual camping trip with the ponies. This particular year we ended up camping in a friends driveway, but riding in the hills around Ellensburg both days. It was a really fun weekend.

Holy Big Rod!

Ya, that's the rod I'm talking about. It's kinda crazy looking!
Want to know the craziest part? That rod was in the boyfriends leg until this last week when he had his "Left Tibia Hardware Removal" surgery. It had been in there since July of '07 when a monster rock rolled over the boyfriends leg while he was at work, breaking his leg. He called me at work, I thought to tell me he had been rained out and was headed home. Instead he very calmly informed me that he was in an ambulance on his way to the hospital with a broken leg. I didn't believe him at first. Later that evening he went in to surgery to have that thing inserted in his leg. It was not a fun day and a long recovery.

Here it is next to a dollar bill for a little perspective. I couldn't believe how big it was! That is not the way I pictured it at all! And the bend at the top really surprised me. Sorta creeped me out to. The boyfriend was pretty darn excited to get to keep the hardware though. He intends to put it right next to my buckle in our "trophy case", where ever that may be.

Those are the screws that were holding that thing in. One at the top and two at the bottom. I have no idea what the other little thing in there is, but I'm sure it fit in that rod somewhere.
So this will be my next few days. Taking care of gimpy. Atleast this time it is a comparatively minor surgery and shouldn't be more then a couple weeks of recovery.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Extreme Mustang Makeover

A couple of my friends are doing the Western States Extreme Mustang Makeover Challenge. They drove down to California to get their mustangs a couple weeks ago and I got to go meet the new mustangs the day they came home. I probably forgot to mention it because it was the weekend I won my buckle. I was a little distracted. Did I mention I won a buckle? hehehe

Anyways, they have blogs detailing all of their adventures with their new projects. Juliane ended up with Midori's long lost sister who she named Sangria. She has the same little white sock, bay color and massive mane as my Midori. She seems pretty friendly and laid back for a supposedly wild, never been handled mustang. It sounds like she is taking everything that Juliane throws at her in stride. Jenny ended up with a fiesty little mare she named MissFire. Much to their surprise, I totally fell in love with her as soon as I saw her. She has the most adorable face and the compact little build that I love on horses. She was very shy, but curious. She wanted to sniff my hand so bad and kept trying, but she was very scared. She has been a bit more of a challenge then Sangria, but they are both coming along quickly.

The Extreme Mustang Makeover Challenge is put on by the Bureau of Land Management and the Mustang Heritage Foundation and basically involves a bunch of mustangs, straight from different Herd Management Areas around the country. Trainers apply for a spot in the challenge and, once approved, are randomly assigned a mustang. They then have 90 days to get them gentled, broke and ready to compete against the other mustangs and trainers at the Challenge. Sangria and MissFire will be competing at the Western States EMM Challenge in Sacramento, CA in June.

The reason I bring all this up is that I got to see MissFire again last night. I still just adore her, she really is a cutie patootie. She also looked a whole lot smaller then I remember her! She can't be more then 14:1. All of my horses are between 14:2 and 14:3 though so I think she is just the perfect size. She is just a petite little thing to, short back, leggy, compact little build. She looks like she'd be athletic as hell and apparently has performed some pretty amazing acrobatics.

She was all saddled up last night and looking a little less wild. I played with her for a little bit and got to pet her neck and shoulder. I didn't push my luck any further back then that as there is a reason she got the name MissFire. She didn't like me in her face or patting her at all, but when I would work up her neck to scratch her face she sure seemed to love it and totally lean into it. Then she would remember that it was me scratching her and toss her head away. hehe She was super soft on the lead line, very responsive and respectful of my space. That was good, I really like my bubble. She was pretty protective of her bubble too though and it took her a little convincing to let this strange her person walk around to the other side. She did lots of dropping her head and licking her lips when she'd figure out I wasn't going to eat her. It was fun. I can see the appeal of the Challenge, though I'm pretty sure I'd never have the cojones to actually enter it myself. I can't wait to see how Sangria and MissFire progress and I'm trying to figure out how I can get down to Sacramento in June to watch them in action!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Puppy play day!

Yesterday we ended up having an impromptu puppy play day at our house. It turned out to be a beautiful day after the fog burned off and the dogs all had a blast playing together.

My parents came over with their two new Corgi puppies, Yogi Bear and Bella. Yogi is on the left and Bella on the right. They are so freakin adorable! Yogi is a little chunk! His legs are huge and he has floppy puppy skin. His ears have just recently started standing up so when he runs they still flop.

And of course they have the cutest little Corgi puppy bums! See how much bigger Yogi (on the left) is then Bella? Total chunk!

And my sister came over with her brand new to her puppy Vega. She is a Schipperke mix. She was pretty darn cute too! Love those ears and that face!

Cheyanne had so much fun playing with all the puppies! She was so gentle with them, seemed to know they were babies and played accordingly.

I just love Vega in the picture below. Cracks me up!

Yogi seemed pretty fascinated with Chey, he kept trying to catch her and play. She was too fast for his chunky little legs though. That girl can run!

I think Chey had just as much fun running circles around them as they played amongst themselves.

After a couple hours they were some seriously tuckered out puppies! They all crashed out in their kennels while we had some lunch. Below is Yogi trying to sleep, but the annoying girl with the camera kept distracting him.

Chey still wanted to go-go-go, but she crashed eventually a little while after everyone left. She was fast asleep on her bed on the deck. Never seen such a thing!
It was a very fun day! Makes me want to get another dog so Chey can have some company and they can tucker themselves out! :o)

Sunday Stills Challenge - Lines

This week's Sunday Stills Challenge was lines. It was an interesting challenge for me to focus on lines and get an interesting shot that I liked. It was also difficult for me this week since the sun never really came out so my shots outside look a little dreary. I did end up getting a couple that I liked, but I also pulled a couple from my archives.

This is the side of my barn. Definately lots of lines, but not so interesting.

These are the stairs that lead up to the barn loft. I think they are beautiful, ya know, for stairs. Not terribly photogenic though. And please try to ignore all the dirt, leaves and cobwebs. It's been a long winter.

I pulled this pic from my archives. It was a beatiful sunny morning and I had to go outside and take lots of pics. There are lots of lines with the deck, railing, window, shadows, etc. so I figured I'd throw it in.

This is another one I pulled from the archives. I was outside taking lots of pictures of the snow, which I posted here and Cheyanne was helping me, as usual. I think she decided she was done with the cold because she ended up sitting on the deck watching me. I think it's cute the way she is just peeking thru the rails at me and definately has a lot of lines in it. It was taken with my old camera so the quality isn't quite as good, but I still like the composition of it.

Go check out the Sunday Stills blog to see what other people have done with the challenge! Just look thru the comments and click on the links to other people's posts.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring is here!

Or so I hear.

As jrosey said on her blog, I don't think Mother Nature has gotten the memo yet.

I took the camera outside last night to try to find some lines (this week's Sunday Stills challenge) since it wasn't raining at the moment. I didn't do so hot with the challenge, but I did end up finding some evidence that spring may indeed be on it's way.

The trees are coming back to life. The weeds are sneaking in. The grass is growing again. The birds are chirping. The boyfriend also mentioned that the frogs were noisy again. I love listening to frogs. To me they are the epitome of spring and summer and nice weather. They are also a great lullaby. I was really happy when we discovered we could hear frogs in the evenings after we bought our house last year. Life just wouldn't be the same for me without the sound of frogs at night.

This morning when I left the house I heard them for the first time this year. I had to take a moment to enjoy it. It put a smile on my face. And I could take a moment to pause on the deck this morning because, as my truck informed me, it was a balmy 45 degrees this morning. Never thought I'd be so happy to see 45 degrees! I didn't even crank on the heat when I got in my truck. It was weird.

I'm getting all excited to get outside and do some yard work. And no, I didn't imagine I'd ever in my lifetime utter those words. I might have to take a trip to the store this weekend to get some new gardening gloves and see what other fun things I can find to get me inspired. I've got a lot of work to do this year!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Any Excuse will do!

I think the boyfriend likes his new toy. Any excuse he can find to use it, he's all over it.

He had some extra time on his hands a couple weeks ago so I suggested getting the evil Juniper root up that I mentioned in this post. Since we had a nice break in the weather I was starting to get spring fever and take inventory of the outdoor projects that I would like to tackle when it gets nice out again. I think this little area is a priority so I can call it complete for reals. I was not able to pull the root out on my own last fall, but it needed to go. He went out, fired up Holly and 30 seconds later it was out. So happy to have it outta there!

I also wanted to add some dirt to this little garden area to bring it up level to the concrete pad and redo the rock border. After he pulled the root out he got to work digging it up a bit, loosening the existing soil and leveling it back off. It cracked me up because the little garden area was no bigger then the bucket on the tractor! I'm sure he could have easily dug it up with a shovel by hand in about 10 minutes, but he used the tractor instead.

He's pretty darn handy with his new toy!


First off I have to say that I think my sister is brilliant! While I may look at her like she has a third eye when I hear some of her ideas, when I see the finish product, it is always fabulous. She has tons of very bright and bold colors in her house and while I had my doubts when I heard what she wanted to do with each room, everything turned out great and it all flows together amazingly well. She is really good at thinking "outside the box".

So after she read my blog about painting my office she emailed me with her thoughts on the subject. I had a forehead smack moment(also known as a duh moment). She suggested painting the dark color half way up the wall with another color on top, using some sort of border in the middle (or no border, my choice). That way I could still use my blue that I love, but it would help with the dark hole issue.

Now, I know I had this idea at some point, the thought had crossed my mind, I swear. But for one reason or another I had disqualified it as an option, or just didn't want to think hard enough to figure out a border option and forgotten all about it. Now that she brought it up again, I'm totally digging it.

The only problem is...what do I do for a border?!? I'm not a huge fan of the no border idea. I'm also not a huge fan of doing a wallpaper border, though I am not counting it out completely. I would love to do a wood chair bumper type border, but I'm just not so sure that will work out so great with all of the furniture I'm going to have in there pushed up against the wall. I could just do a plain 4"-6" stripe of navy blue, but that is a little blah. Red or purple or kelly green wouldn't be as blah, bit it's still not all that exciting

Naturally I've been googling and haven't had much luck finding new ideas, other than decoupage. That could be fun. Maybe. I have a feeling it would turn into a massive project because I'm incredibly particular about stuff like that. I can envision how I might want it to look, but it would probably take me hours and days and weeks to get it looking like that. I kind of like that direction though. I'm picturing black and white photos of different things, possibly pictures that I've taken, but more likely pictures of the eiffel tower, flowers, horses, Chey...different things that I love and inspire me. It could be fun to have in my craft room. I dunno. I'll have to think on that idea a while longer.

The other part of this is what color do I do on top? It would have to be something light to offset the dark bottom. I would rather not do anything too white. I could do the mustard/dijon color that Horse Crazed Mind suggested in the last post, but I think that would end up looking a little manly and like it should be a den, not girly for my craft room. I do love that color though and it will end up some where in my house! Do I go with a lighter, creamy yellow? More like the one in the kitchen (or the stand mixer that inspired the kitchen)? Do I go with a light blue? Teal? Pick some other random color of the rainbow just for shits and giggles? I dunno. I suppose the top color is kind of dependent on my border decision also.

So that is where I'm at with the office right now. I still, basically, have no idea what I want to do in there. Who knows, maybe I'll go home and look in the office and decide this half wall idea just won't work at all or sleep on it and wake up tomorrow morning wondering what the heck kind of crack I was on to even entertain the idea. I do that every once in a while.

Basically, I need to think on it and love your input in the meantime! Maybe I'll get a picture of the room up here one of these days too so those of you that haven't seen my house can see what the heck I'm talking about! :o)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Painting projects, here I come! Maybe.

Well, I'm trying to work up some motivation to get going on atleast one of my indoor projects while the weather is all nasty and unpredictable. I'm having problems actually getting going though.

I really want to get my bathroom painted, but that is going to be a huge, massive, painstaking process. There are a ton of screw and nail holes that need to be patched and wall paper that needs to be removed and everything needs to be washed very thoroughly and primed and then painted, probably with two coats. There is a ton of taping off and edging to do and I really hate edging. It's annoying and time consuming and tedious. There isn't a ton of wall space, but lots of corners and edges and things to work around so I'm just not really wanting to start that project just yet.

The office, on the other hand, just has four windows, two doors and a closet to work around. There is way more wall space, but I think it will be much less labor intensive. There are just a few small nail holes to patch up and it doesn't need to be primered. For those reasons, as well as the piles of boxes of books and things waiting to be unpacked and put on the shelves that are not going to be assembled until the room is painted, I am more inclined to paint the office first.

My problem is that I cannot decide on colors for the walls. I want to do something bold and bright and colorful in there. It's my office and craft room so I want it to be a nice, fun color. I had planned to go with this really nice blue.

It's a beatiful color that I absolutely love. That is a picture of a picture and it's actually a little deeper and brighter then that looks. I'm afraid to do it though. It looks great in the picture, but all of the accents are a very bright white and I think it needs that. The room I'm working with has a beige carpet, no lighting fixtures at the moment and four windows that don't really let much light in. Besides that, my craft table is huge and a dark espresso brown, the computer desk is mostly black and all of the shelves that I have for the room are black. I think between the dark accents, the lack of lighting in the room and the beige carpet the room would turn into a dark hole with that deep blue on the walls.

I could be wrong, and I may still end up going with that color, but at this point I'm trying to steer away from it.

I have no idea what direction to go though. I still want a bold color in there, but I can't come up with anything bold that doesn't have the same dark hole issue. All the bright colors that I like for it aren't exactly the bold statement I want to make in there.

I'm not sure if I want to stick to blues, teals and greens (purple flags are the colors I really like)...

Or go with something bright and different with yellows, golds, reds and oranges...

So that is where my head is at this week. I would really like to get both the bathroom and office painted before it gets nice out and I don't want to be inside any more. Hopefully I can make it happen! I think I just need to pick a color and go for it. I can change it later if I don't like it, right? Of course when I realize that that means painting again I might decide to like it, but hey, whatever works, right? :-)

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Well, I thought I was done blogging for the weekend after my blog-a-thon last night. But here I am again with more thoughts rattling around in my brain.

First off I would like to point out that it is now March 15th and I once again woke up to snow this morning. Have I mentioned I'm ready for summer?

Second, it was not a dream. I did win a buckle yesterday. Did I mention I have a buckle? I do, I won a buckle! *grins*

Third, I told the boyfriend I would share the buckle with him. I think he deserves it just as much as I do. He tried it on last night. It looked good on him. It has not gone on my belt yet. Not sure why. I guess probably because it's hard to look at it when it's on your stomach and I'd rather stare at it in the box. Yes, I am a nerd. But you know what? It's ok, cuz I have a buckle! hehehe

And last...today is Cheyanne's birthday! She is one year old today! My little baby is growing up! *sniff, sniff* I can't believe that a year ago today, we weren't even living in this house, I think we would have been in the process of making an offer at that point and certainly not considering getting a puppy at all! But here we are with Cheyanne one year old already and I love her to death. She is the cutest puppy dog ever and I can't imagine not having her around!
This pic was the day we brought her home. She got sick in the truck and didn't know what to think about not having all her siblings around. What an adorable teeny tiny little ball of fur!

And this is Cheyanne today. Ok, well, really it was last week, but it's cold and wet and gross outside and she is having a blast playing in the nasty weather and getting filthy dirty and I don't want to take a new picture of her like that.

This is her favorite spot to curl up when I'm on the computer (yes our computer is at our kitchen table and I feel the need to admit that no we don't eat there much). She is usually curled up with one of her favorite toys too. This is her all time favorite toy Piggy. It was one of the first puppy toys I got her, but she destroyed that one. I felt horible throwing out her favorite toy ever so I had to go buy her another one. She was so stinking excited when I gave it to her! It was the cutest thing ever. Now only the rawhide bones take precedence over Piggy.

So happy birthday Chey! Here's to many more great years!

Ok, I think that's all for the weekend. But no promises. I do have a few more ideas swimming around in my head, I just don't know if they'll make it on here any time soon.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sunday Stills Challenge - Water

The challenge this week was rather...vague. It was suggested that a lake or river could help, but water can include soooo many things!

I didn't end up with any pictures of rivers or lakes, but I did get snow, rain, frost, steam and water from the tap and the hose. All different forms of water. My favorites, oddly enough, were the pictures from the hose and tap.

The boyfriend likes to help me come up with ideas for the Sunday Stills Challenges, so he figured it was as good a time as any to clean out the horses water troughs and I could get some pics of water while he was filling them. This was one of my favorites from that "photo shoot"...

I like it that it is a little mysterious and you'd never guess that it was just water in a horse's water trough.

My other favorites were just macro shots with a fast shutter speed on the kitchen faucet. Our kitchen sink is black and I really like the effect of the dark background.

Again, I like that they are mysterious and weird. It almost looks like a bunch of diamonds falling. Maybe that's why I like them.

Too cute!

These pics aren't the greatest, but I thought they were too cute not to post. We were sitting on the girls waiting around for the awards to be handed out (did I mention I got a buckle?). The cows arrived for the afternoon cutting and the girls had to check them out.

They loooooove the cows.

Then they got bored and started sniffing eachother.

Then they both got an itch and rubbed heads for a bit.

Then they dove for the hay. Brats.

The end!

It's okay...I have a buckle!

Oh ya, you heard right...your's truly has a buckle! I won it fair and square and I'm freakin excited!

I had a few different ideas for titles of this post. The first one I was thinking was The Tortoise and the Hare. It seemed appropriate leading up to this last show if I did happen to get the buckle. While I had won the class once, most of the reason I got the buckle was because I came to every single show, even though I didn't receive any points for the first no score I got. I was the slow and steady, middle of the pack wins the race. Well, this morning I had a pretty good run and I won the class! That makes two first places, a second and some other decent placings that I don't remember. So I feel a little more like I really deserved that buckle and maybe wasn't the slow and steady. Maybe there was some skills involved. Maybe.

Another title I was debating was It Was a Good Day. For obvious reasons. It really was a good day.

I decided on the current title because all day, anything bad or boring or just not great that happened, I would turn around, whip out my buckle and say, "It's okay, I have a buckle!" I was stuck in traffic...It's okay, I have a buckle! Whip it out, admire it at a stoplight. Headed to work on a Saturday, It's okay, I have a buckle! Realize someone forgot to do something important before leaving work yesterday...It's okay, I have a buckle! You get the point. Everything is okay because I'm so stinking excited that I won the buckle!

This is my favorite part...

See that? It says REINING CHAMPION. Me. Reining Champion.

And yes, it was a Beginner class at a small, very casual, very small, very casual winter reining series. Did I mention it was small and casual? It was very small and very casual.


I do have to thank C.C. Dozing and Mike Crandall for sponsoring the series. They totally rock! They support a lot of events and get us some beeeeautiful buckles! Which I can tell you now from personal experience. Did I mention I have a buckle? *grins*

Oh, and the boyfriend got second in the series. He got a really nice set of reins. They are even light oil so they match his saddle. Maybe now he'll quit stealing mine. He did so awesome! I'm so proud of him. He rocks!!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My weekend - Part 2

Continued from previous post...

As luck would have it I was second up in the rotation for the day, thanks to being one of the "experienced" folk at the clinic. I got good and warmed up while the first person went and then we were up. The morning boxing didn't go as well as I had hoped, but it was a really good learning experience.

The cows were big, sour and grumpy. They had already been used for the two day advanced clinic and they weren't happy about going another day. The first cow I got was chargy and really pushy. He was not intimidated by us much at all! We usually do alright at boxing, but this cow was just not cooperating. Midori isn't totally comfortable with the cows quite yet and doesn't know what to think when they charge her. She usually ends up skittering out of the way, usually with a good loud snort thrown in for good measure. This cow didn't want to move and when he finally would it wasn't along the wall, it was at us. No matter how much pressure we put on him, he would still fly right past us. At one point I had beat him to the fence and had Midori's shoulder planted on the rail facing the cow. He looked at us and then quite literally shoved us out of the way, squeezing by us on the rail. Midori mostly held her ground on that one, didn't skitter away for once, but that darn cow just pushed right thru us. I'm sure there was something we could have done, but I'm still not entirely sure what it was. It was good experience for us though and Midori felt a little more comfortable with the cows once she learned they weren't going to eat her if they touched her. We tried a few more attempts at boxing that cow and I got some good tips on getting them to move and stop and play the way you want them to. It wasn't the most efficient run, but I feel like I learned a lot.

We got a new cow and had a little more luck boxing it and then quit. While I was doing that I was realizing that Midori is a lot more cowy then I was giving her credit for. When we were practicing on the buffalo last summer I was baby sitting her, managing almost every step she took, trying to make her correct and do what I wanted her to. Once I tried to let her do it on her own a little bit, I was very pleasantly surprised by how much she knows! She had picked up a lot more then I was giving her credit for. Very exciting!

We took a short break to move the panels around so we could have a long wall to take the cows down and drag the arena so it was nice and soft "just in case" and so no one slipped. I got my first run down the wall in before our lunch break and I was up in the clouds when it was done. It wasn't perfect, probably wasn't even decent by Lynn's standards, but I thought it was awesome! Lynn did say that my position driving down the wall was perfect. Wohoo! I wish I had that on tape...Lynn Anderson said my position was perfect! lol I'm sure she mentally added, "for a totally novice beginner," to that, but hey, I'll take what I can get! And I do have to stop and thank the cow gods because the cow I got on that run was really great for us. It was fast enough that I felt like I was flying, but not too fast so we were totally out of control. I got a couple great turns in, really felt like I was doing it the way it was supposed to be done; dirt flying, horse digging in, launching out of the turn to run down for another turn. It was fabulous!

The basic routine of the afternoon runs was to box for just a bit to prove that you could, then drive it down the wall until you could keep it under control driving then practice a few turns each direction, assuming we could get any in, and then try some circling.

We got thru the runs down the wall and then went to circling. The cow was stuck to the wall like glue. I forgot to mention that in my determination and frustration to get a good turn and/or circle the darn cow last year, I ended up pushing it too far back and getting tangled up in the back legs. I was told in no uncertain terms that this is a bad, bad place to be in and had felt it first hand as we got jumbled up and tripped. I was a little traumatized from that and determined to not be stupid and get tangled up in the back legs again. Because of that, I was a little timid in trying to push the cow off the wall to circle. Now looking back, I think it may have been easier to run by and turn the cow then go straight into circling, but that wasn't the exercise so we just had to do what we could to get the cow to come off the wall. Finally, the cow came off the wall, but made an immediate beeline back to the gate. I didn't have time to get around him before he got to the gate, but I ran like hell trying! I learned a couple things, how I was pushing him to turn that hard and to change my position a little bit so I would have a better chance to get around him.

Again, it was a great learning experience, but I never did get the full circles in either direction. It was still really fun and I think I regained a lot of confidence in my riding abilities. I was determined to not be scared, not hold Midori back and do whatever I needed to do to get where I needed to be. That did result in my overriding the cow a couple times, running right past his head when he stopped and ducked around, but ya know, I was up there in the first place, so I was happy. It also resulted in me hauling butt around on Midori and never losing my seat or being afraid I was out of control. I learned to trust Midori to take care of me and not run into walls or fall over. She was all over those cows and had a blast chasing them. I could feel her really getting down in the dirt and I even felt a couple nice lead changes while we were chasing them around. Huh, there's hope for us yet! I also really had to let her know that no, we're done, no more chasing them right now, when it was time. She wanted to keep going. Guess I need to work on installing that "quit" button when we start the cutting this year.

The boyfriend came down to watch our second run of the afternoon, even snapped some pictures of it. It didn't go quite as well as the first one, but it was still fun and I was grinning ear to ear when I was finished. I had a hard time keeping up with the cow when I was driving him so he didn't stay on the wall so I could turn him. Again, good learning experience. It was nice to compare how it was done right (my first run) to what happens when it's not done correctly. I did get a couple decent turns in and had slightly more luck circling on that run, but still didn't get the two full circles in. It is darn hard work! Both Midori and I were about to keel right over we were breathing so hard by the time we finished! Certainly got us warmed up on a very chilly, snowy day!

I would really, really love to get some more experience in this. I really want to learn, because it is frustrating when I can't accomplish something. I think I get the theories and how I'm supposed to do it all, but putting it into practice is hard work! I would really, really like to get better at it.

My weekend - Part 1 - A little background

As I mentioned yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a working cowhorse clinic this past weekend. This is the third time I've been to this particular clinic, but the first time I feel like I really did well at it. The clinician was Lynn Anderson, who is the current National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) president, as well as a phenomenal rider.

I do have to point out that I am only 99% sure it was actually called a working cowhorse clinic. Honestly, I can hardly keep all the different cowhorse disciplines straight. I do know that it was a clinic on the cow work portion of the reined cowhorse competition. It is my understanding that there is the rein work, cow work and herd work portions of reined cow horse competitions. The rein work is basically a reining pattern. Then when you complete the pattern, they give you a cow and you go straight into your cow work that includes boxing the cow, taking them down the wall, getting atleast one turn each direction and then circling the cow a full 360 degrees each direction. Then the herd work is more or less cutting. We worked on boxing, taking them down the wall and circling.

Holy cow, what a blast that is! I thought cutting was fun, but this is just an adrenaline rush on four legs! Wow. W-O-W.

If you go to the NRCHA website there is a video on the homepage of what it is supposed to look like. Keep in mind the pros make it look easy to do. In reality it is probably one of the most difficult things to do with cows. You are going full out, balls to the wall galloping to catch those cows and control them and then stopping and turning on a dime, into the wall. It is difficult and dangerous and the most fun I think I've ever had on my horse.

I was pretty excited to get another chance at this clinic this year. I've been the past two years, but have been more then a little disappointed by my performances. The first year I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I knew nothing about reined cow horses and had never seen them in action. I was absolutely clueless. Which probably turned out to be a good thing. If I had known what I was getting myself into I probably would have had a panic attack and sold my spot. You see, two weeks or so before the clinic Midori decided to be a terd and took off bucking on me. I stuck it out, got her pulled around and disciplined, but as soon as I let up for a second on the rein because I thought we were done, she took off bucking again. At that point I had no stirrups and had only stayed on up until then thru sheer will. The second round of bucks put me up on her neck, connecting hard with the saddle horn on my tail bone on the way. This was two years ago and I still feel it. You can imagine what I felt like two weeks in, headed to a day long clinic. On top of being injured, not able to ride properly and certainly not able to sit deep for hard stops and turns, I was absolutely scared to death of Midori. The clinic was only the second time I'd been back on her since the incident. I spent the whole entire day near or in tears, practically hyperventilating any time Midori did more then a slow controlled jog. Like I said, if I knew what I was doing going into the clinic I would have sold my spot. But I'm glad I didn't.

We didn't do horrible, but since I couldn't sit down much we didn't get any hard turns or stops in and I had to hold Midori back quite a bit because I just wasn't ready to let her go all out. I survived the day and Midori behaved herself. In fact, she enjoyed it. She was having a blast chasing those cows around! I had fun, but was really disappointed in myself for being such a weenie.

Then I started doing some research on what we were trying to do and knew I wanted to take another stab at it.

Which brings us to year two. My favorite saddle to ride in is my 14" Circle Y park and trail. It's a simple saddle, no bling, nothing special, not even great leather, but I love Circle Y's and it is comfy and I have a solid seat in it. I had decided that I wanted to spend a little more and get a really nice saddle to use since I was really getting back into horses. After a little shopping and a test run, I decided on a Reinsman. I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it and then found out that they now have the same designer that used to do the nice Circle Y's with the softee leather that I loved. Go figure. Anyways, long story short, I decided I wanted to use my barely broke in Reinsman for the clinic instead of my usual Circle Y. Stupid, stupid, stupid! It's a super comfy saddle and I have a nice solid seat in it, but the stirrups were a little long for my shrimpy short legs and I had no more holes to go up. Besides that, they weren't turned yet, despite my best efforts with a broom handle. The morning boxing practice went alright, but when we got to the afternoon runs down the wall and I kept losing the stirrup that would have been on the outside of my turn, it was not so pretty. I didn't trust my seat to stay put thru a diving turn into the wall without a stirrup to lean on so I was holding Midori back on the turns again and holding on to the saddle for dear life. I think I was actually grabbing the horn, which I never do. I still had fun and learned a lot, but I was once again disappointed with my performance because I had held back. Again.

Flash forward to this year...I'm going into this thing uninjured. I'm using my broke in, still favorite Circle Y. Midori is more cowy now after cutting last summer and more broke then ever and we have a better understanding and base for what we are about to do. Midori is solid and spicy and I'm not scared of her. I was sooo looking forward to this so I could really feel like I got something out of it instead of failing because I was holding back and focusing more on how scared I was then on the task at hand. And this year I was going to get 3 runs, 1 morning boxing and 2 runs down the wall. I absolutely couldnt' wait to get out there and ride like hell!

To be continued....

Monday, March 9, 2009


Well, March has certainly come in like a lion. A really cranky, manic-depressive lion with bad ju-ju and possibly multiple personalities.

In one weeks time we've had sunny, blue skies and 60 degree absolutely beautiful weather, wind, rain, showers, more rain, thunder storms and now snow. As I am typing this it is dumping snow and going on 2 inches accumulated. Over the weekend it would go from sunny blue skies, to wind to snow to hail and back to sun every half hour or so. I swear I'm only exaggerating a tiny bit.

It's March 9th for crying out loud. It's not supposed to be snowing any more! Am I imagining things that not that many years ago we could get thru an entire winter and not see one single snow flake? I know last winter it snowed quite early (around Thanksgiving) and quite late too (at least the end of Feb, if not into March). And it snowed quite a bit last winter, just like it has this year. I'm not liking this trend.

Have I mentioned I'm ready for summer? I'm really over the snow.

ps - weekend update coming soon! I went to a working cowhorse clinic. SO. MUCH. FUN!!!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Miss Fancy Pants

Last weekend I got the chance to see my old horse Fancy. I sold her a little over a year ago and really miss her. She was my baby. She was the first horse I started and I owned her for 5 years. She was a huge pain in my butt a lot of the time, but I still loved her to death.

She was 3 years old when I bought her and halter broke. Barely. That was pretty much it. She wasn't even registered. So I got her paperwork together and registered her as a half arab and a pinto. We did a lot of ground work, getting her to respect me and my space and learn some stuff before I ever got on her. Her mother had collicked and died when she was 5 weeks old so she was an orphan and had some issues with my personal space. As in it didn't exist.

When I took her to the vet a little later in life, they called her Cheeky. I wasn't ever exactly sure what that meant, but I was pretty sure it wasn't a good nick name. The tech also pointed out that she had two cowlicks on her forehead. Apparently that is not a good thing. Horses with two swirls on their forehead are usually nutty, according to what I can only assume is an old wive's tale. I guess it doesn't apply so much if the two swirls are vertical, but if they are horizontal (which Fancy's were just about perfectly horizontal) then look out! I have to admit that I put some weight in that old tale and made a point to check out the horse's forehead swirls when I was horse shopping. I know, I'm silly.

I have talked about Fancy a little bit in this post. I bought her with the intention of doing breed and circuit shows with her. Since she was able to be double registered I figured she was a great prospect for me. Her sire was a stunning buckskin pinto who was extremely versatile and she was definately his daughter. I purchased her from my old boss and I still remember the day she was born and seeing the pictures of her floating around the office. I also remember the day her mom died, I had to fill in for the boss's daughter who was supposed to work that day but was busy with her collicking mare.

I have so many great memories with Fancy. She was such a sweetheart, but a really big challenge also. She taught me so much. Not the least of which was patience and controlling my emotions when I was working with her. She was really good at pushing my buttons. Looking back and knowing how frustrating she could be and seeing how far I got her is very rewarding. She was a pro at the Arab Teleport (you blink, they spook and you're suddenly on the other side of the arena/trail/pasture, etc.)

I ended up doing pretty much everything but performance shows with her. I never did get her to even so much as a schooling show. We had hours and hours of trail time, camping trips, runs down the beach, jumping the waves in the ocean (she was scared of them), team penning, "roping" (as in I sorta learned to throw a rope off her and she would sorta tollerate it, but it was hardly actual roping), she was my first drill horse....we had a blast together! And she trusted me enough to do most of it without too much fuss. I won't pretend that we were good at much of it, but we got by and we had fun, which was all that really mattered.

She really loved drill. She was a very social horse, loved being around other horses, never kicked or bit and was just a dream for drill. Unfortunately, a couple months in she came up lame. I think she had been working on it for a while, but I had been ignoring it. After a lot of money went into lameness exams and chiropractor appointments we decided the only thing to do, short of hauling her to the other side of the state for more really expensive tests, was to lay her off for 6 months to a year and see what happened. The chiropractor was telling me her shoulders were really out, but she couldn't hold an adjustment without being worked. The vet was telling me that it was her suspensory tendons/ligaments and she needed time off to heal. I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Since I had already put thousands of dollars into both the vet and the chiropractor and I really couldn't afford any more, I decided she'd get the time off. My wallet and mostly maxed out credit card decided that one for me.

To make a long story short, she came back sound as can be after 9 or 10 months, both her legs and her shoulders were fine. I had decided to buy another horse so she went up for sale as soon as I was sure she was sound. I was also willing to lease her to a good show home. I ended up leasing her to a fabulous family for their daughter's last year in 4-H. They were great together! Fancy took her to state and they ended up in a few championship classes. Fancy was a total natural at the rail/performance classes. I knew it was where she belonged, which is most of why I decided to sell her in the first place. She loved drill, but was naturally slow with a jog and lope to die for. Not the get-up-and-go, hard stopping and turning horse that I needed for drill. I got her back not long after the state fair was over and put her back up for sale.

That was when we found her current family. It's really funny how horses pick their owners. I had watched her with quite a few people each time she was up for sale. I could tell when she wasn't happy or didn't like someone. She definately picked the girl that leased her. They were a great match. The second time around we didn't get quite as many visits, but one of them was a lady who had come out previously and was really excited to see her come back on the market. She had really liked Fancy the first time around, but had decided to go with a pony for her daughter instead. It ended up being a really bad experience that she had just gotten done with and was looking for a horse again. She came out and rode Fancy and they really hit it off. She was looking for a horse of her own, but that she could share with her young daughter. She wanted something that would be gentle for her daughter to learn on and that she could grow up with and begin showing when she was old enough. I wasn't entirely sure how I felt about selling Fancy to a home with a young kid, but as soon as I saw Fancy with the kid I knew she would be just fine.

Fancy became a totally different horse with the kid around. She was gentle and patient and would lean down for her to brush her face. It was adorable. I still sent her off with fair warning, but Fancy was 9 or so by then and was finally growing up and turning into one of those pretty darn solid and kid safe Arabs. My shoer always used to tell me when I'd be venting my frustrations about Fancy that Arabs don't get their heads on straight until they are 8 or 9. Sure enough, Fancy grew up and turned into a totally different horse.

Seeing her last weekend was a little bitter sweet. I was thrilled to see that she was doing well and that she was moving to a gorgeous, well maintained barn with her own stall and lots of grassy turnout. I know they will all love it there. I realized that I do still really miss her and part of me regrets selling her. She was a great horse and I just imagine all the fun I could be having with her today if I had kept her.

Oh well, everything happens for a reason. I'm really glad I have Midori and I'm not sure I would if I hadn't decided to sell Fancy.