Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Complete Change In Plans

I was pretty sure I knew exactly which way I was going to breed my mares this coming spring...

In the last 2 weeks, I have gone a completely different direction...Well, with a couple of them anyway. :-)

Beretta is the only one due to foal in 2015, but I actually have 4 breedable mares.

At least one mare is getting bred back to Firewater Fooler...

This is the sire of Beretta's upcoming foal and both myself and 'Mag's' owner are anticipating the arrival of that baby. (Fingers are still crossed for a buckskin filly)

I'm not sure if I will be breeding Beretta back this year or not, but the mare that I WILL be breeding to Mags aught to be a magnificent cross. It's a proven nick for him. One thing about the Fire Water Flit horses, they are well known for being barrel horses, but they are capable of going different directions and these are horses that have longevity. They get better with age and they hold up.

I toyed with the idea of breeding Frenchie to Mags this coming year, but my heart was never really set on it. It just seemed like a good direction to go, since the Fire Water Flit/Frenchman's Guy blood seems to cross well. I some looking to see how Frenchie's A Streak Of Fling babies have turned out and 3 of them have gone to the barrel pen. They have the ASOF running style, but the few videos I saw, I can sure see Moon's turning style too. Drop and never slow down. Yeeehaawwww!! I don't see that these horses are winning in the 1D though and nobody has taken them to the rodeo pen yet, so I'm wondering if they are lacking a little in the speed department and that is why Brian switched Frenchie to CS Flashlight.

Now, I love my lil Flashy and I trust Brian Fulton's assessment that crossing Frenchie with CS Flashlight should produce an incredible horse. But, I'm wondering if Flash is going to be a little 'thick' for my taste. He's not genetically inclined to get real tall and both momma and daddy are thick as bricks. The last time I saw Flash, he was astonishingly heavy-boned for such a young guy. However, if he grows up to meet the size of his joints, he is not going to be a small horse by any stretch of the imagination. I'm sure not worried about the speed factor on that one though. :-)

I've been looking around at a few other stallions, besides Mags for Frenchie's next baby. I mean, when you have a mare that is of this quality, you don't skimp on stud fees. I think I could breed her to just about any of the hot names and she would produce a fine, very marketable baby.

So, my ultimate decision in stallion choice may seem a little odd. I didn't end up picking any of the fabulous, famous stallions that have already produced proven winners. I'm taking Frenchie back to SD to get bred to Shooter's sire, Pistol. Our no-name, not-famously bred (unless you like the old names) Oklahoma Star-bred stallion. This is the nick that feels right to me. I LOVE my Shooter and I think he is going to be way better than his brother Moon. It's mostly because of the subtle difference in attitude. Moon was typical of the Lady Bug's Moon horses...A little on the hard-minded side. Shooter is very similar in so many ways to his older brother; dominant, willful and a little ornery, but he has a kindness to him that Moon lacks. Shooter's orneriness is done more with a twinkle in his eye, like it's a big game, whereas Moon's eye has always reminded me of a shark's. Flash has the same little twinkle in his eye that Shooter does, so I think he is going to be kinder-minded than Moon as well. Which is just one of those things that you don't realize is important until you get one that lacks it...and while the difference is subtle, something you only really notice if you ride and use these horses...The end result can be vastly different.

So, Frenchie's next baby is taken care of and I am far more excited to breed her to our no-name stallion than I was looking at all of the public offerings of high-end, well-known, famous stallions.

The last mare to contemplate was Miss, the gray Tiny Watch/Driftwood mare I bought last May. From almost the beginning, I had my heart set on breeding her to Frenchman's Fabulous. The Frenchman's Guy/Tiny Watch nick is so proven that you just can't go wrong with it. I even picked out the coolest name ever for the baby. But the more I have looked at stallions, the more I realized I could pretty much go any direction I wanted to go with Miss. The Tiny Watch/Driftwood nick jells with almost every other top name bloodline out there and is successful. With Miss, my pocketbook really is the only limit on who I chose to breed her too. This is a mare that only deserves the best of the best. Due to her age, she isn't going to have many foals. I would be happy with one, am hoping for 2...would be ecstatic to get 3....and am praying for a filly. Just ONE filly. PLEASE!!

One of the studs I was toying with the idea of breeding Frenchie too piqued my interest. He was sired by a good foundation-bred stallion on the top, out of a famous name stallion on the bottom. The kind of good mix I look for, not to mention he was drop dead gorgeous and buckskin. I got to researching the sire's side and lo and behold...The sire was actually still alive. He's coming 30...But by golly, he's still alive and breeding. I had no idea. I mean, I'd heard of the horse before. Tammy Key has been successful on Hanks Rapidash, Kay Blanford on KN Letta Girl Do It, Jackie Jatzlau on Ima Nonstop Princess and Lindsey Sears on Hanky Flit Panky. I just thought he died a few years ago. :-/.

The horse's name is Letta Hank Do It...

Even though I was excited to find out he was still alive...and breeding...I really didn't contemplate breeding Frenchie to him. While I LOVE good, old-fashioned foundation lines...I don't know which way the cross of that old running/cow blood onto Frenchie's old running/cow blood would go. Frenchie is thickly made and reproduces thickly made. She doesn't need any help putting bone or mass onto her babies. This old stallion has the same ability to pass on bone and substance. The reason I was contemplating breeding her to this horse's son was because the younger horse had a lot more 'run' blood through his maternal side and that would have most likely helped smooth out the resulting foal. But since I am now able to breed Frenchie to the stallion I really want to breed her to...

I started thinking about Miss. What an incredible opportunity to combine old bloodlines. Miss is finely made and long-bodied. Her foals could do with a little extra bone and substance. There is never any doubt that the Tiny Watch blood will pass on the speed, not that this horse isn't capable of passing that on himself, but the more I thought about it...The more I thought breeding Miss to this stallion was the better option over breeding to Frenchman's Fabulous.

I mean, finding an old stallion like this is just phenomenal. I'm a fan of the Tonto Bars Gill/Tonto Bars Hank horses anyway, but what really makes this horse special is his mother. Slash J Harletta is a blue hen rodeo horse producer. Not only did Slash J Harletta qualify for the NFR herself, she went on to  produce THREE horses that also qualified for and ran barrels at the NFR. And if that wasn't impressive enough, her most famous son, Fire Water Flit went on to sire three more NFR qualifiers.

Here is a wonderfully detailed article about the mare;

Slash J Harletta

I called and talked to one of Letta Hank's owners and she was thrilled at the prospect of breeding a close up Tiny Watch mare to him. She said she didn't know anyone still had any of those horses. I said, well I didn't know there was still a son of Slash J Harletta around either. We both got a chuckle out of that. The breeding contract is on the way and I can finally relax and wait patiently for my lil Firewater to show up. :-)

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Last Round

Whewwww....Another NFR in the books. The World Champion Barrel Racer decision came down to the last round. I was really, really hoping Lisa Lockhart was going to finally win her first World Title, but when the dust settled and the dollars were tallied, the title went to Fallon Taylor.

The Average win DID go to Lisa and Louie...

A couple of tiny bobbles in Lisa's normally, super consistent riding style is what cost her. That was the most shocking thing to me because Lisa is known to be the Queen of Consistency and she has always been the epitome of handling pressure. You just never see her making obvious mistakes.

This was a tough NFR year though. Not just in the barrel racing. Dang near every event had some major fluctuations in the leader board and the pressure was on in the 10th round in several events.

Watching the 10th round live, I was rather confused by Tuf Cooper's demeanor in the arena after he tied his calf. He seemed rattled and out of sorts. I hadn't been paying a lot of attention to the stats in the calf roping, so I didn't realize until I watched the televised round later that night (Yep...We see it live and then try to watch the televised replay to hear the commentary)...The reason Tuf was so out of sorts was because Matt Shiozawa (Shazam!!) was leading the average and stood to win the Calf Roping title...but he missed his calf and had to go to his 2nd rope. That put Trevor Brazile (King Of The Cowboys) in contention to win the average and the title. Brazile roped the head (missing the nose) and just barely got his hands on his calf before the rope came off. He got his calf tied and the time counted, but he was long and that opened the door for Tuf. Tuf was a little long on his calf, but it was a smooth run and earned him the title. It's rare that two of the top hands, especially when one of them is Trevor Brazile, blows their final round, but once I heard that is what had happened, I realized why Tuf was acting so weird after his run. It hit him that he had just won his 3rd World Title.

The team ropers had hell too. The first few rounds were so fast that most of them started coming out and were roping and going left so fast and so hard that they were missing dallies or not giving their heelers good shots. The Thomas and Mack is a teeny, tiny little arena, so it's not just the barrel racers who struggle. Every one of the timed event contestants have to be right on the mark and at the top of their game, every.single.night to do well there. If you're late coming out of the box, even by a single stride...You are screwed.

The ground conditions were a big factor at the NFR this year. The barrel racers had hell the first 2 nights...It wasn't good the 1st night and was plumb dangerous the 2nd night. People were raising hell about it if the NFR committee, the PRCA and the WPRA weren't already all over it. Sheez!!

It was better after that, but still not great in my opinion. I think they had it almost right in rounds 3 and 4. Round 5 seemed to develop a sticky spot at the 5th barrel, causing horse after horse to knock that 3rd barrel. After that round, it seemed like it started to get too dry again. After round 5, most of the girls started carrying bats. At that point, they were pretty much just trying to get their horses past the barrels. You can run a horse on crap ground, once or twice, but after that, when those horses know they are going back into the same arena...They just start shutting down.

It looked to me like Kassidy Dennison's horse, Eagle got sore toward the end. He looked like he was setting up just a little in round 6 and was really wringing his tail in rounds 7 and 8, not so much in 9 and was better by the last round, but you could tell he was tired. He wasn't running anymore.

Outside of Lisa and Louie being my favorites...I had a pretty deep field to cheer for this year. :-)

I like Trula Churchill as well and thought Worm looked and ran the best he ever has at a Finals. A downed first barrel on 2 separate runs cost her a win and a 2nd place check respectively. But she did win a round and place better than she ever has before.

My 2 Colorado girls had hell. Christine Laughlin hit barrels and kept changing horses and Christy Loflin hit barrels left and right and came off in round 5. Ouch!!

If you are not in the know...Corbin Livingston makes some of the funniest damned video clips about barrel racers you will ever watch.

My other favorite, Sherry Cervi didn't have a great finals. Stingray hit barrels, which is rare and in round 10 I was shocked when they ran over...I mean, flat ran over!! the first barrel. I've never, ever seen Sherry not ride her horses to the 1st barrel...

But Lisa kind of did the same thing too and Louie had to duck over to make it around the 1st barrel. That and another little bobble coming out of the 2nd barrel is really all it took to loose 2/10ths on the pattern and cost Lisa the title. She was so close!, but of course, that opened the door for Fallon and she was riding so well this year that teeny, tiny, little gap was all she needed to ease by Lisa.  

This was Jana Bean's first NFR and I thought she rode really well, considering the ground conditions. I like Jana! She is a super nice lady. I met her at a pro rodeo in Colorado and I guess she could tell I was a little stressed out, because she just started visiting with me and talked me down. Not all of the pro girls are friendly like that, so when one is...I appreciate them to no end.

Which is one of the reasons I like Fallon Taylor. She is just as friendly and outgoing in real life as she comes across in interviews. Believe me, after you have been snubbed a few times or had to deal with the 'I'm so and so, so get out of my way' attitude of some of these women, you learn to appreciate the nice ones!!! I know Fallon has a bad reputation as a trainer...and because of that, I'd never buy a horse she had her hands on...but I still like her as a person. I get more than a little irritated with all of the people dissing her because of her clothing choices. It never fails to amaze me the hypocrisy of some people. I guess the old saying, 'It doesn't matter what you show up in or what you wear, as long as  you come to win' doesn't really hold up. I've gotten teased for standing up for her tie-dye outfits, her glitter and fringe, but her over-the-top apparel is her signature and she makes a hellava lot of money off of it...So, I stand up for her business aptitude.

The idiots saying she looked like a rodeo clown and didn't deserve to be at the NFR...Well, she showed them!!! She earned her way to the NFR and she earned the title this year!! Obviously the couch jockey's have no clue how much money it takes to keep going down the road...Even if you ARE winning!

I am cracking up over the whole helmet thing though. Can we say, Ka-Ching!!! I'm still trying to figure out what 'stigma' people are referring to about wearing helmets? Fallon is NOT the first pro barrel racer OR the first NFR qualifier to wear a helmet. I cannot remember the name of the gal who wore one 100% of the time, all year long and every round of the NFR, but it's happened before. I sort of thought Fallon was making a statement about the ground conditions when she wore one in round 3. LOL. And maybe she was...But she got such massive support, that she jumped right on that bandwagon and kept wearing them. I suspect she will make a million dollars off of her Fallon Taylor endorsed helmets. God, I love seeing a great business woman in action!! But if the Helmet Nazi's start pushing for mandatory wear...You will see me have an abrupt change in attitude!! I'm just fine with the option being left open to CHOICE. You make your choice...I'll make mine! Don't ever forget that Fallon Taylor is a business woman...She made the switch because sponsor's are throwing money at her to do so...It's no different than the clothing she wears. If that is what pays the bills and keeps you rolling down the road...That is what you use and what you wear.

The one thing you cannot forget is, rodeo at this level is a business. Those of us that are doing it for fun and/or trying to work our way up to this point can only hope that someday we can start counting on sponsorships to ease the costs. Having a horse that can win is only 1/2 the battle. The real battle is having enough money to keep going to rodeo after rodeo, month after month, year after year. The 'free' stuff doesn't really start rolling in until you've managed to make it to the 'big show' a couple of times. :-)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Demolition Is My Middle Name

Since there is nothing new and exciting on the pony front...

Well, one little thing...

I got a run in on Frosty this week and danged if he didn't almost cut in front of the 1st barrel. I was like, 'Alright...WTH is the problem here?', so I took him back in for a time only after the race and got it figured out. I want to get so frustrated with myself because I simply cannot seem to just feel and correct 'issues' that arise during a run, but this is what is great about little jackpots...Go right back in and find the problem.

Probably my biggest weakness in competition is remembering to use the outside rein to keep my horse's body straight all the way to the pocket and this is what the problem was (and probably has been these last few runs). It's annoying, because I don't have that problem during practice any speed.

I think this is a fairly common problem for barrel racers. You can practice perfect all you want, but until you figure out how to take that same mentality into the competition pen...You are going to revert right back to old habits.

On the drive home, I was still thinking about it and I realized why I ride differently during practice and during competition. When I'm practicing...I think linear. As in...No matter how fast I am asking a horse to make a practice run, I am always thinking, I might just stop them before the barrel. So my focus is on running my horse straight to the rate spot. If they rate and shape correctly, I let them make the turn. If they don't...I stop them. It's completely natural for me to ride two-handed when I am thinking, 'I want this horse to run, with a straight body, from Point A to Point B.

That mentality sort of disappears at a competition. I know I am not going to stop my horse before the barrel, so I just drop the outside rein and let them run to the pocket on their own. That's all well and good, if they are doing it right, but almost any horse will eventually start anticipating the turn and start leaning and shaping too soon and pretty soon they are ducking.

I worked really hard to think 'linear' on that 2nd barrel with Moon, not that it did much good with him, but it's Frosty's best turn, so the thought process works. I just need to remember to think linear to the 1st barrel with Frosty now.

I was supposed to be able to work cattle the next day...And I was so excited. I cannot wait to see what Little John does on cattle. Shooter should be pretty good too. No idea what Jet will do. LOL.

But it rained all day that day and after that I got busy doing the demo a few projects around here.

We have a bee problem. I killed one small swarm that camped outside my side door and thought I just had a few residual survivors buzzing around after that. Nope!! Apparently, there is a swarm under the house too. :-(

I was already planning on tearing off this ugly ass and useless plastic skirting. The house needs to be re-leveled (settling is a problem in this caliche clay) and I have had a damn mouse under the house that has been driving me crazy. Every night this last week, I could hear that little sucker chewing on the flooring. Uugghhh!!

So the skirting is getting ripped off and I need to get appropriately suited up so I can crawl under the house and spray the bee swarm. Since almost all wild bees in Arizona are Africanized, this means these are some aggressive little shits and they need to DIE!!! Suiting up means, pants with sweats over them, boots, a hoodie, with a long coat over it, gloves...and duck taping ankles and wrists and then donning the hubby's full face motorcycle helmet...And two cans of long distance Wasp spray. I will look ridiculous, but I don't care. Africanized Bees KILL people when they decide to attack in swarm mode.

Giving the cat access to the underneath of the house seems to have taken care of the mouse problem. LOL

And the re-levelers are scheduled to come and do their thing. Oddly enough, both MH and I do know how to level a trailer house. LOL. But it's a miserable job crawling around under these things...So we are more than willing to pay someone else to do it. :-)

I found a $7 table at GoodWill and refinished the top of it. I needed one for my craft room, for my sewing machine.

And then I finally broke down and started ripping up the interior of my Living Quarters. Ugghh!! I have been wanting to redo the interior since we bought it, but wasn't sure how much work it would be. Then I wasn't sure what all I wanted to do and then I wasn't sure what color scheme I wanted to go with and the years slipped by...but I have slowly been accumulating 'stuff' to redo it with...Some hardwood flooring that matches the cabinets, a roll of beautiful southwestern material and finally I found some padded wallpaper I liked. When I put everything together, the colors all work...So I decided to just get started.

Just in time to leave for Vegas for the annual NFR trip. LOL....That's me...The queen of demo and walk away. It drives my hubby nuts...but e.v.e.n.t.u.a.l.l.y. I DO get back around and finish my projects. These few may have to sit for a few days, but will have to get finished up relatively quick, so no 'I'll get back to it one of these days' this time. :-)