Monday, June 29, 2009

Open Horse Show

This time around the weather was beautiful for the Valentine Horse Show.

Megan and I love going to this show. The people are wonderful to show with, the arena is nice and pretty much everyone rides big, nice, working-type horses. That is big ranch country down there.

I guarantee the Aged Halter Gelding Class is one of the toughest you will ever run across. At least in terms of working type geldings. You want to see what a good hind leg looks like on a real using horse? Want to see what good bone looks like? You will see it in spades in that class. No big, fat halter dinks standing on toothpick legs and dinky feet there! Megan showed Strawberry and I showed Moon in that class and got cut immediately. I told Megan, lesson learned...when we go to Valentine, she needs to show Rip in halter and I need to save my entry fee-LOL.

Megan had a good day with Strawberry. She took 3rd in Western Pleasure. She picked up a wrong lead and loped around a while before she realized it. I don't think she would have won the class anyway. There was a really nice bay gelding that won it and he deserved it.

She also took 3rd in the trail class...

The Senior Division(14-18y/o) is always the toughest at these shows. So I guess I think she did pretty well.

She used Rip in the Horsemanship, Reining, Barrels and Poles. I have video of the Horsemanship and Reining...blogger was fighting with me this I'll try to upload those again later.

Moon did okay too. We got second in the English Pleasure...

We got a third in the Ranch Horse Pleasure.

And 5th in the Horsemanship...
Moon blew the horsemanship pattern to hell and gone. My fault! He had been so decent before the lunch break, I didn't take him over and lope a few circles on him before this class! He was flipping in and out of his leads through the pattern and that head of his was getting higher and higher. He was really starting to think about the barrels. I don't expect him to do great in these classes, but they are good for trying to keep him from thinking the arena is only for blasting through a barrel pattern. He used to be a lot better, but as we have picked up speed in the barrel pattern, he has become less and less of a show-type horse.

I have a rather embarrassing video of our reining run, but I'll post it anyway.:) After I watched the video, I scratched him from the Pole Bending-he's NOT ever going to be a Pole horse anyway, because he just wasn't "right" in his reining run. He made mistakes that he just doesn't make and I was concerned he was hurting in his hind-end. I ran cold water over his legs and stifles and let him graze for a while.

Just before the barrels, I re tacked him and decided to see if he was "off". He seemed to be back to normal and I could not detect soreness anywhere, so I went ahead and ran him. I think he was just getting tired and stressed and just needed a little down time to regroup. But if he had not seemed fine, I would not have run him. There was no money involved and I would NEVER take a chance hurting or soring him just to make a run at a horse show.

He did win the barrel racing class. He was just tired enough that he did not give me trouble lining out for 1st. He picked up his lead and was in the correct frame, so I just let him fly to 1st. His pattern was pretty near perfect. Unfortunately, the camera batteries had died by then, so I don't have any video of that. He had a 17.9 second run. The next fastest run was 18.1. I do think Moon's time was slower than it could have been. He was tired from all the classes before. But that is not a bad thing. Being a little tired made him think twice about squirreling around coming in the gate.

That is the run I have been trying to get. Now I think he is ready to enter some association rodeos. He is running at the top of the pack and still has room for improvement. It's time to take him to the next level. I have checked the schedule for the Northwest Rodeo Cowboy Association rodeos and lined out 6 rodeos that I want to take him too. I know these arenas. They have good ground and I know Moon is running in the times that can place at them.

Hopefully Blogger will let me load videos tonight.:O

Thursday, June 25, 2009

4-H Horse Show

Can a momma brag?

Just a little?

Please, please, please?

K-If you don't want to hear a momma brag...stop reading right now!;)

Yesterday was Megan's County 4-H horse show. She was entered in NINE classes with two horses...

And she freaking R.O.C.K.E.D!!!

SEVEN...yes, seven purples(The best) out of nine classes and two blues!!
And her and Strawberry were not even having a very good day.

Megan hasn't spent the time with Strawberry this year that she has in years past. She has been pretty busy with Rip. But all of the training that she has done in the past pulled them through.

They purpled in both Showmanship classes-English and Western. No one else shows in English around here, so Megan has to go those classes alone. Since 4-H is judged based on points, there is no guarantee that she will purple whether she has competition or not. If she screws up, she can still be awarded a blue, red or white.

She was Top Showman in Western Showmanship again...

She purpled in English Equitation...
In spite of the fact, she had not ridden in the English saddle at all this year. I guess all of those hours of riding bareback paid off, because the judge said she has a very nice leg.

She was the Top Showman in the Horsemanship class...

Now, if you look at the video and wonder to yourself...just how bad did everyone else have to be for her to win that class? Actually, Megan was the only one to do the pattern correctly. Every other kid went on the wrong side of the 4th cone. It pays to really read and understand your patterns!;)

The noseflies started hitting everything right about then too and everyone's horses were slinging their heads around. But Miss Megan has a lot of work to do getting Strawberry's head set back before state.:)

She also purpled in Trail on Strawberry. The fact that the noseflies were driving the horse's nuts by then was actually her saving grace.:o
Strawberry is not particularly fond of backthroughs. Once he gets started he backs perfectly, but those first couple of steps is usually where he screws up. It just so happened that a nosefly got him right at the start of the backthrough and rather than it looking like he was avoiding backing into the L, it looked like he was fighting the fly. Whew!! That is the class Megan really wanted to qualify in. She was so disappointed when she rode out because she was sure his stepping back and forth over the logs would take them out of the purple.

And then it was Rip's turn. I convinced Megan that she aught to try a few different classes this Western Riding.

Now Rip isn't exactly what you would think would make a good Western Riding horse, but they went out there and did it. And actually did pretty good. They didn't get ALL of their flying lead changes...but they did good enough to get a blue in the class. That darn Megan got to giggling while she was going through the course and had everyone else giggling with her. She said it was fun and is going to continue to practice that event and see if they can get better at it.

Then it was right into the Reining class.

WooHooo!!! Rip is a reining horse! This was the one class I really, really wanted to video and I didn't get into position quick enough to get it done. I was down by the gate making sure Megan got to see her pattern one last time and she didn't wait for me to get into video position before she took off. Darn! It was a good run too!

I know that Megan has been practicing her Reining some. She practiced circles and flying lead changes and spins and a few stops. But it's always different when you go in to make your run.

But she just "let her buck" and it was AWESOME!!!

Her first run-down was fast and she slid to a stop and immediately backed Rip. She dropped the reins and let him relax. When she picked her reins up and made her 90 degree turn to start her circles, I was holding my breath. Rip has been getting really good about picking up his leads, but you know how it is...

Rip stepped off into a lope from a standstill and in the right lead. He loped a nice, slow small circle and when they came around Megan leaned forward and he stretched out for his big and fast circle.

As they came around that circle, Megan sat down and Rip came right back to her and did the most perfect flying lead change I think I have ever seen. It was so smooth, no one saw it. He didn't hop, his tail didn't move, he just changed leads and was loping his small slow circle.

When he came around, Megan leaned forward again and he took off into his large and fast circle. Megan guided him from that into his run-down perfectly. Rip changed leads effortlessly again and they took off for their run-down. Megan had him set up perfectly for the stop and at the last second rather than let him stick it, she sort of pushed him through his stop, so it was a little "errchy". But he immediately rolled back and away they went for the next run-down. You could see that Rip was really wanting to stop good for Megan, but she doesn't have much experience stopping a horse at those speeds and again pushed him through his stop a little.

But he rolled right back for her and they loped to the center. Stopped good from that speed and did their little 90 degree turn to the right and then their 180 to the left.

Yep, they purpled! Yay Megan and Yay Rip!

Megan didn't have time to celebrate that run though, she had to trot to the trailer and change bridles, because Barrels was next...
In her haste, Megan forgot to grab her bat and Rip boogered at first barrel, but ran really nice the rest of the pattern and she won her class and purpled in barrels too.

Whew...Are you guys tired yet?

Well, the only thing left was Pole Bending and I told Megan, just take Rip out there and long trot through the pattern. You have done enough on him today and he needs the last class to be something he can just relax in. She did and good old Rip long-trotted the pattern fast enough for her to earn a blue.

Whew...We were done!!

I was just as tired at the end of the day as Megan and her horses. Cause, after all, it's momma that has to do all the running back and forth. But I tell ya...I am so darn proud of my girl that my buttons are about to pop.

She didn't have the greatest day ever on Strawberry, but she held it together and kept her happy little smile on her face. Her and Rip surprised a lot of people with how well he did in the Reining. People asked who had been working with him and I pointed at Megan. She is the only one who has been riding him and she is the one who has turned him into such a nice horse.

And just for fun, after the show was over, she jumped on him bareback and with only a rope around his neck and showed everyone that she can do reining on him that way too. The judge said he would have purpled her no matter what if she had come in there like that-LOL. Yeaaaa...not quite ready for that though. Rip is still not really consistent in his stops reining "naked" like that...but maybe she'll have everything put together for the open show in August.

So now the hard part is going to be for her to pick which three classes she is going to show in at State. Trail for sure. Probably Reining and she can't decide whether to do English or Western Showmanship. I told her to pick which ever one she wants, either way, she will win a Top Showman buckle at the end of the year. Go Megan!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Another "Only Child"

The other day we took hay to the river ranch and stopped to admire little miss Beretta...

Wow...She is chunking up!

My favorite view...

But such a sweet face...

I would think that by now the other sorrel mare, Cowgirl would be getting close. It's been a month since she started to make a bag. Last week when I was out there, even the red dun mare, Honky Tonk was starting to make a bag.

Sadly, both mare's bags have gone totally flat. Honky Tonk has obviously pulled up in the belly and no longer even looks bred. Cowgirl is still huge in the belly, but her bag has dried up. Soooo....I'm guessing there will be no more babies this year.

I don't know. This is going to take some investigating. No sign of aborting. No exposure to outside horses that could have transmitted a disease. They have all been in the same pasture, on the same feed and drank the same water.

Pretty sad when you wait anxiously for a year for that foal to come and then...nothing. And you don't even know why. I'll continue to keep an eye on them, but I'm not holding my breath that I misjudged the signs.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Run Moon Run

This darn horse never ceases to amaze me. In all reality, we had a less than ideal run, but we still placed 5th(out of 18) overall and won 2nd in the 2D. Won enough to cover my entry fees and Megan's. Yayyyy Moon!

The best part? Seeing my mom's face when they announced my time of 16.841.

LMAO-Her jaw dropped. She said she never dreamed he was running that fast, especially with 1st being not good. Moon actually didn't start running until we got around 2rd. But when he got lined out, he put the pedal to the metal. I love that ornery horse.

The winning time was 16.0??

So we are in there. Fix the sticky spots and we will be golden.

Megan had a nice run. Much prettier than mine. She took 3 seconds off of her fastest time so far. She was "loping" in the low 20's. Today she stretched old Rip out a little and got a 19.8??. Good for her!!

Now it's back to the slow work to iron out the rough spots. Next week is the horse show that was postponed due to rain, so I will be able to get another run in then.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Running The Gauntlet

Mugwump just did a post on riding outside the arena and the added benefits she is finding out for herself and her horse.

Having grown up in the middle of the prairie, I spend most of my time riding out in the open. We didn't have an arena, so even on colts with just a few rides on them, you had to head for the pastures to ride.

But, I didn't live full-time on the ranch. As a matter of fact, I spent most of my time in town. But, we have acreage at this house and always kept horses on it. So if I wanted to ride, I rode around town.

Megan and I live in the same house I grew up in and have our horses right out the back door. We have the best of both worlds-because to the east of our house is open prairie, that the owners have been kind enough to let us ride in and just 6 blocks from the house is the public arena. Which we take full advantage of.

But to get there, we have to run the driving past, barking dogs, kids running out of nowhere to say hi and bigger kids, with stereos blaring playing basketball at the courts. It's a full bore sensory overload for the horses.

But the thing's a great training tool too. Can we say...bombproof? Okay, I won't go that far. Not every horse becomes immune to all of the sudden activity they can encounter on this 1/2 mile strip. But they certainly learn to handle it as good as they can. Which takes tons of time off of the training schedule.

At the far end of this street is the arena...


The "greenies" usually get hauled to the arena a few times before I start ponying them up there. I just like to get a feel for how well they are going to handle things and a few miles under their cinch before subjecting them to all the new sights, sounds and activity they may or may not encounter.

Today was Frosty's inaugeral running of the gauntlet...
Can't you just hear him saying, "But I don't wannna". He took everything in, but didn't spook at anything. He's such a good boy.

So good in fact, that I rode him home, rather than switch horses...
Most inexperienced horses need to be ponied back and forth a few times before I trust they aren't going to freak out over something. But Frosty also got loped today. He's soft and soggy. He was tired enough by the end of our he's not really prone to spooking anyway...that I felt confident he could handle it. He did fine.

And actually, so did Moon! I decided to see if I could slip a barrel run in on him. He got pretty scotchy at first again. So we stopped, worked on picking that right lead up a few times and did it again. He did awesome. I don't ask him for any speed, just sit real quiet and make sure he keeps his shoulder up. He is just pouring the power into getting to the next barrel. I have a barrel racing tomorrow...and now I am actually excited to go.

Friday, June 19, 2009

OMG...You Gotta Hear This...

I swear...These guys just wrote the new National Anthem for the Reservation!!!

(If you want to skip to the song-it starts about one minute into the clip)

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Gee...They Look Kinda Similar

I think I see some similarities between Shooter and his little sister...

Shooter(above) at 16 days...

And Beretta(below) at 20 days...

Shooter was definitely more filled out than Beretta is. But then, his momma has had babies before and milks like a Jersey cow. Beretta is out of a maiden mare, who is milking good, but first time momma's just don't seem to have the same quality of milk. And little Beretta covers a lot more ground in a day than Shooter ever had to too.

Now if those other two humongous old bats(Cowgirl and Honky Tonk) would have their babies, I would really have something to compare her too. Neither one of them looks to be in any hurry to pop out a baby though.

We haven't even turned the stallion out yet this year. The rain, as much as we needed it, prevented me from moving horses around last week and now this week is gone. So, it looks like Pistol will only get one girlfriend to keep him company this year. I like Beretta enough that I am going to go ahead and breed my bay mare, Beauty(who is a 1/2 sister to Chunk, Beretta's mom) and then when(if) she foals next year...I will be done with babies for at least a couple of years.

And my how times flies....I can't believe I forgot Shooter's birthday. My poor baby boy...I'm going to go see him tonight and I'll get some new pictures. He sure don't look like the same colt as when he was a baby.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Cousin Lynn

This is Cousin Lynn and his wife Lorie...

Lynn is like many in my family. He's done a little of this and a little of that in life...cowboy, rodeo cowboy, horse trainer, truck driver and is now an artist. Chris and I loved his bought a stack of prints from him at the reunion.

Lynn would be my dad's first cousin, their father's were full brothers. That fact is important apparently, since the founding father of the family was married twice. Two children survived to adulthood from John's first marriage-Grover and Grace. Grace only had a couple children and accounts for a very small portion of the family tree. Grover on the other hand had 9 children and his decendents make up about 3/4's of the family tree. There seems to have been an invisible line drawn in the sand between Grover's family and the rest of us. I presume it is because Grover was the first born son and many thought he should have been the one to end up with the family ranch. Lord, the battles over the river ranch have been going on for generations now. I'm sure there is more too it as I know that my grandfather did not get along with several of his breathern. But that is all water under the bridge as all of those people are gone now.

However, in spite of the family tiffs, I come from a culture, both in regards to the rural nature of our area and also the Indian belief that it takes an entire community to raise children, so often kids were sent to stay or live with one family member or another. Many of my dad's cousins stayed and worked on the family ranch at one time or another. Lynn spent his fair share of time around the ranch.

One time Lynn had entered the team roping at a local rodeo and his partner did not show up. So Lynn asked my grandpa if he would be his partner. My grandpa said he did not have any horses with him. Lynn said no problem, he would find horses for them to use. Grandpa then said he did not have any ropes with him. Lynn said no problem, he would find them ropes too. Grandpa consented and Lynn set out to find them the required gear to participate in the team roping. He begged for the use of a couple of horses and got another guy to let him borrow a couple of ropes. Of course, this was back in the late 50's, early 60's or so, so people didn't have as much "extra" stuff laying around as we do today.

Time for the team roping came around and Lynn and Grandpa got mounted up and backed in the box. Lynn nodded his head and they busted from the box. Lynn said he swung his loop and nailed the head of the steer...his horse went left. Now, back then, the team roping was a little different than it is today. The header's rope was tied to the horn, hard and fast...because the header was required to jump off his horse and run back and tie a pigging string around the hind legs of the steer. Sort of like what you see at ranch ropings today.

So anyway, Lynn got the steer headed neatly and his horse went left. Grandpa came in and scooped both hind feet and made his dally. Lynn's horse faced and he jumped off. He said he made it about to the steer's head and realized...NO PIGGING STRING!

Lynn said his heart just sunk. He's standing there staring at the steer, his mind racing trying to think of what to do. Grandpa is yelling at him to tie the damn steer, so Lynn whips off his belt. The problem, Lynn said, is at that time, he had about a 29 inch waist and his belt wasn't long enough. They would have won the rodeo, cause they roped that steer much faster than anyone, but instead ended up with a no time.

Lynn said he did not think grandpa ever forgave him for that fiasco. My grandpa was a kind man, but he brooked NO ONE for messing up when it came to his roping. He roped to win. They left the arena and Lynn's head was hanging pretty low.

Of course, once I found out that Lynn had cowboyed and rodeoed a lot in his youth, we got to talking about a lot of the local cowboys. Naturally, the story lines progressed to riding colts. Apparently, Lynn did a stint working for a reining horse trainer and he had some pretty funny stories to tell about that too...

This girl brought her horse, a big pretty buckskin, to the trainer's because she was having trouble getting him to lope. Lynn said that was probably one of the laziest horses he had ever run across. So they started graining the heck out of him and worked like crazy to get this horse to move out. He just didn't want to. Back in those days, horses were usually kept in groups in corrals or pastures rather than fancy box stalls. So one day, Lynn goes down to the corral and runs the horses into the round pen to catch them. Horses also weren't caught then like we catch them now. No on cared if you could walk up to a horse to catch him or not. Mostly, they were roped and taught to face once they had been roped. Now, let me tell you, a rope broke horse is not bad...even by today's standards. We've all been in the situation where we walk up to our horse, go to slip the leadrope over their neck and those dirty suckers take off on us. Not a rope broke horse. When they feel that rope on their neck, they stop and face.

Well, Lynn builds his loop. Roping a horse is not like roping a cow. To properly rope a horse, you build a huge...HUGE loop and you don't swing it. You take off running and flip the loop forward in front of the horse, so that the horse runs through the loop. This is the correct way and does not create a headshy horse. It's called a hoolihand. So, Lynn gets the horses moving around the pen and big, lazy bucky doesn't like that, so he comes and stands in the center of the round pen. Lynn says he might have been paying a little more attention except there were a couple of girls who like to hang around and watch...and he was a tad distracted.;)

So now, Lynn has his loop shaken out and the horses moving around the pen. He takes off running and has his eye on a little sorrel. When the sorrel moves into the front, Lynn sprints forward to throw his loop...and runs into a brick wall! At least that is what he said it felt like...except for the long hairs that went up his nose. The next thing he knows, he is laying on the ground with the air knocked out of him. Standing over him is Bucky.

Yep, distracted by the girls and fixated on showing off his roping skills, Lynn ran smack dab into Bucky's butt. Lynn said besides the humiliation of hearing the girl's laughing at him, to add insult to injury, Bucky never even moved, he simply turned his head around to look at Lynn, laying on the ground, trying to get his air back.

When he finally got up, Lynn said his head was hanging pretty low again.

Ya know, that is the greatest thing about a good storyteller...usually the joke is on the person telling the story and bless Lynn's heart, he has no fear of sharing humiliating moments. As the old saying goes...You live and you learn!

Monday, June 15, 2009


Got new pictures of the baby girl today.

She's looking pretty racy...

Hmmm...she's kind of starting to look a bit bay too! Her mane and tail are darkening, but not exactly black. More like a deep red. You can see darker hair on the back of her fetlocks too, but not black, just darker. I'm still calling her a sorrel. Might have to change that to chestnut?

Gosh, I love that blaze...

This end isn't too bad either...

Ohhhh....I just hate having babies born in the pasture. I like having them close, so I can get my hot, little hands on them.

Family Reunion 2009

OMG!! The first family reunion I can ever remember going too was a rousing success. My sides hurt from laughing and my cheeks hurt from smiling. Both Megan and I are still randomly breaking out in fits of giggles when stories we heard flit through our minds. What a family of characters.

We met lots of people whose names were familiar, but didn't know the person and met lots of people I had never known existed.

The first night was a more formal type dinner at the hotel convention center. As we were getting ready to leave the room, I remembered to slide my pocket knife out of my pocket and leave it behind. Chris gave me a funny look and asked me why that would be an issue. Well honey, because in this family, you either come unarmed or fully armed-and you never want to be caught with a knife at a gunfight. Megan's eyes got huge.

And No...I wasn't kidding!

But all went well and we all sat and laughed and laughed at stories until they kicked us out of the convention room...and then we went to the bar and laughed some more.

Saturday afternoon was the casual picnic at my uncle's house and everyone came loaded for bear....

My mom hadn't planned on coming up, she didn't get a "formal" invitation, but I called her and told her to get her butt up there. This was too good to miss out on! We got a good group photo...
LOL-The blue shirt theme was completely unplanned! But it looked good in the photo-hehehe. This is Chris, me, my mom and Megan. Chris definitely fits in in this family! It took him all of two seconds to hook up and start visiting with the retired-Marine husband of one of the cousins and they were quickly joined by the family "pet coon". Now before you think the wrong thing...there is a story behind that and no it's not a deragatory reference to his color.

These are my uncles...

No-Uncle David is not a shrimp-LMAO. Uncle Ed is 6 foot, 6 inches tall. By far and away the tallest family member. David(with the camera), is the spitting image of my dad. Those two could have been more ways than one;-) Looking at old photos, I had a hard time telling which one was David and which one was my dad. I had to give him a ration of crap for that ponytail. Although it had been nearly 30 years since I had seen him, we all immediately fell right back into family mode. Well, once he recognized me. Poor guy, I made him guess who I was. Not very nice since I was just a kid the last time he saw me. I started calling him "Bahama boy", but he was pretty quick to correct me. He lives in St. Croix, on the Virgin Islands...NOT the Bahamas.

While time leaves some people remarkably unchanged, it certainly does change others. I always remember my Uncle Ed as a very stiff and fairly unfriendly guy. I've seen him a few times over the years, but sort of kept my distance. Honestly, I was terrified of him. My most vivid memory of him was from my grandparent's house and I made a joke about the reason he was bald at a young age was because he grew above the timber line. He chased me under the kitchen table and made me cry. I remember grandma getting after him for scaring me. After that, I didn't want anything to do with my Uncle Ed. Odd, but no one remembers that story except me. My mom said that it was the military that made him so stiff and abrupt as a young man.

Apparently a decade or so of retirement from the miliary and Uncle Ed has found his humor again...either that, or I've grown up and can actually recognize it... He had the family brand painted on his head for the picnic. While he ran the reunion similar to a tactical drill, he didn't over-due it and EVERYONE had a really great time. Well, someone has to be in charge and keep everyone on track, right?

Originally, we had only planned on staying at the picnic for a couple of hours or so. I had shopping to do and Megan and I wanted to get home to get horses ready for the horse show on Sunday...yeeaaaaaaaa...that so did not happen. We were some of the first to arrive and the last to leave....
It was just too much fun! Cousin Lynn and I were still telling horse stories as we got into our vehicles to leave. Cousin there is a family member after my own heart. He and I kept everyone in stitches telling stories. Darn! Now I am going to be "that person" everyone remembers from the reunion. Lynn's favorite line...I got just one more story! My favorite line...But that's another story!

Yea right! There were tons more stories...we just ran out of time. But I promise, I will share some of those stories...they are too darn good not too!

I did get some family history cleared up. Well, as clear as they are going to be after a century or so.

We ended up spending another night and then got up early to haul butt home to load horses and head to the horse show. We were running usual...and I told Megan we would probably miss out on the halter classes. Not a huge deal, but darn Moon looks good. I just want to show him in halter a few more times to see if his winning a halter class last year was fluke or not. As we got closer to Valentine, Ne(only 50 miles south of us), I started noticing standing water along the road.


Yep, you guessed it! Valentine got dumped on the night before and the horse show was cancelled.

But that's another story!;-)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Much 'Taa-do About Nuthin'

Where on earth did this week go??

I don't know! Seems like it should still be Tuesday.

Things are just sporadic. It's been raining and C.O.L.D since Saturday. Now it is just rainy.

I thought we were going to turn into popsicles at the rodeo last weekend. Everyone was wearing hoodies, winter coats, gloves and I'm pretty sure I saw at least one person with coveralls. We sat in the stands, in full winter dress and wrapped in blankets.

Thankfully, it has warmed up. We are down to dressing in hoodies and vests again.

It's the middle of June already?


NOT that I am complaining about the moisture.

First rule of growing up in this part of the country...NEVER...EVER complain about moisture.

You don't know when it will stop. It's been known to do that here...for years.

So anyway...the moisture has been making it difficult to get much done in terms of actual arena work. But the road around the arena is sandy, so we have been doing some conditioning work. And bending and flexing on the straight line, two-tracking from one side to the other and working small circles in a sandy spot near the roping boxes.

Rip is moving into hard-body condition. No more losing a finger when you poke him in the shoulder-LOL.

Strawberry has been giving Megan fits. It's hard to move from one horse to another. He always stays in pretty good shape and can long-trot for days without losing his air. Meg is working hard on getting him back into his WP-horse mindset.

Moon is coming along. For straight line work, I went back to a twisted wire snaffle and running martingale. I'm getting that nose to drop, poll to soften and that shoulder to lift. He would prefer to travel straight and stiff as a board. He's a business man, ya know. He's got places to go and work to do. No time to mess around with all that sissy, bending and flexing stuff. But he's coming back to me. He always does. Not that we are getting any actual barrel work done. The arena is knee deep in mud. But I did set some random barrels up in the grass and am working him on simply walking and trotting into and around them in the correct position. A long running martingale does help during slow work.

And Frosty, my buckskin marshmallow is coming along too. Bless that sweet boy-he just walks and jogs around with a dazed and wondrous look on his face. Nothing spooks him. He's too awestruck. His blubber is coming off. Riding will turn what's left to muscle. I'll wait until the arena is good again before we start loping again.

That's about it for what's going on around here. I haven't been able to get to the river ranch to see my filly lately. I'm sure she is growing like a weed. The next mare due to foal, aught to be getting close too.

My Honey is here for a few days. He came over to go to the family reunion with me. We aren't sure what that is going to be like. How odd that I have so many extended cousins around me and I don't know any of them. I guess we'll see this weekend if I want to or not-LOL.

Sunday is an open horse show. Both Megan and I are anxious to go. It's a great little show, great people and it has just been waaaayyyyy to long since last August. We are dying to show.

I hope everyone has a great weekend. We are keeping our fingers crossed that anymore substantial rainfall holds off so we can enjoy ours.:-)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Megan's High School Rodeo Weekend

This is Saturday's run...

I thought she did a good job considering Rip decided to booger at the barrel covers they used and it took all she had to keep him going around them. Her time reflected his lack of desire to run. It was a very slow 22+ seconds.

Today's run was even worse. Blogger wouldn't load it, so after an hour of trying, I decided it didn't matter anyway. Rip ran a little harder. She took a second and a half off her time, but he was still boogering at those barrels and completely set up on the 3rd barrel and then ducked into it, knocking it over. Megan was pretty mad at herself, but there wasn't anything she could have done differently. Rip just needs hauled more and more runs. He'll come around.

On the way home, we stopped at Runnings and picked her up a bat. Rip is going to get a little "encouragement" on her next run.

Friday, June 5, 2009


Grrrr...Moon is such a knothead...

Mom has been helping Megan with her barrel pattern and she is doing really good. Well, pretty good...but that's another story.

I've been riding Moon and working on the slow pattern too. Ya just can't do to much slow work. But even during slow work, I was noticing that Moon really wants to cant his head to the outside, brace his shoulder and not really set his hindend at his rate spot. I've been messing with different bits on him...all very mild-1/2 gag action type bits, with different mouthpieces. The last couple of nights I have been riding him with a simple rope-nosed hackamore called the 'little S'. It's not really leverage I'm looking for, but rather something that Moon seems comfortable carrying.

When I'm not practicing or running barrels, I ride him with a simple broken-mouth, copper wrapped curb. The same bit I ride nearly everything in. He gets along with that fine. But it's not the right type of bit for running barrels. The curb action does not work correctly for lifting and bending Moon around the barrel.

And boy, does this horse need help lifting that shoulder and bending around the barrel. See that is really his problem, not the bit. He is back to his old trick of canting his head out, dropping that shoulder and diving into the barrel. Aaaahhhhhggggggg! And he is pretty darn determined about it.

So anyway, mom watched him work for a couple of evenings. And finally suggested that I put a tie-down on him and use a full gag bit. I had a tiedown in the trailer and put it on, played with the adjustment and that really seemed to help.

Duhhhh-I feel kinda dumb. A tie-down is exactly what Moon needed to help himself balance around the barrels. He is struggling to find his balance going into the barrel and that results in him basically throwing himself around the barrel anyway he can. In his case-front end first. He's a little over eager!

The problem is not 100% resolved. I have to gather up that gag bit and add that to the mix. Then it is just going to be a lot of steady repetition, trotting and loping up to the rate spot and making him bend around the barrel. Time, lots and lots of time!

The problem is really compounded by the fact that Moon is a hard-headed bugger. The term a lot of people might use is P.I.G-headed. One he gets something into his head, it's a fight to change his mind. He's pretty smart, but he is also a cheat. He'll do whatever you ask, but he is always trying to figure out how he can cheat. Smart and lazy-a bad combination if you want a horse that you don't have to constantly work on to keep them correct. I swear, sometimes his only saving grace is the fact that he is so darn fast. But if you ask my mom, his only problem is ME!;)

Hmmm-she might be onto something there too! Darn I hate that she is usually right on this stuff. Not really! It's pretty awesome to have her helping again. She can see things from the ground that you just don't realize when you are riding. Like the fact that I am the one who is letting him dive into the barrel. She said that I ride up to the rate spot and just stop riding. It's like I am just throwing him out there to find his way around the barrel however he can. I sure didn't realize I was doing that. So I have to work on keeping him gathered up and bent and actually riding him around the barrel more. You can bet I didn't like hearing that-LOL. It didn't feel like that was what I was doing. Maybe that is why Moon and I get along so well-we are both pretty pig-headed.

Sooo-I'm going to have to cowgirl up and stop thinking my horse can find his way around the barrel correctly and sit up there and ride him around it. I bet fixing MY problem is going to improve his problem dramatically.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

You Asked For More...

Thanks to the family tree website one of my uncles built, I have been able to pull a large number of family photos for my own records. I'm actually shocked that there are so many surviving photos and apparently a lot of other documentation as well.

I have a feeling that my great-grandfather was enamored of the finer things in life. He always rode fancy horses, fitted with fancy tack and was one of the first in our area to buy a car.
He certainly liked to have his portrait taken...
I think he looks quite dashing. But he was definitely a hard worker and very industrious. He was the one who put our ranch together and at one time it was nearly 10,000 acres. But as was common at the time, it was divided amongst his 11 children and then when my grandfather died, it was divided even more, so we are left with a mere 1,500 acres. But we did keep the homestead!

This is my great-GREAT grandfather, Jule(Juel)...
This is the only known surviving photo of John's father. It is said he immagrated here in the mid-1800's from France. He may have immigrated from France, but our family name is Scottish. Jule and Mary were living around Ft. Laramie when he left on a trip(horse trading or fur trading) and was never heard from again. No one ever really knew if he was killed by Indians, died on the prairie or simply just never came back???

Jule's wife, Mary Bear Vest...
Whose Indian name was, Comes In The Day Light. Interestingly enough, Mary's mother's name was also Mary Bear Vest and her father's name was simply Bear Vest. I guess he was never christined.

John's first wife, Amelia Bernard died at the age of 30(in child birth, I think). She and John had many children together, but only 2 survived to adulthood. In fact, the majority of the tombstones in our family cemetary are of John and Amelia's children. Rather sad really.

John then married Charlotte Giroux...
My father spoke of her in revered tones. Apparently she was a lady who commanded respect, but had a fondness for animals...particularly prairie wolves. I know that somewhere there is a picture of her with a pair of true prairie wolves that she raised from cubs. Of course, prairie wolves are extinct now. I'm not sure if they were a true subtype of the wolf family, but they did not look like timber wolves. They were longer-legged and did not have quite the same fur/colorings.

Her father was Louis Giroux...

And her mother, Emily Giroux...
I hope to find out more about these two, as I did not even know their names prior to finding them on the family tree.

Talk about changing times though. There is a picture of Emily and Charlotte, both are holding babies and both are quite pregnant. I just can't even imagine!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Little Family History

I always love the posts people do on their family history and finally got some of the old photos of my own family to share.

The place that I call the "river ranch" has been in my family since around 1866 and was settled by my great-grandfather. Origionally, there was a trading post on the place and it was one of the stops for one of the freightlines that ran from Ft. Pierre to Deadwood. My great-grandfather provided horses, mules and beef to the freightline and they brought the supplies he needed for the trading post. Those he sold or traded to the locals-white and indian alike.

I don't think anyone is still alive that knows exactly where the old trading post was located on the place though and there are no remnents left of it. However, the remains of the foundation of a general store that very nearly became a town on our riverbottom are still there.

Up until I got my hands on these photos, I had no idea where the "old" ranch house was on the property, but this is it...
And it is basically in the same spot as the ranch house that is there now. The current ranch house was built by my grandfather in either '52 or '54. And was considered quite the deal in those days. Funny how indoor plumbing and electricity did that.;-) Quite honestly, although the outside of the house is in serious need of repair-it still has the original asphalt shingle siding on it and needs new shingles badly, the inside is still quite beautiful.

This is my great-granfather(in the middle), John...
It is thought that after his father, Juel(possibly Jule) disappeared around Ft. Laramie that John's mother moved to the Rosebud reservation to be near family(?). There has always been contention as to whether John was actually of any Indian blood, but that fact is pretty hard to refute since his mother's name was Mary Bear Vest. I think he looks more Mexican than Native myself. MBV married another white rancher on the Round-Up Creek(where the ranch is) and he helped to raise John.

When John grew up he married Amelia and when she passed away he married Charlotte Giroux(the lady in the foreground in full Indian garb)...

This is my grandfather, Adolph...
He was one of John and Charlotte's many children and named after John's step-father, Adolph Schmidt. As was common in the day, Adolph Schmidt changed his name to Adam Smith when he came to "the new country". My grandfather was and is one of my greatest heroes. He was a cowboy's cowboy and when he passed away, he was buried with a rope in his hands. Since he lived his life with one in his hands, we figured he would like to have it with him on the other side as well.

And this is my father...
My dad, Bill was every inch a cowboy as well as a very colorful character. Unfortunately, my dad lived life fast and furious and drank himself to death at the very tender age of 51. He wasn't easy to be around in the last few years of his life, but I do love hearing all the stories about him from his youth.

There's a lot of family history and sentiment tied into our tiny little ranch on the river and I feel very fortunate to still have it in the family and be able to pass it on down to my daughter.

I'm slowly getting photos scanned and will hopefully be getting more from the family reunion that is coming up along with a refresher in some of the family "stories".

Monday, June 1, 2009


There are advantages to living in a small town. Nothing is ever a secret and eventually you hear about everything and sometimes more than you want to know.

Last week, when I was in Colorado, mom started coming to town to help Megan with her and Rip's barrel pattern. My mom and I may not always see eye to eye on the horses, but I trust my mother implicitely when it comes to training a barrel horse. She has been there, done that...and won a lot. I don't care what anyone says, types of horses may change, popular bloodlines may change, running styles may change, training techniques may change...but the very core of barrel racing is the same today as it was 40 years ago when my mom was winning. So I was very happy that she agreed to help Megan.

I've gone up a couple of times and listened and watched. Tonight, I took Turk(the paint gelding) and Roan Dog(the bronc) to town. Turk is NOT one of my favorite horses to ride in the pasture, but he is a doll in the arena. So I am prepping him for a show in 2 weeks. Mostly all he needs is some loping to get the weight off of him and a little work on his lope transitions. Roan Dog, I threw in because that horse just needs as much handling as possible.

Now, there is almost never a time that we go ride at the arena that at least a couple of people drive through to see who is there and what they are doing. Heck, I do the same thing myself if I see a horse trailer up there-LOL.

Tonight, a friend of my brother's drove through with his family. He waved and kept going. But about 15 minutes later, he was back and pulled in. I was done loping fat-ass Turk around and had decided to pony Roan Dog. The horse has a real fear of anything above him.
So here I am, dragging Roan Dog behind me, cussing because I think any horse that has been ridden much at all, should know how to pony. Turk of course, thinks that is his cue to start looking for boogy men in the bucking chutes. Megan is, of course, laughing her butt off at me on the paint horse who is crab-legging sideways while dragging a very worried Roan Dog behind me. I can see mom's lips tightening from across the arena. My mom is of a firm belief that horses are perfect all the time and if they are not doing something perfectly it must be my fault. See, I told you we don't always see eye to eye.;-)

Lord help me...I quite fighting it and decided to just see if I could rub on the Dog from Turk's back. No go! We went a thousand circles in both directions. I could rub his face and stroke his ears, but the second I touched his neck he's freaking out. The only good thing about it, is that I could ride right into him and make him move his front feet too. Keeping those front feet moving seems to be the key for keeping this horse thinking. As long as his front feet are moving, he may not like what you are doing, but he does not blow up. When those front feet get locked down, so does his brain. I finally made a little progress, so I quit.

Riding over to the fence by mom, my brother's friend(R) proceeded to "enlighten" me to the ways of the Roan Dog. Apparently, there has been a lot more done with this horse and too this horse by a lot more people than either my mom or I were aware of.

I don't even know where to start actually! And I am not sure what all to believe!

I guess R had Roan Dog for quite some time(although mom does not remember the horse being gone for very long) and according to him put a lot of time in on the horse. He moved cows, pasture roped cows and bulls on him, doctored calves and even roped on him in the arena. He said he was freaking awesome...and then something would drop the dime and RD would blow up and buck him off. And boy howdy, R said he can REALLY blow...As in...he thinks he is NFR quality. That wouldn't be in the barrel pen or the roping pen either.

DAMN!! You know, I had almost talked myself into actually climbing on this horse in the very near future. I figured that if I saddled him and ponied him until he was comfortable with me being above him and bumping him all over, that the next logical step would be to get Megan beside me, on a her bomb-proof Rip and step on. Weeellllll....I'm not so sure about that now.

I have to face reality...I've spent the better part of my life trying to convince horses NOT to buck. I'm not a bronc rider. I buck off pretty easily actually. Heck, I've found that riding that crap out is NOT always the thing to do. I'm not afraid to admit that on a normal horse, I can pretty quickly ascertain whether I can ride the buck out and stick with it or I bail. Much better that I pick the spot then get in trouble and end up a lawn dart. I'm also really out of practice of determining this point of no return. Not that I think RD would give me much of an opportunity to actually decide when to get off. He is a fully mature, 15.2H horse that probably weighs in around 1400-1500lbs. And it sounds like he has had A LOT of practice at bucking people off.

But I wonder, just how much of this guy's stories to believe. According to him, he spent good deal of time ponying RD...ummmm...I call BS! Once a horse learns how to pony...they don't forget. It's like leading. A horse that hasn't been led in a long time may be a little rusty, but they still know how to do it. The horse I was dragging around the arena tonight SURE didn't act like he had EVER been ponied before.

Also, he told me how he used to pick up RD's front foot and bend him around. ???? I'm not sure what that was all about. But I KNOW it took me 2 years of, admittedly sporactic, working with him to even get me to hold a front foot up...much less trim it...much less let me hold onto it out in the open while he did some sort of weird bending exercise.

And then he proceeded to tell me how RD was bad to kick. HUH? Do you all know, that in 3 years of being around this horse, I have NEVER seen him kick at another horse, much less me. He's a horse that will spin to face you, not one that will wheel and kick. ONE TIME, RD did kick though. It was the first time I actually got a saddle on him. I set the saddle on him, moved him around a few steps, moved to his off side and dropped the cinches and boy did he go to kicking at the back cinch dangling down there.

Wanna know what? There were two of my brother's other horses that he let this guy use that did the same thing when I first started riding them,!! Now you tell me, what the heck he did to all three of those horses to make them kick at the cinches when you drop them down?

So, once again, I am torn! There is something about this horse that touches me. I feel so sorry for him. He is a big, massive horse and he is about as timid as a mouse. I now KNOW there were some not-so-nice things that happened to him. It makes me even more determined to try to fix him...and even more aware that this is a horse that could put me in the hospital if I do not heed other's warnings.

But there may be a salvation for him yet! I am going to continue to work with him and make as much progress as I can building his confidence...and then mom is going to contact an old aquaintance whose son is reknowned for taking horse out of their bucking string and training them. RD needs someone who is comfortable with and knows how to handle a horse that will buck. We will let them ascertain whether he will ever make a DEPENDABLE saddle horse or if he truly wants to buck. Cause if he wants to buck for real...buck he will...right out of the chute. And by golly, I think he would make a beautiful saddle bronc.

Wonder if they would still let me show him in halter classes?