Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Planning And Strategy

Vay-cay is over...

It's back to work for me and the ponies. I'm down to 5 head to ride and it feels like a tremendous weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Beretta and Gunner were safely delivered to mom's place...and while home, Meg and I loaded my yearling filly up and moved her from my brother's place to mom's as well...
Belle is the one in front. I thought I was going to get the opportunity to get some nice pictures of her after moving her to mom's place...but the weekend fell apart and Meg and I got the heck out of dodge a.s.a.p. (Some of you can relate to that when it comes to 'family time'. ;-)

Belle is a doll. An absolutely stunning little filly. Actually both of these fillies are drop-dead gorgeous. My brother has done a fine job of raising them up...and they are even gentle and halter-broke. BONUS for me! The only reason for moving Belle was because my brother is short on corral space and these two girls really need to be in individual pens. Belle has sucked up to the older filly for security and the older filly is getting crabby about having someone always in her space. So Belle went to mom's to be placed with a more appropriate and accommodating 'nanny' horse and to give the older filly a chance to just move about without a little shadow always hovering and touching.

Belle's name didn't exactly fit in with my 'gun' theme...but after being around her for a little's very appropriate...she really does remind me of the dainty, little Belle from the Beauty and The Beast cartoon movie. LOL But I couldn't resist slipping the outlaw theme into her registered name...Fastdraw Belle Starr.

But back to the big boys...

The goal this winter is to head to Arizona and hit the winter rodeo circuit down there. It's back to the big, (mostly) outdoor pens for Moon. I can't say that I was disappointed with his times at the little, indoor arenas. He ran right in the money...we just couldn't leave all of the barrels standing. Moon was catching them with his hip on the way out. He is simply working so hard and is so ratey indoors that I had to make a lot of adjustments to the way I ride him. One more run and I think we would have had it. LOL. I had lunch with a friend that runs Pro and asked her if it was normal to have to develop such drastically different riding styles based on the type of arena you are running in and she said 'Absolutely'. She also enlightened me to the fact that as you go may become apparent that there are just certain places that don't work for your horse, so you learn to avoid those particular places/types of arenas. She has a big, racey kind of horse, that you would think would be awesome at the big pens, but in fact, his forte' is smaller pens and he just smokes them at the indoors. It helps keep his speed controlled and he focuses on turning. Moon is the total opposite (at this point)...He is so ratey and so focused on turning, that he does much better in the big pens because those few extra strides between the barrels frees him up and he stops thinking about turning just enough that he is more relaxed about getting around the barrels.

I did take the plunge and buy my WPRA permit (gulp). I was so hesitant to do that because most of the  winter 'permit races' in my area are held at indoor arenas. That was not going to help me fill my permit, based on Moon's last few indoor runs. To be eligible to buy your official WPRA card, you have to buy a permit (which allows you to enter whatever Pro-rodeos that accept permit holders) and then win $1000. The permit costs $300. After filling your permit, you get the opportunity to fork over another $375 to buy your card and that is when the money you win starts counting toward year-end. So's not cheap to take this step. But after looking at the available Pro-rodoes going on in Arizona at the time I am going to be down there...I may have a little better chance of filling my permit, as those are arenas that are more Moon's type.

In the meantime...there are still the Semi-Pro rodeo circuits, like what I have been running in. And this is where it gets funny...

Last season, I just missed the top 12 for the Colorado Pro Rodeo Finals. I was #14. I was really mad at myself for not entering the last rodeo of the season to see if I could have won just a little more money and put myself in the top 12, but it was the same weekend as the NBHA State Finals and I was really focused on Spooks' accomplishments this year, so I opted out of entering the rodeo.

Well, anyway...I got to talking with a friend and she asked me why I didn't buy my Wyoming Rodeo Association membership and I was like, 'Huh? Why would I do that, I'm not rodeoing up there.' She laughed and told me, 'Most of these rodeos are co-sanctioned. What you won would have put you in the top 12 in the WRA.' So I looked...and sure enough...Had I known to enter the WRA, I would have been eligible to run in their Finals. Well, WTH???  Sheez!! I knew most of the rodeos I entered were co-sanctioned...It just never dawned on me to buy the other membership. But that is not a mistake I will make again.

After some research...I also found out I would have been eligible for the Grand Canyon Pro Rodeo Association Finals. Good lord...I really missed the boat by not paying attention who was co-santioning with who.

So boy, oh boy...Have I been double checking last year's rodeos and ya know what?

Looks like I will be buying multiple memberships this year;

Most of the Colorado Pro Rodeo Association rodeos are co-sanctioned with the Wyoming Rodeo Association, some are co-sanctioned with the Grand Canyon Pro Rodeo Association and the New Mexico Rodeo Association. Not to mention that the GCPRA and the NMRA have multiple co-santioned rodeos in the winter...and the NMRA also co-sanctions with the All Indian Rodeo Cowboys Association.

What that means is, if you enter and win money at a single can earn standings in multiple associations, which can really pay off at the end of the year. In fact, this year, the gal that won the CPRA Year-End Awards also won the NMRAYear-End and the GCPRA Year-End. It wasn't that she went to a ton more rodeos than everyone else...she just hit a winning streak that earned standings in multiple associations at once and it really paid off for her. Now that's strategy. I'm no dummy...I'm going to be doing the same thing this coming season and hoping it pays off.

Luckily, association memberships are not as expensive as the Pro permit/membership thing. I can buy all 5 additional association memberships for about the same cost as the WPRA permit (alone)...and some are discounted if you buy them early, so that saves a little money too.

I have to tell you...the scariest thing about all of this is...

What if something happens to Moon?

But that is a post all in itself...

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Weekly Update

Seems I don't have much to post here lately. We are in down-time. After the last barrel race, I turned the horses out and decided that I was going to take the month of November completely off. Of the horses, Moon is really the only one that needs some complete down-time.... but I was feeling rather tired and burned out I gave myself permission to just not ride for almost a whole month.

Since I am going to be rodeoing in Arizona this winter, this month is really the only time I have to just put the ponies on the back burner, get caught up on other stuff and Yes...Veg out a little bit. The first of December I will have to get back to it to have horses ready.

At first, I felt a little guilty because the weather is still quite beautiful here. Technically I felt like I should be working horses before 'winter' sets in...But once I put everything into perspective...I have just been able to focus on using my time to do a multitude of other things...ya know...all of those things that get put on the back burner because of the horses. 

My hubby was home for a couple of weeks and we busted butt to get all of the fall yard work done, I cleaned and re-organized my shed, and my garage and we finally got started on organizing his shop.

And after many years of wanting too, but never seeming to find the time to just set down and get started...

I started sewing again!

Anybody that sews or does any kind of crafting knows that sometimes the toughest part is just getting started. While cleaning out my garage, I unpacked all of the fabric I have carted around with me these last few years, had to wash it all and then get organized. My poor hubby lived with piles of fabric all over the living room floor for weeks until I finally got the urge to start sewing. 

It was not going so well at first. I had bought a brand new machine several years ago and never really used it. I had hell figuring it all out again...and seemed to be working with some jinxed fabric...

When I finally got pissed off, ditched that fabric and started a new project and didn't have any more problems, I realized it was really only the thread I had been using that was the problem. It was old and had gotten dusty. It kept binding up my machine.

I've been sewing like mad every since...

 Four western shirts, finished, except for needing to order the colored pearl buttons I want for them.

A few years ago (like 5 or 6 years LOL) I bought this fabric my mom really liked to make her some pillow cases...
 Those are finally done and I will be able to give them to her at Thanksgiving. 

I also finished up a fuzzy blanket that I started for Megan, way back when. 

And whipped out a couple pairs of flannel pj bottoms...more material I had bought eons ago and never did. 

So I have made a heck of a dent in my existing fabrics and finished up all of the projects that I had on my mind when I packed it all away so long ago. Yay!! Now that I have everything organized again and can leave my stuff set up, I can just work on a project a little here and a little there...and I have a lot more ideas for more western shirts. I should have a whole new wardrobe for next year's rodeo a fraction of the cost it would take to go out and buy it. Yesssss!!! Some new jeans, new soles on the bottoms of my boots and I am s.e.t. (LOL)

I suppose I do feel a little guilty about not having Gunner riding better before hauling him back to SD, but not horribly so. He's gentle, saddles, bridles, ponies and can be ridden at a walk and trot. Whenever it's time to go on with him...he'll remember all of that solid groundwork. 

Turning horses out has given me an opportunity to see how the herd dynamic works and I am having second thoughts about taking the big blue roan horse home. I call Rip, my benevolent dictator...and he is the ONLY horse Moon cannot put the run on. Rip rules the herd with a no-nonsense, not-putting-up-with-your bullshit attitude. He is not a fact when Moon gets after anyone else, they actually run to Rip for protection. Rip cocks his head at Moon and that is the end of his non-sense. And that is ALL Rip ever has to do...cock his head or pin an ear and everyone around straightens right up and acts like gentlemen. The most I have EVER seen him do is lift a hind leg. He never kicks at anyone or charges at them. He is the boss and he is also security. I think he will have to stay to keep the herd dynamics in balance. 

So it's just Gunner and Beretta that are going home for the winter. Meg and I will be hauling them back this week. Timing worked out that we get to go home for Thanksgiving and spend it with the family. 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone!!!

PS...I am sorry to the people who really hate the word verification...But my email is getting swamped with Spam and I am tired of it. I am putting word verification back on the comment section. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Moving Forward

As you guys know, my hubby is more inclined to hot rod cars and motorcycles than hot rod horses. The family joke is that we (the hubby and I) have mastered the art of expensive hobbies. Well, sometimes the best way to fund a hobby is to turn it into a business...and that is exactly what my hubby did, he turned his hot rod and motorcycle fetish into a full-blown business...

In honor of a particular little dictator, with some serious anger issues...
What? I have no issues.

Angry Squirrel Customs and Fabrication, LLC was born...

It didn't take long to get business rolling in the door, both custom cars and motorcycles are being built from the ground up. But it has taken an unfortunate amount of time to get the logo finished. That was actually the most important part to me...because, you see, I have had a vision from day one...

Angry Squirrel Apparel...

There is just something about that darned squirrel that trips my creative trigger and I have a whole bunch of stuff in mind. Some still rattling around in my head, and some already designed and ready to go into production.

Right now, we are working on our first Squirrel Gurl calendar and if these test shots are any's going to be fan-freaking-tastic;

Photography courtesy of La Tee Da Photography

I am hoping to have a web site up by the first of the year. Stay tuned...