Archive for the ‘horses’ Category

Cowgirl Rides with the Big Dawgs

Cowgirl is my number three beautiful gorgeous goddess. She is not my only animal lover, but she is the one that is pretty much fearless around animals. People tend to freak her out, yet any animal is an instant connection for her.

Cowgirl is my one and only horse show kid. Every spring, we load up her horse in our tiny trailer and drag it behind our ’94 Chevy Suburban along with saddles, tack, washing gear and more, and head to the shows in nearby communities. She and I play horse beauty shop until her baby looks as near perfect as we can get him, then she leads or rides him into the arena in front of judges and stopwatches.

Cowgirl isn’t much of a fan of being judged. She doesn’t have a whole lotta use for the shows. It sorta stresses her perfectionistic, competitive spirit beyond its elasticity limits.

And darn it, that girl can get cranky when she and her horse don’t do well.

She’d rather be riding with the wind, hair flying out behind her, running free across the pasture. Or maybe circling a few barrels. She’s okay with that, too.

Cowgirl’s uncle is the one I blame for this bleeding hole in my pocket book. He recognized something in this kid when she was younger and pretty much told me she needed to be on a horse. I think he was just jealous that he didn’t have a Cowgirl princess of his own (he’s an all-boy dad) to dress up and parade around the arena, so he just “borrowed” one of mine.

Cowgirl has decided she believes she’d enjoy actually WORKING cattle with her horse. He is, after all, a well-trained roping horse. I put a bug in Uncle Cowboy’s ear and we sat back to wait for opportunity to jump up and bite us.

The call finally came.

Uncle Cowboy called us this week to ask if Cowgirl had plans for this Saturday (today). With nothing major on the agenda (well, there was this Big 5 banquet and swimming to attend, but that got trumped), he invited Cowgirl to help them work a few cattle. Apparently they thought they would be somewhat short-handed, and when desperation kicks in, almost any “body” with a little bit of horse sense is better than no “body”.

Cowgirl washed her mud-dog horse last night so he’d be clean and fresh for the job. This morning she got up early and put on her layers of hoodies and t-shirts to brave the cool morning breeze. We headed to the farm and I watched from the distance as Cowgirl did her thing. She fed, saddled, grabbed the necessary tack, then waited for her ride.

Sounds like it could be a long day. I can hardly wait to hear the tales of her adventures.

Magnum PI DejaVue and a Jail Break at the Farm

We had a jail break yesterday. Apparently our horses, Buddy and Shorty, both lacking anything important resembling manhood (studhood?), were quite upset when their female pasture companion for the last month had to go back to her home way out in the country.

I didn’t realize just how upset they were…..

….Until I returned from picking up HorseGirl from cheerleading camp only to find my baby girl running up and down the barditch between our farm and the football field and acting like a lunatic. Then I saw them….the big beasts that had just busted through my pathetic attempt at a horse fence. They were enjoying the munchies available on the other side of the road…..visitor’s side concession stand.

I slammed on the breaks, hollered at HorseGirl to jump out and get her horses, backed up that minivan and jumped out with her.

HorseGirl hollered at my baby to go get halters. Meanwhile HorseGirl and I did everything in our power to keep the nutless wonders contained and calm. Belly scratching was working pretty well…until Buddy decided to move and my sandal clad foot decided to be under his 25 year old hoof.

Forgive me Father…I know not what I said, but I’m pretty sure it probably wouldn’t be suitable in church…..if I ever went.

Pretty sure my mom wouldn’t approve either.

Halters arrived, horses were under control, and HorseGirl led them both back to their jail…er…uh….pasture. A little feed, and our adventure was over….I thought.

A few minutes later, my hubby calls and asks if the horses are out. I told him, “Not anymore.” He said he was listening to the police talking about horses being out and trying to find them.

I looked out the window and saw no less than two cop cars driving by. HorseGirl was trying her best to hide until they drove away. I figured they were trying desperately to find the “loose” horses and in an attempt to relieve their desperate search, I walked out to give them the scoop.

The first police car had already driven off, but the second one, unmarked yet obviously a police package car (I know this from my years of being a sheriff’s daughter—valuable and important information for life), was still driving slowly. I waved. He rolled down his window. I didn’t recognize him. Strange– because I know almost everyone of any authority around here. It makes me feel important.

I gave him the whole ugly story, including the part about the agonizing pain on the top of my foot, then stuck my hand out towards him and introduced myself. He obviously needed to know me. Had he been bald and wrinkled, I might have been less forthcoming, but this older dude was still sporting a good amount of hair that was actually still on his head, plus he had a thick salt and pepper colored ‘stache on his top lip.

Since I consider myself quite a connoisseur of attractive older men, I had dubbed him worthy of knowing me. He reciprocated the introduction, handed me his card, and we parted ways.

Five minutes later as I looked at the name on the card, I had a serious dejavue moment.

Serious dejavue.

Flashback to 1980. I was about 12. We had a fun lady coach for junior high athletics. She always commented how her husband looked like Tom Selleck/Magnum, PI. He came to a few of our trackmeets, and most of us agreed. At the ripe old age of twelve, we all helped her admire the deliciousness that was her man.

Time passed. Thirty years to be exact. As the CSI photo enhancing computer in my head did its amazing aging work, I stood there realizing that I had just had a personal encounter with Magnum. Him. That man who was once the spouse of my coach.

Poor sucker.

Next time I see him, I have to tell him. HAVE TO. It’s a desperate obsession.

Am I weird or what? Do any of the rest of you remember this?

So yeah….crazy horses and a huge dose of dejavue. Turned out to be a good day, I’d say.

Showing Shorty

All together now….What season is it?



Silly people, everyone knows it’s horse show season.

April through June, and maybe a smidge into July. Saturdays are reserved first and foremost for showing Shorty.

And let’s be perfectly clear about something. Horse shows are the most boring event known to humanity. Except maybe golf. And except when Cowgirl is the one in the arena, then everyone needs to stop and watch in total awe of my kid.

Hey! You there! I said EVERYONE STOP AND STARE AT MY KID!!!!!!!!!!

Remember Shorty? He’s the 15 year old ropin’ horse that we acquired on a modest budget a couple of years ago so Cowgirl could go a little faster than her then 24 year old Buddy would take her.

Shorty is the equivalent of a standard transmission with a stiff clutch and no power steering. (Be patient. I gave you lots of lead in time on this one. She’s coming….in a minute.)


(Apparently the camera woman has some power steering issues of her own. Might have had something to do with the little kid saying, “Help. Someone grab my horse before he gets away!” Sorry kid. No can do. I’m videoing Cowgirl. Catch your own horse. Oh, alright. Here’s your horse.)

Cowgirl has taught Shorty so much in the less than two years we’ve owned him. He’s been good to her in return. They both get moody at times. Sometimes it happens to be on show day.

This year is proving to be a good one in the arena. Shorty is a beautiful gelding with a gorgeous main and tail. When we acquired Shorty, Cowgirl could not for the life of her get that four legged beast to put those legs in a nice perfect rectangle. Now she tugs on and rattles his halter chain a bit and he lines those feet up like Cyndie Crawford lines up her high-heel-elevated-million-dollar-insured legs.


Yesterday Cowgirl made it more than perfectly clear that she had no intention of showing Shorty in Western Pleasure or Horsemanship. He just doesn’t have enough arena manners to play well with the others.

“I’ll walk, or I’ll lope, but don’t keep switching my gears and for heaven’s sake, don’t ask me to lope slow.” That’s what Shorty says.

Cowgirl says, “Don’t put me in an arena when I don’t have a snowballs chance in hell of even making the top 10.”

Fine. Saves me $12 and a lot of pouty-mooded Cowgirl.

Cowgirl would be perfectly happy if we’d just leave her alone to ride speed.

Then there’d be  no waking up at 6 AM to load and leave.

Then there’d be no need to sticky glue the hair down.

Then there’d be no need to see Mom wearing stupid flourescent rain pants to the wash rack.

“Mom, you look stupid.”

“Thank you. It’s my mission in life to totally embarrass my children. Besides, I have a condition called cold-and-wet-a-phobia.”

Okay. I might have been a smidge embarrassed. Even the adults were laughing at me. I think they were just jealous of my cool fluorescent yellow rain pants.

Yes, Cowgirl would be perfectly happy if we would just let her sleep late and then drag Shorty to the show in time for her to race in the speed events.


Of course, now she has decided she needs a newer model than Shorty. I guess she figures if she can trade up for one ten years younger every two years, she’s due for a four year old this time.


I’ve got a surprise for her.

It probably isn’t gonna happen.

Just like she probably won’t see that new F250 Double Cab pickup in our driveway this year, nor is she gonna see that fancy new living quarters trailer tied to the bumper anytime soon.

For now, it’s just me and her, Shorty, a 94 suburban, and a tiny two horse straight load trailer driving 60 down the interstate.

It’s a character-building experience….for both of us.

This Woman Knows Her Business

After spending the better part of two months dreading the upcoming horse show season, it arrived kicking and screaming early Saturday morning.

It was preceded by an insanely expensive shopping spree at Cavender’s where every last penny of Daughter #3’s stock show money (plus plenty of mine) was surrendered to their cash register.

And at that moment….the moment when this kid of mine put on the clothes, I was on fire and ready to go. The dread was gone. The proud mama kicked in. This kid totally rocks when it comes to horses. I haven’t quite figured out where she got it, but she definitely got it.

And she rocks the look. Time to clean my shotgun. Boys, back away from the Rodeo Princess.

Ignore the messy room. We have priorities at our place, and keeping bedrooms spic and span doesn’t happen to be one of them. Looking like a million bucks in the show arena is much higher on the list of most important priorities.

And while my cell phone photography skills leave much to be desired, you will most likely get the picture as to her talents. This kid is absolutely fearless… least when it comes to horses. That doesn’t mean she isn’t careful. She just isn’t afraid. Of anything. Except failure. She hates failure. More on that in a minute. Oh, and hats. She’s not a fan of the hat requirement.

Dang, she looks good on a horse.

Readers, meet Shorty. Shorty…our readers. Shorty is a roping horse. Fourteen years he spent roping, working cattle, chasing down the little boogers, and taking care of his cowboy. Then he came to our barn. Never saw a show ring before he met Amber, but she needed his speed, and I needed his lack of insane price tag. The combination meant that someone had to teach him a thing or two, and it wasn’t going to be me. That pretty much left one person to take on the challenge–a then ten year old kid who’d only been riding about year. Did I mention, she’s still only eleven? Five feet eight inches of eleven year old determined to teach a horse named Shorty how this gig works.

And have mercy, has this kid taught Shorty a thing or two! She has taught him how to setup and stand for showmanship.

She and Shorty totally rock the grade gelding class. Of course Shorty was once registered. Some poor sap made his ex really mad and she burned the papers. As a result, we have a rockin’ grade gelding. At 15, he’s still impressing judges every time he enters the arena. That gorgeous tail and mane? My beauty shop skills. Conditioner by Aussie. You should be very impressed.

She taught him how to swerve around barrels and poles and stakes. (Those pics are just too blurry to even post.)

And she is desperately working to convince Shorty of the value of giving her the correct lead when loping in Western Pleasure and Horsemanship. He’s beginning to catch on, but it’s been slow and frustrating to get there.

This is the “Mom, why do you make me show him in Western Pleasure when you know we suck at it?” posture. What can I say? The kid HATES failure. Especially when she knows she’s doomed to lose before she ever enters the arena. I told her it isn’t about winning this event. It’s about showing her mama, her uncle, and the other local dads who know of this horse’s (lack of) previous experiences that while those other kids can ride the one with power steering and an automatic transmission and win, she’s capable of driving the standard with no power steering and making it all work in spite of a stiff clutch. Yes, the starts and stops and turns are a bit rough, but they get better everytime she takes him in that ring, because she’s got what it takes. No, she doesn’t get the ribbon, yet who’s the better driver?

“Mom, you’re weird.”

Ideals are nice, but losing still sucks.

Then, the speed events roll around late in the evening. Barrels, poles, and stakes. And now that she’s the oldest in her division instead of one of the “babies”, she’s proving herself to be a force with which to be reckoned. There must be some sort of adrenaline rush when riding a horse that fast. All I can think of is the pain rush. Not this kid. The faster, the better, except when going around something like a barrel, then we prefer to slow things down just a bit. It keeps her inside the arena rather than in the stands with the crowd as almost happened last year when she started sliding off and that “roping” horse just stopped dead in his tracks. That’s what roping horses do, you know…stop when the cowboy starts to jump off????? That was a valuable lesson in centrifugal force. Or centripital….or some kind of Newton thing.


And now she wants a youngster. She thinks she’s got what it takes to takes train a futurity horse. I think she does, too. Please click the Paypal button now to donate to our Feed Amber’s Horses fund.

I complained to her red-headed uncle (who I blame for starting us in this expensive hobby and who says his hair isn’t red) about how slow this kid is when I want her to hurry up and do something. He proceded to inform me that this annoying behavior of not getting wound up or in a hurry about anything is precisely what makes her so amazing with animals. I’m thinking it’s the same behavior that makes her avoid housework in favor of getting grit in her ears mowing six acres on a John Deere LA175 mower. Ride, Forest, Ride!

Plus, she wants to learn to work cattle on a ranch. Enough of this pretend junk at a kid horse show. She wants the real deal. Ridin’ and ropin’ and stuff. And did I mention that she’s brought up the “C” word? Yeah..cutting. Red-headed uncle says I don’t have the denero to fly with that crowd.

Anyone want to adopt her for the summer? You won’t be sorry.

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