Sunday, December 10, 2017

"Counterfeit" or "Surviving our worst fears"

After our very pretty but very slow run on 12-2 Trax and I went back to the practice pen.  SS had told us that our patterns are really nice but that it was time to start riding more aggressively.  So that is what I decided to do. 

Sometimes my neighbor uses my arena-vator and whenever he does he works my arena too, which is super nice. However one of the last times he did that my barrels somehow got moved down towards the middle of my arena.  Due to my extremely busy schedule, they have just stayed there.  But at the gate end of my arena there is also a wooden trail bridge.  So "riding more aggressively" has almost gotten me into trouble when that bridge comes up so fast.  SO, I took the time to put my barrels back at the far end of the arena where I like them.  That gives me an extra 20-30 feet to stop before we are forced to jump the bridge. 

It was 6 am last Tuesday morning, there was  pretty good chill but it wasn't even cold enough to need gloves or a jacket.  Just a hoodie kept me plenty warm.   I pulled my mighty steed from his stall, and gave him half a flake of hay to munch on while I tacked him up.  I never work my horses on a totally empty stomach. 

We did our usual warm up routine.  We WTC until he feels soft and relaxed and lopes with his head down.  Then we work on our smaller circles and my body position.  We work on posting, on me relaxing my rib cage so he will relax his.  You know, all the things my great trainer has been teaching me to be a better rider.

We did our usual trotting of the pattern, and then a slow lope of the pattern and every thing was right on the money. 

Now before I go any further, let me back up just a little.  One of the reasons I have always been trepidatious about letting Trax run full speed, is because I have seen him buck.  I'm not talking like out in the pasture buck.  I'm talking about in the round pen, full on blow up and rip the lead rope out of my hands.  I have seen back feet higher than the top of the round pen.  I have always been just a little bit afraid that if he ever took to bucking when we were at a full run, he would kill me. 

Over time and as we have been practicing our sprinting around the arena, I have gotten over that and was finally at a point where I was beginning to trust that he wasn't going to do that.  Granted there are time when he will do a "oh I think I want to buck" crow hop, but he isn't dedicated to the buck and I can always bring him out of it very easily. Usually it is coming out of the 2nd barrel and he is usually telling me to get my spur out of his side.  The fact is, I had laid aside my fears and begun to trust my horse again.

Now back to that morning.

So we were at the point that I was ready to "go for it".  I felt good.  My horse seemed to feel good to me.  We were working well together, the time had come to just do it.  We trotted a circle, and I took a deep breath and pushed him into a left lead lope.  We lined up with the center barrel and I pushed my hand forward and asked him to go. 

We came up to the first barrel, and I waited till the perfect moment to sit down and say "easy" and then we powered around that barrel with what felt like a text book turn.  My hand was right where it was supposed to be and it was flat like it is supposed to be.  My butt was in the saddle and I drove him forward with my seat.  We exited in the correct lead and completed the second barrel just as nice.  We committed to the full turn, powered around the barrel and raced off to number 3.  The 3rd barrel is usually our best so I was very excited for our progress!  We made a beautiful turn and I let go of the saddle horn and we raced for home.

Right about the time we past the barrels my 18 year old broke freaking horse blew up.

This was not "Oh I think i might buck"

This was, "Oh yeah, I'm bucking!"

He bucked all the way to the end of the arena.  Including the extra 20-30 feet I added by moving my barrels. 

I did not come off, but I just barely stayed on.  Luckily it wasn't the 2 hind feet over head buck, but it was the all four feet off the ground buck. 

I finally got him stopped by running him into the fence.  I should have pulled his head around, but to be honest I was just trying to hang on at that point. I yelled at him to knock his shit off, and then took him around the arena at a fast trot for about 20 laps.   Meanwhile I am doing the instant replay through my brain to figure out what it was that set him off. 

I had spurs on, but they are short shanked ball end spurs.  Very mild.  Just enough to get him off my leg when I need.  Maybe my leg went back behind the rear cinch.  Maybe I kicked him to hard (no I wasn't kicking- I don't think).  Maybe it is the cold.  Maybe his shoulder hurts.  Maybe he stepped on a rock. 


Maybe he is just a counterfeit SOB who will never be able to be trusted. 


That one hurts.  It hurts my heart to think that about my favorite horse.  But lets face it, we are not talking about a 3 or 4 year old green horse. 

I stopped and took my spurs off.

Then we kept riding.

When my hands quit shaking we went back to the pattern.  Not quite as aggressively, and we did not race home anymore that day.  He was fine the rest of the time. 

On the bright side I know that my biggest fear just happened AND not only did I survive it....I rode it out.

On the down side, my trust level with this horse took a serious step back. 

Today is Sunday.  I have not been back on him since. 

Of course that isn't all due to trust.  Part of it is time related, and to be honest, he jacked my back up a little bit and it took me a few days to get over it. 

I had planned on racing him yesterday.  The only reason I didn't is because BEC texted me and reminded me that there was a buckle run at my favorite sorting facility that day.  So I scratched the race and went and chased cows instead. 

Today I will ride him.  I have decided that I will go back to round penning him before we ride for now just so he can get any of that crap out of his system before I get on.  I used to do that before every ride.  But he has been pretty good so I stopped.   Maybe some horses always need that.  I don't freaking know. 

I will try to figure out what caused it.  If he pulls it again.....I just don't know what I will do. 

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Getting our Groove Back Part 2

The race we went to was part of a 3 day event.  We entered in 2 of the 3 days.  Part 2 is what happened on day 2.

Day one was pretty decent.  I was so happy with how calm he was and how well he ran.  I was super excited to get out there again, and not mess it up.

Saturday I went out early and fed the horses, in order to give Trax plenty of time to eat.  I came out later and he had not touched his food.


I threw some hay to him instead of pellets and he went to munching so I knew he wasn't sick.  But now it was time to go, so he was forced to eat his breakfast on the go.  I put him in the trailer and off we went.

This time he was quite a bit more nervous, where as I was totally calm.  We did our time onlies and they were fine but I could tell he was wound up.  I put him back at the trailer and let him munch for most of the day.  As always we were at the end of the pack so we had plenty of time.

About 30 riders before us I usually get back on and start walking him.  I don't work him to death, but moving his feet keeps him calm so we walk.

It was pretty warm that day so we stopped in some shade next to an unused announcers booth next to the warm up arena.  Some one on the other side made a noise and my "broke horse" lost his shit.  First he went sideways, then he went straight up.  I had my hat in my hands and my silver and leather hat band came off and bounced against the saddle a few times which set him off even more.

I finally got him calmed down.  Got off of him and side passed him from the ground about 20 feet in both directions.  Then I got rid of the hat band, and got back on him.  We rode around until it was our turn to go.  He seemed pretty chill other than continually asking to leave the staging area. But he asked nicely so I didn't get too concerned about it. 

Once again we started off looking pretty good.  My confidence was up so I was going for it!

We got to the first barrel without mishap other than me forgetting where my hands should be

At this point I was still really happy with how things were going

I like how we are both looking for the next barrel.
Still feeling good about it all

came out nice and strong

And still felt ok at this point

I didn't recall being so wide on the second barrel

But obviously we were

This is where things all went wrong

This is where he decided to show me a short cut to the gate

This is where I said, "Oh snap! He's headed towards the gate!"

"Sorry Buddy- Still have one more barrel"

He is clearly not happy with me hanging on his face
Look at where his eye is looking even though he has started to give in.
Finally got his attention back
I love those butt muscles! 
We went in to #3 kind of ok

Until I went blank and forgot every bit of training.  Talk about money  not well spent!
I guess neck reining your way around is the new "thing"  LOL
Then I finally regained some sense and we got moving again. 
Of course racing home is what he does best.  
In the end, that attempted short cut ended up costing us dearly. We ran even slower than the day before.  24 something.  But we never broke the pattern so I guess that is a plus.

Back to the practice pen we went.  We had another lesson and cleaned some things up.  The biggest one being where my hands are. 

When I look at these pics I totally cringe.  I feel bad for my horse, and wonder if I should give it up.  But I won't give up.  As much as I hate seeing myself dragging him around by his face, on the other hand I know that he isn't helping matters some times by trying to do things his own way. 

We raced again a few days after our lesson. It was a real pretty correct run and where as we are usually about 6-8 seconds off of the fast time.  On that run we were only 5.  So that is major improvement.  Our last race with this particular club is in 2 days. 

I have high hopes for that day.  I probably shouldn't, but surely at some point it has to get better...doesn't it???

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Getting our Groove Back part 1

Many of us are friends on Facebook as well as blogger so some of this may be redundent but for those of you who don't do facebook, here is an update.

For years I've tried to figure out what it is that my favorite paint horse is good at.  I mean he is a great trail horse, but I've always felt like with his build and his energy level, there must be some event or physical task that he could excel at.

We tried Ranch Versatility and while he didn't totally suck at it, it was pretty clear that he didn't enjoy it either.

We tried sorting.  Again...he doesn't suck, but he doesn't enjoy it.  He gets pretty nervous in a small pen with a bunch of cows.  Like feet stuck, can't move, going straight up in the air type of nervous.   He really just isn't very cowy at all.  Where as Melody will stomp the crap out of cow if you give her the chance, Trax likes them very much and really just wants to be friends with them all.

I go to a lot of barrel races.  I watch all my friends race.  I've taken Melody a few times and while she runs a wickedly pretty pattern, she is sloooooowwwwww.  So slow that when you watch the video you have to look to see if it is set to slow motion.  She does love barrels though and really believes that she is running as fast as the wind.  She redeems herself in the sorting pen though, so its all good!

Anyway, I digress.

A year or so ago I thought that maybe Trax would enjoy barrels and gymkhana type events.  So I let my young friend O work with him a little and run him a couple of times.  They did ok.  I even ran him myself a couple of times.  It was ugly.

I admit to not having a clue how to teach a horse to get around the barrels correctly.  I had no clue how to get myself around that barrel correctly.  AND the biggest issue of all.....I was afraid of my horse.

I have not been able to trust him ever since the day he bolted with me out the arena.  That was, what...3 maybe 4 years ago?  I made the mistake of researching his ownership and heard of all the bad things and then had our own mishap and I was terrified of him.

Well maybe terrified is the wrong word.

I darn sure didn't trust him.  Every time he got a little ancy, I freaked out.  I was afraid to let him go fast for fear of losing control.  When I freaked out, he freaked out and it was a recipe for ugly runs, and lack of partnership.

So I made a commitment to him and to myself.  We were going to get past it.  We were going to rebuild the relationship.  I would let go of the past and focus on each day as if he was the best horse in the world.  Which really  he is.  He is a good boy with a lot of try and he really wants to get it right.  He wants to get along.

So we started our patterns slow.  I got advice where I could but mostly we just practiced being calm.  And then we would practice sprinting around the arena.  Each time I let him go faster and faster.  And every single time, he paid attention when I said it was time to slow down.  He didn't run off, and I didn't get hurt.

So we started going to some time onlies.  They were still ugly, but we got used to being in strange arenas and we got used to getting over all the eyes watching us (and quit worrying about being judged).   We started having fun....sort of.

It was becoming apparant that Trax actually had a knack for this sort of thing.  Let's face it, he darn sure isn't slow.  He has the hind end that a horse needs to really be able to power around the barrels, and he was actually starting to hunt for the next barrel.  But I didn't know what to do next.

There is a gal I know who gives barrel lessons to so many people in my area, many of them are friends of mine, and I have watched them go from total beginners, to bringing home checks on a regular basis.  I  shot her a message and asked if she would be willing to work with Trax and I.

"I thought you would never ask."

So now we do lessons.

I don't get near enough practice in between lessons, and that is seriously slowing down the process, but it is still helping.....A LOT!

My trainer is SS, and working with her is like being under a microscope.  I don't even know how she sees all the things that she sees.

"Hand forward, watch that pinky, chin down just a little, not so far, flatten your hand out, relax your rib cage, now your hand is too far forward, put your heel down....." on and on it goes.

and we are getting better.

At this point in my life, my favorite words in the world are, "Oh my gosh you guys look so pretty!"

And with each lesson I hear them more and more.

Our first lesson I started to tell her our history and she cut me off, "Nope don't tell me, it doesn't matter.  All that matters is today and where you are going from here."

SS does not allow for negative self talk, or for saying negative things about my horse.  Even when he is being a turd she has me correct him and then love on him and we just go back and do it again.  It is always positive, it is always progress...even when it isn't.    Even when I go and do the EXACT thing she says not to is progress because it is a lesson learned and I don't do it again.

She will not let me stay stuck in my comfort zone.  She makes me push the envelope just a little bit further every time.  Sometimes it is scary, but because of it, I am learning to trust my horse again.

So last weekend we went to a 2 day race.

The first night I was so nervous my hands were shaking.  My horse was as solid as a rock.  He was calm, he was focused and he was ready to race.

So here is the play by play of our run. 

Check out how focused we both are coming out of the gate.  

Then my stupid hat came off and in my mind
there were all kinds of crazy scenarios.  I should have just let it go.  

We ended up walking around the first barrel- cost us a good 2-3 seconds if not more

But then he was ready to go and came out pretty strong

This time I did let my hat go and he was all about the second barrel

We did pretty good on the second barrel at first

SS says that I have a bad habit of not making him commit to the full turn
on barrel #2 which lets him run wide coming out

I was using a lot of rein and not enough leg to get him back in line for #3

But I did get him back in line again

We looked great coming into the third barrel

And he came out soo strong and straight

Then he poured it on and raced home.  
I was so happy with him that night.  He really went out there and did his best.  I messed us up and we ended up running a 23.something.  But the run was pretty and that was all that mattered to me.   I just knew that if I came back the next day we could do so much better. 

I will talk about that in my next post.

I also want to give big props to Vin O'hare from Southwest Barrels, who does all the photography for these barrel races.  He takes the most amazing shots.  You can follow his facebook page here.  A mere 20$ gets all your photos dropped into a digital file for you to use how ever you wish. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Less than Stellar

Once a month I make the 3 hour trip to Mormon Lake AZ to compete in a 2 man ranch sorting.  Last time I went my tranny was acting up and I ended up limping home.  We thought the problem was electrical, and while I didn't feel like a 3 hour trip with a horse in the trailer in the middle of summer was the best time to "test drive"  TC swore I would be fine.

So with fingers crossed I loaded up Melody at 4 am Saturday morning and we headed up north.  My truck did ok until we got to Pine.  Then I had to shut it down and let it sit for a bit so it could reset it's little brain and then we made in to the sort.

I got my girl all settled in...

...with her smorgasbord of hays and pellets.  I never know what is going to make her happy so I give her many options.  This time she chose a little bit of each item.  She has gatorade, water, alfalfa hay, alfalfa pellets, and grass hay.  She is a goof ball.  

I had some time before my class started so I went up to the stands and did some armchair riding.  

 We had some wicked clouds looming over head and was sure that my class was going to get dumped on, but it turned out to be just the right amount of coolness to make the day really enjoyable.

I have no pics of me sorting, or videos.  I'd be embarrassed to show them anyway.  I had a couple of good runs going, but anytime we got more than 4 cows, we ended up blowing out and getting a red flag.  I did have 2 clean runs with 2 cows each.  That did put me "in the bubble" for the second go, but both times my partner let cows through the gate.

I'll admit that my riding was less than stellar to say the least.  I could have done much better.  I had some really good partners who were kind enough to ranch hand with me.  They held the gate while I went and got cows.  It is slower that way, but since I blew out my first two runs right away, we all agreed that maybe it would be better if I stayed out of the gate.

I tried to be very careful about not bringing my partner more cows that they could handle.  I tried to go slow and easy to just pull out the cow I was after. Sometimes those cows were just bad.  Really bad.  However, I can't help but wonder what is different for me and my horse from last spring.

Last spring we would drive to Wittman every weekend, and it wasn't long till I was pulling down some 10 runs.  I mean we were doing really well.  Now I get up here, and I can't even hold a cow.

I am considering taking Melly back to where I got her from.  Not to sell her, but to get her tuned up.  Along with that, I would go down 2x per week and get some sorting lessons.  It would give me a chance to get some coaching on actual cows, from someone who knows my horse.  The price she quoted me is more than fair, and it is about an hour from my house, so I could get up early and go before work, and then just change my work hours to be a later day.

 I have a friend who has a cabin right by the arena so I stayed with them, and the next morning we went on a trail ride.  Melody is not a fan of trail riding, but I made her go anyways.  While I was waiting on my friends, I rode her up  through the trees.  She made it about 20 ft in, and then did the most gorgeous reining spin and hightailed it out of there.  Obviously it was a little too claustrophobic for her.  Either that or she saw a bear.  Lol

This was right before she spun and bolted

When my friends were ready, we rode out together.  Melody does much better in a group and I was quite proud of her.  She stopped over all sorts of things and even rode up into the trees.  We stopped and had a little picnic, before riding back to civilization.

This is her "I do not like riding in trees" face

My friends daughter and her horse Godlie

My friend and her two daughters

When we got back I quickly loaded up all my stuff and my horse and headed back down the mountain.  I made it most of the way through the big canyon between Payson and Apache Junction, and my tranny messed up again.  This time I couldn't get it to reset, so I called TC and he headed towards me,  I had an hour to wait so I sat in the trailer with Mel.  It was nice and cool in there, and just me being in there kept her nice and calm.  I laid one of my Indian rugs down and had a little nap.  It was a little smelly, but not too bad and before I knew it TC was there and we swapped out the trucks.

The plan was for me to limp my truck home and he would get the horse home and out of the trailer.  Go figure, my truck shifted just fine the rest of the way home.  I should have just sat longer before I called him.  Regardless it is going to a tranny shop.  I did some research and what is happening is that the TCM is putting the tranny into "limp mode" (not allowing it to shift out of 4th gear) because it either has low voltage, or I have a plugged filter, or something.  

So..... until I get that fixed, my lessons get set aside.  


But I guess I'll just keep riding until then.  

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Among Friends

There are things I just can't get away with saying on Facebook.  There are things I really want to say on Facebook, because the people who REALLY need to hear them live on Facebook.  They do not set foot in blogger land.

It is probably for the best, though.  It is nice having a place to be among friends and be able to share the things that absolutely drive me up the wall.

Things like the customer who called my store today.

I just happened to be there on my day off.  I was fixing a little computer issue and buying a waterer for my chickens (YESSSS I have Chickens now! But that is a story for a different day) when the phone rang and of course I answered it because my associates were all busy.

"Hi, I spoke with Cass yesterday about some bales of hay we purchased that had weeds in it?"

"Yes, and you would like to exchange them?  We would be happy to do that.'

"Well I only have one full one left and half of another. My daughter fed the other one, and when I came out and saw the sticks in the stall I thought someone was trying to poison my horses."

"I'm so sorry about that, my guess is that it is Cotton stems, but regardless I will exchange the bales for you.  I will gladly give you 3 new bales and take back what ever you have left."

"But Cass said she would give me 15% off of more hay."

"Ma'am we cannot give discounts on hay, but I am giving you 3 free bales so you don't need to buy more."

"But I already paid for 3"

"Yes and you are returning 1, and I am giving you 2 more."

(It is easier for me to write off a bale of hay that it is for me to discount it- my bosses are weird about that)

"But I don't want to have to drive down there again, this is a big hassle.  Surely I should get something extra for my time."

"Ma'am, if you will give me your address, I will gladly deliver the new bales to you right now, and pick up what ever you have there that is bad."

"Well I still feel like I should be compensated."

*Are you kidding me right now*

"Ma'am, can your horses have treats?  I can bring you a free bag of treats."

"Well I guess, but why did Cass tell me I could have a discount on my hay, if she can't do that?"

*she didn't I'm sure*

"Ma'am I am sure I don't know but I will be talking with her about it. May I have your address please?"

So she finally gives her address.  Keep in mind that I am in my stall cleaning clothes, which consist of cuttoff's and a tank top and slip on sketchers, and have not even brushed my hair yet.  I have my loader put three pretty bales of grass hay in my little company pick up, and proceed to drive to her house.

Said "ranchette" is in a "fancy" horse neighborhood, with white plastic fences and perfectly manicured front yards all perfectly matching as per some very expensive HOA instructions.  They were really pretty and neat and not to my personal tastes at all, but I'm a wide open spaces gal myself.

I called when I arrived and a woman young enough to be my daughter comes out with her husband who is close to the same age.  I backed in as far as I could but their boat and camper trailer were both in the way so I could not get close enough to the hay shed to load the bales in directly.  This meant that I had to carry out the bad bale, pick up all the loose hay and flakes off the floor and tie it up and get it out, and then carry each 100lb bale from my truck to the hay barn and stack it.

Keep in mind that I am 53 years old, she and her husband are both early 30's at the most.

She and her husband calmly stood there and watched me as I lifted and carried these bales back and forth.

Eventually her husband just went back inside while she stayed and watched.

I get it, it is my job, but in my mind I am thinking....

What kind of man lets a 50 year old woman stack his hay while he watches without so much as a, "I wish I could help but......."

Maybe they have medical issues, I don't know.  You would think if that was the case they would be having their hay delivered all the time, rather than picking it up themselves.

Maybe I am just too intimidating, and his manhood was impugned so he had to go inside and hang his head in shame.

Maybe he is just a jerk.

When it was all done, I handed her the bag of free treats, AND a 15% off any shelf item coupon, and made sure she knew that she could use it the next time she came in, but not on hay.

I got in my truck and drove away wondering if I really want people like that coming to my store.

Yes I know I do.

I did take great satisfaction in the recognition that the particular fancy housing development that they live in is built right on top of an old dump that the Air Force base used to use.  I distinctly recall a day about 30 years ago when I was out there looking for old clorox bottles and such, when I found some old mortar rounds half buried.  They were Korean war era, and of course I took one home.  But last I knew the rest were still there.  I wonder how long it will be before the trash starts coming to the surface of their yard.

I shouldn't be that way.

I should be happy that they gave me the chance to fix it.  That is what customer service is supposed to be.

I am happy that I was able to make things right.

I still drove away with a smirk though. and I admit to not feeling bad about that smirk.  

Monday, June 19, 2017


I am not sure I would call it a vacation so much, as I really didn't get to do much that I would have liked to do, but I did have a good time just the same.

TC and I made a quick trip up to WY to bury his Mom who passed away in March of this year.  She lived to be a ripe old 93 years, and in her own words, "Was tired and ready to go be with Jesus."  There was a lovely service for her at her church and all the family came from all over the country.  She was a tough old bird who lived and died on her own terms, and I only hope that I can remain THAT true to myself when I am her age.

I did very much enjoy the hotel in Buffalo where we stayed.  It had a creek running next to it and big back patio which was a fabulous place to enjoy my morning coffee. The weather was a bit chilly, and there was still snow on the Big Horns, but that was not unusual for that area.
I do miss those wide open spaces

Kickin it

I saw this little guy and posted it on facebook
I was amazed by how many people thought I should have
Killed it.  Poor little guy was just trying to get a little sun!

Very clever

Great way to start a morning

While we were there we spent some time with his grand kids, which is always a joy.  They are such good kids and so much fun to be around.  I got to meet a bunch of his cousins, who are some pretty interesting folks. By interesting I mean like, teachers, and missionaries, and Pastors, and Ranchers/farmers.  So when I say interesting, I mean it in the coolest way possible.

After we were done there, we spent a day in Casper with my son Colton, and his son Nik.  Nik is always shy when I first come around, but all it takes is a little bit of play time for him to come around.  There was some sort of big shindig going on at the park by their house so we walked down and Nik and I played in all the bouncy house things.  He loved the big slides the most.

After that we went and had some dinner.  It was just a the Texas road house and Nik and I had a great time busting open peanuts to get the prize inside.  He was super excited the first time he got a double!  It was hilarious!

For lack of anything better to do we finished the night by going to the College National Finals Rodeo.  Colton is not a horse person in anyway, but he was a good sport and went along anyway.  Nik had never been to a rodeo before.  It took me showing him a video of bucking bulls before he wanted to go, but once he saw that, he kept saying over and over, "When can we see the cows?"

Because he hasn't really been around that kind of lifestyle, I didn't really expect him to enjoy it so much, but he was sooo excited!  We got there early and so spent some time walking around the event center to check out all the vendor booths.  Of course we ended up getting him a little stuffed horse, who he promptly named Ruby.  Just to be clear, Ruby is a boy horse.  Then he wanted a rope too, so he got a rope and I tried to teach him to rope.  He had a little trouble remembering to release when he threw, but we had fun and he kept that rope and Ruby very close the entire time.  

Through out the entire show he was entranced, and made sure that Ruby was where he could see also so he could learn how to be a rodeo horse.  I had to laugh when he told me that the roan pick up horse during the saddle bronc riding, was Ruby.  He thought those pick up horses were pretty cool.  I have to admit I thought they were too.

Nik, Ruby and I

Colton and I

TC watching Nik

He had Ruby lassoed! 
We had so much fun!  I wish I lived closer to Nik, he is such a cool little kid and I only get to see him about once a year.

Now we are home again to forecasted highs of 115-120 this week.  Everyone is freaking out, worried about how they will keep their horses cool.  I hose mine down and hope for a breeze, make sure they have shade and plenty of fresh cool water.  This isn't their first Arizona summer, so I suspect they will be fine.  Half the time they don't even use the shade, but I make sure they have some if they need it.  I read somewhere that you shouldn't hose them down because it magnifies the sun and makes them hotter.  I am having trouble buying in to that theory just because if it were true then I don't think sweating would do us much good either. I know that if I am hot, hosing myself down feels great.  So if it feels good to me, a mammal, then I can only assume that it will also feel good to the ponies who are also mammals.

I'm actually more worried about the chickens than anything, but I've just been making sure they have plenty of options for cooling off, and then throw them some frozen fruit in the afternoon so that they have a cool snack.

Well, now it is off to work for me.