Thursday, January 25, 2018

A Paint Horse Conversation

It is no secret that I love this horse to pieces.

Even when I hate him, I love him.

He loves me too.

We have a connection that transcends anything I have with any of my other trusty steeds.  Melody is special and I love her too, and Killian is just a solid rock.  But Trax.....we are connected.

When Trax needs to tell me something that he deems very important he does a thing.  He will walk up to where I am and touch my hand with his nose.

This is not like "Do you have treats?" touching. It the equivalent of the kid tugging on your pant leg and then pointing at something they want.

He will touch my hand and then point his nose at want he wants me to see.  He will do it again and again until I get the message.  It is his, "Mom, we need to talk" signature move.

A long time ago, before I had split all my stalls into the size they are now, they were big enough to house 2 horses easily.  He had been gone at a trainers for a while, and a different horse had been moved in with Melody so when he came home I put him in with Killian.  They have known each other for a long time, and I think that this was before I realized that Killian had decided that he hated everyone.

Trax came to the gate where I was standing and touched my hand with his nose and then looked over at Melody's pen.  I didn't get the message.  He walked a circle and then came back and did it again.  I still didn't get the message.  He did it a 3rd time, and I did get the message.  It was "Please let me go over there, this guy is going to kill me tonight."  I said back to him, "Oh you will be fine, you've lived together before."

The next day I came out to Killian pinning him in the corner biting the crap out of him.  He was a torn up mess, and terrified.  I felt so bad.

So now when Trax says, "Hey Mom, we need to talk." I always listen.

Recently I have been trying some different feeds with him.  He doesn't really need grain.  He is a fat boy.  But because of the joint supplement he gets, I need to have something to use as a top dress.   I have switched back and forth from Progressive Grass Balancer, and Nutrena Special care.  Both are low starch, special care I believe is also lower in fat.  Both are loaded with Amino Acids for muscle.  I believe the Progressive is a little higher.  I've also switched between a couple of different joint supplements, trying to figure out which one I like.

Usually he goes right for his food, pushes the pellets out of the way to get at what ever yummy stuff he can find.

Last week he went to his food, nosed around for a minute and then came to me, touched my hand and looked over at his tub.

I said, "Sorry buddy, what we have is what we have."  But made a mental note of his request.  Clearly he was asking for something that was missing, but I really didn't know what it was because of all the swapping. .
At this time he was on the Progressive, and Tight Joints, and Topline Extreme.

The next day he did the same thing.

And again the day after.

In the morning I would check to see if he left something uneaten, but he is eating everything, which is typical of him..  But he really wanted something else.

Today I finally brought home some Special Care.  I didn't change anything but that.  He went to his food, took a small bite, looked up at me and bobbed his head, and then went to chowing down.

He doesn't like the taste of the Progressive.  I find it odd, because it smells much more palatable to me.  But what do I know, I'm not a horse!!!

Luckily the Special Care is much cheaper, so I am good with his decision!   I just think it is cool that he has figures out such a solid way to communicate with me.  It isn't like I ever taught him this.  He is a pretty smart old man.

In other news our barrel racing is coming along.  We still have so much to work on, but my trainer says we are making progress.  Here are a couple of more pics from a recent Gymkhana.  If things work out right we will hit a race down south on Saturday.

I hope everyone has a great weekend, and I hope my cold weather friends are able to stay warm!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The "Shoulda Woulda Coulda" club.

A few weeks ago, BEC and I were at a sorting, and as usual I just couldn't "get anything going".  I had some ok runs but nothing to write home about and definitely not in the money.  We were joking around about how funny it is that the riders enter the jackpots, and of course everyone wants to win money, but when it comes to the buckle runs it seems as though everyone loses their minds!  It is like that buckle is ten times more important than any cash reward.

I laughed and said, "If I go through this season without getting a buckle I'm going just gonna go buy one that says 'Never won a darn thing'."

She laughed and came back with, "Now I know what to get you for your birthday!  A buckle from the Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda Club!"

It was pretty hilarious, and I went in and rode my best that day but not good enough and once again went home empty handed and a good amount broker than I was when I got there.

BUT I did have a good time and learned a little more so that was good.

Fast forward to the next weekend.

I had been chatting with my young friend Jillian who used to board here and work for me.  She likes to sort too and is pretty darn good at it.  We had not gone together since she moved her horses home to her new horse property.  I asked her if she wanted to tag along and to my surprise she said yes.  So I picked her and her trusty steed Spur up and we headed to the other side of the world valley.

It was cold that day, and I guess because of that, there were not as many people there.  I called BEC, she was otherwise engaged, and my other close friends S&J were also not there.  But I still knew most of the folks who were there.  There were some pretty good riders there.  The same riders I lose to almost every week, so I went in with zero expectations.

In fact, with as cold and windy as it was, I had almost talked myself out of going.  I had a flat on the trailer the night before, it was wet and cold, and it is a long drive, and I thought, "Why do I put myself through this?"

But Jillian was ready to go, and for her sake I did not want to back out.


We did a few practice runs, Melly and I did pretty well.  One of my partners let some cows through, but it was only a practice so it was no big deal.  Jillian and I did 2 runs together and totally kicked ass.  Her horse (who I had the chance to buy and passed on- kick myself every day for that decision) is so damn cool.  She is a pretty handy rider too.

First up was the Jackpot.  With my first partner I got 3 cows.  Not great, but clean.  The cows were sticky that day so everyone was pulling low numbers.  With my second partner I got 7 more.  I knew that some teams had gotten higher so I was just sitting there holding the cows, minding my own business and they called out the winner for the jackpot.  It was guy I will call GRRRR.  (inside joke)  He won with 12 cows.  Then they said the second place winner was Cindy with 10 cows.



OMG!  I just took second!!!!!

I literally could not stop grinning.  Yes I was excited that I won some money, but mostly I was excited that I wasn't last.

We didn't win by default.

We actually beat some pretty decent riders.

We didn't suck!

Next up was the 1-2 class buckle run.  My first run went pretty well.  I was with a rider that I had ridden with before and we went in and did a pretty good job.   I was having a little trouble getting a certain cow and got to going too hard and fast.  My partner yelled at me to slow down, and when she did I came back to my senses and we got the job done.  We came out of that run with 5 cows.

 On my second run I was paired up with a rider I knew was pretty decent too. She was riding a pretty little roan mare and of course I was on my great big roan.  So we went in joking about roan power!

I went in first while she held the gate.  I put Melly on our first cow but she got a little too into it, and accidentally cut him back the other way.  (This is where my playing with cows in the practice pen may have got me into trouble)  But we got him turned around without too much trouble.  It cost us a little time, but after that things started to roll pretty smoothly.  This was the better herd of the 3 we had to use, so they moved along pretty nicely.  My partner did her job and I did mine both in the gate and in the herd.  We came away with 7 cows.

You can see that run here

To be honest, I had lost track of how many cows I actually had and I was sure that someone else had more.  When they called the winner of the buckle and I heard my name my first response was, "No Way!"

Then I almost cried.

Next up was the buckle run for the open class. There were only 4 riders.

My first ride was with GRRR and we did a pretty decent job.  He yelled at me, I yelled back at him, and we made up when it was all done, because the run was clean and I think we had 8 cows.  He is a good rider and pretty darn competitive, so I was glad I didn't mess up.

My second ride was with a gal I had been watching. She was good...really good...and I went in the determined to do my best. They had changed the herd out for this series of runs, and this was the crappy herd.  The 1 and the 7 cows were just bad. They wouldn't do anything you wanted them too do.

She and I were hittin and gettin and those dang cows were coming through like butter.  I am not even sure what number we were on, I just knew that we were having a pretty darn good run.  I also knew that we were running short on time.  She was bringing 2 cows towards me from the left.  I was facing towards the right after chasing off a different cow.  All I had to do was push my horses shoulder over and peel off that inside cow while she drove the good cow through.

I don't know what happened.  I put my spur on my horse and she wouldn't move.

So I kicked her again even harder and she finally moved but that 2 second delay let that dirty rotten sucker get past me and we got a no time.  I felt so bad for the other gal because, although I didn't know for sure, I was pretty sure she was in the running for that buckle.  I hate it when I screw up someone elses chance to win.

GRRR ended up winning the open buckle.   It was cool, he earned it.  But later the announcer told me that if I hadn't let that cow through, I would have walked away with both buckles and 2nd in the jackpot.

So there it is, my first ever buckle!  I didn't get one till I was 54 years old.  But of course I didn't even really start trying to win one until a year or so ago.  So I am pretty happy with that.  I know it wasn't a big win against a ton of riders, but hey, we all have to start somewhere!

I know I posted about this on facebook and everyone congratulated me there, so please don't feel like you need to again. I just wanted to share the entire story.