Tuesday, May 28, 2013


We went sorting again on Sunday - yipee!

Ignorant, Wet, Pony.
After the long weekend, and my many truck problems, Jingle got a bit of a bigger break than I wanted, or he needed. I came out Thursday and he was just being his annoying nut-job self, dancing and prancing and just generally being a goof. Add that in with the fact he looked like a drowned rat. He didn't have his rain sheet on and when I went out to get him he was soldiering through a large bale of hay, whilst all the other horses shivered and shook in their boots. The second I took him inside and paid him any mind, he became a shivering, quivering "MAHM I AM ABUSED" mess. I put his cooler on and warmed him up while he annoyed me some more. At this point I did not want to get on my horses back, and so instead I spent a long time grooming him, and chatting with a girl at the barn. I said I'd come tomorrow and ride, nope, didn't happen, truck problems. sigh. So Saturday I went out and rode and he was pretty good, he's had almost three weeks off from arena work, and apparently has forgotten how to stand when I get on... but other than that slightly annoying issue he was good.

Sunday I got to the barn, gave him a quick groom and let him graze while we waited for our ride to the sorting. Apparently, along with forgetting how to stand, he has also forgotten how to load onto a trailer... the joys of Jingle. After a lot of ramp-dancing and general idiotness, "I bet you if I go backwards really fast mahm wont be able to hold on", jokes on you Jingle, he loaded calmly and nicely... why can't my horse be one or the other, why does he have a split personality?

Sunshineee after a long week of rain

"No, you know, I really don't think I should have to go anywhere today..."

He warmed up really nicely in their arena, he LOVES new places, he fixates on new things and new people and their horses. Such an odd duck. Once we were all done our warm-up the owner of the barn came out and said that because not a lot of people had called in advance they hadn't set up the cows for sorting, so instead he thought it would be fun and beneficial for everyone to run a bit of a sorting-clinic. It was wicked!

We started out by walking our horses calmly through the herd, "cutting" them in half, and paying the cows no mind. This was a good exercise for the less experienced horses because it allowed them to move slowly and give them time, but also show them that cows do infact generally move out of the way of them. For the more experienced horses it gave them some well-needed "slow" time with cows. (Except for one lady who felt the need to spin and lope and sliding stop her horse every two minutes the entire day... there is always one.. I honestly think that learning to be "slow" has been my greatest accomplishment this year). Jingle started out a bit frazzled and rushed but by the fourth or fifth time he settled calmly into walking through and amongst the herd. The man running it commented on how nice it was that he calmed down so easily. I had to giggle to myself.

Rex, Caron's dog came along for the ride - team mascot.
From there we started to practice sorting, because none of the cows were numbered we were allowed to pick our own cows out and sort whatever we wanted to. They also never DQ'd us, so we were allowed to keep going if two cows slipped through, or whatever. It was nice because we basically had all the time in the world to pick our cows, sort, and work together. Similarily to last time, we were reminded to not "barrel turn" our horses but to always use our legs and focus on maintaining straight lines between ourselves, our horses and the cows.

We ended up getting a chance to sort twice, and then we split into two groups and got to work cows one on one. They set it up so that we could go into the herd, split our cow and then practice fencing and turning it. This was definintely Jingle's weak spot, with sorting I think he enjoys the energy and understands somewhat what he is suppose to be doing, however, he is definitely not cow-ey. He listens more to me (not complaining) than to what the cow is doing, thus, with one on one work with a cow I don't think he quite understood what I wanted of him, and that made him frusterated. We had a couple head-tosses and "Hey mister, when I say stop, you stop" moments. I tried to keep it as slow and calm as possible, but it's hard when your cow is slipping away. Aside from that Jingle was not as responsive to my legs as he could have been, or I know he can be, and it caused us to lose our cow a couple times.

The lovebirds, watching the first set of cows come in
From there, we sorted two more times, our third sort was definitely our best. I made a conscious effort to pick cows that were not the easiest to choose because in sorting you never know where your next numbered cow will be. This, obviously proved a bit of difficulty but Jingle did really well and was, once again, listening to me more. Finally, our fourth sort was new cattle and most of the other people opted out. The cows were brutal, they were pushy and bargey and kept creeping up towards our "gate", quite a few times we had to sort of stop what we were doing and push them back, re-group, and go again, but they were definitely not cooperative. That was a good lesson too, sometimes you have bad herds and bad cows, and you just have to work with what you got. Caron and I definitely were not expecting the cows to be that rotten.

When we went to load up Quiz and Jingle, my horse once again decided he didn't know how to load onto a trailer. It was quite embarassing. A couple of people came and circled around, and one guy grabbed a lariat and placed it around his rump and guided him into the trailer. I was hesistant to just hand my horse off to someone I didn't know, and it kind of annoyed me that he just up and grabbed Jingle from me, but he was really calm and controlled about the whole thing, and it worked well. I think next time we trailer I may have to employ the lunge-line through the door method with my horse to teach him that this new-found behaviour isn't acceptable. However, I was just woefully unprepared for his antics on that particular day.

A part of me get's a little twinkling of frusteration though, no-one that's new to something likes to have people oggle their misbehaving horse. Of course, my horse is the only paint there, sticks out like a thumb, doesn't have a drop of cow-sense or cow-blood and is bitless. A part of me always get's a sinking feeling in my stomach when people eye-up my sidepull contraption and then when jingle is being pushy or bad I know some of them are thinking, "why wouldn't that silly girl put that horse in a bit". I know why he's not in a bit and that's really all that matters to me at the end of the day, but i'm allowed to have my moments of grumblegrumblegrumble if I want haha.

So, aside from our little loading fiascos at the start, and at the finish, I am once again very proud of my horse. I love the fact you can take him somewhere new and he does great, that is such a great quality, and for the most part he remained calm and listened to me throughout the day. Another great sorting under our belt, and the mini-clinic was such a wonderful way to work on some things, and try other techniques I may have been too nervous to do in a timed and speedier situation.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Trail Journal: May Long 2013

I am alive! After a pretty crazy week getting ready, then heading to may long, then jumping back into a ton of work, I finally have a moment back to my blog. May Long was AMAZING, I can't get over what a great weekend it was. The forecast was for pouring rain everyday and we only got a smidge of rain one morning while we were sleeping - it was wonderful weather, and even better riding.

We headed out Friday at about 4 pm, we had to go pick-up Quiz at Caron's uncle's place, so it was a bit of a journey to get all the horses together, and make it to the ranch. We had good time though and ended up unloading the horses around 6:30 pm.

For the first night we put Mac and Jingle together, and Quiz in another pen. The boys were wonderful together, here are two proud mamas.

Here are two proud mamas again... the one in the full camo (ahem.. me) may have indulged in one too many that particular night. What the heck - i'm camping!

That night was by-far the coldest night, and it didn't help I jumped into an unzipped sleeping bag with little disregard for warmth when I fell asleep. I woke up in the middle night quite hypothermic, luckily by the morning it was hot-hot-hot, and we ended up the Little Red Deer River on one of my favourite rides.

Here is the gang at the first river crossing up the red, the obligatory "shot through the ears" photo provided by my handsome man. Who, by the way, I found a saddle for and then gave a week off. Mister was a bit of a dancy-spookey-pants, apparently he doesn't remember he was born and raised on a ranch. A log turned him into a cutting horse, that's how quickly he jumped away from it, oh how easily we forgot where we came from...

Although we lucked out on weather, there was still some spots of snow hiding in the hills...

Jingle even encountered quaders for the first time.

Not to be bested by the boys, the girls headed up the same hill they had just come down.
Beat that boys and machines.

The river crossings were easy-peasy all weekend. In other springs, I've nearly swam through some crossings, this was our deepest one and my jeans only got a little wet. 

We arrived at our destination - Forever Winter - named so for the spring that consistently has snow on it year-round. However,  I have never actually witnessed snow on the spring, so wasn't it lucky that this year, the area held up to it's name!

From there we headed to the "Far Lookout" and checked out the beautiful view.

Snow still on the mountains!

The next day we bundled up to a bit of a more overcast day and headed out...

As you can see here, I had to wrap Jingle's sidepull in vet wrap, the chicago screws on his sidepull were rubbing him a bit raw on one spot on his cheek, poor boy.

A lot of new logging has happened since last summer, which is always kind of surreal. This area was a huge forest that we used to have to wind up and through. Now there's a big road in it's place, and no more trees.

We got to our destination - Maimi's Lake - named from an old ghost story, but this year it was more of a slew, we even got to walk out right to the middle. Something I haven't done in a couple years.

Of course we had to take some girly group-shots, my camera was propped up by a log... 

All the deadfall at the mouth of the "lake" and me!

This is towards the end of our ride... I'm not saying that we probably had one to many stops to "warm up" with fireball, but.... well, maybe we did.. look at those big smiles!

Mac was acting a bit silly with the owner's horses in a pen beside our crew, he was trying to get at one of their mares, and in the winnying and running ended up spooking Quiz and Jingle. Jingle took it upon himself to protect Quiz and began to herd her away. It was getting a bit mixed up, so we moved Mac in a pen beside our crew but away from the other horses. Quiz and Jingle were quite content to be together, they are undeniably in love, infact this photo shows Jingle letting Quiz eat his grain while he happily munches hay. We also caught them taking turns eating out of the same small bucket earlier... 

After supper we went on a hike to a spot called "The Waterfall" that Laura and I literally stumbled upon one year as counsellors. It's a pretty cool spot - an old dried up waterfall in the middle of the forest with rock ledges and old trees across it.

Here we are infront of an old hunters cabin, affectionately known as Slashfoot's cabin.

From there, we decided it would be an intelligent idea to scale a rock wall to get home, instead of getting our feet wet in the river..

Brigitte and Caron survived it!

The Next day we did a shorter, but still really nice ride to a spring named - Sur Coulee - all in all we had an absolutely wonderful long weekend, one we're sure to talk about for years to come.

Meg, our mascot and the local farm dog.

My truck had died the second we got to the ranch on Friday so the boys tinkered with it and ultimately it had to be towed into the nearest town (... by a dually and a tow rope and me behind the wheel... terrifying). $1000 later and a new fuel pump it's fixed, but i'm still licking my pocket books wounds... sigh. Not the best end to the trip, but nevertheless, we sure did have a good time. (Perhaps, a couple times, too good of a good time)

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Riding Diary: 57 - Cutting

Horse: John Wayne!

Time: 1.5 hr

Ride: Flag work this time, so no fun videos of me chasing cows today!

I'm still really trying to get that position down that Coach wants from me. I have a really hard time translating what he's telling me into my body during the warm up. When I first started riding with him he had me trying to sit really extended, fast trots. I was having a horrible time at it, which caused me to be bracey, etc. I'm just so used to posting big trots like that, that my body feels unnatural and bouncey at a big extended trot. Things to work on.

However, we chatted about it, and he said that I could post if I wanted too, which made it easier for me to bring my centre of gravity forward and allow JW to extend and reach more. Coach wants his horses really extending and working in the trot before we start.

From there we did some dry-work, rollbacks, stops and backs. I'm finally easing out of the throw my legs forward and back, back, habit that the team-penner taught me a few years ago. Thanks for teaching me how not to stop, buddy. When I can take a moment to think, "deep breath, rock your pelvis, SIT, stop" my stops are nice and smooth, when I'm actually in the heat of the moment is when I revert back to bad form, and throw my legs out to brace my stop.. causing a bracey horse.

Then, it was flag time.. John Wayne is very, very responsive as well as highly sensitive to legs - especially ill-communicating legs. This makes for a horse that is not as forgiving of my newbie experience, than CD. However, it's always a good experience to ride different horses, and this one is definitely teaching me to be quiet, and learn timing... or else I lose him.

For example, Coach kept commenting that "something is going on with your left leg", it's not as strong, it's not as present, and it causes JW to leak away from the flag, and not hold a consistent line whilst working. I know I have a weak left side, it's appeared this year due to Jingle's uneveness, and it's something I'm working on correcting, but it's difficult because sometimes I simply don't realize that I have one leg "on" more than the other.

Because of my weaker left side, while working the flag on my left cow-side leg, I would turn to head right (cow-side) and then lose JW and have to kick him up to hustle to the flag, then, as the flag went left (cow-side) I would be behind in where I was suppose to be, and would have to "ride him" more to get him where I wanted him, but that would throw my timing, causing me to over-ride him left and him not stop quick and deep enough. A horse like CD I can over-ride and he forgives my timing mishaps, a horse like JW, you have to be on, and your timing is crucial. It's a really good lesson in learning where I need to be, why I need to be there and how I can effectively get there. Timing, Timing, Timing. It's all about timing.

We started to get it together after a pretty hard ride of trying to figure eachother out. It's all so quick, and sometimes I wish I could just pour molasses over the entire experience and just slow, it, down. Even with a flag, and Coach controlling the speed, it's still much more fast paced than I ever realized before I started my foray into the sport.

Afterwards, Coach and I took a lovely outdoor stroll down the pasture he has for his cows. It was nice. I got to pick his brain a little bit about showing and what he likes to see and do when he shows, and of course - my favourite topic - breeding. I also brought up the fact that I wouldn't mind trading some helpful hours for lessons (since, they are pretty darn pricey), and he said that we could definitely work something out which is great news. After May Long we'll have to get that all sorted.

For Next Time: Like the country song... timing is everything, I need to really focus on riding slow, and calm.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Storytime: Me & The Big Yellow Horse, Cash.


Cash came into my life a stumbling and bloody mess, literally.

I had arrived at the Ranch on a Saturday morning to see four horses I didn't recognize. The Rancher had, shockingly, gone to an auction and brought home four horses - Frank, a sorrel with an ugly head, Penny, a little arab mare so skinny and old she was surely headed for slaughter, Peso, a brown mare, tiny, with a babydoll head and then Cash - a big stout Palomino. Of course, I was told, it was my duty to ride them and figure them out. Great - because I had all the time in the world to do that.

At this point, the summer season was looming very, very close. It was more important in my mind to ride the horses I knew needed a refresher, to find my own horse who was seemingly lost, and prepare and fit tack for over 60 head of horses. These 4, who turned out, each one, to be a story unto themselves, were not my main priority.

That day I had planned another search and rescue mission for my own lost horse. A friend, Sarah, came out, and the Rancher hauled us down the road, and into the neighboring property 3 leases over - Big Coulee. We rode all day, and we never did spot my damn horse. I was dejected, and ready for food and sleep. As we winded our way home through the valley, my mind skipped thoughts like pebbles being tossed across a creek. What horse would I guide on this summer? My choices were slim pickings, and I wanted something safe and reliable. What if we never find Jingle? My stomach churned in that ever-familiar way it had ever since I discovered my horse was missing.

We arrived back at the barn, unsaddled our mounts, and planned to go to dinner in town. As we were leaving we heard the nickering of two of the new horses from inside the old stud shed, that also doubled as shelter in one of our main corrals. I found it odd that two of the horses had seemingly been inside of the shed all day - it had been a nice warm spring day. Sarah had yet to meet the new four, and so we headed over to poke our heads in and say hello.

There was an old swinging gate in the middle of the shed that you could open and close to create more run-in/stall space. It had been wired closed the last time I had been inside - somehow, the two horses, Cash and Frank, had managed to open the gate, and then close the gate onto themselves. Locking them in one side of the shed without food or water all day. That side of the shed also had old fallen down panels being used as "fencing", horses weren't suppose to be on that side. Frank was unscathed, but Cash had cut up his leg, probably in a panel, and there was thick red blood dripping down his pretty yellow legs.

I sighed, I just wanted a freakin' burger.

I haltered Cash, and Sarah grabbed Frank, and we took them inside the barn. I hadn't dealt with either of them yet, but both were acting pretty calm and respectful of us. I still worried about Cash though, it's one thing to be respectful when someone is leading you, it's another to tolerate someone scrubbing out a muddy, bloody wound.

The paddocks were a mess, it had rained for weels, the river was just starting to go down, and the mud was thick and high everywhere you stepped. It wasn't exactly the cleanest environment to doctor a horse in. I pulled out the hose and had Sarah hold Cash in the middle of the aisle. I dribbled water on his leg and he seemed fine. Sarah pet his neck and talked to him. He just watched the two of us intently, never made a move. So, I picked up my sponge and started to clean out the wound, it was nasty, he had clearly got his leg stuck between a panel and had violently jerked it out. A big deep cut was just above his fetlock, and there was blood and small cuts on the inside of his other knee. Water and dirt pooled around us, and he barely ever flinched.

I sponged out the wound the best I could and applied some vetricyn to it. We left him inside and waited for the leg to dry, we didn't even know at this point if he tied well. He did, happily, and munched away on some hay and grain we gave him, while his cohort, Frank, did the same - quietly - beside him.

Our stalls had concrete floors - they were only used for tacking up, or leaving horses inside throughout the lunch hour to feed them. The Rancher, not one to believe in "doctoring", scoffed at me for wanting to wrap his leg and leave him inside on a straw bedding. So, we led him back to the shed, cleaned up the area, made sure the gate was firmly latched, and left him and Frank for the night.

My two favourite bums in the world - Cash, and Jingle.
Cash's wound healed wonderfully, after a few treatments of vetricyn, I switched to diluted betadine, and the big gash healed right up with very little scar tissue. At this point, someone had to ride him, and since I had been handling him so much I decided to give it a go.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Riding Diary: 57... Just kidding...

Preface: Last week, Jingle and I's lesson was a bit of a combination of tornado, and bratty behaviour. However, I ended up housesitting near the barn all week and so from Thursday to Monday, Jingle got ridden every.single.day, outside-inside-down the road, he got rode. Tuesday I worked, so I gave him the day off, and then Wednesday was our next lesson.

Throughout the week, Jingle pleasantly surprised me, we worked really hard with our speed, and our transitions from trot/jog into the lope, and down from the lope into a trot/jog or walk, as well as stop. On Saturday I even loped the entire pattern on the correct leads the whole time. We also worked a lot on stopping in unexpected ways on the pattern, I don't want a runaway. A lot of true barrel racers will never stop their horse beforehand because they want them to run solid and fast all the way to the end, but Jingle and I aren't heading to the NFR soon and I feel as if it's embarassing as heck if my horse is at a gymkhana and wont stop by the time we almost hit the gate. So, Jingle got his ass hauled into the ground quite a few times before he'd listen to me wherever I wanted him to stop. It's effective, and I think it's also helping us with our "rate" going into the barrels.

So, now I'm just praying that 6 hard days of riding (in some GORGEOUS heat by the way - yeehawww spring has finally sprung in Alberta) and one tiny day off, will provide for a solid lesson where we can actually do some werk. and keep my horses brain working!


^^ I wrote the above before heading out to the barn for what was to ey my 57th lesson on my horse that was going beautifully all week. I got to the barn and noticed he was flinching when I brushed him. He's been doing this the past couple days but I had done pressure tests on his back, spine, withers, flank etc. and he wasn't sore anywhere. Well, on this day he definitely was. About 8 inches down from the top of his withers if I put direct pressure on his spine he would completely cave. He was clearly agitated by it, and definitely sore, and my heart just broke. So, there was no riding my boy today. My trainer let me jump on two horses to ride for the evening, one who needs warming up with his mama, the other whose mom recently can't ride this week. It was nice of her to let me do that, but the whole time, even though they are both really nice horses, I couldn't help but wish I was just on my own chargey, messey, freight train horse that I love so much.

Of course, this soreness in his back is almost 100% related to bad saddle fit, and, as many of you know through reading my blog, fitting a saddle to Jingle has been an absolute nightmare for me. One will fit him wrong in the withers, the other in the back, the other will be too tight, another will slip right off his withers. He looks deceivingly easy to fit, and then, a couple weeks down the road with a saddle that seems to be working - BAM issues. dry spot. sore spots, etc etc. however, this is the first time he's ever been noticeably sore in his back and of course, I am a worried anxious horse mom. Not to mention I have been pouring money into saddles and pads, and nothing seems to be working.

At the moment I have him in an orthopedic pad with built up shoulders, I am also wondering if maybe there was just too much pad underneath my saddle and it was causing bunching. However, I doubt it, as the pad is structured and contoured in a way that I can't see that happening. So, we're going to haul him to a big western store on Sunday and see what they think - hopefully he's not too fresh, and isn't sore anymore and we'll find something that works. If we don't... I think my best bet is custom, but that launches me into a whole other bunch of worries... price, whether or not his back with change with age and time, etc.

This sucks.

To top it off the hackamore I bought him for his birthday is too tight...

Why is it that my horse just has EVERY tack-related issue known to man?!!?! UGH.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Riding Diary - 56 - Cutting

Horse: CD

Time: 2 hr

Ride: You know when life is just really, really, really amazing? May is coming in like a lion - in the best way possible. I texted Coach to ask him if I could FINALLY get a cutting lesson in now that exams are over. He replied with "Ya, we're working cows, see you at 11." uhm, gulp. I showed up with Laura in tow (TB of LV Horses), and so we got some pictures and even a video to share with you guys today!! Exciting times.

We watched him ride for awhile, and then I jumped on CD and warmed him up. Coach never lopes his horses before he works them on the flag or cows, he believes that trotting produces just as much "warm-up" but doesn't create as much brace in the horses. I always forget how freaking hard it is to extended trot a horse around, and around, and around, and around. I cannot sit CD's extended trot, like Coach would prefer me too, so I atleast got to post a bit. Holy moly.

Then, we did some dry work. I always "forget" how to sit when I'm cutting and it takes a minute for me to sink down into the saddle and remember where i'm at and how I should feel. Our stops, backs and rollbacks were feeling really good, and so we moved onto cattle.

Game Plan...

Okay, so I just walk into that herd...


Coach gave me a little bit of a pep-talk beforehand, it kind of sounded like...

Him: You'll be fine, go in there with your hand up, be focused, pick a cow, go for it, and then once he sets up, hand down, hold on, be calm, use your legs.
Me: Uhm, Okay.... *gulp*

Honestly, it's a blur haha, a really fun holymolyiwanttodothisforeverandever blur. Our first cow was good, Coach was my turnback guy, so he was able to help me set up really well. CD is a strong, strong turner, and has a really deep low stop, and so if I'm not calm and really sitting, I get jostled around. Coach kept telling me I really needed to use my legs effectively. When I felt like CD wasn't where I needed him to be my hand would creep up and i'd get the "HAND DOWN, RIGHT LEG, RIGHT LEG, USE YOUR LEGS, HAND DOWN" from Coach. It's definitely a different style of riding, not using your hands AT ALL, and will take a lot of getting use too.

Picking my cow...

Hey cow, lets do this!

There's the quickness that will take some getting used too...

Furthermore, on the flag, a cow never really "runs off", sure I've loped a bit and trotted more to catch a flag, but coach was always there to kind of control the pace for me. He can't really control a cow, although he could help me hold it, so it was a lot more running and catching up than I was used too, definitely a lot more quicker-paced than it looks when your watching the pros do it. haha, but I guess the pros are a lot better at cutting, holding and reading their cow than little 'ol me is, so that probably also effectively lessens there "run like a bat out of hell to catch a cow time".

we're figuring it out...

By the third cow I felt like CD and I were setting up and working together a lot better, and Laura even got a video of my third cow, so let me know what you think!!

For Next Time: I definitely need to work on sitting down, and being calm, as you probably saw in the video there were a couple turns where CD almost lost me. I have a lot to learn about using my legs effectively, and learning how to read cows but all-in-all, I think my first time cutting live cows was pretty fricken awesome! What a rush, I just want to do it over and over and over again.

yay, one hot, sweaty, happy mess!!

Riding Diary - 55

Time: 2 hr

Ride: Remember that one time I dreamt and wished that my horse was one of those magical horses you hear about, that you can just show up and ride once a week and have lovely transitions, calm departures, and beautiful cadence? People tell me about these horses and I wonder if they actually ride unicorns. Let me tell you something, Jingle is NOT a unicorn.

I showed up to another barrel lesson, gymkhana season is coming pretty fast down the tube here, and Jingle has got to get his turning butt in gear. Funny enough, at the sorting our friendly mentor R told me that I was using "barrel turns" way too often, and needed to focus on stopping, rollbacks and pivots. You know whats funny R? that's what we've been working on ALL WINTER and I focus on barrels for legit 2 weeks and apparently forget how to ride cows. uhm, dur. Score a - for your rider Jingle.

We worked on downward transitions, canter to jog transitions turn my horse into a steaming dragon of hellfire and anger. "YOU WANT ME TO GO SLOW AND THEN GO FAST AND THE GO SLOW AGAIN?" weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee we go around the arena at mach speed. This is my life, ya'll. Of course I picked like THE busiest lesson day i've seen in months to show off my horses bratty behaviour. woop woop.

After getting some half-assed transitions we moved on to barrel work, we practiced some slow stuff to begin with, and then my trainer had me trot to the first, and pick up our left lead to second and third. Jingle was doing alright, but his third barrel is still messy and sloppy, and so she had me attempting to teach him rate and check him into a jog before we hit third. Jingle has done this before, Jingle has actually suprised me with how well he will listen to me before we hit that third barrel. On this day - that was all gone, down the spirally drain of horsemanship. To assist with his third barrel, which generally starts out good but then Jingle shoots past it and makes a huge arc around it, my trainer gave me a crop to lightly pop his shoulder over for when we're entering the barrel turn. Jingle hates crops. Jingle looses his absolute mind when a crop is introduced, even when i'm just holding a crop. I have no idea why... it is seriously unfortunate. The crop got tossed in the dirt because Jingle was becoming a rocking horse... and that's never fun.

We kept at it though - even to the point where Jingle decided to gallop home from third and literally almost slammed us both into the wall before narrowly missing it. Jingle, this is why I tell you that if given the choice you would have always been a gelding, because there's no way in hell natural selection chooses horses that willingly slam into walls. So, Jingle and I did some really nice "Hey fuckhead. This is how we stop" work, everyone was giving us horrified looks.. my horse is a freight train.

Then, we went back to the barrel pattern, taking is slow, not asking for a lope to get him slowed down again, and we got some nice turns at the trot, and at the jog, finally, we loped second and third again and it was a bit more controlled and calm, and so we quit on a good note.

After that, I got to jump on one of my old "babies", Soren (now named Parker) that ended up being bought from the sale of my old ranch and brought to our barn. I warmed him up for his new horsiemamaowner and it was lovely. First of all, horse has got some serious Hunter under Saddle AQHA game. He has the floatiest, most expressive trot. Plus he's slow and steady, oh mah lawd. I even got to trot the barrel pattern on him a couple times, he doesn't turn as snappy as Jingle does, so it took me a minute to figure out how to turn the big lug, but we worked it out. It was awesome. Meanwhile, Laura (Team Bitch of LV Horses (that's my new horse team name, i've decided) hahaha) got to cool down the ever jiggy/fast-moving Jingle. She's the best. Everyone needs a Laura on their team.

For Next Time: I know this post wasn't very "good", but afterwards I was talking with Laura about the ride. Sure, it was pretty nasty, and a couple months ago I would have left the barn and probably come straight home and blogged about how my horse is trying to kill me (k, that still rings true) and how we're never going to get the pattern and how I'm a terrible rider yadayadayada. Now, I've seen his potential, I understand and get his issues and I know that we'll get it - it'll just take a lot of work. Similiar to how much work it took to get his leads and now he's banging those outta the park. So now, our bad rides don't really bum me out like they use too, I just chalk them to "that coulda gone better", and move on. I think he's starting too, too. We're growing up guys ! Someone pass me a tissue to wipe the arena dirt out of my eyes.

So for next time? We're still in speed boot camp. Homeboy has gotta figure out that if he's well-mannered at the slower gaits, he has to also act respectfully at the faster stuff. We'll get there.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Trying New Things: Sorting

So, to top off the most-horsie-longest-craziest weekend of life, on Sunday, Jingle and I (and Quiz and Caron) went sorting! Laura and Sarah came along, and Sarah took all these wonderful photos!

Jingle was an absolute.total.brat when I showed up at our barn to groom him, and it sent me into one of those "oh fuck, my horse is going to kill me today" moods.

Quiz is Jingle's for-real, bestfriend-girlfriend, so it's a big bonus that they know and like eachother.

Caron isn't so bad either! ;) This was the teammmmm on our first sorting adventure!

Sarah took lots of wonderful photos, including this one I love of my saddle.

The competition.

Warming up, Jingle was a dream. The nice deep cow-work ground is new to him, and he felt so nice floating through it. My horse was listening to me, and I was pleased.

Caron and I have never been sorting, and so we went out thinking that we were given our first cows number, and then called whichever one's we wanted. So, she grabbed our first, 6, and I called 9, the lady told us it was consecutive, so I switched and got 7, however, because I had gone after the wrong cow, we were stopped. So we were dq'd our first time.. even though they knew we'd never sorted before and said they'd help us with the rules.

Turns out that you are given your first cow and then it has to be consecutive. So, if I draw 8, then caron get's 9, I get 0, she get's 1 and so on and so forth... also, you are only given a minute. A minute can feel like a lifetime, but also a blink, all at once, when your sorting.

Jingle was honestly fricken wonderful. He's not very cowy, and I think was generally confused as to what we were doing, but he was listening to me. I asked him to turn, he turned, after our second round, we ramped it up and trotted and even loped a bit, and Jingle just followed along with me. Happiness.

Chasing a cow!

Caron pushing a cow out!

By our second time, we had "made" a friend, R, a higher level penner, who helped us out and coached us from the sidelines, and at one point helped us man the centre so that we could both go out and sort more. It was really nice, and awesome. Our second time we were also given a "mulligan", so after the 1 minute time was up, they allowed us to keep sorting until we had sorted the entire group of cows.

Love this photo. My horse is a superstar.

By our third time, with R's guidance, Caron and I were figuring it out. We only got DQ'd the first time, by the second and third we were getting points and pushing cows through! However, both of us kept in mind that we needed to be slow, steady and consistent with our newbie cow horses. There was a lot of reassuring our ponies, petting, keeping it slow... both of them did stellar.

Then we had our "jackpot" round, where your paired with someone else to ride with. Generally, if you are a newer rider, you are paired with someone with more experience. Here "R" and I are, discussing our plan of attack - okay, yep, I will listen to everything you say to me. Is what I'm saying at this point. haha

I like this shot - Jingle is figuring out some cow-sense, he's actually locked onto the cow here.

Shot of my favourite boot & spur strap combo.

I even let Jingle lope a little bit and he didn't lose his mind - success!
R and I got two cows through, and for a LONG time we were first in the jackpot since a lot of the other teams had DQ'd for some reason or another, we ended up coming in third - one spot out of the money! Not too shabby! haha

Here is Laura, aka "Team Bitch" staying with the horses and keeping them calm - love her!

Afterwards Sarah took some regal photos of my king ponyboy with the bluest of blue skies. Look how handsome he is!

I was SO. SO. SO pleased with Jingle during sorting. I am so impressed with how he well he can listen to me (when he wants) and simply trust me in unsure situations. I cannot wait to sort more, I think it's just going to be absolutely wonderful for the both of us!

Overall, It was a totally wonderful experience, we'll for sure be doing it again.
Going for most improved!