Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Planning, and Packing, and... Sitting?


Moving is just so... hard.

Haha, realistically I am being a whiney twerp but let me tell you one thing - I have yet to get my shit together when it comes to "the big move".

I called my phone company, only to be annoyed by their policies on people moving to another country. Yes, I recognize I signed up for a "Caaanadian contract ma'am", do I think it's fair you will only suspend my contract for 6 months? No, I think that's crap.

I called my bank, only to deal with a nincumpoop that didn't know left from right let alone "american banking institution" from canadian. Yes, thank you, I recognize my card allows for unlimited transactions... that's not what I'm asking.

I called AT&T, and discovered that I really need to figure out a cellphone up here, to bring one down there. I.E. A semi up to date iPhone that I will have to unlock.

After all that calling I was tired, so I bought a big duffel bag and stocked up on my favourite shampoo for the trip... so there you go, I'm trying.

Tomorrow morning, briiiight and early, Jingle and I are hopping a ride to the vet's for his coggins. A Coggins is good for 180 days, unfortunately, his export papers/health certificate are only good for 30. So, although I attempted to plan for his move way ahead of time - life was all "heck no, you can't plan ANYTHING". So, I will have to beseech a friend to hold him and retrieve said papers when he's close to coming down, and I will also have to pay a call-out fee. Sigh. I figure I might as well get the Coggins done now, and also have a vet check him over before I bring him to the place he'll be staying for the first couple months while i'm gone. Can't hurt.

In other news, I also want to book Jingle in with his dentist, and osteotherapist before I leave.... horses = money = sigh. More things on the "gotta do right now" list.

So, what i'm trying to say with this post is... would anyone like to just be my executive assistant and plan everything for me? Oh, you would? Wonderful, you're hired!

In other news, Lauren at She Moved to Texas is having a leather halter giveaway from Horze, so go check that out - because everyone needs a new halter, amiright?? Also, shoutout to Lauren, her blog is impeccable, the format makes my OCD heart flutter. My blog, much like my planning and prep, is just slowly sinking down the drain....

Okay, enough moaning, I'm going to go think about starting to do something... ;)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"Versatility" with Jingle.

When I brought Jingle home, it wasn't because he was going to be my next 1D Barrel Horse, or Futurity winnter, it was because I loved him so dearly that my heart would ache when he wasn't near. The two of us have a sometimes weird, inseperable bond. Sometimes, in my craziest moments, I often think that he can truly understand me when I speak to him. When he first came home, my Mantra for Jingle was that he could be whatever he wanted to be. This meant in the first year of our official partnership we stumbled through a few disciplines, jack of all trades, master of none kind of thing.

I basically just wanted to test out a bunch of things, and whatever discipline he seemed to like best, would be what we would do together. It was kind of a radical experiment in horsemanship... do what the horse wants to do. Now, a year later, a couple lameness and saddle fit issues have caused some set-backs and we haven't been able to fully attempt this experiment of mine or even show. (Gymkhana pony was suppose to be on the list for this summer... not happening as of right now).

But, goddamnit, we have dabbled!

Here's a year in review:
When I first brought him home, I dreamt of glittery shirts and saddles, and that flat-footed WP jog. My very forward horse had different ideas and really needed to learn how to slow down, something we are still working on.

Western Pleasure - not in the near future.

To get him to slow down, and think, we dabbled in Trail. Something I think that with time, and consistency, and a big check on his attitude, Jingle will actually excel at. This, so far, has been a contender for what my horse "wants to do".

We've tried Sorting, which continues to confuse Jingle.
His cow-sense is a bit... lacking.

Jingle: If you say so mahm....

Jingle's most favourite title, "kids horse"

Jingle likes this because I am on the ground, where he can see me (no tricky business - like leg yields), the riders are small and have little control (pesky mahm being on the ground does though), and he doesn't have to work hard. Perfect.

He also thinks that perhaps it's time for us to try Liberty Horse...

Jingle: You will not be needing THIS torture device any longer Mahm.
... which he thinks means "at liberty to not be ridden"...

Jingle: Fooled me once... You are NOT Stacy Westfall Mahm.

We've even strapped on an english saddle and Jumped a few baby cross rails - now that was fun.

Jingle: Yes, readers, that is my dork mother wearing cowboy boots when she's riding an "english horse"... le sigh.

More often than not, Jingle desperately wants to be a  pasture puff...

Jingle: Look how exceptionally regal I am without tack, or rider. Why would you want to mess with that?!

Jingle has done the Guide Horse thing...

He also holds the record as potentially the worst guide horse ever to debut at the ranch. His stunts included, but are not limited to, suddenly deciding to lope through forests, pulling back violently, forgetting how to turn left and never being particularly safe, or trustworthy out in the bush. However, he was, and remains, the fastest walking horse I have ever sat. His drive is incredible, but also takes over his brain sometimes, which often results in us crashing through brush and deadfall without taking a moment to.. ya know... think.

However, he has decided that being a Ranch Horse isn't so bad..

His favourite activities continue to be: walking fast, getting places, crashing through things, playing in water... all things he has decided a "ranch horse" can do.

Jingle: Please don't listen to a word this crazy lady has to say

So, that is where we are now - sorta kinda figuring stuff out, this spring and summer has been a bit of a dissapointment riding-wise. Between his problems and how busy I've been, we haven't spent much time in the saddle at all. However, one thing that my horse totally and completely excels at

is being my shoulder to lean and cry on...

&, I would take that over any discipline, any time.

However - unbeknowst to Jingle, I've decided next on the agenda is Roping and Dressage... get ready for it!

Jingle: WUT?! You can't be serious..

Jingle: I thought we were friends, people, but animal services has yet to come and collect me. What a hard life this life is.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Big Announcement: This Little Bird is Heading South!

So, at the end of my last post I said I had a big announcement.... what is that announcement you ask?

Well, I'm going to be as badass as that above badass eagle, and I'm heading to 'murica for a year!

The cutting trainer I have been working for is an american, and is heading back stateside after being up here for a few years. She invited me to join her down there. I will meet up with her mid to end September and we will travel through Texas and California for two months doing show circuits, then head to Utah for a futurity, and then will settle in Arizona for the winter.

It's all very crazy, and I am not "prepared" in the least, but I'm taking the jump because, as you guys know, this is all I want to do right now...

 and what better place to learn how to do that in, than in the cutting capital of the world?

This is a Ronald McDonald cutting a cow outside a McDonald's in Weatherford, TX. You know it's a big deal when... (AND his mount is a trusty paint horse, what what)

Storytime: The universe has a funny way of deciding one's fate sometimes.

When I was 18 I sat on an experienced cutting horse, and held on for dear life as I "cut" a flag for the first time. The feeling I got was indescribable, I felt at home. I still haven't gotten over that first feeling. His owner, my fairy horse godmother, hadn't always had an easy life. We were chatting about cutting, and riding in general because at the time I didn't even know what cutting was and often referred to it as "cowhorse". (Big No-No... sometimes I still don't know what cutting is haha) I remember looking at the bronzes and buckles she had won, and having her say to me "I wish I had tried, I wish I had jumped in and given up everything when I was younger and just given this thing a go. If I had, I think I would be a lot farther along and accomplished than I am now. I regret it everyday." That sentance stayed with me for a long time. I dredged through crappy horse related jobs for quite a few years after that with her words echoing in my mind.
 However, I also try to always remain humble, and so often when I find myself doing something that isn't glamorous or fun in the horse world, my mantra is "pay your dues." I would like to think that even if i'm older, and accomplished, I'll still feel the need to pay those same dues.

I knew that the end of my University career was approaching, and I decided that come September 2013 I was going to do just that, I was going to "give this thing a go". I put that out into the universe, and held onto that idea during many late night cram sessions. Never in my wildest dreams during those late nights would I have thought a mere year later I would get an opportunity like this. I am blessed.

Of course, there's that nagging part of me that worries I will fail, or that this thing will be a bust, but for now, I'm just holding on for dear life. I'm sick and tired of surrounding myself with stagnation and negativity in the horse industry, and the horse people I know. This year I'm focusing on two things - personal development, and dream chasing, and that's all that matters from here and out.

If you have a boring life, maybe you just need to add a little paint. :)

& what about my main man you ask? Well, that's the only part of my life that even held me back a smidge. For the first few months we'll be travelling so much it would be impossible to come, however, come November and us landing in Arizona, my boss said that she could definitely accomodate him coming down to live with us! The whole question of what to do with Jingle weighed heavily on me. The barn we're at now is much too expensive to keep a horse at while i'm not even in town. I wanted him to go somewhere very safe, and trustworthy, I envisioned a family type place with a couple show horses, or retired horses. Luckily for me, I think I found the perfect place. A man I work with at my office has three daughters, similiar in age to me, who show very high level 4-H, as well as WP and Reined Cowhorse. They have 10 acres, and three show horses and a nice little barn incase the weather gets crazy. He immediately offered to take Jingle for about $150 a month. I also wanted him to be somewhere that, just in case something were to go awry, he could stay for a year if need be. They are totally fine with that, and also claim they are okay with me emailing every single day to make sure he's still alive and happy. :)

So, this blog is going to take a bit of a southern twist soon, and the wild-eyed paint might just become a desert horse yet - Jingle amongst the cactus, can you imagine?!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Big 'Ol Update from your Long Lost Blogger Friend.

Where have I been? WHAT have I been doing? Remember that one time I used to blog...

Well, I finally have a moment in my schedule and I just wanted to update a bit about life.

Being a loper has been a wonderful, lovely experience. Here I am, "at the office" riding and ponying two of our show horses. Sometimes, my office is galloping a two year old in a field with the mountains just off in the distance. Other times, it's sipping a coffee, watching my boss work cows. Life, is good.

However, in my other horse-life, aka Jingle, I was having a bit more of an issue this summer. After our Spring saddle-related soreness, come summer Jingle continued to have a mystery lameness, that a vet called an "unusual movement, but not lame". He was still stagnating between bad and good, and had almost 6 weeks off, and so I started to slowly work him again. For two weeks we slowly worked on getting him back in the swing of things, we trotted up and down a fence line and starting to build him back up. Straight lines seemed to help, and so for awhile, this big field was my arena.

Finally, I circled him for the first time in what seemed like months, and lo and behold... my horse seemed sound.

An exceptionally rare video of me riding...
how do I look, but better yet, how does my big man look?! 

Sarah's kids, Ben and Abby, even got to spend a time with their favourite painted pony...

Jingle is such a champ. I love him.

We visited the old ranch... as you can probably tell from my last post, not being out there this summer was something that I have been struggling with.

Here's my poor Cash... looking all mangey and disheveled.

It's funny, I was having a discussion with someone about the treatment of horses. They were talking about PETA and all the issues that these organizations have with rodeo, chuckwagon racing etc. To me, having seen many sides of horse ownership, the worst horse owners are the ones that stick their horses in fields and never check on them, never do anything with them... However, horses roaming in big barbed-wired fields is what seems to be a "good" image for non-horse people. Sigh.

The horse-crew was happy to see us, a kid-free summer must seem quite foreign and strange for many of them.

Of course.. just as soon as Jingle seemed "good" again, my crazy-busy lifestyle caught up with me, and I could barely steal away to even see him, let alone ride him. Once I did, I discovered a bit of a gash that poor princess-face was really not happy about. His fly sheet had been rubbing it and I think it was really irritating him. So, he got a couple days off for that to heal over, and for him to get over himself.

Jingle has been spending A LOT of time in his back on track products lately...
(Which, I am now a firm believer in, he loves his BOT time, I swear, totally mellows him out)

Jingle, in working with his "let's never ride again" theme, has decided that he's now going to be a liberty horse - no bridle, no halter, nothing. He thinks this means he's "at liberty to not be ridden ever again". He is very happy with this new adventure in his life.

Jingle's mane is seriously growing, we're almost at that mythic gunner-style reining mane (WITHOUT the extensions - what whaaaat). Atleast something is going right this summer.

A snapshot of that aforementioned "loper life"

Mac and Jingle, enjoying their lazy summer.

Finally, a word about my horse.

It's been a year since I purchased him, and three since he sunk so deep down into my heart that all of a sudden he encompassed me totally, and fully. It's hard for me to put in words quite what this horse means to me, but he means everything. There is something about the way the two of us can just "be" together, and there's also something in the way I am when I'm around him. He has taught me strength and compassion, learning and patience. He may not be, or may never be, a performance horse, or some champion with earnings... but he's mine, and he has blessed me, and continues to bless me whenever I am around him. I can't wait for another 20 years with this big brute - hopefully more!

So, that's a bit of a recap - can you believe there's more?!
Big announcement coming next ;)