Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2009 THE YEAR WITH NO FEAR!

In case all y'all didn't know, I live may lives. One of those lives is a children's writer. It's wonderful and creative and mostly inhabited by women. BUT one of my dear friends is Mr. Jim Averbeck. 
About a year ago Jim and I travelled together to a conference and as we rolled merrily along we disclosed things to each other about ourselves. One story he told has stayed with me, it is the story of his Year With No Fear.
About a year before,his partner of several years had had a very scary incedent and Jim began to fear everything. He didn't leave the apartment, he didn't accept invitations to anything. His artwork suffered, his writing suffered. He was in short- unhappy. 
Then he and his partner went to some wonderful warm place and in an inspired moment he had an epiphany. He was tired of feeling depressed and sad, always waiting for another shoe to drop, another crisis to avert. He decided that the New Year would be for him The Year of No Fear. And to celebrate this he and his partner jumped off of a cliff-literally! A 60 foot cliff!
And they didn't die! 
And so began his YWNF. He began his art projects anew, he rewrote and submitted a long held manuscript "In a Blue Room". He reconnected with his friends, his allies and himself. He told me it wasn't always easy, but after jumping off of a cliff what else could be so scary?
 
The happy result of his Year is this book- "In A Blue Room"
Illustrations are by Tricia Tusa. This charming book is nominated for many awards this year, and has a starred review in the Publishers Weekly. (No mean feat- let me assure you!). 
So after Jim's story I have reminded myself many times to live my Year with No Fear. I advocate it to all of you too! That doesn't mean you have to jump off a cliff ( eegads!) But I want you all to do something different- something that you are afraid of doing because it is out of your comfort zone. I want you to take the literal leap of faith that I know you are all capable of!
I want you to ride bareback, or rescue a horse, or walk ten miles for a cause. I want you to join a theatre group, or enter a horse show or stand  up at a City meeting and give your opinion about something you believe in. 
Make 2009 the Best Year of your lives!
I dare ya!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Glacier Update

Glacier is doing well! As of today she has gained 40 pounds! That is about 10 lb. a week.  Her energy level is returning, she now has enough energy to make ugly faces at Desi, her next stall neighbor, and hop up and down if he gets fed first. 
Her skin problem is slowly resolving itself with the scabs and hair falling out in small pieces.    I'm using MTG on it, and though it is rather smelly it seems to be working. Her thrush is nearly gone too- Thanks Thrush Buster!
I wanted to see if she knew how to lunge on a line today, so after grooming her, and cleaning her feet, we put on the halter and went into the arena. After first standing there looking at me like,  " Oh darn!" she began to walk in a circle around me. At the snap of the whip she began to trot, and I must say she has a long lovely stride. Then I asked for the lope, and she kinda forgot she was on a long line and took off bucking and running. She hit the line, with my big butt on the other end, and it knocked her off her feet. She's still weak, so it sure didn't take much. Not to worry though- she's ok. 
After that she remembered her manners and loped nicely around in a circle, both directions. 
I'm very pleased I won't have to retrain her, and now we can begin building some muscle tone back into her.
She's really very sweet and extremely kind ( except to Desi whom she hates!)
I didn't have my camera with me today, but I'll take some new pictures soon so you all can see the improvements. 

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I've been scrapped!

 Heidi over at   Heidiwriter's Weblog has scrapped me! Oh that sounds painful doesn't it? Fear not! I can handle it! I've been scrapped before- or perhaps I have been doing the scrapping. On the other hand- Scrap is good! It is creative! I make stuff out of scrap all'a time! 
So I have to give you all ten 'scraps' of honest info about me. BORING! But I'll do it anyway- y'all need a nap right about now I'm sure. 
Oh and I have to scrap some other folks too! So look out I may scrap you! Check out the end of the blog to see who I've picked. 

Scrap 1. I hate to cook. Yup- I know all you dollys out there LUUUUVVE it, but I have a fierce wish to turn my stove into a planter. 

Scrap 2. I've been buying trading and selling horses since I was about ten. Some of them my parents knew about, some they didn't. But that was in a time where people would deal with a confident ten year old and not ask, " Where is your Mother?" 

Scrap 3.  I've never been out of the country. Yes that is Country not county. Not Mexico-not Canada, not even Hawaii which is still technically in the USA, but since you have to fly over water to get there  I count it. 

Scrap 4. Before I had a drivers license, I had a black and white pony and cart that I drove EVERYWHERE!. And remember this is the East Bay, just East of San Francisco- people gawked! Even then....

Scrap 5. My first real job besides babysitting or riding horses was at a Gas Station and I was the window washer. Self explanatory I'm sure. I was 14 and made $1.50 an hour. 

Scrap 6. When I was five I rode my Shetlands with a string wrapped around their bottom jaws because I had read about it in a book. ( Where is your mother?")And I didn't ever ride in an arena- it was the wide open spaces....

Scrap 7. I have had horses rear and fall on me three times. (and of those times I was hurt twice).

Scrap 8. My greatest aspiration ( as of today anyway) is to ride Bay Desperado (Desi) in the AQHA Select show.Someday. Soon.

Scrap 9. I read about three books a week. 

Scrap 10. I listen to the Grateful Dead all of the time. Aiko Aiko is my favorite song, followed closely by Sugar Magnolia.

So there you have it! Fascinated? I'll bet! 
And now... I am going to Honestly Scrap ....
Bee Content Ranch  
C-ingspots
Lucky Begonia  
Life at the Rough String.


Great Blogs all! Now its your turn to spill!
Yahoo!
 

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ghosts of Christmas Past

My most favorite thing about Christmas is ...





Not the Candy, although I like that a lot.



Not the lights, even though I enjoy driving around my neighborhood to see what everyone has done.



It's not the gifts either.



It is something small.



And very personal.




It is the Memories I make and recall each year.

It is Hubby (who looks a little like Jesus) stringing the lights because I wasn't tall enough and hate high places.




It's Lil Mama in her very most favorite Christmas dress being sweet for the camera.




It is the first puppy she ever owned by herself -Patsy the Amazing Doggie.





It is OD and Mac- he was young and black as night then.




It's picking the biggest tree we could find, then smashing it into the bed of the pickup truck.

It's my memories of two little girls so full of happiness and excitement that they were bouncing in their beds.

It is the memory of my Granny and her silver tree, plastic icicles and red,blue and green rotating lights. (sure wish I could find a picture of
that!)
I know - you are saying..."All we have are memories!" And you might be right! But to me Christmas memories are just extra special. They seem to stand out and glow in my mind. I anticipate taking out my box of ornaments, carefully unwrapping each precious one and recalling the past. Grandma's name etched on this gold one, Baby Gin's first plastic orb. The year we took OD to SF and found this bright blown glass ball in the window at Union Square. Remember, remember... remember.
Are you remembering too?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gettin' California on y'all

Recently someone told me they thought I had lots of good people around me. They are right! I do!
But it has been a process of growing and re-evaluation and self evaluation and introspection. It has taken all of a lifetime to finally be in the place I am today. 
I enjoy a good drama- from time to time. I write drama and I watch it on TV. But after Living in Drama for a large portion of my life I finally just said "STOP!" I dropped the people in my life that wanted to draw blood, live my life, suck me dry. It wasn't easy- oh no! Those same people- the ones living in the ' I can't help it' groove- kept trying to weasel their way back in to my life. 
Recently I had one try to weasel back in again.  An old high school flame- albeit one that I was crazy about - when I was sixteen and didn't know JACK! 
He called to say 'hello', he wanted to know how I was, if I remembered him ( how could I forget the guy that broke up with me in code, in my High School yearbook pages!)If we could meet for coffee...yadayadayada! 
Hmm... let me think a minute-no! Nice to hear from you-goodbye. 
Was I sorry? Nah. 
I believe that (here's where I go all California on yer asses) bad Karma begets bad Karma, and good Karma draws good Karma to you. If you are bright enough or lucky enough or aware enough to stop repeating the cycle of bad, weird, hurtful, angry things, you can get up out of that same rut and begin to shine. 
I don't have time for people that lie. 
Or people with the faces of angels that have the hearts of devils. 
I try to live each moment of my life like it might be the last.
 I stop to thank people for the everyday things they do, for me or for others.
 I try like hell to say something positive to everyone I meet.  
I stop to smell the roses.
 I lend a hand.
 I listen. 
And it comes back to me ten-fold!

 I do have a group of wonderful, giving, happy people surrounding me daily. 
Don't you?

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Real Good Day!











Glaciers feet were not as bad as I'd feared! Her toes were long, but her heels weren't, her sole is soft, but her hoof is hard. Her legs are in good shape too- a few minor, and older, splints, low down on the inside. She's thin and she has no muscle, but her body score wouldn't be bad. All and all a very good report. Vet coming on Thursday to check her teeth.


And on this weeks Horse.com website was a great article on feeding an older neglected horse- just up my alley! To check it out you can go to MySpace-Mtzhorsewomanprez.






This is my cutie-patootie horseshoer- Kevin A. Not only is he a real nice guy- he has a New Zealand accent- G'day Mate and all of that! He's a great horseshoer too! Too bad he has a sweet girlfriend- we'd all be fighting over him!

It was cold today too- at least by CALIFORNIA standards. Last week- 75 degrees. Today it was 48 degrees. Brrr! Too swift a change for me, my blood is still real thin! We bundled up TLC and drug him along (of course! they kinda of frown on leaving babies home alone at this age-). He loved it! His little nose got kinda red, but he smiled at Kevin and cooed at me, and wanted to touch 'his' pony!
Then The Best Neighbor in the Whole World came over and brought us a kids saddle ! Whoopee!~
Now Lil Mama can make a sheckle or two giving riding lessons. Boy It was a super duper day for us!
Hope all of you had good days too!
It's only 17 more days until Christmas!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Glacier Reunited

Does this look like a happy girl? You bet! 
This is my niece The Ant. She's fifteen now,she  learned to ride on this mare, and was beyond surprised today when she came to visit me. 
Me~ Let's go see the horses. 
Ant~ (coming down the shed row) Who is that horse... Is that GLACIER! How did she get here? What is going on!
Me~ snicker snicker. I bought her! She'll be here with me now forever! 
Ant~ (Smiles as big as can be) Can I brush her?

So The Ant spent the afternoon, brushing her coat, cleaning her feet, and letting her graze around the barnyard. She told me that the mare is three years older than she is- so that makes Glacier 18. She told me her registered name is Glacier Two Hands, and she told me her Mom ( my crazy sister) still has her papers ...somewhere.  So part deux of the Great Glacier Caper will continue...
As I was happily clipping my own sweet Desi, I was  thinking of all the things that had to go right for me to find this horse. The timing of the ad, our finances, etc.. and I was enjoying the fact that this turned out well, especially for the horse and Ant.  It occurred to me that there usually aren't happy endings to this sort of thing, so why did I expect this to be one? And then somewhere in the back of my mind I remembered Black Beauty. You all know the story of the black horse that goes from riches to rags and then is rescued by his original not so rich groom.  We all rooted for Black Beauty, but his pal Ginger wasn't so lucky. More horses face the fate Ginger faced.  
I have rescued plenty of horses. I was rescuing horses when it wasn't fashionable- when people thought I was just a crazy young girl. And I am so glad that I am not alone in this any longer. I know you all do what you can- not only to rescue horses but to educate people as well. Just like Anna Sewell tried to do all those many years ago. 
Thanks to all of you for your support!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Thanks Horseshoeing Housewife-I think...

Ok I've been tagged by the Horse shoeing Housewife. I'm suppose to tag a few others, but I don't have all that many blogger buddies yet- so I'll just leave it open- for now.
This is six (count 'em) 6 things that are little known about me.

1. I love Cartoon movies. My Favorite is The Incredibles, but I love them all from Shrek to Snow White.

2. I have been a professional driver. Not like a race car driver- although I have gone fast in a car or two. I mean I drove for a living- I was a Team-o bitch for 12 years, and I drove a Limo for two. I love to drive!

3. I wanted to be an actress or director when I grew up and actively studied to do so.

4.I've been without a horse in my life probably a total of two weeks.

5. I was on local TV last year and I never tuned in to watch the program.

6. I am a history buff-especially California History and local Native American History. But I have traced one line of my ancestors all the way back to the early 1700's when they came here from Ireland as indentured servents.

So now you know all about Vaquerogirl!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Saga Of Glacier

OH Friends, this is a long and sad little story. 
Can you bear it at Christmas time? 
I hope so. 

This is the Saga of Glacier, the little black and white Appaloosa mare. She was purchased as a young horse up in the Territory of Alaska. She was loved and petted and the girl that bought her is my little sister. LS rode her everyday, trained her in the wilds of Alaska, riding her and packing on her- the little mare gave her all with never any fuss. She was THAT kind of horse. 
Then LS moved to the Lower 48 and brought the little mare with her. She took good care of her, but things started to go bad. LS got into drugs and her hubby got into alcohol. They still took care of Glacier, but maybe not as good as they should have. LS continued to get worse and worse, she left her family and abandoned her horse. She tried to get straight and divorced her hubby but the pull of drugs was too strong and pretty soon, she wasn't going to see Glacier at all. She forgot she had a horse or a family. Glacier was abandoned -but the barn owner was kind and fed Glacier, and fixed her neglected feet. This is about the time I realized the LS wasn't taking care of Glacier any more. I tried to buy Glacier, but it was too late the barn owner had already sold her to a young girl that he thought was kind and good. She wasn't. She was a spoiled selfish little beznatch! I tried to buy Glacier from her and she said " F-you!" But the little girl couldn't keep Glacier, she rode her too hard, fed her too rich and nearly killed her- so she gave her to some other kids. The other kids weren't any better. They abandoned Glacier in a field. A nice woman that someone knew had horses was called in to rescue Glacier, which she did- and because she had eleven horses of her own she listed her for sale on Craig's list. 

Where I spied her. 

"It can't be OUR Glacier!" I thought! So I called up my Super Sleuth- Lil Mama- and had her call the nice woman. The Nice Woman told Lil Mama a sad tale of this poor abandoned appaloosa horse. The horse was suppose to be a super dressage horse brought down from Alaska, but the poor horse had been abandoned for the last ten years in a field. 

WELL! 

I knew the real story- but I wern't saying. 

So I got out my "Hunny, this is Real Important To Me," face and put it on- hit my TERRIFFIC Hubby up for the dough-which he gave to me with nary a fuss at all! We hitched up the trailer and headed out.
Lil Mama and I drove to the Nice Woman's house- 2 hours away- with a screaming baby-through rush hour Bay Area traffic and negotiated for the sad little horse. We smiled and nodded and finally put the little mare into our trailer and brought her home. 
NOW she is our little Pony- Never to roam no more. She has a forever home with ME and Lil Mama! 
LS won't ever get her back- and she will want for nothing all the days of her life.

Hey! I didn't say the story had a sad ending!

If you want to see the pictures go to Mommy in Spurs blog- she took them this afternoon. I'll post some later tomorrow. 

Saturday, November 29, 2008

..The answer is " a pony".

Around here any time I ask my daughter, Lil Mama, a question, her answer has usually been," A pony." Since she saw Mikeys petrefied frog now her answer to any question is " A petrified frog."

Me~ "Guess what I had for lunch?"

Lil Mama~ " A petrified frog?"

Me~ "Are you going to the store?"

Lil Mama~ "yes, to get a petrified frog."

Me~ " Where are your boots?"

Lil Mama~"Next to the petrified frog."



sigh***

Friday, November 28, 2008


I never have really traditional Thanksgiving dinners. Although I have family around, they never seldom come to my house to eat. I usually have a collection of 'onlys' that come to feast and I like it that way. The last few years my dear friend, Rich, has come to dinner. Rich is a big game hunter, and he always brings something to 'share' with me.

One year it was a 20 foot stuffed Crocadile that he killed in Africa. He only brought it in as far as my front door- cuz Crocks give me the creeps!


Last year it was a babboon head, and this year it was this elephants foot.



This is the OD-standing with both of her feet inside the Elephant foot.

Let me tell you all that I am NOT a hunter, I AM a shooter. But I do understand that these animals are culled and it is better for the health of the herds to do so. I also know that not one ounce of this animal went to waste. The natives cannot own guns or use them to kill food, so when a hunter takes a beast there is a kind of relay system that goes out through the nearby villages. The head men of the village come and take as much meat as they can carry back to their families. They take every scrap and bone. The hunter gets the feet and the tail( if they want it) and the hide.
It makes me appreciate our good old fashioned farm raised tom turkeys!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What Are You Thankful For?











It is the time to wax poetic, sigh deeply and remember all the wonderful things in our lives- a time to heap blessings upon those you love and hope they heap blessings on you too. A time to count your blessings instead of sheep. I, like everyone else, have many many things to be thankful for. I won't bore you with the more mundane of those- you already know them by heart and probably have whispered them to your loved ones already. So here are the lesser known things that I am thankful for.







I'm thankful that I have the age, ability and pocketbook not to ride those horses that are 'turkeys'. I've ridden all the broncs, orangutans and wild beasties to last me another lifetime.






I'm thankful that though I am not a petite woman, I haven't been able to eat myself into oblivion and my butt is still not as big as the Macy's Day Parade Balloon!
I am thankful that my children have survived into adulthood and that I did not actually turn them into stuffing for any of my previous Thanksgiving Turkeys!(Although there were a few Thanksgivings that I might have liked to try!)










I am thankful that any Pilgrim in my house is of the John Wayne variety and not the kind that wore gold buckles on their shoes or that crazy looking white collar.


I'm thankful that whipped creme and punkin pie don't actually have ANY calories! (uh-huh! My Granny told me so!)


So Happy Thanksgiving Dear Friends all over the World! I hope your horses are happy, your kids well fed, and your lives at full tilt!


























Sunday, November 16, 2008

Quarters vs Arabians



First off let me start out saying that there is no one perfect horse! Oh, I can just hear you all huffing! Really, all horses are beautiful and special and wonderful- they all have lots in common- they all have brains the size of a small fist, they all have smelly poop we have to clean up and have not as yet learned how to turn into gold, they all have personalities that can change literally with the wind.

But someone recently asked me why I switched from Arabs to Quarters. This is my answer- it pertains only to me and is my opinion (and darn it I'm entitled to it! )


I grew up riding American Quarter Horses, that is what we had for ranch work. I rode Shetland ponies, donkeys, Morgans, Appaloosas, POA"s, Tennessee Walking horses, Standardbreds, Thoroughbreds and quite a few crosses in between. I rode them for fun and I rode them for a living. I rode my own and I rode every one elses too. They all taught me something, and I enjoyed ( almost) every one of them.


I actually bred and trained Arabian horses for a while too. Let me tell you, I love Arabian horses for all the same reasons that you all love them. They are spectacular to look at, they can go forever and they are super smart. They are fairly versatile too, but even though there are Arabs that do reining and cowwork, they are not 'bred to it" and don't have the same sparkle and snap that a QH has. I love the cow work, and wanted a horse that would love it too.


Another reason why I switched back to QH's were the people involved in breeding Arab's at the time. There were a lot of bad practices going on in the show world, and in the training that I couldn't hold to- and if I wanted to be competative I would have had to deal with those people. Life is too short to deal with Asshats, so I moved back to the QH. Oh, there are plenty Asshats in the QH world too, but I know enough about the breed and the training not to have to deal with them if I so wish. And I have met a whole lot of friendly wonderful QH owners and breeders... the Arabian breeders I met ( save a rare few) were only in it for the money and had no love for the breed.(This was in the 70's and becuse of this a whole lot of Arab breeders bred too many poor quality horses, then the Arab market crashed and those some people dumped their high doller horses, but not before breeding a crop of 'weeds'.


The third and final reason that I no longer own Arabs is their Personal Safety Response( the side ways whirl and bolt spook)-so many of them are in full flight mode all of the time, and as I get older I just hate hitting the ground! I mean I am a good rider,BUT there ain't a cowgirl that can't get throwed. My QH Dez throws me too, (he is as close to an Arab that you can get and still be regestered QH)- because of the same Personal Safety Response- but he only spooks at something once... then he files it away in his ' Oh THAT won't eat me after all!' file, and on we go. So his flight response is whittling away to practically nothing and will continue to decrease as he gets older. So many highly bred Arabs never lose it. It made training difficult and frustrating, as I spent more time reassuring them than actually going forward in our training programs.


Now I know there are many many Arabs out there that are as quiet and calm as the day is long. They are bred wonderfully and have given many families a safe and solid mount- but for me- the Quarter Horse was a much better choice for my daily mount.


And as I get older and more infirm, maybe I'll change my mind and take up driving minis!


To all of you- what ever you choose to ride, choose the best!






Friday, November 14, 2008

TRAINWRECK! (not the Woman- the feeling)

Man, this has been one heck of a week for me. As you all know I don't have a regular job any longer. I have been freelancing for the last three months, and it's been working out pretty well. I agreed to work as a stall cleaner this week, thinking " No brainer! Easy money!" Phfffttt!
What I was recalling was the time I ran a full care boarding facility . I kept approx 15 horses, cleaned nine stalls, and 4 paddocks. Broke and trained and rode three or four horses, gave lessons and raised my two little girls. (HINT: The operative word in the last paragraph is LITTLE). My girls are BIG now- that golden time in my life was about Ten years ago. And Now I am TEN years OLDER! I hate to admit it, but hunnys'- I am finally feeling my age!
Oh Yeah- you heard it- I said it- AGE.
I got through the week- cleaning eight stalls,and doing various other physical things... and tonight I am sooooooooo glad it's friday! I feel like a trainwreck! ( Not that I feel like you TW- but I feel like a train has wrecked me!)
Man oh man what a differance a few measly years (and a few measly pounds) can make in a girl! Whew!
I should be glad that I was working so hard ( I am) so I don't have to sign up for the GYM ( I'm not), but all I can think about tonight is a large full glass of Vodka and OJ. Hear it? It's calling my name...
"YooHoo! Fat Girl! Ease on over here..."
I'm gone!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Camo-WHAT?


Karen is married to what my friend Meg describes as a "City Kitty". Now there is nothing wrong with that- my very Own Best Husband thinks that 'outside' is where the car is parked. So when we were shopping via catalog- Cabela's to be exact-and he called- we just couldn't help but laugh at the following conversation. ..
Him~ What are you doing?
Her~ Shopping for a jacket in Cabela's catalog. I want one that is Camo. 
Him~Camel?
Her~ No, Camo!
Him~ Camo? Like... Flaw-jj?
Her~ sigh***

So the jacket here isn't Camo-flawjj, but it's nice and warm and PINK! Guess where I found it? 
Yep- My favorite store- Tractor Supply!


Sunday, November 9, 2008

Four Little Words....

When I am telling a story there are four little words that usually precede the very best or funniest or outrageous of the stories. They are "Well, Alcohol was involved..."
Girlfriends-I want you to remember those words during the next blog or two.
I spent the weekend at The Big D's Fabuloso Ranch with Girlfriend Karen in tow. We spent two days doing some of the funnest things a girl can do, like shopping (by catalog and in person)riding, drinking and gossiping. ( I'll let you all figure out which of the other fun stuff we didn't do) !
And athought I am under threat of DEATH by torture, I'll let you in on a little secret- we did virtual makeovers on the computer! I am not allowed to show you the pictures of the makeovers- but they were hysterical! We logged onto the Mary Kay website and downloaded our photos, and then added makeup and changed hairstyles, complete with a color change- right to our very own faces! Oh My MY! I turned into the Lunchlady, D was Mrs Doubtfire and Karen- well, she would have been right at home on the corner of Hollywoood and Vine ( if you get my drift!)
http://www.marykay.com/whatsnew/virtualmakeover/default.aspx
Try it for yourselves! It's much better with a little Fun- In A- Glass and a few open-minded girlfriends (since I can't be with you all in person).Great for a rainy day! And who knows, maybe you won't look like The Church Lady or a Drag Queen-but will actually find the perfect 'look' for the holidays!

Say tuned for the next blogs- As soon as my ribs heal from laughing so hard....

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

All Y'all can be a SPQ!




Sweet Potato Queen darlin'! And I am one! So is Lil Mama. I think Meg might aspire to be one, and Trainwreck too! What, you are asking yourself, is SPQ and WHY in the name of all that's Western would I want to be one?


Well, because it's fun!
The Queen of all Queens, the O-riginal Sweet Potato Queen is Jill Conner Browne. Now you will have to pick up a book and read it to know the secret of the SPQ, why the name, and what is with the hair and clothes- but it is worth it! Jill, bless her little heart, has a whole line of good readin' starting with God Save The Sweet Potato Queens. Reading these books is just a hoot! I mean that literally, if you aren't laughing within a few minutes of picking these up and cracking the spine, well Hunny- you must be seriously depressed.
Jill talks about things us'n all know, food (Pig Candy- to die for!) ,men (all kinds ,from a crud spud to a stud spud), women friends, babies( tater tots), and drinking( Kick Ass Marquerita mix is a recipe in the book). ( Now some of you don't drink, and that is ok- you don't have to drink to be a SPQ!) Not a mention of any thing Horsey- but sometimes I do like to stray!
So during one of these rainy spells, when you need a serious pick-me-up, dive into this or any of her books! Then drop me a line and we'll dish!
God Bless the Sweet Potato Queens!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

It never rains in California....



It surely did rain today though! Buckets and buckets of the wet stuff pouring down from a steel grey sky. And you know what happens when it rains in California? People go beserk! I mean it! They weave from lane to lane, and ride their brakes without actually slowing down on the slippery oily roads! They stop in the middle of the road and look up through half rolled-down windshields, like turkeys waiting to drown in a teaspoon of water. It's enough to make a girl want to pull out her shootin iron and plug their cars! I said ALMOST_ I wouldn't really do it...Besides most of the time they wreck their cars and do more damage to themselves than I could ever do! So let it rain! Let it Pour! I'll stay indoors and bake cookies!



Thursday, October 30, 2008

What to do on a Wednesday



Hubby and I got up at the CRASH of Dawn this morning and set out for Nevada. It is a three to four hour trip from our home in the Bay Area, but we made it in three.This picture is near the top of the summit of the Great Sierra Nevada Mountains. The line running diagonal across the face of the mountain is the actual Transcontinental Railroad concieved by Thad Judea way back in 1860. It is a covered railroad track. Covered so that the train can still navigate through the snow. It always amazes me that not only did the pioneers navigate OVER this rough terrain, moving rocks and trees so their wagons could get through, but then they decided to go through it so a train could get through.Amazing. Of course this picture was taken from a fast moving Cadillac- so it isn't of the best quality ( see the note about three hours above).
We had some biz-nezz in Reno, and then we went to Virginia City. Silver was discovered here in 1850 something- the biggest deposit of silver ore found in the US of A. People from all over flocked to Virginia City to make their fortunes and many of them did. San Francisco's Nob Hill is full of Mansions built from the money obtained here. You can see from the top photo that there isn't a lot of the town left. But what is there is absolutly charming ( if you can look past the t-shirts and what-not.) Mark Twain started his writing career here, Mr. Sutro built his first tunnel. This is the biggest Landmark town still in existence- the whole thing is preserved ( in a fashion). Its haunted too! I know this for a fact- I come here often and have had weird and spooky things happen around me! Clocks that run backwards, weird sounds, blue lights, healing hands of unseen figures. UUmm- I just felt a shiver!!
And they have the cutest Wild Horse Museum, it's housed inside a railroad car. The woman there told me they did a helicopter count this spring and counted over 14,000 head. I don't know how I feel about that...hmmm..... a blog for another day.
How was your Wednesday?





Saturday, October 25, 2008

Thanks Cheryl!

I've been given an AWARD! Yippee! Thank you to Cheryl at http://desertswest.blogspot.com/. Now I am suppose to nominate three others! Wow- so many blogs- so little time!

So I nominate

http://browneyedcowgirls.blogspot.com/ . She's a real cowgirl- and even more than that she's a HORSEMAN. And anyone who knows me, knows that as far as I am concerned that is the highest praise possible.

http://thehorseshoeinghousewife.blogspot.com/ What can I say about Mikey that any of you haven't already said? Except to double the praise! Mikey is her own women and like I say," Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity." Rock on Girl!

Lastly is a new blogger, http://mommyinspurs.blogspot.com/. For such a young women Ginny is incredibly grounded, she's a horseman, a cowgirl and my best friend. She's also my daughter! Stop by and tell her " Hi!"

And for the rest of you- You are all wonderful and special. I can't wait to read about each of you every day! And yes, I DO have another life ( if you must know!).Visit my website to see what it is!

Bullrider!


BULLRIDER~ by Suzanne Morgan Williams is the kind of book you are going to want your kids to read. YOU are going to want to read it too.
In a small Nevada town the O'Mara Family men are known for their bullriding skills- all except Cam. He'd rather shred asphalt on a skateboard and that is just fine with him. His older brother Ben was Nevada State High School Rodeo Champion and that's a big shadow to walk from under. Ben walked away from a Professional career as a Rodeo Cowboy to join the War effort in Iraq with dire consequences. Twelve days from his release Ben is blown up by a mine. He lives but his life will forever be different. Not only his life- but everyone in the O'Mara family too. Cam struggles with the new image of his brother, as does Ben himself. On a dare, Cam tries to ride a bull, with little success, but it lights a fire in him to ride another, and then another. And when Ben is nearly hopeless Cam decides to ride the biggest baddest Bull in the Rodeo- UGLY, to show what a little fortitude can do. With a lot of love, a little faith and a smidge of family magic, Cam finally gets his chance.
BULLRIDER is not a soap opera, not a tear-jerker, not maudlin or self aggrandizing, but a realistic account of two young men struggling to understand the changes in their lives. It is a story told with enormous heart and the twist at the end will leave you breathless and smiling.
Bullrider is not on the bookstore shelves yet- you have been been given a very rare early review! If this story intrigues you, please go to your local bookstore and ASK for it by NAME, hopefully they will order copies for you all to buy. And since Suzanne Williams has a blog on this very site I'll give you dimes for donuts that she will autograph it for you if you e-mail her. For those of you in Nevada, you can look for her at a bookstore near you sometime in the spring. The book is due to be released sometime in March or April.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Remember WAYYY Backkkkk....


Well not that far back actually- it just felt like a long time- it was really only August. I just now found out how I did in that last show!

I didn't place that last day at all!

Curses!

It was a tough judge...even my friend Karen , whose horse is broke to death- placed 9th- and she only tic'd one pole!

BUT the good news is.... Karen ( This is her and Shirley at left)place 2n'd overall for that class! She won a great Buckle! (Remember Karen has only been showing two years!) I'm super proud of her! In that same class I placed 15th ( out of 30 riders) Well I console myself knowing that I placed in the upper half.

In the Other class- the Novice -Karen tied for 2nd Place, and I placed 6th. My goal had been to place in the top 5- and I almost made it. (Missed it by THAT much!)

So now it is time to pull my big girl bloomers up, strap on my spurs and practice practice PRACTICE for next year.

YeeeHaw!

Monday, October 20, 2008

OMG!


This just goes to show you that if a horse can into trouble with something- it will! This poor horse was able to be rescued with a chain saw and was relatively unhurt. Whew! Do you think it will keep this horse from sticking his fool head into another tree- 'prolly' not! For such a nobel and regal animal- they ain't too bright sometimes!

I've been around horsess for most of my life- and I have learned over MANY years to 'listen to the voice'. You know the VOICE! The one that whispers into your ears as you turn your horse out into the pasture knowing that there is a loose panel or an undone staple or a unfastened bucket " Don't do it- he'll get hung up,cut,mangled..."

Yeah- THAT voice.

The last time I ignored that voice it turned out REAL BAD! I was about 16 (ages ago) my horse was kept in a 50 acre pasture that was located between a major Highway and a train track.

( STOP reading NOW if you are getting a real bad feeling).

We didn't own the pasture, but I used to ride the fence line occasionally because sometimes horses got out on the Highway and were struck by cars. (Another crazy story there- I gar-run-tee!) And there was a real bad spot on the fence next to the train track. I rewired it together the best I could, thinking it was in a small swale where the horses NEVER went, and I would get the landlord to fix it soon as I saw him. Well- that didn't happen, because I went to school the next morning only to be called out of class by my DAD. My horse had gotten out and gotten hit by the TRAIN! OMG! It was the worse feeling I've ever had! There is no fix for being hit by a train- she was dead, they had to bury her next to the tracks. And to make matters worse the Train Co was going to sue ME for letting my horse out on the track! Well, that didn't happen, they actually ended paying me more than what the horse was worth monetarily- but the TRAUMA .. need I say more?

So the moral of this story is if you hear The Voice- LISTEN!

Friday, October 17, 2008

"A Run to Remember"

Yesterday I recieved a small note in my e-mail box. Just about twenty little words it sure made my day. It said " Are you the Barbara Glenn that wrote " A Run to Remember"? One of my students is going to read it as his essay in prose for a school project."

WELL! I am that person, and I wrote that piece originally in the early 1990's for GMAC Quest magazine. I really liked that piece and so I sent in in to "Chicken Soup for the Pre Teen Aged Soul (2001). CSFTPTAS was a best selling book that year, so I felt kinda good about my small piece being in there. I've also read that piece myself in a few Author readings as it is very personal to me.
And then suddenly here is the story again- making me smile, helping a few more displaced and awkward kids to be winners. It makes me feel all goose-pimply again! And that, Dear Friends is why I continue writing against all odds. The fact that the power of a story does not diminish with time but goes on long after you have written it down. The knowledge that I have touched at least one child, somewhere. That they have felt " I know what that is like, she got through her trouble and so will I" .
Today I feel on top of the world!
If you have the book or go to the library you can find "A Run to Remember" on page 32( or so) Let me know what you think!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Old Photos


I love old photos- especially ones with Children and ponies, or bucking horses, or corseted 'ladies'. I'm a fiend for them, searching flea markets and antique fairs and malls. There is something that is mysterious and compelling about them, lives lived but now long gone. I tell myself stories about some of the characters in these pictures- like the ones at left. Brother and sister, taken in to the photographer to get a likeness made.
He got to choose what the picture background would be, see he gets to hold the tiny silver gun ( you can see that it is unloaded) Her skirt is crisp and freshly washed and ironed. Perhaps they were the first customers of the day. Her gloves are too big, but she wears them anyway, her hat sits way back on her head, his is 'jaunty'. The fringe down the length of his leg matches the fringe on her skirt- just like Annie Oakley-an American heroine in these childrens time.
If you look very closely you can see the stands behind them, but not the clamps that went on their necks to keep them still for the three or so minutes it took to make the picture. Neither have boots on.
Pretend cowboys and cowgirls, captured forever on silver paper, an image of light.
This is one of my favorites but I have lots more and I am always in the market for them. Have any to sell or trade?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Saddles













There has been a lot of discussion about saddles on the posts lately. We all need one in some form or another ( even you sometimes Mikey!) I am not an expert by any means- but I do recognize quality when I see it, and I have been around enough to know what makes for a good saddle! I don't ride English- but I imagine you all need a whole lot of the same things as in a Western saddle.
1. a good tree.

2. good leather.

3. quality hardware.

4. fit

5. function

6. style.

These first two saddles were made by my friend Dana Alden from R6 Leathers in Roque River Oregon. Can you see how the leather is cut and stitched around the swell? See how the horn post comes through the swell and is actually a separate piece? All the decoration is hand stamped with one tool. If you look closely you can also see the rigging is set under the seat, under the jockey, supporting the entire seat. No way for it to come undone. The wool is just that- real wool fleece. This seat happens to be made from Ostrich, but you can see that it is sewn down.
This saddle is a Bob's reiner. Not fancy at all- no silver. But it is a good quality leather, the hardware is not cheap, the Front D ring is riveted and sewn into the under skirt. The bottom skirt has been cut away under the fender, giving the rider much more freedom to use their legs to position the horse. You can just see the wool peeking from under the skirt, and it comes with a leather latigo. Usually no back cinch is necessary in reining, but the D ring is there anyway. This saddle could be used for training or trail or reining.









The saddle to the left is Bob's Show saddle. It is very fancy- from the sterling silver on the corners to the fancy cut of the Jockey. It has an in -skirt rigging, which is the flattest rig you can get, it stays under your leg and you don't feel it. A back D ring is present, but since you don't use a back cinch in a WP show, it is also engraved. All the major stress points are sewn,and also screwed into the tree with silver conchos. All of the edges of the leather have been hand finished,and sewn. All of the stitches are even and tight, especially across the cantle. The horn is a separate piece, though the swell leather has been formed, not sewn and shrunk. This saddle runs about $3000.
Well made saddles are not cheap- but just like in the 'old days' when a saddle usually cost more than the horses a cowboy rode, a well made saddle will hold its' value for a long long time. They are certainly worth the investment.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Rodeo Rocky Book Review

As a writer I am also an avid reader, often reading three books a week. Frequently I read Children's and Young Adult books, because that is what I write. I usually throw in a non-fiction and an adult book a week too. I've decided to try and do a book review here as a regular thing. My first one was WILD HORSES, and I did that one as a favor. The second one is RODEO ROCKY, also as a favor.
Written by Jenny Oldfield, the book is written for middle grade readers 7-13 years. It is the continuation of the character Kirstie Scott and her life in Colorado. This time Kirstie is rescuing a wild stallion 'rodeo' horse, and trying to rehabilitate him for their Colorado Western Adventure Ranch.
While I don't have any problems with the actual writing style, I have a few problems with the subject. Reading any story is subjective, but Ms. Oldfield -from the UK- portrays Rodeo and all of its characters as cruel,heartless and abusive. Her depiction of the first owners of Rocky are cliche( from an old 60's movie) and not in any way correct to the way Rodeo is run today. That being said I know Ms. Oldfield needed a 'bad guy' for her story to work.
The second problem I have with the story line is twofold. First that the horse is a stallion. Did Ms. Oldfield not want to explain about gelding? I've been around Rodeo my whole life and I don't remember ever seeing too many stallions in the bucking horse string. And then Kirstie is allowed to purchase the stallion and begin to retrain him. I think that handling stallions is a touchy and often misunderstood activity. Contrary to some myth, handling most stallions is not an occupation for most thirteen year-olds.(no matter what they say on Craig's list posts!). A better story line might have been the activity of actually gelding the horse to make him a better member of horsey society. What better way to promote good horsemanship and breeding practices in the youngsters that will be growing up to take our places in the future horse world?
The last few things wrong with this story might be minor- but Kirstie turns this wild stallion out in a pasture of other horses, and one gets hurt. Instead of using that as a lesson, she just blythly goes about her business with an 'oh well". Then Kirstie tacks up and rides this former wild stallion out in the hills, no explanation about corrective training or ground work. She just hops aboard and rides.
Now y'all might be saying ' Now look Vaquero Girl, don't be so harsh on Ol' Ms. Oldfield!"
you might be right- I am being a little harsh, but as a writer and a horse owner and a former riding instructor, I take these little things very much to heart. A million girls ( and boys) read these words. Most kids take as gospel what they read- they haven't learned any better. I am sure Ms. Oldfield didn't mean to give wrong impressions- but in fact she has. As a writer one needs to be a bit more responsible about the facts.
So despite the engaging character, and the lovely setting, I would NOT recommend this book.
Next review- a really GREAT story for middle grade readers. Stay tuned!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Non horsey Friday



Usually I ride on Fridays but today I went for a walk . A winter storm is blowing down from the North, gray and full of rain. I anticipate it's coming. I love the odour of wet grass, bay trees and the smell of the sea. Living on the Straits of Carquinez we are at the midpoint in the waterway- the place where the saltwater turns to fresh, where the mighty Sacramento spills into the San Pablo basin and finds its way to the Pacific. It is less than a mile across to the other side- our county is even called Contra Costa- the other coast.






The Canadas are flying in, the Pelicans have already gone. I heard they go to Nevada and the Pyramid Lake. I saw this snowy egret and he saw me. I love to come to this place anytime during the year. Seals bark from the shipping buoy, you can see both bridges and the cute town of Benicia across the bay.











This is the place where the Ferry Boat ran when there wern't bridges, where the Miwork and Carquins crossed in their tule boats. This is all that is left of those days. I remember when there was a Ferry berthed here.


This is the mouth of Alhambra Creek, it goes for miles through the heart of the town, into the Alhambra Valley. It was low tide- but when the tide is high it sometimes floods the town.


I've lived here my whole life, and I can't imagine ever leaving. Though I covet the flatlands of middle America, the forested property of Oregon and the wildness ofNevada and the wonderful heat of the Southwest, I'll remain here, tucked away in the Valley of Hunger- Alhambra Valley.


I guess it it was good enough for John Muir, it is good enough for me.









































Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"A Pony for your thoughts?"

I've been off line for a few days my friends, although I have managed to read all y'alls blogs everynight before going to bed! I'm still looking for a temporary job~ or something I like to do a lot- which led me to a local Regional Park- Tilden in the hills of Berzerkley. Yes, you read that right, I added a Z in there- because the town is full of certified nut jobs. (Of course if you live there, that doesn't mean YOU!) I wanted to find out if they had ever gotten a vendor for the pony ride. They had not. When you look at the pictures you'll see that the place is in disrepair, but not so bad that you couldn't fix it up easily. And that got me thinking about bringing the ponies back to the Park. So I have spent the last few days doing the research- crunching the numbers and so forth.
What I have found out is that I could start out small (no pun intended) and work into more ponies as the buisness made money.
But then I got to thinking further. .. I like my hobby. I've never wanted to make it anything more than that.(Not counting the few years when I was twelve and thought that being a jockey would be cool.)
If I decided to run the pony rides, I wouldn't have the time for my very own loveable boy- Desi. That would mean no horse shows! Gulp! I'm not setting the world on fire- but I do have a long term goal- to qualify for the Select Show. Next year will be my first attempt at qualifying.
Sooooo to make a long story short- I have decided not to bring the ponies back to Tilden. At least not yet. I'm going to continue to enjoy my very own personal pony ride. The job can wait.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Wild Horses

No, I don't actually have wild horses- WILD HORSES is the title of a book written by Jenny Oldfield. It is a part of The Horses of Half Moon Ranch series for middle grade readers.
The cover, unlike most other horse books is intriguing, and so I was drawn into the story of Kirstie Scott- a teen aged girl living in the mountains of Colorado.Her family owns and operated Half Moon Ranch- a Vacation Center. (I guess calling it a Dude Ranch is not PC). While leading a horse trek through their ridge a sudden storm causes a landslide. She ends up trapped alone in a canyon with a herd of wild horses whose leader- a beautiful stallion - has been injured by the falling rock. Cold, wet and alone, Kirstie must find a way out and find a way to help the stallion. As it turns out he is her salvation as well.

Kirstie is a feisty character, who won't take 'no' for an answer. She has a side kick- Lisa- who is sometimes the voice of reason. Together they make a dynamic duo.
The line drawings throughout the book are fresh and original, without being too sentimental.

I think that the author Jenny Oldfield 'gets' the horse thing- her descriptions of the horses and the terrain is beautifully written and spot on. Her English heritage comes through sometimes when she calls a halter a head collar, but other than that the story moves along quickly and has a satisfying resolution. If you have a horse crazy kid- aged 10-13 I think they would find this an enjoyable read.
WILD HORSES is printed by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky. To order a copy for a child in your life you can e-mail Carrie Gellin at carrie.gellin@sourcebooks.com . At $5.99 they would make a great gift.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Cow girl day

Everyone wants ot be a Cowgirl for a day- even Pleasure Horse riders. So we went to visit D in the heart of California. Her ranch is great, the arena is spectacular to ride in, and when you're done riding she has a pool and spa too! Whew! It was a rough weekend for sure. Mischca,a Leagers Sandman bred gelding, had never seen a calf before, but he liked it like a fat kid likes cake. He wanted MORE! Linda had to really hold him back so he wouldn't run the darn things down. She had never rated a calf before, but she did a great job, and even managed to circle one up! Good Job Linda!
Desi is a Cow bred gelding out of a son of Peppy San Badger. He followed the calf, stopped and started when it did, but he never really locked on. We did it two days in row and he was as good as gold, following and all, but I guess I made the right decision to pull him out of reining and cowhorse training and start him in Trail classes. Those he likes! Any way it was fun to do something different this weekend, it keeps ole' Desi on his toes- letting him know that just because we get into the trailer we won't necessarily get out at a horse show.
Thanks to Dolittle Acres Ranch and the Big D!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Ahh, better now!

Thanks to some of you who posted! I'm over my "freak out"! Silly isn't it when you look at the scope of the world and all. What's a little measly ol' job? I was thinking about quitting anyway!
So, now it's to the task of getting a new job- erk! I haattteee the process! I've written a new resume and have a line on a few things including being an official at the local race track. I'm not sure what that means exactly, but I have all of the qualifications: I know horses, some spanish, I can look professional, I'm over 21, can pass a drug test and have no problem being in inclement weather. Whew! If any one knows what an Official at the track does, please clue me in, I havent actually sent the resume out yet!
Or I can go back to my old job- the one I had for seventeen years. They'd take me back I'm pretty sure. So things aren't so bleak after all. And in the meantime I'll finish the middle grade novel I'm working on and enjoy the pony, the grandson and my husband, in that order I might add!
Thanks gang! See I really AM better!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Damn! Now What!

I am going to spill a few things here now- things I haven't told my other friends yet. It's been a hell of a few months- my boss was in a bad car wreck and broke his back. Then his house caught fire and then our shop flooded. Yep! All this and more. I have kept his shop together, mopped up the flood waters and held his and his families hands. I've BEEN there! And today he let me go. Yep. Just like that- no more job for the Gun Goddess. I should have expected it I suppose, but does one ever suspect being thrown into the fire? I know he's not doing it from anger or anything, but the economy is bad, and he is hurting in more ways than I can imagine, and I am expensive to keep. So BYE BYE to me.

Don't tell me the God/ window thing, or that everything happens for a reason. I know all of that. I keep thinking that this is my opportunity to write full time. But the real self, the one that feeds the pony everyday, is going " HOLY SHIT! NOW WHAT!"

The Greatest Hubby in the World says not to worry, he'll help out. (((yikes))) he dosen't even know how much the horses cost! He's never had to know- I've always had a good job!
I'm a litttle freaked out! I'm a little bit anxious! It feels kind of like having a tooth pulled out with no novicain!
Thanks for listening dear friends. I'll be ok now. ... Really.....I will.

Monday, September 1, 2008

WE went to the Ocean today!

One of the best things about being a California Cowgirl is the California Beaches. Of course any body living North of San Francisco dosen't call it going to the beach, but going to the Coast. Why? Because there is very little sand and sun at the Northern End of the State- the terrain is rugged, windy and wild! Just like me!
It was the Queen Mum's birthday today (thats my mom) and she loves to go to Bodega Bay. For you that may not know- that is where Hitchcock filmed The Birds WAAAAAAYYYY back in the fifties. Of course it is much different now, but there are lots of birds still there- seagulls mostly.
The day was 80 degrees and not too windy- perfect for a country drive. Lunch at The Tides was wonderful. A nice way to end the busy weekend I've had.
I hope you all spent time with your loved ones too!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Glorious Fog.

When I stepped outside this morning, I was greeted by the smell of California-at least for me. It was the smell of fog on dry grass and damp oak trees. MMMmmm! A beautiful blanket of the grey clouds had settled over the foothills, creeping up the Straits, cooling the whole area. Natures own air filter and conditioner. I knew it wasn't going to be sweltering today! Whew! Still I got to the barn at 8 AM, went to take the Big Red One out of his stall- and noticed No Water! Cripes! So I search for the owner- find her father. He had been up since 5 and he had found the Roan Stud had ripped his watering trough off the stall- resulting in a flood. He was hard at work fixing it. Ok so one disaster averted. Water the horses with buckets and exercised BRO. Thats when we noticed a mare and filly had gotten seperated in the pasture. Filly was now in no man's land with the neighbors draftys. YIKES. Help owner fetch her-only to find she had cut her knee. Of course Filly isn't halter broke yet-and she's much more interested in playing with the other youngsters in the pasture than following her mother into the barn. With a few well placed piles of grain the other babys and mares forgot about Filly allowing us to herd her into a nearby stall to tend to the cut. Second crisis averted. All before 9 AM!
The rest of the day was spent at my daughters BBQ celebrating her 30th birthday. At least there was no crisis there! At least for me! She seemed to be handling the age bump with aplomb, I might add. Only twenty more years before she can ride in the Select Classes!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What about me?

Well, I was so blown away by Karen's great show series that I totally forgot to tell you my story! What there is of it anyway!. My goal at the beginning of the year was to place in the top 5 in my division. I like to set small goals for myself, keeping a bigger goal in front of me- some times I make the bigger goal, but at least achieving the smaller ones gives me encouragement along the way. I always figure that if I go into the arena with the horses ears in front of me- I'm way ahead of the game if I come out of the arena with those ears still in front! For the final show I had really practiced hard, putting my horse up into a bit-using the tradional methods of the Vaquero- and I must say Desi is coming long very well. But I didn't trust him, so I put him back into the snaffle for the classes. I can't say he was really bad- but he wasn't very good the first day either. He wrung is tail, shook his head and basically told me to fuck off in horsey talk. My girl friends sat on the sidelines and just watched in horror as we left the class. They could all tell how bad he'd been. So I schooled a bit, and went in for my second class. We did a little better- at least he didn't wring his tail, or rear- but we had too many faults and didn't place. The second day was hot- sweltering and windy- like being inside a blast furnace. Just the weather I like for making good ponies! Des was great; supple,listening and willing. Beautiful. The pattern was a difficult, but I studied it, and drew it in the dirt and talked it out- yaya... all the normal stuff you should do to remember. Er... that is if your not menopausal! Sheesh! I got through the first three obstacles perfectly- with plus'es I'm sure! And then right in the middle of the fourth obstacle- I turned left and not right! I forgot the pattern- had a total blank in my minds eye! Heesuscrist! Then I just lost all focus and ticked another pole-but it didn't matter, I DQ'ed that class anyway.
So the trainers all say- put a bad ride behind you. Move on! I beat myself up for about ten minutes, and went into the next class- We were great! No ticks or touches, until the last obstacle. He was suppose to stop between the poles, do a 180 and step over the pole to exit. He actually put his foot over the stop pole and then pulled it back! ERK! Three point! Enough to put us out of the placings in a class of thirty horses.
So the last day we caught a break- the heat had abated to a mild 80 degrees. The horse was still willing and listening. We entered the arena and did a great job- touched one trot over pole and bumped the gate slightly. Eh, is that enough to put us out of the placings? I don't know! And the worse part is I won't know for at least a month! The gal that puts the scores on the website is at the Select Show! So as of Sat night I was in sixth place overall- that is the total for all 8 shows ( not including Sunday)in a class of twenty to thirty horses .
If I placed high enough I may still place 5th- and acheive my goal for this year. If not- well I came pretty damn close- and that's okay too. I've learned a lot- had a hell of a good time and met some super people along the way!
And you know what? There is always next year!

Hot! HOT HOT!

Ok- though it has been a mild summer- now that August is nearly over- the heat has reappeared. Yesterday it was nearly 100 and likely to be so again today! It's 8 Am- and I am off to ride- and it's already 80 degrees. At least it's a 'dry heat'. At least it's not humid. Kack! Hot is hot! At least I can bathe my pony when I'm done riding.
I don't hate the heat- eau contraire- I like it. At least I like it better than the cold and the wet. I hate riding in the cold sleeety rain we get around here. And I know it's coming. It makes me wonder if the winter is going to be mild ( like last year) or wet ( like the year before) . In any case- I'll don my uniform (jeans and tank for summer, jeans and turtleneck for winter.) and head to the place I like best- the Barn.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Inspiration and Perspiration

There is probably some quote about inspiration and perspiration, but I can't remember how it goes- however I do know that you can have one without the other, but ususally you need both to succeed.
This weekend at the horse show was an excellent example of that.
As we now know Michael Phelps has won eight gold medals in Swimming- the most of any athlete ever. My friend Karen is a dedicated "Phelpshead"- she's been following his career for years! Well we are at our horse show, and it is blazing hot- 103 in the shade. So hot that your eyeballs are wanting to melt out of your head kind of hot. And we are scurrying around trying to set up for the show. We are sweating buckets, and we are drinking gallons of water, and we are reviewing the classes,and walking the arena, and discussing endlessly the patterns we are to run. We get to bed at midnight- right after we watch Phelps 7th win. Karen starts the show sitting in fourth place in the overall standing. There are three shows to go, 30 horses in the class- and she comes in fourth. The next day- thirty horses, she comes in third! Now she is in FIRST place in the overall standings. The last day- she's alone, memorizing the pattern- she has the look of eagles in her eyes. She enters the arena and nails the pattern. She rides her horse exactly as she planned! Her go was the best one she's ever done!
Now we don't know yet if she kept first place- we won't know that until next week sometime, but she did go from forth to first overall in two days! A woman that just began riding and showing two years ago- with no regular trainer! I asked her later what she was thinking and she saidshe was thinking about Phelps- about how he went from seventh place to first by .01 of a second, and how he must have focused on the win. She tried to do that too.
So you tell me- is it perspiration- all the hard work and hours of riding, or is it inspiration- the image of a great win- that makes us great? I like to think that it is both.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Galloping off again!

It's time for the last three horse shows in the series I've been going to. My trailer is packed and ready to go, horse is bathed and polished, clothes cleaned and in the truck. How ready can one girl be? I know that after I've trailered the two hours to get there, un packed all my gear, made Desi comfy and checked in at the show office I'll be more than excited. And on Friday- the first day - my nerves will be at their height! Why so nervous? I guess I am anticipating the fun ( like I used to tell my girls) and hoping that all my hard work will have been worth it.
Now by worth it, I don't mean that I have to be Numero Uno in every class- no, I set smaller goals for myself, so at least I have a chance of making a few. I mean that I will remember to breathe, to lower my hands, to sit back, to watch were I'm going and especially - to learn something new and to have fun! That is what I mean by worth it.
Of course Desi will be good. Of course I won't fall off ( I might get thrown, but that happens sometimes),of course my outfits will be brilliant ( Thanks Tish!) And if I'm lucky and everything goes well, I may even place in my class! In any event, I won't give up- I'll keep setting goals, keep training and keep having fun!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Inspiration

I have been working like a dog along with a dedicated crew of Horsemen and women to put on tomorrows Battle of the Barns- 2008. We've been putting on this Charity Fund raiser for about 12 years now, with great sucess. The money goes to Xenophon Theraputic Riding Center located in Orinda California. They usually bring a few kids and the therapy horses for a demonstration. Let me tell you- if you are blue, feeling sad about your miserable life or think that life isn't worth living, I wish you'd come and watch these kids. They are terriffic as well as inspirational! Some of them can't walk alone, dress themselves or communicate normally, but when they are on the back of their horses, they are all Ten feet tall Bulletproof! The smiles that cross their faces are better than the sunshine after a rainy day. Ask any one of them if they'd rather be somewhere else and you'd get a resounding " NO!"
Well, I'm as normal as anyone I guess, but just seeing theses kids love their horses, be excited by what they do and what a new day could hold, is pure inspiration to me. Even though I'm tired now, tomorrow I'll be back on the trail again, holding the pictures of those wonderful kids in my mind.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Weekend in the Wilds

I spent the weekend in the company of some very smart women in the 'wilds' of California. Yep, California does have wilds, but you gotta go a bit and then some to find 'em.
We were on a mini retreat- three glorius days of writing! Alpha Female #1 is a real taskmaster too. She fed us and laved us with attention before jumping to her tiny feet and declaring " Alright get to work!" Not really, but it sounds good huh? Actually she was extremely encouraging, and thus with that in mind we began to write.
I've been to her retreat before- and I always get the best writing done there. I wonder sometimes why. Could it be the wide open spaces? The broad clear vistas, the quiet? Or all of the above? I actually think that it may be because she expects us to be better than usual that we rise to the occasion. In any case, if I ever sell this book it will be because of her encouragement and belief in me.
This dosen't discount Alpha Female #2's role in this whole scenario- oh no! She is a MAJOR player in the world of Childrens lit-and I have been lucky enough to be mentored by her. After struggling and struggling and STRUGGLING, ( did I mention that I have struggled ?)with the book ,I heard Alpha Female #2 speak, and a light went off in my head. A bomb burst, bells rung.... I knew what I had to do. And I began to do it. And it is working! The book began to come together- it started making more sense, it seems like something that maybe a child would want to read! And AF#2 continues to be an example to me...every time I begin to write I hear her scratchy voice behind my ears saying "Raise the stakes, let it go, DO it!" Well, her voice isn't really scratchy- but I do hear it in my head.
So anyway- I am galloping headlong into the final strech of this whole project- and feeling good about it too. Am I lucky- or WHAT!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sometimes it takes awhile...

Last year my darling daughter the Rider- Gin- was thrown from her horse straight into a fence. It was during an event we were sponsoring, and I was on the scene across the arena. I heard the loud clang, and then someone say " Go get Barbara!" I dropped everything to sprint across the arena, just knowing it was my girl in trouble. As I approached, a few friends valiently tried to deflect me from where Gin was lying in the dirt. I just ached seeing her lying there unconcious! Luckily paramedics were on the scene and they knew what to do.Finally she came to and I heard her say," Don't tell my Mom, she'll freak out." Way too late for not freaking, I might add.
Well Gin had eight staples in her head and she is as right as rain now. A few months later she became pregant with her first child.
I told you that story to now tell you this one...
Gin gave birth to a beautiful baby boy- Jr. Three weeks old and healthy as can be, with a set of lungs that Pavorotti would envy. I went over to 'spell' her one evening. She was exhausted and hormonal, tears were flowing from her and Jr. "Mom, my husband dosen't understand that it physically hurts me when my baby cries. They've done tests on this! They know its a fact!"
I just smiled at her and kissed her forehead. " Yes, dear. I know!"
"Remember, don't tell my Mom, she freaks out?"
Gin got a stricken look on her face.
"Oh my God! It dosen't end!"
I shook my head, still smiling. " No Dear, it never does."

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Feed prices

I went to the feed store today and boy was I shocked by the price of my feed. In the short course of a month my $15.00 sack of feed went to $27.00! WHAT! Almost double in four weeks? What the hell! I mean I don't mind paying a little more for feed, price of living and all that! But who is getting that giant bump! I'm sure that the folks in Middle America aren't paying what I pay for the same bag. AQHA published a USA map with hay prices across the country, and California and the Greater West coast is paying signifigantly more, even though a lot of what we consume is grown right here. Does the rest of America think that just because we live in California that our pocket books are deeper? I can tell you that they are not.
Is there a time when the feed will come down in price? I don't think so- what is a girl to do?
Luckily ( or smartly) I now have only one horse to feed and house, but what about others? How are you all making ends meet?