Tuesday, March 31, 2009

   Charlie Sampson, World Champion, won Cow Palace three times. 

I am a fan of Rodeo. I grew up on it, although none of my immediate family rode in an actual Rodeo. As I live just thirty minutes East of San Francisco I was walking the halls of the Cow Palace as a young girl. Every year we'd go to the Grand National Rodeo and Livestock Exposition. Man, it was something! On opening night every horse organization in all of California would bring its Color Guard to the Rodeo and ride in the opening ceremonies. The arena was 250' by 155', surrounded by bleacher seating. Draped in flags, and full of smoke and dust, the place resounded with the sounds of excited people. You could hear the clang and moan of the bulls in the chutes and beyond the exits. Every one would ride in - four abreast- holding American flags, California flags, their club flags and their affiliated flags. Then the house lights would go out leaving the whole cavernous Palace in darkness. A blinding white spotlight would blaze out, hitting a rotating ball of mirrors, the light fractured into a million bits sending blue shards of light circling the arena- and the place went wild! Horses spooked, whirled, bucked and riders fought for control. Sometimes someone would be thrown and the whole thing would get even more exciting as the loose horse was caught. 

Finally all the Color Guard riders would exit and a drum roll began. Bob Tallman- the Voice of the Cow Palace- came on and introduced the young lady that would be Queen of the Cow Palace. She'd ride out fast, circling the arena at top speed. Sometimes her horse would throw her too!  I wanted to be Queen. I knew I rode better than any of those girls. There was plenty of excitement at the Cow Palace and the show hadn't even begun yet. I could recount story after story- wrecks, famous rides and famous horses. I never missed a year.
I was lucky enough to see many of the greats- Don Gay, Larry Mahan, Jim Shoulders, Lane Frost, and Charlie Sampson. I mention him because he was a spectacular rider, a black American and one the first men to ride with protective gear. 
You see Charlie Sampson broke almost every bone in his face, and not just once. The times I saw him ride, he rode in a lacrosse helmet, much like the one pictured below. He also rode with a neck roll. At the time we thought it was a weird thing to do. Cowboys didn't have protective gear! They gutted up and rode with popping eyeballs, and broken, flopping limbs. But Charlie did it. And he was respected for it. And now many cowboys do it too. 

The cowboys of today are tough,good looking and fairly savvy. But it wern't always that-a way. It took men like Charlie Sampson to lead the way. 

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Is it summer yet?

It has been 70 degrees here- at least it was that warm last week. Today- Windy and cold! I nearly got blown into the Carquinez! 
I am so ready to don these cute little sandals and kick back with a Mojito and a magazine! 
These little numbers are made by R6 Leather Co! They make them in lots of colors and with your choice of conchos too! They also make halters, chaps, vests, holsters, customized rope cans and best of all~ saddles! Find their link on my blog page- give 'em a holler- She ships anywhere!  

Friday, March 20, 2009

Lines and Lizards

The Sunday Stills Challenge this week was lines. Horizontal, vertical, converging... here are a few of my favorites.

These were all taken in Cederville California- the very ends of the Earth ( in California terms anyway!) Any further North and you'd be in Oregon or Nevada!

My BFF owns land there, and I am fortunate enough to be able to go visit her there. As a matter of fact- I'm due for another visit soon!

I like that the old red paint hasn't entirely faded from this plank. Lots of converging lines here!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A new Challenge-Sunday Stills

So I am going to try and catch up with all of you on the Sunday Stills Challenge. I had to pass last week- self-portrait was was too scary to contemplate! But I love water and live near enough to it to make a go of it. Some of theses are actually from last fall- but I figure that counts- dosen't it?

The first two were taken in Glacier National Park, late September. The water was running off this fabulous stone cliff.

This is the edge of Glacier Lake. No tourists- just the way I like it!

I'm close to the Pacific Coast, only an hour or two to the West. These two were taken at Asilomar Beach, near Monterey California. Its one of my favorite places to go. These are two of my favorites.
I call this one Old Friends.

The one's now on the right- well that is my home town. I live on the Carquinez Straits. This is looking west towards the little town of Port Costa. I love the clouds in this one.

And last is the dew on a beautiful Orb spider. This was taken on the road leading into our bording stable. The grass was covered with them. I think they are quite beautiful and unique.

Hope you enjoyed my little view of water. It was fun!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


I don't HAVE Rabies, but it is a subject that seems to come up at this time of year. 
Rabies is an acute viral disease affecting the central nervous system. It can be contracted from rabid animals, mostly skunks, foxes,raccoons and bats~ all animals that live everywhere in the United States. People can get rabies too, from contact with rabid animals or contact with an animal that has been in contact with a rabid animal. Bites are most common, but you need only come in contact with the saliva and I am told by my vet that this can also include watering troughs. 
I never gave my horses Rabies vaccinations until about ten years ago, when I caught one of my horses following a skunk across the pasture with her nose right in his upraised tail! She didn't get rabies ( thankfully) but she did get a snootful of PHEW! It really brought home the fact that even though my horses were in pasture, and stalled at night, their watering trough was still outside in the corral and they still came in contact with animals everyday- weather I knew it or not- that had the potential for rabies. "Nuff said!"

Incidence of Rabies is on the rise and it is not uncommon for a pasture or stalled horse to be exposed. Most exposure is not noticed, and most bite wounds are low on the legs or muzzles and not found.  Vaccines for the Rabies virus are NOT 100% effective, but 100% of the horses that get Rabies and have not been vaccinated die or are euthanized. Giving your horse a Rabies vaccine actually establishes an immune barrier between humans and wildlife. Humans do have the benefit of Rabies anti-serum , though painful and expensive. Vaccinations for your horses are still highly protective. 

Do you know the signs for Rabies? They are not what you might expect! Although the 'classic' sign is foaming at the mouth and Hydrophobia (fear of Water), what they term 'furious' signs are really very uncommon in horses. More common are the Paralytic or 'dumb' signs. Horses often look dull, or depressed. They have weakness in their limbs, run a low grade fever, have increased sensitivity ( especially at the injury site), also some horses display anorexia. Sounds like a lot of other stuff huh? That is the reason why most horses that die unexpectedly should be tested for Rabies. That gives the owner of the horse time to get themselves tested in case the test comes back positive.  Rabies has a very rapid progression- horses usually die within 3-5 days. If your horse is displaying signs that you fear are rabies, but it has been longer than five days, it is probably something else. 

There is no Anti-serum for horses. If your horse has already been immunized then an immediate booster should be administered. Horses feared to have been exposed must be quarantined for 6 months. It pays to begin vaccinating your horses from the age of 3-4 months old, with annual boosters.

Spring and summer are coming, be sure your horses and donkeys are protected, as the animals that spread the virus are most active during those months. 

Don't be sorry- be safe!