Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Team Sorting in Loma Rica

Before I went to the DHC, I spent the night with my friends in Loma Rica. They like to Team Sort, and I had never done it, so they drug me and one of their good geldings along for a little fun.
I had never ridden this gelding-Sparky- before, and I had never tried Team Sorting before- but I was game and Sparky seemed to know what he was doing. I gotta tell ya, it was so much fun!
In AQHA, you sort from one pen to another, but in this fun team sorting you sort from one end of the arena to the other. 
There are three people on a team, and the cattle are all numbered. The hardest part was actually seeing which number was on which steer! The steers were a little fresh, and when some of those teams galloped up on them, they scattered like straw before a hurricane. 
My team was made up of Denise, Keith (her hubby) and me. We opted for the slower pace, easing into the herd, making the cut and then urging them out down the fence. We actually did pretty well too- our scores were 245, 219 and 209. We kept getting better as the night wore on!
Denise says she doesn't do it for the score- she just goes for the camaraderie and the fun.  But It was nice getting a score too! 
If you've haven't tried Team Sorting, find the nearest club that does it and join along. I'm looking for one around  my neck of the woods now. Look out Desi!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Here are a few of the amazing wagons and carts I saw this weekend.
The one directly above is a 'specialty' wagon. It has an old Piano at one end, and a Saloon Bar at the other. Behind the wall sits an old copper sitting bath! This was surely in the Americana class with appropriately costumed riders and drivers aboard.

This old wagon is 103 years old, it has its original paint and ironwork. Supposedly it was used to haul freight in and out of San Francisco in 1906- surprisingly it survived the Big Quake!
This Concord style coach was restored in 1998. It is in beautiful condition, with the thick leather springs holding the coach suspended between the fore and aft wheels. The only thing holding this body to the frame was two heavy leather straps attached to the main frame. This coach sat on the leather springs, and it's weight held it down. Boy did it rock up and down- truely a ship of the desert. It also had its original ironwork and hubs.
This milk wagon must have been restored also, but I found it interesting that the wheels had rubber tires- obviously it was in service into the early 1900's. Coal, Ice and Milk were still delivered by horses into the early 40's.
This is a Fire Hose carrier from the Pennsylvania Fire Co. It was in great shape, and even held some fire hose,folded much like the hoses are folded into the modern fire trucks today.
The Tack was amazing as well. Some teams had really fancy tack and tack boxes, like these from Waring Percheron's. Each set weighs well over two hundred lbs apiece. The collar alone can weight 100 lbs. I think they look a little like artwork. Imagine- these pieces of harness have to be cleaned and polished every time they are used!And they are used at least twice a day during the Classic Show!
Not everyone has such fancy rigs or holders. These collars were placed above the stall  along a wall. 
And these plywood boxes kept the tack clean and neat and relatively dust free for another team. 
Here is a close up look at the Gypsy Cart. It has been restored too, and featured gold leafing on all of the decoration.Even the single tree is painted and gold leafed!

This old wagon was completely restored, oiled and polished. It was beautifully made from Oak, and when you got near it you could smell the wax and oil. Umm!! Notice the larger back wheel. That stabilizes the rig, so the smaller front wheels can spin almost 360 degrees around, which is helpful when you have to 'swing' a team left or right.

Friday, September 25, 2009

10 good things about Mac

There is a children's book, it is suppose to help a child cope with grief- it's really very good- not maudlin at all. And I woke up with the line of that book in my head. The title is " Ten Good Things about Charlie"
So here are ten good things about Mac
1. He had soft floppy ears,softer than silk.
2. He had a brave heart.
3.He knew twenty different words and could tell Baby from Hedgehog and would bring you which toy you asked for.
4. He knew all kinds of tricks- from the Vietnam crawl to Bang-play dead.
5. He was a beautiful black and white with pink feet
6. He was an excellent guard dog- too good sometimes.
7. He would ask for a bath-he liked to go into our walk in shower for his bi-weekly scrubbing.
8. He didn't bark at just anything-he always had a reason.
9. People would point at us when we drove past in the truck- his big head and my small one in the front seat. 
10.He was my dog... always.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

All Dogs go to Heaven

Today I released my best friend from his pain. My 12 year old Great Dane, Macguire, went peacefully with his head in my arms. A bone tumor in his foot was the reason. 

I know he is in a peaceful place now, and as My Other Daughter so sweetly reminded me,                " All dogs go to heaven."

Monday, September 21, 2009

It wasn't as bad as I thought it was gonna be!

Kinda like a cross between Prom and Name That Tune- only the tunes were people. 
First person I saw was a girl that I really liked while in school, but she disappeared after graduation and everyone said she was dead! She wasn't! She lives nearby so we can get together for coffee and catch up!

 Here is the picture of that. Martha is in the middle, I have the long blond(ish) hair and does my face look like a pumpkin?

The Bizznatch of the whole class was there too- she's gone Hollywood and I mean that literally. Wearing a tight red dress and high CFM pumps, her tits proceeded her into the room. Had her usual remora school around her, licking bits from her lips. We didn't speak~ what could some like that say that would interest me- the Cowgirl? 

Best story of the night~ saw a girl named Deb, she's a twin but her sister didn't come. Saw a guy named Mike - his 'twin brother didn't come either. I asked the usual questions- Where are you living! What are you doing? She says she's a gemologist ( diamonds girls!) and lives in Nebraska. Cool that. 
I ask Mike what he does, where does he live- he says he's a meteorologist in Nebraska. 
NO Foolin! I say- did you know Deb lives in Nebraska too- what are the chances of that? He laughs- they got married right out of high school, and live there together! I didn't even know they were dating! They have been together 35 years! 

My girlfriend Janet is just a peach for making me go! I had a great time, but I don't know if I'd want to do it again in five years...

BTW what is your favorite High School reunion movie? Mine is Gross Pointe Blank.

Friday, September 18, 2009

" I just hate..."

Today an older woman, one that is not a good rider but loves horses, says to me. 
"I just hate hate hate arena riding." 
I still have a hole in my tongue where I bit it. 
Statements like that really hack me off! And so of course I'm gonna share it with you all!
Here is an older woman that bought a horse- and probably didn't have anyone helping her to find a good one. The one she bought was pregnant- which she didn't know about until she found a foal on the ground.( I'll bet the previous owners knew though! Can you say sucker?) She could never ride the mare- she was too sour and ugly- I think it even may have died. BUT she kept the foal- a filly who got her number early and hung on. She moved this filly into the place where I am now, and finally at the owners suggestion she took the filly to a trainer( who also saw her coming) where it still resides because this woman is afraid to ride her. Evidently she isn't afraid to keep paying someone else to ride her though. 
And so instead, she has coerced an 80 year old man that boards where we do, to let her ride his 25 year old stone broke gelding- in the hills- alone.  
Her question to me was this- " Can I ride this horse in the hills? Cuz I hate hate hate arena riding." Then she goes on to add," I'm not a very good rider. Maybe I should walk him, then mount up and let him carry me home." 
Lil Mama interjected in the nick of time, suggesting that the horse was a solidly broke horse and should be fine- if she was. 
Whew- saved from murder charges- again. 

I find that most people that hate arena riding are just the very persons that should embrace it! 
If you have a plan, and a step by step way to implement the training of you and your horse, arena riding is more than going around in circles. 
It is a way to be connected, a way to see how your horse is feeling, a way to become the rider you wish to be! 
Why don't these folks see this? 
And aside from clocking them upside their heads with a feed bucket, I can't even begin to explain it to them. 
Thank Goodness for Lil Mama and her diplomatic responses. 

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Richard Elloyan

Richard Elloyan is such a nice guy!
I met him a few years ago in Nevada at a writers conference. He had been hired to entertain us at our Conference dinner. The night was hot and his deep baritone voice just melted all of our hearts. Since then I have become a major fan!
Richard has four albums out and I have yet to buy the fifth- but I will. My favorite is his Twister album. Full of songs about cowboys and cowgirls and the Nevada land he loves so much. If you love to visit that State, or wish you could, an hour with this album and you''ll feel like you have been there and seen what he has seen.
He also wrote a song with Lacy J Dalton that appears on her Wild Horses album. It is so good it makes me cry every time I hear it!

If you enjoy Cowboy songs sung from the very heart of a man you are gonna love Richard as much as I do. And if you ever get a chance to see him in person( he goes where the cowboys go) DO IT! And tell him I say Hello!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

35 years ago....

No, it's not an updated Gettysburg address... the thing that happened 35 years ago is my high school graduation. 
And now, 35 years later, it is time for the 35th reunion! 

I was not a popular kid.
I was not a 'head' (Pot smoker)
I was not an athlete ( in the school vernacular anyway)
I was not a 'Brain'.
I wasn't a townie or a 'richie' ( those that lived out in the very expensive countryside)

I was the kid that everyone liked, but no one knew. 
I was the girl that rode her horse everywhere, except to school cuz they said I couldn't tie it to the tennis court fences.
I was the girl that didn't try to make you her friend by letting you ride her horse- under any circumstance!

My town is and was small. There were only a few Elementary Schools, one Jr High and one High School. Most of my class grew up sitting next to each other. I always sat between Cindy Beatty and Billy Bockhold- 12 years worth. 
But I really didn't like very many of my schoolmates and they pretty much felt the same way about me. 
But my very best friend Janet wanted to go to the Reunion. 
She needed a support friend-me.
She paid for my ticket!

So now, a week from Saturday... I have to go. 
And I have to try and remember things about people I haven't seen in 35 friggin years!
And though I look pretty much the same- THEY have all changed! 

I've already told myself that I am not going to go buy a new outfit, have my hair done, my teeth whitened, thirty pounds carved away, or any other such nonsense. I wasn't a fashionista then, and as you all know, if I can't buy it at the tack,feed or nursery I don't wear or need it. 

I will buy a new pair of black jeans. 
And maybe a new blouse. 

But I'm wearin' my good boots! 
But one thing I need to know from all of you-

                                                                            How have your reunions gone?

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Blue and Gold and Black

When I was a kid, I'm talking 5 years old or so- I had the range of a free roaming wolf. We lived on a cattle ranch and my Mom was happiest when I wasn't in the house. From dawn to dusk I roamed the hills of Alhambra Valley. It was terrific for me- I thought I was an Indian! I tried making my own bowls from the blue clay that abounds in this area, gathered pine needles, trying to weave a basket from them ( never figured it out- but hey I was 5~)ground acorns and tried eating them.(Again it was years later when I could read that I learned how!) And I learned what plants to avoid if possible. 
The plant at the right is one of them. It is called Tarweed-Holocarpha virgata ssp elongata and though it isn't poisonous it is a nuisance. It is a native species, blooming late  in the summer in the hard pan of the hills.     

It's sometimes called Gumweed, or Slender tarweed, it's all the same- and it has a robust musty smell. Of course horses grazing in the hills will get their faces and legs covered with the stuff, which then turns dirty-black even.  The sticky faces collect the other evil plant in California- Yellow Star Thistle. Centaurea solstitialis

Star Thistle IS poisonous- luckily if there is enough fodder a horse won't eat it, but if they do it is a neurological nightmare. The locals call it Loco Weed, and if eaten the horse goes - well- Loco. They slobber and get aggressive, then the drooling and trembling begins. If enough of it has been ingested the horse has to be destroyed.  There is no easy way to get rid of it in your pastures either. The only thing to do is keep your horses fed enough so they will not want to eat it, or not put your horses in pasture when it is present. The early stages of the plant, not the thistle part, is non-poisonous.  

So I was up hiking around this afternoon, looking for Glacier,and the smell of the tarweed hit me like a hammer. All these memories of my childhood flooded back- triggered by that wonderful musty smell of a little golden plant.

I didn't have anything except my camera phone to take pictures of my world today- so forgive the grainy and out of focus pictures. You can see all the tarweed present!

This is the Alhambra Valley in all of its gold and (dark) green glory. The trees are varieties of Oaks- Live, Cork, Blue,Valley and Pin. There are also Bay Laurel trees and Buckeye trees. The Buckeye's have dropped their leaves and retain the               " Buckeye"- hard chestnut colored  seeds that are about as big as a child's fist. The Buckeyes are toxic too. Indians used to pound them into a pulp and toss them into the lakes. The toxins stun the fish and they float to the top of the water where they are easily gathered.  

I love the gold and green of California in the summer. So much in fact that in my starter marriage to Lil Mama's Dad- my bridesmaids wore deep green and gold! Sorry- no pictures of that!