Sunday, October 31, 2010

Do you believe?

Do you believe in things unseen?
Spooky noises on Halloween?
If you do, I dare you to
Go out and make some witchs brew.
 Fill your self up with guts of ghost,
eyes of frog, or maybe goat,
Dance all night in your stocking feet
while zombies keep a cajun beat!
Chase small children if you dare,
but if Wolfman's out I beg
Moonlight makes him grow sharp teeth,
  He'll rip your arms out for a treat,
He'll take your clothes
then steal your seat!
 Find a party,
drink some wine!
Enjoy the scare!
It's Halloween time!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

An Awesome night at the Cow Palace

This is Lil Mama and Her Big Daddy Sam! Cute huh!

The roping cattle sorted into some very eloborate pens and chutes.

Ok- ok~ I did go off on a rant about the Cow Palace a few weeks ago. And in truth the attendance was down this year and they cancelled the Sunday Rodeo and added a Mexican Fiesta instead- which in SF will probably bring in a LOT of folks. Geneva Street in SF has a big Mexican population.

But my 'crew'- the Martinez Horsemen- bit the bullet and trekked to the Cow Palace for Saturdays Rodeo.
True to form and keeping with tradition- the drive into the The City was fraught with adventure.( I love using the word fraught in a sentence!) It rained as it always does for Cow Palace. You can count on it. But after an hour and a half in traffic we made it there, got parked and into the building where we had four free tickets waiting for us. MHA had donated the High Point Team Sorting Buckle and we were suppose to present it during the Arena Performance, which my crew was excited about.

 We bought several more tickets and in we went.
Of course some of us had to have an adult beverage right away. ( not me.) And then we went shopping. I didn't get any pictures of the shopping mall but it is a good one.
We were hungry so we went into the 'smorgy-board' grabbed a sandwich and another adult beverage and had dinner. That's Lil Mama pushing food into her mouth. KBG and KW just sitting down.

The Giants Baseball team was playing for the Championship and all of the bars ( which there are three or four) had the game on. The score was getting close. Need I remind you we were in San Francisco home of the Giants and they loves them some base-ball. Crazy doesn't even come close- however we are all also Rodeo  fans and we were there for the Grand National Finals. These Cowboys and Cowgirls would go to the NFR if they won here.

Walking into the Cow Palace arena is always a great feeling for me. I've been going since I was 15 and that is about forty years. I never get tired of the smell of it. Horses, damp dirt, cows...ummmm. They have added a big electronic screen over the chutes, and it has a tendency to distract the horses sometimes, but all in all it is a good thing. We get to watch the replay right away!

The San Francisco Mounted Patrol Color Guard opened the show and it was very moving, to be sure. An 11 year old girl on the brokest horse in the world took center stage and she sang the National Anthem.
I always tear up~

They began bucking broncs right away. They were world class horses! The Flying U Rodeo Contractors have been supplying the stock here for many many years. Cotton Rosser owns and operates it.

This is him- he must be close to eighty.

His grandson Reno was riding and also doing pick up duty.
Cotton actually officially retired last night and turned the Company over to his son at the end of the night.

There were several 'girls' riding rough stock! One of them was Kyla Stra, the lady jockey featured on Jockeys on Animal Planet last year. She rode that horse very well! I think she may have won the girls class even. It was kinda a nice thrill to recognize her and cheer her on.

In the meantime Announcer Bob Tallman kept giving the Giants score and the count. It was getting close!

I wanted to show you a photo of some of the stock and a bay mare that was also one of Cottons brood mares, but blogger is being difficult and not loading pictures very well, and it is getting hard to arrange them - So I'll just tell you- They loaded her big ol colt in the next chute and turned him out when she had finished off her cowboy. They said they wanted to give him the experience of being in the chute so he'll learn his job. Kinda like taking a two year old to a horse show and camping him around.

Then a man right in front of me unexpectedly jumped to his feet and started giving high fives to the people round him. I turned to my niece sitting next to me and said, " The Giants won". Not a minute later Bob Tallman announced it and the Arena erupted in pandemonium! Everyone jumped up and started cheering and whistling. The Bull Fighter 'clown" popped a cork on some champagne and ran around the arena! The Big TV started flashing
Go Giants!
It was wild!
The poor cowboy who won the bull riding was a little lost in the fracas-although he did his victory ride around to a wildly cheering crowd!

The evening ended without us being able to give our buckle to the High Point Rider. We were a little bummed. I received a phone message from the girl running the Sorting that they were still riding, in the rain outside, so they couldn't present the buckle as planned during the show. Bummer!

But all and all it was a good night, a great Rodeo and the Giants won!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

When you are bored- do what I do...

Since I can't ride my own horse yet, I thought of something I could do to salve that horsey jones I get! of course.
I love that website anyway, and just browse on a regular basis....because you never know what you'll find. Kinda like the Goodwill Store.
But today I focused on the on line videos.
If you want to feel better about yourself or your horse- I recommend the online videos!

What a mixed bag!
The prices are outrageous I might add. I guess people think the economy has recovered! Or maybe they figure they and they alone have the very best horse in the whole world! And they have it priced that way. So what if Dobbin is sway backed and hasn't ever done anything except had a few babies or mowed down their back pasture all by herself- by god she's an own daughter of a grand daughter of a BIG Name Stallion!

I narrowed the search to Quarter Horses in California. Still a pretty big subject, but what the hey! I had nuthin better to do today! Just started at the top and worked my way down.

I saw what appeared to be a woman holding on for dear life to the gullet of an English saddle that was way to small for her, go around and around and around and around......What was the horse doing? suffering probably.
I saw young people over horsed, heavy people under horsed, jumpers maybe jumping, some WP horses that looked lame ...

I know that most of you already KNOW this stuff- BUT if you are thinking of doing a video PLEASE take these honest to gosh good intentioned TIPS to heart.

You are trying to $ell your horse- so fergawssake-bathe and clip and shine like you going to a show.

Invest in a tripod and set it up in the middle of your ring. Then ride your horse into the frame. So many shots of a little bitty horse way off in the distance doing something, but it is so far away I can't tell what....and I don't want to see the back of you jumping over some kind of obstacle- I want to see the front of the horse or at the least a side view~

Just because you are an English rider, don't just ride your horse English- take your saddle off, borrow a western saddle, ride a few laps around going western...and vice versa!

 If you are proud of a certain jumping video- don't just put that video up to sell your horse, the buyers might, just maybe, want to see what ELSE he might be able to do! Like say.... transitions, or roll backs, or for heaven sakes- stops.

Speaking of which- just because you think you are a reiner- I think NO. PLEASE don't jerk your horse into a stop, then look at the camera like you just won the lottery. 9 times out of ten your stop was horrible! Crooked, strung out, your horses mouth was gaped open and he was propping! ERK!

And the same goes for you barrel racers too. A grainy fast moving horse in poor light and lots of shadows does not show me that your horse is intended for gymkhanas. I don't want to see him charging out of the gate or doing a prop stop at the end of your run.

WP people- make sure your horse is on the right lead. PLEASE don't wear shorts and tenni-runners and then jerk and spur your horse like you might have seen some no name trainer do. If your two year old is just starting, fer heavensake- lose the spurs!

And for ALL of you- make sure you actually have someone else watch your video( Your mom doesn't count) to make sure your horse isn't lame, or sour, or aggravated at you for being a shmucky rider.

Things that BUYERS with MONEY want to see-
Your horse, without a saddle of any kind, both sides, front and back. HOOVES to Forelock. Moving away from the camera in a straight line and then back again ( without running over the camera operator). We want to see how your horse tracks, how his legs lift off the ground, how his head and neck tie in and if he is athletic for our purposes.
THEN we want to see the same horse under saddle going left, at a walk, a jog and a lope,( or walk trot canter) then STOP quietly. Back up. Roll slowly over the hocks.(if you are able or just move to go the opposite direction) Then repeat. THEN if your horse jumps add a jump, if your horse is a rope horse, then rope a cow, or use a trail obstacle or do a little trick, or run a barrel pattern...
You can do all of this in three minutes! Really!!!!!

And if your horse is good at his job- let someone who can show him off do the riding.

Last but not least- Price him right! Not what you THINK he is worth, or what he was worth when YOU bought him- but what he is worth TODAY. Be Fair! If you don't want him anymore, maybe someone that can bring out his athleticism will-price your horse with that in mind. Other wise you are going to have a pasture pet for a very long time...

Log on and have fun...if you can.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Stocking the stuffers

Is it too early to begin shopping for (whispering)  Christmas?
I sure hope not!
I used to make it a rule that I didn't even mention Christmas before Halloween.
But since I do most of my shopping on the internet now- I am breaking my own rule.
I'm going to share a few of my favorite things- things that will make great Stocking Stuffers or even a Secret Santa Gift for your horse loving friends.

Equyss Survivor is my favorite Detangler.
It smells great! Value wise,you only have to use a 'dab' (really) so a bottle lasts a longer time than my next favorite (Cowboy Magic). It works best on a clean tail, of course, but you can also put a tiny bit on burrs and the chaff that pasture hrses sometimes pick up, and the offending items will slide right out. Better than baby oil because it doesn't attract dirt. Better than WD-40 because it doesn't dry out the hair. Cost is usually between $15 and $20 depending on where you buy it.

Every horse needs salt. Most people buy a big white or red block at the feed store. It sits on the stall floor, soaking up noxious fluids and dirt. Does the horse use it? Does he like it?  Sometimes it is hard to tell.
But the Himalayan Pink Salt block is a wonderful alternative. It is 2 pounds, comes with a hole drilled through it and a small rope so you can tie it inside the stall. My horse LOVES it. As a matter of fact, every horse that has had the opportunity to eat one loves it. I think it is a good value because the horse actually eats the salt, it dosen't get wasted on the stall floor.  They cost from $8 -$15 dollers (depending on where you buy them and how many you purchase.

My very favorite treat to give Desi are these Nickerbait cookies. These have rock candy on the top, but they have some with peppermint too. They are made with carrots, sweet potato, brown sugar,molassas and lots of other things horse love. And how cute is this zebra gift box? Four or five cookies of different types already wrapped for you! Prices for a bag of cookies is around $8, this box is around $6. 
Just google Nickerbait and check out their website!
I hope this has made your Christmas shopping a little easier!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Now a Hyster-Sister

I've been quiet for a few days here in blog land and that is because I am now a Hyster- Sister. In other words I've had a sucessful hysterectomey! Hurrah and double hurrah!
Of course I won't be riding Desi for the next two months- but that is a trade off well worth taking.
I feel better already!
No details~ no hoopla~ I'm great and getting greater by the minute!

New posts very soon!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

In this episode- the horse doesn't die...

I was a geeky kid- at least looking back now it might seem that way. But then- like now- I really didn't care.
You know I love racing. It is one of my guilty pleasures. Watching a horse run is breathtaking and frightening all at the same time. The heart of a horse is an awsome thing.

Disney makes horse movies. I love horse movies. Perfect. I went to see Secretariat last night.
I can't say it was the most wonderful horse movie ever made, I think Seabiscuit actually fit into that catagory- but I loved it just the same. It was pure Disney and if you have ever seen a Disney horse movie you'll know what I mean.
Run Appaloosa Run
The Horse with the Flying Tail
The Horse in the Grey Flannel Suit
The Miracle of the White Stallions

Lots of meaningful dialog from the star power about how wonderful or brave or beautiful their horse is and why the fact of their being that way lifts them to a higher plain. Inter-cut with slow-mo shots of the horse running and the gratitudous 'soulful eye' shots.

Now you may think I am mocking the movie- I am not. I get chills along my arms just like everyone else.
As Lil Mama said to me last night- "When the horses are running, I can feel those horses," she laid her hand over her heart," it is just such a deep seated part of me, their breathing is like my own."
And I agree. We lucky few who have horses in our lives have the luxury of gazing into our own horses soulful eyes any time we want. I do it frequently without thinking about it- trying to discern his mood. Is he frightened today? Mad? Lazy? Does he 'get it' today? I'm not looking for the magic there- I'm looking for answers.
Our muscle memory feels those horses beneath us as we watch the film. I am there in the starting gate, the horses snorting breath ringing in my ears. My legs flex, my fingers tighten on the reins...the bell rings and I am off... 

But back to me being a geeky kid.
I remember watching Secretariat run, on TV of course. I wish I could have seen him in person. He had charisma,no doubt. I carried that Time magazine of him in his blue checked hood around with me, tucked in among my History text and Social Studies books. It was dog eared and tattered, but I took it out every chance I got just to reread that article, and look at his proud face. I think my Mom must have finally thrown it out because it is not in my things any more. I loved that horse as if he were my own. When I  moved out of my house I stabled my horse at the track in Santa Rosa. I had a chance to put my QH gelding into the starting gate and race him around the track. I pretended I was Secretariat then. Not Man o War,or Whirlaway or Bold Ruler,but Secretariat.

There have been a lot of horse races between then and now. I get a thrill watching any horse run. But for a few of you that weren't alive then ( I know you are out there!) here is a clip of the most amazing horse race ever recorded. And do yourself a favor and go see the movie. The horse dosen't die.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

It's almost time---

I have owned Glacier for about two years now. Most of you remember the story, her rescue and our subsequent purchase. She has had a very happy two years, just hanging out with a bunch of other horses on some green green pastures.
I noticed right away that she was losing some sight in her left eye, but the other one was working fine. So she has been a little bit blind- she was still getting along pretty well.

Then about three months ago I noticed her blind eye was sinking in- uh oh! Tha'noagood!
She followed her red mare buddy around the ten acres I am able to keep her on, but all of a sudden she wasn't following so closely, and she was getting lost. I even had to hike the hill to find her on more than one occasion.
Those hills are steep!
But she was still getting down the hill to eat, and up the hill to find water.
But in the last week her eyesight seems to have completly vanished. She noses along the ground to find her way- but what is worse, she is not able to find her food or water with out help.

And she's bumping into the fences.
So though she is only twenty something- I think it will soon be time to send her over the rainbow bridge.
The hills here are trecherous- even for a sighted horse, and the fact that she seems lost a lot of the time tells me that her brain isn't functioning as it should either.

I've gone through this before- with my good mare China. She had uvitius for about seven years before it finally affected her brain and I had to put her down. She was no longer safe to be around and she was dangerous to herself as well.
A lot of people would sell their horses to a kill buyer, or a horse broker (same thing) about this time. A litnany of excuses would follow- " I can't bear to see her suffer." or " I just can't be the one to end her life." or
"Maybe someone else can fix her, keep her till she dies of old age, etc."

You know I wouldn't do that.
On Monday I will call my vet and see what he has to say.
 I am preparing myself .

On the upside- I am glad I was able to give her a home in a safe place with lots of pets and food. I'm glad my niece will know what happened to her- and that she was protected and loved until the end of her life. I hope this will serve as a reminder to those of you out there that have old horses not to send them to the auction or sell them to just anyone- but to end their lives in as humane a way as possible. They deserve an honorable ending.
So no tears for us~ just go out and love on your own ponies. I'll keep you all posted.