Wednesday, August 24, 2011

This speaks for itself...

2011 AQHA filly.$500. Guess where this ad was...
I'm tempted just to rescue her...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Thumprint Walker

Gallery Before
This is the Greg Martin and Heritage Gallery in San Francisco. We have been getting ready for a big preview of a collection of rare and valuable Colt Firearms and other Fine Antique Arms and Armor.
Gallery After
Our warehouse is on the second floor and is usually just a big open space. We have worked hard transforming it into a Show Gallery.
I forgot to take some 'Before'-before pictures, so the 'Before' pictures are really 'almost there' pictures... but I think you can get the idea of what we had to do.
The green curtains and scrolls on the red columns are added for the event, as are all the cases.
You would have thought that we were getting ready for a Cotillion or something, the way our Consignment Director fussed over the curtains and the rugs and the food!
But since we had over 6 million dollars worth of firearms to Preview, I guess it was a worthy effort.

Oh, I heard you all go "WHAT! SIX MILLION DOLLARS! FOR GUNS?"

That's a conservative estimate- I assure you. BTW- these firearms are now on their way to another Preview in Beverly Hills and then on to New York City before going to the final destination of Dallas Texas to be auctioned.

These are some of the finest and rarest of  Colts Firearms. The first and most expensive (with a low Estimate of $700,00.00 ) is called the Paterson Colt. It was a giant leap from the cap and ball firearm to a revolving cylinder. 30% of the first ones blew up, so finding even one is rare- finding one that is intact with all of the accoutrements is amazing. (Most of these remaining firearms were Presentation gifts from Sam Colt of various people.)

To see more of the collection and to hear Greg Martin talk about it, click on the link, then go to the Sept 18th Arms and Armor auction.

We also had suits of miniture armor, knives, muskets, shotguns and of course no fine sale is complete without a cannon - or two. Ours are bronze and they sat on the bottom of the ocean for over two hundred years before being brought up. Then they sat in a special 'bath' to kill the bronze disease for two years, before being brought to GMA to put in this auction.

Gallery Before

Gallery After

And that brings me to the famous Walker Colt.

Colt 'Thumbprint' Walker

They call it the Thumbprint Walker because during the case hardening process a workman left his thumbprint on the wedge, just under the cylinder. Maybe it dosen't look that impressive, especially after looking at some of the fancy engraving on some of the other Colt's, but the human-ness of that thumbprint makes it my favorite piece in the auction.
It was certainly special to see this collection, amassed by Mr. Al Cali over the course of fifty years, all in one place. There will never be anything like it again. Quite a few of these pieces will end up in Museums, the others will go into private collections, which are seldom put on display.
So Thank you, Mr. Al Cali, and Thank you Mr. Greg Martin. This was a spectacular display, and I am proud to be a very small part of it.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I am a Victim of Profiling- or Driving the Beemer

It is insidious really.
Beginning simply enough...
 First they stare over the passenger seat right at you.
Then they just seem to dip a little into your lane- like tipping your toes into the ocean knowing that there might be a carnivorous fish in there.
Before I know it, they are IN my lane, and have done a little half wave in my direction- a flittering of the fingers,a tiny lift of the chin, as if somehow we know each other and it's okay.

I was confused.
I DON'T know these people. These commuters in cars... 
My brain went into overtime~ what on Earth could make these people think they could cut in front of ME in rush hour traffic? This has never happened before, at least not in this half friendly, half knowing way.

And then it strikes me like a bug on my windshield- these people are reacting, not to ME driving- but WHAT I am driving. The BMW.

Hold on there Scout! Vaquero girl is driving a CAR and a BEEMER at that? Has the Universe stopped spinning on its axis? Is it the End of Days?


1. The car is on loan to me by my cousin who is living for a few years in China.
B. I have decided that driving into my J.O.B. in the City is a better way to transport myself there. It cuts my time away from home by 45 minutes!
#. The Beemer is better on the ol' gas tank than either of the trucks- although I do still drive Big Blue into work on some days.
And that is where the rub lies. Big Blue is a Chevy halfy,4x4 with duel pipes that rumble like San Francisco in April. When it comes down the road, piloted not by a cute little girl ( which I used to be) but an eye- glassed granny with an attitude, people stay out of the way. There is no cutting off Big Blue- there is only debris in his wake.
Evidently I didn't get the memo about civilized people driving Beemers. Seems there is an unspoken code that says that a little past middle aged Grannies in sunglasses and driving BMW's are expected to adhere to polite mores and let other drivers cut lines.  Everyone knows this- except me.

I'm being profiled!

Blonde lady in a Beemer is civilized, same blonde lady in a truck is scorned.
This somehow gives me a strange feeling of empowerment over the other drivers. They look and see one thing, but actually I am the opposite.

Maybe I will be that shark in the water, that "Little Old Lady from Pasadena " that they have all heard about.
Maybe I'll be Gretchen Wilson....

Perhaps it's a good thing my insurance is paid up!
Go Granny! Go Granny Go Granny Go!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Still on the Hunt~ But getting Closer

Still haven't sold Desi- as evidenced by my last post- but that dosen't keep me from looking for another mount for next year.

Here are four that I have seen lately. Actually I haven't seen Skippin Out West in the horseflesh yet, but I'm planning to go up in two weeks to ride all of them ( lucky for me they are all in the same town- two hours away).

Watch these videos and let me know what you all think. My own opinions are at the end of this blog.
PS- I have a video of Dewey but I haven't been able to get it off my cell phone and onto the blog- so I'll have to 'splain it to you....


Deweys whole self

Skipin Out West. He's a stud horse, but I have no problem in gelding him. He's a little thick through the throatlatch, and Jaq thinks he will be heavy in his shoulder as he matures. She is probably right. That might hinder him from looking good over trail obstacles or being able to lift himself for a pretty lope. Right now he is very upright in his head set- but I know that Jaq dosen't fool with their heads for the first few months of riding. She lets them get used to being ridden, she lays down a good foundation for leg cues and stops and backs. I think he will be able to get his head level enough to look pretty in a W/P  or Trail Class and he is flat kneed enough. But he's not so scopey that he'll knock poles. His legs and feet look good in the video, but I'll be able to tell for sure when I see him in person.  It remains to be seen if he is too hot, or sensible or resistant. I like that he looks like he could go down a fence ( as if I would!) or  be safe on a trail.
He's the right size and will remain so and I love his color.

The Bay gelding ~Rich N Art.
Really nicely bred and I am totally in love with his looks ( bad Vaquerogirl!) His head set is natural, he's scopey and flat kneed and mellow. She's only been riding him a short while and has just put him on her for sale listing. He is appendix and he is HUGE!
Problem: I do not show English. ( Oh Vaquerogirl- you can learn!) HA!!
Problem: I am SHORT-saddling this guy would involve Bigge Cranes ( Oh, that is a good reason to learn English- the saddles are smaller!) HA!! Ha!!
Bonus: Lil Mama could show him in the English classes. And he already pulls a cart ( not that there are a lot of cart classes around here, but it is an AQHA event and is popular in the World.)
Problem: I don't know what they are asking for him.
( I will not fall in love, I will not fall in love...)

Red gelding- When I'm Good and Ready
AKA Darryl
You have seen stills of this guy before. He's really sweet minded and I love his full sister. His neck looks a little short and he dosen't have the elegant self carriage of the Bay Gelding. He is going to mature at 16 plus and here we go with the crane again..
He has good feet and legs. Jaq hasn't been riding him as much as the others because he belongs to her ( you know the story) but she is in a postion to deal on him and I could buy him and keep him there all winter for her to ride. ( If she was getting paid to ride him she would) He would be ready for the 2012 season then.
Problem: he is BIG.
Problem: He is green
Problem: Do I have the money to keep him or any of these guys in training for the winter ( I would have to!)

Bonus~ He's affordable right now, even without selling Desi yet.

This guy is as sweet as a horse can get. Big soft eye, cute face and tiny ears. Laid back like a surfer dude in Malibu. His Sire is a World Champion. He has great legs and feet, he's the right size and the right temperment.
Problem: He has a 'pleasure' lope- the kind that goes up and down and dosen't get any where. I don't know if that can be undone. His trainer has shut  him down to get to that artificial slow lope that WP people seem to think is acceptable. I saw him at the Gold N Grand , but I did not ride him there. I want to go see him and see how he lopes ' at will'.
Problem: He's expensive.

So there are my current dillemma's!
It's a lot to contemplate.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"And Now ...WE RIDE!"

" What do we do now Rango?"
" Now...WE RIDE!"

The Summer Gold N Grand Show in Rancho Murietta turned out to be just the thing I needed to do with Desi.
Unlike the March show, the weather was perfect. Cool in the morning and warm in the afternoon.
I practically put my Hubby in the cardiac arrest room at the loony bin by insisting on driving our 5th wheel trailer and parking it myself. I did great( and I only had one scary moment at a yellow light!) But my learning curve is very steep and I was perfect after that! ( Plus I didn't tell him about that little incident so shh... we'll keep it between us good friends!)
I got Desi into the Trail pen on Thursday to Warm up and he looked around and decided it was gonna be okay. We rode there for about an hour and I put him away.
Next morning, the warm up for the Trail was in the scary little covered arena. We went in there to warm up as directed- but that was the worst thing that I could have done.
He pitched his tanty all over again! I finally got him listening to me, and someone comes in and says- "Hey they are calling your number!"
DRATS again! The ring Steward had insisted that we could hear them call us from inside that arena, but ya know what? Hun- un! You couldn't! So I felt a little rushed going in to my first class. I bumped him into the bit and got through the class. He clicked the very first object, slowed a little bit going into the jog right up to the gate, but he zeroed the gate ( good) and nailed the back up chute. Still I only placed 8th that day.
 The second class was 1st and 2nd year green horse (I had felt particularly optimistic that morning evidently.) He started off great, zeros on all obstacles- UNTIL he heard the flag pole wires banging at the end of the arena. His head went up and he reared and whirled away from the pole, bucking a little bit. I caught a glimpse of the judge putting down her pencil and picking up an Emory board.
SHIT! I got him loping through the next obstacle, and as we got to the opposite side of the arena, the photographer stood up from a crouch and took our frigging picture! FLASH FLASH! Spin and buck! I double handed him through the last obstacle, turned and nodded to the judge who had just finished writing a letter to her mother. I left the arena in shame.
Next morning, I got up early, saddle and dressed and was the 7th one in the arena. NO waiting and no photographer. NO flapping flag pole strings, and no loping- I scratched that class to focus on the Walk Jog. Desi held it together and we placed 5th.
Last morning got up and saddled and went to pick up my new shirt- Designed by Tish at Elegant Show Styles. It is purple Flames with a million sequins and matches exactly a purple pad I had in the trailer. I bought it at four on Saturday and Tish had it ready for me by 9 on Sunday. That girl is something else! Thanks Tish!

Everyone had gotten with the program by now, so I had to wait  an hour to show, but I didn't warm up much. I just went into the arena, bumped his sides and sat back. Desi jogged along, turned on cue and stopped when he was suppose to. We aced the walk over,~ nary touching a one~ but our loops were a little flat sided, not as pretty and round as maybe they could have been. I placed 6th in that class. So with an 8th, a 5th and a 6th, I did not win a buckle by one point.

 But the good news is Desi was 100 percent better than the last show. I handed out flyer's to a few people, and had a call afterwards, but again, the people are looking for a solid lesson horse for beginners. As gentle and loving as he is on the ground, you have to ride this horse- no lolly gagging along.
So I'll keep working him and I am going to go sorting on him too, There is one close by in Woodland that takes beginners and will help find you a partner that is a little bit better than you.
I also got a new headstall for my birthday. Here it is on Desi, it seems to fit him better anyway.

Lil Mama had a variable ride on Big Bob too. First day in the warm up he was relaxed and happy, but the minute he got into the show ring we was ' a carrying the mail'. Next day, he was as good as gold and he placed 4th. Third Day Gin had a bit of a hearing problem and she missed hearing a gait change and she went loping along only to discover that they were suppose to be jogging! She placed 7th in that class- so no buckle this time for her either. But she did have a good time and she felt Bob was mostly good.

I guess the highlight of the trip was when her father ( my ex) came to see Lil Mama with his wife and his mother- AKA Nonnie. One big Happy family. We all had dinner and were so civilized... no really... we are.. We've been divorced for ages!

Oh yes- The ACTUAL Highlight was one of our Friends - a Trainer who had a bit of DRAMA in her barn- was awarded not one... not two... but Three buckles with her youngest client. A thirteen year old girl that has only shown twice before this! They won the open Circut Award for the Class! Good job Syd and Jaq!

Thank you to all of my supporters out there! I kept you all in mind as I rode around the grounds, remembering each of the stories you have told me about persevering and courage. It really helped me focus.

And I found a cute gelding that I am going to go look at closer.  His name is Dewey.

I'll have that blog up tomorrow.... or the next day...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Tarweed memories

It comes in the mail, that little folded flyer with a staple in the middle holding all the excitment you can fathom inside. I've been getting these since I was about 6 or 7, and they send a little thrill right through me every time.
I'm sure that the Horse Show staff dosen't know that these little scraps of paper hold a world of dreams. But they do- even today.
As a kid I would pull them from the mail and go immediatly to my secret stash- a can with pennies and dimes and some dollers to count up the entry fee. Sometimes I already had it, sometimes I would have to go door to door soliciting babysitting and ironing jobs.

I'd mark the date and start planning.

I'd have to wash and starch my jeans, polish my boots and the silver on my bridle. I'd have to clean my old saddle and wash the cinch and stretch it. A day before I would ride my horse into my backyard and wash him with head and shoulders shampoo ( cause no one would miss it), and I would take Whisk and scrub off every bit of tarweed from my bald faced horses head and legs.I'd use Baby No More Tears on his tangled mane and tail, and brush him until he shined. Because I didn't want him to go back into pasture I would keep him in my suburban back yard and I would sleep outside with him. I remember listening to him move around the back yard, hoping he wouldn't step on me in my sleeping bag in the night. But he didn't. Just about false dawn he'd lay down too, quite near me and strech out to sleep. I'd lay there awake and marvel that he trusted me enoguh to lay down to sleep.
 At dawn we would get up and I would put my best pants and an ironed shirt of my brothers into a paper sack, tie my lunch into another sack and off I'd ride to the show. Sometimes the show was close- 5 miles or so. Some times it was closer to ten. Usually at the bottom of someone's pear orchard. There was usually a snack shack that sold hot dogs, REAL Frito boats and cold Coca Cola or Koolaid in paper cups.
We'd tie up to the pear trees to wait our turn in the ring.
The thrill of riding to the show through town on suburban streets! People would come out of their houses to watch a horse walk by.  I liked waving at everyone.
I usually rode alone. Sometimes a friend and her mother would ride with me. I wish I had pictures of those early days, but my parents never went to the shows, so I had no one to take my picture.
Once when I won first place in a gymkahna show I rode home with my trophy, so proud. But no one except my loathsome step sister was home so she took a picture. I still have it around. My hair in a messy braid,I'm  sunburned and freckled, but the proud look in my eye is there. I was wearing braces and full head gear that year, I was about eleven. I remember my sister taking the picture and then laughing " You have more metal in your mouth than your horse has in his,' she quipped.  To this day I hate that picture.

But now I am grown and the dull scissors have been replaced by state of the art clippers. The horse shoer comes a few days before. My saddle is cleaned, and my headstall new. I have an array of outfits to match the weather and my mood, all hung neatly inside my house trailer. I have more than one hat. I have practiced and practiced and been learning new methods for a long time. One would think that the thrill is gone.
One would be wrong.
I still get the excited prickle up the back of my neck.. I still run to my 'Cococola money'stash to see how much I have saved. I still wash and brush and primp and preen, still look forward to showing off a bit, hoping to bring home the trophy.

And even though my horse is not in my backyard, I'll bet I won't sleep much tonight. 

Monday, August 1, 2011

Learning and Unlearning How to Swear. (Not for the faint of heart)

When I was five I had a black Shetland pony. One day as I was riding her through our pear orchard she managed to drag me off under a tree branch. Then, of course, she ran up the road to the barn. I was so mad! I walked up the hill to our house then went to find my dad.
"That son of a bitch bucked me off!" I declared pointing in the direction of the loose pony.
My dad tried hard not to smile, but then he got stern.
"Sister Girl, don't you swear. It  isn't ladylike."

I can't remember swearing too much after that, although I knew what the word Fuck was. Shit was probably used when my Mom wasn't around. My brother was a butt head, my sisters were dorks.
That was before I became a Teamster in 1978.

In Teamster land every other word was Fuck. Fuck was a noun, an adjective and a pronoun.It was a state of being. It was used to emphasise a point or to scare someone or to tease someone or to relieve stress or pain or to put the fear of God in someone.  We didn't use many other swear words, that one seemed to do it all.
I was a Teamster for a very long time, and my Dear Hubby was one for twice as long.
Some times people will say that they were raised by wolves to convey that their upbringing was lacking in social graces- my kids apologize by saying they were raised by Teamsters.

There is a study that states swearing help alleviate pain-kinda like a dog yelping when you step on his tail.
I agree. Nothing makes me feel better than a sharply voiced swear word when I stub my toe or bark my shins.
Of course what you consider swearing and what I consider swearing might be two different things. In Shakespeare's time Zounds was considered the ultimate horrific swear word! It was short for 'Gods wounds',which was a direct slap in the face to our Savior. Actually most swear words didn't deal as much in bodily functions and insults as they did in sacrilegious behavior.
During Victorian times the word  leg was scandalous. One just didn't talk about a person's appendages!
All this I tell you so I can confess-

Hello. My name is Vaquerogirl and I swear. It has been seven days since I last uttered profanity.

It's not that I enjoy it. It's just that I can't help myself. It's a downward spiral. I guess I haven't hit bottom yet.
I'm trying not to swear. Now that I work in a smaller office, with a few folks more 'prudish' ( read not ex teamsters) than I.

It's one fucking  step at a time.

 Fucking Let go and let God.

The fucking program works if you work the fucking program...

No dirty jokes, no witty remarks with profane punchlines. I can't even use the un PC verbiage for an idiot anymore. Saying that I am a mentally handicapped individual just doesn't ring as true as my usual - 'Gosh I'm a fucking retard.'

Saying 'Oh Fudge Caps' and 'Silly Water' just does not strike fear, loathing or envy in ANYONE! And it certainly does not relieve any stress.

I'd take up smoking to cope- but you know how that would turn out.