Archive for June, 2013

PostHeaderIcon Bless the Cantle and Pommel

Dressage Lucky Star

Western saddles have a seat defined by the cantle and the pommel.  The cantle is the owner of the saddle horn.  The pommel is the owner of the back of the seat.  When you swing a leg over your horse to sit on a western saddle, the pommel and cantle gently guide your seat into the correct position on the saddle.  ”Plop” and you are seated where you are meant to be.

Today, Lucky Star and I borrowed a dressage saddle.  Dressage saddles have no saddle horn.  That’s what I was worried about.  I don’t hang onto the saddle horn when I ride, but I really love the horn to be there if I need it. I might be diagnosed with saddle horn anxiety!

Now it was time to mount the cute and handsome Lucky Star wearing the dressage saddle so nicely.

I swung my leg over and sat down.  Horrors and horror came over me.  Have you ever rode a ferris wheel in those wooden seats?  Remember how the ferris wheel has to unload and load new people and you go up, stop and up.  Remember how it feels when your ferris wheel seat stops at the top.  Your body freezes and tries to stay balanced.  Otherwise, the ferris wheel seat will swing too far and spill you out to the ground.  That’s the feeling I had.  I was out of balance on top of the ferris wheel waiting for it to move and spill me out.

I was unbalanced, unsteady and had Lucky moved, I might have fallen off.  I screamed the acceptable horse screams.  The acceptable scream is more like alarm moanings.  I moaned in fear.  I moaned a couple of times.  I drew the attention of the wonderful instructor, Jenny Vaught.  She raised her voice across the arena and told me I was sitting on the end of the saddle.  ”Move forward”, she instructed.  ”Move my body I thought in alarm?” If I move my body, it will tumble to the ground.  Another instruction, “You are sitting too far back on the saddle.  You need to move forward,”  Jenny said.  Jenny always knows when one of her students is in trouble.

I moved forward about a half inch.  I was proud of my body that it was able to move.  ”More, move forward more,” Jenny instructed.  This time, I was able to move forward in the saddle about an inch.  I was starting to believe that I could successfully inch forward on the seat.

Now Jenny was getting really close to where I was frozen in the saddle.  ”Move forward more,” she instructed.  Jenny got to my side and pointed at the front of the place where my legs were supposed to be.  See this pad?  This is where your legs are supposed to be.  Your legs are to be nestled next to these pads.

I was able to inch forward, feeling more and more in balance. Finally, my legs made it to the required position and my seat was situated in the spot meant for it to be in.  I felt a calm come over me as I realized, my balance had returned.

Thank you Lucky Star for your “I’m not moving” dominant attitude.  Lucky Star stood steadfast and brave while I was completely off balance and moaning in fear.

Thank you Jenny for rescuing me.  Whew!

Lucky managed to keep me on top of him rather than being smashed to the ground during the remainder of the lesson.  We even went medium fast for short spurts.

Tomorrow I return to a saddle with a pommel, a cantle and a horn.  Bless the western saddle!

Cowboy Lucky Star

PostHeaderIcon Bike Shop

Pleasant HIll has been added to the Katie Trail!  The Katie trail is a long long gravel chad trail that has been put on an old railroad track.  There are no grades over 1%.  That means when you ride a bike, there is no coasting.  We don’t have that problem with riding horses on the Katie Trail.  Sadly, this portion of the Katie trail isn’t open to horse back riding.  The Nerve!

Pleasant HIll has increased local businesses by one.  We’ve added a Bike and Coffee Shop.  So, the other day, being a retired person and free to have any adventure I can dream up, I visited the Bike Store and ordered Coffee.

The owner brewed the coffee.  He added almond milk and had Stevia sweetener.  It can’t get any better than that.  I wandered around looking at the bikes.  All used bikes.  All very inexpensive bikes.  He told me everyone in Pleasant Hill who owned a bike was bringing their bike into his shop to be fixed.  I looked up and he’s got some antique bikes.

I told him that I had a bike he’s never before seen.  I told him about my Hopalong Cassidy bike sitting all lonely in the garage.  I told him about the holsters and the cap guns.  He quizzed me on who made the bike.  My memory failed me, but I told him I got the bike in 1951 when my parents ordered it from the Sears Catalog.  I told him that was my childhood bike.  I told him I had it restored in Wisconsin and my son drove there to pick it up.

He believed me then.

We are talking about exhibiting my bike in his store.  I think it might increase his business and antique bike and Hopalong Cassidy people might come pouring into his shop.

He’s got insurance.

I’m going to take my bike into see him tomorrow.

I’ll be getting some more coffee.  He charges just a tip.  This coffee is between $2 and $4 at McDonalds and its just stale coffee poured over ice.

PostHeaderIcon So Much to Tell…So Many Words to Type

Adventure One – this morning

The back story is my recliner.  My recliner is one of those power lift chairs.  We bought it so my mother could get out of a chair.  She left us in 2007, so we must have had this chair a couple years before that.  I’ve been sitting in this chair every day of my life that I live at home.  I soak up my mother’s DNA and use it as a Mom reminder.  I love the chair.  The chair has been telling me it might be time for it to join my mother.  The chair is going to chair heaven

The power thing has been failing.  I’m laying fully streched out enjoying life and then the power thing fails and I can’t get the chair up.  It’s been getting worse.  I have learned that I can crawl out the side of the chair, but this does not look like ballet.  It looks like, well, pitiful is the word that comes to mind.

This afternoon, I was laying in the chair, snoozing. That’s what everyone does on a Sunday afternoon.  I was stretched out when a big knock on the front door came.  My body shot up straight and leaped out of the chair to a puddle on the floor.   I had to drag my body off the floor to an upright position. Meanwhile, someone is standing at the front door.   The dogs were at the door. Justine was barking.  Finally,  I made it to the door and straddled Heidi.  Somehow she got between my legs.  I opened the door straddling a German Shepard while Justine on three legs lunged out the door. Whoopee!

It was a person that fishes in our lake.  He just wanted to thank me for letting him fish.  We chatted.  He never mentioned or let on how odd it was to have someone answer the door astride a German Shepherd with little Justine lunging at him.  After all, he fishes here.  He’s seen us in all our glory.

But that was end of chair.  Chair has been dragged to the dumpster.  Blessing have been said.  No longer will I be lounging with my mother’s DNA.  sigh…  Sad day.

New chair is in my mini van awaiting someone with strength and knowledge to get it inside the house and put together.

PostHeaderIcon Velvet and Nichole Take on Everyone

Velvet and Nichole won the garland in the youth Versatility Spring Show.  I clapped and cheered all the way through the blue and one red ribbon!

Ranch Horse Day was a surprise.  This year the Ranch Horse classes just had one classification…Open.  Open means professional horse trainers and everyone else can participate.  Nichole is 17.  She was in Ranch horse events competing against her mom, step father, younger sister and a host of other adult riders.Points are accrued based on the placing of the horse/rider and how many riders competed in the class.  The Ranch Horse Events go by quickly and no one was trying to compute points.  The Ranch Horse Conformation class was won by Tony and Powder.  Caitlyn won the Open Roping.  Jenny and Nova won the blue in Working Cow horse.  Nichole and Velvet took second in many ranch classes, not any blue ribbons.

My  earlier prediction was that Nichole and Velvet would win over some of the adults.  And she did, but none of us had any idea of the outcome that happened in real life.

The announcement was made.

The Ranch Horse Champion is Nichole Copple and Toddy’s Velvet Perfection.

Tumult!  Screaming, yelling, cheering, clapping!  We learned that Caitlyn and Attu took second.  Oh my!  I got to hold the ribbon.  Velvet got to wear the garland.  We had our picture taken!

Afterwards, we all tried to take responsibility for Nichole and Velvet winning.  I mentioned that I took Velvet through the Parelli levels.  Jenny stated that she had trained Velvet.  Caitlyn didn’t say anything, but she could have taken credit for learning how to ride on Velvet.  Tony didn’t say anything.

After most everyone tried to take credit, Velvet glared at all of us.  We were hushed by the glare.  Velvet stated that she, herself, was old enough to be in the Open as she is twenty years old.  She further stated that this win was a team effort between herself and Nichole.  Then Velvet snorted on all of us and stomped her foot!

We all hushed up and gave Nichole and Velvet all the credit for being the Open Ranch Horse Champion!

Congratulations Nichole and Velvet!

PostHeaderIcon Ava-Day One a Huge Success

Day one, Showmanship started the day off right!  Jenny and Nichole won the open and youth showmanship classes!  Nova and Velvet were in show horse success mode.

Tony and Powder joined in the next events and the ribbon sunumi started.  The Vaught family flooded me with ribbons.  Blue was the main color.  In the youth events, Nichole and Velvet mostly won the blue ribbon followed by  sister Caitlyn riding Attu.  In the open events Jenny got most of the blue ribbons with Powder and Tony getting many second place ribbons and a few third place ribbons.

I have this great chair with the shade top.  Today, it became the ribbon chair.  At the end of the day, it was also the garland chair.  Jenny and Nova won the Open Versatility Garland and Nichole and Velvet won the Youth Versatility Garland.

Pictures are on Facebook . At the moment, I can’t upload pictures here.  Later…

We had friends show in the various events.  Susan Breau showed in Western Pleasure and won the class.  She was so excited and so happy to get that win.  Before the class, she was bubbling over with excitement and nerves.  She has also lost weight this winter and looked stunning in her show clothes with her shining happiness bubbling all over us!

Hope Kahout has to be the best dressed Western Pleasure rider ever.  I will post her picture and you can vote for Hope as most wondrous.  She rides a dark gold palomino and wore a turquoise outfit.  Boy Howdy.  Hope placed in the class and was a happy versatility evener!

Powder looked great in her new bridle.  Last year her whiteness faded out her face.  She needed a bling black bridle so we would see her beautiful green gold eyes with the black makeup.  Oh she is stunning, especially with her cowboy rider dressed in a dark red shirt.  It took a lot of finesse to get the cowboy rider to accept a bling bridle.  Whew  Powder is coming along looking improved over her three year old first season.  Powder is four years old and is in the beginning of her illustrious show career.

Strolling around the versatility arena, I was asked if I “bought” all those ribbons.  ”Yes, I did in the entry fees!” I said!  Another person asked me if I was sorry to be winning all the blue ribbons.  I replied, “No Way!  I’m happy that my horses are winning all those blue ribbons!”

I love the people in the versatility arena.  They aren’t just people, they are my family twice a year.

Tomorrow is Ranch Horse Day.  All three of my horses are entered in every event.  There is only open Ranch Horse classes. This means that Nichole and Caitlyn are competing along with the adults.  I predict that Nichole and Caitlyn will place higher in some classes than some of the adult riders.  I’m glad not to be competing against Nichole and Caitlyn!

Report tomorrow.  Pictures on Facebook.  Rain missed us all day and hit us right before the horse show this evening. But as I look out McDonald’s window, the skies are blue.  Happy to be dry riders are riding in the performance arena right now and the versatility people are watching and thinking about hitting the mattress!


PostHeaderIcon Ava Pre-Day

Two hundred miles flew by and I entered the time zone known as Ava!  The golf cart guy met me at the entrance.  I found Nova, Powder and Velvet and the Vaught family.  Life is good.  I beat a lot of people here.  There are still parking spaces available if you want to run on down to Ava!

We had fun times at the office getting everyone signed up and ready to go tomorrow.  Everything went smooth as silk.  Everyone has numbers and even better, safety pins to attach the numbers to the saddle pads.  I chatted with everyone in the office.  They all were excited to see me and vice versa!  ha

I got Powder a duplicate set of registration papers as I misplaced her original papers.  I tell you this so that you will be as astonished as I was to receive a duplicate registration certificate for her with a solid gold seal.  I tried to buy a few more duplicate registrations, but it’s not allowed.  $20 for a gold seal is darn amazing!

We watched Caitlyn and Izzy riding in the Kid’s Day trail class with expert coaching from Steve Atkinson, a handsome young guy wonderful horse trainer, who never ages.  Ann Compton came strolling by with some serious fox trotter bling.  Ann is a young blond with bling.  She is covering the Kid’s Day.  Look for the Online Newsletter to see some of her pictures and stories about the day.  I do have a complaint about Kid’s Day.  The kids all got tie dye fox trotter T Shirts.  And my complaint is…where is my tie dye T Shirt?  Kid’s only, drat it.

We took a break and dispersed.  I went on my daily run to WalMart and my annual drive around town to see what is new.  Currently I’m sitting in the wonderful True Brew Coffee and Sandwiche Show.  It’s wonderful in here.  I’m having tea and a scone.  I have WiFi.  It’s better than McDonalds where I normally hang out to publish the news of the show!

Tomorrow is a full day of every versatility class you can think of.  We have Open and Youth events tomorrow. Everyone shows in something tomorrow!  It’s going to be a long day.  Some of the day might have some moisture coming from the clouds.  Hopefully it waits until we are done.

True Brew is open from 6:00-6:00 and to 8:00 on weekends.

Gotta run!  Gotta find everyone and watch everyone practicing to get ready for tomorrow!

Oh, and another thing….  the book, Susan FoxTrotter is on sale at the Fox Trotter Shop.  Buy a copy there, find me and get your book autographed if you are on the grounds tomorrow and Thursday.

PostHeaderIcon Lucky the Drill Team Leader

Three of us fox trotter people in the group lesson were assigned to ride three abreast…noses lined up.  We were instructed to go at a flat foot walk.  Well that is fine and good, but on the arena corners, some of us were walking and others were going much faster.  On the straight-away, some of us had to fox trot to keep up.  Lucky was doing a fine fox walk…a little faster than a flat foot walk and not quite a full fox trot.

Finally the rules were explained to us and we adjusted. The outside horse is the lead horse.  The outside horse couldn’t go faster than the other horses could do their flat foot walk.  We figured it out.  We rode around that arena like we owned it.  We were a force to be respected.

The best drill teams has horses that are very close to all the other horses.  There’s not much room between horses when you are doing it right.

Here’s what Lucky Star did.  He drilled his ears flat back and tried really hard to go faster than the other horses.  I continually had to pull him down into a slower speed.  With horses, ears flat backwards means “I’m going to bite and kick you.”  It’s alarming for the rider to have a horse that broadcasts such a hate message to other horses.  Other riders aren’t especially fond of people with horses that want to bite or kick their horse.  The place for such a horse is out of the arena or control that horse! This ears back language is not wanted in a show arena either.   Show judges typically do not place such a bad attitude, no matter how great they are performing.

So, I’m thinking, Lucky is wanting to hurt my drill team partners.  But  as we rode along, he didn’t attempt to kick or bite.  hmmmm

Here’s what it is.  Lucky Star is the leader.  He was telling the other horses that he controls them. Ears back, “I’m in charge of you”.  Going fast is another way to let the other horses know who is boss.  The horse in front is the boss.

That’s what Lucky Star was saying.  ”I’m in charge of you.  Obey me.  Stay behind me!”

After the drill team successfully circled the arena in a flat foot walk, we were assigned to do a fox trot.

Since fox trot has different speeds, we were allowed to do this single file.

Lucky Star became the leader.  We burned up that arena!  Burned a hole in the track.  We came around to the end of the arena where we normally balk, and Lucky Star fired his way through and we burned a deeper hole on the rail.  We led the pack with Drill Team Lucky Star in charge.  Drill Team leaders never balk.  They stay in front…in charge and in control.

Boy Howdy!

Group lesson over for Lucky Star and treats administered into his awaiting mouth!


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