Bunnies and Kitties and Other Spooky Spring Things

Spring is here. Well, in most of the country, spring is showing signs of arriving. Our weather has been nice, except for the wind but we always have wind so it doesn’t count on the spring-o-meter.

The barn cats had five kittens, the neighbor’s dog had the cutest little black and white border collie puppies. I’m sure the cottontails have bunnies, the foxes have cubs the robins have chicks and the badger has . . . little badgers.

There’s something about the coming of warm weather that makes a young horse loopy. Anyone who’s ridden a colt in the spring knows what I mean. My sweet, calm four year old, Cisco, morphed into a fire-breathing dragon over night. Well, after four days off because of rain. Days off and green grass will do that to a horse.

Yesterday morning I jumped on my new barrel horse, and headed for the arena, leading my husband’s head horse. About the time we hit a trot, Bosco, one of the barn cats jetted across the arena in front of us. Cisco bogged his head, bucked a few times then whirled in a complete circle. Thank goodness he doesn’t know how to buck very hard, and if we hadn’t been tethered to the big grey horse, this wouldn’t have been a problem.

Fortunately, just about the time things got dangerous, with me wrapped up in the lead rope like a Christmas present, Cisco stopped. Snake, the gray horse stood like a rock through the whole thing. Normally that would be a good thing, but with one horse spinning and the other not, you can guess what nearly happened. I managed to disentangle myself before I got into a horse-induced wreck.

Now I’m not a kid anymore. Really, I’m not. In years past, I would have ridden Cisco through the bucking, worked him on the barrels then rode for several miles more until he was tired and ready to listen. That doesn’t happen these days.

Training horses is for young people or at least, not old ones. I may not be young, but I have more than a few tricks for making the horse work harder than me. We went to the round pen, and Cisco loped circles until he was tired and I stood in the middle and watched.

                                    Here's Cisco, after our ride and none the worse for wear.

A young, tired horse has a different and much better attitude than a fresh one, and the rest of the day went better for both of us. Cisco is the nicest horse I’ve ever trained and that’s saying a lot. I’ve had some good ones. I’m more that happy to put up with a few spooky days from him and by the hot days of summer, he’ll be very well behaved.

Have any of you had experience riding colts in the early spring?


One of the All-Time Best--Charmayne James

Sunday afternoon I along with most of the rodeo fans in America, had the pleasure of watching the all time greatest barrel racer make one more run.
Charmayne James was one of the legends at the American Rodeo. The American has the biggest payout for a one-day rodeo in the history of the sport. The competitors were a combination of the top ten in professional rodeo, cowboys and cowgirls from all walks of life who worked through the ranks of numerous qualifying rodeos, and a chosen few who are the Legends of their individual events.
Charmayne and her father bought her first horse from a feedlot when Scamper was a six year old, and she was just twelve. Two years later they qualified for the National Finals Rodeo. They went on to win the NFR that year along with the WPRA World Championship and the WPRA Rookie of the Year.

One of their most amazing runs came during the 1985 NFR. As they came down the alley to enter the arena, Scamper’s bridle broke. He ran the pattern on his own and won the round. In 1986 the pair won money in all ten rounds at the NFR, a feat only three other riders have accomplished.
Charmayne and Scamper ended up with the enviable record of ten WPRA titles, six NFR titles and ten Rodeo Houston titles, along with many other circuit finals and major rodeo championships. He carried Charmayne to more than one million of her $1,842,506 lifetime earnings.
Although Charmayne won on several other horses during her career, she hasn’t run competitively for ten years. Coming back and running against the very best in the Barrel Racing world should be daunting, but the run she made was amazing.
In the preliminary round, against fifteen of the best of the best, she ran the fastest time. Unfortunately her horse tipped a barrel, earning a five second penalty, putting her out of the final round.
The talent it takes to come back to a sport after that many years is mind-boggling. Thank you, Charmayne, for one more run.


National Novel Writing Month-NaNoWriMo

It's here again, NaNoWriMo. I love November for that reason, plus Thanksgiving. I've entered NaNo three times not counting this year and have won in 2010 and 2011. Last year I was editing my book, Sugarwater Ranch in advance of publication.
Great friends and happy times are NaNoWriMo staples. Come on everyone, write that book.
Have you ever entered NaNoWriMo? Are you entered this year?