Saturday, August 31, 2013

Vinyl Vinyl Everywhere

I'm behind on posting things that I would like to tell you about.  Mostly because I'm waiting for photos from other people so I can give you more than my ramblings.  We all like photos best, right?  I sure do!

So in the mean time, I invite you to "Like" Buckstitch Becky's Customs on Facebook.

"Like" this page to keep in touch with news of my show clothing and decals. I've just added swatches of my new and vastly expanded colors of decal vinyl and I'll be adding ALL of my available images there, as well as client photos (some of you are featured!) and news about the business, etc.  I do have decals listed on Etsy, but if there's something you'd like that you don't see listed, just let me know!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Cow-Pony for a Day

In our quest to attempt ALL the disciplines at least once, (excluding the ones that require jumping because I am a wuss) we have been fortunate to have a helpful friend/enabler with a trailer.  Our friend B and her trusty little quarter horse, Zip, have taken us to pleasure shows, trail rides, and now this year we added a Ranch Riding show and..... WE GOT TO PLAY WITH COWS!!!!

I can NOT properly express to you how much fun we had.  I'm already itching to do it again!  I didn't get much for photos or video, but I'll share what I did get, and give you the narrative.

We unloaded a the nearby cutting trainer's barn and Junior was wound up, more so than I had seen him in a while.  Not sure what it was, but he never has liked being tied to a trailer.  I tacked him up and we walked through a few buildings and into the small indoor arena.  The trainer and our old friend A was there with her "new" horse, Cowboy, whom I hadn't had the pleasure of meeting just yet.  I met A at a previous barn when she had a very different horse.  She's now in love and a much more calm and content rider than when I saw her last.  She's found cutting to be her calling so she's been boarding at this barn and training there.   So fun to see!

We warmed up at the trot and lope, letting him do a nice, long posting trot to get him working and hopefully out of that jitteriness he brought off the trailer.   After a while, A and the trainer opened a door and went out to shoo in a small herd of holstein steer-calves.  After our Ranch Show introduction to the calves I didn't think he'd freak out, but I turned him to face the door with his good eye, sat deep and widened my feet just in case... and yes, I chose to wear my helmet, cowgirl or not.  The calves came in and Junior lit up like the 4th of July.  He jumped a bit, did that snorty rattle thing he does when he's nervous and danced around a bit, watching the calves.  Pretty soon though, he was on his way towards them.  He was more excited than scared so I was told to go ahead and take him in.  He went right into the herd, nosing the calves, letting them nose him, and let me start moving them around right away.

The video is from the first bit.  I don't know how long I was doing it, but eventually we started figuring it out - with the trainer's instructions, of course - and I could tell Junior really liked it.  He wasn't afraid of them at all, but I learned that his one-sideded-ness is magnified in the required maneuvers.

After a long while we moved back to the group and shooed those calves out.  We then opened a different door and headed out to usher in the "bigger ornrier" herd.  They were bigger and there was more of them.  Junior went a bit ape when we got out into the field with them.  Again, not afraid of them, but wanted to get at them.  He was doing the thing he used to do at shows when everyone would leave him - he tossed his head and jumped around and did his snorty rattle.  He calmed down once I let him get up to them and help push them into the arena.  These cows were much more intimidating to me because they were bigger and there were a lot more of them.  We watched B and A do their turns and then I went in for a little bit, but I didn't feel as comfortable with the big'uns.

Such fun!

I'm trying the Blogger upload for the first time.... testing... testing...

Get along, little doggie!

The actual doggies were not to be bothered enough to move.

B and Zip demonstrate, Junior takes notes.

Gratuitous pretty Ohio sky pic.
And yes, there WILL be more on our mounted archery adventures eventually.  :)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Show Report... and a Teaser!!!

We had a fun horse show at my barn this weekend.  I failed you because I have zero photos or video of the day.  Boo. Sorry.

Junior was quite good all day, even when he was visibly tired and quite simply over the whole thing, especially because we showed five classes, Junior's OP did three, and one of the little lesson kids requested Junior for the walk/trot ground poles. I don't offer him to the lesson kids for the show because between me and his OPs he gets plenty to do, but we weren't doing anything before class 11 and the ground poles was class 3 so I said she could use him if she wanted to.  She was a.dor.a.ble and super excited she was allowed to use him.  He was very sweet for her that morning, but by the after noon he was in several classes in a row or nearly in a row with JOP and I swapping back and forth.

Our first class was the Timed Trail. We were 1st out of 6.  I didn't see all the other runs because I had showmanship right afterwards and had to do a tack change and take my spurs off.  It was an interesting pattern and it was really fun to do.  There were no gaits specified and the path was crooked so I enjoyed trying to figure out where I had to go slow for accuracy and where we could speed up for time.  We were able to practice most of the course ahead of time so of course that really helped.  Junior trotted nicely between two tight barrels, over the tarp and up to the cone where the horse had to knock an apple off a cone.  Then we trotted over the bridge, but he missed one foot so we had to do it again.  Then I walked him through the logs since they were 1/2 raised and he's so excellent at knocking things over.  We got to the barrel and grabbed the squirt gun to shoot the balloons, but the trigger had fallen out of the gun so I just had to fake it and yell "gun broke! Look at me I'm shooting the balloons!" Then we trotted to the small crossrail but Junior when ahead and cantered it so I rolled with it. We don't jump, remember?  Then we trotted through weaving cones, dismounted, grabbed the stuffed lizard, remounted, and finally kicked a yoga ball.  It was the most fun I've had on a trail course!  Junior was really responsive and did everything I asked.

Showmanship was just us so I got first and last place.  The Judge was someone I've worked with before so she changed the 90 pivot at the end to a 450 pivot.  She scored us at a 16.5 which is pretty much where we usually are.

We got 2nd in the Command Class out of I think 5.  We were neck-n-neck with one of the good boarder kids when Junior tried to walk out of the Halt and we conceded gracefully and claimed our red.

We were 2nd out of 4 in the WTC Eq. pattern.  Our circles were laughably uneven but he took his cues really well.

Then we were brave and went in the WTC Flat Eq. class against 5 other good lesson kids and adults.  My equitation is not polished, but it is better after taking some lessons with the BO.  I was surprised and very pleased with our 3rd place finish.

By the time we were done I had to peel my breeches off - so thankful I thought of bringing shorts to change into - and hosed my sweaty/hungry/tired horse off and put him away with his fan and his dinner.  I love being able to spend 8+ hours at the barn (I did the morning feeding/turnout before the show) but it can be rather exhausting!

To make up for the lack of show photos, here is a teaser of something we've been working on.....stay tuned....

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Cowgirl for a Day

Cowgirl in the rain and mud.
Junior and I went to a Ranch Riding show!  It was all very last minute, I was invited to the Saturday show on Friday around 2pm.  You know how I like to plan things WAAAY ahead of time right?  Kinda hard to do that in this situation so in very Overanxioushorseowner fashion, I spent the evening going from one minor panic to the next, reading and re-reading the showbill, the Ohio Foundation Quarter Horse Association Rule Book, checking and rechecking the weather, and trying to gather all the stuff I thought we'd need when going to a type of show we'd never been to, a fairgrounds we'd never been to, and knowing it was probably going to rain.

Did I need a full change of clothes?  Where is my rain-gear?  Will that be enough?  Are my split reins in my show bags?  Do I need cash? Food?  Water?  Should I bring my real camera or just my phone?  What should I wear?  What if Junior freaks out being in a totally new place where there are COWS?!?! What if Junior freaks out after a yet un-tested two-hour trailer ride?  Would I be DQ'd for our short mane?

I didn't sleep much.

The morning started miserably rainy and they delayed the start by over an hour. I was SOOOO tired but a good 'ol Starbucks Double-shot and a cliff bar got me through. It rained and rained, but it got lighter and lighter and by the time B did her final class (Breakaway Roping) it was sunny and warm and lovely.

Luckily we snagged the last two open stalls in the barn so the boys had a dry place to hang out between classes.

We competed in Ranch Riding Walk/Trot/Lope and got 6th out of 7.  My first green ribbon ever! It's sort of the pleasure class of the day.  I didn't think I had time to warm up in the small indoor arena so I ended up going into the class without so much as a jog-around. In true western fashion, we rode the class in enough rain to make several people's numbers fall off and for it to be hard to see at times. The arena was very very wet but the footing seemed fine.  I didn't see one horse slip all day, even in the crazy cow classes.  Junior did NOT trust the footing right away so that first class was wicked.  I was just happy we didn't DFL it.

I then took him into the small indoor and schooled him a LOT.  I had a good sized break before my next class so I sat and watched the reiners and the reined cowhorse classes.  B won her Reining class 'cause she's awesome.

Our next class was Ranch Trail.  There were 8 obstacles including a log-drag and a plastic steer-head roping, neither of which Junior & I had attempted in over a year and a half.  Nothing like going in cold AGAIN!!!  Thankfully he was more trusting of the footing and the rain had stopped.  He drug the log like a champ.  We had to do a 360 in a box at the far end of the arena where the cattle were.  He didn't seem to care they were there earlier in the day but something spooked him (again from that &*?#^% right side) and he leapt out of the box sideways so I backed him up and took him in again to do the turn.  He got over the spook quickly and stood like a champ while I awkwardly tossed a rope at the plastic steer head. Yes there's video, no I p I surprised myself by getting it around one of the horns!  All was going better than expected until the back through "L" where he wasn't having it followed immediately by "F-You I'm not side-passing over those same demon-spawn logs you tried to make me back through."  He DID it but it was a hot mess.  Thankfully we ended strong with a really smooth gate (the first narrow solid gate we've ever done!) and a perfect dismount and re-mount.  We got 5th out of 12!!! But the judge DQ's 7 entries for various reasons.  B won that class too, cause she's awesome.

Here's us in all it's fuzzy detail...

Then we did the Ranch Riding Pattern class.  THIS is the kind of pattern class we can do.  It was like a horsemanship pattern but a big one taking up the whole arena instead of just a small area.  It had walk, jog, extended jog, lope, extended lope, stop, 180, jog, lope, walk, stop, back.  I was very pleased with how Junior responded to my cues.  Certainly not a flawless performance but quite respectable.  We were 5th out of I think 7.  B took 3rd.

After the show was over and we packed up the trailer and cleaned up our stalls I took Junior over to see the calves.  I was told he'd been started on cattle back in Texas but this was the first time I'd had him around cattle.  He was interested in them but showed no signs of nervousness or fear.  He went up to the fence and grazed and when one of the calves tried to say hello....

He sniffed it and even let it lick his nose before he went back to grazing.  Wish I had caught that moment, too!

What a fun day playing cowgirl!