Tuesday, March 31, 2009

No Bull About It

Since writing about wanting to get a new helmet, I've thought a lot about rodeos, and bull-riding in particular. Especially the wrecks. The crashes. The injuries. Part of this bubbled up because of my recent attendance to my first Professional Bull Riding (PBR) event. Yep, I was a PBR rookie.

I watched a few rodeos last summer. It had been years since I'd been to a rodeo. I really enjoyed them and hope to attend more this summer. I am particularly fond of the barrel racing and bull-riding events.

Barrel racing is just fast. The need for speed. My heart pounds as I hope for the horses to make sharp turns around the barrels, and I can't help but root out loud as those horses dig in and dog it for home.

The steer roping and bulldogging are action packed. Saddle and bareback bronc riding....well, that can leave me a little troubled. Goodness, that isn't surprising for this pony girl, who mostly worries about one of the horses falling and injuring itself. In general, I am not comfortable seeing a horse buck with a rider on it's back.....it just seems so unnatural. Hmm... could that be because in every other realm, a horse bucking with a rider on it's back is not acceptable behavior?

Bull riding is always the final event at a rodeo. Probably because event organizers know it is the big draw of the night.

At the rodeos and the PBR event I attended, I have witnessed numerous wrecks, many which resulted in both minor and major injuries (broken bones.)

The Kevlar vests that bull-riders now wear were the result of the legendary bull-rider Lane Frost's unfortunate death during one of his rides. I heard somewhere that Tuff Hedeman, one of PBR's founders, helped develop the protective gear to prevent what happened to his fellow bull-rider.

Lane Frost pictured with the bull Red Rock.

Along with the vests, I was pleasantly surprised to see many of the bull riders now wearing helmets and face masks. It makes sense, after reading the recent injury reports on the PBR website:

".....sustained a concussion and a neck injury when he landed on his head as he was thrown from his bull in the second round in Albuquerque. He did not compete on Sunday and is questionable for Nampa."

"......sustained a concussion when he was hit in the head by a horn as he was thrown from his second round bull in Albuquerque and a bruised right thigh (quadriceps), a bruised left groin, and a bruised right flank when he was stepped on after he landed. He did not compete on Sunday and is not expected to compete in Nampa."

"......sustained a concussion when he was stepped on after being thrown from his bull in the second round in Albuquerque. He did not compete on Sunday but is probable for Nampa."

By the way, if you didn't notice, all of those injuries occurred at the same event. Best wishes to those boys for a speedy recovery!

These riders tally up so many concussions throughout their careers, it's downright scary. And few of them are a day over 30 years old. Their bodies are so broken down, and many of them will suffer permanent aches and pains for the rest of their lives.

Is it wrong of me to like the thrill of bull riding? Yes, it's exciting to watch a rider, especially a fan favorite, ride for 8 seconds, bounce off the bull, land on his feet, and raise his arms triumphantly at the crowd. However, when one gets tossed hard, maybe stepped on, or caught up in his hand strap and dragged around under the bull, you feel your heart stop beating until you know he's okay. Then you breathe and think whew. The little adrenaline rush I get from watching this drama is strangely addictive. And that is where the guilt comes in. I don't like watching man or beast get hurt. Yet, we watch it. Is that what makes the sport attractive?

It's a sport for the riders, and entertainment for the viewers. Those bull-riders feel compelled and driven to master those bulls, as many horseback riders do their equines, whether it be dressage or reining. They risk their lives every time they climb onto the massive back of a bull. Yet there is probably nothing else they'd rather do.

A friend just loaned me this book. Have you heard of it? It is written by a reporter who chronicled "a year in the life" of the riders on the 2004 PBR tour. I just started it, but so far it's an insightful read.

What about you? Are you a bull-riding fan? A rodeo fan? P.R.C.A or P.B.R fan, or both?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Just Another Sunday on the Farm

Sunday was partly sunny, a good day to get outside things done. It was time to head to the Painted Creek farm to tend to my horsey chores!

First up, we got hay. I usually buy around 8 bales at a time, which lasts a little over a month. I was happy to see that the price had gone down a dollar a bale.

Next up, helmet shopping. The tack shop had the exact style and color I wanted, but not in my size. I'm telling ya, that always happens to me. I walked out with a pair of $4.95 gloves instead, as my favorite Ariat grooming and longing ones are getting a hole on one of the fingers.

Back to the farm to see my horse. I met him in the pasture and let him have some snacks as I started to groom him. Hair was a flyin' everywhere!

If I can just get this bucket tilted right....


It's not a good thing, grooming a shedding horse on a breezy day. Unless you want to close your eyes while you're brushing! I picked his hooves, applied some thrush medication, and checked out his scab. Of course I'll post a photo, because I know you are probably really, really missing the scab photos, right?

It looks about the same. Maybe a little better. The vet will be out to do shots in a week or so, I'll have her check it then and tell me whether I need to do another cycle of Xxterra.

I didn't bring My Boy out as I am feeling under the weather and trying to take it easy, but just seeing him, and standing in the sun for a while, felt like it make me a wee bit healthier!

Everyone on the farm seemed to be enjoying the Sunday sun, including Ralph, the cud chewing goat. Looks like he's starting his spring shed, too!

Even Paint Girl's mares were napping in the sun in the back of their pasture. In fact, nothing seemed capable of disturbing them too much. Not a photo-snapping Pony Girl. Not even the cacophony of sounds going on back there. Take a listen and see if you can guess what that sound of spring is (and no, it's not a UFO landing.)

As I got back to the house, I saw Domino the cat lying near the tire of the truck. I got down to snap a picture (can't go anywhere without taking a picture of something....even a rock makes a nice subject if my mood is right......)

He immediately got up and crawled over, threw himself into the gravel and began rolling and wanting some petting.

Not fifteen seconds later he took off running back to the tire in hot pursuit. Huh?

A-ha, I see, I see! He was after this little guy. Wait, let me rephrase that. He was after this BIG guy.

Cat pursued mouse under the truck and horse trailer for several minutes. The poor mouse appeared uninjured, just a little in shock as he stopped to rest under the horse trailer tire. It was his lucky day, Domino didn't look like he wanted a meal, just a little lazy afternoon play time and he finally wandered off to let the mouse be. Now if it'd been Paint Girl's cat Morgan on this hunt....well, that mouse would have been supper.

Not to totally change the subject, but just for you Jane, the vintage Dan Post buckaroos on my feeties! Please excuse the self-portrait-in-a-mirror shot. This has an awfully 70's retro vibe, don't you think? No, I'm not wearing acid washed jeans, I just think the mirror is dusty!

And after Tammy mentioned my Justin's boots might be lizard, I did some research online. I discovered that Justin still makes boots out of (iguana) lizard skin. Most of them are styled similar to, and have style numbers in the 4000's, like my pair. Also, they are pricey little buggers, nearly $300! So if I got a used pair in great shape, and they are authentic lizard, mine were a steal at $52! Coolness! Am I too old to use this word?

Speaking of the Painted Creek Farm....stay tuned, I have a surprise to announce to you in the weeks to come!

I hope you all had a great weekend and accomplished something that you wanted to, no matter how small!

Friday, March 27, 2009

My Boot Rescue Organization

Yep, I've been holding out on you guys. You see, maybe I feel a bit guilty. In the past two months, I have bought two new pairs of cowboy boots.

Before you ask me if I won the lottery, let me explain! Remember, I wrote the book on bargain shopping!

{Let's start with boot pair No. 1.}

These are vintage Dan Post brand buckaroo boots. Okay, I am not truly sure how vintage they are. They are not from the 1940's or anything. Which, by the way, does anyone out there know how to research a pair of old boots? Like, is there a special number or secret code stamped on the boot that I can submit on some wonderful website and find out more information? That would be really cool. I hope you tell me it's that easy.

Moving on. These boots were made in Spain. I think someone darkened the foot. They are a rich brown, but it looks like someone either dyed over the color they were, or possibly just went over the former brown to enrich it. At least they did a fairly good job. These babies ride high on my calf, like- nearly to my knees! I can't tell if they were made for riding or for fashion. I would not wear them riding. But I am thinking of all of the fun skirts I can wear with them this summer!

Okay, here is the kicker. How much do you think I paid for this pair of boots? You guessed it! $23. Yep, that is twenty-three-dollars. Goodness, what a good deal, eh?

{Next up: boot pair No. 2}

These boots are Justin brand, and I don't believe they are vintage. They have a snakeskin foot (either faux or real, I can't tell, but I'm leaning towards faux.) They have a really comfortable arch, and are in good shape (I always check the heel and sole wear on the boot.) I wore them the other day and they are quickly going to become my favorite "boot around town" pair. These were a little more than the Dan Posts....I paid $52 for them.

So, I got two new pair of boots for $75. What a bargain! Where did I find such boots? And why would I buy used boots?

I am a believer in used things. Antiques, second hand, recycled items....one woman's junk is my treasure. I found these boots at a flea market. I have no idea why someone tossed them out. The vendor had a table full of women's and men's boots of various brands, colors, styles, and sizes. I am amazed at how many used and vintage boots that are out there, in great shape, and in need second homes. Really, I'm just helping out the neglected boots of the world. I'm giving them another lease on life, a forever home. It's all good!

And they aren't just collecting dust. I wear my boots everywhere. To work with corduroys or skirts, with jeans and a flashy top out on the town, or to the grocery store. The funny thing is, I've been seeing a lot of people wearing western style boots lately....and they sure don't ride horses. It has become a fashion trend again. Suddenly, vintage cowboy boots have become hippie and rocker chick cool.

Have you ever bought used or vintage boots, or would you?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Who Is This Pony Girl?

If someone was to describe me, they probably say I'm eclectic. You can't pigeon-hole me. I don't fit in any molds. I like that about myself.

I have called myself a small-town-city-girl with a cowgirl heart. Or a cowgirl with a city girl vibe who wants to live in a small town again. Whatever. I may be frequently coated in dirt and actually like the smell of horse sweat, but I also love having a fabulous hairdo and wearing a great pair of designer jeans and heels. I have an appreciation for art, culture, and the finer things in life. But given a choice, I'd rather live in a rustic log cabin next to a horse corral.

I have worn these 1960's vintage stilettos on an uneven cobblestone street in Greenwich Village in New York City, just because it was NYC and I wanted to.

I am comfortable in these boots. But not only because they are physically cushy, but because when I wear them, I am emotionally connected to the world of horses, which is so dear to my heart.

I love this horse. Stocky, western, the history of the spotted hide. A little Wyoming, a little Montana. A little lemonade and fried chicken.

I also love this horse. Flashy, refined, spirited energy. A little upstate New York with champagne and brie.

I love this duo. They are down-home, heartfelt, twangy, and simple.

But I also love this band from the UK. They are soulful, electronic, and modern.

How can one be a little bit of everything and all of nothing? Am I walking a tightrope between two worlds? Could it mean I might be confused, or don't know who I am?

Interestingly, I personally have never been more clear about who I am and what I want. In the past two years, I have learned more about myself through my re-entry into the world of horses. As I have blogged about this journey, I have discovered that like me, my blogging has changed a little, grown a lot, and now more honestly reflects who I am. From being a girly-girl and sharing my favorite western attire, to grooming caked mud off my hairy horse and checking his sarcoid scab.

Thank you for letting me share all these different sides of myself with you.....

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

It's Time For A New One!

I asked Paint Girl this week if she wanted to do some horsey shopping next weekend. Wait, wait- not shopping for a horse! I mean horsey stuff. You see, I want a new riding helmet.

I didn't put two and two together until last night. Since actress Natasha Richardson's death from a head injury during a skiing accident last week, I think head injuries were subconsciously fresh on my mind.

Around 13 years ago, I used to snowboard.

I should clarify. I was learning to snowboard. This is how I spent most of my time on the mountain:

Usually I was in this position because my legs became limp strands of fettuccine noodles after shredding about twenty feet and I had to sit down and rest. Or, I just lost my edge and fell back on my bum. I did not wear a helmet back then. In fact, not many people did. It just wasn't the thing to do. Although I haven't been on my snowboard in years, I know that if I were to head to the mountain this weekend, I would see more people wearing helmets now. I should point out that one of the biggest dangers in snowboarding is not just falling and hitting your own head, but having others collide into you. While sitting so restfully on that mountainside, I can't begin to tell you how many times other rookies came careening towards me, completely out of control.

I almost always wear a helmet when riding My Boy. That becomes always when I trail ride. I just feel more vulnerable on the trail, there is so much more that is unpredictable and that can go wrong.

The helmet I have been using is around 14 years old. I purchased it when I took hunter/jumper lessons. I even bought a nice velvet cover for it, so that it looked fancier, but I never used it. It is a nice helmet, but big, and English style. I call it my "bowling ball helmet", as you can see why.

The helmet I am going to get is the Troxel Sierra. I think it attempts to be somewhat stylish and "western" in it's appeal.

Many of my family members have this helmet and I've tried theirs on. It feels comfortable. I am so proud that all of my beginner family riders have made it a habit to properly protect their noggins, like my auntie Cowgirl's Grace below.

I do struggle with how a helmet feels on my head, and yes, how it looks. I always want to pull off my helmet for photos. I'm going to admit it, baseball caps and cowboy hats just look cooler. But I have also reached a point in my life where I know that safety comes first. It doesn't take much to cause a concussion or a life-threatening head injury.

After all, there are too many things I have yet to do, like learn to rope, publish a novel, or marry my cowboy.

And maybe, just maybe, try snowboarding again.

Monday, March 23, 2009

My Snorty Boy

This weekend My Boy had his farrier appointment. I wanted to work him out beforehand, since the sarcoid and bad weather had put a recent stop to the good workouts I'd started him on.

When I led My Boy out for grooming, his head was up and his senses were heightened. I could tell he was "full of it." He needed a good grooming, he's shedding like mad. The scab is still a big scab, but looks like it is close to coming off, perhaps sometime this week. My guess is it will get itchy and he will rub it off. Until the scab is off and I can see what is underneath or how it is healing, I won't know if the sarcoid is completely gone or if we'll have to do another treatment.

Up to the arena we went. I sighed with relief that it wasn't too muddy. I wanted to just turn him loose and let him go at it! I walked him around a bit to warm up, and he quickly spotted something in the woods behind the arena.

Two does creeping through the knobby trees. They were so quiet. He didn't hear them, but he saw the flash of movement.

Finally, I got him to lose interest and turned him loose, flicked my carrot stick, and he was off! He felt good and it showed! Bucks, snorts, blowing, head up, head down, heels out, rollbacks, extended trots. I saw it all. Can't wait to muscle up that hiney a little more this spring!

Once again, he's fixated on something in the woods, probably the deer as they exit the property.

Okay, back to business! He was going sooooooo slow in this photo. It makes him look like he is on his tip toes, a little horsey ballet, maybe? No worries, My Boy is in touch with feminine, graceful side. After all, he sported a pink bow in his forelock last summer! Shhhh!

Once in a while he would stop, raise his head regally, smell the air, and just blow. Also, it was all about the tail. For some reason, he just had to flag, lift, and parade that tail!

I got a little video of his snorting as he turned from this position in the above photo and started snortin' around the arena.

I let My Boy be for the rest of the weekend as his back (unshod) hooves are always a bit tender for a day or two after being trimmed. I worry about his hooves getting too soft with all of this wet weather, and applied some thrush medication. It's nearing that jolly old abscess time, I hope Paint Girl and I can avoid them this year. Last month, My Boy lost a shoe, and then her mare Fritzy lost a shoe two weeks afterward. Last year, Fritzy got a hoof abscess and a few months afterward, My Boy did. These two need to stop giving each other ideas!

No sarcoids Fritzy- don't even think about it!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday Match-Up

Chelsi over at A Horse Crazed Mind had some fun with Photoshop and edited one of My Boy's pictures for me. Didn't it turn out great?

She even paid my spotted pony a huge compliment, saying he reminded her a bit of this
A.Q.H.A. stallion. Anyone know who he is??

Friday, March 20, 2009

My Pink and Green Friday

Meg over at Lucchese to Louis Vuitton suggested a "pink and green" themed Friday blog post last Friday, so I decided to give it a go! I quickly discovered that although I love pink and green and have a fair amount in each color separately, I have very little "pink and green" together! But I wandered around and was able to snap some things from around my house.

First up is my green camo and pink Wrangler baseball cap.

Something pink and green...in my bathroom! Two of my favorite perfumes, by Sarah Jessica Parker. The pink one, Lovely, is very subtle and great for someone who doesn't like really strong scents. True story, I walked by a woman in Target once and she said, "Excuse me, what perfume are you wearing, it smells just lovely." I laughed and said, "It is Lovely, by Sarah Jessica Parker!" The green one on the right, Covet, is a little stronger.

My great-great grandmother passed away a couple of years ago and all of the great-granddaughters got something of hers. I got this ceramic teapot. I am not sure who made it, but I am pretty sure that either my grandma or my g-grandmother did, as they did a lot of ceramics. Maybe Dusty Devoe knows? It is actually a flat teapot with a hole in the back, it is designed to be decorative rather than functional and hangs on a wall. It is hollow, and cute to put little wildflowers in.

I used to have quite the collection of pink floral shabby chic style plates of all sizes. I have most of them packed away now, as it seems I never host anything and bring them out anymore. I have also used this one as a soap dish.

Another one of my shabby chic treasures, a little sugar pot.

A friend gave this "piggy bank" to me for Christmas a few years ago.

Any quarter that ends up in my coin purse, gets tossed in here. Eventually I roll around $20-40 in quarters.

When I first started saving up for a horse, I used this coin collection method as one horse-crazed attempt to put extra money into the "horse account" I started. So I suppose, it should really look like this:

Not sure if "green halter and pink scab" works for this theme, but hey- it's my post!

See you tomorrow, Scabhead!

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