Monday, June 23, 2014

Texas vs. Arizona


"Lope every single horse"
all day... everyday...



"They've had a big week - how about you just take them out into the desert to stretch them out"

Guess where i'm happier?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Loper Life: Personal Grooming

Me at a Horse Show:
Poultice covered hands, dirt stained jeans, shavings overflowing from the bottom of my hems, boots covered in that will-not-go-away Arizona dirt & overgrown sparkly nails.

My Theme Song:
(Seriously, it magically comes on wherever I go... harharhar...)

She's a lady - woah woah woah - she's a laaaaaadyyyyy

Sing it Tommy J!

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Constant Struggle

Those girls that just seem to look perfect at all times while at shows:

"Who doesn't travel with a bikini? I have a full length gown hanging in my trailer." 

- Darcy la Pier, barrel racer, from the A&E show "Rodeo Girls"


...while literally covered in horse shit, poultice, horse goobers, shavings, miscellaneous pieces of hay & sucking back a Red Bull wondering, "is this my life?"

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Overheard in the Loping Pen:

A disgruntled loper talking to another loper about her boss...

"So he didn't listen to you?"
"Of course not... what do I know? I'm just the loper."

& I was just behind them like...

Monday, May 26, 2014

In-Crowd Clothing:

After my first aged event show as a loper, I quickly tuned in on a couple clothing choices that make you one of the "cool kids". & yes, if you must know, the circuitous cutter was NOT one of the cool kids at that show.

During Winter the clearest beacon of "cool" is the Vests you wear. Oh yes, you heard me, the vests.

An example: Center Ranch's Stallion, Woody Be Tuff

There are the "Stud Vests"

These are vests with stallion names that are given away as promotion pieces for the particular stud. However, the vests came with some stipulations:

1. If you have a current & "hot" stud vest on = you are cool. It generally means that your friends with the right people, lope for a big trainer, lope at the biggest shows, are riding the best horses etc. If you have a lesser stud, you are still doing okay, but your not doing as good.

Finally, to make matters even more complicated what is current and "hot" is subjective. Sometimes, the studs you see more or actually due to amazingly talented marketing teams. Never forget that these vests, jackets, and hats are promotional pieces.

I saw this particular Stud's name EVERYWHERE this year

2. You better make sure said vest and the horse you are warming up have "cat" in their name. Aka, they are the offspring of THE High Brow Cat, and bonus points if you are riding/wearing an own son or daughter.

3. Also, BIG points if you have a vintage "High Brow Cat" jacket on... those are golden, the biggest of all and vintage? You must be pretty "cool".

Now... if you are not wearing a stud vest, you still have a chance because your second best bet is a "Finalist Jacket".

These are jackets/vests given away to anyone that makes the finals at shows. Lopers who truly were finalists can smile smugly to themselves where as the rest of the lopers just got horses warmed up that made it into the finals. However, these jackets still show you've been around the block - bonus points if the finals were at one of the "big" shows aka the cutting trip crown, or in the weekend world, the big money mercuria shows, the world show, etc.

CR Ranchwear has some very nice, very trendy, and of course... pretty expensive show shirts, that are very "in" right now.

Finally, if all else fails have a Nice Shirt on... bonus points if you are ballin out with a finalist jacket, stud vest AND a nice shirt that matches the following criteria: it must walk the fine line between sparkly, boring, old fashioned and new age. Trust me - this was achieved by quite a few girls and I drooled every time they loped by.

Friday, May 9, 2014

My First Time...

... Showing.

Basically, I want you guys to get in the mindset that I had when I was heading into the pen, so listen to this little tune & accompanying video...

Most importantly the verse...

"His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy
There's vomit on his sweater already, Mom's Spaghetti."

Okay... so I didn't really enter the ring like I was living in detroit, repped do-rags, rapped at night and sold drugs by day, but Myself and Rabbit (Eminem's character in 8 mile) do have something in common.

We happened to do a big 'ol choke.

So what happened?

Well... First things first... I walked into the herd with a fresh horse. 
Wow... loper of the century over here, can't even lope my own horse.
Then I got into the herd & sort of... blacked out.

Basically I was going for a shape cut and realized as I began driving (way too many) cows up that I didn't exactly know how to shape cut. 
Well, shit.

I got a cow infront of me and that cow took one look at me, turned tail and smashed past me at the wall, right back to the herd. 
Well, shit.

My second cow was alright, and I got something done, but when I went to turn back to the herd my horse hung in the bridle and I grabbed the reins with my second hand.
Well, shit.

My third cow did something very similiar to my first cow.
Well, shit.

& I chipped one off the top for my last cow and got to work a little bit before I heard the buzzer go off.

My score?

A Solid 63.

I left the pen & every part of me was screaming:

But, a client and I were talking after and she said to me,
"The first time I showed, I fell off my horse in the pen. It was terrible. Somebody said to me then, 'Well, your first time showing is over and you'll never have to do it again.'"

& by golly she is right,
never. again.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Shit Clients Say; 1

"I guess when we get home YOU need to do some Trailer Maintenance..."

- when one of our trailer windows is completely broken, as if I can just snap my fingers and fix that shit-

Sunday, April 13, 2014



Oh, wonderful Sundays.

Sundays are my only days off, unless we are at a show... or heading to a show... or just generally something is going on.

& truthfully, even on my "day off" Sundays I have to unblanket, turn out and feed grain/supplements..

BUT aside from that I get to lay around... I get to live in my sweatpants... and I generally just get to be one lazy slob.

What is riding a horse? What is showering? What is speaking to people? Not on Sundays my friends!

Life is good on Sundays.

Me... on day off Sundays...

& perhaps the more accurate of all...

Should I get out of bed and do something?

No, absolutely not.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Things I Struggle With: Machinery

Enemy #1: Leafblower

Boss-Lady leaves me a to-do list, one of the items says "THOROUGHLY clean out all feeders in the trailer." Well, unfortunately our trailer does not have pull out trays, so after attempting to shovel, rake and broom the hay dust out of the feeders I thought -ah ha!- I will blow the dust out, easy peasy.


First of all, I couldn't get the damn thing to start, the gas pulley thing was not pulling. Cue me embarrassingly having to get two different people to start it for me.

Then, I got into the trailer, pointed it at one of the feeders and hay dust ERUPTED all around me.

Once the haze settled... the hay dust was still freaking there, it was just blowing up, at me, and then back down.


Fuck Machinery.

I am a loper, not a handy-man.

Unfortunately for me, those two jobs often go hand in hand.

I will sadly admit that it took me 3 hours to clean out 6 hay feeders, does that sound very "handy" to you?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Overheard in the Loping Pen:

Today non-pro/ammies were loping within ear-shot of me. An older gentleman remarked to the lady beside him,

"It's really not all that bad you know? Granted, it's pretty small, but it's a good plane to have. It really does fit a lot of people, and it's gotten us where we need to go."

& I'm just beside them like...

Sunday, April 6, 2014

One Upping the Horse Show Dog

Whilst at a show in Las Vegas I came across a very strange creature on a trolley... a pygmy goat. It was hopping up and down and squirling around and just having the time of it's life.

I wondered if maybe all those endless circles in the warm-up pen was making me absolutely crazy.

Then, at a show in Arizona, I came across it again...

... A loper owned the little guy, the mom had rejected it and so she was bottle feeding it. It was the strangest, craziest, horse show pet I have come across thus far in my journey.

Take that mini-aussies, you definitely aren't as cool as this thing.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Horse Show Dogs

There is a trend amongst horse-show goers: dogs.

"Horse-Show Dogs" are their own breed, they are of all sizes, all shapes, all temperament, all obedience... the list goes on and on.

Some like them big...

... and although the big breeds appeal to me (I have a 105 lb dog back in Canada-land), I never thought they were very "practical" to haul down the horse-show road with.

Some like them useful...

Border Collies as far as the eye can see!

... i.e. intelligent. Boss-lady has a working Border Collie and let me tell you something, she is one useful pup to have around. However, they don't seem to really enjoy being at shows - too much activity, not enough control over it.

Many... many many many... like them teeny.

... for every 5 horse-show dogs, there is 1 Chihuahua in the crowd, I swear it is true. Small dogs are easy to haul with, easy to put places (in the trailer, in a small pen, in a stall), and so... many horse-show people have teensy tiny teacup... yappy... dogs. Generally, the smaller, the less obedient. (I'm sure the Border Collies truly look down their noses at this crew)

Finally, do you want to be the utmost of trendy? Do you want to show your fellow competitors that not only do you have money (these purebred "designer dogs" aint cheap)? But you ALSO have a teeny tiny dog that theoretically comes from useful stock... The Mini Aussie... is the dog I keep seeing pop up everywhere.

& so... what did I do... well, I wanted to look cool... I wanted to fit in...

like this super chill dude

So I went and got a stereotypical small, yappy, poofy, not-so-obedient DOG...

This is Cash. The cutest mutt you have ever, ever seen.

& he's fitting in too, and adding too, the craziness that is this horse-show life!

Monday, March 31, 2014

"The Princess"

Remember "The Princess" from my last post? Affectionately known as "My Little Hell Bitch"?

Well... some days... she is a serious

fricken' dragon.

This horse will take advantage of anyone that she can. She has zinged and zanged with more people than any other horse in our barn. She will pin her ears and snake out at you if you're blanketing her and don't stand your ground. If you don't let her know you're up their on your back, she will run you into a wall. 

Then... other days... she is a complete

& utter... donkey.

She is heavily attached to her sister which we also have in training. So much so that if her sister is taken out of her eye sight she will lose her fricken mind. She paws, and paws, and paws, and paws. Sometimes she just randomly forgets how to stop. She goes into roaring heat at the drop of a hat... heat that turns her laggy and numb.

But, My Little Hell Bitch... she can...

cut ya'll. 
The horse comes to the party in a big way, and she is only in her derby (four year old) year.

You have to lope the fricken legs off her, and not just circles, you have to make her work, and think, and bend. Hours later when you walk her into the pen, she goes in licking her lips ready to eat a cow alive. She is cool, and she is outrageously talented, and it's all bubbling to the surface now.

& this is her.
In a rare serene moment.

& as alluded too in my last post, she is leaving back home to Canada for the Spring/Summer/Fall shows. It's very hard to see her go. When I worked part-time for Boss-Lady a year ago, "The Princess" was there. She wasn't terribly easy to ride, and often freaked me out. When I came back to work for Boss-Lady this year, "The Princess" was the only original horse still with her. She was the only horse I knew, and really... aside from Boss-Lady... the only thing I knew. I clung to her, and I also found that apparently I had learnt a lot in a year, so had she, we clicked.

Now, this weekend, she is jumping on a trailer and heading up north - perhaps she will come back, but she may not. The reality of it is that she isn't mine, she has an owner, a real mom, who probably has her own nicknames for her that they just share between the two of them.

Sometimes, it is hard.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

"Our Horses"

As a loper you are with "your horses" day in, day out, away from home, at home, good days, bad days, all the days... and they begin to feel like your very big, sometimes obnoxious, sometimes talented family members.

You begin to feel like you are their "parent". The trainer is more of a teacher, their owners who come to ride must seem to them like their students (... or perhaps their jobs, because they know when cows are involved they're working.) Then there's the lopers, the one's that hand them off to go to "school/job", the one's that dress their boo-boos, the one's that give them baths, hand-walk them, etc. etc. etc.

For example in my string of horses many of them have a nickname that only I call them..

There is "Mr. Handsome", "Big Boy", "Bubba/Bubs", "Bug", "Rey Baby", "Moo",

90% of these nicknames have absolutely nothing to do with their real names...

and then there is my favourite, the one that I almost see as mine until their real owner comes and i'm plummeted back to reality. She is affectionally known as "The Princess" to others, but between just her and I... "My Little Hell Bitch."

& let me tell you my readers, she is just that.

& sometimes, we lopers... well we grow pretty attached, and darn does it ever hurt when a horse gets taken out of training.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Two Year Olds... A Serious Problem.

This is perhaps the most appropriate meme for my life right now

We have two, two year olds at the barn right now, these are my first two year olds that i've had to start.
This experience is making me seriously want to write thank you letters to anyone that has ever started colts that i've ever ridden. Where's my 90 day colts at? Not here.

One we haven't even started riding yet.

She's not really a "people person" type of horse.
In fact, she could give a shit about me.


The second is coming along well...

First rides!

But that doesn't mean he hasn't turfed me multiple times in the process..

That's a four day old bruise, one of many, that i've received due to not being able to sit the slightest bronc.

Loper Legs... So Sexy... Am I Right, or Am I Right?!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Day in the Life of a Horse Show

Generally Horse-Shows begin very quietly, even... peacefully. While Boss-Lady and our clients rest their dainty heads on their dainty pillows, I feed and medicate our horses. I saddle our Turn Back horse. I breathe in the quiet of a sunrise, and horses munching their hay while I clean stalls.

 Then, like a hurricane, they all begin to arrive at the trailer, or the tack stall, and the questions begin.

Like rapid fire, and generally directed at someone else, but about me:

"Have you packed the show bag?"

"Where is [insert anything you can think of here]??"

"How does my horse look today?"

"What kind of hay did you feed [name] today, you know [name] only gets [this kind of hay] right?"

"is [name] legs puffy today?"

"When is my class?"

"Has [name] gotten [his/her] gastro yet?"

"Is CC loping my horse for me?"

"When should CC get on my horse?"

"Will CC know how to get my horse ready?"

"Is CC saddling my horse for me?"

The list goes on...

& I'm just standing there like:

but no one seems to care, and the questions just keep coming.

But thankfully for them, generally all those questions were already thought out, planned and ready to go before they even thought them.

So basically... 

& by the end of the day, after loping more horses than my body can take, and not eating a single thing..

& then, we do it all over again!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Pathetic State of Bum-Related Affairs

Remember that kind client that bought me this...

Well today dear readers, I used it. I don't really know if it helped or not, but it was there.

& then, I found myself rubbing globs of diaper rash cream all over a very thin-skinned horse who rubs really easily under her cinch.

By the time I was done, I was covered with horse hair and diaper rash cream.

& I've now used a product called "Anti-Monkey Itch" on myself.

Perhaps I'm turning into one of our horses...?

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Most Feared Two Words: "Too Fresh"

Once upon a time I was a little canadian girl transported into the big world of the Texas cutting horse scene. We were at a show, my first show (!!), when I was handed the reins for a seasoned 7 year old show-horse, and told to get him ready. My fellow-loper assured me this horse was "super easy" to get ready. She said to me, "Trot and lope him, once he drops his head he's about ready, take him to the middle and if he pee's that's his cue, he's ready to cut." 

So here I was, loping around, and this horse goes pee... not once, not twice, but three times. Shit, I thought, maybe I over-loped him? But, he didn't really feel "ready". I was having a mental back-and-forth about the whole thing when all of a sudden over the loud-speaker I heard "-horse- please get ready"... well then...

So, off I get, and hand the reins over to the Texan Trainer. He gets on, does some dry work and all of a sudden takes off loping around the arena.

My friends, that is never a good sign.


The Texan Trainer walked into that pen, and that "seasoned show horse" that's "so easy to get ready", well he sort of turned into a very seasoned...

... dragon...

a dragon who wanted to eat some cows alive

That horse zinged and zanged from wall to wall, and at one point, I swear to you almost sent himself and the Texan Trainer right into a wall. My co-worker who had given me such helpful advice, turned and stared at me with an open mouth. Yep, I was screwed.

The buzzer finally went and the Texan Trainer walked out of the pen, jumped off and shoved me the reins. He stared me down and said very tersely "Way. Too. Fresh" and then huffed off.

I stared that "seasoned show" horse down, and I swear to you he looked smug.

Seasoned Show Horse:

"Got ya, you little inexperienced loper bitch"

Saturday, March 1, 2014

What'chu know about Horse Show Laundry?

Your horse needs wraps with boots over top, all around?

and you're going to flag him in the morning, and then before he runs, 

and then he's going to show?

So I'll need to bring 12 polos and 12 boots?

Ya, that's totally fine, see you down there.

Oh, and make sure to wrap him with pillow wraps and standing wraps tonight?

Ya, of course I will.

Would love too... thought no loper ever.

3 days later... 3 (count 'em people three) stalls worth of hanging polos, boots and pillow wraps...

Some nights I still wake up in a sweat thinking, "SHIT, I need to pair those show boots together for tomorrow!"