Tag Archives: horses

20 Things To Do While Waiting

While buckarooing, a person oftens finds his or herself waiting.  Sometimes one waits for 10 minutes; sometimes one waits for 3 hours.  You just can’t know. 

I would like to formally dedicate this post to Mrs. Tipton, aka “Annie Maddalena,” aka “Annie Banannie,” aka “Little Sam.”  It sounds like you can relate 🙂 

20 Things To Do While Waiting

  1. Hobble your horse and take a nap. First, make certain sure you are waiting in the correct place.

  2. Make your partner guess your boot size/middle name/cost of your saddle/horse’s age/favorite country song

  3. Tell a joke. Q: What did the old Indian say when his horse ran away over the hill? A: “There goes my horse.”

  4. Guess what time it is. No one actually wins, since no one wears a watch.

  5. Utilize the sun dial method to determine what time it is. This will kill a good twenty minutes while you argue with your partner about which direction is north.

  6. Discuss which foods would taste really delicious. “Mmmm, prime rib from Lone Mountain.” “I could really go for a cheeseburger and chocolate milkshake from Mattie’s right about now.” “Doesn’t a gin and tonic sound delicious?” This is especially fun if breakfast was 10 hours ago.

  7. Cut off a saddle string and re-lace your stirrups.

  8. Cut off a saddle string and make a stampede string for your hat.

  9. Cut off a saddle string and make a friendship bracelet.

  10. Re-string your saddle.

  11. Blow your nose. This works best with a handkerchief, but don’t be afraid to improvise.

  12. Adjust the seams of your socks so they are in perfectly straight lines.

  13. Braid a piece of pink flagging ribbon into your horse’s mane.

  14. Scan the countryside for mountain lions

  15. Whip out a mouth harp and play When The Saints Go Marching In until your horse hates you.

  16. Adjust the knot on your get-down rope several times, until it is exactly the way it was when you left the barn.

  17. Make up a list of things to do while waiting.

  18. Memorize the grooves in your horn wrap.

  19. Invent middle names for your horses, i.e. Bojangles “Whitey Face,”  Cat “Elizabeth,”  Shorty “Short Hair,”  Jubilee “Many Freckles,” Owyhee “River,”  and Muley “Fatty.”

  20. Sing The Battle of New Orleans.

    Me and ol' Banner, just a-waitin'

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A Shoeing Saga

“I shod a whole horse for the first time last week,” I told a friend over the phone.

“What did you do, a foot a day?” he asked.

“Of course not!” I replied.  “I did half on Monday and half on Wednesday.”

The front feet took me roughly 3 hours, give or take 45 minutes.  I used to think it was really gross when I saw a man with sweat droplets running off his nose and down his hairline while he shod a horse.  On Monday, I was too busy sopping up my forehead with my shirtsleeve to pass judgment on anybody else’s loss of bodily fluids while performing manual labor.

The hind feet took me approximately 2 hours, so progress was made.  Halfway through, Katherine paused in shoeing her horse to flop down in a chair we keep in the barn.

“I’m just going to sit here and hurt for a minute,” she said.

I suppressed a deeply felt urge to lay down on the barn floor, picked up a rasp, and resumed my attempt at leveling a foot.  My personal technique, not currently taught at any professional horseshoeing school, is to rasp the foot until I can no longer stand, then tack a shoe on.  I’m not afraid to set the foot down and rest in between nails.

While shaping a shoe, I held it up to my horse’s hind foot and realized it was slightly off.

“Oh, shoot,” I said.  “I brought the heel in a bit, and now the rest of that side is too far in.  Well, I guess he does have a little flare I can take off.”

“That’s the spirit!” called Katherine.

I thought I would feel immense and complete satisfaction after tacking iron on a horse in my string.  After I clinched my last nail and straightened my back, I didn’t think, “Wow, check out what I did!”  Instead, I felt the onset of total-body soreness, surveyed all the faults in my shoeing job, and thought, “Oh, crud, I hope nobody looks at his feet.”

When guys finishing shoeing, they look at their friend’s horse and say “That looks like $#!*@.  Are you sure you want to take him to town?”  When a girl finishes shoeing and laments how lousy her work looks, another girl looks at the horse and says, “Don’t worry, he looks fine!  You’ll get better every time.  Just keep practicing.”

So far, it’s been one full week and my horse still has all his shoes and is sound.  At this point, those are pretty much my main two requirements in a Jolyn Laubacher shoeing job.  As time goes on, I may add more, such as Does Not Look Like a Beaver Chewed on The Front of His Hoof, but for right now, we’re going for sound and still there.  It’s something to build on 🙂

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A Rodeo Survival Story

We all survived the Spring Creek Ranch Rodeo, and I don’t mind saying just barely.  Luckily, there were no wrecks requiring an ambulance or vet, and the only incident to note involved a cowboy’s right rein breaking during the branding contest.  I won’t mention any names, but he works at the YP, was riding a big Paint horse, and answers to Tim Kershner.  Not too sure what exactly happened, but he finished the event with only half his steering ability and did just fine.

I got “voluntold” to help with the calcutta prior to Saturday evening’s performance.  I’d never helped with a calcutta before, and it turned out that  “helping” meant running a footrace with myself carrying receipt books up and down bleachers and collecting checks from large, menacing women who said they owed $195 while my calculations said $205.  I barely survived.

After my public service stint, I sipped a gin and tonic and mingled.  Katie and I had prettied ourselves up at her house before the rodeo, and between the pre-event cocktails and giggling, I ended up with an Oscars-worthy updo.  I wore smoky eyeshadow, black eyeliner, and a  you-can’t-tell-it’s-not-real-leather biker jacket.  Seven-year-old Anna said “You look like you should be on a motorcyle!”  I felt like a bad a$$.  It was fun 🙂

During the rodeo, I finalized the details of my next job, lined up interviews for articles, conducted an interview, ate some French fries, cuddled the world’s cutest six-month-old (he belongs to you, Becky!), and pinky-swore a high school junior that I’d substitute teach school one day on the rez next year.  I hope I survive.

After the rodeo, we enjoyed smoke-free ambiance and conversation at the Star, then headed to Stockmen’s to dance.  The band was good and the drinks were weak, but due to the chain smokers we were all guaranteed to feel ill the next morning.  We somehow survived.

I decided partway through the night that I would be sober driver, but my change of plans was thwarted when I realized I didn’t have my pickup.  After the band quit, I drank big cups of water and listened to the guys tell stories about getting frapped harder into the dirt by the pickup man’s run-off horse than the actual bronc, starting colts in Kentucky last fall, and drinking in Nashville (“There are twenty-six bars in that town, and we went to all of ’em in one night!  I don’t remember most of them, though.”  Really?  Weird.)  They barely survived.

Finally, Christina and I took the boys to their motel at 4 AM.  One of them offered me a ride home, and I told him Christina was taking me.  He offered again, and I told him if he needed a place to stay, we had two extra rooms.

He looked at me with a level gaze and said, “But, I wouldn’t want to stay in one of those rooms.”

“Well, that’s where you’d be stayin’,” I replied.

“You mean, we can’t just make out for a little while?”

“Um, no,” I said and (because I laugh at everything), I laughed. 

He shrugged and laughed, too.  “Well, don’t be mad at me for trying.”

“Oh, no, I’m flattered, thank you.  But that’s just not going to happen,” I said as I grabbed my purse and headed for Christina’s pickup.

Whew!  I went to bed early Sunday night and I’m teaching third grade today, which is a survival story in itself.  Can’t wait ’till Jordan Valley Big Loop….hope I survive 🙂

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I Was Hoping You’d Ask!

In college, I worked part-time at a western store.  For various reasons, I really hated working there.  So, to lighten up the atmosphere, one day I started over-enthusiastically agreeing to anything my manager asked me to do.  When she asked me to clean the break room, I smiled so big my eyebrows shot up and said, “Yes!  I would absolutely love to!”  She laughed at me and I smiled genuinely as I walked up the staircase to the break room.

When my manager (whom I really liked and respected, along with my co-workers) asked me to take out the trash, I responded with a hearty “I was hoping you’d ask!”  My obviously contrived joy opened the door for authentic joy (or at least tolerance/amusement) in the workplace.

You can adapt this strategy to everyday chores.  I don’t go to the grocery store; I embark on a Food Procurement Mission.  I don’t sack out a colt; I teach a young equine the refined art and maneuvers of the straight-up bridle horse, only on a more elementary and basic level.  I don’t halter my horse; I capture the beast.  After a training session, I thank him for his participation in the day’s activities and tell him I look forward to resuming our innovative work in the upcoming morn.  That last part is especially fun if you say it with a British accent.

Why do we saddle and unsaddle  our horses, yet we catch and turn them loose?  Shouldn’t we catch and uncatch them?  It’d be a much simpler semantics system, plus eliminate several wasted words.  One of my favorite ways to waste words is by saying I have to “unsaddle my horse’s face,” meaning I have to take off his bridle. 

You know, I don’t think I’ve ever actually said that one out loud.  I’ve just thought it and derived considerable personal amusement from the phrase.

I also amuse myself by yelling at the car radio.  You know that Reba McIntire hit, “Why Haven’t I Heard From You?”?  Next time she belts out that line, holler at the speakers, “Because you’re a terrible cook!” and change the station.  It’s a great release for pent-up anger you didn’t even know you had. 

It’s easy to lift the mood of a routine day of drudgery.  You just can’t be afraid to smile like a rodeo queen or yell at a famous redhead 🙂

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Winnemucca Ranch Hand Rodeo

The best stories are always unprintable, but here’s one slightly censored version of last weekend’s Winnemucca Ranch Hand Rodeo.

I drove over on Saturday morning with Tilly and her boyfriend Jason.  Tilly was in the rodeo, so we left Elko at 5:15 AM in the morning.  It seems Rule #1 of Winnemucca is “All road trips must begin before 5:30 AM.”  Whether people drove from neighboring states, the Owyhee Reservation or ten miles south of the fairgrounds, everybody left in the dark.  It was good conditioning for a weekend of sleep deprivation. 

First stop for everyone seemed to be the Maverik gas station, where rodeo attendees bought diesel, coffee, and potato chips.  Once at the fairgrounds, the contestants loped their horses around and we spectators sipped bloody marys with plenty of pickled vegetables and ate chili fries. 

First point of interest: the horses from the rez.  I gotta say, I like those long, tall, rangy-lookin’ horses!  Such an improvement from riding Texas cutters, where you can actually help your horse travel by setting your feet on and pushing off the taller rocks. 

Horseflesh aside, I didn’t thoroughly enjoy the trade show.  Looking at all the hand-engraved silver, tooled saddles, Millie Hunt-Porter books, and jewlery with no spending money was kind of masochistic.  I took two-year-old Maggie walking around with me, and she would stop, point, and let out a loud gasp of delight every time she saw a dog or another child her size.  Good reminder that the best things in life still are free.

After the rodeo and during the horse sale, I made a great discovery.  If you buy coffee at the concession stand and carry it to the bar, they will pour a shot of kahlua in it for a small fee.  Yahtzee!  Hot toddies saved my cold-blooded self Saturday night. 

After the horse sale, we migrated to Winners Casino.  The Jeff Palmer Band did justice to some rockin’ dance tunes, somebody drank the bar out of Jack, and we got free popcorn.  Most unique line from a guy I’ve heard so far: “It’s 2:13.  Wanna go sleep in a bathtub?”  I think that was his way of saying “It’s getting late and I’m really drunk.  Can I crash in your room?” 

By the time I called it a night (or early morning, whatever), I had two outside horses to ride this summer, a queasy stomach from breathing several decades’ worth of secondhand smoke plus the freshly produced stuff, and a lap dance.  Success all around!

The theme for Sunday’s rodeo was “My eyes are a shade of red no eye drops can whiten.  I’m really craving French fries, but the thought of food makes me ill.  I barely have the strength to crack a beer and sit on my horse/sit in the stands.  At least it’s Sunday and we can go back to work and catch a break tomorrow.” 

I met a staff writer from the Nevada Rancher, got another story assignment, and met a neat braider/cowboy to add to my collection of People to Pester for Stories For My Cowboy Book.  Add a little work-related activity to a road trip and call the whole weekend a business expense.  I love being self-unemployed.

Like I said, the best stories aren’t printable.  As such, I highly recommend going to Winnemucca next March to acquire some unedited stories of your own.  If you’re there, look me up.  I’ll be the girl drinking cofee (wink wink) and laughing way too loudly.

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A Good Day To Cowboy

If I weren’t me, I would be jealous. 

I spent today day working at the Holland Ranch with Ty VN.  On the drive from Reed Station to the Holland headquarters, Ty and I visited about the Lord and what He’s been doing in our lives.  Ty and his family are settling into their new life at the Roseberry house, and they sold the rest of their meadow hay. 

To start the morning off, I rode my favorite caballo, the Van Normans’ home-raised 4-year-old roan stud, “JP Colonel’s Pistol.”  That horse is a day at the beach with a margarita in each hand.  He’s cowy, built to hold a Weatherly saddle tree, kind, and good-lookin’ to boot. 

The ground completely thawed today, so no equine ice skating!  Yay!  I ditched my wild rag before noon and wore my cowboy boots all day.  I did wear my super-duper Cabela’s Wind Sheer-lined 100% wool winter-can-go-fly-a-kite sweater, though, so that was partly why I was so warm.  I cheated 🙂

For the afternoon’s activities, I rode Ty’s 11-year-old bridle horse, “Rambler.”  He’s built like a pocket knife blade and plenty leggy, so a very comfy ride.  Sure was easy to smile trottin’ through a meadow ridin’ that particular sorrel. 

So the horseflesh was superb, but the cattle….oy, why must they be all black?  The first calf heifers stood in the gate.  Sniffed the gate post.  Turned around and bawled as they ran toward the icy river. 

Really?  Really.

Then someone shows up driving a tractor towing a flatbed trailer with remnants from the morning’s feeding, thinking he’d be helpful and chum the heifers down the lane ahead of us.  All he did was jam the whole bunch behind a bridge. 

God invented farmers so cowboys could practice their patience skills. 

But, I won’t let that ruin my overall evaluation of the day: divine.  Good horses, good company, good thaw, good Basque-o cookin’ at the end of the day….can’t beat that with a stick!

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