Welcome to JKs Rough String Ranch

Welcome to the Rough String, and thanks for stoppin' by!! Grab a hot cup of coffee and sit a spell!
10/22/18 You will see a name change on the blog. Lots of things have changed in my life in the past few years, and I feel compelled to share my story.

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Feel of Autumn

Forever Autumn 
The summer sun is fading as the year grows old 
And darker days are drawing near 
The winter winds will be much colder 
Now you're not here... 

the opening lyrics of the song by The Moody Blues 

Someone posted this music video on FaceBook yesterday, I had to listen to it...over and over again. Today, I still can't get it out of my head...but that's not all bad. I loved this song from back in my high school days, and hearing the song takes me back to many good memories.

Colt and I got out on Thursday to help the neighbors gather up pairs and sort some out that didn't belong to them...only 5 pair, but it's way easier to have two horses when you've got 200 pair to get them out of. I hadn't ridden Colt since the Futurity...it was a very welcome outing for both of us!!

Trailin' Cows
The perfect view...between my horse's ears ;~)

Back home again and I'm rescuing Cindy Sue from inside the house.
She want's to be a cow dog and go with me, but she'd only be trouble!

My fall Mike Bridges clinic starts next week...where are the days going?!?

My Man has all 6 cord of juniper wood split and stacked in the wood shed. We unloaded and stacked the last of the grass hay into the barn today (12 1/2 ton total). We figure that if the horses have hay and we've got wood, we're ready for winter...

But, it's been a really nice end of summer. The temp reached 90 today, but tomorrow it's only supposed to be 72...but then we get another warming trend next week. I hope it holds out through the clinic. I won't be back until probably October 7...keepin' my fingers crossed for sunshine and warm temps!!

Time to get my nose back to the grindstone and get stuff done...hope everyone is having as nice of a weekend as I am!

Friday, September 23, 2011

101st Pendleton Roundup~We Survived Another!

~Sometimes at night, I lie awake
thinking of faraway places.~
~Martha Lloyd 1904~

This was my 15th consecutive year to attend one of the biggest rodeos in the nation; the Pendleton Roundup. You know how I dislike change...well, in those 15 years, there really hasn't been all that much change. We see the same people year after year, we've parked our living quarters horse trailer in the same place, we walk everywhere we go, we eat at many of the same places...it's almost the feeling of deja vu!

The Chutes
My first attempt at doing something in PhotoShop Elements.
I put two photos together.

There were some pretty big changes last year for the 100th Anniversary. The West bleachers were replaced with a covered grandstand, the statue (below) was put in, and the whole front cyclone fence was replaced with a brick and wrought iron fence.

But really, that's about all that's changed.

Tough Enough to Wear Pink?
Is My Man "tough enough to wear pink?"
I think so!
Every Thursday is Tough Enough to Wear Pink day
to raise breast cancer awareness and funds for that cause.
We scored some North grandstand tickets for Thursday, so it's always fun to sit up behind the chutes and watch the action.

As we walked around to the North side, I spied this group of rough stock horses...I do believe they were deep in conversation among themselves as to how best whip the cowboys that day!

In Cahoots
"Hey Pard...which cowboy did you draw today?"

Every grand entry is always emotional and sets the stage for a great rodeo!

This is the man who is responsible for opening the chute gate for every cowboy.
He definitely takes the job seriously...which is a good thing.

Cowboy LifeSavers
Cowboy LifeSavers...I enjoy watching them and their awesome horses
just as much as watching the contestants.

Bull Fighter at Work
Joe Baumgartner doing what he does best...saving a cowboy.
Pendleton was his last rodeo...he's retiring from fighting bulls.
He's been at every Roundup since I've been going.
What an awesome athlete he is...and he'll be missed by everyone.

There's always something good to look at...

Nice A$$
I'm lookin' at the horse's butt...whatcha think I was talkin' 'bout?   hee hee!!

The Indian relay racers are totally crazy...but they're sure good at what they do!

Indian Relay Racers
Running full bore...bareback...amazing!

Friday morning's parade was the usual "Fantastic"...no motorized vehicles...just horses, mules, and oxen.

Parade Flags
These four followed the American flag...and behind them
came 100 more riders carrying American flags...totally inspiring.

The native Americans play a very large part of the Roundup....since the rodeo's inception 101 years ago. Saturday morning, we watched some of the dance competitions. The costumes, drums, and chanting were awesome. I took some video and will get that posted later...it really gives you the true appreciation of how hard they work to carry on their tribe's tradition and history. Tribes from all over the country come to participate.

Indian Dancers
Different costumes signify the tribes.

Indian Dancer 2
You can see the bells on this dancer. Only the men dancers wore the bells.
I loved the colors of their beading.

Indian Dancer 1
In the old days, I'm sure the Indians wore actual animal skins.
In the modern age, I suppose PETA would be all over them.
I'd prefer to see the true traditions.

I suppose we'll be back again next year...until then...Let 'er Buck!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Harney County Reined Stock Horse Futurity~Part 3~Final

~I have some clashes with my horse, 
but we're both high-strung as can be.~
~L. H. Wheeler 1899~ 

It was a pretty hot day, and it felt good to take a break after the dry and fence work. Colt and Whisper were at the horse trailer sharing a hay bag and relaxing. Cindy Sue and I headed into the fair in search of something to eat. We found a good hot dog with delicious grilled onions and peppers.

The Ranch Horse class was being held and it was fun to sit with friends in the grandstands and watch. I think the most exciting to watch was Whisper's owner's grandchild...10 years old and fearless. That kid makes us all look like a bunch of wimps!!! He can rope like he's shootin' an arrow...amazing!

But time was closing in on me...I got Colt bridled up again...time for the final event...roping.

Last spring I had asked my good friend Mary if she would be one of my two heelers (you get two in case the first heeler misses). She'd been coaching me at the brandings, and I felt really comfortable with her in the pen with me. Stewart Severe had been giving me a couple of roping lessons...he offered to help in the pen too, so I had a good crew to help me.

Of the six - 6 year olds in my class, one rider chose not to rope, so that left 5 horses. We were last in the draw. The rule is that once a cow had been roped, it's marked and can't be roped again. There is a 2 and 1/2 minute time limit.

My first two shots were misses...and I totally wasted my second shot because of my lack of patience to wait for the cow to present itself properly...but my third shot was a catch!!!

Makin' the catch!!

With my first two shots, I was trying for a smaller cow, but Stewart said "catch the big one"...she was set up just right...so I did. My gosh...poor Colt didn't know what to do with her...she was probably 700 pounds, and he'd only dragged 200 pound calves before!

Colt pulled for all he was worth!
None of this roping is the easy part...the catch is just the first part, then you need to drag it for the heeler to catch...and Colt gave it all he had. Stewart came in first for the heels and missed...then he said "It's up to you Mary." Mary came in behind, told me to keep it moving, and scooped up the hind two feet slick as can be!!! That's my girlfriend!!!

I took out the first two missed shots to make the video shorter...

You can tell I was pretty excited, and I had tears again...but we got'er done! I was so happy to see Mary there at the other end of that cow...it was even more exhilarating to me than the fence work...probably because I'd never done it before. BTW, if we had not made the catch or gotten the cow turned within the time allowed, we would have gotten a zero score...and we would not have placed...no pressure at all ;~)

So, at the end of the day where did we land?

1st place total score was 283.5
2nd place total score was  277.5
3rd place total score was 270.5

Colt and I took 2nd place...just 6 points behind the professional trainer...and 7 points ahead of the other professional trainer!!!

WhoooooHoooooo Colt...what a ride!!!

2nd place in the 6 Year Old Class!

Breathing a sigh of relief...we did it...we competed every year since Colt was a 2 year old...we placed 2nd or 3rd every year...we achieved our goal and surpassed all expectations.

Colt is a very exceptional horse. A friend told me that it will be a long time before I find another horse like Colt...and he's right. Colt's willingness to be trained has allowed me to get him here. I can't say how proud I am of this horse...he'll probably be the best horse I'll ever have the privilege to train and ride. Thanks Colt for just being you.

Thanks to all of my personal friends and neighbors who have helped me, and thanks to all of my internet/blogging friends. Your support and comments through the years have helped me so much. I raise my lil' glass of wine to you and say "cheers!"

Of course, last but not least, is a huge Thank You to My Man. He's put up with a lot of stuff...a wife that can be a lil' bit high-strung and a wife that spent a lot of money on getting this horse trained. I didn't hire a trainer, but with all the lessons, shows, and equipment, I'm afraid to add it all up! My Man has been there for me as often as he could. Head photographer, head EMT (equine maintenance technician), driver, gofer, whatever...and the shoulder to cry on when needed. I can't put into words how much you mean to me~

OK...on to our next adventure!!!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9-11 A Day of Reflection

Today is a solemn day of reflection here in
 America as we remember those 
who lost their lives 10 years ago.

The day that changed the world, 
and the day that will never be forgotten.

My Country 'Tis of Thee

Old Glory at the Grand Entry

Patriotism Lives in Rural America

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Harney County Reined Stock Horse Futurity~Part 2

~No one can tell me what is best for me;
only I know that.~
~Laura Benchly 1900~

Thursday mornin' comes all too early...My Man brings me coffee at 4 AM...in bed...what a Man!!! I get my butt in gear and head to the barn to feed, clean stalls, and brush the horses while they eat. Then it's feed the dogs, feed myself, make the bed and back to the barn to saddle. I only saddled Whisper at home since it would be quite a wait for Colt's class.

We leave at 6:15...right on time. The race track is in use from 6-7 AM, so we can't cross it with our rigs while they have use. I just want to get there early enough to ride Whisper in the arena before the two year old class starts at 8 AM.

She was a star!!! There wasn't one thing in that arena that spooked her...and she'd never seen bucking chutes, the digital scoreboard for the race horses, grandstands...all that normal stuff that you see at a fairgrounds arena. We loped some circles and did a general warm up...she was perfect.

There were 21 horses in the 3 year old class and we were in the middle of the pack. So, we had plenty of time to relax before our go. We're at the gate chatting with friends and watching the other horses do their dry work (reining pattern). That's all she has left to do as a 3 year old.

So, our turn comes up and we trot into the arena and go past the crow's nest and there's a few guys sitting under it and she gave them the one eyed look, but didn't spook! We then make our way to the center, stop and start our pattern. I make my circles and then get to the first turn around and something felt off...like I was turning the wrong way, but I kept going with what I thought was right. We finish the pattern and they announce my score: a zero...off pattern...hmmmm...

I'm racking my brain trying to think where I went wrong and finally found a friend of mine and asked if she saw what I did wrong..."Yep, you started out in the wrong direction...circles started to the right and you went left." Well duh me!!! I couldn't believe I made such a "grey haired" mistake!!! Boy did I feel stupid...but, her owner was fine with it. We wouldn't have made a high score anyhow because she's so green...she was just thrilled that she went in there and tried her lil' heart out!

And I do mean little...

Whisper and Colt...the little and the big! But, isn't she cute?!?
Everyone teased me that I finally found a horse my size!!!

Well, you can bet your boots that I wouldn't make that mistake again!!! My circles on Colt were going to start to the RIGHT!!!

The 4 year old class was next, and they also just did a dry work. The 5 year old and 6 year old classes are required to do the fence work. As each horse finishes their dry work, the rider calls for their cow and they immediately box the cow at one end, make their two or three turns on the long side of the arena and circle up the cow to complete the pattern.

Watching a reining pattern can be like watching paint dry, so I won't bore you with all that. I put in a couple of circles and a turnaround...then the video moves on to the fence work. I think this was Colt's best effort yet with the fence work. It was the same score as what we got in Lakeview the week before, but I felt he was rating much better with the cow...like he was really beginning to understand where he needed to be.

I couldn't help but come out of the arena with a big cheesy smile on my face!!! We scored a 69.5 on the dry and a 68 on the fence. Some day when we get our stops down, we'll make much better scores. I heard from a friend that the judge was hoping I'd do a big run down with him for my stops, but they never work for me...they always look and feel like crap. So, I played it safe and decided to take the penalty for not being as fast as he should have been. But, I was really pleased with his turn arounds and everything else...the fence work is just a kick in the pants no matter how you look at it...what an adrenaline rush!!!

We get a break after this while the Ranch Horse class takes place...next up...the roping event that is required of the 6 year old class...to be continued...

Friday, September 9, 2011

Harney County Reined Stock Horse Futurity~Part 1

~I have a mind of my own,
and I'm a very stubborn and determined person.~
~Iris Gordon 1905~

Well, it won't surprise me if you've forgotten me...it's been three weeks since I last blogged!!!

What have I been doing? Well, I had to look at the calendar to figure that out...in a nutshell: I got a horse in for training that needed a crash course for the Futurity (a green 3 year old by the name of Whisper), worked Colt for the Futurity, irrigating, moved cows with Rancher Dan, took a couple of roping lessons (Colt and I had to rope a 700-800 lb steer at the Futurity), attended a two day training clinic with Smoky Pritchett, got my hair cut (twice a year thing whether I need it or not), worked at the Post Office a couple of days, and attended the cow horse show at Lakeview for two days (yes, I know I was supposed to blog about that but didn't).

I know, poor excuses for not blogging, but to tell ya the truth, I've been pretty high strung about the Futurity and just didn't feel like opening up. I kept my nose to grindstone as much as possible and tried to stay focused.

But, as of yesterday afternoon I can breath freely again...Colt and I completed our first journey together. Five years of training and five Futurity shows later, we can officially say we made it!!

In that journey, we surpassed all expectations of what we could achieve. My main goal was to learn how to train a cow horse and not embarrass me or my horse. We not only did that, but we placed every year in the Futurity with respectable scores. Something I never dreamed possible~

Tuesday, after riding both Colt and Whisper, I clipped and bathed them and tucked them into their stalls for the night. Showing two horses is a lot harder than showing one (but, I have a friend who showed five...she's crazy!!!) Herd work is always held at the Bell A Ranch on Wednesday, and we needed to leave home by 8 AM.

The three year old class was first. I took Colt with me to the warm up arena and as I rode Whisper, Colt is having a temper tantrum like a 2 year old's first time away from home. Bucking and carrying on...I wanted to disown him...I wondered if that was going to be his attitude for the whole day!

We moved over to the cutting pen for the judges meeting, and I tied Colt to the fence with some other horses and inched my way further and further away from him. He finally settled down.

I got Whisper showed. We scored a 60, which is what both her owner and I expected. She had never worked cows out of a herd before, and she'd only followed cows on two other occasions. But, she tried her hardest to listen to me, she never got upset, and her owner was happy. The goal for Whisper was to show her this year so she'll still be qualified to show next year.

Then showed the four year olds and the five year olds...and finally my six year old class. I got a lucky draw...first...which also means I get to choose who will be settling our herd of heifers. I chose my good friend Michelle Severe...you know Michelle who did my awesome drawing in the two-rein on the right panel of my blog. These were a great pen of heifers, and she did a great job.

I chose an all girl team. My friend Wendy sat in one corner (a perfect spot for her to coach me), Peggy in the other corner and Michelle and Melanie turned back for me. It was the most awesome run Colt and I have ever had. We scored a 73...my best herd work score ever...and we won the class!!! In fact, we had the highest score of all the aged classes (3 year old to 6 year old).

Wendy told me after the class that she knew I had a perfect run going and didn't want to say a thing and jinx it...she just let me do my thing...

Wendy and I are celebrating...Colt and her horse Houdini don't seem to give a rip!!
Colt had no idea how well he did...I wish I could talk to him.

One leg down...three more to go...dry, fence, and roping. We do all of that at the fairgrounds the following day...so, I'll leave this to be continued...