Sunday, March 20, 2011

Gun Toting Muleskinner?

Well I finally completed my 2010 New Years Resolution! To purchase a handgun and get a concealed carry permit. So that when I travel with the trailer and drive late at night, in remote areas, I will have a little extra protection! (Thanks to my mule club men, Barry, Danny and Kenny for keeping after me to do this!)

I finally purchased a handgun, a S&W 637, .38 Special to be exact, and took the Concealed Carry Certification class. Who knew serious business could also be so much fun? After months and months of talking to different people, visiting gun shops and even the Dixie Deer Classic, I finally purchased me handgun. The gun shop gave me the names of a few instructors that they recommend. I picked a name out and gave the instructor a call. Turned out Barry had a class this coming Saturday, with an opening. I told him that I would be very interested in taking the class, but there was just one problem. I had not even shot my gun yet, nor had I shot a gun in, O' about fifteen years.
As a kid my Uncle Ken from California used to take me and my cousins out shooting when I came to visit. We even shot his grandmothers Colt 45! But boy it has been a long time! I seriously questioned whether I would be proficient enough to pass the course. Barry the instructor offered to meet me on Tuesday night and go over things and give me a private shooting lesson.
To his surprise and mine too, I shot really well! I never missed the target and even stayed within the qualifying score. We agreed that I could take the course this Saturday. Thanks to Uncle Ken, who did a great job teaching me to shoot!
At 8AM, five of us and two instructors, spent 9 hours going over all the laws for concealed carry, gun safety, cleaning, shooting stances, etc. After a written test, we headed for the range. The other lady and I let the three gentleman in the class go first and then we took our turn. I left really good about my shooting. I stayed mostly in the Zero points area (which is the center) and never even out of the -1 Points area. I also never hit the higher "head" area! Barry and Sharon even had us shoot from behind objects, low, close and moving backwards. All moved that might be needed!
Now all I need to do is fill out all the fun paper work and go down town to turn it in! Then wait for the call, to come pick up my permit!

Friday, March 18, 2011


I have known they had to be around but I had not heard them until tonight! (March 16th) I was in the yard taking something out to the horse trailer, when I heard something different in the woods across the field from my house. I quickly walked to the front fence and stood still to listen. It was high pitched yips and yaps and some barking that sounded like a large pack, but not dogs. Spooky! The next morning I looked it up on the internet and after listening to a recording on YouTube I knew it was Coyotes! Oh boy, just what we don't need in the neighborhood.

The next evening, Katie came over to ride Sadie Mae. I told her we were going Coyote hunting. So we rode over to the area where I thought they would have been but we did not even see a track! I saw my neighbor and he said that he heard them too!
We headed over towards Marty's place (The guy with the apple trees) and as we were leaving and going down the gravel road we both heard a loud "Grummp" sound come from the tall brush beside us! The mules looked but did not spook at the sound, but we decided that we would not investigate that one! Some of my friends suggesting it might have been Big Foot!

Helping Horse Show & Kenny's Ride -All in the same Weekend?

I know that my "Quota for Life" is too high, but boy did I try to pack it all in this weekend! (March 12 & 13) I brought Sadie, Seven and Reuben with me to the Helping Horse Show in Pinelevel on Saturday. The show went well and those that asked me, if those were my mules, could not believe that they stood tied to the horse trailer so quietly all day. (They had hay to munch on) The show was pretty big this time, over 200 entries, which is great and means more money for the Therapeutic riding group but it made for a longer day. I donated one of my crocheted horses to the silent auction and also ended up winning some Easter colored and shaped bird seed eggs, and a cool sign saying Blacksmithing. Once the show was over I turned the mule out in the arena for a few minutes while I changed clothes and got ready to go. It was cute because the owner of the property, a retired farmer, kept asking me if I needed help catching, watering or loading my mules! I thanked him very much but showed him how polite they are.
I arrived at Kenny's Sandhill ride at about 8PM. It was pitch dark since this was the night that the time changed! My great friend Barry Greene helped me out so much by getting me parked, unloaded and the mules set for the night all in the dark! We joined everyone for some lively conversation at the camp fire. All at once Reuben started barking and Kenny's dog Rimshot took off for some trees on the edge of camp. We then heard what sounded like a coon going up a tree. You could hear all the claws on the bark of the pines. We, of course, ran over there with our flashlights but could not see a thing, for which I was kind of glad!
After another hour I decided it was time for a shower and bed. I returned to the trailer and decided that it was a little cold and got out my propane heater for the trailer. I hit the light button and flames started coming out the top of the heater! I tried blowing it out and then turning it off and that did not work so I grabbed it with my leather glove and carried it out side. I looked at it for a few seconds and then went and grabbed my fire extinguished and that put it out!! With that emergency over I decided to take my shower! I got all ready, towel, curtain up, etc. When I turned on the water to come out of the top it just sprayed out of the faucet and not the hose. what. I guess no shower. So I filled a bunch of plastic cups with hot water and washed my hair outside! Got a sponge bath that night, but at least it was a warm one! I decided that I better go to bed before anything else started happening!
The next morning I was so tired! It took me a while to get going! We left out about 9AM for a wonderful ride! Not a cloud in the sky. Two wagons and 7 riders. We stopped for lunch at a beautiful lake, where Seven tried to roll in the sand! After lunch Wendy wanted to try Sadie Mae out, so we tied her mule to the back of Kenny's wagon. I was amazed because I actually got Sadie's halter off and her full bridle on and buckled with out even getting off of Seven!
We got out front and took a good long canter down the sand road. Wendy tickled me when she said "When I dream of riding, this is what I dream of!" So as you can guess she loved riding Sadie! I took her off the trail some and up and down some hill sides that Wendy was not too sure about riding! But she loved it all in the end.
I am grateful that now the time had changed and we can do a little more riding in the evenings!

Guilford County Trail Riding and Safety Presentation

On March 7th Seven and I traveled to Greensboro to the Guilford County Extension office. Several months ago Agent Ben Chase had asked us to be part of an extension educational program is on Monday nights, for 8 weeks. I gave a classroom presentation about first aid kits, training, selecting and preparing your equine for trips on the trail. Later Seven and I used the livestock arena to demonstrate proper tack, fit and training for good trail horses. Seven was really good considering all those people (about 40) were looking at him. It was a lot of fun and I had several people tell my they learned a lot but it was a long drive home! Two ladies came up to me and tell me that they wanted to go trail riding with me! That was a high compliment!

Hopefully a photo coming?

Chris Cox Wins Road To The Horse for the Third Time!

(Feb. 24-27th) We had the tickets for almost a year and we where all excited to be going! Competition of the century! Chris Cox, 2 time winner of RTTH, Clinton Anderson, 2 time winner of RTTH competing against Pat Parelli, most well known "natural" horse trainer of all time.
Cindy, Susan and I flew out of Raleigh and met up with Cobie and Jan at the airport in Nashville. With a few car rental problems we headed out to Murphesboro, TN! I met up with Bev and two of her friends at the hotel next door later that afternoon.
The next day we headed over for the fun to begin. They had many guest riders and presentations. Even a Charo with a beautiful Palomino horse!
Chris, Clinton and Pat all gave demonstrations. The shopping was really good and I found some very interesting things to buy!
The next day the three each picked a horse and started working them in round pens. Each had 2 hours on Saturday and 2 hours on Sunday to get ready for the obstacle course and skills test. Chris's horse was scared to death and it took nearly the whole first session for him to be able to touch him. Clinton's horse was very aggressive and fought him the whole time. Pat's horse seemed very friendly, let him touch him all over with out a fuss. Then when he put the saddle on the horse, he broke in two and bucked for all he was worth. Later Pat stepped on the horse and he broke into a huge bucking fit, bucking Pat off by the second buck.
The next day all three trainers made great strides but when it came down to the obstacle course Chris' horse was the most prepared and put in a very good performance!
We are so proud of Chris to win for a third time in a row and to beat the best of the best!!
I have orded the DVD and can't wait to watch it all again!
Chris riding in the final obstacle course.
First backing.
Chris riding with his three year old daughter Charley, she is a natural, and cute too!

Weekend Adventures!

This last weekend (Feb. 19 & 20th) we had some unseasonably warm weather, so I got some mule riding in! Saturday I met my friend Cara for a mule ride at Medoc Mountain State Park. Her horse is getting over a hoof abscess so she rode Sadie Mae. It was nice and warm but the wind was blowing like crazy. We rode on the side of one field and when the wind kicked up, I thought I was going to be blown off my mule. At one point, heard a cracking sound behind us, and the mules quickly scooted forward. When we looked back the top half of a tree had blown over! We were not in any danger of being hit by it, but it was nice to know the mules are quick to respond to keep us all safe! We rode in a different section of the park from the last time I was there. Some how we got off the park land, it took us a while to figure that out, and to get back. Seems the logging company also uses blue marks on trees like the blue trail in the park. I marked the map so I will not make that mistake again!

Sunday, I took Seven over to Jerry's to ride with the Pilot Group.
It turned into quite an adventure.
My cat, Shawn, thought he would like to come on the trail ride yesterday!! I got to Jerry's place, opened the living quarters door, to get my helmet, and there he was. I grabbed him and put him in the truck for the ride and then he drove home with me, rubbing all over me. He never acted scared of anything. Good thing that did not happen on a long weekend trip!! That would have been a big problem!
Three weeks ago, when we rode down a certain trail, I spotted a deer horn and could not believe that no one else stopped to pick it up. I was at the back of the group and decided that I did not want to stop and get it, I regretted ever since. Sunday we started down that same trail again and I promised myself that if is was still there and no one else picked it up, I would. We rode by and there it was! I could not believe some dog or animal had not dragged it off. Seven was really good and stood perfectly still while I got off, picked it up and tied it down. We caught up with the group again pretty quickly. Part of the way home I found that the deer horn was coming loose so I had to ride home with it in my hand..oh boy! That was a little tricky, but that is when it is all worth it to have a well trained mule!
On the way home, we took a trail that is not used very much. We came to a small creek with steep sides. By the time four horses had gone through it, the last horse was sinking up to his knees and it was too rough for the rest of the group to go through. I was the first to dismount from my mule! A few people rode over but most people got off and jumped their horses over a different part of the creek! Seven was not sure about it. He kept coming close to the edge and then backing off! Jerry got up behind him and just waved a stick, Seven jumped! Oh boy! 4 foot high and landing two feet further than he needed too! From the amount of excursion he put out you could tell he wanted to make sure he would make it! Glad I was not riding him, even if I could have stayed on for that jump, my head would have been cut off on the branches!
Reuben and Shawn check out the deer horn, Reuben licked his lips!