Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Attack of the Stuffed Animal!

Thanks to Marlene Reed for these great photos!!!
On March 17th, St. Patrick's Day, Christina, Reed and I loaded our horses and mule and headed north to the Halifax County Horseman's Council for a Trail Obstacle Race Competition. They have about 30 obstacles, it is judged with points and it is timed. It is a great course but it is not my favorite way to have an event like this judged.
Seven and I rode in the advanced class and he did very well. He loves to do these classes and as usually went lickity split though the obstacles. We had to push a big ball, go through a cowboy curtain, carry a flag while side passing over a pipe, etc. We missed getting points on only three obstacles. Two were my fault, I can't rope something to save my life and two I was not comfortable jumping some barrels so we busted through them. The third thing that we messed up on was a large stuffed animal bear that we were supposed to "rescue" by putting it on our saddle then carrying to a drop off location. As we approached the animal Seven was already eyeing it, when I picked it up he said, "Not only no, but Hell NO, don't get that thing near me!" I tired for about 30 seconds and then had to loose the points and move on to the next obstacle. Which was to shoot a cap gun at a fake turkey, no problem.
After the competition I worked with Seven and the stuffed animal, he soon accepted it! We ended up in 3rd place in the open class and Christina and Reed ended up 3rd and 4th in the intermediate class. All and all a pretty good show.
We have a great time but it was one of the first sunny hot days and all three of us left like lobsters by the end of the day!! Next time, bring out the sun screen lotion!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Mule Riding In The Sandhills!

Sadie Mae and I arrived on Saturday Morning, tacked up and ready to roll. We found a good parking space and got settled. Everyone was kind of milling around and I was wondering what we going on. Someone told me the last night Kenny got very sick and we were not sure of he was going to be able to lead the ride. We had just decided to go out on our own and get lost when he appeared from his trailer and quickly harnessed up the mules.
Off we went! Two wagons and about 25 rides! It was a beautiful day warm except for when a chilly wind blew. Sadie traveled well and I hung out with Mark, Jeanette and their daughter Kelly. At one point Kelly needed to stop so I stayed out with them. After that we had our own private trail ride, just following wagon tracks and we just caught up with them right before lunch!
At one point I got out in the front and was able to video some of the mule riders!

Slide show:

We got in around 4:30 pm and once I got Sadie settled in, Levi walked it was time to cook some dinner. Reed and Diane came, we had grilled cheese sandwiches and mushroom soup. Barry surprised me by making me a steak! YUM!
Later that evening I joined the group at the camp fire for some good conversation and a nice warm fire! It got cold that night, I used my little propane heater to warm the trailer up before going to be but it go cold through the night. Four blankets, including Dad's old Navy wool blanket kept me warm! Levi had a double bed and lots of corgi hair to keep him warm!

The next morning Gene's group made a huge breakfast and let us all join in! Then we were off again, this time with a smaller group but we had a great ride all the same.
We stopped at Camp MacCall for Lunch. This is a drop zone area for the army paratroopers to practice. There is an old tank there so LuAnn took my photo next to it! Saide shook her head right when she took the photo! I thought it was cute so here it is!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Ranch Horse Classes

On March 3, Christina and I loaded up Seven and Oakley and headed to Raleigh to ride in some newly offered Ranch Horse Classes at the Open Show going on at the fairgrounds. We were excited that they were being offered so we made a extra effort to ride in them. There was also a Reining Clinic going on in the arena before our classes that was free to watch, so we headed over early. We also met up with Reed, who was going to be our Horse Show Mother for the day! It was pouring rain all morning, so we left the boys on the trailer to eat hay and try to stay dry.
Soon it was time to unload them and get them ready. As we headed toward the arena for halter, it started to rain again. Our judge is a Reining Trainer who works out of the Wendell area, although I had never met him before.
There were six of us in the class. Seven got 4th and Oakley got 5th. I am not sure the judge knew that mules are supposed to be cow hocked, but oh well, they both looked great and stood well.
Then it was a race to head back to get tacked up so we could have some time warm up! Seven warmed up well and was really relaxed in that big indoor arena. With only 10 minutes to work, I was very happy with how he warmed up, because we'd had a few rocky rides earlier that week!
The first riding class was a Walk/Jog Ranch Riding Class. They look for a more free flowing, forward mover in these classes, but they also have to be consistent and very well mannered. Seven did a great job. I was surprised and pleased to get 1st place!
Then came the Walk/Job/Lope class. Again Seven rode well: he was a little faster at the canter that I wanted, but it was better than having him stop! Again I was so pleased when he placed 1st!
The final class was a Ranch Reining Class. Seven doesn't have a lead change and he had not been doing so well with his spins, but I knew we could do some nice circles and get our leads and do some good hard stops. He did really well and we came in 3rd behind two other horses that are both reining horses! I was so pleased.

Seven doing one of his hard ranch reining stops.
The judge came up to us after the show and told me, "I really like your mule, he is so soft and didn't give you any trouble." I was on cloud nine after that!
Several people came over as we tried to walk back to the trailer and wanted to stop and talk about mules. It was fun, and we did our Mule PR work for the month all in one day! One lady came over and asked me if I had ridden Seven in a Judges Clinic years before. She said she was so wowed by him then that she couldn't stop thinking about that mule! Too funny!
We spent the rest of the afternoon watching the Reining Clinic with Reed, Debbie, and Patty for before we headed home. We also got to watch my friend Jennifer ride her green horse Deuce in the reining clinic!

A presentation of my favorite thing- MULES & Donkeys

For the past forty years, Guilford County Extension Office has held an Equine Education Series for six weeks every spring. I have been honored to speak twice before about Trail Riding over the years. This year, Ben Chase called and wanted to know if I could speak about mules and donkeys! I told him, no problem, that's all I talk about all the time, anyway!
So armed with PowerPoint and handouts, I tried to educate and entertain a group of about 20 or so people. Once that part was over, they joined us in the livestock arena for a live show of mules and donkeys of all different types. I brought Seven, Sadie, Navarre, and my friend Tara's visiting mule Jesse. My friends Todd and Terri Barfield were kind enough to bring Lizzy a nice show mule and one of his Mammoth Donkeys, Sadie!

Sadie Mae Mule & Shannon making introductions
Tara and Jesse!
Todd and Donkey Sadie! I want that Donkey!
Lizzy the Hunter Jumping Mule and All-Around Show Mule!
Tara holding Navarre & Seven with Shannon.

R.I.P. Sweet Shiloh

On February 18th, my dear friend Linda helped Shiloh go to rest. She had lived with Linda for over three years in her retirement. Linda had fallen as in love with Shiloh as I did the first time she met her. She was in her late 20's and despite joint medications and bute she was in a lot of pain all the time, and when the weather turned cold she could hardly walk. So Linda and I decided that it was time for her to rest.

Shiloh worked for the Amish as a younger girl. She worked hard and her joints showed the wear and tear in an x-ray. She still pulled the cart with a snaffle bit and was solid as a rock!
For her previous owner, Lindsay (another Mule Club Member) she drove in parades and also did some plow day events.
Shelby and Shiloh (on Left) plowing for Lindsay in Connecticut
My mother and I took the long trip to Connecticut to pick her up. She lived at my house for many years, pulling the cart, going for short rides, and giving kids pony rides. So sweet and calm, she is the mule that my Mom loved the best! Despite her being big boned, she felt like you were riding a cloud when you cantered her!

Mom riding Shiloh
I met Linda when she came to my farm several years before to buy my donkey Banjo. At that time she fell in love with Shiloh. She told me that day that if I ever did not want that mule, "I want her!" After a year, and still not sure if Linda was serious, I got to know Linda well, and I decided it would be good for Shiloh to go live with her. I was traveling so much with Seven and Sadie that she was not getting the attention she deserved.
So I took her down to South Carolina, with a big red bow on her, and gave her to Linda! Linda rode her on little walking trail rides in the woods and just loved how calm and gentle she was. She also took Shiloh on several occasions to special events at Tractor Supply, where she works. Shiloh would stand out front with some kind of cute outfit on, greet guests, and give kids pony rides!
So now, thanks to Linda's kind heart and strong love for Shiloh, she has a pasture resting place next to another old mule of Linda's that she rescued, with a white angel statue looking over her! I can't thank you enough, Linda, for taking such great care of Shiloh!
We miss you, sweet Girl Shiloh!!!

A Visit To Burgaw

On February 11, I headed down to Burgaw to visit with my friends Aimee and Tollie. Aimee was going to drive over with me to ride with Mary Miller Jordan. She and her horse Lindsay's Faith, a wild mustang she tamed, won the America's Favorite Trail Horse Competition last year, and she had agreed to let me ride for her and get some suggestions for our try out.

We arrived and it was pretty chilly and a little windy. Mary is a great supporter of riders wearing their helmets, so when we first saw Mary we laughed! She was riding her tractor to come and drag the ring, and was all bundled up in a coat with her riding helmet already on! So cute!

Our ride went really well and Mary had some great suggestions for improvement and for our outfit for the audition.

Aimee and I then headed to the local tack shop called The Celtic Horse, were I had a $25 gift certificate to spend from our winning the Obstacle Competition last month. I picked out some English spur straps and spent the rest of it on treats for Seven!

We got home and the wind started whipping up like crazy! A cold front was coming in and the temperature was dropping. I got all wrapped up later in the evening to go out and walk Levi and check on Seven. Seven was fine in his warm blanket!

Tollie and Aimee cooked a great dinner that featured some of the lamb ribs I had brought. They turned out really good, thanks to some slow cooking!

Sunday morning was VERY COLD! We headed to the little Methodist Church in town. There I met Aimee's parents and was treated to a neat song by choir Tollie was in!

Link to the video of the song: http://http//

Our planned Sunday afternoon trail ride was cancelled because it was still very cold and the wind was still blowing. So was headed over to Aimee's parents house, for Levi to play with their cute little dog named Jack! They hit if off right away and played and played!