I had a lot of fun in Stephenville, Texas, or The Cowboy Capital of The World, as it is known in these parts. They don’t call it that for nothing. There are countless NFR (National Finals Rodeo) Qualifiers and Rodeo World Title holders in Stephenville, as well as a famous singer, Jewel! If we took a count of the number of people that live in Stephenville that have been to the NFR, it would be pretty high! To name a few off the top of my head: There’s ropers, Randon Adams, Martin Lucero, John Paul Lucero, and Turtle Powell; in Barrel Racing there’s Molly Powell (Turtle’s wife), Kassie Mowrey, Cheyenne Wimberly; There’s Bill Pace in Steer Wrestling; Calf roping’s World Champion, Cody Ohl, and 7 Time All Around Champion/2 Time World Champion Bull Rider Ty Murray (married to Jewel), as well as 3 Time World Champion Bull Rider, Tuff Hedeman. I am just certain I missed some folks- but it’s early in the morning, so go easy on me!
I was able to stay with my college room-mate from Freshman year when I was in school in New Mexico. They moved from Colorado to Stephenville 2 years ago. I hadn’t seen her since 2003 (on a family vacation to Colorado) when she’d just had her first baby. Since then she’s had another, so it was fun to catch up and hang out with her family and her husband- a damn good roper in his own right- in fact if he could get someone to finance him he’d have just as good a chance as anyone at making it to Vegas. Kyle has out-roped most of the guys that go to the finals every year.
My Friday night run wasn’t so pretty; he took the bit in the alley and pretty much ran to the first barrel with his jaw locked and I had trouble getting him back. As per my horse’s current running times, we were 2 and a half seconds off. I have to say that he’s getting softer in his face at a higher rate of speed, but we are really missing out on some rate, so that is what we’ll keep working on. Some people might say I’m insane to keep riding him in the same bit, and doing the same things over and over (with perpetually the same results), but really, if he can’t get it in a snaffle bit, what’s the point in putting him in something else? Consistent riding is the key, and if I keep changing head-gear that’s not being consistent. I’m getting to undo 12 years of running, running, running with him. And if he learned to run off in a big bit, why am I to think he wouldn’t still do just that? I constantly struggle with being a barrel racer, who does the right thing for her horse. So many of the girls change bits on a regular basis, and don’t really give a fly flit about how their horse feels. It’s all about winning. My philosophy, as crazy as this seems to some of them, is to have my horse want to do this for me- for him to like it, and not be so wound up or crazy that I can’t do anything else on him.
Saturday’s run was nearly 3 tenths faster than Friday’s run and Sunday’s run was 3 tenths faster than Saturday’s run. I’ll take it! I am entered in a big barrel race next weekend at Alvarado; then I’m thinking that if we don’t have our rate down by then, I’m done entering until I breath the thought slow down and he melts into the ground. Hopefully the Buck Brannaman clinic will help with these things.
Anyway, it’s spring break this week and as such I have a full schedule of lessons, new horses coming in to train, ground to work, a barn to clean and stuff to do, so I’ll be busy, but it will be fun.
Happy Monday, y’all!