When I was young, I rode horses. I rode them a lot! I jumped on and would take to the woods to ride! Then I was enrolled in English riding classes that were focused on jumping. I still rode the woods at the ranch but I began to develop some skills! I taught the old horses (they were just trail horses) new things and just adapted to their skills. After a year of English classes, I was granted my first horse!!!! He was a green broke Appaloosa that was race bred. This is when I began to develop my identity!
TJ was a smart, stubborn, but teachable horse. He taught me more about myself that I even realized at the time. I hung out with the barrel racers and the team penners. We had so much fun!!!! I bought my first project horse as a junior in high school. Gypsy was something else. I had to learn how to train a totally different way. Yet I was still a barrel racer. Many horses later, Gabe came into my life. Another one that would do just about anything I asked. We barrel raced. We sorted cattle. We rode trails. We taught lessons. We would randomly go help bring up a herd of cattle. Yet my classification was barrel racer.
Lynx was born and ended up with me just before I was pregnant with my only child. He was broke broke broke. A little quirky but so much fun! I took my 9 months off to cook my baby in my belly as motion sickness really kept me from riding. As soon as I was released, I found a way to ride Lynx, Gabe, Joe and Trip. Trip and Joe eventually were sold and Gabe injured himself in a bad way. Lynx was my only mount! We began to enter the races! I was so excited about how he moved up in the world of barrel racing. He took me places I had never gone. We won things that I never dreamed of winning. I have had a few since Lynx began his career but no horse was like LYNX. I was a barrel racer and we were a team!!!
Lynx is now 16. Lynx has been on and off for the last two years. We have raced maybe 5 times in the last two years. My barrel racer identity has been revoked. Whiskey came into my life a year ago and I’m anxiously awaiting the day I get to swing my leg over him! Currently, my classification is “riding coach”.
I’m am experiencing an identity crisis. I don’t know what Whiskey will be when he grows up. I cannot currently handle taking on another horse. Gabe and Lynx are retired in my pasture. I have two others to give lessons with and honestly, I don’t feel any joy to ride the lesson horses. I want to ride the colt.
This month I will turn 44. I never thought that I would cash in the barrel racing card. Honestly, I never thought Lynx would be down and out. I’m doing my best to turn him out. Let him be a horse. Let time heal. On the flip side, I feel that I may never be at the level of barrel racing that I was with Lynx. Oddly, I’m ok with that. If Whiskey has any desire to chase cans, we will do it. But I really want to learn a new trade. I’m a little exited and a little scared of what that means. But it’s ok. God has his plans. Trusting God to give me direction is really hard. I have to do it! Who knows? I might be a stellar showman!!! Whiskey might light a new fire in me to go show on cattle! I always liked to go team penning! I always liked to play on cattle! Maybe that is our path? Maybe a new door is opening? Only time will tell! I guess this is my midlife crisis??? I have even been looking at stock saddles and gear. My trailer is even ready to roll to a show. Now to get the horse ready to roll to a show!!!
I have a lot of folks asking what I offer for lessons! So I figured I would give a description of how a typical lesson goes.. let’s give this a try!
Today, Stella came for a lesson! She normally would have to catch the horse she is riding for the lesson but I decided I would wade through the mud and catch a few. She showed up and took off his blanket to reveal a muddy horse! Off to the back of the trailer she went to gather the grooming supplies! She began to brush off the mud and prep him to saddle. Next, she gathered her saddle pad from the back of my trailer and her saddle. She knows where to place the pad because I have taught her! Next she attempts to swing the saddle on to the horse. She is short and he is tall so I did help! Next time, she will figure out how to use the mounting block to swing that saddle! Once she had Spider saddled (I watch like a hawk and have taught her how to safely move around horses that are tied or loose) she gathered his leg gear and his bridle. Leg gear on, she then dropped the halter to his neck and bridled him (with help from me) and off to the riding area we went!
Before we begin to work on turning, the horse needs to be warmed up! She began with a walking lap each direction then proceeded into trotting 3 laps each direction! Of course I’m telling her things about her posture, hands and feet to help her to work with the horse for this step!
After a good warm up, we worked on how to turn. No, I don’t have a barrel pattern set up. I personally own a full set of poles and 7 barrels. I set up random things for the students to work around. Sometimes it’s figure 8’s. Sometimes it’s a giant rectangle. It just depends on what we are targeting for the day. Today Stella was working on turning at a trot then driving him to lope after completing the turn! Working on control etc. After we have completed our goals and everyone is working nice, we quit. Then Stella dismounted, loosed the the saddle and lead spider back to the trailer. There she un-tacked him and put everything away. She brushed him and would have turned him loose if I didn’t have another kiddo on the way. All in all, she was at my house almost for 2 hours!
Sometimes our lessons are an hour. Sometimes two. Heck, I have a few that are learning how to do ground work. Sometimes that is 4 hours. My price is the same no matter the time. I charge $50 a lesson. I do my best to clear two hours per student. Sometimes I will have two students ride together but only the ones I know will work together! They usually really enjoy having a partner to ride with and learn from each other!
When you sign up to take lessons with me, it’s a full meal deal. I teach horsemanship first. We build from there! Also, since I don’t have a covered arena, we have to be respectful of Mother Nature! I hope this helps!
You know, I used to barrel race pretty often on my horse Zbar Lynx To Cash. He has always been a powerhouse!!! I always enjoyed letting him fly in and turn three! It was a rush!!!! But, due to life, we have taken almost two years off. Now I don’t know how to do it!
We went to a race on Saturday. I was on the fence about running. I seriously considered putting a bit in his mouth (he runs in a light hack) just so I could slow him down. Well, he managed to injure himself so we didn’t get to make our run. However, I did get to ride in the arena after the race. Holy smokes. He was a freight train!!!!! We were just loping circles. I was having to keep him in the bridle! I had put my low port Myler bit on him so he would know we were not running barrels. I’m not sure how I ran him before, but wow… this horse is BROKE. He is responsive. He has been to so many arenas and won so much!!! He has mostly placed either in the 1D or 2D. He is now 15 and I am the only one that has ever run him on barrels! Now I remember why!!!! I think he would leave anyone else in the dirt!!!! Now I need to remember how to run him!!!!! My brain and body need to find that balance and control we once had while being astride this incredible athlete! Y’all, I’m not sure I know how to run Lynx anymore!!! Maybe I need to borrow a slow one to get my muscles back lol!