Name the Buckskin!

Hi. I am The Horse Wtih No Name. No, I have not been ridden over the desert. Please do not call me "Buck".
Hi. I am The Horse With No Name. No, I have not been ridden in the desert, and I don’t mind being out in the rain. And I can remember my name, if I had one. A little help please…? p.s. I hate “Neil”.

First order of business:

We need a name for the above buckskin.  What should we call The Hunk who also happens to be a knock out? Suggestions?

We knew you’d help.

Second order of business:

Catching up with Bella:

As you know, Phil went home after the trial period.  Hudson had nothing to do with this (If I keep repeating this statement, it might be true?), other than pointing out Phil might be a tad timid for a rope horse.

Bella has shopped for months, while practicing on the spare rope horses that belong to friends.  Somehow, she STILL managed to make it into the national team roping finals.  Without owning a horse, or even roping off the same horse. For us wanna-be dressage queens, that’s a feat equivalent with catch-riding a bunch of different level dressage horses, and qualifying to ride in a National-Level Grand Prix.

She found her horse two weeks before Nationals.  The above buckskin with no name.

Bella is a competitor. With a capital C.

Oh, I'm just a normal cowgirl. Kinda made it to high point call back.  It was fun.
Oh, I’m just a normal cowgirl. Made it to the finals run in Nationals on a horse I barely know. Had a good time.

I asked Bella if there was a live feed, so I could watch the roping.  She said she’d text me her competition numbers, but timing was inexact, since they run one hundred teams an hour.

Pause while Jane tries to process that statement.

“Um. How many teams ARE there?”, I ask.

“Twelve hundred or so, I think, was the last count?”, Bella replies.

Or twelve hours straight of roping. For three days.

2,400 horses and riders? Holy crap! I try to picture this.  Fail. Turn the image into sprinkles on a cake. Much better. Now I can visualize the odds.

Strangely, the odds make me hungry.

Focus, Jane, FOCUS.

She’s doing this on a horse she’s known less than 10 days?

Carlos, Bella’s boyfriend and my adopted brother, texted me the above photo on the last night of competition:

Carlos: “high point entry”

I immediately texted back.

Jane: “Thanks. What does that MEAN?”

Carlos: “finals”

Jane: “Thanks. What does THAT mean?”

Carlos: “Good run, they could win.”

Holy crap. I really really really need to go to the gym.  In this lifetime.

Jane, still not sure I understand: “Uh. So she made it into the elite group that competes to win the whole shebang? The national title?”

Carlos: “Yep”.

Man of few words.

I think about the variables involved: two horses, two people, one random ticked-off steer determined NOT to be caught, and probably around 6 seconds for the two horses, two people, two ropes, and one ticked-off steer to come together at speed.

It feels physically impossible. So much could go wrong. You aren’t relying on only yourself and your horse. Off by a fraction in timing, communication…a rogue steer…partner misses, you miss…it all happens.

Out of 1200 teams, they made it into the elite high point teams, despite a rough first day of competition: all her points were scored on day two. Day three, she’s qualified for a shot at the national title.

(They didn’t win the title, but they did rank very high in the finals!)

We are SO PROUD of you, Bella!

Bella and Carlos, at team roping practice:

Now you can see no name horse in action. What do we call him? He wants to know!
Now you can see no name horse in action. What do we call him? He wants to know!

Comment away!

Let’s hear those “I’m a bad *ss  – but handsome – dude who happens to be a real softie” names…

A Roping We Have Gone…

The title is a bit of a misnomer. (You might want to get a cup of coffee, this is a bit longer than usual.)

Hudson and I were invited to watch Bella’s roping practice.  Hudson’s been bored, I was thrilled, and he would LOVE going.

I felt some high-school type anxiety: would I fit in (wearing a helmet), ride well enough, do something stupid because I didn’t know any better?  All these people have known Hudson longer than I have.  Would they find me worthy enough to be Hudson’s new owner?  Bella texted me: I didn’t need to bring anything, she had all the tack I’d need in her trailer. A very kind way of saying lose the dressage saddle. Bless you, Bella.

I also had a smidge of loading apprehension: I haven’t loaded a horse into a trailer for years. Never in a slant load.  I’ve always owned horses (with the exception of Mr. Chips) who viewed trailers as the secret club house of all chain saw wielding serial killers.

I leaned on Bella. I handed Hudson to her to load. I could have saved myself the anxiety.

Hudson didn’t walk into the trailer: he jumped into it with glee.  He would have run over Bella to GET INSIDE NOW, if he didn’t know what that would get him. She threw the lead rope over his jigging back and leapt back.  Hudson put his weight on his haunches and launched himself into the trailer, leaping in with both front feet like a hunter taking off for a fence, pulling both rear feet up neatly behind him.

“I see he’s awful to load”, I say.  I’m holding Dinero, who is up next.  He’s standing placidly in front of the open back.

“Terrible”, she says, shoving Hudson’s happy butt sideways so she can close the divider.  Hudson buries his head hungrily in the alfalfa.  I have the distinct impression that given the choice, he’d live in the trailer.

Bella steps aside in the doorway.  “Just throw the lead over Dinero, will you?”  The minute the rope hits Dinero’s back he hoofs himself up past Bella and into the trailer with no guidance.  Bella hooks him up, checks latches and we close to go.

I feel like I’m in the twilight zone.  Two horses loaded, tied and ready to roll in under 60 seconds.  They like it in there.  I need to take Loading 101 over again.

It was a gorgeous drive.  Nothing like living in the middle of California wine country to make you appreciate how good your life is:

Continue reading “A Roping We Have Gone…”

Anatomy of a Team Roping

This is Bella, as the header, on Hudson.  My camera shoots 6 frames a second.  If I remember correctly, this was an 8 second run.  I thought it might be fun to see it broken down in seconds…

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The slide show takes approximately 25 seconds to watch, to give you a sense of how fast this sport is.  It was finished in less than half the time it took to watch this.