No, not those girls. We're all keeping our shirts on here. I'm talking about the four-legged variety of females, two of whom have been dominating my free time lately as we've hit a few Senior Pro Rodeos.
First there's Tick, who I've mentioned here before. She's a mare we raised sort of by accident, when the stud colt my uncle Rex gave to my cousin next door got over the fence and cozied up with our good brood mare, Singe. To say Tick has exceeded all expectations for a catch colt would be putting it mildly. First year out of the gate as my number one rope horse she's handled most everything I've thrown at her with the exception of some smokin' fast Longhorns down in southern Montana, and even that didn't blow her mind the way it would the majority of green horses.
She's working so well, in fact, my dad switched over to riding her in the 70+ men's breakaway at the last few rodeos. Sunday in Nanton, Alberta the two of them made this first place run:
The second horse in my life at present is Pocket. How we ended up where we are is beyond me. I gave up barrel racing for good back in 2002, and at sixteen she's years older than the average novice horse, due to an unfortunate series of setbacks. First she got wire cut, one of several horses we thought might be crippled for life after something stampeded them through a barbed wire fence out in one of the big pastures one night. We can only speculate what it might have been: bear, wolf, or possibly a moose, which horses are terrified of for some reason.
It took half of a year, but Pocket recovered from her horrific cuts...only to get accidentally bred by a yearling stud colt who shouldn't have been old enough to do the deed, so she lost another year. By the time she was broke enough to start roping on she was seven years old, and the perfect size for me, right at fourteen hands (that's 4 feet 8 inches at the whithers for non-horse folks, which is small, which is why she's named Pocket). Then she got wire cut again, so she was off for another half a year. All in all, not the luckiest horse on the planet.
But finally she was sound, broke (pretty much) and ready to go, the obvious successor to Em the Magnificent. There was only one small problem. Pocket absolutely, positively hated roping. She balked. She bucked. She jabbed her front feet in the ground so hard when she stopped she nearly crippled my husband for life. And no matter what we did, instead of getting better it just kept getting worse.
After one particularly frustrating practice session I threw up my hands and said forget it and took her around the barrels instead. My dad had taught her the pattern the way he did all of our colts back in the old days, but he'd never really run her at them. I did. And she did...turn and run, I mean. And even more amazing, she seemed to like it! I got fired up and took her to a couple of jackpots in Browning, and one in Cardston, and she showed some serious promise.
And then came the winter from hell, followed by a summer when it rained so much we never got into our outdoor arena, and I was so busy with work I never managed to get Pocket in out of the pasture. Ditto for the next summer. And the next. Finally, this spring, I made up my mind I had to do something with her. And damned if it isn't like she'd been practicing without me, because she came back even better than when I got off her three years ago. Since finding time to haul her to any novice horse events wasn't happening, I decided to enter up at the Senior Pro Rodeos. This is her second run at Nanton. The time is about a second off of what it took to win money, which is pretty amazing given her experience level::
(Yeah, the video runs on there at the end. First time using the iPad as a video camera, there was a Off button malfunction.)
So here I am, a confirmed roper with a sixteen year old colt that seems determined to run barrels. Thanks to her scars and her attitude I can't guaranteed her sound of body or mind, so I can't sell her. Nope, I'm pretty much stuck with her. Guess we'll just keep entering and see where it takes us.