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Absorbine’s Newest Botanical Line– Barrel Racing Bravo!

Courtesy: Absorbine

Courtesy: Absorbine

Absorbine recently sent me two of their newest products to test and I have to say the Botanicals Natural Herbal line of body rinse and foam liniment, hit the mark! I was skeptical at first. Although I liked the idea of a botanical line, I figured the products wouldn’t be any different than the liniment products of the past, which although seemed to make the horses feel better, created a mess and had an over bearing alcohol smell. Boy was I wrong.

I first tested the foam liniment on myself. I use A lot of the horse products, on myself because I figure if they make a difference on me, then they are likely to make a difference for them. The first thing I noticed was the pleasant smell, not like the over bearing smell that icy hot or other muscle rubs have, which made it user friendly and didn’t make my eyes water. I liked this because sometimes after long runs (me running), I use a muscle rub and it often smells up the entire house, something I have to apologize for whenever friends come over. However, this was not the case with the botanical foam. Along with its pleasant smell, it spread over my skin and didn’t feel sticky and it didn’t dry my skin out after use. Along with all of these benefits, I was pleasantly happy to find myself relieved of minor aches and pains, just after several minutes.

Now for the barn test?

Both the foam and the brace have Aloe Vera, Arnica and a mixture of 10 different herbs. My favorite thing about the foam and the brace is that they are easier to apply to the horses than other braces. The foam actually goes where you want it to, not like the liniments of the past that you spill most of on the ground and hope that it gets where you want it. The brace makes up to 24 gallons and can even be diluted further if you want to. I was pleasantly surprised about the brace because I expected, based on recommended dilution, that it wouldn’t work as well if you diluted it further, but that was not the case at all. The dilution recommendation is right on and was easy to do. The brace didn’t suds up and it didn’t leave a film that I felt had to be rinsed off later. I simply poured the brace into a 5 gallon bucket, filled it with water and then sponged it on my horse with a natural sponge. I also felt comfortable leaving the brace on my horse (which I did) and knowing that it wouldn’t aggravate her sensitive skin. Although I don’t know if there is any factual significance to it, I also found that flies and mosquitos do not like the smell of the Asborbine Botanical brace and they were not attracted to it, a huge benefit in Texas during the summer time. I have found the opposite effect with other “herbal” body washes.

I have to give Absorbine a “Barrel Racing Bravo” for making an innovative product like the Botanical line that not only works well, but is also user friendly and utilizes natural herbs and oils to relieve minor aches and pains.

… and as much I liked the foam liniment for the horses, I even liked it better for me, so it’s moving back in the house from the barn!

If you would like to find out more information, you can go to the below link.

http://www.absorbine.com/products/muscle-care/absorbine-botanicals-natural-herbal-liniment

So you think Steve Coburn is a sore loser?

Courtesy Recorder.com

Courtesy Recorder.com

So you think Steve Coburn is a sore loser?

If he is anything like the man that I think he is, then he doesn’t really care what you think.

What he cares about is his family, his horse, and the people who helped his horse achieve greatness.

He also probably cares about racing fans as a whole, but I don’t think he cares whether you put a label on him or not.

I have to commend Steve for speaking his mind (even though I don’t think they should change the Triple Crown format). In this scoreless soccer world that we live in, what would have been the benefit of him just saying what everyone wanted to hear and then walking away? Yes, they would have said, he handled it with “class.” But really, I don’t think he cares if you think he is “classy” either.

This is a man that got one chance to make history. He probably won’t be in any position to make that statement again for the rest of his life and in that moment he decided that is what he wanted to say, so he said it. He may regret it now because of the backlash that it caused and the big grey cloud that it put over his horse and his supporters, but I have to give it to him, at least he said what was on his mind.

My feelings are that people like Steve don’t really care if you think they are “Sore Losers,” just like they don’t care if you think they are “classy.” They are all just labels. The same type of labels that were put on him for investing in a losing mare and then investing in breeding that losing mare to a lack-luster stallion and then believing that he could have a Triple Crown contender as a result of that.

So why would he start caring about your labels now? His apologetic interview this morning on Good Morning America is just another example of exactly what he cares about and his opinion of how the Triple Crown is achieved is only second to those things that matter to him…. his wife, his horse, his partners, his friends, and racing fans as a whole.

 

A Fairy Tale Loss…

chromefinish

courtesy: Boston Globe

I’m going to tell you why California Chrome’s loss is the perfect ending to a Working Man’s Anthem…

Mainly because he lost….

It amazes me that people are surprised. It doesn’t amaze me that people are disappointed.

That’s because I along with the majority of my friends, deal with this type of disappointment on a weekly basis. You are probably thinking, “Really? How in the world can you compare losing the Triple Crown to not winning or placing at a barrel race or rodeo?” The fact is that it doesn’t matter what the competition is. If you entered you were more than likely (and I say that lightly) wanting to win and when you don’t, it’s heartbreaking.

chromefoot

Courtesy: Associated Press

The fact is that this horse, California Chrome, is an amazing athlete. In a write up, it was said that he could win no matter what position you put him in. Wow… now that’s a standard to put a living being up to. When reading this along with the hundreds of Facebook posts of people saying he was going to win, I couldn’t help but cringe. Call me superstitious, but I think saying a horse is going to win is a death wish. Too many things can go wrong that are 100% out of our control. Just one for example, Chrome getting stepped on out of the gate. That one wrong step, the post position, the way he broke, the fact that he was boxed in late in the race…. It all matters… and the fact is that he was running against other amazing athletes.

I’m not entirely sure that there will ever be another Triple Crown winner. I’ve never seen one. The last one that ever completed the feat was three years before I was born. I don’t say this lightly, I just don’t believe that Super Horses like Secretariat, Affirmed, Seattle Slew, or Scamper will ever exist again. The technology that we have today is too good. We can make good horses, great horses, and we can make great horses, phenomenal horses and with that being said, that means that the playing field is more even than it has ever been.

But let’s get back to the loss. This horse came from humble beginnings, note I said humble, and not some other type of adjective. People keep saying that California Chrome’s life is a great story because it shows that money isn’t everything. I don’t think this statement could be any further from the truth. Fact is that although millions may not have been spent on Chrome, a good fat chunk of change was in fact spent on him. Anyone believing differently is a fool and may want to look into the cost of training and maintaining a race horse. Yesterday I watched a video that showed where Chrome was bred and raised and I would have to say that it looked like a palace compared to the paneled stalls, some with no shelters, that most people in California have their horses in. Steve Coburn in telling his story said that he had spent his savings and his retirement on this horse and they were about to have to “start making some decisions” when Chrome started to win. The fact is that Coburn and his partner took a chance, a huge fat chance to follow their dream of what this life should include, and apparently a winning horse was part of that dream.

If everything would have worked out the way that everyone wanted, Chrome would have won the Belmont Stakes and would have sealed the deal for the Triple Crown. It would have been a Fairy Tale Ending to a Working Man’s Anthem. But Fairy Tales are not real, unlike a Working Man’s Anthem. This is why the two don’t go together. I may sound cynical but this is the reality of it. I’m not saying the rich people always get the Fairy Tale Ending, what I’m saying is that Fairy Tale Endings do not exist. Chrome is an amazing horse, still to this day, Triple Crown or not, Belmont Stakes or not, he still is a horse that will go down in the books as a major threat to this almost unattainable thing called the Triple Crown. So just like a working man, he will probably have some time off and then he will go back to work and in that,  I think he is more of an inspiration to me than any Triple Crown winner any day!

Hundreds of Hearts Breaking…

January 29th, 2012 in Glen Rose, Texas is a day I will never forget. I’m sure several hundred other people will agree with me.

It was on this day, that Karen Wyatt headed down the alley on her black gelding Dashton aka Ash, like she had done many times before. He headed into the Glen Rose Expo Arena with his ears perked and at full attention. Getting a stride away from the first barrel, he rated beautifully with his nose tipped to the inside, positioned perfectly to make what could have been a perfect turn. Instead, the crowd heard a pop that sounded almost like an overreach, but was as loud as a rifle. He took several more strides, trying to complete the turn and the job he was sent into the arena to do. The crowd gasped and yelled, as Karen tried frantically to pull him up and get off of him. While he hobbled on three legs, she hung half way off of him with her foot stuck in the stirrup. Someone from the crowd, yelled for a barrel setter in the arena to help her. Several people came to her aid. The music was turned off, all talking in the arena turned to a whisper. The loudest thing heard were the hundreds of hearts breaking all at once.

I can’t imagine what she is going through. I don’t know if I would ever be able to bounce back from something this tragic. I love this sport and we all know that accidents happen, but I just can’t even imagine. So many awful things happen in this lifetime and we don’t know why they happen to us or for that matter why they even happen at all. There was no bad step that I could see, the ground was safe, he was in the right position. Of all of the conditions that “could have been” I wouldn’t have thought that this could have ever happened to anyone at this race.

We take chances, every time we get in our car, get on our horse, or make a decision on any given day. We try to prevent everything we can from going wrong and yet still we have no power when it comes to these types of outcomes. Life is precious. I think that is why it is so important that we do what we love and love what we do. Because in an instant, it could be over. I have yet to run into a stronger group of people than barrel racers, they are hard working people with kind hearts. They always seem to bounce back and they are a true reflection of a true America. Stories of their perserverance are around every corner. I’ve had to tell myself in the past that barrel racing is not what defines me, which I believe is still very true. However, I can not deny that most barrel racers can be defined in a certain way. They are strong, dedicated, compassionate, loving and hard working. It is with this in mind that I can’t imagine ever NOT bouncing back from a tragedy like this.

15 year old Dashton (Ash) stood there patiently in the arena as they took his saddle off and splinted his leg up. He was under the immediate care of two vets within minutes of the accident happening. A large stock trailer was pulled into the arena and he was loaded up. The x-rays showed that his hock was shattered. Karen made one of the hardest decisions there is to make in life and put him down. She hauled him home and buried him this morning.

I hope she finds comfort in knowing there are hundreds, if not thousands, of people who are shedding tears and thinking about her today. I hope she finds comfort in knowing that.

Karen is in the first row, 2nd from the left with the brown shirt on.

Karen and Ash ran in the Texas Senior Pro Rodeo Association this last summer and fall, finishing Reserve Champion for the year end. Friends say that they have never seen Karen happier on a horse. The Jurassic Classic producers gave Karen the Julie Swanson memorial buckle that was going to be given to the fastest time for the weekend. Wow, I can’t wait to get to heaven. We’re going to have one heck of a barrel race someday!

“….I risk my life every time I climb on a horse. I’m not afraid. Neither are they. I want to win, just like they do. It’s true. The last horse I rode ran so hard his heart burst. But it’s who they are. And it’s who I am.” –(movie) Ronnie Turcotte, Secretariat

Blessings to the Highest Bidder

Horse Traders don’t have a heart because every time they sell a horse that has positively influenced their life, they sell a piece of their heart with the horse. The fact is if you sell too many horses you may not have anything left at the end of this lifetime.

I know that is an exaggeration, but this is how I feel. For damage control I have tried to emotionally invest the least amount that I can into any horse that I know is going to be sold. Well, everything is for sale in the barn, eventually. I also believe you can’t make a great horse unless you are willing to train with passion and heart. If you don’t invest emotionally into the horse, I don’t think that you get the same amount of try that you will out of one that you put your heart and soul into. They can tell when you care about them and I think they try harder.

Most of us are all looking for that horse that is going to change our life. The “Horse of a Lifetime.” The one that allows you to quit your day job and go down the road pursuing your dream. Since I started counting. I personally have had 3 “Horses of a Lifetime,” at least I thought at the time. Two of them I had to sell (neither of which I owned) and one went lame (I only owned half of him). I have two horses now that may be “Horses of a Lifetime,” but I’m finding that my standards are a little bit higher now and I realize that even if the horse has the talent, there are so many things that have to line-up, so you can take advantage of the opportunity.

In addition to the “Horse of a Lifetime” there is also a thing I call a “Life Horse.” The Life Horse is the horse that changes your life the most and directly influences your ability to take advantage of the “Horse of a Lifetime” once it comes along. I have only had one “Life Horse” so far. This particular horse came into my life just weeks after I found out that my marriage was falling apart. After several consecutive weeks of crying, a friend called and said that he had a 3-year-old Miss N Cash mare that he wanted to sell. I told him I would come down and look at her and see what I thought. He had run her through the sale barn a week earlier and bought her back because she didn’t bring enough money. She was skinny and wild. I saddled her up, not expecting much and after 5 minutes of riding her decided that she needed a home with me. There wasn’t anything that particularly made her special although she was quick and catty and she didn’t buck me off. I made him an offer and did what every heartbroken horse woman does to try and fix her marriage, I bought a horse I couldn’t afford. I made $250 payments every pay period until she was paid off. Note: she was not very expensive and she was paid off quick, but it was still a stretch for me at the time. This horse gave me something to focus on while my marriage crippled along. She needed me and I needed her. For her 5-year-old futurity year I won money on her and was able to travel around the western United States. When I was at a futurity with her, I didn’t have any marriage problems. She gave me something to focus on during my saddest days. I won money that helped me decorate my home, she gave me a sense of freedom and ability to travel. Because this is a business for me too, at the end of her 5-year-old year I decided to put her up for sale. My marriage was over. I then sold her and was able to pay off all of my credit cards and my horse trailer. This worked out well, considering just 3 months later I was divorced and moving 1,000 miles away and buying a new house. Her blessings didn’t stop there, even after this mare was sold to another family she kept on giving to me. She went on to a family that had two girls who ran her and won on her. After two years of her then affecting their lives the parents decided to sell her so they could buy a car for their teenage daughters who were riding less. I took her back in as a commission sale and ran her over the next several months, winning jackpots and money and giving me the confidence that I needed to ride my futurity horses.  So in addition to the blessings she has given me, she is now helping two teenage girls get what they have always wanted. A Car!

Just last saturday I met a hauler in Oklahoma City to haul this horse to her new home in Ohio. She is now owned by an 11-year-old girl who is a clone of me at that age. She is 4’6 and 55 lbs and the perfect match for this 14.3 hand mare. This little girl can ride the hair off of anything. I can’t wait in about 10 years I’m sure I’ll be saying, “I knew her back in the day.” Here is a video of the girl running the mare for the 2nd time. She was 22nd out 256, some of Texas and Oklahomas finest horses. That’s me in the background screaming like a proud mom.

The money that I made off of the commission is going to pay for my eye surgery that I had last year. Did you hear that people? This horse has given me the gift of sight! No more eye infections, blurry vision, and stress headaches from squinting. Granted I had the surgery last year, but this horse is the one that paid for it!

I didn’t spend a long time saying goodbye to her last Saturday. I just patted her on the butt because I know that since she is only 8 years old she has a lot of life to share with her humans and I’m sure that the effect she had on my life will be exponentially consistent with every person who comes in contact with her. This mare is truly an angel. She never won a World Championships, She never won hundreds of thousands of dollars, but what she did give me is something you just can’t buy. She gave me what I needed, when I needed it. She is a Blessing to anyone who comes into contact with her. I have never had a horse in my life that made such a quantifiable difference. The fact is when I sell horses, I sell my blessings to the highest bidder. It never gets easier, but I guess that’s just life.

If you have a “Life Horse” that you would like to tell me about, please share your story. I know there are more out there!

Quitters never Win and Winners never Quit… and the Middle!

“That’s it! I don’t know why I do this? I should have taken up Golfing, Gymnastics, or Kite Flying!”

“What’s so important about going around 3 barrels anyways? Who cares who does it the fastest!”

If you haven’t heard this conversation in your head, or you have never talked a friend out of quitting (even if you really knew they never intended to quit anyways. This is usual the case with me.) then you just haven’t been around the sport long enough.

As you may already know, I’m a competitive person. I make everything in life a challenge. I’m the person at the wedding showers that shouts at the top of her lungs when she wins the stupid prize from the dollar store. Tastefully of course, in a more dorky, than obnoxious way. All of this amounts to the fact that I take myself a little too seriously!

The challenges I face in life have a reoccurring theme of extremely high expectations, followed by hours of preparation, and then acceptance of the outcome. I have done this for years, over and over and over again. It is a great path and it has gotten me to a place in life where I feel extremely blessed. But let me tell you folks, it is exhausting. Sometimes I think, “Did I really sign myself up for this?” Of course the answer is always, “Yes.” Followed by, “But would you have it any other way?” Followed by, “No” Then it happens, that little voice in my head says, “Well then stop feeling sorry for yourself and get the job done.”

While on the way home the other day from a race, I was telling a friend that mediocrity may be the way to go. To heck with all these high expectations. I ran through the options. If I didn’t have all these dreams, I could travel, lay out on a beach on a tropical island, or I could own a boat.  I was thinking average wasn’t too bad. Really if you wanted the majority opinion, then the average person is going to think you’re doing pretty good.  While talking to her about my dreams, she said to me, “You can’t give up. While you’re giving up, there’s someone else out there trying to figure out how to win.” It was just enough to spark my interest. She knew exactly the perfect thing to say. All I needed was to think that there was someone out there who was currently conspiring to beat me. It was like a breath of fresh air, the wind under my wings. This friend is often a voice of reason in my temporary bought of self-pity and insanity. The reality is that sometimes, you’re not a Quitter and sometimes you’re not a winner, sometimes you’re just stuck in the middle. My goal is to get out of the middle and never Quit.

I think the secret is figuring yourself out and then going with it. Find something inspiring and think about it every time you start to lose strength. I recently witnessed a music video the other day that brought some true clarity. I saw it circulate on Facebook for about two days before I actually took a look. I wish I would have seen it sooner. It has everything in it that summarizes what makes me tick. Love. Horses. Determination. Grit. Innocence. Try.

Enjoy!

P.S. If you know anything about the kids in this video, please comment. They are wonderful in this video. I heard they are from the North Texas area.

Winners, Whiners and Barrel Racing Timers!

A good hauling partner knows exactly when it’s ok to start talking to you after a bad run and about what mile marker to call you out in the truck and say, “Ok I’ve had enough of your pouting, get over it, move on and make it happen next time.”

It’s takes a while to figure this out and if you do it too soon or at the wrong time, it very well may be the last time that both of you are ever in the same truck again.

If you’ve never experienced this either because you don’t rodeo or you just don’t ever haul with someone. Lets just say that not doing well (no matter what you consider well) at a rodeo or barrel race is like breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend. It hurts every time. I don’t know if it’s the money that we put into this sport or it’s just the type of people we are, but I have yet to run into one person who plays our game that doesn’t want to just have a fit, throw their sucker down and then roll around on the ground for a little bit, after their run doesn’t go their way. The only reason why you don’t see this happening and you don’t see a huge sea of contestants rolling around on the ground is because of this bullcrap called  “good sportsmanship” that is put in our heads when we are children. Really I don’t know any really “good sports” they all just keep it inside. I’m not saying that we don’t find joy in our friends winning, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t trying to figure out how we didn’t win in the back of our heads.

I am a Self-Proclaimed, Immaculately Contained Sore Loser!

I do a wonderful job of making everyone think I’m a good sport…. hopefully!

But every once in a while someone lets the cat out of the bag and lets their true colors shine! Sometimes they even take it to an extreme, make accusations, and post their opinion on this little social network everyone calls FACEBOOK. Things are said, things are not said and usually within at least an hour, things start getting deleted. It’s like a huge flood of emotion and then when the remorse occurs the delete button is hit and the waters recede. Unfortunately, just like verbal words, most written words can never be taken back again.

Most of time there are regrets, sometimes there aren’t. But in all reality. I think the first thing we need to realize is that the difference between having a good day and a bad day… Is usually about 4 tenths of a second. Anything larger of a margin than that and you are probably having a really, really, really bad day. That’s not a lot of time. In the past, to make myself feel better I have actually sat and watched 4 tenths of a second go by on a stop watch. It really puts things into perspective.

I like to remind myself that chances are no matter what division you run in, if you entered the race, you imagined winning it! With that being said, and if all of this is even remotely true that means of that if 356 people entered, then 355 are going home disappointed to some extent. The picture above is of my horse falling at a futurity that I really thought we had a chance at doing really well at. The day after this run, when I got home, I laid in bed for almost an entire day pouting about my mishap. Until now, only my closest friends knew this. You know… Friends? The ones who know everything about you and still like you.

So Remember, go easy on yourself! You only get one life….and whereever you are in that life, Be There!

A True Loss….Nate Shilabar

It’s not very often that I write of great horses that have passed on, but Nate Shilabar (aka Hotshot) is a horse that undeniably can not be ignored. The fact is that all of us have had horses that have touched our lives, some of them won a lot, some won a little, and some of them didn’t win at all. It is the special place in our heart that makes them special. I don’t think that one person’s loss is any greater than another’s, just because one horse has won hundreds of thousands of dollars while another just took his owner on a trail ride once a week. It is with this in mind, that my expressed feelings are generally kept at bay and aren’t voiced any greater than, “My thoughts and prayers are with you.”

But… Hotshot is different.

In my lifetime, I have yet to see a horse that was run by so many people and consistently a threat to every great barrel horse in this country. In the years that he was running at the NFR, it was great to hear the stories of the short statured renegade gelding. With over $1 million dollars in earnings, he was a force to be reckoned with and he continually acted as a threat for years after his 1997 debut with Peyton Raney. In that year, they won the WPRA Rookie of the year. In 2001, Janet Stover won the WPRA World Championship after winning more than $126,000 in earnings at NFR. That same year the Steinhoff’s bought him for their daughter, Tanya as a Christmas present. She won $180,000 the next year. Hot Shot went on to be a “kids horse” for their family, winning multiple world championships and enough money to pay off what the equivalent of EVERYTHING I have possession of, year after year after year. What has your kid done to make a couple hundred thousand dollars lately?

Many great barrel horses have died this year and we all suffer our feelings of loss. It’s amazing to me because I know that there are so many people who this horse influenced in his lifetime, that will never be mentioned in any of the articles that speak of his death. I loved the 90’s and early 2000’s because I really feel that the “little” horses prevailed in that time. It was just a coincidence that the dominating horses of this time were mostly under 15 hands. It was great to see Sherry Cervi’s Hawk, Kelly Yates’ Fiesta and Hot Shot barreling down the alley with sheer determination of a win that was just beyond the horizon. I too rode a small horse, that many knew as not of a threat, but as the “consistent” horse. It was Hawk, Fiesta, and Hot Shot that gave me hope and made me push my horse to be the greatest he could be. I know there are other girls out there doing the same to this day, going over the memories of those times. One year at the Salinas PRCA rodeo in California I rode my small horse up next to Sherry Cervi to see if Hawk was shorter or taller than my horse. Hawk was actually smaller which I would have never guessed in a million years. It was a great feeling and still to this day gives me a sense of joy when I head out to run my barrel horses. In the past few years, I have realized that I should be as kind and accepting of myself as much as I am the horses. I may be small, but my heart does not acknowledge the limitations that are unjustifiably set in my head.

They said it best in Seabiscuit, “It’s not in his feet, it’s in his heart.”

The Steinhoffs say they found Hot Shot, 24, in his stall today (12/28/11) in the place where he always laid down to sleep.  It appears that he passed away in the night. There were no signs of struggle.

Epic Polo Wrap Fails

Believe it or not! One of the hardest conversations I have ever had included telling an ex-boyfriend that I didn’t like the way he wrapped his horse’s polo wraps. I know you are probably thinking, “This girl is crazy! Obviously, she hasn’t experienced enough in life.” Unfortunately, that is not true…. Life has taught me many things and has taught me tough lessons on how to handle conflict, tragedy, death, hunger, addiction…. you name it. But for some odd reason, approaching a person about how they wrap a polo is like talking to someone about Cancer. It’s this huge elephant that sits in the room and no one wants to talk about it.

I remember the first time that someone sat down and had “The Talk” with me. I was roughly about 12 years old and started using polo wraps because they so conveniently matched every color of my high wasted 00 slim Wranglers and Rockies (Rocky Mountains at the time). Red, Maroon, Yellow, Green, Purple, Black, White, Grey, you name it, I had them and it was all about color coordination…. Thank you Marleen Eddleman. This was back in the day when performance leg boots were new to the market, only the “rich” people were able to afford the new sports technology that surfaced from Professional Choice Sports Medicine Boots. You also had your choice of regular splint boots or Bar-F.

Anyways, back to the topic at hand. I was about 3 tries into my newly purchased polo wraps and participating in a gymkhana where you were lucky to even see a horse with protective leg gear on, when I was approached by a beautiful tall blond-haired gal that ran a big, big, (did I say big) sorrel horse. Everyone talked about her horse because he was “off the track.” At the time I kind of knew what that meant, but didn’t understand the challenges that she faced. As a child I remembered seeing that he liked to run…. but turning… hmmm… not so much! She walked up to me as I was in mid sentence with a friend, interrupted me and said, “Hun? Can I take a few minutes to show you how to wrap those polo wraps correctly?” As a child, I was craving for information. I wanted to be a world champion and sitting in the dusty parking lot in the middle of a California desert, with 6 more events to go. I knew I was a long way away and “this, this could be my ticket.” Intently, I listened as she sat there and unwrapped my patient dehydrated burned out barrel horse. She explained where I needed to start the wrap and that the seam shouldn’t be exposed to any of tendons, wrap the tendons inward, pull the wrap tight across the cannon bone not the tendons, that they should be evenly spaced and start about mid-way up the cannon bone, then go down, then back up again making sure they are evenly pressured. I appreciated her helping me and to this day I still will re-wrap a leg (sometimes more than once) if I looked at it and it didn’t seem right.

Having said that I will still remember the day that I was going to “tell” him. It was after a horse’s lack luster performance that I realized that the wraps were not tight and had slipped down during the run. The bottom half looked the way that an old women’s panty hose stretches out and stacks at the ankle like the skin on an elephant. The horse had not wanted to get “in the ground” as much as we would have liked to see and he jumped out of his turns early. There were several theories thrown around. More chiropractic work, tuning, and vet work were all of some of the solutions. But the polo wrap thing, just seemed to obvious and as a friend I thought the largest disservice that I could commit to my friend, let alone my boyfriend, was the obvious epic polo wrap FAIL. I tried to find the time to say something, but no time seemed like a good time. I ultimately got in the truck and headed home in my own rig. Hands gripping the stirring wheel tightly, sweating (ok it was 103 outside) I contemplated my attempt to have the talk. I called a dear friend that said, “Don’t worry, just bring it up, either he will listen or he won’t. Who knows he might not even care.” But still I fealt like I was giving a professional trainer, the most obvious advice known to man. The type of advice that makes people’s skin cringe and their head drop as if to say… that’s not it. So FINALLY, I got up the courage. The phone rang, rang, rang (oh awesome maybe it will go to voicemail and then I can leave some generic message and hang up like I didn’t have a plan to give the most stupid advice known to man). “Hey what’s up?”, (crap he answered). “Hey, I was just thinking about the run and I don’t know if you noticed, but the polos slipped down and that might be why he wouldn’t get in the ground,” I cringed waiting for his response. “Oh I didn’t notice that, you may be right, who knows,” he said rather unclimactically.

So there it is, I worried for nothing. I don’t know if it was the problem or even a solution, but the point is… why doesn’t anyone talk about polos? I love them. I’ve used them nearly my entire life. I find wrapping polo wraps after they have been washed therapeutic. FYI… you have to wrap the female side of the velcro back into the male side or they won’t unwrap properly. I see dozens of polo wrap epic fails every weekend and have always thought someone should document these fails to spread awareness. Kind of like “what not to wear” meets “the people of wal-mart” but for polo wraps.  So now I’m challenging you! If you have a documented Epic Polo Wrap Fail, please take a picture and email the picture to EpicPoloFail@gmail.com   I will upload the pictures to the blog and maybe one of these days be able to award people with their contributions.

I was going to include a link to a video of how to wrap a polo correctly, but I was disappointed to find there was not one video that I completely agreed with. Just do a search on your own or have someone you know that is accomplished show you how to do it.

There are many ways that you can do it correctly and there are many ways that you can do it wrong! The supreme court once ruled on a very controversial topic that basically although something can not be clearly defined, you know what it is when you see it. This is very much the case with POLO WRAPS.

-Cowgirl Manifesto

UPDATE … I was finally able to find a video that was a good demonstration. The only bad part about this is that the camera angle is from the front which is not how you look at your horses leg when you put them on. Hopefully is will help anyone who wants to watch.

http://equibrand.com/Classic%20Equine/Details.aspx?C=301&P=POLOW4-SOLID&O=0&PPG=10&PG=1&CL=

Episode 3: Rodeo Girls… Ok I’ll admit it, I think I may have puked a little in my mouth!

rodeogirlsSo despite the title of this post I’m still standing behind my belief that the publicity that Barrel Racing is getting with the airing of this show, is only positive. But I have to admit that the dating scene on top of the hay pod of Marv’s trailer did make me puke a little bit in my mouth. Having said that, the look on Jessica’s face when Anthony tells her that their date is on top of the trailer is priceless. You can tell she is thinking the same thing that we all were thinking, “Why would anyone want to go on a date the top of a trailer.” But I get it, the producers have no idea that this type of thing is totally cheesy and no one in their right mind, in any world of horses would probably find this sweet. Well maybe one or two, but not many. Fact is, it is hot up there, and most everyone on the rodeo grounds can see you…dating on display… really not many people’s cup of tea. Jessica reacts to Anthony’s cheesy attempts at romance the same way that we all would. The look on her face continues to scream, “I can’t believe I agreed to do this show! Anthony are you seriously saying this crap to me right now?” As scripted, he tries to call her a hard *ss that is afraid to let her guard down. She responds like any cowgirl would by shooting him straight and saying she’s just being her. For me, this scene was almost painful to watch, but I got through it.

This episode showed the highly controversial Bikini barrel race. Which made me laugh at the hypocrisy of it all. Bikini barrel racing (although not part of rodeo) has been around for many years. Obviously this was put in the show just for the sex appeal of it all. During this part, all I could think about was how bad it would hurt to hit a barrel with your skin completely exposed. It hurts when you have pants on, but at least the jeans add a centimeter of some padding. There is a lot of smack talk, which I have a feeling is added in with a little help from the wonderful A&E producers because I have a feeling that these girls are not really this catty in real life.

Then Ty gets his clothes stolen because for some reason he is taking a shower outside of Marv’s $80,000 dollar Bloomer (that’s a guess, and a minimum estimate). Also something probably completely set up by A&E. But it added some cute screaming and funny banter. In the first episode Marv does say that she has busted pipes in the trailer from a freeze so maybe that’s why he was showering outside.

The funny thing about the whole Anthony and Jessica romance is that she obviously doesn’t want to jump into a relationship and wants to focus on her barrel racing, but Anthony (producers really) are pushing the romance above and beyond it’s natural speed. The drama of the barrel racers needing to win to pay their way down the road and fill their permits would have been enough to base an entire episode on, but you can tell the show’s creators had other ideas. Jessica’s huge disappointment of hitting a barrel to fill her permit is just barely mentioned and blazed over. Later she is shown having to sell one of her favorite trophy saddles, which was very sad for me to watch her have to do. (I’m assuming she really had to sell it).

Ok… I’m going to stop now. If you want to watch, here is the link to episode 3.

http://www.aetv.com/rodeo-girls/video/bikinis-or-bust

Why you should LOVE the show RODEO GIRLS!!!!!!!

ImageI know that most everyone who runs barrels is proud to be jumping on the “The A&E show Rodeo Girls is a disgrace to women in rodeo” bandwagon. A matter of fact after watching the promo trailer, I too thought that the show was going to be a complete joke. But after watching both episodes, I have to say that the docu-drama reality show is pretty darn accurate. I have a feeling that most of the people who are holding true to their beliefs that the show is a disgrace have either a)never actually watched any of the episodes or b) have actually never competed in any rodeo circuit. Now there are a few things that don’t ring true. Like the going to bed and breakfast joint prior to heading to Red Bluff and it’s apparent that some of the scenes are completely staged, but there’s a lot of truth to things they show in the show including jealously of girls with more money, who can buy faster, nicer horses or the guy who can’t make up his mind with which girl he likes, or the truck that is breaking down and there is no money to fix it or a veteran barrel racer tying her horse to a wash rack when she knows he sets back, husbands that ask their wives to not go to so many rodeos, or the rookie who isn’t having much fun gettting her *ss handed to her because she just isn’t tough enough to get a check.

The promo poster for Rodeo Girls, showing a barrel racer in a pink bikini is what set many people off. I actually appreciated the poster. Is bikini barrel racing part of rodeo? Well No, but it got people’s attention and in the second episode, they say “bikini barrel racing is not part of rodeo” I appreciated the poster because you could tell the girl, was a real barrel racer and not a yahoo. Her tack was what you would expect to see used by a professional and she sat up straight on her horse, with perfect form, legs and hands in the exact position that you would expect. I would rather see that, than someone fully clothed and riding like a goof, that you knew would never win a check for the life of them.

I do think they use the word “b*tches” a little too much. If one of my friends called me that more than once in a joking way, believe me, we would have a talking. There is a little too much make-up. The real life is that most of these girls don’t put on their make-up until it matters. Fact is that shavings and dust will stick to your face, if you put too much foundation on and mascara runs when you sweat. But there are other things that I do appreciate, for example in every dating scene the girl ends up going back to her trailer alone, at one point one of the cowboys actually suggests a kiss and the girl ends up suggesting that he just “yell for her to kick and whip her horse” during the next days performance. One thing that most people should understand is that although many of these “Rodeo Girls” are girls, young and stupid or experienced and reckless, is that these girls do have street smarts. Most of them are not helpless and they actually can stand to be pretty good role models for girls growing up. So I say give the show a chance and take it for what it is…. A scripted reality show with Hollywood roots. The sport of Rodeo is getting smaller and smaller in popularity as urban centers of this country continue to grow. I’m grateful that we are actually getting a shot at the spotlight, even if it is only 6 episodes. Below you can watch the first two episodes. It will air again tonight at 10/9 central on A&E.

http://www.aetv.com/rodeo-girls/video/preview-bikinis-or-bust-88790083951

http://www.aetv.com/rodeo-girls/video/bring-it-on-87466563734

Oh the Woes of Walmart!

overallsDear Walmart employees who are expecting a minimum wage of $13 an hour for an entry level job! You must be awful proud of yourself.

My Education cost me and my family (Bo Harwood) nearly $95,000. Thanks to him and my mother I was able to get out of college with only $25,000 in debt. The first job I ever had after college (2005), paid $11.75 an hour and it was a graveyard shift writing the morning news (11pm-8am) for an NBC affiliate. I also paid federal taxes, state taxes, union dues of $200 a month and I managed to pay for car and health insurance. I went into debt $300 a month with that job, but I managed until I was qualified for another job. This job was also preceded with a six month long internship at another station that didn’t pay anything.  I had no furniture and I slept on a bed that was borrowed. I shared a place with two other girls. I actually turned down a job that paid .25 cents more an hour as a personal assistant because it wasn’t in my career path and I thought that eating crow for a little while was better for me in the long run.The day after I graduated I didn’t ask for one penny from the people that helped me through college. I was bound and determined that I was going to make it on my own, since they had sacrificed so much while I went to school.

Although this was my first job out of college, it was by no means my “first” job. My first job was actually cleaning stalls and loping horses for a reining trainer that paid $0 dollars when I was 13 years old. That instilled the work ethic in me to get my second job at 15, washing dogs at a dog grooming salon in a 100 degree building. Cleaning anal glands was part of that job and it paid a whopping $5.25 an hour (federal minimum wage at that time). I then got a job at a feed store through high school, then I worked as an admin assistant at my junior college and at a local gun club. Then I gave riding lessons and started training barrel horses…. that is what got me through high school and college.

I am the poster child of a kid that wasn’t supposed to make it in this world. Both of my parents are/were Alcoholics. My first introduction to Children’s services was at the age of 8, when my mother’s boyfriend committed suicide in our house and attempted to kill my mother in the process. I love my mother and father (my dad past away at 15) and I think that some parents today could learn a thing or two from them. If I could summarize it one sentence it would be something like this, “Giving your kids a healthy self-esteem and the confidence that they are loved, is more important than giving them a perfect life and shiny nice things.” From ages 8-I8 I lived in two states, moved dozens of times and went to at least 15 different schools. At 15, I ended up moving in with my Godfather, Bo Harwood and I slept on his couch while I went to work and graduated from high school. He fed me, clothed me and cared for me like I was his own biological child. I was grateful for the food he provided and the roof he put over my head. I didn’t “expect” any of it. I was grateful for it all (even if I acted like a teenager sometimes who didn’t act like it)…. I didn’t even expect a bed… the couch was fine. The children’s services file that I have (thanks to research I did for a documentary I may someday produce) is in a huge box. Every statistic in this world says, I should have been pregnant by 15 and on welfare. The only person who has had control over the outcomes of my life wa/is ME.

So back to the Walmart employees, who are expecting nearly double the federal minimum wage. If you don’t like what you are getting paid, then move on and be willing to look for jobs in other places (states and fields of employment). I have many job skills that I have never marketed, for example I can clean houses, dig holes, wash cars, feed animals, etc. I’m sure there are a hundred more I could think of. I’m not too good to offer tutoring services to kids when I need money or sell stuff I own to pay down debt. I know some people are going to disagree with me on this one, but to this day I am grateful for the career I have and it didn’t come by demanding anything… it came from sacrifice, hard work and the love of my family. Quit depending on major corporations to make you happy!

**sorry for any grammar and misspellings, I wrote this fast***

Cry if you need to… but still finish the race!

bostonmarathonThe images coming across the airwaves about the Boston Marathon Bombings are disturbing to say the least! I just can’t believe this type of thing keeps happening over and over again. In places that we are supposed to feel safe! People should be able to take their kids to school (Sandy Hook) and know they will be protected! They should be able to drop them off at a Day Care Center (Oklahoma City Bombing) and know they will be safe! Go to work in Manhattan and come home to their family (9/11)! Families should be able to go a Marathon and cheer on runners without fear of being blown up! But the reality is that this is not the world we live in. It’s sad and crazy, but I have finally accepted that anything is now possible and maybe I have been one of the people who blindly thought that tragedy is rare and miracles occur often. I know that there are probably hundreds of people that have stories about how they weren’t in the blast locations because of a multitude of random events that occurred, but still I can’t help but think of the 3 people that have lost their lives including one little boy and the many others that are facing amputations, life altering deformities and possibly death because of this act of terrorism.

If you have never been to a Marathon, the spirit, the people, the atmosphere is just infectious. It’s very similar to what you feel at a rodeo or barrel race, minus all the catty gossip and smack talking. I may not be in the inner circle with runners and maybe that is why I don’t see that side of it, but needless to say I think because there are so many runners (thousands) it’s a little hard to bad mouth and be catty. That is one of the things that makes me so sad about this whole thing, not that one tragedy is ever worse than another, but the fact that these people were all Showing off our Shiny!running for their own reasons. People were making memories and accomplishing something they will never forget for the rest of their lives. Crossing things off their bucket list… and now some A-Hole has completely ruined it and ruined peoples lives.

You don’t hear heckling at a marathon, people actually come to just cheer the runners on, whether they know them or not. I’ve never done over a 10k (6.2 miles) but let me tell you I wish I could go back and thank every single spectator who cheered while I was running. Sometimes I don’t think I would have made it without them. It’s like they showed up like angels, somewhere around mile 4. I was reaching the end of my playlist so I knew I was getting close, but I was also getting to a distance that I had never run before. Because of the metal plate and screws in my leg, I wasn’t really sure if I was going to have to walk the last mile or if I could finish the run without stopping. I had never gone over 5 miles without stopping. At mile 5, a song came on that made me think of my Dad and how proud he would have been to see me run. He was always so supportive of my horses, but I think sometimes he wished I was a little more of a city girl. He would have been proud to brag on me about this, with every year that goes by since he passed away when I was 14, I realize more and more what a true loss it really was. It made me sad to think that he couldn’t see me. I began to just weep, tears and sweat running down my face. But I didn’t stop, there really was no reason to stop. I think I was more surprised about the emotions I was feeling and the fact that I had to completely wear myself out to get to a point that I let it all go. Once I stopped weeping and wiped the snot and sweat from my face, I talked myself out of the tears and then realized, he could see me! So I was really crying for no reason. I finished the race with a smile and high-fived a women in about her 50’s running with braided pig tails as I approached the line. I will never ever ever forget it.

Now some jerk has ruined that same experience for others to say the least. A mother and father are going to lay down to sleep tonight knowing they will never see their beautiful little boy again. Absolute crap! We live in the United States of America, supposedly the greatest country in the entire world…. This is why I never made it in the “News” business. I can’t handle witnessing all of the sad stories. When I was a news writer/producer, I had a box of kleenex on my desk for what my editor called “Super Sad Stories.” I would just cry and type and cry and type. My heart couldn’t handle it.

Now I’m facing another decision and I’m going to leave it up to you guys?

I was thinking about doing the Oklahoma City Half Marathon in two weeks. I have been thinking about it for about a month now, well before thisokc marathon tragedy. Up until yesterday, I was seriously thinking about doing it. I mean the finisher medals are so pretty, but now it doesn’t seem very smart to go to a Marathon which commemorates a bombing, two weeks after a bombing at a marathon. Do you think I should go? Do you think it would be stupid or is it the very thing that we need to do to show that we aren’t going to tolerate terrorism? I’m not so sure and I’d love to hear from you!