Catch-up (More or less)

I’m making an uncomfortable discovery. It goes like this: the more I have to say, the busier I am; the busier I am, the less time I have to say anything. So just at the times when you are wanting more news, you’re getting less. But my husband says not to make any apologies for what the blog is or isn’t. So….this isn’t an apology, just an explanation. Whew!

I did post some photos of the NVRHA show at Mark Luis’s in Paso Robles. Kudos to Carol Kurtz, Rachel Clifford, Toby Smieciuch and Kelly Saunders for really stepping up and competing. They all did something completely new to them that day. Toby had never done a versatility. Rachel and Kelly moved up a division. Kelly had to join the open riders since there were no other amateurs at the show prepared to go down the fence. Rachel had to track her first live cow, and it was awesome. Carol had to compete after a 4:30 a.m. departure time, bringing Rachel. I also showed Jack, finishing second in the open….after MISSING THE PATTERN in reining. It can happen to anyone. But my horse was excellent.

Since Paso, my time has been filled with preparation for the Central Coast Ranch Horse Classic (CCRHC). I had two horses to show, twelve students to prepare, and a show to manage. As I was telling my family, this time of year is worse than Christmas! We had a full show, with 21 horses in the open/amateur…from as far away as Oregon. It was a long, cold, windy day. But hangin’ in until the bitter end was Malia Aldrich, Kristi Whelan, Mike Hardcastle, Kelly Saunders, and me. I was proud of everyone.  Toby Mockler, who showed two horses wonderfully, rounded out the Carmel Valley crowd.  And I couldn’t have been more proud of Bueno Lil Misty. She was fourth in trail, third in cutting, and first in working ranch. She might be small, but she is mighty. When my cow came out, I realized that it was bigger than she is. But she took it down the fence with complete control. Somehow, I managed to rope on my first loop. Dallying was an act of faith. But she held that giant steer like she was a 1200 pound rope horse. That’s a mare with heart!

The following day, in the CCRHC Limited, I wore the hat of coach and show manager. Truthfully, that has become a special day for me. The weather was better. Thanks so much to Bill and Debby Sanguinetti for their great judging. I think everyone learned and came away from the day with greater show wisdom. The perseverance awards go to Cathe Martorella, Janet McGarvey, and Suzy Moon, who all showed while fighting a serious stomach bug. Now that’s dedication. Suzy and Janet were showing in their first versatility. I can’t say it enough to those of you who felt a little disappointed: step back and see the big picture. The first show is always about nerves and learning to deal with them. When you add that to the stomach flu, you’ve got a tough day. Good job and don’t give up. All of you guys have great horses and lots of potential. It was a tough field of 20 riders. I can promise you that things get better from here. For proof, talk to Cathe Martorella, Carol Kurtz, or Rachel Clifford, who are seasoned versatilityites. Carol finished third overall and won the ranch riding. Cathe was part of a three-way tie for fourth. And Rachel smoked the ranch riding and the cutting. Also, let’s give a round of applause to Brianna Colliard, the youngest competitor. She beat out the entire field and won the trail class. Way to go, girl! It was fun to have competitors from all over the state. We even had a celebrity participant. Beverly Sparrowk, a member of the cowgirl hall of fame, showed her mare Tarzanni to a seventh place finish overall. After doing an amazing amount of work on the previous day, Toby Smieciuch entered last minute and did a great job. Keep it up, Toby. Yes, you ARE headed in the right direction. Finally, a word of praise for Nancy Scarpitto, who showed consistently all day. Nancy, too, can tell you a thing or two about missed patterns. Unfortunately, they can wreak havoc with the highest trail score of the day. All in all, it was a wonderful day. For photos, go to Cindy Fichter’s website, Best in the West Photography. I must say, I didn’t have time to think about a camera.

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