A Year in Review, July to September 2014
July meant that I was home... and just barely, after a breakdown in Utah, and one of those ... oh just wait, then THIS happened... kinda stories, I just squeaked into Canada as June turned into July.
Home meant that I was home to some of my favourite things...
The love of my life and I were reunited again. I moved him to a new place, a quiet private residence owned by good people I knew through the cutting world, and he seemed happy there and I was too.
It also meant I was home with my bestfriends AND Stampede was starting. I am lucky, blessed and fortunate to now have worked for the Calgary Stampede two years in a row as one of the Ranch Girls. The Ranch Girls are the girls you see carrying the flags of the rodeo everyday at the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, as one would guess... it's a lot of fun - and a lot of sparkle!
Brigitte & I
Sarah and I on the sky ride - high above the stampede grounds!
This year I was honoured to carry the Calgary Herald flag for sponsor laps with my trusty beloved steed - Duke!
Look for the girl with the purple flag!
Finally, towards the end of July, my herd was bolstered by a small half pint that went by the name of Flakey. Owned by my old boss in Arizona, he was headed South but not for a couple months, already two and very tiny for his age, she hoped that with me I could get some weight on him and then lightly start him. I achieved both of these things with the little guy, and him and Jingle soon became fast friends and pasture-mates.
At the beginning of August my friend Sarah came out to take some photos of my boy and I. You'll recognize Sarah's name, because she takes almost all my photos! haha, Photo credits to her on almost every single one of my posts. I don't quite understand how I survived without her whilst away - one, as my personal photographer and two, as one of my most cherished friends.
I love these photos, here are two of my favs:
Jingle and I out in the back pasture, a calm & happy moment.
This one I have in mind to have painted by an artist that I adore... who is a wee bit pricey... in the meanwhile, I am going to have it put to canvas. It is the perfect picture of my boy.
Unfortunately it was also in August that I discovered Cash had allergies... to what, we aren't sure, but it seemed (at the time) like everything. My poor boy broke out into a MASSIVE viral infection, he went crazy with the itching and licked massive holes into both of his armpits. By the time it was all said and done, Cash had, had a viral infection causing pustules in his groin and a viral infection as well in his ear. We also discovered a live tick living in his other ear - it was horrific.
I'm still not sure what Cash is allergic too - it's obviously environment, but throughout the summer he had two other minor outbreaks after this one. It seems to either be grass, or something in water. He's now on a specialized food for skin sensitivity, and everything has subsided because of the cold weather, but in the spring it will be back to the vet for allergy testing to pinpoint it all.
My poor naked little mole rat...
Major cone of shame...
Cash hated his cone, and it became a pretty common fixture as we battled allergies throughout the summer and fall
We also went camping at our favourite ranch in the world - Bates Bar J, we called it #WesternWeekdayCamping and we had a total blast - even if it rained a little!
We even brought flakey along for the ride! He had quite a lot of fun eating the shoulder-high grass until he learned to jump the round-pen when we were gone away on our rides... sigh...
& finally we began a project we had long talked about doing, and thought would be quite busy. We learned from the owner of our beloved ranch get-away how to braid leather reins. I will tell you one thing folks, it was not a one-day project and it took us a lot of patience and side-eyed "are we actually going to do this?" looks to get through it..
Randy cutting the laces for the braids for us from the hide we chose
Teaching Brigitte the four strand braid
Are we having fun yet??
In September, Jingle and I entered our first competitive trail ride with my bestfriend Brigitte. Her, and her trusty steed Mac, have done a few (and are quite good at them!!) and we figured we'd follow along and see what it was all about. It was held at Writing on Stone National Park in Southern Alberta, and if you haven't been during the summer - go! - it is so beautiful.
Unfortunately this was where #thelamenesschronicles begins, Jingle and I pulled out halfway through the race after, out of the blue (literally), he became very lame - and we are still trying to get down to the bottom of what is going on currently... It was sad, disappointing and frustrating, but atleast I had my horse with me.
Lame pony :(, but we learned all about electrical fence that weekend!
This was what the ride looked like... incredible...
My favourite thing to do is go camping with my friends, and our horses. There is nothing more perfect than spending a night surrounded by those you love, good conversation and better laughs, then waking up to a crisp morning, saddling up and heading out. It never gets old. At the end of September, albiet slightly cold, we went camping before the end of the season was upon us.
With Jingle out, at the last minute, I was loaned a great horse by the name of Bandit, and we had a wonderful time.
Brigitte & I
Cheers to good friends & better trails!
Oh, and the highlight of the trip, we finished those gosh-darnit'-reins...
... and we sure were happy!
Okay, Okay... Randy might be reading this so I have to be honest (he'll catch me on it anyways, always does!)... we still have to make the poppers that go on the ends, but the reins themselves are all done. It was a really cool project, first and foremost to be taught a dying-out art passed down from generations long gone by someone that you care, and utterly respect, was a very neat feeling. A few of us thought we'd never quite finish those things, but we got it done, and they may not be perfect, but we made them ourselves, and that felt really good.
October was a pretty quiet month... probably a good thing, after writing this post it seems I never quite ... work. haha I do, I swear! However, towards the end of October I made a leap that I've been wanting to do for a long time. I bought myself a truck, and I couldn't be happy. I ended up totally lucky, a 2014 GMC 3500 HD, with only 12,000 km on it, for 10k less than the asking price. It was a bit more truck than I wanted, or needed, but it fell into my lap and I snatched it up. The goal is to have a sound horse and a horse trailer within the year - and now I have a truck to pull it!!!!
In November, with a lame-Jingle still out for the count, I decided to lease a horse named Tango. He was very sweet, and fun to ride. All he needed was a little bit of remedial training but he picked up quick and was well trained to begin with. He would have been a fun horse to take to some sortings and gymkhanas. However, I made the decision at the end of the month that my money was best suited to either go to a new horse, or into cutting, and ended the lease. It was sad, he is a great little horse - if anyone is looking to buy... I know of a good one! ;)
&, in November, I bit the bullet, stepped out on a limb and went public with my little blog secret - With a Western Twist was created, and announced!
In December we headed to the NFR in Las Vegas and man did we have a good time. I already can't wait to go back - spent way too much money, but it was worth it. Brigitte, Sarah and I had an incredible time!
At the Venetian!
From there, I headed into a busy holiday season of... well... red wine... haha just kidding (kind of)... parties! My favourite is an annual one held at a nearby saloon that myself, and some of my oldest friends, go too. This was the third year, and we drank a little too much, danced a lot, and had a great time. That's what the holidays are about people!
Sarah also came and we did my Christmas photo-shoot with the big boy, and the puppy dog. Again, she did a spectacular job, and I have many favourite photos from that shoot - this being one of them.
The only creature that I literally think knows what I'm thinking, and me him.
& finally, I got to spend some good solid quality time with my family. Although a crazy, and quite small bunch, it is always nice to be in their presence.
Phew... that's it... there's a year... and what a year it was! I often felt the last 6 months were severely lacking, after losing a dream job due to visa problems and coupling that with a bad breakup, then add in the factor that I was back to waitressing, and not doing any cutting, and then finally top it all off with a lame horse meaning not even any riding... I was a bit of a wounded dog licking her wounds trying to regroup.
Now, I kind of want to kick myself in the backside for being such a wimpy loser, what a great Fall and Winter this has been - these last 6 months have been surrounded by true love from my family and friends - people I utterly cherish, they held adventure, awakenings, new things, old things, everything!
& so, in the end, it is always cathartic for me to look back on a year, remember those lasting memories, recount those crazy adventures, and plan ahead for a new year with new exciting memories and adventures to come.
Thank you for reading.