Winter Series: January 30 Show

Right outside our front door, I'm pretty lucky. We both like running these fencelines.

The week before this show we hauled to an indoor, and I flagged Lady a few times. The first time, my timing felt off, and I left a little frustrated. Worried that my lack of flagging, or cow work, was really effecting my own timing, and thus, bringing her into the show pen was going to start causing issues for both of us. Then, on Friday, we had a really great flag work. My timing felt like it was getting better. She felt strong, ready to go show. I felt excited, ready to show her. I felt like my confidence had shown back up.

The morning of the show we hauled two of our three year olds, and one of my favourite show horses, Tuxedo, as well. I rode Tux in the morning, and watched some of the cutting on him, and felt like riding him had really calmed my bad show-nerves that have been my downfall. When I went to go get Lady from the trailer, I discovered she somehow had ripped one of her Back on Track boots off, and absolutely torn the thing to shreds. That sucked. Thanks mare. Anyone have an extra back right Back on Track wrap boot? haha

Back on my man Tux after a three month rest & relaxation break. <3

She's so fuzzy right now, I'm having a hard time figuring out how to warm her up. Too much and she's heaving, drenched in sweat and itchy, not enough and she get's out to the show pen and bounces around with me. So that was a little on my mind as well. I ran into a guy who had been at the arena with us the day before, and he told me, "If you work your horse as good as you did yesterday, you'll do great out there - believe in yourself!" I smiled weakly, and thought, "he's right, we can do this, we did it yesterday!"

Then, the first herd of my class ended and they announced I was first in the second herd, meaning I needed to get someone to settle my herd. I had thought I was in second place, so I wasn't prepared for that. I rushed to get my boss, who settled the herd, but that meant I watched him settle by myself, which, looking back on it, I should have just kept trotting her. It did nothing to quell my nerves.

Watching cows, thinking about my impending doom...

This time we changed Lady into different bridals for showing, and working. Her show bridle is now a solid cathedral with a short shank. Meaning it has more effect on her entire mouth than her previous ported solid long shank bit, but takes less time to communicate from my hands to her mouth. My boss says it means my timing needs to be better and accurate, but we both felt she was being more responsive. She did feel better showing in this bridle, and felt like she wasn't trying to root her nose out, and push through, like she had been the last two shows. I felt the bridle has her a little more soft, and in my hand, than she has been. So that was all good.

I also changed my spurs up, from a really dull cloverleaf short shank spur that I like to use when I ride babies especially, to a bit more of a sharper longer shank. The spurs were banging around a little bit, and I don't totally love them, so I may need to find something with a similar rowel, but more of a lifted shank. I get into a bad habit of tipping my toes downward and raising my heel up if my rowels aren't reaching up at my horses belly, and that's happening with these new spurs. I'm pretty obsessed with my old cloverleafs, but realistically, they are dull and aren't really meant for show-horses, I wish I had the money to buy the Kerry Kelley spurs that are cloverleafs but a little more like the ones I need, but alas i don't have the $700 right now. haha.

So, how did our third show go.... really not how I wanted it to go...

First Cow

My herd help in the corner told me to go after a black cow on my left hand side, you can see I drift over to that left side and because of this, I end up slightly out of position, but also change the flow of the cattle. Mistake. I should have pushed more for the centre and waited for that cow up at the top. My boss, who is in the front left position, told me he was yelling at me to take the grey cow to my right, but I never heard him. This is becoming a bit of a problem with the two of us, as he is really a mumbler, and a lot of the time, especially with my nerves going wild, I cannot hear him. So, that is something we both need to work on. He also didn't realize my corner help had told me to take that cow. He may choose to go in the corner next time, which I think i'd prefer.

Once I get that cow off from the herd, I actually like how that cow cut itself off, and this work was a lot better than I thought it was. However, and i'm really kicking myself about this, I completely tag off way too soon. I don't know why I have it in my head that I need to take the first opportunity to tag off the cow, but this was way too soon. Had I worked it a little longer, I could have gotten a lot more out of it.

Second Cow

I head into the herd and I think this cut was actually pretty nice. We seem to be working it pretty well, and then.. BOOM... she quits me. It was devastating. For those of you that don't know what I'm talking about, Lady and I were working the cow, and then suddenly, she just stops working the cow, and turns away from him. This is very, very, very bad. It's an automatic zero pretty much. Then you can see me grab her with my second hand, which maybe I shouldn't have done, but in that moment I was in such shock. She has NEVER offered to do that. My boss said that she turned her head and looked back towards the herd, so he thinks maybe I spurred her accidentally with my herd-side foot, or maybe there was a noise that made her think another cow came into her working area. Either way, we were both shocked that she did that.

Third Cow

Obviously you can see that i'm rattled, my body position is screaming it. In fact, my other corner guy told me to "call my body" as I walked into the herd, which I tried to do, but by that time, my mind was racing, and I couldn't have trusted my horse if I tried. Once again, I take WAY too much of the herd with me, similar to my third cut at the last show. She works this cow decently, especially with me putting her down out of position, but you can see she's waiting on her stops which I like. Then it's over, and we walk away with our score of a 60, aka another fricken zero.

Score card for my class, whole lot of minuses in that "Mates Special Lady" line, ugh.

Watching this back, the first and third cow really weren't as bad as I thought they were. I made some mistakes again, and my nerves definitely, once again, took me out of the game. My boss thinks that a lot of whats going on with me and Lady is nerve related. Especially in the herd, I kind of start see-sawing my reins around trying to get a cut, because I'm so nervous about cutting "air" (getting out there and not having a cow in front of me) that i'm really not letting her just work through the herd. I don't have a lot of experience "cutting for shape" (allowing the herd to flow in front of you, and cutting what stays at the top), and that's another insecurity of mine. I would prefer to go out there and hunt for a certain cow, but I know that's not always possible for my level of ability, or my horse, or the herd situation.

As for her quitting me... i'm really trying to get over that.. because mentally, I just can't afford to let this become a "thing" for me. I NEED to just go out there and trust my horse, and trust this was a one time thing. My Boss is going to work Lady for me tomorrow, and let me know what he feels, and we'll go from there. I watched the video back with my boss and he talked me through a lot of what was good/what I shouldn't have done. He really wasn't allowing me to feel sorry for myself, even though, I desperately wanted to feel sorry for myself.

There's always another show, and I just need to remind myself that most of the people out there are working cows regularly, flagging regularly, and that i'm an anomaly, and my horse is really trying her heart out, even though she hasn't seen cows, except in a show situation, since November. She's trying her best to get through a run with a beginner a top of her, especially after essentially being retired for three years, and I just need to find my confidence and get it together for her.

Lady in the setting sun, my pretty girl.


  1. It does sound like you're letting your nerves get the best of you. I recognize it, because I do it all the time!Try to clear your mind and relax when you're cutting one out. Easier said than done, I know:)

    1. haha, one of these days I'll get it - thank you!

  2. Nerves suck, and they are beyond hard to get over. When I was having a lot of trouble jumping last summer I found I was more afraid of being afraid than I actually was afraid of jumping. Still good for you to get out there and get some show experience! I'd LOVE to come watch you sometime! Keep at it!

    1. Love that Mallory, "I was more afraid of being afraid", I feel like that's true for me for sure, and also true in so many aspects of life - horse or not! Thanks, love for you to come watch, it's such an awesome sport!

  3. Don't be so hard on yourself. The next show will be better- but don't forget to breathe!

    1. The trainer I learnt so much from in Arizona used to always tell us to "let your air out" before a run, I try to always relax, let my air out and breathe... but it doesn't always seemingly go to plan.

  4. I am terrible about taking the top cow but having guy in the back really helps a lot, well he knows my horse but he also just talks and tells exactly what I need to hear. Doug always goes in the back corner then he talks me through the whole run, I like him there cause he will talk to me when I am between cows.
    I felt so bad for you when your horse quit, that's such a tough thing. And the trust its really hard to get back but again more practice. Nerves are my hardest thing too, I was told a year of consistand showing and I should be confident to just walk in and cut any cow I want.

    1. She has never, ever offered to quit before, she's just not that type of horse. She's way too cowy, if anything, I'm surprised she tags off of cows haha We both think I either spurred her with my herd side leg, or she heard something and thought another cow was in the working area. The way she quit didn't seem like a "quit". So, here's hoping. I'm just going to keep thinking it was a one time crazy occurrence but in the meantime, George has been riding her, and we're going to go work cows this week, and I think that will help us both! :)

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