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This Woman Knows Her Business

April 27, 2010

After spending the better part of two months dreading the upcoming horse show season, it arrived kicking and screaming early Saturday morning.

It was preceded by an insanely expensive shopping spree at Cavender’s where every last penny of Daughter #3’s stock show money (plus plenty of mine) was surrendered to their cash register.

And at that moment….the moment when this kid of mine put on the clothes, I was on fire and ready to go. The dread was gone. The proud mama kicked in. This kid totally rocks when it comes to horses. I haven’t quite figured out where she got it, but she definitely got it.

And she rocks the look. Time to clean my shotgun. Boys, back away from the Rodeo Princess.

Ignore the messy room. We have priorities at our place, and keeping bedrooms spic and span doesn’t happen to be one of them. Looking like a million bucks in the show arena is much higher on the list of most important priorities.

And while my cell phone photography skills leave much to be desired, you will most likely get the picture as to her talents. This kid is absolutely fearless…..at least when it comes to horses. That doesn’t mean she isn’t careful. She just isn’t afraid. Of anything. Except failure. She hates failure. More on that in a minute. Oh, and hats. She’s not a fan of the hat requirement.

Dang, she looks good on a horse.

Readers, meet Shorty. Shorty…our readers. Shorty is a roping horse. Fourteen years he spent roping, working cattle, chasing down the little boogers, and taking care of his cowboy. Then he came to our barn. Never saw a show ring before he met Amber, but she needed his speed, and I needed his lack of insane price tag. The combination meant that someone had to teach him a thing or two, and it wasn’t going to be me. That pretty much left one person to take on the challenge–a then ten year old kid who’d only been riding about year. Did I mention, she’s still only eleven? Five feet eight inches of eleven year old determined to teach a horse named Shorty how this gig works.

And have mercy, has this kid taught Shorty a thing or two! She has taught him how to setup and stand for showmanship.

She and Shorty totally rock the grade gelding class. Of course Shorty was once registered. Some poor sap made his ex really mad and she burned the papers. As a result, we have a rockin’ grade gelding. At 15, he’s still impressing judges every time he enters the arena. That gorgeous tail and mane? My beauty shop skills. Conditioner by Aussie. You should be very impressed.

She taught him how to swerve around barrels and poles and stakes. (Those pics are just too blurry to even post.)

And she is desperately working to convince Shorty of the value of giving her the correct lead when loping in Western Pleasure and Horsemanship. He’s beginning to catch on, but it’s been slow and frustrating to get there.

This is the “Mom, why do you make me show him in Western Pleasure when you know we suck at it?” posture. What can I say? The kid HATES failure. Especially when she knows she’s doomed to lose before she ever enters the arena. I told her it isn’t about winning this event. It’s about showing her mama, her uncle, and the other local dads who know of this horse’s (lack of) previous experiences that while those other kids can ride the one with power steering and an automatic transmission and win, she’s capable of driving the standard with no power steering and making it all work in spite of a stiff clutch. Yes, the starts and stops and turns are a bit rough, but they get better everytime she takes him in that ring, because she’s got what it takes. No, she doesn’t get the ribbon, yet who’s the better driver?

“Mom, you’re weird.”

Ideals are nice, but losing still sucks.

Then, the speed events roll around late in the evening. Barrels, poles, and stakes. And now that she’s the oldest in her division instead of one of the “babies”, she’s proving herself to be a force with which to be reckoned. There must be some sort of adrenaline rush when riding a horse that fast. All I can think of is the pain rush. Not this kid. The faster, the better, except when going around something like a barrel, then we prefer to slow things down just a bit. It keeps her inside the arena rather than in the stands with the crowd as almost happened last year when she started sliding off and that “roping” horse just stopped dead in his tracks. That’s what roping horses do, you know…stop when the cowboy starts to jump off????? That was a valuable lesson in centrifugal force. Or centripital….or some kind of Newton thing.

And now she wants a youngster. She thinks she’s got what it takes to takes train a futurity horse. I think she does, too. Please click the Paypal button now to donate to our Feed Amber’s Horses fund.

I complained to her red-headed uncle (who I blame for starting us in this expensive hobby and who says his hair isn’t red) about how slow this kid is when I want her to hurry up and do something. He proceded to inform me that this annoying behavior of not getting wound up or in a hurry about anything is precisely what makes her so amazing with animals. I’m thinking it’s the same behavior that makes her avoid housework in favor of getting grit in her ears mowing six acres on a John Deere LA175 mower. Ride, Forest, Ride!

Plus, she wants to learn to work cattle on a ranch. Enough of this pretend junk at a kid horse show. She wants the real deal. Ridin’ and ropin’ and stuff. And did I mention that she’s brought up the “C” word? Yeah..cutting. Red-headed uncle says I don’t have the denero to fly with that crowd.

Anyone want to adopt her for the summer? You won’t be sorry.

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