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Never Stop Riding

How Do You Take Care of Yourself?

Each and everyday is a new challenge. Often times it’s easy to get wrapped up in taking care of others, but you can’t forget to take care of yourself. College is all about “adulting” and being independent; however, sometimes you need help. Recently I’ve had to be reminded that asking for help is okay. We aren’t in this journey of life alone for a reason. Sometimes you need to be reminded to most importantly take care of yourself.

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Today for Mental Health Awareness week, I attended an event with the words written across the board, “How Do You Take Care of Yourself?” Students got a chance to stop and reflect on how they are taking care of themselves through their college journey. It really made you stop and think for a second. You also realized you aren’t alone and that’s something I think people struggle with. It’s easy to forget you have others who are probably going through the same thing as you.

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People had a variety of different answers. Some students wrote their favorite type of alcohol, other sports, recreational activities, going to the gym, being outside. A couple of the more popular answers were, calling Mom or Dad or an animal. If you’re worried you aren’t going to be “cool” if you call your parents to make you feel better, you are wrong.  Just last night I called my Mom when I needed her to tell me everything was going to be okay.

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My contribution to the board was, horses. Horses have been my sanity, therapist, and reality check my entire life. I was that lucky little girl to be living my fairytale horse dream throughout my childhood, I had the perfect little Paint Mare with a heart of gold and more patience than I’ll ever have. A great support system filled with my family, friends, trainers, and fellow competitors. As I grew up and I gained more horses and challenges they still always kept my sanity even if it wasn’t as easy as before. Growing up my Dad always joked the horses took up my family’s whole life although it really wasn’t a joke, they did. However, I never got in trouble as a teenager, got good grades in high school and now college, I’ve never done any type of drug, so I’m pretty sure my Dad thanks the horses for all of that.

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No matter how you take care of yourself remember it is an important thing to do. Taking care of yourself will help you to be a better person everyday. You aren’t alone if you need to call your Mom at the end of a stressful day and go to every event the school offers that involves puppies. How do you take care of yourself?

 

Happy Friday!

The One

People say you get one good dog and one good horse in your lifetime. Now I’m not sure if I’ve had that one good horse yet, but I have no doubt in the world that I have my one good dog. Throughout the last fourteen years of my life I’ve had a lot of ups and downs, been through a few horses, lots of friends, losses and gains. The one constant I’ve had in my life is Cookie.

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If you know me, you know that since I knew what a horse was, I’ve been obsessed with them. Well for a period of time from second to fourth grade I was horseless, so needless to say Cookie became my fill in horse. She would load up in the trailer for hours on end and go on “rides,” let me wash her outside at the hose multiple times a week, be lunged featuring my genius method of putting a tennis ball on the end of a fishing pole, and at night would jump in “shows” I put on for the neighbors.

Cookie walked with my Mom to drop us off at school and then back again to pick us up at the end of the day. She always waited quietly and would start wagging her tail when she spotted my brother and I. She would run beside us when we rode our bikes. We were allowed to walk up to the school to play on the playground as young kids if we took Cookie with us.

As I grew older I never drifted apart from Cookie because she just grew up with me. Senior year in high school was a rollercoaster and Cookie was there throughout it all. She kept Tana company when she first came home and taught her to walk in a straight line. We went on numerous trail riders at Pilchuck Tree Farm. I’ve never had to worry about Cookie around the horses she just knew what to do. At barrel races she stands at the fence of the warm up arena with my Mom and watches me get ready to make my run. When I enter the arena you can guarantee to hear at least one bark from Cookie. Cookie is the first one ready to leave at 3 a.m. to head out and doesn’t mind if we don’t get home till 9 p.m.

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People always say, you have the happiest dog in the world. It’s true Cookie is the happiest dog, which has made her such a good traveling partner over the years. Cookie’s life hasn’t been the easiest in the world and her never ending happiness has helped through the bumps along the way. Two years ago while on a walk with my Mom and Dad, Cookie was attacked by another dog. The next day she underwent surgery and was incredibly blessed to be 100 percent following the attack. Then last fall she suffered nerve damage losing her ability to walk on her own, after many months of rest, we had a Christmas Miracle and she was able to walk again. One evening at the barn she stood up and walked down the lawn towards my Mom. Through both of these tragic events she never once lost her happiness and good spirit.

Freshman year of college I had to suddenly come home after being bucked off for the first time in ten years. Even though I was disappointed Cookie wasn’t in the car when my Mom pulled up, I knew she would be waiting at home. The week of recovery was long and emotional but having Cookie made it that much better. She laid on top of me while I laid on the couch for three days straight. I took her on short walks when my Mom would finally let me get up and I of course snuck her all the ice cream I was getting to eat.

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There’s nobody else I’d want to have by my side while I’m chasing this dream. I can’t thank my Mom enough for always letting me bring her, even when it’s probably not the wisest idea. Because who else would I be passed out with at 3:30 in the morning on the way to Wenatchee in the backseat of the pickup. But at the end of the day my Mom knows Cookie is my sanity. Plus, I know Cookie loves to go to the barrel races because chances are there’s a kid with a lunchbox and he or she is more than likely to share whatever is inside.

I’ll never be able to thank Cookie for everything she’s done for me the last two thirds of my life. For listening when nobody else would, being Tana’s best dog friend, comforting me when I needed it, those long drives at sunset that ended with whipped cream and bones from coffee stand girls, and for just being you. Other dogs will come in my lifetime, but nobody will ever be Cookie.

Making Choices

With everything in life you have to make a choice and horses are just another part of making choices. Which saddle pad to buy, do you enter that barrel race or this rodeo, are you going to be gone all weekend or pick one to attend, how many shoes are you going to put on your horse all summer? These are all choices we make daily, often times without even realizing it.

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Lisa Lockhart and Louie, my favorite celebrities 

Just like with anything the “celebrities” of barrel racing and rodeo affect what the everyday people are going to use. When Fallon Taylor came out with her helmet line everybody bought them and they started dying their pants wild colors just like Fallon. People are going to listen to NFR people who get to live the dream about the products they trust from tack to supplements to therapeutic products. I am one of those people that waits awhile to see if a product is all its cracked up to be before I try it. For example when Back on Track started becoming “the next big thing” I held off, watched if they worked, waited to see if the product lasted and then went out and bought them. I started out with just one pair of quick wraps, won another pair a few weeks later and in the last few months I’ve bought the mesh sheet, saddle pad liner, and hock boots. Needless to say, I LOVE Back on Track, and so does my filly. She was that spoiled two year- old who got to wear it and so now as a coming five year-old she absolutely loves it.

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Fallon Taylor’s Helmet Line

I’ve never felt the need to always be up with the trends but instead do what works best for me and my horse. People probably think I’m crazy for waiting to put my boots on until right before I run but it’s what works or scratching her neck right before we go in the arena. I’ve struggled a lot with loading Tana in the trailer (she got her stubborn side from me), but what works is opening both trailer doors so I do it.

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Tana being spoiled in all her Back on Track producs

Over the years I’ve also learned its not the most expensive thing that’s always the best either. For the last three years I’ve used a classic equine pad I got from my friend Kylee for $15. I tried to use a nicer one of my pads on Tana recently and she just didn’t like it, so back to the CE I went. Does she love the BOT Liner I put under it? Of course! Tana also likes to stand with someone instead of being left tied to the trailer or in her stall, so my Mom and I do our best to try and be with her at all times. As time goes on, you start to realize every horse is different and is going to have their own set of quirks. If they like something, do it, even if people laugh or question why you do what you do. At the end of the day, you know your horse the best.

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Back on Track Saddle Pad Liner

When it comes to entering for a weekend, do what you think is best. Don’t enter somewhere you don’t think your horse will like the pen or where you know you won’t make a good run. I’ve worked really hard the last few years to make all experiences good ones for Tana because of this she doesn’t freak out when a horse becomes loose at a games show in her heat, she will stand quietly at a trailer all night and doesn’t escape her pen, and she doesn’t shy at anything in the arena. I’ve also put her in a lot of situations that will gain her more experience.

At the end of the day even if the choice isn’t necessarily what I want to do, I make sure its the right choice for my horse because we wouldn’t be doing this if it wasn’t for them.

Happy Riding!

Life of a Games Show

As a barrel racer you get spoiled, show up at 7 a.m., pay your entry fees, warm up, time only your three year old, time only your seasoned horse, wait for the tractor guy to work the ground, the arena crew to set the pattern and then you make your run and head to the next barrel race. Unless you are putting on the barrel race, chances are you don’t have to set the pattern, find a tractor driver, write checks, keep track of times, clean the facility and follow up with your Facebook post filled with results.

Two summers ago my trainer, Linzie, got on a kick of hosting barrel racers. At first I was like, “oh, this will be fun!” By the end of the summer when I was writing the last checks of the series, and Linzie was giving out the awards, I thought to myself that race producers don’t receive enough credit. It takes a village to run a barrel race, Linzie and I wouldn’t have survived that summer without all the help we had along the way and especially my Mom who was constantly willing to do anything and everything. For anyone wanting to produce a barrel race, if you put one on, the people will come!

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It’s the Western Gaming clubs that make each and every person work and earn their end of series prizes in more than just your horse/ rider abilities. You have to rake every three heats of riders or run the in gate or records times, etc. Not only are you making five runs each of a different pattern, but on top of all it you are either judging one to two age groups or raking at least 5 age groups or running the in gate for at least two age groups. When the series is over and you’re at the awards series picking up your stable sheet, saddle pad, or hay bag, you’ve definitely earned that prize. It’s not usually until I go to a games show after a while off that I realize just how much work they are. Although I won’t complain about all the Fit Bit steps I get on those days!

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Your day consist of:

  • Warm Up
  • Run
  • Rake/ Judge/ Time etc.
  • Warm Up
  • Run
  • Rake/ Judge/ Time etc.

And repeat this at least five times, that doesn’t even count if you bring a training horse and have to warm up and ride that one through all the events. There’s a special place in my heart for those people who don’t have the obligation to rake for riders but go ahead and do so anyways. I know my horse appreciates it.

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Attending a few games shows each summer definitely puts my barrel racing life back into perspective. I enjoy all the socializing that comes with the raking, making five runs in a day, standing in a holding pen with all the girls you’ve grown up riding with and then camping in the summer with your horse and all your closest friends. The days are long and sometimes hot or cold, but they are good for a barrel racers head, a horse’s head, and will make you appreciate all the race producers and committee members who work hard at barrel racers to make the race a breeze.

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So at your next games show or barrel race, thank the producers, committee members and when they need a helping hand, lend one!

 

Safe travels!

Beauty on the Road

I’m the first one to admit that I love to look good because look good, feel good right? Sometimes being on the road three days a week doesn’t always make it easy to keep your beauty habits up to par. Over the years and many weeks filled with barrel racing, in many, many conditions I have tried to find the easiest ways to keep up my beauty habits and routine on the road.

If you are a barrel racer or really equestrian of any kind usually by Sunday my hair is usually 85% dry shampoo in a messy bun and my mascara is two days old.

Recently my essentials have expanded and for Christmas one of my gifts was a Baggallini which I realized was perfect for all of my products. On Black Friday I stocked up on all the “stocking stuffers” of my favorite items from facewash to eye shadow primer because they are the perfect size to take with me on the weekend. Ulta had my favorite Philosophy face wash and Urban Decay eyeshadow primer on sale both which I couldn’t resist missing out on. Having a set of all the travel size products I can’t go without is so much easier because you can leave them in the trailer, keep them all together, and spend less time packing and unpacking. Besides my makeup bag, I don’t ever leave home without makeup wipes, Batiste dry shampoo, and Tarte lights-camera-lashes 4 in 1 mascara.

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Weekends barrel racing usually means summertime sunshine. Just like any other girl I love that all the summer sunshine means getting some color in my skin, especially my face, and for me that means less makeup. I no longer feel the need to put on moisturizer, concealer, foundation, finishing powder, and blush. Instead it’s usually moisturizer, concealer, and finishing powder all put on in the drive thru of the coffee stand at 5 a.m. My favorite concealer is Bare Minerals, finishing powder by MAC, and my Neutrogena moisturizer. Other times I wake up 5 minutes early on day two to put a face on because by this time my feet hurt, I’m over tired, my hair is 85% dry shampoo, and this is the one part of me that can look good and feel good quickly.

I try my best to come prepared for every situation. Running water and power when you pull into a “campground” are luxuries. More often than not you’re parked in a field with only the water you have in your trailer, living out of cooler, thankful your trailer has a battery so you have an electric plug for your phone charger and lights at night. If you know me, you know I like to take good care of my skin! This being said no matter what every night I always make sure to take off my makeup even if I don’t get to wash my face and apply a moisturizer before bed.

Top Beauty Products on the Road (that won’t break the bank)

1. Batiste Dry Shampoo
http://www.ulta.com/dry-shampoo?productId=xlsImpprod2040049#
This is found at Target, Ulta, Walmart, but I buy it from Marshalls or TJ Maxx because it’s only $4.79 a can!
2. Neutrogena Oil- Free Acne Moisturizer
http://www.ulta.com/oil-free-acne-moisturizer?productId=xlsImpprod12041845
I’ve found the best deal at Ulta because hello more rewards points and you can use their weekly coupon on it.
3. Makeup wipes
http://tjmaxx.tjx.com/store/jump/product/women-beauty-makeup/3pk-Facial-Cleansing-Wipes/1000194356?colorId=NS1003538&pos=1:1&N=4099689032
I think the Marshalls or TJ Maxx ones for $2.99 – $3.99 are comparable to the Neutrogena ones for usually $8.00.
4. Tarte lights- camera- lashes 4 in 1 mascara
http://tartecosmetics.com/tarte-item-lights-camera-lashes-mascara
This is one product I will spend more money on ($21) however, sometimes Tarte.com has sales and you can get it for $10 a tube!

I could go on for days and days about skin care, makeup products, hair products, what I’ve found that works, what doesn’t, so if you have any questions feel free to contact me!

 

Stay looking good and feeling good, barrel racing beauties!

 

 

Food Along the Ride

No matter how long or short the haul may be there’s a good chance you’ll stop for food along the way. Sometimes its a mini mart inside of a sketchy gas station where you opt to use your trailer bathroom over theirs. Sometimes its a Subway inside a Love’s truck stop. If you are really lucky there will be a Taco Bell, Taco Time, Subway, McDonalds, and Denny’s to choose from, even on occasion there’s a Safeway with a deli inside of it. Breakfast burritos for the win!

Most importantly, barrel racers love coffee. The green straw. The non-fat milk. The iced brew. They love all of it. However, that is another topic for another blog. i90_220px

If there is a Taco Time at an exit along i90 through Washington or along the i5 corridor, more than likely I have stopped at it at least once, even when a normal person thinks the horse trailer won’t fit. What can I say? I love tacos!

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Most barrel racers have a favorite place they always eat at, no matter what. However, Im not one of those barrel racers. It all depends on what I am in the mood for. Except if I pull in somewhere I’ve never ate before, without a doubt Im going to choose Subway. It all depends on the time of year, time of day, what Im in the mood for, how my run(s) went, etc. In the most ideal conditions its a late summer afternoon,  I had pulled a check or two, my horse worked well, and it’s ideal driving conditions where Im probably not stuck in traffic. This has happened like three times ever but still, a girl can dream. If the entire trip is going perfect (or close to it) then there’s a Taco Time and I get to order my all time favorite Mexi Fries with two beef crunchy tacos.

In reality most trips don’t go as planned and there’s always a bump in the road (maybe even literally) but I have favorites from any food stop we make along the way. If I’ve had a bad run and still am getting my 20 minutes of being mad time, then all I want is Wendy’s fries and Frosty. A medium fry to a small chocolate frosty is the perfect ratio. Annually Wendy’s restaurants serve 300 million frosties to customers.

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From time to time its nearing midnight and you pull into a McDonalds inside a sketchy gas station because it’s the only “dining room” open and the three horse gooseneck doesn’t fit through a drive-thru. Thank you Jacklyn for being a trooper with me that night. In this particular situation without a doubt a large fry with sweet and sour, Oreo McFlurry, and McChicken is being ordered. Kuddos to McDonalds for always giving extra sweet and sour sauce.

Subway and Taco Bell are the two places I could eat over and over again without getting sick of, ever. Subway is also the perfect meal to pick up on the way to the barrel race and be able to leave in the cooler or the fridge all day and it will still be just as good, if not better, when you’ve made all your runs. Subway is always a footlong turkey on italian herbs and cheese with lettuce, cucumber, onion, green pepper, olives, mayo, mustard, salt and pepper. I’d have to say with everybody I’ve traveled with over the years, Subway is always a go to stop for most barrel racers.

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Safe and Happy Travels!

 

 

Life in the North as a Barrel Racer

Since December 1, 2016 eight barrel races I planned on attending have been cancelled because of weather. Not just snow but rain, ice, pass conditions, hazardous weather warnings, flood warning, and probably more. For all of us barrel racers who are stuck up north during the winter, this one has been more of an adventure than some. Not only have we been unable to barrel race but we haven’t been able to go westbound or east bound over Interstate 90 and most of us in Eastern WA on Wednesday, January 18th, enjoyed an “ice” day.

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Snoqualmie Pass has received 186 inches of snow this season

Weather Men weren’t kidding this year when they said La Nina would probably be a strong one. Strong La Nina years are promising to bring healthy mountain snow packs.

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i90 Summit

It’s been six weeks now that barrel racers have been battling the weather and around week two we finally quit the battle for awhile. Two barrel races have been cancelled in Moses Lake in December and January because of poor pass conditions, icy roads, frozen ground, and freezing temperatures. The race producer didn’t want to take any chances of a horse or rider being injured trying to get to her barrel race because the road conditions were poor.

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Washington Barrel Racing Association has cancelled six barrel races this winter.

The weeks of cold temperatures continued on and all the fortunate barrel racers began packing their trucks and trailers to head south for some of the winter. On December 26 most of the snow birds left the freezing temperatures behind and headed south. As the snow falls outside or in some cases the ice, barrel racers in the Northwest are sitting in front of their computers live streaming all the Classic Equine Futurity and Derby, Greg Olson Memorial Futurity and Derby, and Annual Pac West Barrel Race.

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As we sit at home and drool over the snow bird’s Facebook post enjoying the sunshine and warmer temperatures, we can’t help but be in awe. As most people in Eastern Washington, my horse is currently turned out for the time being as barrel races still continue to be cancelled and we just survived an ice storm here in Ellensburg. Sitting at home has left all of us barrel racers that much more eager to work hard and hopefully one year be able to head south to Arizona for the winter and “chase the dream.”

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First half of January whether in Ellensburg, Washington.

Over the last few days I’ve began to wonder what the outcome of this winter will bring. My filly who is turned out isn’t seasoned, she’s been entered in two barrel races and is supposed to have her futurity year beginning this spring. I’m feeling behind. I’m rethinking futurities and barrel races I want to enter. It’s not fair to enter an out of shape, “green” horse and expect greatness from her.

This winter has definitely been a winter to say the least as every barrel racer from the north has battled snow, rain, ice, sleet, and the occasional sunny day. When the snow melts, the days get longer, and our farmers go back to the fields, there will be plenty of barrel racing alleys to ride down and adventures to await.

 

 

http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2016/10/the-snow-outlook-for-this-winter-in.html

http://www.wsdot.com/traffic/passes/snowDepth/

http://hstrial-wpatton.homestead.com/races.html?_=1457559207255

http://www.southbuckeye.com/barrel-racing/

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