Monday, June 25, 2012

"If your friends jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?"

 You know  how your mom always asks, "If your friends  jumped off a cliff, would you do it too?" Guess I'm more of a team player than I thought, I totally went cliff jumping on Saturday and loved it.   Me and a group of friends went to Porcupine Reservoir where we swam across to the other side so that we could jump off the cliffs.  

I'm not going to lie, the first jump was so difficult. I was about 15 feet above the water and because of adrenalin or nerves (not sure which) I started shaking. Before I graduated high school, it was nothing for me to repel down 150 foot rock faces, but for some odd reason jumping at 15 feet was way more scary than anything I've ever done.  I sat down on the ledge and watched my friends as they jumped into the water. Then I jumped. It wasn't high enough that you had time to think, but it was fun and the water was the perfect temperature!!! 

The cliffs that we were jumping at didn't stop at 15 feet above the water. My last jump of the day was perhaps the highest that I ever want to jump from. We think it was between 50-60 feet above the water. If that doesn't make your heart stop, I'm not sure what will. Colin looked over at me and asked if we should jump together. I asked which way he was jumping and jumped the other direction on the count of three. When you are 60 feet above the water, you have a lot of time to think before you actually hit the water. Some of the thoughts that ran through my head included: "This is a long ways down." "Where is the water?" "I sure hope I don't hit Colin." "I wonder if I should have thought about this more." And then, I hit the water.  Colin and I started swimming back to the shore and at that point I realized that even though it was more terrifying than just about anything else, it was also a lot of fun! 

Adrenalin junky? Maybe? Crazy? Yeah probably, but you only live once, right?  It was a lot of fun just to hang out with my friends. Some of them were terrified and others were fearless, but all of them didn't come just to watch. They came to participate and they all did. It was a really good time and I'm definitely feeling it today. A little soreness in my shoulders and a couple of bruises on my legs equals a really good time on Saturday.  Worth it? Yeah!


Monday, June 18, 2012




1. characterized by or showing inability to remain at rest: a restless mood.
2. unquiet or uneasy, as a person, the mind, or the heart.
3. never at rest; perpetually agitated or in motion: the restless sea.
4.without rest; without restful sleep: a restless night.
5.unceasingly active; averse to quiet or inaction, as persons: a restless crowd. 
Found here
It wasn't until I went home this weekend that I realized how restless I had become.  I didn't have time to go home. I worked all week and had a presentation on Saturday, but after my presentation, I just wanted to go home. So I made a 3.5 hour drive for a 27 hour vacation. And it was glorious!

I love Logan. It is beautiful, but it is not home. Sometimes it takes a long time before I feel that pull, other times it doesn't take very long and sometimes I don't even realize that I am restless to see my home town before I pull into my yard and exhale a large sigh. This weekend was amazing. I got home and started talking to my dad. He asked if I wanted to go check the cows on the Churchill pasture. Yep, sure did. We drove out to Deseret so that we could pick up Spanky. (Yay, Spanky!) It made me so happy to go up to him and have him stick his head right into the bridle. 
We drove over and checked the cows. I can't describe the feeling of sitting in the saddle. It feels like it has been years when it was probably only a month ago. As I settled into the saddle, I started smiling again. The restlessness faded and suddenly my world was right again. We spent a little over an hour checking the cows. Then dad asked if we could ride to the end of the pasture and see what was going on down there. Dad kicked Jake up to a lope and Spanky and I were right there beside him. Without even trying, he lengthened his stride and passed Jake. It was in the middle of our run that I looked up to the blue sky and realized how blessed I actually am. My world was back in order, I had the opportunity to ride a horse that I had worked with for seven years and even though there is a lot of stress and sometimes confusion in my life, I know that everything will work out. It was just a reminder to me that our Heavenly Father knows each of us and he loves us so much.  My escape for that day was to lope across a pasture on a horse and look up at a blue sky. Small things that helped me realize the blessings I have in my life. And, I'm not restless anymore. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Happy Anniversary!

My parents anniversary was on June 8th! (I've been a little busy, so I didn't get this done as quickly as I wanted to.)  They have been married for 22 crazy, exciting and sometimes frustrating years! They were married in the Manti Temple and have helped me understand how important it is to be sealed in the temple. I love my parents and I am so grateful for the testimony that they have shared with me over the years. I'm so grateful to be part of their family!
To find out more about temples and families being sealed together forever, go to this website.

Sunday, June 3, 2012


My Favorite picture of Me and Spanky!
Clancy, Ginger, Chloe, Arizona, Texas, Dusty and Spanky. No, I'm not talking about spices or states. I'm talking about my horses. I've rode them all and loved them all. I fulfilled every little girls dream and never lacked for horse flesh, but I want to tell you about Spanky.

Seven years ago, give or take a couple of months, Spanky came into my family's life. It all started with an auction. My Grandpa was at the auction. He knew we didn't need anymore horses on the place. He knew we have way to many horses to ride anyway, but he saw something in Spanky. Spanky was only about 2 1/2 at the time. He was really young, but he had good confirmation and a kind eye. Unlike most of our other horses, he is also a paint. A gorgeous red and white paint and so Grandpa bought him. He brought him home and added him to the collection of Mutts. (None of our horses are purebreds and most the time we've picked them up from an auction.)

Grandpa got home and told Dad about this colt. Dad is the person we go to when  a horse needs to be trained. Spanky was halter-broke and fairly gentle, but he had not had any formal training. Dad took a look at Spanky and liked him. When Dad bought Spanky, he was already working with a colt and didn't have time to start training another one. A couple of weeks later, Dad crushed his leg and was laid up for the next four months which is how I became involved.

Our first year! I was 14 and Spanky was just barely 3
The Royalty- Last year I did it!
I had always wanted to train a colt, but when you've got someone that does an excellent job, it is hard to take that spot. I started working with Spanky over Christmas Break. My dad was laid up, but we have good friends that were willing to help me get him started. My Uncle Jesse and his really good friend, Casey Shields, helped me do all of the ground work and get me in the saddle. Dad would hobble out on his crutches and coach from the sidelines. For three days, I sat in the saddle and would only have a rope placed under Spanky's neck to hold on to. It was during the groundwork that I named him. His personality came across so loud and clear. Spanky is short and stocky and a little bit fat, even when we first got him. As I worked with him, he acted just like Spanky off of the Little Rascals. Spanky is pretty unassuming, people don't think he is much of a horse until they ride him, but he is loyal to the end and is as solid as they come.

After the initial groundwork, just came the riding and setting solid skills. Spanky came to it easily. We own a ranch and so he learned early on how to work with cows and be in the mountains.  We rode all of that Spring and then I had my neighbor ask me a question. In Delta we have a PRCA rodeo. It is the Days of the Old West Rodeo. Laurie came to me and asked me to participate in the rodeo royalty competition. I told her no. There is no way I was going to compete, my horse was green-broke and I didn't want to be in a rodeo royalty. She wore me down and Spanky and I started practicing. We practiced lead changes and stops. I had a friend come teach me how to teach my horse to do spins and we ran for it.

Meagan and I- my last year of Rodeo Royalties
The day of the rodeo royalty competition came. We had practiced hard. For those of you that don't know, you are graded several different ways in rodeo royalty competition. It starts with an interview with the judges. I was asked questions about rodeo, horses, and my beliefs. I aced my interview and presented myself well, but was so nervous. The next step is the reining pattern. You and the horse are critiqued. Lead changes, speed changes, stops, spins, accuracy of the pattern, tack, your ability to communicate with the horse, everything is critiqued. After the pattern is done, the next step is where you take a lap around the arena. I love to go fast and so for me and Spanky, we go full tilt and you smile and wave!  And then you wait until everyone in the competition has done this. I can't describe how amazing it was to ride that first year. I was so nervous when I was talking to the judges. Then I cinched my saddle and stepped into the stirrup and on top of Spanky. For me, there was always a feeling of intense relief when I was in the saddle. I was comfortable once again. That first year there were 12 girls competing. I was one of the youngest girls there. The other girls had professionally trained horses, seasoned riders and the outcome looked much better for them than it did for me.

Pretty much the most amazing horse ever!
Spanky was green-broke, I had done the majority of the work on him and we were very young. The last girl competed and then the judges collaborated. We lined up in the center of the arena and they called the 2nd Attendant. They said my name. My name and Spanky, we were the 2nd Attendants for the Days of the Old West Rodeo in 2006. Everyone was shocked including me. And that started it. The next year I was 2nd Attendant for the Hinckley Rodeo, the year after that 1st Attendant for Hinckley and after I graduated from High School I competed one more time and was once again 1st Attendant for Hinckley. As a rodeo royalty, we did service projects, we rode through parades and made presentation rides at rodeos throughout our county. Then when we were at our rodeo, we did everything. We rounded up calves, drew names for mutton bustin', handed out shirts and candy to the little kids when they got bucked off and we represented our rodeo.

During this time, I was also riding with the Utah State Western Riding Club Association. We were people loving horses competing in amateur rodeo. We did crazy things like the potato race, keyhole, and pony express. One of my favorite events was the pony express. 5 horses, 5 riders, one saddle, no blankets. One person went at a time. You saddle the horse, jump on and ride to the end of the arena and around a barrel, come back and unsaddle then the next person goes. Believe me everything that can go wrong in that race will. The team with the fastest time won.  Other events that I did included flat races. Me and my dad, Uncles, brother, and Grandpa competed in the mile relay race. The idea of the game-beat the other team, pass the baton and don't you dare drop the baton! Oh and by the way, each team member runs 1/4 mile. Every event had points associated with it. I was 3rd High Point Woman in the State of Utah my sophomore year.

The horse that everyone loves!
Spanky became a great cow horse. We competed in team penning and cow cutting competitions and Spanky was solid. He always scored extremely high. My dad also started a new hobby. One of our friends has a son that was riding bulls in high school. So Ralph started buying and bucking out bulls. Dad and I became pick-up men. We rounded the bulls up and saved the cowboys! Dad would take my horse out every now and then and he would practice his roping.

A couple of years into training Spanky became the horse we went to whenever we had a new or inexperienced rider. I can't even tell you how many kids, grandparents and friends of the family have been on my horse.  Throughout the entire training process, my horse was introduced to many new and exciting situations. At the very beginning I introduced him to cows, dogs, goats, sheep, mountains, trails, creeks, rodeo, parades, slickers, hats, ropes, and scary plastic sacks.  My horse has seen a little bit of everything at this point.

Last summer, I took him to Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort where I worked as a Wrangler. We led trail rides and participated in "rodeos". I also started taking kids in the saddle with me. Things that I had done before, but that I got really good at down at the ranch.

Now, I know that this is a novel and maybe I will have to split it up a little bit.  The reason I wrote about Spanky is because I am selling him on Monday. I have had a gentleman approach me about 4-5 times since the beginning of the year asking if I will sell Spanky. I have told this man, a good friend of my family, no several times. I never thought I would get to the point that I would sell Spanky.  He is seven years of my life. Seven years of trail rides and rounding up cattle in snow storms and being in rodeo royalties and winning the relay race at State competition. He is seven years of dedicated hard work, seven years of teaching new skills and strengthening others. However, sometimes we have to make sacrifices. I have made it three years with no debt at college. NO student loans or credit cards, but everything I had saved before I came to college is gone. That is why I'm selling my horse. I'm selling him so that I can be able to keep going to school for at least another year.  At the same time, I'm letting go of that last little piece of me. That piece that I was when I was in high school. And don't worry, Monday will come and I will go to work and pretend that I am okay. I will be okay too. It will be hard to go home and not see him in the corral or ever ride him again, but if there is anything that I have learned in my life, it is that it all works out. Regardless of what it feels like right now. And that is my tribute to Spanky. He will always be my favorite horse. 
She never caught us! 
Did you notice that I'm not using a stirrup?