Sunday, June 3, 2012

Spanky

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?




1 comment:

  1. Hey Follower!

    The Spinsters have moved! Come hang out with us at

    A Spinster’s Dating Encyclopedia

    http://aspinstersdatingencyclopedia.blogspot.com/

    See you there!
    Charlotte and Gertrude

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