Thursday, July 31, 2014

July gifts: ranch rodeos and county fair

Now that I finally have some space from March and April and May - those months were filled with loss (though also filled with many blessings), I'm catching up with my 1000 gifts list. These gifts are from July.

854.  Horses for the twins
One of our neighbors with horses introduced to the lady who runs the equine program for the kids at  Cathedral Home for Children here in Laramie (it's an amazing program). With the loss of our old trusty horse Rebel in May, we no longer had a horse safe enough for the 7 year old twins to ride, but this lady had two lovely older horses (Chuck and Trina) that she said they could ride any time they wanted. Serious and Starlet fell in love with them immediately and did a great job riding them at their first show
Starlet barrel racing Trina at the Laramie Kids Horse Show
Serious riding Chuck at the Laramie Kids Horse Show
855. Personal "best times" for Blaze and Dreamer
Also at the Laramie Kids Horse Show, Blaze and Dreamer got their personal best times for the barrel race! Blaze got second place in her division (18.3 seconds) and Dreamer got fifth place in her division (23.4 seconds).

Blaze barrel racing Spring at Laramie Kids Horse Show
Dreamer barrel racing Tuffy at Laramie Kids Horse Show
856. Ranch rodeo fun and trail ride for our 15th anniversary
We had more barrel racing and pole bending fun at the 4th of July ranch rodeo at the beautiful Moen Ranch in norther Colorado. B. also got to do lots of team roping. The girls had so much fun taking the horses in and out of the streams and watering hole. At one point Spring laid down righ tin th ehole and Blaze had to hop off! It was right across from the roping arena and the announcer "announced" what her horse had just done to her and everyone had a big laugh over her muddy horse! After the roping we went for a trail
B. and his four beautiful girls at the Moen ranch
ride - this ranch is breathtakingly beautiful. Stopped and bought fireworks on the way back into town and set them off in the backyard, then went to see the city's big fireworks (the girls all sat on top of the van to watch). I was perfectly happy having a "family" anniversary and couldnt' have planned a better day.

857. my "big" hiking partners
One of our neighbors invited me to join their hiking group, and I have really enjoyed getting back into hiking (I used to hike all the time when I first moved to Wyoming... but have gotten out of the regular habit after having kids). We hiked the Headquarters and Turtle Rock trail, and one lady in particular is really good at pointing out things I probably would have missed on my own: like a bird's nest with a hatchling and two tiny eggs in a shrub right next to the trail, and a patch of wood violets (my favorite flower!!!) She also gave me a some of her patch of lavender from her garden to plant in my garden.

858. my "Little" hiking partners
After dropping Blaze and Dreamer off at Bible camp at the beautiful Table in the Wilderness camp in Centennial, I took the twins with me a little further up into the mountains to hike along the Little Laramie River (need to get my girls to love hiking like I do!) We had so much fun jumping from rock to rock, climbing over fallen trees, and scrambling alongside the stream.

859.  Favorite camp memories
Five days later went to pick up Blaze and Dreamer from camp and they were full of stories. Asked them what their favorite parts were: they said their skit teams. Their team each had to come up with a name (Blaze's team: the Wolves; Dreamer's team, the Praying Mantises) and they had to make up a song. Blaze's team made up a song about bacon and Dreamer's team made up one about body odor - hilarious! Blaze also said that five kids got saved; that they would get to go a peaceful, beautiful place someday. "What place is that?" I asked her. "Heaven!" she answered.

860.  Caught B. riding English!
Posted on Facebook: Caught B. violating three Cowboy rules... real cowboys do not wear shorts! Especially on horseback! Real Cowboys do not wear hightops (cowboy boots, duh!) and Real Cowboys certainly don't ride English... unless they're trying to help their daughter get her horse ready for county fair.  

861. Learning patience with horses
Seriously though, we've made some wonderful progress training the girls and their horses this summer. The girls are learning to be patient and kind with their horses (gets better results than impatience and jerking the reins!) Spring finally has her head down and relaxed at the canter (I thought we'd never get there!) and Dreamer's horse Tuffy has learned how to do a nice quiet trail pattern.

862. Saving a bundle of money on show outfits
All summer (even going back to spring) I've been hunting for show outfits on eBay for the girls... with no luck. The outfits are so expensive, I just can't justify spending over $50 on fancy shirts... and they can easily go over $500! But a couple weeks before fair I was at our local clothing consignment store, and asked about western outfits without really expecting to find anything. But they had a large selection and I  was able to get beautiful shirts for both Blaze and Dreamer - $18 for both of them! I even found them pants, fancy belts, and boots - for under $50 total!!! Blaze was able to wear her dad's cowboy hat and Dreamer used Stars' cowboy hat and I was ecstatic how it all turned out. (And after fair, an older girl gave Dreamer one of her show shirts that she'd outgrown; the same shirt brand new I had priced at $80!)

863.  Tuffy trained to kick a ball
After camp we got into full-time preparation for county fair horse events! The girls' favorite event is the ride to music, where they can pick their own music and costumes and design their own riding pattern. Dreamer picked her favorite song, "Where I Belong" by Building 429 and wore an angel costume and we worked on training her horse, Tuffy, to kick a big exercise ball around the arena for her pattern. So much fun! But I forgot to take pictures! (I heard a few exclamations of delight from the audience when he started kicking the ball).

864. Tiger stripes on her horse
Blaze did her ride-to-music program to Katy Perry's song "ROAR" and painted Spring with tiger stripes, which were all covered up by a sheet. She rode Spring around the arena with her sheet for the beginning part of the song, but when the "roar!" part started she ripped the sheet off - it was very dramatic!

865. Learning sportmanship at fair
I knew the tough competition at fair would try all of our attitudes (mine included) but I put a lot of prayer into our preparation, too. Blaze and Dreamer didn't place in most of the classes because of heavy competition, but they kept their spirits up and learned how to congratulate the other girls with good sportmanship. Blaze had never even practiced the Western Riding pattern but she'd been doing so much pole bending on Spring that she got almost all of the lead changes correct and placed a surprise 4th! She also got 4th place in the Trail class, another surprise! The biggest surprise was that Dreamer was the only rider in her junior division to complete all the trail obstacles, though she ended up being disqualified for opening the gate the wrong direction; if she'd opened it the correct direction, she would have won!) I was so proud of her because her trail obstacles were extremely complicated; the same level of difficulty as Blaze's intermediate level.  The very last events the girls competed in were barrel racing and pole bending. Blaze got a second in pole bending, qualifying for state fair, and then first place in the barrel race!

866. Dreamer's "cure for fear"
Dreamer made this awesome list of ways to fight fear that I just had to share!!!
1. love God and think of God's Word
2. Hug your mom and dad
3. think of good things that have happened in your life
4. read Psalm 23
5. say your happy word, Dreamer's is "sparkles"
6. sing a song

867. Daniel 12:3
"Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever."  Shared at OA with C. last night how I much I want to be brave to share my faith; how I am afraid of being ashamed when I get to heaven of not sharing about Jesus and the Word more, when they are the very most important thing to me.

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