Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Cure

Rex can hardly stand my big, bay, barrel horse, Roy.  
Rex - and I quote - says my horse "is a puss" and that "we've injected more penicillin into that nag than into any other horse on the place!"

I'll have to admit, Roy is accident prone. However, the good ones always are and I think Roy is so smart and talented!

For example, in mid April when the grass was growing like gang busters, I started to acclimate Roy to being turned out on pasture by letting him graze for two or three hours a day for three or four days. When I felt he was going to handle the Yellow Hop (a high protein forage much like grain) and not get sick, I turned him out full time. What I didn't plan for was Roy pushing his way into our shop during the night, getting into a five gallon bucket of 14% (protein) steer pellets, then exiting and spending the rest of the night feasting on Yellow Hop!

When I went out at around 7:00 am the next morning, Roy was standing in one spot with his head down and didn't even seem to care when I grabbed his bucket. This normally bring him trotting over, jabbering up a storm. But he just stood, and never looked up. I walked over with a halter and slipped it over his head. He wouldn't follow. In fact, he acted like he wanted to lay down and felt hot.

I led him round and round. Meanwhile, Rex went looking to see if he could figure out what "my nag got into" and discovered the open panel going into the shop and the empty bucket.

"Looks like the stupid son-of-a-bitch has made himself sick!" Rex yelled from the shop door. I knew Roy had done it to himself, but that didn't make him dumb, that just made him a pig!

I administered Banamine for pain and a little Dexamethazone to keep inflammation and stress to a minimum, as it appeared Roy was trying to "tie up", or twist a gut. And we walked and walked and walked. Trick is to keep a horse moving when they are in a jam like that, and not let it lay down and roll because that can result in a twisted gut, and death.

Walking and movement also helps to "move things along" internally, with end goal being a healthy bowel movement. When that is achieved, one can assume the horse is going to recover. But Roy wasn't co-operating.

Nearly three hours had passed and nothing. But my barrel horse really wanted to lay, so I kept walking. Cell phones are grand - I called a friend, a fellow horse lover and owner of her own barrel horse, and asked her advice. Now she and I have traveled to a few rodeos together, and she knows Roy and his habits quite well.

"Thing is, Eileen, you have to outsmart Roy!", stated my friend. "Hell! Roy always takes a poop in my clean trailer when we load him up!"

She was right! Could that work? It was worth a try. Even though our trailer wasn't hooked, I marched Roy right over there. "Wanna go barrel race?", I asked Roy - just to make it seem more real to him. He loaded right up and I tied him in his usual spot. He stood, head cranked around at me as I stood at the trailer door. Figuring he needed some privacy, I closed the door and snuck around the side where I could peek through a slat and keep an eye on any progress. He knew where I was and stared blankly at the slat where my beady eyes were peering through at him. Nothing.

"He's a smart horse. He knows the trailer's not hooked up!", I reasoned to myself. So, I backed the pickup to the trailer and hitched it up, leaving the truck running. I walked around the end of the trailer and stood up on the wheel well, looking over the top of Roy and asked, "Are you ready to go to the barrel race?"

Roy seemed to get excited, lifting his head so that he could peer out the top slat. He started to sway back and forth, and nickered. He slowly lifted his tail, and I could hear him strain. And then, voila! Success!

I texted this photo to my friend with the message, "You're a genius!"

So I think this needs to be published in some medical magazine. I'm sure this "Cure" for colic would be of interest to the veterinary world! ;)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Good Times, Good Times!

I'll never, ever forget when Michelle West asked if I wanted to go on a rodeo run with her and offered to take my mare with us so she could get some miles and exposure. I took her up on it right away! 

First stop was Lufkin, TX - where Michelle of course placed. We camped over night. Although we were in a real nice living quarters trailer, out of habit - early in the morning, I went out and fed and headed out to the nearest hydrant. Michelle hollered out the screen, "Where ya goin'?" To which I replied, "Going to go wash my face and clean up." Michelle laughed, "Well hell, Eileen we have hot water! I am not going to rough it like THAT! I ain't Rex!" 

Then, we went on to Corpus Christi. When we got down close to the city, the air smelled good, and you just knew you were close to the ocean! We ooo'd and awe'd at everything! Michelle drove the trailer like a pro and we got into real tight parking quarters and went over to the secretary's office. Michelle was a little nervous about not having much area to warm up in. Hell! Everything was under concrete! The fair was going on with a big, lit up ferris wheel, heavy traffic, etc. I didn't know what else to say except "Well, now even the ride down made him work a little!" and "You'll be able to trot around up by the arena!". Didn't help her out much - but we both saddled up and led Irish and my horse Nae Nae over a real busy 4-lane and started our back-and-forth walk on the little bits of grass along that 4-lane. Talk about a zoo! Cars full of teens hollering and laughing; families with all kinds of little ones walking back and forth with strollers, etc. The fair and carnival sounds and music were so loud you couldn't hear yourself think - but we kept walking. Then, time came to get closer to the arena. Michelle led the way. Real tight quarters up there - so I backed my mare up between the Dodge pickup and the wall so everyone else had room. All Michelle could do was get Irish into a trot. For those who don't know Michelle's horse, he is known for really getting revved up - and really prefers to have more room to warm up, etc. Anyhoo - long story short, we were both worried - but Irish really came through - and we left with Michelle in first place! She ended up winning! 

We went right out, loaded up, and headed for Guymon, OK. Michelle drove, using my directions, which took us up through the country on a 2-lane highway - which I prefer. Michelle cussed me - and called me ole' green ears! (She likes to stay on the freeway - yuck!) We stopped about 3 am in Mason, TX at their fairgrounds and ended up staying there for another night. There was an arena for me to work on my mare, we enjoyed just resting, and the weather was soooo nice! I brought my own food - hotdogs and buns - my favorite - and she just shook her head. Irish threw a shoe, and Michelle got on the phone to find a good shoer somewhere between Mason and Guymon.

When we headed out for Guymon, Michelle said over and over how she just knew this wasn't a good decision to go up there. However, I kept encouraging her; and we swung into Guymon in the middle of the night. We unloaded at some kind of feed lot or something, wind howling, sleet coming down. We went from beautiful, sunny 85 degree weather to 29 degree, blowing, raining, and sleet! When we got the horses situated, we went back to the trailer and into bed. We laid there, with the wind blowing the trailer back and forth - and busted up laughing! "I told you!", Michelle said while tears streamed down her face. "What a bunch of shit!" We didn't sleep much - just laughed at every thunder clap, every gust of wind!

Guymon wasn't too bad for Michelle - she found a shoer - Dan Etbauer. Not only did he get up at 5 am in horrible weather, but he fixed up Irish and put a new shoe on. Then wouldn't take any money, because, and I quote "You're rodeo family". So awesome! Irish ended up making some good runs - so Michelle was pretty happy.

Another trip that we took was to some little town in Louisiana. I'll never forget it cuz Michelle's bridle broke on the second barrel, and Irish finished the pattern and came out with the headstall dangling between his legs. They came barreling out, past me and on out through open gates (which I thought had been closed) and into the dark night and parking lot! Irish went 9-0 to the horse trailer. Michelle won 3rd! We decided we were in no hurry to go home and stayed to celebrate her winnings - and being alive! We sat in her lawn chairs outside the trailer, watching the horses and visiting and laughing. 

Now - in order for you to understand the rest of this story, I have to tell you about Rex's dog, Chip. Chip has always been a good brush and bull herding dog. These attributes, however, have been the cause of being kicked numerous times - resulting in missing teeth, one missing eye, and a broke jaw - which Rex and I set as good as we could for him. Chip is quite the sight! He loves to follow behind me wherever I go, whining and talking to me - with a silly grin on his face - exposing his gums. His face is a little crooked, and where his right eye should be, all puckered up.

So Michelle and I were celebrating a little - visiting outside the trailer in her lawn chairs. Michelle had developed a stye in her, yes, right eye - and was a little stoved up. The out-of-control run through the dark parking lot, narrowly missing a little tyke in a stroller, had also taken its toll on her. However, we had been telling re-ride stories and laughing til our cheeks hurt! When we decided to hit the hay, we got up and Michelle led the way into the trailer. She stopped at the top of the stairs suddenly, and turned to face me, with her eye all squinted and a silly grin on her face. Between giggles, she asked, "Guess who I am?" I looked at her weird I guess, cuz she repeated herself, "Guess who I am?" "Who?", I finally asked.  "I'm Chip! I'm Chip!" We laughed our asses off! Yep! Michelle did resemble Chip - in the moonlight, while under the influence!

Good times, good times! :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Re-Ride Home Decor

Here is a project that I have been working on for friends Add and Lori Waddell. They just moved into their new home, and Lori wanted this skull finished for one of their rooms.

We went to Hobby Lobby, and picked up a few things:
We chose what looked like red and brown-tinged mother of pearl pieces; that is until I poured them out and started to place them on the skull. They really were more pink than red! I used E-6000 craft glue. With a clean surface to start with and a drop cloth under the project, I began to piece things together!
I used a cake pan to hold the pieces and isolated unusually shaped pieces around the area, separating rectangular shapes and triangles and bone-shaped pieces for special places. I followed the seams in the skull, and surrounded the eyes and nose first.
The sides were a little tough, and I propped the skull on its side to keep gravity on my side! I also covered any area that would be seen while the skull is hanging. Notice that I left the forehead clear and concentrated on filling up the sides and jawline first.
Then, I started to fill in the forehead.  Notice that I separated the very small pieces, and kept them in a pile, for filling in small spaces and cracks.
Here is a shot of the skull, nearly finished:

Here is a side-shot:
And....here is the skull hanging on the wall!
It's a little hard to tell, but the brown in the shell really matches the horns quite perfectly. I believe that this skull is where Femme Fatale and Western Chic collide! 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Re-Ride Home Decor

Hello Everyone! I would like to start a new tradition at Rodeo Re-Ride Stories: Re-Ride Home Decor. For those of us who love and live the western and rodeo way of life, we have memories and memorabilia that really needs to be displayed. My circle of rodeo friends have great ideas and are so creative! Just had to share this idea for a window valance from Michelle West, Southeastern Circuit Barrel Racing Champion and wife of World Bull Riding Champion Terry Don West.

Michelle and I have been talking about getting all the buckles, saddles, pictures, back numbers, etc for our guys and displaying them somewhere specific in our homes - rather than having these items scattered here, there and everywhere. It means a lot to see and remember accomplishments. I went over to the West home the other day to help Michelle move furniture around, in preparation for a trophy room. Terry Don was there - and we all wrestled with a very large armoire, dragging it out to make room for saddle stands. I knew then that Michelle had a vision for the room. When I left her, she was picking out drapes, and moving pictures, etc. into the room.

When I went back yesterday to see it, I just LOVED what she did with Terry Don's Resistol chaps. Resistol sponsored Terry Don in 2002, and Terry is pictured many a time in them. She said it happened quite by accident, but they look like they were made for the window!

She added a classic leather couch, pictures, saddles, and voila! A trophy room that can be enjoyed by the whole family!

Michelle is still working on the room - to make it just the way she wants it. Believe me, it will look awesome when she is finished! She has the best eye for decor, the Re-Ride way!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Bull Rider Meets Surfer

I'll never forget the first time I went to the Ventura Beach, CA PRCA rodeo with my husband. I thought it was possibly the most beautiful, picturesque place for such an event! The sound of the ocean, the nearby carnival complete with a ferris wheel, and the sounds of the announcer and the crowd made for a real exciting afternoon! I also got to see several TV mini-series stars - and I thought that was awesome!

I made sure to sit facing the ocean - so that I could see the water in the background. Afterwards, Rex and I took the kids for a walk on the beach.  Then, nearly a year later, we went to Palm Springs, CA to the California Circuit Finals. There seemed to be a lot of surfer types at the event, and we even got to visit a little with them afterwards. I thought hard about the differences between the life of a rodeo cowboy and the life of a surfer. However, the more I thought about it, the more similarities between the two occurred to me! Afterall, they both are athletes, both challenge themselves to ride something completely uncontrollable, and rodeo has buckle bunnies and surfers have beach tramps! (just kidding!) So -when I got home, I wrote this poem, in 1997.

Bull Rider Meets Surfer by Eileen Phillips

A bull rider ventured to our western shore,
In search of a rodeo that would offer him more;
He traveled to Palm Springs just west of L.A.;
To compete in new territory where the "pretty" ones play!

After the cowboy scored 80 on the bull that he rode,
He stripped down to his shorts and upon the beach strode.
Two miles down the beach he met up with a man,
Who walked like an athlete, and was really quite tan!

"Hello!" said the cowboy, sizing the other one up,
"Yo!" said the surfer, "So hey man, what's up?"
"I just rode a big one", the cowboy replied,
"My strength, it was tested; my abilities tried!"
"Whoa, that's real heavy!", the surfer exclaimed;
"I can really relate to that sort of fame!"

"Yeah, it was a twister", the cowboy remarked,
"Right on, Dude!" the surfer excitedly barked.
"It rolled to the left and blew me to the right;
I just knew it was gonna be one hellofa fight!
That's when it all happened", the cowboy said with a grin;
"It welled me, unleashing my monster within!"

"Cosmic!" the surfer gasped in complete awe;
"You are the master Dude, you are THE law!"

The cowboy had noticed this stranger spoke strange.
But who was he to judge? This wasn't his range!
"So how long you been ridin'?", the cowboy now asked.
"Man, forever!", said the surfer. "I don't dig up the past."
He continued, "When I'm riding, it's tubular! And that's all I care;
It's just me and the wave, Dude, and we make the pair!"

Now the cowboy was thinking, just up in his head,
"What the hell does he mean, and is English plumb dead?"

The cowboy now spoke:
"Now I'm not from around here, so you'll have to explain.
Cause I ain't no "Dude", and you're not sounding quite sane!
Just what do you do for a living down here?
Do you ride on a circuit? Wrangle cattle? Drink beer?
And where are the pastures, the barns and the horses?
Do you often tangle with the Almighty's strong forces?"

"You're righteous, Dude!", said the surfer completely undaunted,
And to passing girls he his muscles now flaunted.

The cowboy could see now that two worlds had collided;
And to exit without a big scene was decided!

He left that long shore on the ocean that day,
With an outlook on life that he uses today;
When he's in strange places, he sticks to his friends.
He doesn't ask questions, and to business he tends!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Rodeo Re-Ride Guest Mindy Hogan: How'd They Halter That Horse?!

Rodeo Re-Ride Guest, Mindy Hoggan, has graciously agreed to share another bucking stock story - from a girl's point-of-view! Gotta love it!

The last performance of the rodeo has came to a close. We are getting ready to trail the horses back out to their pasture. I head out to the hill to close the gates & open the gates to the pasture. There are about 4 gates that have to be closed so the horses don’t escape. All of which are high traffic areas for timeys getting to their trailers. By the time I get the 4th gate closed…the 1st one I started with usually has to be double checked again. This fun lil’ game is the reason I stand guard out on the hill…to ensure that the gates aren’t opened & horses turned loose.
I holler for the guys to send the horses. My gates are closed & the pasture is open. Standing in the dark up on the hill awaiting the horses. The bucking horses not used in that performance were already out in the pasture. They made their way up to the hill to greet me. That nights rodeo horses come loping out of the building & meet with their comrades. As I look thru the herd of horses I see a……horse with a halter on it. Ugg, some timey’s horse must have gotten loose and now was joined up with the bucking horses. I make my way into the middle of this sea of bucking horses. I get a hold of the lead rope but she isn’t wanting to lead very well. Satin Sheets ( a beautiful blue roan bucking horse), ran between us and was dragging me & all but running the lead rope under her tail. I turned loose of the lead rope not wanting to get kicked. The haltered horse was all riled up by  the other bucking horses, I’m sure. I slipped around to get ahold of the lead rope again; this time trying to get close enough to the fence so that I can take a wrap around a post to snub her up. Thank the good Lord above I couldn’t get her close enough! She drug me across the hill top again & I start YELLING for the guys at the door for help! "HELP…there is a horse with a halter on! (ugg…seriously…..I can’t even catch a stupid timeys horse)" A bull fighter & a CSI roughy make their way outside to help me. (thinking I’m crazy) No, there is actually a horse with a halter on it. The three of us can certainly get her cornered up & caught. The rest of the bucking horses are tired of being ran around & head out to pasture. I set out to turn her back. ……Nope….there is no bluff in this ol gal & she didn’t even bat an eye at me trying to stop her. SERIOUSLY! Ugg….so the guys & I head out around the bucking horses afoot & in the dark. We sort off a small set of horses to bring in with her. Well, sort her off & catch her. I’m on the gate & the bull fighter is sorting. Holy mackerel….! There are 3 of us & we still can’t get her cornered up!After try, after try, after try….I’m fed up! Let’s run her back in the building. I run down to the building, thru the side door & holler for the big door to be opened. The rest of the crew inside….now thinks I’m crazy also. Why? They ask. Just open it! I have a horse with a halter on. They open the door & we run in the haltered horse with 2 other bucking horse companions.
Low & Behold……..This black & white mare is packing a number 4 brand on her hip (our rodeo company brand) & a 100 number brand!HOLY CRAP!!!!! This is 100 MISS LIZ…..one of our bucking horses! We run her into the stripping chute to get the halter off. This mare was not even in the short go performance! How in the heck did they get the halter on this horse! If I was truly evil, I would make you wait to hear the rest of the story…like I did.
HOW did they get a halter on that horse?????! This question plagued me all night! It probably would have plagued me for years if it wasn’t for a random turn of events. David & I get to the rodeo grounds to load the rodeo stock & head home. Well, some nice girl had parked in front of the loading chute. Her pickup was locked & no one could find her. No problem, we had to gather, sort & do a few things before we loaded. The college team was there cleaning up & a some of the kids came out to help us gather the stock. One of the guys says….Oh, there might be a halter on one of the horses. I don’t even hesitate.....before following with a ….HOW DID YOU GET A HALTER ON THAT HORSE!!!!????
He proceeds to tell us that she had got stuck in the fence the afternoon before. She was pinned with a leg thru the fence. Her hips were pinned so she couldn’t really move. They put the halter on to help get her out but once they’d freed her…..They couldn’t get the halter back off! LOL…..wow, that would’ve plagued me for life if I wouldn’t have heard the rest of the story!
I would also like to thank the college girl that locked her keys in the truck. After we were sorted & ready to load….the truck’s owner still hadn’t surfaced. After about an hours time….a group of inexperienced criminals finally perfected our breaking in skills. The trucks wheels had been turned to the left so…we pushed the truck up hill & out of the way so the semi could back in. All a new experience for me, which I appreciated learning new skills. But most importantly, THANK YOU….because if that truck wouldn’t have been parked there….I might never have known how a halter got on that horse!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Rodeo Family Ties

Rodeo people often talk about their "Rodeo Family". I know that people on the outside probably do not really know what that means. What it means for me, is that there are people out there that are not part of my immediate family, but I can count on no matter what. Here is a story that demonstrates exactly what "Rodeo Family" is.

This last week, I took off from Henryetta, OK on a trip to Mineral Wells, TX. I was supposed to go down to help with the pilot program of the Champion In You ranch program, a combined effort of Chris Cox Horsemanship, Western Harvest Ministries, and Western Wishes. This program is being created to armor kids with the knowledge to intelligently face an increasingly anti-Christian, anti-American world. Because I am the Western Wishes Communication Director, I made the trip down; even though I had some doubts about my car.

The trip started much later than I had anticipated. Of course, there are always "extra" things to do. I had Western Wishes computer work and communication to finish up; I had to move our old mares; work out a calvey cow and bring her up to the corrals; pick up grain, mineral, and lick tubs from the feed store; feed and grain everything; and get cleaned up and packed! By the time I was ready to leave Henryetta - it was nearly 5 pm and Rex could not believe that I wasn't on the road yet! But I was thinking - only 4 or 5 hours - and everything was going to be alright.

I pulled into Gainesville, TX, about 100 miles from my destination, around 9:00 pm. I could not stand the smell of sulfurous fumes in the car any longer, and chose the parking lot of my favorite burger place - Whataburger - for some supper.

I opened the hood of the car to see what was going on. The battery was smoking; and battery acid all over the top. I gingerly unhooked the positive cable - and knew that the car wasn't going anywhere. "Oh well! I need to get a burger and think about this a little", I thought to myself. I called the Western Wishes staff to let them know I was going to stay in Gainesville for the night. There was an O'Reilly parts store within two blocks. I walked down and talked with the manager about the car. I learned that I was going to have to find a good shop. He gave me a couple of names and a list of things for them to check. I walked back to the car and called my husband, Rex. My phone was about dead - and without a good battery in the car, I could not charge it! I asked him if Shona and Ed Duffurena were still in Gainesville. He had our son Google them - and sure enough! They had a Gainesville address and phone number.

When we lived in Nevada and Rex was still rodeoing for a living, we saw Ed and Shona all the time - and consider them a part of our "Rodeo Family" but it had been 15 years since I had seen either one of them. I called the number listed on the internet. Shona answered. I told her my predicament. By now, it was nearly 10:30 at night - but Shona never hesitated. "We'll be right there!", she said. And, within 10 minutes, she and Ed pulled in. They took me to their beautiful home, fed me homemade chorizo, and gave me a hot shower and bed for the night. Then, the next morning, they took me to another one of my favorite places - STARBUCKS!!!

They found me a mechanic, and made sure the car would be fixed within the day.

Then, Shona drove me all over town trying to find me a new car charger for my phone - because when the battery went, it took my charger with it!  She took me back to their training facility, fed me lunch, and let me hang around with them all day - even though it was a very busy day for them with clients, feed deliveries, etc.

Ed and Shona Duffurena have really made a name for themselves in the elite world of cutting horses and have worked very hard at success. I remember when Ed was thinking of retiring from rodeo - and started training horses. Ed was a talented saddle bronc rider - and even more talented trainer - and that's where our trails branched out in different directions.

Left: Ed at the 1998 Dodge National Circuit Finals. Right: Ed won 3rd on "Auspicious Cat" at the AQHA World Show.

They have built a state-of-the-art training facility, have a barn full of well-bred horses, and a long list of happy clients.

I left Gainesville too late to participate in many of the Champion In You ranch program activities, but I did get to reconnect with some dear friends and "Rodeo Family" Ed and Shona Duffurena. I got to see first-hand what they have built from the ground up since I last saw them. I got to see their two fine children, Brandon and Rieta, who have grown into even finer adults. My car is fixed, my soul uplifted. Thank you "Rodeo Family"!!!

Duffurena Cutting Horses: http://dufurrenacuttinghorses.com/index.htm
Western Wishes Champion In You ranch program: http://www.westernwishes.org/ranchprogram.htm