Cookin’ for Cowgirl Camp Part I
Me & Bubba had a fun weekend. I was designated cook for the Mid-States Ranch Horse Association’s Cowgirl Camp. We spent all day Saturday and part of Sunday at Kelli’s place, just playing. When I wasn’t busy cooking, I was able to saddle up and join the fun.
We actually spent some time playing (are you sitting down?) POLO. Yes, most of us in western saddles, without helmets. Also, we were using modified equipment. One of the cowgirls brought four oars (the kind you’d buy to use with an inflatable boat) and a beachball sized soccer ball. And we batted that thing around, once the horses got used to the sight of the big ball rolling all over the place and the WHUMP! sound the paddle made when it was hit, we all did pretty well. I gained new respect for honest-to-goodness polo players and their ponies. I’ve watched a little of it on TV and often admired the control they must have over their mounts and their ability to “turn on a dime” and adjust their speed with the touch of a heel. And how DO they manage to see that tiny little puck, let alone swing and hit it, going full speed ahead? Lots of practice, I suppose. I also found out that there is an actual Polo Club or League of some kind in Omaha.
One of the fun things to do at Kelli’s place is practice on obstacles. The place she lives is home to an old rodeo arena and she and her partner, Mark Lyon, fill it obstacles and the trick is to get your horse to approach and cross each obstacle without balking. This can take awhile with some horses (like mine). Some of the things they put out are tarps on the ground; a wooden bridge; a long plank on a fulcrum (like a seesaw); and water puddles and muddy, boggy places. The thing the horses find the scariest of all is an old bed mattress. They absolutely hate stepping onto that thing and feel it give under their feet. Most of them back off in a big hurry. If you could have a discussion with your horse about this mattress, the conversation might go something like this:
You: “Let’s just walk across this mattress.”
Horse, after stepping on it: “Did you see that! It tried to swallow my foot! We gotta get away from this thing!”
You: “No it didn’t, you just pressed it down. Try again.”
Horse: “No way! This is quicksand; my mom told me about this stuff. Let’s go do the bridge again.”
You: “Stop crowhopping! You don’t have to be scared. In all the years we’ve known each other, have I ever taken you into anything that would get us hurt?”
Horse: “No, I guess not.”
You: “So why would I start now? Just move in a little closer.”
Horse: “Okay, but I don’t like this. What does it smell like?” Leaning down for a long whiff. “It doesn’t smell like sand.” Backs away again.
You: “It isn’t quicksand. Would I lie to you?”
Horse: “I don’t know. How would I know if you did?”
You: “Don’t make me get the spurs!”
Horse: “Alright alright already. What’s your hurry?”
And finally, after several false starts, we walk across.
By the end of the day, we were all crossing it successfully.