WINTER WEATHER There’s an old saying that if you don’t like the weather just wait 10 minutes and it’ll change! That is particularly true in Texas where it can be 80° one day and 30° the next. So, it is important to be prepared, for yourself as a rider, and for your horse.
(Hannah Wright, Jean Moreau, Shelley Hilton, Jerilyn Stanka)
In the next few paragraphs, we will address cold weather and save hot weather tips for later.
Tip number one -layers, layers, layers! But be sure and try things on at home. Can you wear two layers with your boots, jeans, helmet, etc.? I remember arriving at an obstacle several years ago. Greg Dial eyed me up and down and I thought what is the matter? My horse is standing quietly, we are warmed up and ready. Greg looked me in the eye and said, “Are you wearing your pajamas?” I laughed and said with the extreme cold front I had put on everything I had, including my fuzzy pajamas! I now plan my layers a little more carefully and have a great snowsuit that I found at a thrift store.
Tip number two-wool. It is really hard to beat the warmth of a wool sweater or socks.
Jean Wilson & Greg Dial – Senior Judge – Feb 26, 2022
Tip number three-water repellent outerwear. Being cold is one thing, being wet is another, but being cold and wet is just downright miserable. Think especially of your head, core, hands, and feet. And I can tell you that hand warmers do not work if they get wet! After one really cold ride at Parrie Haynes, I took my favorite cold weather gloves to Home Depot and found oversized rubber gloves to go over them so that they would be waterproof. Consider adding toe warmers and hand warmers to your trailer. Don’t forget to have some instant hot chocolate, apple cider, tea, canned soup, or chili to help warm you up when you get back to your trailer. I also think it’s very important to lay out all your gear the night before, so you don’t forget something essential, like gloves!
Next, think about your horse. I don’t want to start the blanket or no blanket debate, but it does make a difference when your horse is tied to the trailer or in a pen and they cannot choose where they want to be or stand next to their buddy. So, I also have layers for my horse. And I have added a tarp so that I can make a windbreak around my pen if I need to. I have electrolytes to encourage my horse to drink and have packed a round orange cooler as a water tub because the insulation usually keeps it from freezing. You can also add some more warm water to their drinking water that will raise the temperature momentarily. Adding some water to your horse’s feed can also be helpful if they will eat it that way. Just remember that hot water freezes faster than cold water. You might consider moving your horse’s bridle into your living quarters or warming the bit with your hands or under your arm. Your trail buddy will appreciate your efforts and be more willing to be bridled. In addition, have everything set up for your horse for your return camp. If the water bucket and hay bag are already filled and waiting, and you return to camp cold and exhausted it will be much easier to take care of your horse. In fact, any advance preparations you can make ahead of time will make a huge difference during extreme weather. Maybe fill several hay bags at home, measure your feed and supplements into ziploc bags for each meal, and clean and oil your tack so that inclement weather will not bother it. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. You will be glad you did!
Salute the Troops was held at C-Bar Stables in Valley Mills on November 11th & 12th. Although the weather was a bit chilly, the rain held off during the ride. Stupendous soups were enjoyed on Friday night and again for lunch on Saturday. Charles Maley cooked his wonderful chicken fried steak with all the trimmings for Saturday night. Riders were given the option of going into the canyon, the obstacles and trail were fun and challenging, and we celebrated our freedom with flags everywhere and lots of red, white, and blue. We also supported our military with donations to the Explosive Ordinance Division. Kim Gehring and Jim Miller won the bid on the Veteran’s Box last year and presented it to Carol Warren, winning bidder this year.
Kim & Jim Miller with Carol Warren and the Veteran’s Box
All together $671 was raised to support our veterans. The General Meeting was held on Friday evening. The treasurer Tiffany Janke presented a brief report, club funds are somewhat depleted because of the purchase of mileage award conchos but, IRS regulations require a not-for-profit club to spend most of their funds in the same calendar year. The club accounts will soon be built back up with money from two rides, the Christmas fundraiser, sponsor donations, and renewal of memberships in January. Bill Phillips reported that the club has 217 members. Greg Dial reported that the Judges Forum will be held on Sunday, December 17th, at Parrie Haynes.
Wyatt Ranch Wanderer ride was rescheduled for December 9th & 10th. This time the weather was crisp and sunny, a little chilly in the mornings but perfect for December. Hot dogs and chili were served Friday night, and a taco bar was held Saturday night with leftovers for lunch on Sunday. Kelly Beard debuted as Senior Judge and created outstanding obstacles with an emphasis on holding your reins in one hand.
Priscilla Butcher and Salem
Riders also added Christmas decorations for their photo opportunity on Sunday. Thank you, Scott Butcher, for all the wonderful pictures! The Fall Clinic was held on Friday, December 8 and participants got to choose a couple of skills they wanted to focus on. Later, riders got to practice all the various skills several times with tips from judges at each obstacle. Skills included balance while trotting over poles and jumping, rope handling, drag, the Garrocha pole, mount and dismount, backing, turn on the fore and hind, transitions, side pass, stop, gates, and sending.
The Christmas Party and Fundraiser hosted by the Board of Directors was held at Parrie Haynes on December 16 and everyone had a fabulous time. The morning trail ride featured the first six days of Christmas according to Greg Dial assisted by Bill Phillips. Riders shot a toy bow and arrow at a Partridge in a Pear Tree, French hens laid eggs for riders to find, a turtle had to be thrust across the finish line using a garrocha pole, a relay race with a spoon and egg while weaving cones was a challenge, and riders had to toss bean bags into five golden rings.
Kim and Jim Miller participating in the egg relay.
Tiffany Janke and Rhonda Fryer made delicious Chicken Alfredo, salad with lots of goodies, warm herb bread, scrumptious homemade cheesecakes and Tiramisu for dinner. Mary Ann Brandon also helped with kitchen preparations. The tables were beautifully decorated with horseshoe Christmas trees painted and hung with ornaments handmade by Karen and DevIn Pantel. The trees were sold after the dinner to add to the funds raised. Linda Ellis won the Ugly Christmas Sweater contest, Santa visited, and presents were exchanged and sometimes stolen!
Alex McStay tossing bean bags into 5 golden rings.
JUDGES FORUM was held on Sunday, December 17 at Parrie Haynes. Various obstacles and scoring were discussed to make sure everyone is being judged fairly and consistently. A few considerations brought up at the round table discussion included deducting a point for artificial aids, such as a wand or flag. Items that a rider uses all of the time, ie. spurs or an English crop, would not receive a point deduction. There will also be a point deduction if a rider takes a foot out of their stirrup unless that is specified in the obstacle directions. Judges are also to instruct their volunteers so that instructions are read verbatim so that every rider receives the exact same instructions.
When tailing, a rider should not run their lead rope through the stirrup and should be careful to hold the horse’s tail about halfway down, avoiding the dock of the tail. The group then moved outside where several riders demonstrated tailing, forward lateral, and drag for more discussion.
HIGHLIGHTS BOD MEETING Here are some of the highlights from the November 13, 2023, Board of Directors meeting. The complete minutes will soon be added to the website. Bill Phillips, Interim President, Karen Pantel Ride Director, Greg Dial Judges Director, Tiffany Janke Treasurer, and Mary Ann Brandon newly elected Membership Director were in attendance via conference call. Mary Ann Brandon was asked to assume her duties immediately since Bill Phillips will be Interim President until a new President is elected. Board members were asked to provide suggestions for a new President. There was also discussion of how best to share the minutes with members, the Christmas Fundraiser, and Celebration. The rule book will be printed soon so that it can be handed out at Celebration, and it will include the trail etiquette form. Karen Pantel is going to revise the Ride Director’s Manual. Tiffany Janke will be meeting with Nancy Williams soon for the annual audit of the club’s finances.
Registering for a ride?
Here are a few suggestions if you are having trouble logging in to register for a ride. Please use a laptop or desktop computer instead of your phone. Also, Chrome seems to be the better browser. Be patient when a ride first opens as many people are logging in. Try going to the MY PROFILE button to log in. If you are still having trouble after multiple attempts, please contact the ride secretary via email. If the ride is full, be sure and email the ride secretary to be added to the waitlist in order. There are always cancellations so most people will be added to the ride…be sure and save the date of the ride on your calendar!
EAST TEXAS EQUIFEST – NEW LOCATION!
Join us May 4-5 at the Six RS Ranch in Oakwood Texas! A barefoot friendly, rolling 1500-acre ranch with a beautiful 100-acre lake! Pens available through lottery
Our trails will be no more than 8 1/2 miles, some hook ups available, and 12 pens. These will all be a lottery drawing. There will also be several bunking options. Bathhouse with shower. Friday afternoon we will offer a mini clinic! Saturday night meal will be potluck sides, with ride management providing hamburgers and hotdogs. See you there!
WORD FROM OUR NEW MEMBERSHIP DIRECTOR – MARY ANN BRANDON Hello fellow equestrians! I wanted to take a moment and thank each of you for your support on becoming your new membership director! I have some big shoes to fill, as Bill Phillips did an excellent job. I’m so looking forward to knowing each one of you and working together. This board is comprised of some incredible folks, and we have some exciting things planned for 2024.
THIS FROM JUDGES DIRECTOR GREG DIAL: Reminder the Youth Ride/Clinic is scheduled for 23 March at Parrie Haynes Ranch. Registration will be open to non-members. The 2024 Rider Clinic will follow the next day, and registration is already open.
BUCKLE SERIES – 2024
Smiley Ride: April 13-14
East Texas Equifest: May 4-5
Camp Reveille: June 1-2
Hog Wild: September 7-8
WWW: October 5-6
Salute to Troops: November 9-10
In order to qualify, you must ride 9 out of the 12 days.
ARE YOU READY TO CELEBRATE?
A very special Celebration will be held at The Farris Wheel (across from Parrie Haynes Equestrian Center) on Saturday, January 27, 2024. Awards for the 2023 ride season will be announced and presented, a silent auction will be held, and Fajitas will be served for a modest price of $15 for members and $20 for non-member guests. Members are encouraged to bring their own celebratory drinks or enjoy the tea and water that will be provided. In addition to year end placings, special horse awards will be announced, and thank you gifts will be presented to judges, ride managers, and sponsors. Be sure and make your reservation for the evening on the website and if you need a campsite check with Parrie Haynes.
The Celebration Silent Auction will focus on items pertaining to the Western Lifestyle. Items can be art, home decorations, tack, clothing etc. There will be 8 -10 items selected for the auction out of all items submitted. Items not chosen will be returned to the original owner or kept and used as future raffle items.
The deadline for all submissions is January 1st. You may send a picture of your item to Laura McLean via messenger or text to (254) 213-8019.
Hope y’all enjoyed this newsletter… deadline for submissions for the March-April Newsletter is February 1st .
****Mark your calendar for:
January 27th, 2024 Celebration
January 1st – Registration opens for:
The “Smiley Ride” at the Barnhart Q5 Ranch – April 13th-14th.
February 1st -Registration opens for:
East Texas Equifest at the Six RS Ranch – May 4th-5th .
Cactus Two Step at the San Angelo State Park – May 18th-19th.
***February 17th -18th
18th Annual Rocky Road at Parrie Haynes. Put together a team for the Saturday night LASAGNA competition and send Kate Hollar your team name and members. Or plan to bring a side or dessert.