Wednesday, June 10, 2015

My First 70

I'll never forget that ride...

My last year in 13 & Under
Showing two horses
And I had the hunger 

Never quite good enough
I've always fallen short
Of that coveted 70 score
No "Average" runs yet to report

First year with my new horse
And last year with my old
Mom and Dad convinced me
He had to be sold

He's always been my favorite
We'd raised him from a colt
Gorgeous blue roan and white 
Didn't wanna sell him, I tried to revolt

He was my first reining horse
I was just 10 years old
Dad let me hot walk him
After he'd been rode

Then I started showing
The year I turned 11
My first score in the pen
Was a decent 67

I remember the rush
Hearing old Kevin cheer for me
And dad coaching from the rail
What a sight it was to see

But now he's grown sour
Running off in the pen
Anticipating the next maneuver 
So I got a new horse then

But I just loved ol Blue
I forgave him for his sins
Though he drove me crazy
I couldn't give up on him

We've been through so much together
Now this is our last ride
The Central Affiliate Finals
Youth Team Tournament time

I walked Blue into center 
And began reining pattern 4
Three right circles fast and slow
Stop in center once more

I settled for a second
And Blue took a big sigh
And I knew right then 
This was gonna be our best ride

Four spins to the right
Then begin our circles left
Stop in center and spin again
He sighed again and took a rest

We picked up our right lead
And guided a perfect figure 8
He didn't take off through the middle
And in the changes he wasn't late

Then I straightened up to stop
And he didn't run away!
We built smooth into our slide
And the crowd was blown away

I rolled him back around
And went for another stop
It was better than the first one
We rolled back without a hop

One more stop to go
I had to nail this slide
I said "This one's for Eddie"
And ol Blue did just glide!

I backed him nice and smooth
And smiled so big at the end
Could this be the ride?
Did I break a 70 in this pen?

I leaned down and hugged him
My first reiner, my favorite one
And I heard the announcer say...
My score of seventy ONE

I was just elated...! 
And my new horse did well too
But I won the class on my old horse
This day, my heart belonged to Blue

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Windmill

Photo credit: 

The breeze whispers a melody
Passing through the tall grass
Accompanied by an eerie creak
The only voice I have left.

So here I stand, lonely but loyal
The empty sea of prairie
swaying in the breeze
As my rusty blades creak along.

I am still here.
Still performing my duty
Bringing lifeblood to the surface:
Cool clear water.

The cracked wooden trough overflows
As it has these long years
It is rotting out as time goes by
But it is the only friend I have left.

The cattle have long since gone
Sold years ago, and not by choice
It was so dry that year
And the family just couldn't get by

I was still new and sturdy
And the wind brought me to life
Swishing through me
My strong blades spinning fast

And hard as I worked there was no water to bring forth
The essential lifeblood needed for a family to survive
It was no ones fault
Just bad luck I guess.

They had to leave everything behind
All the hours of hard work and love
They put into this land, their home
Including me.

I remember the strong young man who built me
And his lovely wife who helped and encouraged him
They were so happy and proud, and with dreams in their eyes
When they gazed upon me, their finished work.

The man spent long hours crafting me,
Every plank and nail perfectly in place
He built me to last.
And I have lasted.

Then I remember the little boy
Who would sit at the trough and play
He would talk to me sometimes.
Those days were my most favorite.

I've outlasted that hopeful little family
Through the first few years that were good,
Then the last hard years of drought
And all the worry and the tears.

I remember the day they sold their cattle,
And all of their dreams with them.
Then had to move back east
And left me all alone...

Now decades have past
And I am still here.
Lord of the vast sea of prairie
Where I stand alone

Still turning
Bringing up the water
Overflowing the trough
But It makes no difference now.

Trying to make up for the dry years
When I could not bring the water,
But nothing can bring them back.
That hopeful little family that I so loved.

So here I stand, all broken down
Alone, steadfast, relentless I turn.
And turn. And keep turning.
Forever loyal, forever remembering.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

My American Dream

It’s the American Dream
Or so we’ve been told
Or more like programmed
“What do you want to be
when you grow up?”
We’re expected to know
Before we even hit high school

Go to college.
Land a career.
Get married.
Raise a family.
Save for retirement.
It’s like a lifelong to-do list
…That ends in death?

We’re always taught to plan ahead
To look to the next step
Where will you be in 5 years? 10 years?
A hard question you’re always expected to know

“You’d better know your major coming in,
So you can graduate on time”
“Don’t you have an internship for the summer?”
“What are you doing after graduation?”
“What do you mean you don’t have a job lined up?”
“Aren’t you going to grad school? Your doctorate?”

Why does life have to be a race?
It seems like we’re always running…
Racing through college,
Climbing the ladder, working 9-5,
…For what? Money? Fame? Fortune?
None of that matters in the end
You can’t take it with you when you go

Why do we have to race through life?
We get so caught up in running
That we forget to live
Life is not a race.
It is a journey.
We don’t need to run.

Photo credit: Helen Lacey

I’ve been in college 5 years now
And still don’t know what I want
to be “when I grow up”
As far as a career goes, that is.
I’m going back to my dream job this summer
Seasonal work, not a “real, big-kid job”
Back to the land and people that I love
And I have no idea where I’ll be come fall
And I’m totally okay with that
I won’t be trapped by society’s rules
That some rich folks made up
All for the sake of money
Because money can’t buy my happiness
I have my plans in place
But there are no deadlines
What is meant to be, will be
No sense in worrying myself about it
Because I trust God will take care of me
I will live each day
And follow my dreams
Take care of this land
And my friends and family
For this is my American Dream
I will not be run by society’s race

Photo credit: Helen Lacey

Monday, September 17, 2012

Snow Falls on the Sage

Photo credit: Helen Lacey

I come from the flat land
     of prairies and farms
Been a-hankering to go west
     I’ve heard of its charms

Loaded up my old car
     and I hit the road
Yearning for the mountains
     they’re beautiful, I’m told

But I was not prepared,
     I had to stop and stare…

Stared in awe at this place
Endless land of untold grace
The beauty of this place embraced
As the snow fell on the sage

Photo credit: Helen Lacey
Right then and there I knew
     I’d never want to leave
The sun shone bright upon the sage
     and the wind blows through the trees

The weather changes without fail
     snow melts fast in summer sun
Riding on the Rock Creek trail
     we let those horses run

Good horses in the heart of the West,
     The cowboy life’s what I love best…

The mountains and the valleys vast
Forgetting much about my past
I found a place I love at last
The day the snow fell on the sage

Photo credit: Helen Lacey
Working hard and hours long
     someone took me by surprise
A feeling started taking hold
     when I first looked in your eyes

We shared our stories
     our passions, our strives
Those summer nights I spent with you
     were the best ones of my life

My heart to you I lend,
     I pray this summer never ends…

My hopes start sinking, turning blue
Autumn comes too soon, it’s true
I know I have to leave you, too
When the snow falls on the sage

I dread the day I leave this place
When the snow falls on the sage

Photo credit: Nicola Cornwell

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dance Partner

Photo credit:

I’ve rode good horses
          For most all my life
Showing ponies in all-around
          And reiners nation-wide

I’ve showed ‘em near
          And I’ve showed ‘em far
On fine reining horses
          Yeah, I’ve been a star

But as far as good cowhorses
          None can ever compare
To the first cutter I rode
          An ugly old crowbait mare

She was fat, she was old
          Sway-backed and long-haired
Her mane was sparse and patchy
          Her tail didn’t better fair

Liver brown with no markings
          And a surly look in her eye
Like a crabby old widow woman
          Scared me outta my hide

The guy brought her on out
Handed me the reins with a smile
Then said “get on and go lope her
          She ain’t been rode in quite a while

I swung into the saddle
          The stirrups way too short
Then loped her a few circles
          I felt all out-of-sorts

She had the choppiest stride
          Her ears were perpetually pinned
I bounced all over the place
          Too fast for my liking then
Couldn’t keep my seat in a stop
          Stirrups throwing my balance off
Wondered what I got myself into
          When in a rollback I was almost lost

Then the guy had me stop
          And turn her towards the cattle
Together we cut out a cow
          Me trying to sit deep in the saddle

“Put your rein hand down on her neck
          And hold on for dear life”
The mare went right to work
          And boy was she a sight!

Every sense in her old body
          Was locked onto that cow
Slinking down fast and low
          Like a tomcat on the prowl

She leapt back and to the side
          In a move of pure athleticism
Stopping that wild cow short
          I took back all my criticism

Always one step ahead of the cow
          She danced a jig back and forth
She sure knew what she was doing
          I just held on for all I was worth

It was over at the lift of my hand
          She stopped and backed away
And I knew for sure by then
          She’d been a champion in her day

I slid down and handed off the reins
          Feeling thrilled but a little bit sad
Because even to this day she was
          The best dance partner I’d ever had

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Winter Beauty

Rain. Sleet. Slush. Ice. Snow. Winter storm…
A “wintery mix” as the weather man says,
Trying as always to put a positive spin on the bad news.
The people all moan and complain at the cold,
As if they’ve never before experienced a snowstorm.

By nightfall the precipitation has begun,
The heavy, wet slush accumulating inch by inch.
And the people, they worry, lying cozy in bed,
About how they’re going to travel the next day.

The morning is hazy, still spitting tiny snowflakes.
Cars, covered in the cold and wet mess, burn cold fuel
As their drivers impatiently scrape away at the windows.
And as they drive to work, braking carefully,
Or walk to class, skating across frozen sidewalks,
Their faces are angry, their brows furrowed.

Winter is nothing but an inconvenience in their busy lives.
Lives so busy, they never take the time,
To stop, to look, to really see, to wonder…

Wonder about the world we live in,
The land that breathes life into each of us,
And all of the wonders of God’s great creation.

If they would stop for a moment and look up,
They would see the trees…

Enveloped perfectly in a layer of ice,
Turned to giant crystals that glisten in the sun.
The wind softly tousles the glass-like branches,
Twigs clatter together like miniature wind chimes.

How could such an elaborate beauty form
From the misery of last night’s intimidating storm?
Icicles frozen intricately around each twig, bud, and residual leaf,
Almost as if a skilled, patient hand had formed that masterpiece.

Or maybe that is exactly what happened…
And He has revealed himself to us in the beauty of His creation,
Giving us a reason to smile and be thankful to be alive
Even in the midst of the season’s frigid cold.

The Earth has her seasons, and she must grow and change.
Nature must make its cycle, and all living things must adapt.
Winter is a part of the circle, and though the people may complain,
The Earth needs her moisture, whether it be snow or rain.

Credit for all photos: Helen Lacey

Saturday, January 21, 2012


Photo credit:   Waltenberry, Inc.
The moment I climb on
I am set free.
The gorgeous sorrel horse beneath me
Sun shining off his sleek coat
Showing off the toned muscles beneath.
The wind blows his long, coarse mane
And it intertwines with my fingers
Holding the worn, leather reins.
When we move, we move not as two separate beings
But as one in spirit.
We lope through the fields on a warm summer day
I feel all the power beneath me.
Our minds are synchronized
Every slight move that I make
He responds.
He understands me
He provides the gateway to my paradise
He sets me free.
My freedom is found on the back of a horse.