Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Rocky Mountain Horse Expo - Saturday

We got to the barn bright and early on Saturday and it was wonderful. Nice and calm - only a handful of people there working with their horses.

Skeeter and Copper needed to come out of their stalls for a bit; being cooped up was making them antsy, so we took them out on a short walkabout. I put Skeeter in the outdoor round pen and tried to work her, but she was too interested in being a big dog. She wandered the outskirts of the pen, smelling all the smells. I didn't push her too hard to work, I just wanted to get her out of the stall.

After about ten minutes, she came up and asked to be haltered, so we left the round pen and Copper went in with Jay. The boys spent a few minutes in the round pen, then we went back into the barn to clean the stalls and get them fed. They stood tied to their stalls nicely and, in general, acted like well-mannered horses. It was wonderful.

Copper wishing Jay would hurry up with his room service.

Standing tied like a good girl.

It being the day of the Saint Patrick's Day parade, we played dress up with Copper, who took it all in stride. Don't tell anyone, but I think he secretly liked it.

We were scheduled to work the booth from 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., so we settled in to answer questions and talk to the few people who walked by. I'd nodded and smiled at a few, when a familiar face walked up. He started to reach across the table to shake hands when his cell phone went off and he stepped away from the table to answer it. I looked at Jay with wide eyes and mouthed, "That's Val from Unbranded!"

When "Uncle Val" finished his phone call, he came back to the table to introduce himself. It was such an honor to meet him and I told him so. The movie Unbranded has brought a lot of awareness to the wild horses, but Val stole everyone's heart. The movie might have been about Ben Masters and his friends riding BLM mustangs border to border, but Val was the heart and soul of the movie. To have him standing in front of us was a dream.

He'd found our coffee pot the night before and was coming to refill his cup (I think he lives on the stuff), but thought it would be polite to introduce himself before he got himself more coffee. We had a great time talking to him - what a sweet and genuine guy. He was not acting in the movie;what you see is what you get - a weathered old cowboy who loves life and the people around him.

Janna (another booth volunteer), Jay, and I listened to his stories for about twenty minutes before I asked for a picture, which he was more than willing to oblige. The wealth of knowledge he has is astounding.

Jay, me, Uncle Val, Janna
He was in and out throughout the day and what was most amazing to me is that he remembered everyone's names. This is a gentleman in his 70s who had to have met hundreds of people throughout the weekend, yet could remember every person's name. He took the time to come meet our horses (and complimented us on them), met Mom and Bill (and apparently Asset, but that might be a sore subject), and generally brightened everyone's day.

I can't think about Saturday without beaming - he brings such joy to everyone around him. Meeting Uncle Val was the highlight of my weekend. You know there are some people who you are better for just having met them? He's one of those people.

Okay, I'll stop with my fangirl moment and move on to the rest of the day.

They were both good Mustang ambassadors (for a while)

I wanted to get Skeeter out and about again, so when Kathy (our boss) pulled her gelding out to bathe him, I pulled Skeeter. She likes to be sprayed down with the hose and I thought she'd like to at least see the horses' "shower room" (or whatever they call it). I pulled her and she followed Doc nicely, but quickly got jittery with everything going on. We tried to stay, but she had to move her feet, so back to the round pen we went.

She rolled a couple of times and sniffed around, but was still pretty "up". Mom and I disagree a bit - Mom thinks she was looking colicky, but I think she was just too amped up from over-stimulation. She had been pooping and peeing well and was fine until the energy in the building went up. Suddenly, there were people and horses everywhere, plus the train was chugging by. I wasn't worried about her wanting to roll, because she hadn't laid down in her stall at all and there was a lot of really nice dirt for her to take a dirt bath in.

After a few minutes, Jay and Copper were there waiting for the round pen and one other person, so I pulled her to wait for Jay.

Copper is super sensitive, so Jay was actually able to work him in the round pen. Skeeter and I were just going to wait on them, but it was all suddenly way too much for Skeets and she lost her mind. A little rear and buck and then she couldn't keep her feet still. No amount of circling could get her attention back on me, so as soon as I saw a gap in the people and horses, we headed back to the barn.

We did a lot of stopping and breathing (for me) before we made it back to her stall. I'm fairly certain that she actually looked forward to getting locked away from the craziness.

I'd just finished getting her new water and hay when Jay and Copper returned. Copper - nice, laid-back Copper - lost his shit, not because we left, but because there was a little mini pulling a covered wagon. That damn mini was going to eat Copper, he was certain of it.

Both horses were looking a little drawn up and we couldn't tell how much they'd been drinking because they kept playing in the dang water, so we went on a search for electrolytes. At the Brighton Saddlery booth we found one of the Likit things with 'lytes in it, so we bought that to hang between their stalls, then we found the Agape booth, which had samples of EquiPride. After talking to the lady at the booth, she gave us a sample with instructions and sent us back to the barn.

Skeeter thinks that if humans eat it, it's good for horse to eat, too, so getting her to try the EquiPride was no problem. Once we were certain she'd eat it, we dumped some into her water. Copper, though, thinks we're trying to poison him with people food, so he was a bit more leery of the stuff. Jay dumped some in his water anyway. With the Likit hung between the stalls, and the EquiPride in their water buckets, we decided to go see more stuff. When we came back a couple of hours later, both buckets were empty and there was no sign of them dumping it. Whew, potential crisis averted.

After a fun dinner with the rest of the USWHBA volunteers (lousy service, but fun company), we called it a night. Mom and Bill headed to the horse trailer to camp and we headed to our hotel. Sunday was going to be a big day.


Linda said...

I'm jealous that you met Val. He stole the show. Nice to know he is as genuine as he seemed.

GunDiva said...

He gives the best hugs, too :)