This past weekend I was given the opportunity to drive south for 3 days of solid pony time. No kids. No housework. No husband. Nothing but myself, 2 horses, God and a great group of women on fire for God & Barrel Racing. And it truly was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I put myself out there. People saw my flaws. My insecurities. But I had my faith. Had to trust in God’s plans because it was His Devine work that 1) I found this clinic on some webpage through Facebook & 2) that Bertha made it down there.
Last month I saw a post about a Connie Combs clinic that was 3 hours away in Marshfield, MO. I’d sent a message off and figured it would be full – with no openings. I mean I was past the cut off date to even send my deposit to hold a spot. After getting a response back saying there was PLENTY of space. I started to pray. We’re in the mist of hay season. Farm boy is running hot and heavy trying to make up time. Crazy busy hay time here at the farm for us. So you can understand my thoughts at this point… how to approach him to let me go and be gone for 3 days. And surprisingly enough. He said “go”.
And go I did. But not before the enemy attacked. You see faith is about believing in God when nothing else seems to be going right. Staying strong against the Devils attacks. Boy did he attack. I was overwhelmed with taking the truck that far – worrying about the fact that it was near 90 & heat index’s of 102… and the Trailer AC and units hadn’t been used in 5+ years. But God had a plan. He always does. If we just would sit a little more quiet and wait for his timing. Thursday after work I was in tears. Nothing was working the way I’d planned. I’d almost got to the point where I was calling Wanda and saying “I can’t come”. The truck and trailer wasn’t ready. Nothing was packed. Farm boy was in the fields and I should of been there helping him instead of going off for a pony weekend. Shiloh needed to be reset (& still does!). But then my sister stepped in – saying I’ll take Jaelyn for the night. The truck got fueled. The trailer was loaded with oils, tack, feed, hay and the necessities to survive 3 days in the trailer on my own.
Last minute Friday morning at 530am I made a phone call. Prayed. And gave it to God. Something inside of me was nudging me to throw my 2 year colt Leo in the trailer. When we went down to do a final run through on the truck and trailer I told Jason to load him first. So I couldn’t change my mind. And I was off. The truck temp ran hot. I couldn’t drive faster than 55. And I’m sure I ticked off numerous cars and semi drivers along the road those 4.5 hours. But I didn’t care. I had a truck that was getting me closer to my dreams. I’ve talked about Bertha before & how to stay Humble. It’s not driving up in a brand new 2018 dually with a trailer that cost more than my house. It’s about the heart of the driver and what that rider unloads off the trailer I’ve got two darn good looking and well behaved horses that are my lifeline in that trailer. I don’t need flashy things driving down a road. That’s material items. Anyone can drive up in a rig costing more than I want to share. But if they can’t see the worth of their horses – then no matter what they drive in. They’re not being true to the passion. All the barrel racers I admire showed up in their daddy’s beat up trucks and stock trailers. I remember Connie touching on this. “You go in – you go run – you don’t allow all that negativity to change who you are – run your horse not your mouth – cool your horse – load um up – head out – leave them talking about you after you blew them out of the standings.”
That really hit home. I’ve talked about being humble and staying that way before. But it’s even more so now. It’s remembering where you came from. We all must learn how to ride. And guaranteed most of us started on ponies that had no reason to have a rider. But they all taught us something. You don’t need a $50,000 horse to run pattern. Grade horses can do it. I watched a grade take 2nd place with a 16 to win the championship run.
My weekend was one I will never forget. For several reasons. Not only did I get to meet more women just like myself. We all had went through something that God lead us together. We had girls who’d never been out of a lope – ran a pattern to one that had ran at the American Qualifier. God had a plan. And lord only knows what he was thinking because now he’s created this “team” of Faith fueled ladies and we’re already planning our reunion for next years clinic.
My weekend didn’t go as planned. I still got up at the crack of dawn and worked Leo on the ground… trying to improve his lunge lining skills. I was mostly sticking to my meal plan and eating out of the cooler to save money. But Shiloh on Saturday went down. And I say that because she wasn’t “herself”. I’d pushed her to her limits. She was sore and not just because she’d been rode hard all day. She was out from her poll to her hips. And like people when we our out in our backs it hurts from our neck and shoulders down into our legs. But she kept going. We made saddle changes and that gave her a little pressure release. She kept trying and kept going. When I pulled tack off that night and was able to really rub her down I could feel in my hands how tense and tight she was. Come morning it was even worse. Where she wouldn’t allow me to even touch her spine without flinching. That’s not my Shi. So she sat with her PHTs on – peppermint water and plenty of hay to chill out.
This is where that “have faith” comes into play. There was a nagging feeling about why I just had to have Leo there. Because he had some big shoes to fill. He’s only 2. So I hadn’t ever rode him outside of our round pen besides maybe getting on and off him in our open arena to do some flexing and giving of his head. Heck the kid wouldn’t always even lunge. He’s still a baby and growing into his legs. But boy did he step it up. We worked him pretty hard Saturday night. He was hot sweaty and probably thinking what did she do to me. But Sunday when I saddled him up. It was like he knew I needed him. We walked through drills, obstacle courses, he got to learn how to have other horses crowd him and push him over. He got to see what all kinds of craziness was. And he excelled. We trotted a pattern for his first time and even did a small lope down the back stretch of the arena to get out of others way. Was he ready for all this. No. He’s a baby. He won’t get his “full training” until he’s 3-4. He won’t be ran to the ground. But one day of solid riding was good not just for him BUT ME TOO! He gave me confidence. He reminded me to stay calm and collected. Teaching babies are all about patience. I had to trust him not to be dumb. Just like we must trust in God’s plans.
I trusted God and He rewarded me. I had scratched in the Championship run. Shiloh wasn’t able to do it and I sure wasn’t asking Leo to go back down the alley after he’d had some a good few hours. But the Lord provided and spoke to another rider. I ran her other horse – and let’s talk about seeing the Face Of God coming down that alley. I might of saw the fear & it actually SHOWED on my face her husband said. But I trusted Naked to run me down that alley at a faster speed than I probably should of. But I let him go. I held on. I learned to trust a horse I’d sat on for a total of five minutes. And let me tell you. He taught me more than I can even put into words. The fire burns deep for horses and training and running a clover pattern. But there’s so much more inside of me that I learned this weekend.
I have this hidden voice that wants out – and not just for me to make rambling blog posts. The devil attacked HARD yesterday. And I let him win til about 630 when I stepped into the round pen and gave it to Shi. Many don’t know how I got Shi. She’ll be in the next blog. But she’d been prayed for. Her own owner had been praying for a rider for her. And now. Here we are conquering the world one ride at a time.
I can’t think of the “what if’s” because right now. There aren’t any. I can’t think “what if” I’d never gotten Shiloh. I can’t think “what if” I’d not had a great trainer and friendship I have with Dawn. I can’t think “what if” Wanda and Connie hadn’t of sat down and had a vision on a Womens only Bible Study Barrel Clinic. I can’t think “what if” Bertha breaks down. Because THAT DOESNT EXIST. Those are the negative Lies Satan puts in to my head to tear me up and put me down. Because those WHAT IFS aren’t what ifs. They are living breathing THINGS.
What started out as a reflection has turned into another faith based talk with y’all. The lord is just spitting these words out through my fingers for you to read. He’s doing something through me to get to YOU. Whoever YOU may be!!! Have faith. Rise ABOVE! Set some goals. Block out the haters & name sayers. Be a child of God. Walk with Faith. Run with Faith. And say “not today Devil!” (Can you hear me gettin a little tired up??!?!!!)
Kaci HAD faith in Naked and me Running. Wanda HAD FAITH to have this clinic. I had FAITH that Bertha would get me there and GOD REWARDED US with amazing memories and new friends and goals we are all working on!!
This clinic with Connie, Wanda and a great group of ladies wasn’t about me turning a barrel better or faster. It was me stepping out of my comfort zone with God and having Faith that I couldn’t see let alone touch.
I’d posted this next part to Facebook. Prior to this blog being wrote… but it’s worth staying again.
But I have so much grace & excitement in me that I’m literally too wound up to think straight.:.
1) TRUST IN GOD & have FAITH like no one sees
2) I am a BLESSED Wonder Woman Of God
3) to the farm boy Jason who loads up last minute my colt because I just had to take him – who followed me so far making sure Bertha was doing okay – without him NON of this would of happened.
4) I am so THANKFUL for my tribe of family – from my parents Keela Brooks & sister Lisa Brooks Martin to my inlaws, John & Carol Fisher Wieczorek taking care of things at home with Jaelyn & chores & making this possible for me..
5) thank YOU to Wanda Blurton Eastwood & Connie Combs for having this vision & clinic! I can’t wait for next years!
6) a special thank you to ALL the new ladies I met – you are each a one of a kind; and I will always cherish this weekend!
Wanda’s Facebook page to learn more 💕