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In the arena

For the better part of the last week, I have been in Paso Robles for the National Reined Cow Horse Association’s (NRCHA) Derby and Bridle Spectacular. It is a show for 4- and 5-year-old horses and the bridle class for those very highly trained horses who are usually 7 years old or older.

I had five horses who were slated to compete but by the time the show came around, my bridle horse, Shady Lil Starlight, had injured himself in his ankle and was unable to show. I did, however, have four horses going, two of which showed in the Derby, Sheza Sparklin CD and Nabisco Roan, one in the Two-Rein class, Kiss My Shiny Lips, and one in the Limited Open Hackamore, Chics Little Step.

As usual, the show was a mixture of good parts and bad. Neither of my Derby horses made the finals, although they were very close until getting less than perfect cows in the fence work. Nabisco Roan, “Triscuit” did manage to place second in the Novice class. My Two-Rein horse “Annie” won her class and received a beautiful trophy and a check for her efforts. It was a very tough class with some of the best horses and trainers in the business, so I was very pleased with the outcome. Chics Little Step ended up third in her class which was spectacular, considering this was only her third show in reined cow horse; prior to this she had never seen a cow before!

The Bridle Spectacular was particularly special because Holy Cow Performance Horses sponsored the class and gave not only a specially created silver buckle but also a brand-new trophy, so new that the original is still being made at the foundry. It is a beautiful bronze depicting a rider on a horse in a bridle circling a cow. When I get a picture of it, I will share it with you and give full credit to the artist.

This trophy was created to memorialize the life of the exceptional bridle horse, CD Survivor who died just over a year ago due to a horrible accident. He was in his prime, only 8 years old, and will be missed not only by his trainer and me but by the whole industry. It was, indeed, a privilege and honor to present the first-place award to Shawn D. Hays riding Shine Smartly.

All in all, it was a good show visiting with friends and watching some of the best cow horses from all over the nation compete with one another. I have been involved in this sport for almost 20 years and I am still impressed by the abilities of these very talented horses. The next show in Paso Robles will be in August at the National Stock Horse Show. Aside from the Futurity featuring the next crop of 3-year-olds including many who will be going to the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity the next month, there will be the World’s Richest Horseman contest. This Saturday evening show held in the big outdoor arena will showcase the best bridle horses around. It should be exciting and if you have a chance to go, I can guarantee that you will enjoy it.

Back in the Valley

While I was gone, a lot of disturbing things have happened. First, there was the application for an expansion of the liquor license for the local casino. This was rather surprising to me as one who has followed this saga since the days of the failed bingo hall and subsequent big white plastic tent. As I understood it, there was a promise given that there would never be an application to expand the sale of liquor to the gaming floor, yet this is precisely what is being requested. Even the Board of Supervisors are expressing surprise and plan to send a letter protesting the application. Before you start cheering, however, be aware of the precise wording of that protest. It seems that conversations with tribal individuals did not quite have the same information as the application, so although the assertion was that the same restrictions would still apply, the license application does not reflect that assertion. So who is telling the whole story here? Is the application designed to include alcohol consumption on the gaming floor, on the sidewalk, at the stoplight or where exactly? The map on the application, according to the Board Agenda Letter, includes the entire property. Are we looking at a potential drive-thru cocktail lounge? I don’t think we need any more drunk drivers on our roads, do you?

Also while I was gone, a very disturbing event took place in the firing of Josh Lynn, chief trial deputy in the Santa Barbara County’s District Attorney’s office. I have read all of the articles about the incident and am disappointed that this action was the result of arrogance, fear and possible deception. Although the campaigns of both were particularly cutting, I never thought I would see the day that whoever came out on top of the vote count would stoop to being vindictive in demanding the resignation of the other candidate. I heard through the grapevine that two armed deputies appeared at Lynn’s house and required that he turn over his badge and computer. Then he was told to appear at the office the next day at 4:45 p.m. How rude to treat a co-worker that way if the story is true!

In reading the comments from the community, I was struck by the vehemence in the comments by obvious Dudley supporters. They seemed to be stuck on a single topic that was a talking point in the campaign rather than being interested in what the real story was behind the firing.

On the other hand, the majority were curious about what the facts were that precipitated this action. Many were angry that Dudley was not more forthcoming about the reason for the firing and felt that she was really the one demanding that this be done while hiding behind Anne Bramsen, who actually did the firing. I personally think that the various excuses given were pretty lame and were designed to keep the real reason hidden from public view.

Even people who were once Dudley supporters expressed disgust that they had been fooled by her and wondered out loud if she could be recalled before she took office. I am concerned that such deep resentment at being tricked will have a negative impact on our justice system in this county. Before the election, Ms. Dudley asked to meet with me, ostensibly to explain away the revelations of the charges of judicial misconduct. While I was interested in how she would do that, considering that these were public documents, I was more concerned with who was supporting her. As I explained to her at that meeting, the majority of her supporters were people who in my opinion had been trying to destroy this county for the last 30 years with their radical agenda, thus I could not possibly support her.

Now that Lynn has been fired, I believe I was right to be worried. This goes way beyond being a spoil sport. Although pledges have been made not to take revenge on those in the office who supported Lynn, previous pledges have obviously not meant anything. It is unfortunate that the office of the District Attorney has been reduced to politics. We deserve so much better.

Finally, a couple of comments really piqued my interest. One asked about the $2,000 donation from the casino after the election: what was that about? The second was by someone wanting to know if we were ever going to know the truth? I don’t know the answer to that, but I do wonder if I know at least part of the answer. Could it have anything to do with the fact that Anne Bransen had in her possession a synopsis of the vote fraud case brought by Steve Pappas, knew what was in it and knew that current California State District Attorney Jerry Brown said that he wasn’t going to take the case, but there was no conflict in Santa Barbara County taking it. Why didn’t they? I think I know and will tell you more next week.

Misidentified talent

We all have dogs, cats, horses, goats, birds or other types of animals that are part of our families. Aside from the many wild animals I share my life with, I also have dogs and cats as part of my “immediate” family. I have a couple of very talented outdoor cats who work hard to keep my life rodent-free.

It’s a tough job as there seem to be a constant supply of them. I often go out my back door and find a small donation of a head with whiskers, yellow teeth or internal organs. I believe that this gift is presented in order to elicit praise from me and I try to not disappoint.

It is good to have such good outdoor kitties because although very beautiful, my indoor kitty while enjoying playing with the occasional mouse, easily gets bored and lets the mouse escape. This is a bit creepy to me as it is then our responsibility to find the mouse and dispose of it.

Recently we have discovered a new weapon in our fight against mice. We have a year-old chow chow who now has managed to eliminate three mice so far. The first slobbered upon mouse we found we figured was an aberration. Now, while we were out of town, we come back to find two more little wet bodies in the patio. Wow! I had no idea that chows were mousers, did you? I’ve had chows before but they never did anything with mice. I had a Borzoi (Russian Wolfhound) a few years ago who managed to pull a gopher out of its hole with her long, skinny nose. I was really impressed with that! We’ve had gopher problems ever since we lost her. Do you have fun pet tales? I would love to hear them.

New information

I keep hearing some pretty startling things about goings-on in national and international circles. Did you know that the spokesperson for BP, the oil company, is Tony Podesta, who just happens to be the brother of John Podesta, who was a founder of the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank? He also staffed President Obama’s inside advisors. Interesting, huh? Have you ever heard of Petrobras, the Brazillian state-controlled oil company that just received a $2 billion loan of taxpayer money from our president? Can anybody explain that to me?