I met Jessie Johnson in 2014 when she attended her first shoot. Since then we have competed against each other, traveled to World's together, and have formed a great friendship. Even though she lives three hours away, whenever we see each other, our friendship always picks up right where it left off. It's been so much fun to see her set goals and achieve them. She was gracious enough to let me interview her this summer and I'm so glad that she did. She is a rising star in the mounted shooting world and defiantly one to watch.
This past August I traveled to Las Vegas to compete at the CMSA Western US Championships and I thought it would be fun to document my experience. This is the first time I have ever done a "vlog" so please forgive my amateur mistakes. I was also reluctant to post this because it really is an inside look at my thoughts, feelings, and emotions during a very large competition. Opening myself up like this is a little scary. I'm not a perfect person and I don't always have perfect runs. So hopefully this is helpful for those of you that haven't gotten to compete in Las Vegas. I hope it gives you a little view into what to expect and what it's like to compete on the national stage. For me, it was scary, exciting, and a complete emotional/mental marathon. Please enjoy my adventure and I hope you get to have your own someday. As always, I appreciate your comments or questions.
Ride fast and shoot clean,
This episode of My Favorite Things features some products that I found useful while traveling to Las Vegas for the Western US Championships of Mounted Shooting. I had never traveled this far with my horse before so I wanted to make sure she had every comfort I could give her.
Pro-Shot Products Cleaning Kit
RES Neck Cooler
This is Stella. I purchased her this past April. I hadn't intended on buying her (or any horse for that matter) but when the stars align and the details work themselves out, it's time to take the divine hint. I liked this horse form the beginning. Not only is she pretty (come on look at her!), but she is athletic, friendly, and pleasant to work with. Her biggest flaw is this: She lacks confidence.
Now, this horse is broke, almost anyone can ride her, but when the situation is brand new or there is a lot going on she really struggles. This has the potential to make mounted shooting at a high level very difficult. Now, keep in mind she has only been a shooting horse for 9 months and I've only had her for 4 of those months. I love shooting off this horse. I've even competed with her already and my intention is to have her as a back up shooting horse. But her lack of confidence needs to be attended to before we can start adding speed to the mounted shooting pattern.
So how do you give a horse confidence? To me that means getting them soft, being able to move their body parts, and taking them places to have some life experiences. This horse was given a great start in mounted shooting. Now my job is to give her that confidence so she can go from a great new shooting horse to a fantastic competitive shooting horse.
What does confidence have to do with mounted shooting? Well to the untrained eye, not much. You're not going to encounter a giant tire during the middle of a run. However, it's about having a well rounded horse that is responsive, confident, and trusts you. When you're hauling ass in the arena you need your horse's trust so they know you will guide them through the course. So actually, confidence has a lot to do with mounted shooting.
To help build Stella's confidence, I took her to my buddy Gerry Cox's place. He has a wonderful facility with all kinds of obstacles. So that's what we did. Stella had her own personal trail challenge day. Now, we had been to Gerry's before and it was a little rough for Stella. I wasn't expecting a huge change this time but I was expecting a 1% improvement. I got way more than that. Her execution wasn't perfect but it was so much better than I was anticipating. This was the first time she had seen most of these obstacles. At each one she was scared but she gave it a try anyway. Stella's heart and try really shown trough and I can't wait to see how she continues to grow. She walked away with a lot more confidence than when she walked in. A few months ago she would not have been able to do anything you will see in the video below. This was a very successful training session.
I've been taking lots of videos of her progress and I'll be sharing those periodically. Stella is something special and I think she is going to make one heck of a mounted shooting horse someday.
I've been back from Las Vegas for a little over a week and I feel like I'm almost recovered. The Western US Championships was a great experience. I'm working on editing video so I can share my journey with you, so hang tight on that one.
This week I want to share with you an interview I did about a month ago. Cecil and Leslie Berry are getting close to wrapping up their first year of mounted shooting and they really jumped in with both feet. There are some great little anecdotes in this interview that are interesting and provide a great perspective. Cecil also has a unique set of holsters that you might find interesting. Enjoy, and as always please feel free to comment or ask questions.
One of the great things about Cowboy Mounted Shooting is the people. They are truly amazing! I know of no other sport where your competitor would let you borrow equipment if something happened to yours. I've seen mounted shooters loan our their horses, pistols, holsters, and various pieces of tack. This community is truly one of a kind.
It is with that spirit that I want to introduce you to a great competitor and a great person, Rob Boucher. I've know Rob for a few years now. I love to watch him shoot and ride because I always learn something. I've seen him have amazing shoots and some not so good ones. But no matter his outcome he always has a smile on his face. So when he agreed to let me interview him I was very excited.
Rob is my first ever on camera interview so forgive my amateur mistakes. It was also incredibly windy that day so some of the audio is not that great. My apologies. Those things aside, Rob had some very insightful things to say. I think what he talks about is good for both new and veteran shooters. It was also great to get to know Rob on a more personal level. Who knew that Rob and his wife Shelley (whom I adore!) not only travel together but own a business together too? Rob did a great job and I really enjoyed putting this together. I hope you enjoy it as well.
This interview has been put into three parts.
Check out this link for the playlist or click on the videos below.
This month I'm sharing three more things with you that I have really been loving. I have included all links to the products mentioned. Enjoy!
The Five Minute Journal
Have you ever had an amazing run only to miss the last balloon? Do you wonder why sometimes you just can't hit the balloons to save your life? In this week's post I'm giving you two insider tips on how to fix that problem. These tips address both the mental and physical side of target acquisition.
Traveling can be tough on you and your horse. I recently came home from a shoot where I was gone for 6 days. My horse Copper lived in a stall during that time. She is used to being either in a large dry lot or a pasture, so the stall was rough. The stall also had a concrete floor, no rubber mats. My big concern was the 7 hour trip home after all that stall time. So I thought it might be good to share just a few of the things I do to help Copper travel a little more comfortably. Hopefully you find it helpful.