Nothin' 2 Prove

The building of Gunn Ranch Academy one caliche rock at a time; our friends, family, passions, learning adventures and our little piece of HIStory in the making!

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Morgan’s JWC Horse Show Buckles

Finally getting a picture up of Morgan’s award buckles.

She received a buckle for Reserve Grand Champion overall gelding with Sparky (no he is not a gelding, but they put all ages of male horses in for overall. The winners and reserve of each class go back in for overall.)

She won a buckle for Senior Overall Reserve Performance.

This is for the riding classes including Western Pleasure, Trail, Western Horsemanship, Hunter Under Saddle (English), Hunt Seat Equitation, Costume contest, Ride a Buck Bareback (and I’m probably forgetting a couple).

So proud of all she has accomplished!

You can see she has already put the buckle she won for Sparky on her belt as she receives her second buckle!



2013 JWC Fair

Fair week was exhausting and pics will come later.

The week was a bit of a blur, LOL.

The animals all placed well and the girls were pretty satisfied with how they did.

A dear friend purchased both girls’ goats at the auction, and they were both surprised, thrilled and very grateful.  Their hard work paid off, and they were very proud of what they had accomplished all on their own in light of more “politics” and unfairness where showmanship is concerned. It is really tough to try and explain and “discuss”  the actions, words and lack of care and concern on the part of adults in charge sometimes. But that is unfortunately how our world runs, and they do understand this. They probably take it better than their ole momma who has watched the blood, sweat and tears they have put into their projects. They give it their all, their hearts and souls, while others who win have never really even touched their projects. Where parents hire fitters and feeders, spend thousands of dollars and have that million dollar “name” in the judges pocket.

But at the end of the day, again, I am so very proud of who my girls are. They work hard, they gain the knowledge and expertise they need to be fabulous little showman, and their projects are all theirs. From finding their animals, to breeding their own, to researching exactly what they need to be feeding, to keeping charts and receipts, to learning to tag, to digging up all the information they can find on each species, studying, speaking to adult experts, attending workshops, finding resources, and more.

Aside from the caring for, prepping and showing their animals, they worked concession stand, served at the steak dinner, and helped their extension agent and others in many ways. They are always there to lend a helping hand if and when needed.

They also spend Friday helping many of the winners of the showmanship of each species learn how to show the horse part of the overall showman competition!! They also helped out the horse showmanship winner. 🙂  While they both looked like they should have been in the ring for the overall competition, they used their skill and expertise to help others. These girls are “classy” as their showmanship coach calls them! 🙂

These girls are amazing, and I am so proud of them!

They are truly shining examples of what kids should aspire to be, and truly exemplary 4-Hers!!

Pictures to follow!


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JWC Horse Show

Well, we had an exhausting day of showing, riding, tack and attire changes, and fun.

A bit disappointed in the showmanship, which is what the girls really worked for.

When the girls first started showing and didn’t know all the rules and really just how complicated showmanship really is, they did their best and Taylor won her first buckle doing showmanship and Morgan won reserve twice.  But once they got more serious and progressed through district and state competitions and saw that there was WAY more to it, they began asking and looking and studying to figure it all out. They worked so hard.

Then we finally found an amazing coach and mentor- one who has been super successful in her equine show life. She is a true horsewoman in every sense of the word, and latched right onto my girls’ enthusiasm and drive for learning and showing. She really put a shine on the girls, and they were so very excited and ready to give it their all at the county show. At this level there are not really too many who know what showmanship really is, which is just how we had always been.

So when the girls placed below others who actually had disqualifications, not to mention the many, many mistakes, penalties, and just lack of showmanship altogether, it was quite disappointing. We are very familiar with the judge, and realize that she has never really judged showmanship, but is just trying to boost the beginners confidence.

The girls coach was there bright and early to help them, go through patterns ,and coach them. They really loved it. They said they felt like “pageant girls”, LOL, which is surprising they would even joke in this manner as that is definitely not their cup of tea.

Their coach was shocked at the placings, and was rather un-nerved at the unprofessionalism of the judge and the placings.

I was so glad she was there for a couple of reasons. I think her confidence in knowing the girls performances were top notch despite the placings helped take the sting off.

But I also loved her reaction to the girls when they congratulated the winners and high fived them. You see, the girls had taken a Jr and Sr brand new-to-horses students and taught them how to show. They had spent quite a bit of time with them with everything from tack, which we loaned some of ours to them, to attire, proper handling, positioning, and just walking them through it all, helping them with patterns, posture, attitude, etc.

The Jr. had never handled a horse at all and his little horse was just an 8 month colt who had never been handled. We started with helping them lead, etc. then met with them to help them on a couple of occasions.

The girls were excited that they had helped them succeed. And their coach said that they were “classy” and she was impressed by their confidence. She stayed for the riding events and helped coach them through the day.

The riding events went well, and Taylor ended up with Overall High Point Junior, and Overall High Point Junior Performance buckles. Her mare Honey also won third in a class of nine in halter which is amazing and made Taylor super happy.

Morgan was also blessed favored by her 6 month old colt winning her a buckle in his very first show!

He was in a “colts under 2” class of three, and won first which advanced him to overall halter geldings (even though he is not a gelding yet because he is too young, this is the class of overall “boys” so he competed with the winners of all of the male classes- registered and unregistered gelding of all ages).

When he  went to overall halter geldings (all of the winners and reserve winners from all of the male horse classes together), he won Reserve overall! (Which awarded Morgan a buckle!)

Morgan also won a buckle for Overall Senior Reserve Champion Performance High Point.

While the disappointment of showmanship was pretty heavy on their hearts (Morgan had her heart set on finally getting to go to Overall Showman competition, and Taylor winning Showmanship for her last year as a Junior,) they really did a great job at the show and at the end of the day they brought their babies home where they belong and took care of them as they do every night.

We have been on the lookout for a Western Pleasure horse for Taylor to move on with to be competitive at state. Keep us in your prayers that that perfect match will come along, and that Morgan will continue to progress with Sparky the way she has planned. Next big show will be District in June and Morgan will be showing Sparky in one year old futurity.

As usual my camera has been highjacked, or lost or misplaced at the wrong time of the year, so I’ll have to wait for friend’s pictures to post to get show pics up.



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Equine Happenings

Sooo excited that our county horse show is tomorrow.

The girls have really been working hard with their coach on showmanship, and riding skills.

Costumes are ready, horses are groomed, and tack and attire is packed.

Bright and early tomorrow morning we’ll be off.

This will be Spark Up the Awesome’s first show, so stay tuned for results!


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Almost County Fair Month!

It’s just hard to believe that September is over halfway over.

We have dove right back into a brand new 4-H year, getting busy with fair project registration, planning, steak dinner ticket sales, getting ready for Food Show and Challenge, animal clinics, One Day 4-H, club community service, trail rides, and more and more and more.

I always think this time of year about how hard the girls have worked on raising their goats, rabbits and this year adding turkeys to the mix, and about how we only have one more month to make sure they are growing and muscling out.

And hoping that the goats aren’t chewing everything up so much that their teeth fall out. They are required to still have all 4 of their baby teeth intact, and while the ages of our goats are not any danger for the teeth falling out, Morgan’s goat chews and chews and chews and she has been so worried the teeth will fall out that she even bought a muzzle to try and keep on her (that didn’t work out at all, LOL).

I just think how hard they have worked and pray every morning, noon, and night that nothing will happen to them, teeth will stay put, no accidents, no bloating, no horns ripped off on the fence, etc.

Raising animals is such an amazing and awesome way to let kids take responsibility into their own hands and reap the rewards for it. But sometimes it can be a tough experience too.  This will be the third year the girls have raised and shown goats, and the past two years we have struggled a little bit and worried that the goats wouldn’t make weight. But alas, each year they did, and passed through sifting (where they make the animals that don’t meet all the requirements go home and not get to show) and the girls have done well showing their goats.
Last year they both got called back for Showmanship, and this year I’m hoping they will as well and might even place. They are both extraordinary showwomen, but of course politics and big names come into play we know, so they just do their best and hope for the best. Showmanship is judging how the kid shows the goat. As the judge is judging the actual goats to place them, they also pick out the kids to go back in the ring for a separate Showmanship contest which, again, is just judging the kid’s showman abilities. The winner of each type of animal (horse, steer, pig, goat, lamb, rabbit, chicken) all go back in the ring to compete against each other for the Overall Showmanship award. I am really hoping and praying that Morgan will win Horse Showmanship so she can compete for Overall showman this year. She has been Reserve the past two years. She  did a really great job with the goat showmanship last year and the judge had some awesome comments about her, so I’m really praying she could also win goat showman or at least reserve. She has the qualities, but we aren’t a big name in the goat industry, so it might not happen due to politics. But that’s just the way life is, so we will still give it our best!

This year Taylor has bred and raised her own rabbits to show, and is excited to see how they do! Her friend Kaitlyn will also be showing one of Taylor’s babies, so I hope it does well! Taylor was called back for Rabbit Showmanship last year too, and that consists of answering lots of questions the judge asks, so she is getting prepared for that! She is a wonderful speaker and raising her own babies has definitely helped her with her rabbitology knowledge!! 🙂

Taylor decided to try her hand at turkeys this year and they have really been a lot of fun.  They run around the ranch like crazies, along with three standard turkeys that we got at the feed store a bit before we got the show turkeys, so I’m not sure they will be big and plump and lazy like they are suppose to be, but we shall see. Levi’s dream is to show turkeys, so Taylor wanted to try them out this year so she will be able to help him out next year when he is old enough to show.

So August is fast approaching and I know the fair will be here before we know it! We are ready!

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Texas 4-H Equine Ambassadors

I posted before about Morgan attending Equine Ambassador training, so wanted to update on that.

She and another 4-Her from our county attended the 5 day training and had an amazing time.

They spent hours upon hours learning about every aspect of the horse industry; went on field trips to many farms and ranches, heard from a huge variety of speakers from nutritionists to breeders to veterinarians to experts on public speaking and marketing.

I am just BLOWN AWAY by the amount of material they covered, and retained.

They each received a flash drive FULL of all types of equine publications as well a power point presentations they can give, binders full of information, very nice embroidered polo shirts, and a fancy gold Texas Agrilife Extension Equine Ambassador name tag.

Morgan was so excited to have met so many experts in the field and I was just so grateful that there were so many adult who respected these kids enough to let the talk and learn and ask questions, and who were willing to spend time getting to know them and teaching them.

4-H is just such an amazing program as a whole, and this is just another example of one of the many wonderful things it has to offer.

Morgan is a brilliant communicator, and was asked to represent the Equine Ambassador program as well as 4-H as a whole by attending  TX legislature meetings to speak, as well as possibly Washington DC if the opportunity and funding come about.  I am so very proud of my girl!!

After they got home they had a motivational book to read and write an essay on, and then they received a 200 question test they had to take and submit before they could  be true ambassadors and begin their 40 hours speaking and promotional engagements.  She did great on her essay and passed her exam with flying colors, so she is ready to rock and roll!

Morgan is excited to begin sharing all the things the 4-H Horse Project has to offer, and continue helping to start up new teams and projects in the county and maybe even the state. This is such an AWESOME opportunity for her leadership skills to shine through!!