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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

January 25, 2018

Sweep Riders of the Sierras

Guest Article:  Misty Tracy, Sweep Riders of the Sierras

Hey Green Beans and western states riders! Do I have the perfect activity for you!! Have you ever heard of Sweep Riders of the Sierra? You have? Well, why haven’t you signed up already? Just kidding! I am going to assume most people haven’t heard of us unless you are a local to the greater Auburn, CA area or you are associated with Tevis. Tevis?? Did I just get your attention? The pinnacle of endurance and we get to be a part of it… and you can too. We are a non- profit group of approximately 40 members that was founded after the disbanding of TevSweep in the early 90’s. Sweep Riders of the Sierra (SOS) is the only ham radio based equestrian group in the WORLD. Yep, that’s WORLD. Cool, huh? Even cooler is that you don’t have to be a radio operator to join us. But if you want to get your radio license we will help you and we have radio equipment to checkout so it isn’t a financial burden to get started. We also provide communication and trail support for the Western States 100 run held the last Saturday in June and Gold Country endurance ride usually around early July.

The Western States trail is one long straight line (ok, a few twists and turns… and canyons, rivers etc) from start to finish. Since it isn’t set up as a series loops it makes things a tad more difficult. We break the one hundred miles in to approximately ten sections. The shortest section is four miles and the longest is twenty three miles with the average being about ten. Each section is assigned a team consisting two to four riders- always with a team leader and a radio operator. The radio op wears a helmet that has been outfitted with an antenna on the top and we carry our small radios in a chest pack. Newbies are always paired with our seasoned riders. Each team pre rides the section they are riding so they can get an idea of what they are going to face and to work themselves into a cohesive team ahead of time. The team will arrive at their assigned staging area at least one hour early from cut off. The team leader will check in with the Head Volunteer and the radio op will establish contact with Net Control. Once the last rider (or runner if the WS100) has left , we will be given the numbers of the last few riders and will be sent down the trail. Radio contact will be established every 15 minutes so that Net Control will know our current location. If we end up with an emergency or simply a tired rider, this will be called into Net Control. NC will make a decision as to what to do and we will follow through with their instructions. Sometimes it is more feasible to pony a horse out or to give a lift to a rider/runner on one of our mounts. However if it is more serious, Net Control will alert the Rider Director to send out additional help. It is such a neat feeling to be able to help others complete their goal . Ok, it also feels pretty cool to cross the river in the dark with the full moon above you , or to go over Cougar Rock, but nothing really compares to watching the last rider come over the finish line in time with a huge smile on their face.

So, now I am pretty sure you want to know what you need to do to join us. First checkout our website, It will give you our calendar and a more detailed information about SOS, trail sections and suggested equipment to pack. You need to be over 18, have access to a trailer, your equine ( I say equine because mules are fine) needs to be over five and a mare or gelding (sorry, no stud muffins) very well behaved and fit, and complete the qualification ride. At the qualification, your horse needs to stand patiently tied, load into various trailers, mount and dismount from both sides, and travel pleasantly in a group at different speeds. You will be introduced to tailing and ponying but neither is a requirement to pass. Wear a helmet, safe foot ware, and appropriate tack. Once you are a member then you will be asked to get yourself a reflective vest. We will have several meetings, night rides, and radio play days in the spring and summer. The radio play days are open to everybody that wants to ride with us and get feel for what we do with mock scenarios. Our year is ended with a tri tip barbeque. What more could you ask for? Fun, food and great folks. But there is more. Our members can volunteer to mark the trail, pull ribbons, and work Net Control. I will personally do my assigned section and will also do a shift in NC because is interesting to see how Tevis works from another perspective.

I have been a member of SOS for nine years now- six years on the board, five years as president – and it is just the most wonderful group I have ever been involved with. We have about fifty members including several non -riding radio people. Each is a valued member to the big team. The experience they all bring is there for the sharing. Several of our members wear Tevis buckles proudly. I always find it amazing how so many things come full circle in the SOS world. A new member last year rode on my team. Her mare is in her late teens and had several Tevis finishes including a top ten finish for Ann Hall . In her winding down years she is now sweeping. On the other hand, one of our members rescued a big ,tall arab and turned him into a stellar sweep horse. She rode SOS for years but got inspired to try it Tevis herself. She and this rescue horse got their buckle. I feel so honored to be a part of the endurance community, the Tevis and especially , Sweep Riders of the Sierra. We would love to share what we do with you.

Note from Endurance Granny: I wish I lived out west!  I would so absolutely love to be involved in something like this now that the door has seemed to close on me concerning endurance riding.  I miss my sport.  Even though I only got to compete a little, it was such a defining part of me.  That and  especially Green Bean ♥   If you get your chance to be a part of this crazy sport in any way, grab it while you can!     If you are interested in becoming a sweep rider, contact Misty Tracey on Facebook.  If you are interested in the Green Bean Endurance Challenge, click the link and jump onto the Facebook page for the group.  Teams are still forming, and this is now a sanctioned activity with AERC.  Green Bean is for new aspiring endurance riders with less than 1000 AERC miles, team building, social connections, and support as you navigate through LD to Endurance, and beyond.

December 19, 2017

My flash threw a glare on this one which I painted "just for me."  My barn kat, Stripey of the crooked tail."    Mixed Medium (Acrylic, Ink) on canvas board 2017.

December 15, 2017

A few of the year's paintings...

Jar of Flowers, Acrylic 2017 8X10
Unframed $20, Framed $45

Echinacea, acrylic 8X10 sold

The Ancestor, acrylic, 2017 "rehomed"

Folk art, Reclining Kat, Acrylic, 2017 

Sister Bouquet, Acrylic 2017 pot and stand inspired by another artist, this one has been framed and rehomed...with my sister ♥

November 26, 2017

A post from "Mean" Patti over on Introspection

Stepping away was for me one of the hardest things I've ever done.  But it was necessary,  and I'm glad for what has happened to Green Bean Endurance.  I hope the program keeps on, keeping on. ♥   Thank you mean Patti.

November 11, 2017

Poles Part 2

After some discussion this morning the long suffering husband felt that the bases of the poles would seat into the concrete perhaps "better" with a coupler on the ends of each pole that looked like a little donut with a flat bottom.  Personally I would have gone with what I have, but his heart's in the right place so I added them!

The poles first went into the buckets and I have a left over pile of crushed limestone from the stall project late in the spring, so each pole was nestled into this stuff just to give it support from flopping during the actual pour of the cement (more aptly, the shovel of the concrete).  With the size of the containers I used for the forms, the 80 lb bag of quick mixing concrete just barely stretched.

The girls all topped off in concrete.  

After experimenting with spray paint on a board, I have decided to not paint these.  Will add some colorful duct tape in a turquoise blue perhaps in the spring for striping and say it is good.   The temps were just barely there for this project so hoping the concrete sets up properly.   We are going to move them all to inside of the barn late this afternoon to finish curing.  Once I get them in place, I plan to remove the handles from the buckets as I don't think Journey could control her urges and they'd be all pulled over on the ground each morning.  The long suffering one has got hay all over the front lot where I plan to set this next "project" is to point him at the tractor and blade and push that crap into the mulch pile.

NEXT UP:  Measuring off the course and determining if I have enough lot for 12 feet apart on the poles!  May have to put them on the diagonal.

November 10, 2017


A month has gone by and then some, and NO TIME!  Work sort of exploded and my part time status is nine hours a day, and then I go to job #2 (my favorite one) and put in another little bit of time.  So all good intentions sort of flow out the window.  But today I was off, and had no other pressing conflicts so at least got to start my pole bending obstacle project.

Step #1.  Why do they hire grumpy old farts to work in hardware stores?  This old dude (relatively speaking as I'm no spring chicken) was just not very cooperative and if he'd have been three feet tall instead of 6 foot 4, he could have applied for troll status under a bridge.  So I'm wanting 6 foot poles, but they have them cut in 10 foot lengths and five foot lengths.   I tell old grumpy fart that I will pay for the 10 ft poles if he will cut them down to six feet.  He grumps, and growls, and hedges, and oh for ****'s sake give me the five footers.   Now mind you I am carrying six three gallon buckets in my left hand, and he graciously hands me the six poles into my right which will not fit around two of them.   So I anchor them between my arm and chest and sort of drag the lot which is about as tall as I am up to the registers and prop everything up.   I realize I need end caps, I mean now that they are five feet, there is a slight risk one of the loving mares might decide to plant my butt since nobody has been ridden in who knows when.  I'd hate to go out impaled to a pvc pole, so I flag down Mr. GOF and say, I need end caps, please point the way.  He grimaces and finds me six and tries to dump them into one of my hands, which can hold exactly two of them.  I think I'm not letting GOF that close to my boob, don't like him all that much and manage to get them balanced in two hands, clutched to my chest and back to the register.   Yes, a shopping cart might have been an idea here.  I'm always so optimistic when I go into a store.

So the recipe starts here:

6  1 and a 1/2 inch and 5 foot (dang you GOF!) pipes
6   end caps to fit
6  three gallon paint buckets
2 cans of Krylon spray paint for plastics
80 lb bag of instant mix concrete
1 roll painters tape                       Spent:  $74 and change 

 The price of a pole bending set is about  $250 plus shipping.  I have no visions of running poles competitively, but they are a great exercise for the horse and the rider.  And will be our first obstacle for the obstacle course I'm hoping to build here.

The lady at check out graciously wrapped the pipe so I could get it out to the car.

I taped the poles off to spray paint, but I'm not sure that I will.  I'd honestly like the with with little stripes, as standing back from these they look pretty good.  May just investigate if I can get to outdoor tape, and tape on the stripes, or maybe some reflective...that could be fun.

Stopped my project there today, as the next step was the concrete and I decided a chat with my resident Sack-Crete specialist might be in order as it is pretty nippy out there today, water frozen on the horse's water tank, and I was unsure how the concrete would be able to set in the cold.   So if it warms up tomorrow...step 2.

October 7, 2017

Really Cool & Creative How To's by Bloggers!

Having been side lined for awhile now, trying to get over what ails me...I so miss my horse time.  For the longest time I've wanted to have some "fun stuff" to do with my horses at home.  I've pretty much made up my mind that doing anything in the future that includes heat and humidity just isn't going to happen.  EVER.   So I've been looking at a lot of "do it yourself" obstacles and am longing for some jumps, and a pole bending course.   I also don't want to break the bank doing it, as there still is that "no truck" worthy of pulling thing right now.  So in my travels across Pinterest, I found some fun do it yourself projects that I felt were worthy of linking out to.

The Other Horse has a cool little project to building some great little jumps using scrap lumber.   I have one area of the pasture (tongue firmly in cheek as it rarely grows grass) that would be a great place to set up two or three jumps.

North Carolina Cowgirl presents the first project I hope to take on with a low-cost pole bending set.   She uses paint buckets,  PVC for poles, and concrete for weighting the bases.  She says she spent like $40 for it, compared to close to $300 to purchase ready made.

I absolutely love the ladder obstacle, a certain spotted horse would possibly learn to watch where she is placing her pretty little hooves.

In the past I've used ground poles for many purposes, laying them in patterns for backing exercises, in a box to practice tight controlled turns in small spaces, and raising them for cavaletti work.  Landscaping timbers are great for this, they are low cost and treated so they hang in there a good long while.

Time for this old gal to get back on my horse ♥

October 1, 2017

Green Bean Endurance is now a sanctioned AERC program

For all you wanna-be endurance riders out there, check out the Green Bean Endurance Challenge.  I'm proud to say, that in a small way, that I made my mark in endurance.   I say that now that I no longer drive the bus.  Well---I'm not even currently ON THE BUS.  But those who know me, know the love I had (have) for this group of endurance riders.  

So TEAM riding is now a "thang" my friends.  I wish this group well, and I hope the little social experiment continues to grow the ranks of endurance riders for years and years to come.

Congratulations Deb Moe and Ricky Stone for hanging in, and finally getting it done!  Incredible how a little old dream for a new way took root, and flourished ♥

September 3, 2017

Recent Paintings

Tuxedo Kat, acrylic , 8X10 canvas board 2017 this little weirdo is probably staying home ♥

Starlight Kat, acrylic on canvas board 5X7 is being rehomed.

Reclining Kat, acrylic on 8X10 Canvas board off to a new home...
Sunset Kat, acrylic on canvas board, 8X10 off to a new home in Kentucky. This one inspired by another artist, not an original work, no credit on this, but was fun to make!

August 12, 2017

A bit of Folk Art

I love folk art.  A lot ♥.  Been playing in paint this weekend and created a few little pieces...sheep seem to be winning the day.

 Sheepish Moon, Acrylic, #S001
 Field of Dreams, Acrylic, # S003
Lonely Heart Hill, Acrylic, #S002

Prim Crow, Acrylic, 8 X 10

August 3, 2017


 Chickadee on post, acrylic, 2017
Soon to go to a new home...
Yellow flowers in blue vase, acrylic, 2017 also being "re-homed"

The varnish was wet on both of these so my photos had some glare that looks like white speckling which isn't really there.

July 15, 2017

Working on this for two weeks...I finally said I give!

I keep wanting to grab that pot and pull it down...about an inch!  My composition is just really off.  Happy with the pot, and the background, but stick me with a fork I am done!  It will probably get power sanded...

 Been groovin' on some peacocks (Ginger Cook inspired)

Brown pot and Cold mountain have gone to their "forever" homes.

Van Who?

My Own Personal Unicorn...

This bridle actually belongs to and fits the Spotted Wonder
Who say's I'm not a unicorn?
Medieval Baroque War Bridle by Two Horse Tack 

Since I have the photos up, may as well plug this pretty thing.  It is actually intended for a bit, but I intend to also use it on Phebes so I self-administered side pull rings for it, for those times.  Journey will probably use it with a bit as the bridle is intended as she is sometimes rather opinionated. She has blinged out reins, crupper, and a breast collar that match.  First day I can get her a bath...I'll get some photos.  I was worried that the spots on her might be a bit "much" but she kind of pulls it off!

The blue roan in the photo is "Big Cree" certainly the most photogenic of our herd.  Cree is the old man on the farm, he's twenty years old now.

July 9, 2017

Hell Hats: AWESOME!!!

I do wish that I could take credit for the creative Hell Hats.  These are taking your riding helmet to a whole new level.  No freaky brim blowing off....and if I do say so myself they look incredible.  Before anyone gets scared these do not involve screws or anything invasive to your helmet shell.


  • Cowgirl hat of choice.  Mine came from Amazon for about $15.00 plus shipping.  The photo when I shopped looked black, it came to me a chocolate brown.  It also came to me FLAT as a pancake.  It looked like it had been driven over by a tow truck.  F-L-A-T.   Thank goodness for wire brims....
  • Duct tape (the narrow kind is better) I used the basic wide black and ripped it lengthwise in half to make it more narrow.
  • Hat band, do-dads, sparkly things.  I had no hat band and did not see the sense of paying $20 to get one, so I made my own from jute twine from my jewelry stash.  I had plenty of do-dads, and sparkly things in my jewelry making tote.
  • Hot glue gun (don't panic, the hot glue never touches your helmet).
The basic process is you take that hat and cut the entire crown off and deposit into the trash.  Set the helmet on the flat brim and draw around it with a marker or chalk.   Then you cut little "v"'s around the entire inner brim. Just like the notches in your Easy Boot Gloves.   Slide it over your helmet and seat it so it hides your helmet brim and looks nice.  Duct tape.  Now you tear off a very long strip of duct tape (I recommend black or brown depending on the color of your brim).  Tape that puppy into place.   I made a second lap around it pulling the duct tape very snug and pressing gently as I went.    Some people just let the duct tape be the hat band, but I didn't like it, looked cheap *LOL*.  Once that was done and everything stuck down and looking right, I moved on to the home made hat band.   Dug through all my various craft things, fabric scraps....couldn't find anything that did it for me.  Even tried a piece of black biothane left over from another project.  Looked good, but wasn't quite wide enough to cover the tape.  I'm sitting at my work bench and all of a sudden I notice the roll of jute string....and I was sure I had a hot glue gun, yeppers!   So I hot glued the jute around, and around, and around many times, with the glue all going on the duct tape (not the helmet itself).


Finishing pretty!
 Credit where credit is due:  Hell Hats...join the posse  Check out some of the cool things people do to enjoy and wear their helmets.

July 4, 2017


At Tango (competitive mounted orienteering sanctioned by NACMO ) a couple of weeks ago we were given a beautiful full tack set from Two Horse Tack that we got to more or less raffle off among our riders.  Even though chances were priced low, we did raise enough for IN/IL CMO to purchase a  wheelbarrow for the brand new horseman's camp there at the Versailles State Park.  The campground is lovely, has ten electric sites, and dumping areas for manure, but there were no wheelbarrows to haul it to the dump site.  You had to drag/carry a muck bucket to keep the camp sites clean.  Marti and Dave Caldwell (wonderful people) went to the trouble of making the purchase and painting a "brand" on that baby, and hauled it back down here to give to the park.

 Admire it's sleek lines...
 And the custom paint job...
And the happy park ranger!

June 30, 2017

Entering a new phase in life

It is odd to me, physically getting older.   Emotionally I feel like the "me" I 've always been.  Probably more grounded,  more understanding of a lot of things, and having no understanding for others.   On the precipice of being a senior citizen myself, knowing my time with my own Mom is probably more precious now than it has ever been.  She speaks a lot about dying, that she knows her time is short now at eighty-three, and it breaks my heart inside to know how everything will change.   I lost my Dad when I was twenty-six, two of my children have proceeded me in death, but nothing effects me (though all those things shook the foundations of what makes me who I am) like thought of losing my Mom.  She has always been the force to reckon with in the family, and the sun which we orbited as siblings, though time has loosened that gravitational pull for some  due to time constraints and geographic separation, Mom has always been my anchor.  We've experienced some close exploding gallbladder that nearly killed her, emergency heart bypass, valve replacement, lots of near misses.   Now the enemy is time.   Just simply time.  Her skin is paper thin,  and blood thinners keep her looking bruised.  Tiny and frail, with a painful little old woman shuffle.  My power house of a Mom is old.   Hard to say.   Harder to accept.   I've been in denial for awhile now.  If I didn't own it, it couldn't really happen, could it?  Today she was puttering along.  Still lives on her own.  Asks for so damned little from a family that she has truly given a lot.   She will never read this.  But today I have to say, I love you Mom.   I hope I have you for another twenty years.

June 25, 2017

August 31 is a long time ...

Though I have been muddling along, for the most part I have not been well the past couple of years.  My digestive issues continue to worsen, the medications I'm taking not touching it, and now increasing nausea and downright incapacity twice this month.  I finally got in to see a gastro specialist, but my appt for scoping is not until the last day of August, and this has been a very bad weekend.  Very. Bad. 

August is a long time to wait.  A very long time.

June 17, 2017

I am so excited about this project!

Two Horse Tack has given me some flexibility to work on a custom endurance bridle.   So far we have made two of these, and are getting a feel for what may be wanted in an endurance bridle at a very competitive price, while maintaining quality.

The Other Horse

Photo credit:  Kirrily Niswander

We selected two endurance riders to test and review these and though these are not yet available on the website,  I am able to get these made to spec.

In Omnia Pratus

Photo credit: Liz Stout

Both bridles are halter bridles.  One with browband, and one without.   We chose very thin biothane for these to reduce weight,

Traditional Halter Bridle from Two Horse Tack