Friday, September 8, 2017


It's so fun meeting new people and growing as a horse person.  Not only as a rider, but as an all around equine enthusiast.  This time I am specifically referring to an in-the-tack activity though.

Recently I had the pleasure of meeting a lady in the area who has taken to Spanish working equitation and the garrocha.  We met when she brought her Warlander filly to a trick clinic I was teaching.  She was fantastic at picking up the tricks and shared with me what she was working on at home.  Well, of course that means a pony play day!!  Heidi and her sister Chantelle came over with three of their horses and their big garrocha pole to ride with Ali and I.  I was excited to try the pole out with Jose as I'd worked him several moons ago dragging things when we did a trail competition as part of a battle of the breeds in Saskatoon.  He was not at all concerned about the pole.  Steering was a little more tricky, but we did manage to make some circles around it and drag it along.  Nothing like what you'll see on youtube, but everyone has to start somewhere.

Ali did 3 canters each direction on her own with Bucky.  God bless his 28 years of patience.  He gives her so much.  I'm eternally grateful for him always keeping her safe!!!

The horses the girls brought with them had a good time doing tricks, taking a ride through the hay field and being out.  It's been a while since I had a good time doing a pony play day.  Absolutely needs to happen again - SOON!!!

Be like Heidi, and happy horseing!!!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Wildwood Fair

Oh the adventures we get to have.  Every year it's something different, a new place, a new venue, and I love all of it!

I'm so blessed to have some really incredible friends.  This particular one I've had the pleasure to share a few adventures with this year!  The incredible Jeanette Hall invited Jose and I to perform with her at the Wildwood Fair for their mid-show entertainment.  Jeanette is an accomplished archer and gave a talk and demo on mounted archery.  Unfortunately her super-trusty Morgan is still recovering from an injury so she brought out her rookie backup, a young Appy named Caspar.  She had shot off of him only once months ago at a stand still.  Today, she took him all the way up to shooting from the trot!!!  He was a rockstar, and Jeanette was so fun to watch and engaging with the crowd and kids.  I almost didn't want to perform because I was having so much fun watching them.

Just like that!
After all of the kids had a turn shooting the bow, JJ and I took over the crowd and talked about trick-horse training.  How I got to stand around and look pretty and he does all the real work...
It's not untrue..
Jose makes me look good! 

After a good demo to a receptive crowd, we packed up the kids and Jeanette treated me to a Chinese food late lunch.  I'm not sure if the food was really as good as I think it was or if we were just that hungry but it was fantastic company regardless.

It's always a pleasure to meet people when we go out.  We connected with a Patrol Sheriff who was in mounted troop likely at the same time as Anthony.  He asked if Jose was a Quarter Horse, but we won't hold that against him.

So impressive! 
I really like this idea of saying "Yes!" when asked to be involved with things - even if I'm not sure how things are going to go or what the program will be.  Say yes to opportunity and learn the "how to" after.

As always, happy horseing!!!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

And Now For Something Completely Different!

I suppose pictures of Jose aren't really different, but having the opportunity to work with an incredible photographer, whose work I absolutely admire, is something a little out of the norm for us.
At Mane Event, I had the pleasure of talking with the delightful Megan Kruse.  She had a beautiful booth set up at the Event with some of her stunning works.  I love what she creates and she's a pretty fun, down to earth and creative human.
When the opportunity came through that she was looking for a "brand ambassador", I jumped at the opportunity!  Jose is so creative, I knew he could be a fantastic addition to her portfolio.  I just come along for the ride.  lol
So I applied, and she accepted!!!  We scheduled our first photo shoot at the farm as a kind of a "getting to know you" type of idea.  It was FANTASTIC!!!  She let JJ and I do what we do and grabbed perfect angles to catch beautiful moments.

I can't say enough good things!  If you're looking for a very talented Alberta-based photographer to capture special moments with you and your horses, do yourself a favor and connect with Megan Kruse!!

Being unconventional certainly has its advantages! 

Two of my favorite things in this world!!  <3 
Happy Horseing!  and call Megan!!!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Go to the Show!

It gets to that uncomfortable, itchy place, where you have such a need, an addiction to fill that you do anything you can to fill it.  Mine is obviously showing horses...
I had registered Jose and I for a small schooling dressage show at Mind's Eye not far from our place for Saturday (yesterday) to go through a couple of training level tests.  Unfortunately the show was cancelled due to low entries!!!  What's a girl to do??  Well, there was still a show going on, but not a dressage show.  It was an open show at Thorsby, the Warden All-Breed Show.  I had gone to this show 19 years ago... yes, that's dating myself, with a sweet QH gelding named Laddie.  It was a fairly small show then, and we just did under saddle classes and I remember doing quite well by the end of the day with him.
I realize that my Standardbred is quite a different kettle of fish and that's just fine.  I'm quite fond of him - obviously.  We entered the Sr. Showmanship, Halter Geldings and three under saddle classes, Sr. Equitation, Maiden Pleasure and Sr. Pleasure.  The classes were only $7 each so it really didn't hurt!
The last show we went to where the judge crucified him.  Schooling show, training level tests.  I've been a little gun shy to take him out in that kind of environment again since.

My day started off less than ideal, my alarm failed to go off so I woke up with Anthony's, half an hour late.  Thank goodness both the child and Jose were very cooperative and we arrived without issue at the grounds and I managed to make it into the ring for my showmanship class - however I didn't hear the gate keeper call so I was late in.  I missed my last quarter as the judge was doing her round because JJ had shifted and I was trying to correct him.  He was so confused, poor guy.  He kept asking me if we were doing Spanish walk now or...????  Anyways, the classes were quite large, I believe 11 or so horses in each, and we did not make the judge's card in either of the in-hand classes.  I wouldn't have placed us in showmanship either, but I think I would have put him in front of a few of the halter horses.  However, that's just my opinion.
This is more normal for us on the ground.
The western classes went after the in-hand classes, which is very different.  It was a long wait through two half-hour breaks plus classes.  Kudos to the judge though, she kept things moving right along!  The Sr. Equitation pattern came first.  There was no rail component to this, only the pattern and it was a pretty terrible one, in my opinion.  Three pilons in a straight line.  Trot from the first to second (about 10 m) on the right diagonal.  Halt and pilon 2.  From there, canter depart on the left lead to a circle to the left.  Halt upon return to pilon 2.  Rein back 5 steps.  Canter depart immediately on the right lead to pilon 3 and circle to the right there.  Halt at pilon 3.
Now JJ had recently been offering me walk-canter transitions so I took advantage of that.  We started our trot from slightly further back so we had time to establish trot before running into the halt pilon.  That went fine.  The first canter circle went quite well for the first 3/4 but didn't end really pretty.  That's fine, the halt was good and reasonably placed.  The rein back went well but JJ decided 5 steps wasn't enough and brought us back 8 or 9...  from there, I elected to trot up to pilon 3 and ask for a better transition into canter.  I think it worked as it was clear and obedient and the halt was also decent.
We placed 5th out of 10 or 11 in that class.  I couldn't have been more thrilled!!!!
The maiden pleasure class was immediately after.  I was so excited by our placing that I'd dismounted in the holding area.  When I heard them call me I came running!  JJ was more relaxed for the rail class but had a hard time with the marathon canter the judge asked for.  He was tired, justifiably.  It was 30 degrees outside and the show was indoors with no ventilation!  He really wanted to drop out of the canter after the first lap, but we had to keep going for 2 and then 3 laps!  I wonder if the judge wanted to see if the Standardbred would drop out of the canter (which is now quite strong thank you!!)  He did give me a bit of a crop hop one way out of displeasure at my strong FORWARD aid, fair enough.  On line up, I counted 8 riders.  We placed 6th and I was thrilled with that too!  I had wanted to make the judge's card, and we reached our goal.
After trying so hard for me and thinking about the severe conditions, I scratched the third under-saddle class. I knew there were at least 11 riders in it and thought I'd much rather leave him on a positive and successful note.  He got 3 handfuls of cookies for his hard work and we packed up and went home.

A wet bed sheet from Value Village really helps to beat the heat!
Ali decided the picture needed to be XL for this blog entry...
At the end of it, I don't think I'll be afraid to take my horse out to another open show in the future.  He's what I currently have and always tries his best to do what is asked of him.

Ritchie taught me to ride the horse you have.  And while he's away being incredible and successful with Jessica, I have Jose who is pretty incredible in his own right.

Keep working, keep riding and Happy Horseing!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Guess Who's a Superstar??

This weekend past, Mr. Ritchie headed back to Langley with Jessica to show third level at Thunderbird's GOLD show.  You can absolutely call me a PROUD MAMA, because they came home with RESERVE CHAMPION open third level!  They missed out on champion by only 0.2%!!  Had they scored 1% higher on any of their three tests, they would have taken the cooler home.  This was only their second ever show together, their very first gold show, and there is no sign of them slowing down. 

Langley was wet and moderately unpleasant during the three-day show but Ritchie showed what an "old pro" he is already at 7 years old.  He stayed with Jessica, who recently had a fall off a training horse, and did what he was asked to do. 
He placed first in both of his third level-test 2 tests.  Sunday he rode test 3 for the first time and, although he maintained a fantastic score of 64%, he placed third.  My question to Jess each day was "Did you have fun??"  "YES!!" was always the ecstatic answer.  With that kind of enjoyment, it doesn't matter to me if they came in first or last.  The fact is they're having fun!  All of the pretty ribbons and prizes are just icing on the cake.

Since then, Jessica has advised me that we need to do one more gold show at third level as it will qualify them for a number of awards with Equestrian Canada. 

She's also been invited to California for September as a working student.  When she asked if she could take Ritchie down with her, my answer was an immediate "Of course!!"  We'll make it happen as it's an incredible working experience for both of them. 

I miss my horse but I'm having a bunch of fantastic adventures myself... stay tuned!!

And Happy Horseing!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Catching Up

Hello blogger world! 
I see it's been one heck of an absence from my writing, you must have missed me so!  I feel a little like Dressage Curmudgeon, but I don't think I'm quite as witty.  Used to love reading her entries; sad she quit writing. 

So what's new? 

Well, I was asked to return to Mane Event this year with Equi-Health Canada to speak again about the equine first-aid programs.  I loved it!  I had such a fantastic time with the group and the audience was very receptive.  This year, I was also asked to bring Jose with me and perform with him during the Saturday Night Equine Experience.  I did, and Jose tried his little heart out for me!  It's a scary big arena crammed full of people and loud music so I certainly can't blame him for being a little overwhelmed and off his game.  BUT, he still tried hard, remembered a good portion of the routine we'd practised and lay down with me in the middle of the ring.  I was so happy with him and couldn't have asked for more!

Not from this year, but same ring...

Ritchie has begun his Third Level dressage show season!  I was so thrilled with his scores at his first schooling show, mid 60's, even tying for first place in Third test 2!  Having gone to visit him and Jessica in early March, I'm thrilled at how happy he is and how well they work together!

Water Everywhere!!!  There is video on youtube from my visit and subsequent schooling show too.

Jose is back at home now.  The broodmares are sold.  The only two left to sell this year are the yearlings: Billy and Thursday.  Billy is HUGE!!  He's the big, friendly giant.  As soon as he's shed out and quits scraping himself up, it will be pictures and marketing and send him off.  Thursday still needs more work.  She just had such a rough start that I don't feel she's ready to leave and thrive away from the farm yet.  However, the more I'm working with her consistently, the more I'm liking the brain in there.  So perhaps the sales ad will be up sooner than later. 

Most recently, I had the opportunity to join a good friend in a really cool photo shoot the very talented Linda Finstad was doing for her next book - a how-to guide for equine photographers.  This photo shoot was for the chapter on building a kick-ass portfolio (which I've dubbed "making friends with the crazy horse people".) My good friend Jeanette Hall was doing a shoot for mounted archery.  We'd been talking recently about doing a "warrior women" photo shoot with our black horses.  She had already booked the shoot with Linda and invited me to join!  Who am I to say no to an awesome time?  We went, the photos are amazing, and I had a fantastic adventure again!

One of so many cool shots!!

And, last but certainly not least, Ritchie's one and only foal of 2017 was born today.  A bay colt with a big blaze face!  His name is Meramba and I can't wait to go see him! 

There, now we're updated!  I promise I'll keep up better entries - I'll be working with another kick-ass local photographer this summer, so there will be loads to share! 

In the mean time, Happy Horseing!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Not to Show, What to Do?

I'm itchy for spring, REAL spring, not teasing spring that we've gotten this February.  I'm itchy for Jose to lose his winter hair (it seems he's going to be the last to start sheading!) and to be able to get outside on dry ground and go ride during daylight hours. 

I'm itchy for show season except, wait now, I don't think I'll actually show this year!  Gasp!  Blasphemy!!  I agree completely!  It's so foreign.  Even just 2 or 3 shows a season is tolerable, but NONE?!?!?!  How will I go on?

I'm considering going to some rail-class shows, do some in-hand with "little" Chai.  It would be so good to get her out and have some experience in the bigger world.  But poor JJ just isn't a show horse.  I mean he's a wonderful performance horse in that he puts on a great show when we do trick demos, but he just isn't the most balanced, rhythmic or easy-to-ride horse!  I don't know that he'd enjoy being in a regular show.  If he's not having fun, I won't either.

But then, if we do decide to compete, if not in a rail class show, do we try baby eventers?  You know I don't jump, hells no, but we could school some small obstacles and we do enjoy venturing out to Beaumont.  I don't want to put him through my beloved dressage shows.  He'll ride into every corner and do his damndest on every line but the poor guy has no natural rhythm, his canter is lateral so he'll be crucified even though he tries so hard. Again, not fun. 

But we do have plenty of events.  Not like eventing events, but our calendar is filling up.  In addition to returning to Brooks this year, we intend to be participating in a friend's wedding for which medieval dresses are being constructed already. 

I've been booked to JUDGE shows!  Perhaps that's where I'll get my fix this year.  I've judged plenty of small dressage shows.  This year I've been invited back to Red Deer again to judge the 4H regional show in dressage.  That's always a lovely time.  And Valley View has contracted me to judge their local show as well.  I'll need to find a hat for that one! 

In any case, I'd love to have some suggestions for things we could do this year to fill our show bug. 

In the mean time, Happy Horseing!