Friday, May 20, 2022

Thera-Pony!

 Christmas time was our first trip to the local Long-Term Care facility. I'd been wanting to set up another visit day for the near future now that the weather has dried up and pony's mostly shedded out.  A few days ago, I got an email from the site manager identifying an interest for a pony visit for not only the residents and staff, but to be a feature for an article about the site and the residents by our employer.  With a bit of discussion and coordination, I was granted the time away from the office and Jasmine got to have a visit. 

This is never going to get old.  It's not just the amazing residents who love to have the pony visit, it's so much the staff too who get a morale boost by something different and really neat to experience.  

There were a couple of faces that we got to see again who remembered Jasmine's last visit, and we met several more new friends as well.  

For the most part, Ali takes Jasmine through the site and handles her for contact.  And she does a fantastic job.  It was so nice that, this time, everyone who wanted to could pet the pony.  Jasmine did think fingers were snacks though... But one gentleman did show me that by petting her forelock, Jasmine was very calm and didn't look for nibbles.  Something to remember for next time.  

Although it's nice that the site gets to have the recognition and promotion, lord knows the staff works so hard and truly cares for their residents, my real reward is the whole experience of spending time in the site and seeing the smiles.  

I can't wait for next time! 

Happy Horseing! 

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Spring!

Welcome to May!  We're finally free of snow - although this weekend is the May long weekend and snow is always fair game.  
Currently we're waiting the last 5 ish weeks for our two mares to foal.  Both were confirmed in foal and checked in the fall.  Fingers crossed there's no issues and we have healthy babies and mamas on the other side. 

I've completed my shadowing and scribing time needed for my AEF judging credentials.  Now I'm waiting to hear about their mandatory education seminar and then I should be a provincially certified judge.  

We're taking the littles to a clinic and show on the last weekend of the month.  I expect it will be really good exposure for Phillippe and the kids.  Ali and I are taking our good friend Kelsey and her daughter Autumn.  Neither have shown before - Autumn is 6.  They have a darling one-eyed pony named Willy.  We'll pack up all 3 littles, Jasmine's coming too, and get some good experience and exposure.  Maybe even some ribbons in the end!  
Stinkin Cutie he is!


I feel I have fly sheets coming out the wazoo.  Everything has a fly sheet, even all the minis.  I don't have fly sheets for the foals, hopefully I won't need to get them.  


Found a neat Canadian company for feed supplements.  Mad Barn is my new favorite.  I've got supplements on subscription for really good prices, delivered to my door! Highly recommend checking them out.  www.madbarn.ca 

And Trent bought me a lovely pair of custom boots for my birthday.  I love how he spoils me and enables my hobby.  
I think that's it for now.  I'm sure there'll be lots of updates to come soon. 

As always, Happy Horseing! 

Thursday, March 24, 2022

What's a Year?

 I really liked the idea of doing blogging regularly.  Turns out that missed a few months though.   Oh well...

So what's been happening in the last year?  Oh, just a bit of this and that.  

We got the opportunity to get back to some showing. Ali made a fantastic new friend and they had a blast with the horses at a schooling show last summer.  I took Phillippe the donkey to his first show in Barrhead where poor little dude decided he could NOT possibly walk forward inside the indoor arena.  I must have lost my mind. But Ali took her new mini, Jasmine, in the show, won her class, placed in showmanship, and then toured the local greenhouse with her meeting customers and being a personable pleasure.  I'll tell you, that pony is the best $50 kijiji buy ever!  




Christmas came and went and we took that special little pony into the local long-term care facility at the request of the site manager.  We dressed Jasmine pony up in bells, bows and anything else we could think of.  She was fantastic.  Absolutely wonderful.  Had a touch of trouble getting her in the elevator but a blindfold and a backup and that was dealt with.  (Working smarter, not harder...) The residents were delighted.  I think we'll take her back in the spring. 


We did a fair amount of driving with both minis.  I spent time with Chai, riding, loved it!!  And then I bred her to a cutie little Arab stud with the best hind quarter I could find in the province.  Turns out he's a half brother to Pyralis, a stud I'd had as a yearling, bred once to Nix to create Tex (Pyrotecnix SE) and then sold who is now an endurance mount named Bob.  

Ali's second time putting Jasmine in harness.

Even my mom got into driving!

Chai's so stunning


Sheeba came back into my life.  I'm thrilled, Ali and I both rode her a bit this summer before breeding her to Ritchie.  She's 17 and maiden but carrying well and looking adorable. Both mares are due around June 25.  They bred consecutive days so hopefully foaling will be right close too.  

Not Sheeba, but her full sister Khori as a 2 year old


I think that about brings us back up to speed.  Short and sweet right?  Well, we'll see what comes in the next time frame before it occurs to me to write again.  At least there's pictures...  


Happy Horseing! 

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Old Friend, Welcome Home

 It's always so sweet when it gets to happen. 

Years ago I'd sold Bucky to a great home.  When the family moved and downsized, they very kindly reached out and gave him back to us.  We loved having him home and made sure he was loved and cared for until he was ready to let go.  

This time, a fella that didn't ever belong to me or my family was offered to us.  I'd known him as a young horse and even lightly started him as a 3-year-old colt.  He belonged to my heart sister, a very dear friend who was very bonded and attached to him.  Life happened and it was the best thing for her to eventually sell him.  My uncle has a very soft spot for buckskins so we met in Brooks and the sale was made.  13 years later, Jesse was offered back to us by said uncle.  





Unfortunately my heart sister has moved to Ontario but I knew her boy needed to come home to us and that it was going to light her heart for her to know he came home.  I didn't tell her, oh but I really wanted to!!!  I didn't tell her until he was landed on the farm.  I took pictures right away and posted as soon as I got home and tagged her. Taking his leadrope, he felt just like an old friend.  Jesse is 17 this May. 



We'll give him some time to settle in.  He was rather alarmed by the idea of being beside MINIS (you know they might eat his legs...) but he'd also come off an 8-hour drive.  My uncle likes team roping but unfortunately for them both, Jesse is afraid of cows.  



I think we'll give him a round of ulcer meds, give him some time to adapt and relax and then spend some time getting to know each other again.  We'll find out what he might be interested in.  Perhaps he might have a lot of fun jumping!  Who knows! 

Welcome home Jesse Zan Par Barr. It's interesting to have a Quarter Horse on the property again, but it's sure nice to have a buckskin again.  

Thanks for stopping by and happy horseing. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Retired Racehorse Radio Interview

 Happy New Year to everyone out there!  I started a different new year's resolution a few years ago and I liked it so much I decided to keep it running.  Quite simply, it's saying "yes" to new opportunities.  So when Joy from Retired Racehorse Radio contacted me about doing an interview about my track-reject Jose, my answer was naturally YES! 

I keep saying this horse wants to be a MOVIEstar, but we're glad to promote his breed and himself wherever we get the opportunity.  

They were wanting a specifically "dressage" themed interview and, to be honest, Jose isn't the world's strongest dressage horse.  Although, I will tell you that we have always ridden good, technical tests to the very best of our ability.  It is something we've done but he is definitely best known for being a trick-trained horse.  Regardless, I feel that my point of giving the underdog a chance and loving a horse with so much heart and try got across just fine.  

You can find it here

From JJ and I, much love, health, success and, of course, happy horseing! 

Photo by Visions of Heaphen Photography


Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Another Lesson in Trailer Loading

 Have I talked about this before?  I must have.  I really feel like I'm beating my head against a wall here.  

There's a mare that was brought to the farm by a well meaning but horribly inexperienced lady a couple of years ago. A situation where an ethical seller would never have put either horse or prospective owner in for their own mutual safety.  However... buyer thought she had enough experience and education after taking a few trail rides to purchase a green horse (who came with tack) for $500 (what a deal!) The seller even delivered!  

Any other long-time horse persons see the red flags?  Yeah, thought so, but I will continue... 

Buyer did not see the horse being ridden nor rode the horse herself before purchasing so we have no idea the level of training (?) the horse has had.

When the horse was delivered to the farm, the seller stated that she was a bit of a "rodeo" to load and unload.  

Naturally the path of horse and human was not all roses and unicorns like she'd anticipated.  I believe the mare kicked the owner at some point.  I was certainly dealing with enough in my own life that I did not have the time, energy nor desire to invest in this horse and human pairing so it went the way you'd anticipate.  Eventually owner got behind on board and surrendered the horse to my mother, farm owner.  

And so she sat... 

Now as time goes on, people come and go and I have had the incredible good fortune to meet a beautifully kind-hearted man whose daughter is keenly active in horses and so he, himself, has an interest in learning about horses and participating in equine activities.  He enjoys the farm and likes the idea of being able to take a horse to the mountains for hunting, etc.  He discovered said abandoned horse and began spending time with her.  Although he is not experienced, he takes direction brilliantly (even from me!!) and shared a desire to try to see if the mare would be a willing participant in the direction he'd like to go.  

I agreed, provisionally.  The mare had to go to a trainer for at least an evaluation to see if she is a willing participant or if there is a behavioral predisposition that could be dangerous.  Cause if someone's going to get hurt, game over.  

We arranged for a two-week trial with my favorite trainer, Roland Sawatzky, and the day came to take the mare over to the barn.  

Remember the day she was brought to the farm?  How we were told she was a rodeo to load?  Right... Now I preach about how your energy and attitude can have a major impact on trailer loading and, to be completely honest, I'm not a fan of loading in most trailers!  But I love mine <3 So I made sure my energy and attitude was in a positive direction while listening to what the mare had to say.  She did walk right up the ramp and into the trailer; however, once she was there, she was anything but calm and confident so I backed her out again.  This needed some practice.  We tried again and that's where she showed me the rodeo.  She was crooked, very tense, and when she felt trapped by pressure, she jumped up and struck out with her front legs and pawed aggressively on the ramp. I'm all for horses communicating and expressing themselves, but not in a manner dangerous to people.  A brief but succinct discussion about her behavior followed and then I had Ali grab good old Mud Puddle from the pen where she and this mare lived together.  Mud, although the bane of my existence, has loaded and hauled plenty and I was confident that she would just walk in. She did not disappoint. 

With the assistance of a friend, mare put in a bit of effort to think her way through my request.  There was ample pawing at first which I interpreted as an expression of stress. I corrected the dangerous behavior and encouraged her attempts to cooperate.  The impression I got was that she was waiting for a fight and was going to give it everything she had.  How terrible.  I don't believe in that.  Sure, yes, absolutely I've gotten to the place of major frustration previously, made bad calls and not handled myself in constructive ways with horses before, yes.  But I've learned and grown and now I can do better!  So I did not engage.  I did not let my energy escalate.  I stayed positive, encouraging effort, recognizing and praising her attempts to cooperate. Eventually when her energy levelled out, I picked up my favorite magical dressage whip.  No, I certainly did not use it to inflict pain, that's totally counter productive.  Also, I had tried to introduce it earlier but felt a lot of tension from her so opted for better timing later. Sometimes you cannot force the process, just need to wait for timing.   Now seemed more appropriate timing.  We had a short conversation about when I tap your back, you step forward and the tapping stops.  Good enough, so onto the ramp.  She would give me front feet on the ramp, head in the trailer and stop. 

Now I would tap more and ask her to continue forward.  Like most horses, she didn't want to cooperate and went backwards.  When that happens, the tapping continues and gets firmer and in a quicker rhythm.  As soon as she steps forward again, the tapping stops and she is praised.  Now, I have not yet met a horse that this technique doesn't work for but I do feel that there is a timing for implementing it. Indeed, she stepped up, into the trailer, one step at a time, lots of praise.  We did this three times and on the third time I did not have to touch the whip to her, just raised it above her and she stepped in.  I was able to hand her off to Ali and went around to do up the butt bar.  We were away on the road within minutes and both rode like champs!  

PS, short sleeves in December!!

Mare even unloaded like a rockstar and went down the shedrow very politely.  The little black horse who stayed in the trailer however... 

Mud just can't even...


The ride back was uneventful, Mud stopped her theatrics once we were moving.  We finished the day loving on our herd.  Ali has such a love affair with Chai.  I am hopeful that the day will come soon when we're all riding enough that they can begin a further partnership.


My girls <3

All in all, I believe the mare does have a desire to be part of a team but will need to learn to trust that she's not going to get backed into a corner with no way out but to be dangerous and she will not be met with anger, high energy and emotional outbursts from the humans around her. No, I'm not putting down the mare's name because I'm hoping it will change with her partnership and career. 

Happy horseing (and stay safe!)

Tuesday, November 3, 2020

A Beautiful Fall Day

We haven't ridden much this year. In truth, we haven't ridden much in the last two years.  I don't think I'd been on my horse since late June or maybe early July.  It's life, it's not ideal but it's also not permanent.  That being said, we've had the good luck of some lovely fall weather and took advantage of it on the weekend.  
Sunday was my mom's birthday (50th with several years of practice of course) so we went to give her a bottle of wine and visit the critters while we were out.  The horses were all up looking like they wanted something to do so we pulled in a couple and tacked them up. Jose, as you know, is a superstar.  The other horse is Mud.  Maybe I've written about her before... she's kind of the bane of my existence but she's growing on me after all these years.  She's 16 this year but hasn't ever had much experience with regards to all things equine.  Although, to her credit, she isn't stupid under saddle, just hasn't had much eduction.  My mother had been wanting to get on her horse all summer.  This time we got it to happen.  Funny that there was no tack already set up for her - we had to find a bit and reins and bridle then size it down for her.  Unfortunately we also haven't got a well-fitted saddle for her either; however, we made work what we did have.  


I lunged the Mud Puddle which she thought was a great, fun idea, for about 30 seconds, and then it became WORK, how dare I?!  But once she proved that paying attention to what I was asking for was of higher importance than responding to her friend's whinny, I praised her and brought her in.  I don't ride Mud, I'd just rather not and I feel Mud also appreciates that.  But Ali does!  So I popped my kidlet up on her and handed the lead rope to my mother and they had a lovely stroll around while I got up on Jose and did some work.  Since he's a Rockstar and it's been so long since we last rode, I made it a short and positive one.  Once I popped off him, we brought in Mud and changed out the riders.  Mom did great!  Yes, she walked for maybe 7 minutes but that's more than her body has done in a year.  The Puddle was calm and a good citizen and strolled around relaxed with Ali in lead.  

Sometimes it's not about the hard training and the ribbons, sometimes it's just the simplest action of spending some quality time together.

And a special shout out to my amazing boyfriend for capturing some images from our rides.  Thanks love! 
And happy horseing!