Thursday, October 6, 2022

A Very Eventful Summer

 I'm not sad it's fall.  

I'm not sad summer is over this year. 

Summer was a lot.  Not all of it good, but not all of it bad.  It was just a lot. 

I was blessed with the arrival of two really exciting colts.  Misha had a rough start.  His mom didn't produce much milk for him and we needed to help him out quite a lot. Since we've got what he needs figured, he's thriving and I'm really excited for the young horse he's becoming.  Uri grew and has been healthy all along.  He's gigantic and was a little too much personality for himself.  At 10 days past 3 months, I had him gelded.  He's since been weaned and is far more humble.  I quite like him now!  

Baryshnikov SE (Misha)
Nureyev SE (Uri)

I had the opportunity to volunteer at Canada's National Arabian Horse Show in Red Deer a couple weeks ago.  What a fantastic experience it was! Scribing for dressage and the sport horse in hand classes was such a fantastic learning experience, once again.  The show committee did a bang-up job, especially for pulling the whole show together in less than two months!  They took extremely good care of the officials and volunteers.  The horses were beautiful, and competitors were all vary gracious.  It had a fantastic family/community vibe and I'm so excited to get back into it next year with the colts! 

Recently the Canadian Warmblood Horse Breeders Association held their Fall Classic sale.  This year, the auction was completely online.  For the first time, a Ritchie foal participated in the sale.  Last year, we had a gigantic sweetheart of a maiden mare, Voila, by Volte, come for breeding.  She produced a lovely colt! He definitely took the best of both parents; lovely conformation, tall, great movement.  I'm excited that he will be staying in Canada (so far anyways.)  We wish Dynamo's new family the very best in his future! 

Dynamo and Voila

The farm has been super busy with boarders this year.  I can't remember ever having so many people out but it's been wonderful!  We've got regular lessons happening with Cathrine McLeod (Excalibur Sport Horses) and riders are progressing really well! 

We had two senior horses leave us recently as well.  Hunter came to us 4 years ago to be Ali's step-up horse after Bucky.  He was wonderful.  He was loved by so many people and was such a fixture on the farm.  Unfortunately his breathing became a struggle for him and I was concerned he was starting to suffer.  His prior family came to see him, have his final ride, and spend some serious time loving on him - as he deserved.  Everyone got to have their goodbyes.  I also can't say enough wonderful things about Just Passing Horse Bereavement Services. Incredibly kind, respectful and compassionate group of people.  They made the situation much more bearable.  Also, I personally don't think I'll ever have a horse put down chemically by a vet ever again if I can help it.  The method utilized by Just Passing I observed to be far more humane, immediate, painless and kind.  
The service returned a couple of months later to help a boarded mare, in a very similar situation to Hunter, pass.  

Every horse deserves to be loved by a little girl. 
The very best are loved by several <3 

Jasmine has been out several times for visits with residents in care between Westlock and Barrhead.  It's always so special to be able to bring some joy to people who sometimes society forgets. 

Crowded rooms, walkers, wheel chairs, nothing phases Jasmine!

Ali and Jesse's collection!
And we got to go to one last horse show! Ali took Jesse and I took Phillippe and away we went to Sunwest for a fun schooling show.  I anticipate next year will be a little more serious in the show ring, but it was fantastic to be able to finish the year on a really good note.  

Always so much fun when I get to take Phillippe out!

It seems I'm not allowed to upload pictures right now.  I'll try to come back at a later date and update this post to include them.  Oh well, technology. 

Now bring on fall!

Happy Horseing! 

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Hospital Visit

 With a heading like that, you'd probably think there was some sort of emergency or urgent health issue that we needed to go to the hospital.  Fortunately we are all healthy and well.  The hospital visit was by request of a palliative patient's family.  

Last weekend I had the pleasure of meeting a lovely lady who has a life-long passion for horses.  Unfortunately her presence in this world will soon come to an end, but it was an absolute pleasure to be able to take Jasmine to the hospital to meet her and spend some time visiting.  It was very thoughtful of her family to tell hospital management about her interests so they could connect with me and we could make the visit happen.  

Balloons didn't bother her at all, it's just me who doesn't like them!

After our priority visit, we did go through the rest of the hospital, to probably 3/4 of the patient rooms, Emergency Department and visited with almost all of the staff.  Pictures galore.  I could definitely feel a difference in morale in the facility after our rounds.  I'm so glad that I can share this special experience. 

Now, I'm looking towards setting up site visits at other sites.  We're booked into Barrhead long-term care at the end of September.  Ideally, I'd like to visit a site a month, be able to do a bit of a costume, and take some appropriate treats for staff and patients/residents.  It's a lot of work (lord is it ever..) but it's the most rewarding thing at the same time!  

To bring Jasmine to Westlock, it takes roughly 3 hours of driving, altogether, an hour getting her cleaned up and ready, and 2 - 2.5 hours for visiting. With the prohibitive cost of gas, I'm afraid that I won't be able to fulfill all the visitation requests.  I've started a gofundme campaign and have received some early support from kind friends.  With some assistance, I'm pursuing funding requests from various societies and unions.  Hopefully the support will allow us to continue to spread joy and bring up morale.  It's been so much working in healthcare the last few years... The novelty of a pony in the site seems to make a huge difference for staff and those in care.  

And yes, that's her own ID badge on her harness.

Happy Horseing! 

Monday, July 11, 2022

Mr. Fabulous

 Over the last month, I've been working regularly with Ritchie to bring him back into shape, fitness and addressing body soreness, balance and stretching.  He's coming along really well.  One of the biggest bonuses of boarding with Sawatzkys is the constant variety of obstacles in the arena, and access to a giant obstacle playground outside.  Having Ritchie climb things has really done wonders for his strength in his hind quarters and the reach in his front end. 

While life has been more than a little crazy over the last month, Sunday gave Ritchie and I the opportunity of a perfectly quiet arena and loads of space.  Rather than tacking him up, I decided why not let him run around outside and stretch his legs without my interference??!  So out he went.  As soon as I unclipped his lead rope in the outdoor arena, I started taking pictures.  Happy would be a gross understatement, I believe.  

Once he'd had his fill of running around, we went out to the playground and worked over some obstacles.  There's a bunch of telephone poles on the ground of various heights as well as tables and moguls.  This time, he was far more confident negotiating them all. 

We finished with some grazing and a good grooming.  Such a happy boy.  


Happy Horseing! 

Thursday, July 7, 2022


 Do you know how long it's been since I've had foals?  The last youngest are currently 6... it's been a minute. 

Let me back things up cause, man, it's been one hell of a month since I last wrote.  

June 10 my dad passed away.  He'd been struggling with cancer for a long time, and although he'd been looking like he was making positive progress recently, he had a sudden decline that took him away from us.  While I miss my dad and am going through the grieving process, I'm so glad he's not suffering any longer. 

The very next day, Chai delivered us a bouncing baby boy!  I didn't expect her to deliver that early, but I didn't look that closely at the signs.  Understandably, I was distracted.  Anyways, she did great, he was wonderful, strong and healthy, but poor Chai was hurting.  She couldn't get comfortable or in any position to rest.  A dose of banamine and she laid down with me and her colt to rest for about 20 minutes and felt far better after.  She's been great since. 

Her colt, a tall nearly black - will turn grey, is named Nureyev SE with a barn name of Uri.  He's named after Rudolph Nureyev - one of the greatest ballet dancers to ever live.  

He's doing well with halter training and overall socialization.  Except that he's in the stage where everything needs to be nibbled.  I have a tiny bruise on my forearm... Turkey!  

I got to take time off from work and spent lots of time with the horses.  It was good for my heart and convenient for all the goings-on at the farm.  Just when I thought I would go back to work, I got an urgent call that one of the young boarded horses decided it would be far more efficient to eat from INSIDE the ring feeder, but got herself stuck trying to make her exit.  With the help of the neighbor, she was rescued but not without some injury.  By the time I reached the farm, a pressure bandage had been applied to her hock to stop some arterial bleeding.  I got the trailer hooked up, added to the bandaging, got her loaded and away we went.  The vets were fantastic.  Mostly just debrided and cleaned up the wound, a few sutures to ensure nothing headed down the wound in front of the tendon, and thankfully no joint compromise.  Little girl is going to be getting a lot of attention while her injury heals (and it's doing really well!!)  Reminds me a lot of what Mud had done when she was 2.  

So that was fun.  
I have been able to ride quite regularly now that Ritchie has fancy new dancing shoes on (he just needed his front shoes redone, there's nothing actually fancy about them...)  It's been really neat to watch his fitness come back as well as his willingness to work.  I do my very best to ensure he gets the attention he needs and deserves after work.  We've done a lot of pole work as well as stretching.  Seems to be making a difference to his strength and how good he's feeling.  What makes me happy is Matchy-Matchy tack and boots!!  hehehehe 

And lastly, in the wee hours of July 4, our last colt arrived.  I had been waiting for him. Sheeba held onto him for an extra 10 days and, being maiden and a Ritchie foal, we were worried that he might be very large.  Sheeba did great, started into an active labor at 3:00 and laid down to deliver by 3:30.  

This tiny, adorable little colt is named Baryshnikov SE (Misha for short) after Mikhail Baryshnikov, another incredibly talented dancer I adore.  Big name for a wee pony but I have no doubt he'll grow and become an impressive horse in his own right.  He was quick to find his legs and get up - probably 20 minutes.  Like Chai, Sheeba is a wonderful mom and recovered really well without need for banamine or anything other than a nice, warm mash.  Misha's got to grow quickly to be able to go play with his nephew, Uri!  

And now we're all caught up!  

Happy Horseing! 

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Show Donkey! And Friends

 Have I mentioned I missed showing?  

Have I mentioned I like infecting (enabling?) the next generation with the love of horses and showing?  It's really self serving.  If kids learn to love showing, there will be parents who pay for shows and more shows will be offered for kids to compete in - ergo I get to continue showing too!  Win win!  (winner winner!) 

So we recently had the opportunity to do just that.  A local facility is also very novice-friendly focused and, in partnership with the Alberta Donkey and Mule Association, hosted an introduction to showing and obstacles clinic followed by an open show.  I thought it would be a fantastic opportunity to get Phillippe out for some exposure, get Ali out with Jasmine and we invited our good friends Kelsey, and her 6-year-old daughter Autumn, along with us.  

My plan worked great!  Autumn learned loads about handling her mini, One-Eyed-Willy, who was surprisingly willing with all obstacles for a pony with very limited vision, and even won some ribbons in the show on Sunday.  

Fortunately all 3 littles fit in the 2-horse trailer and everyone had their own space. 

Phillippe gained SO MUCH CONFIDENCE!!!  He was very ready to leave the premises when we'd first arrived, and couldn't stand still.  Training a donkey has been a whole new avenue of patience and approach, but I'm enjoying it.  He learned he could walk over the donkey-eating tarp and that he could stand quietly for halter and showmanship for several minutes at a time.  He did so well in his in-hand that we actually won the senior showmanship.  He was the youngest animal in the class (of 9) and was super cooperative for me.  

Our final tally was: Open Long Ears (class for donkeys and mules specifically) 3rd, Halter Junior Horse (animal) 3rd, Senior Showmanship 1st (plus top long-ears of the class, another 1st), and an honorary 1st for costume class participation.  We did Trail In-Hand and took 5th out of 20+ entries as well!  Thrilled doesn't even come close.  

Ali won the Junior Horse halter class, won the egg and spoon in hand and took home a 4th in her showmanship class.  

Autumn and little Willy also got an honorary first place for costume, another for lead-line and a 4th in her pee-wee showmanship class.  She very politely asked if she can come back again to the next show.  Absolutely kiddo.  We'll definitely do this again.  



Happy Horseing! 

Friday, May 20, 2022


 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


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. 

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!