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Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains unawakened.

Ride with your heart and soul ~ your horse can feel it


Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Problem with Boarding

Its always tough when a boarder you really like leaves, especially when you like both the person AND their horse.  This spring/summer I was lucky that a girl I know through mutual friends, and that is also a barrel racer, came to board at Rafter K and through her time here we became friends ourselves.
Tonto, Two Eyed Jack bred I believe
 barrel & "all around" horse

Tonto fit into the herd really well.  He was easy to handle and be around, heck even little Carlos! (so often a jerk to the horses) became smitten with Tonto and would often play with him through the fence, and try to steal his grain lol
Unfortunately, for us, Tonto's owner CH had a sudden change in direction in her life... she's off to further her education.  Now that's a good thing!  The not so good thing is that its hours from here and it makes no sense for Tonto to keep living with us.  So he's headed home to her parents's farm for a winter vacation and in the spring she'll move him closer to her.
Tonto went home on Saturday, CH left a bag of coffee (haha she knows the way to my heart! ;) ) and a thank you card (that made me tear up) in the barn.  I was sad I couldn't be around to say bye, but its probably good that I couldn't be there, I probably would have gotten a bit weepy.

It didn't take long to find a new boarder to fill Tonto's spot.  Shortly after CH gave her notice another friend through barrel racing messaged me asking if I had a full time spot and a temporary spot.  The temporary spot is for September and October while her horse is her for a lameness study being done at the veterinary college nearby and then she'll be moved, she should be arriving next week.
On Monday the full time horse moved in, meet Oakley:
cute as a button little red mare
great grand-daughter of Peptoboonsmal

Her owner plans to introduce little miss Oakley to the world of barrel racing, take her team penning, and just flat out enjoy her horse - I love it! :)  I'm looking forward to seeing their progress.  
If things go well Oakley and Lefta will share a pen for the winter.  First up though, pasture introductions!  So far everyone seems to be getting along fine over the fence so fingers crossed it will go well!

**horse photos for this post were shamelessly acquired from their owner's instagram accounts**

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Sponsor?!

When my good friend Janelle (aka Marge, in past blog posts) asked me if I was interested in having a sponsor I laughed, and almost fell off my horse.  Maybe she could have brought it up at a better time lol

You see Janelle is a (fantastic!) equine therapist.  Among her tools are massage and chiro.  You can find out more about her here Natural Balance Equine Therapy.
She's also a BOT dealer and I looove my Back on Track products, both for my horses and myself! 
Also, I already am a loyal client of hers (and not just because we're friends, the friendship came later) and usually sponsors go for the girls that rodeo or at least compete at the top (1D).  I'm just a little 3Der trying to crack in to a higher level.  (and, and, and... ;) )  So yeah, I was a bit surprised!

When I reminded her of that she explained her reasoning... she knows that I'm her client with or without sponsorship, so it's not like she'd be gaining a temporary client.  And, here's the big one, while lots of people realize the top end riders use services like hers they don't necessarily think that "they" need to or should.  ("They" being the lower level riders and backyard riders.) 
But really, some of those horses need it as much and sometimes more.  She also added that quite a few people know that even though I'm not 'big time' I do what I can to keep my horses happy, healthy and comfortable which makes me a good example for those lower level and backyard riders and could possibly help add some of those lower level/backyard riders to her client roster.  Or get those riders thinking about adding that kind of care even if they use someone else, which will lead to more happy horses. (see?  Janelle is a good egg, she's all about making horses happy and keeping them feeling good!)

Janelle and a friend of hers, that is also an equine therapist, are so passionate about helping horse owners take better care of their horses that they've started teaching clinics.  I've taken a few and definitely plan to take more!  Check them out, Natural Touch Equine Therapy Program.  Between the tools Janelle has been teaching me through her clinics, and as a client, and having her work on my horses I honestly think they are doing better than before.  I've even had her scheduled for an appointment and she checked Frosty over and said that I had been doing such a good job with my "homework" that she didn't need to work on him!  I tell ya, that made me pretty proud :)

Who woulda thought... me a good example?  And me, having a sponsor? lol

Sponsor?!

When my good friend Janelle (aka Marge, in past blog posts) asked me if I was interested in having a sponsor I laughed, and almost fell off my horse.  Maybe she could have brought it up at a better time lol

You see Janelle is a (fantastic!) equine therapist.  Among her tools are massage and chiro.  You can find out more about her here Natural Balance Equine Therapy.
She's also a BOT dealer and I looove my Back on Track products, both for my horses and myself! 
Also, I already am a loyal client of hers (and not just because we're friends, the friendship came later) and usually sponsors go for the girls that rodeo or at least compete at the top (1D).  I'm just a little 3Der trying to crack in to a higher level.  (and, and, and... ;) )  So yeah, I was a bit surprised!

When I reminded her of that she explained her reasoning... she knows that I'm her client with or without sponsorship, so it's not like she'd be gaining a temporary client.  And, here's the big one, while lots of people realize the top end riders use services like hers they don't necessarily think that "they" need to or should.  ("They" being the lower level riders and backyard riders.) 
But really, some of those horses need it as much and sometimes more.  She also added that quite a few people know that even though I'm not 'big time' I do what I can to keep my horses happy, healthy and comfortable which makes me a good example for those lower level and backyard riders and could possibly help add some of those lower level/backyard riders to her client roster.  Or get those riders thinking about adding that kind of care even if they use someone else, which will lead to more happy horses. (see?  Janelle is a good egg, she's all about making horses happy and keeping them feeling good!)

Janelle and a friend of hers, that is also an equine therapist, are so passionate about helping horse owners take better care of their horses that they've started teaching clinics.  I've taken a few and definitely plan to take more!  Check them out, Natural Touch Equine Therapy.  Between the tools Janelle has been teaching me through her clinics, and as a client, and having her work on my horses I honestly think they are doing better than before.  I've even had her scheduled for an appointment and she checked Frosty over and said that I had been doing such a good job with my "homework" that she didn't need to work on him!  I tell ya, that made me pretty proud :)

Who woulda thought... me a good example?  And me, having a sponsor? lol

Friday, July 29, 2016

Provincial Finals and a quick July catch up

Holy smokes I've been b.u.s.y. lately!  Happily I've spent more days riding than not riding this past month, and about half those days I got in rides on multiple horses :)

Mr. Frosty is fairly fit, Lefta is coming along, now I need to get Voodoo legged up and miles on Odin.  We have our district's barrel racing finals at the beginning of September.  Voodoo, Lefta and Frosty are qualified, I just need to decide if I'll enter on Voodoo or not.  I probably won't have my decision made until the 22nd of August (entry day lol)

At the last Biggar valley jackpot I went to (first week of July) I took Lefta and Frosty and they placed 2nd and 3rd in the 3D.  Then this past Saturday I took Frosty to the Prairieland jackpot and he won the 3D (and there were a lot of entries!)  I'm fairly sure they'll both make 2D horses yet.

Little Miss Sarita spends her days with Uncle Applejack and gets some time in the grass pen by the barn to graze.  Lefta has been in the pen with them lately because I haven't had time to ride her enough and on pasture she balloons right up.  Seeing those two bays together, oh my what a pretty sight :) Once Sarita is grown up I'm going to have a couple really nice mares.

SBRA FINALS!

Our provincial finals were this past week, the 25th to 28th.  Move in day was Monday, my friend MK hauled Frosty in with her mare and her daughter's Peewee horse.  Got settled in, rode some, and of course visited!

Sidenote, I love how they've started doing things the last few years.  It makes things so much smoother and the runs go way faster.  It probably saves at least two hours, if not more, running the open. 
There are two 'round pens'  at the start end of the arena and the space between them forms an alleyway.  The overhead door at that end of the arena is open and there are gates there.  The gate people bring in riders in sets of 5, after every 5 they rake and change riders.  This is nice because it gives the horses time to settle and for their (and the rider's!) eyes to adjust. 
While the set of 5 is in to run the gate people call the next set up to the gate so they're ready to enter during the next rake.
If you are not at the gate when the rake is done you are called a few more times and if you're not there when the gate closes you do not get your run.  Once that gate is closed it stays closed.  I worked the gate for the first 50 on day 2 and there were a few that cut it close.  One was even riding along the fence on the other side of the pre-hold area and I called to Chas (arena director) "That's her!"  He yelled her name and said you have 10 seconds and hit his stop watch!  She hustled right over just in time
Riders wait in either round pen.  When you make your run you go up that short alley into the arena proper, when you come back you run down that alley and either stop at the gate or circle off into either pen.
If for some reason there's not 5 in the set due to a turnout or a scratch, they stick to the program and bring in whoever is in that set and still rake at 5 on the program.  When you come in the arena director quickly confirms he's got the right people and reminds riders to stay toward the front of the rounds pens so as to leave the back wall clear for the rider finishing their run.  If someone knocks a barrel, or even touches one a smidge, he lets the next rider know the barrel is being reset/picked up and when they're ready he waves you in.

The first of two long go's was on Tuesday.  Frosty clocked close to what he did in the jackpot on Saturday (same arena) but it felt rough and sloppy and he was slinging/shaking his head a bit.  He did just get his teeth done the night before so I chalked it up to being a bit tender from that, but I know I didn't ride as well as I should have. It wasn't quite fast enough to place in the money but we were sitting pretty good to make the short go on Thursday.  Our run on Saturday had been smoother and I had rode better so I thought hard about where I was messing up and what to do differently.   It wasn't nerves though, I was just too complacent and sloppy :/  Seriously, so many people were saying "Are you nervous?"  Not just to me, I heard them saying it to other people too, it was kinda weird.  But I guess it is our "big event" so people are supposed to be nervous?  I just answered with a smile,  "No, it'll be what it'll be."

Day 2 Wednesday... when I was tacking up and warming up for long go #2 I visualized what I wanted to do and mentally made my run.
I went in with my set of 5 and waited my turn.  Day 2 runs in reverse order, so I was second out on the drag.  When the rider before me was rounding 3rd I started circling Frosty at a walk.  I was right where I wanted to be when she got back and her horse was out of the way for me to enter, right at the top of my circle.  I squeezed him into a lope and when our circle got to the back wall we made a right turn into the alley and I let him run into the arena.
I rode pretty much exactly what I had visualized: I let him go faster to 1st, I picked up my inside rein and grabbed horn with my outside hand when/where I wanted to while I said "easy" (I tend to want to rate too soon), I took up both reins and kissed as I was finishing 1st instead of a few strides later (he runs much better to 2nd - for me - with two reins), kissed to second, set him up better there, smooched coming out of 2nd and all the way to 3rd, "easy" and set up at 3rd and smooch and kick all the way home (seriously, I watched for the timers because I have a bad habit of quitting too soon).
I rode much better, my horse handled better, and our run felt smoother... and it clocked slower :( 
We were out of the day money again but still sitting well to make the short go - the short go is based on your fastest time of the two days.  I wasn't feeling too badly, a lot of girls were saying the runs were slower.  And it looked like they were... until Bailee smoked a gorgeous run and fastest run of the week (til the short go) and changed all the brackets. 
Honestly, yes I was a bit sad to not make the short go but I figured I was out by a lot after that run... later that night I found out I missed the short go by two. freaking. spots!!  So yeah, disappointed but you know what, let's keep things positive... I am way more comfortable with Frosty now, my horse worked well and my mental game was strong! 
Rounding 3rd on day 2 ~ photo credit to Wildting Photography

Because our cutoff for provincial finals was July 7th I've already got Frosty 1/3 of the way qualified and next year we're going for it!!  But first, we have district finals and we're going hard for that too!  ;)

Friday, July 1, 2016

Happy Canada Day!



I'm fiercely proud of this amazing country I call home.  

Happy 149th Canada!!

**photo found via Google images**

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Hoss Tradin'

Life is funny.  Any of you fellow bloggers know that some of your blog/Facebook friends become *real* friends, whether you ever meet face to face or not.  Some you hope to meet and make plans for it to happen, some you would like to meet but figure it's not going to happen for one reason or another, and some you're okay remaining "computer friends" with.
Well a couple weeks ago I met a fellow blogger that I've been friends with for eight years now, one that I figured it wouldn't be likely that I'd ever meet even though I wanted to. (I just don't get to travel much!)
Anyway it all started over, what else, horses.  She had a horse that didn't fit in her program and she didn't want to just sell him on the open market.  One night we were chatting and she offered him to me, and I'll admit I thought it was a joke at first.  We chatted about it off and on over the late winter/early spring and the I realized, I had a trade for her!  Tavi and I just didn't get along, and he's a nice enough horse that someone experienced could bring out his potential better than I would be able to, not to mention the whole butting heads made him the last horse I wanted to ride.
We fleshed out a plan, originally we were going to meet but then she said it's not that much further just to come all the way to Saskatoon.  Well okay then, the best part was we'd get an actual visit in not just a quick meet and trade!
So two weeks ago she rolled into my yard late one night.  I met her down at the barn and as she climbed out of her truck she said "I'd hug you but I'm smelly from traveling" (or something along those lines) and I said "Hey I just did chores!", and that's how BEC and I met face to face for the first time! lol
We got Frosty unloaded and settled then went up the the house where Hubster had a very late supper waiting for us.  The three of us ended up talking til 2AM then we chatted all the way into the city while we got BEC to her hotel.
The next morning we rode and visited.  Marge (my equine body worker) came over and talked to BEC about some maintenance stuff for Frosty and then they both rode him, that's right Marge got on before I did! lol 
Later on BEC and I rode some more, she tried Tavi and I rode Lefta.  (thanks for the tips BEC!) and of course we visited a ton.  Then early that evening we realized we had no pics!  So I got Hubster to take a pic of the four of us :)
Hoss tradin' ;)

Hubster, BEC & I went out for supper that night and visited pretty late again.  Then the next morning there was a short visit before BEC and Tavi loaded up to head back stateside.  It was a short visit, and it sure flew by, but it was awesome to meet in person and have it go so well!  Especially when we had both joked we felt a bit of "first date" jitters lol

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Horse are Humbling

It's funny how horses can do that.  My confidence has never been super high, and from time to time something will happen that makes all of us take a step back and look at your horse life.  My biggest 'stumble' as far as confidence was the whole debacle with Quinn.  My confidence in myself as a horse person was at an all time low but thankfully I rebuilt and ended up more confident than before.  However there are times and horses that bring you down a peg and for me recently that is Tavi.
He's not a bad horse but the two of us together are like firecrackers.  We just set each other on edge, maybe if he was my only horse I'd dedicate more time to working through things but I have plenty of others to ride which makes it really hard to chose the tough horse, especially when horses are my "fun" thing.
(don't get me wrong, there are plenty of challenging times with the others!) ;)
Tavi is six now and not getting used anywhere near enough and I hate to see him wasting as a pasture ornament, especially as he's matured into a really nice looking horse that seems to have more athletic ability than what I would have thought if you'd asked me about him a year ago.  He was bought to be Hubster's horse, but that's not quite working out either.  Hubs has medical issues that have become very serious these last few months.  Not to mention he never did find time for more riding lessons, which he would need with a green broke horse.  So last year I had decided I wanted to sell Tavi.  Hubster didn't agree, and as it was his horse I agreed to keep him and try some more.
Coach put another month on him for me.  I rode him at her place (I also take lessons with her) and he was fine but something just didn't feel right.  Then I tried to ride him at home and it was fireworks again.  aargh!!
Now here's where the confidence takes a hit... I really don't know why Tavi and I have such a bad relationship.  Actually to be specific it's a bad riding relationship, we're fine on the ground.  Other people ride him, and some are not very good riders, and everything is fine.  As a matter of fact a friend got on him after he'd been sitting since last fall and he was peachy keen.  That kind of thing really makes you take a look at yourself, am I that bad a rider?!  Are my other horses just way more patient or forgiving than him and put up with me?  Very humbling.
Instead I choose to think that it's like any other relationship... not every pairing of people get along, even when both of them are lovely people... not all horses get along with each other... not every rider and every horse get along. 
So where is this all going?  After all this Hubster has finally agreed that IF the right situation were to come along Tavi could move on and through a twist of fate that might just be happening.  So while my confidence has taken a hit it's also about to be challenged and hopefully like last time I'll have come out with more confidence!