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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

Tuesday, June 30, 2020


Barrel racing!!
This past Saturday we finally had our first "real" (aka not virtual) barrel race.  A group of local barrel racers had been planning a series since fall, Grace & Grit.  They had worked hard to put together a fun series with some good prizes and then covid19 derailed everything.
Now that Sask is finally opening up enough to have some equine events they were able to go ahead.  And what a great day in barrel racer land it was!  Lots of smiles, some really nice runs, and beautiful weather.
The weather itself is almost it's own story lol  The G&G committee had rented Rafter K for the event, and early in the morning I woke up and heard rain.  Now after several drought years in a row I'm not going to curse rain, but why that morning!? ;) I started the morning in sweats and a bunnyhug to do chores and move horses because the mosquitos were SO BAD.  But it was so humid that when I went into the barn to sit down and check messages my glasses fogged over :o  I changed into a tank top and shorts, and was eaten alive.  A bit later when the day was really starting I put on jeans and a t-shirt, and felt damp and hot the rest of the day.
The committee pushed the start time back a few hours and we all watched the forecast.  So far we had somewhere between half an inch and an inch of rain, and for 1pm on it was saying 70-80% chance of more.  Then sometime between 10.30 and 11 the forecast changed to 20-30%!  Not long after that things were under way... banners and signs being put up, trailers pulling in, horses being tacked and warmed up.  That bit of rain turned into a blessing, the ground was pretty much perfect!
I had only entered Lefta because Frosty was a bit sore due to the heat causing his IR to flare up a bit (he's ok, it's something we manage every summer)  We were deep in the draw, almost at the end so I saddled Lefta and tied her by the barn but took my time waiting to get on.  In the meantime I took a turn working the gate, one of the best spots to watch runs from ;)
When it was time to warm up I popped into my tack room and changed my t-shirt for a competition shirt.  With how muggy it was I was not looking forward to long sleeves!  I know the MSport6 shirts are great in heat, but I haven't really had the occasion to wear one in humid/muggy conditions.  Well I was sure surprised when I put it on and felt not only cooler but drier!  Dang I should have been wearing that all day!
We warmed up with some trotting and loping in the barrel patch.  Lefta was working nicely but starting to get a bit hot mentally so I took her over to the arena and we just walked a big loopy path through the parking area in the pasture.  As long as she was moving she was relaxed. I used the time while the five before my set were running to thoroughly visualize our run. Then just as they were finishing the drag before our set of five I brought her closer to the gate.  Again just walking around, staying out of the way of the girls going in ahead of us.  Then it was our turn!  She was a bit hot going to the gate; I reminded myself to breath and stay relaxed, keep my hand forward and talk softly to her.  A few little changes of direction but she always came back around to face the gate and closer each time, and then we  were in and off to first.
I was really happy with first, she almost always inhales that barrel and she did so again.  Second I remembered to help her finish a bit better than I usually do and we didn't bow out a bunch to third. And third!  It was the best third barrel we've had in ages.  She went in at a great spot in our pocket, wrapped that sucker and came out neat and tight on the other side.  For quite awhile now we've either rainbow'd the whole dang turn or gone in nice but not finished it well and come out really wide.  This was almost perfect!
I came out of the arena patting Lefta and a big smile on my face.  I had no idea how my time would hold up or what my run looked like but it felt great!  Neat, tight turns and an ok time on the clock.
For starters I did see a video of my run and it looked as good as it felt.  It was pretty much what I'd visualized :)
(run was not added to this post because it's low quality and jumpy)
And it turns out I'd misheard my time.  It was faster than I'd thought by about a half second!  So instead of landing in the money in the 3D like I thought we might, we finished up 8th in the 2D!!  Don't get me wrong, money would have been nice but I was so happy to have ended up in the 2D with some pretty tough competition!  And I do have points in the series now lol
Now, to keep legging up Lefta and try to improve that time!  Unlike some people I have been working through covid, and my schedule has been a tough one to deal with getting anything done.  But for the remainder of the summer I'm pretty much part time so although that will hurt the pocketbook I'm going to make use of my time and get back to riding, take care of my garden (I do NOT have a green thumb!), and do some work on little stuff that needs attention around the house.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Times have changed...

... and while I don't think we'll see "normal" as it was before I do hope that things become closer to that than the strange new world we've been living in since covid (SARS-CoV-2) came to us.

Canada had some general rules for how things were to be handled, a lot seemed to be left to individual provinces. We've been fairly fortunate here in the grand scheme of things, at least as far as how many casualties there have been. The social & economic toll has been pretty bad though.

Things are starting to open back up, which is a relief. However here in Saskatchewan some of the decisions being made are not just confusing they're also frustrating. For example you can go fishing, and with members of other households in the boat, yet equine events are a no-no.  Although the government has decided that individual private lessons can take place (which previously they were saying NO to). Still, no clinics, group lessons, or events. Which brings us to this:

I think I can say prior to covid I never thought I'd see this, let alone compete in one. However here we are.

Lefta & I entered in one that ran this past week. Not being sure if I'd enter or not I ended up leaving it to the last day for my run, which ended up being the hottest and windiest day yet.  I set up the pattern* in my arena and had a friend pop over to stopwatch & video for me.

 After it was all set up I changed into one of my MSport6 "air conditioned" shirts (like I said it was hot!), tacked up and brought Lefta to the arena. I think she thought it was the lamest jackpot eeevvveeerrr with no one else there. But heck she had her 'work clothes' on and she knew she was there to make a run. Warming her up... she was spicy. I had no idea what to expect for our run since I don't make runs at home (unless there's an actual jackpot there) but she went in hard and we kinda blew first a bit. Second was nice although we did bow out a bit to third. Third was also pretty good but again we bowed out a bit on the way home, not out of third itself though which is something we've had a bit of an issue with.

I reviewed the video and thought well heck *maybe* I'll place in the 4D lol Then I sent it in to one of the race organizers for approval before sending in my entry. So to say I was shocked that we won the 2D is an understatement ;)

With it looking like virtual events are here for the next little while, possibly the summer, I reached out to a neighbour about co-hosting one (possibly more if it goes ok) and donating part of the entry fee to a local charity. My original plans before all this had been to host a gymkhana or two this summer, again to raise money for charity.

Hope y'all are keeping well and your return to normal goes smoothly.

* pattern size was a 44' score from the timers to 1st and 2nd.  57' between 1st and 2nd.  70' to 3rd.  To say it was tiny in my arena is an understatement lol

Friday, January 3, 2020

First Ride!

Of 2020 that is :)

I rode Lefta on NYE at dusk.  It was my first ride in months, after district finals the horses pretty much got a big vacation/break while I tried to let my leg heal (torn/bruised groin muscle from earlier in the season).She was pretty well behaved but I could tell she really wanted me to let her open up some instead of walking/trotting.  My leg felt the strain of getting on though (should have used a mounting block!) so we stuck to quiet slow work.

Frosty got the call for the first ride of the year and he was so good!  You'd never know he'd had so much time off.  We wandered around the arena playing with a few things to work on softness.  It was the perfect start to the day.

-2C on January 2nd!! :o
I wasn't really dressed for riding, I had gone out to grain and maybe play with the horses a bit but man these fleeced lined leggings are nice for milder winter days!  I may wear them some more, but I either need to find bigger stirrups or wear different boots.  I've been hung up in a stirrup before and once was enough!

While I really like these milder temps I sure hope we get some more snow.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Crew Update

Its been awhile since I posted about the crew here at Rafter K, and there have been a few changes...

Super Raincloud (aka Applejack, Appy) crossed the Rainbow Bridge :(
Smudge was sold.  Mr Tim bought him back and resold him.  He was a nice enough horse, he just wasn't being used a lot and was too nice to sit around getting fat. 
Tavi (JLS Shock N Twist) grew up into a nice young horse, he ended up going down south with BEC when we made a trade.  Her Frosty horse for Tavi.
Odin (JLS Ima Cool Threat) grew up nice as well... and really GREW UP.  Holy smokes, he went from a tiny yearling that we hoped would hit Voodoo's size (approx 14.3) to 16.1 when I sold him :o 
He went to a ranch in Saskatchewan, the plan was to ranch and team rope off him.

Saskatchewan has been in a drought cycle which resulted in the Dexters being sold off as well.  I miss the homegrown beef but it just wasn't financially feasible to buy hay for a hobby herd.
Those scruffy little things I introduced y'all to 8 years ago matured into very nice Dexter cows.
We added a nice bull to the little herd, purebred but the papers never did come :/
He was such a nice tempered bull.  With his build and size he got bought to be a heifer sire by a commercial cattleman. He was pretty happy with him, said he sired really nice calves and of a good size.

But before we sold we had our own calves for a few years.  The Dexters were really good moms and calved easily.  I miss the seeing the calves play in the spring and summer.

So, that's the update on who is gone.  Now for who is here...

The three amigos, Rootbeer, Carlos!, and George are still here.  Rootbeer's estimated age is 30! :o He's getting a little grey in the face now.
We can't really call them the three amigos any longer though, Albie joined the Rafter K fam last fall.
Voodoo is still King of the Universe ;)
And Miss Lefta (On The Money Girl KR) has matured into a very nice mare.  She is definitely The Queen, she's so subtle with her "herd boss" status that it took some watching the herd to realize she is most definitely in charge.
We've had a lot of fun together, and some frustration too (but isn't that usually the truth with horses?) We've also won some cash and prizes, and a couple buckles :)


Frosty (Docs Frosty Command) settled right in as a "new Canadian".  He's taken me to the short go every year in our district finals and the only provincial finals short go he didn't make was the very first year we were together, and in all fairness I had just started to feel comfortable actually running him then (and he didn't miss the short go by much).  He's the first horse that I won money with at provincial's.  And he earned a buckle too at district finals last year :)  
He's quite the guy and I'm very grateful he's with me.

Little Miss Sarita (Fuegos Cuda Girl) was started by the husband of a friend I met through barrel racing, and so far I'm super happy with her.  This spring I plan to start her on barrels (maybe work on it some this winter depending on weather).
Shine (Little Chrome Dually) is turning into a pretty little thing.  When I bought her I had been considering trying Working Cowhorse but for a variety of reasons I'm putting that idea on the shelf.  She may be a barrel horse, but if so I don't think it will be with me.  Current plans are to sell her.

Reya (Fuegos French Jackie) is a little bit of a diva so far lol.  The plan is to have her started this spring/summer by the same guy that started Sarita.  It'll be interesting to see the differences and similarities between the two once they're both under saddle.
And then there's... ? A currently unnamed weanling filly off the stud Two Page Pal.  Her AQHA registration isn't back yet and her barn name is narrowed down to a couple choices - she's a recent, unplanned, purchase.  No joke, part of the reason she was bought is I said to Hubster "well I've never had a palomino" lmao  She's going to be  CBHI and Super Stakes as well as Sask Barrel Bonanza eligible.
Seriously though, TPP is an aged stud and there may not be many chances to own one, I like the temperament of the ones I've been around, they do decent in the barrel pen, and at my age this may well be the last youngster I buy.

Her winter coat came in kinda creamy yellow however she was very gold this summer.  The last pic is the day I brought her home, she's not dirty her legs are that dark.  There's a good chance she'll either be a golden palomino or a sooty/chocolate palomino!  I'm good either way, those are my favourite versions of palomino!