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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


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!


Friday, December 20, 2019

Umm yeah... hi?


O.M.G. y'all... I don't know how or why or when I got so bad at blogging.  I still read on a regular basis but I don't comment very often, and clearly I don't post.


I know part of it is that my internet at home is horrible, actually currently basically no internet (other than the data on my phone).  I am hoping that changes sometime in the new year, but it likely won't be soon unless I find a better provider or ours can fix their crap service.
Part of it I'm sure is that I've become friends (in RL or online) with a few of my favourite bloggers so blogging is no longer the sole form of communication.
I think I've also been in a bit of a slump as for what to say.  Hopefully that turns around too.  The whole thing of having a place to look back at what's happened is definitely nice and there are times where I shuffle through Facebook or Instagram trying to find something and tell myself "if only I'd blogged that..."
That said, there are a few things to update on so if I can get my "poop in a group" I'll have a few posts up in the next short while :) 

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Clinic #2 - John & Jamie Tilley

This year I had two clinics I wanted to take, the Rebecca Beebe clinic (barrel racing) from the prior post and the Tilley clinic (horsemanship). This is my third year taking the Tilley clinic and I was pretty excited to take my green Frenchmans Fuego filly Sarita.  Although I was a bit nervous, I'd hurt myself two weeks prior so I hadn't rode and she'd had quite a bit of time off with only a couple rides this spring.
I knew the clinic would be a good fit for her, what I didn't know is how much it would test her.  I knew the tougher work and riding in a bigger group of horses would be a test, but Mother Nature decided to bless us with some rain - finally - and that made both the weather and the footing a bigger test than she's dealt with yet.
It rained a bit Friday, enough to make the arena fairly wet although there were some limited areas where it was kinda dry (rubber boots for Friday night's groundwork!)  The good news is the Biggar Rec Valley arena is sandy and can handle a lot of moisture and still maintain safe footing.


hmm, maybe the drought is over?

We worked in three groups. My traveling partner (and sponsor NBET) and I were in group 1 (actually NBET brought 2 horses so she was also in group 3).  Group 1 was mostly either green horses or people who hadn't taken a Tilley clinic before. NBET has and her horse wasn't exactly green however he is a rehab  project so physically group 1 was a good spot for him.
Anyhoo... Friday was groundwork for group 1, we never did get on although we did work saddled in case time permitted and we got through the groundwork with enough time to ride.  Sarita did fairly well as long as we weren't in the slop, and we kept getting squeezed out of the dry spot we had staked a claim on.  Not a big deal as she does need to learn that we won't always have good ground, but for a filly that's 4 and we've had a drought pretty much her whole life... this learning to deal with mud and water and not just a little bit of it, it was a bit of a challenge at times for her.  I was also having a bit of trouble with some handling, timing was off and I was just not quite getting a few finer points, but overall it went pretty well.
After group 1, before I went to watch groups 2 & 3, I put Sarita up and got her settled in her pen and tossed sleeping bags into the gooseneck and organized stuff for the night in the trailer (super thankful for good friends!  Doig lent NBET & I her 4 horse gooseneck for the weekend otherwise we'd have been tenting!) After group 3 I took Sarita for a walk and then there was a little visiting, and then... was that a raindrop?  And another?  Hmm, yep it was going to rain so I put my BOT rainsheet on little miss then visited with everyone a bit longer before heading to bed.
I woke up a few times overnight and every time I did it was raining.  I was so thankful we weren't tenting!  The trailer isn't an LQ, heck it's not even a weekender.  But it was dry and snuggled into my sleeping bag I was warm.

Saturday morning it was still raining.  There was no indoor arena as a backup, it's just not feasible due to the size of the clinic and the location.  John spoke to MJ, my friend that was the clinic "host", and due to the miserable weather they decided to break the three groups into two and to do more Q&A stuff inside (there's a kitchen/general purpose building we could sit in to talk).  I did chores and took care of my own morning needs and then saddled up for round 2.  There was no dry spot to work in, so I started in my rubber boots.
The groundwork went better, I did have to get one on one help from John with a bit of stuff that I couldn't get.  He came over and one small change and things started to smooth out.  He did take Sarita for a bit again later though, she really didn't like letting us in her right eye.  But that came around quickly and it was time to get on.  Put on my helmet and switched out my rubber boots for cowboy boots - which were instantly soaked - and we were off.
It rained the whole morning of our 3 hour session.  My sweet little filly just rolled with it and worked.  The mud and weather didn't get to her, the larger group of horses didn't get to her.  And despite the weather no one complained, after this drought I don't think anyone dared! lol
Like John said, it's better to prepare your horse (and yourself) to work in conditions like this than to need to work in them for the first time when the cows get out or you're entered up in a rodeo ;)
After my group was done I unsaddled Sarita and switched her to her regular rainsheet and gave her some more cubes.

the pens were originally all grass 

We broke for lunch after my group and had some Q&A time in the kitchen. John has a lot of really good stories and insights to share so it's always interesting to talk with him.
The weather continued while the other group worked, in fact at times it was worse so they took a break and came in for more Q&A.

After we wrapped for the day I took Sarita for another walk before supper.  Supper was a potluck and of course more visiting through the evening.  I called it an early night, checked on Sarita and went to bed.  When I woke the next morning it sounded a bit breezy but there was no rain!
With the improved weather we were back to working in three groups.  I fetched Sarita and saddled up, again I wore rubber boots but brought my cowboy boots to the arena.  My chinks were still a bit dampish feeling from the day before but were mostly dry so I still wore them, if anything they'd cut the wind if it was too chilly and would help keep some of the mud off lol
We checked out our horses on the ground and after a very brief bit of groundwork we were mounted up.  Sarita's groundwork was so much better the third day.  Still stuff to improve on but she followed a feel much better and was moving out nicely.  The arena was still quite muddy but I was able to keep my feet dry when I got on (glad I brought extra boots!)
Day three was tougher, we were doing things that were a bit more advanced but still in the green horse realm.  I had noted some improvement over day two but wow, by the end of day three I could really see and feel a difference with Sarita. 
probably the cleanest and driest I was all weekend lol

I had quite a few compliments on my little filly this weekend, from how well she handled her first big grown up outing, how pretty she is, how nice she seems to be to handle, how smooth she is.  I know I really like her but it's nice to hear other people think she's a nice horse too :D
Covered in mud, chill and relaxed at the trailer after our final work of the weekend, 
that's about the driest the ground ever got lol

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Rebecca Beebe Clinic

At the end of May I co-hosted and rode in a barrel racing clinic at my place... well, mostly at my place. We did run to the neighbour's indoor arena on the second half of the first day because we'd been rained on all morning!
We've been going through a drought for a few years now and this spring has been the driest on record.  I don't think a single girl complained about having to ride in the rain but after lunch we were all chilly and the indoor is right.next.door. and was ready to be used as a back-up so it was a no brainer to go there. 


(seriously y'all, I can see it from my barn and there's even a handy gate in the fence between us lol)

I've known Rebecca on a casual/acquaintance level for years, I've always admired her horsemanship and just what an all around nice person she seems to be.  Last year was my first year riding with her though and wow... she is definitely as nice as she seems!  Very positive but doesn't blow smoke and rainbows up your butt.  When you need the hard advice she gives it but in such a way that you feel motivated and inspired so when there was an opening to co-host one of her clinics at my place I jumped on it.
 
That rain the day before sure made for lovely ground at my arena on day 2!
On the first day Rebecca has everyone take a run, at whatever speed and level they're comfortable working at.  We all had handed in sheets with our names and information about ourselves and our horse at the start.
After watching everyone take a turn the work began... different little drills that were not necessarily "barrel racing drills" but that lead up to making all parts of your run come together, from the approach, to the rate, turn, leaving the barrel. Things that help keep your horse soft, things that help with horses that are too ratey, how about all.the.things. lol
 
The next day we worked on more drills, including ones more specific to barrel racing.  Then at the end we all took a turn making a final run.  I think everyone made an improvement and had a good time, from the girls just starting out (or with horses that are starting out) to the girls that rodeo, there were many "ah-ha! moments" during the two days.

 At the end of the clinic Rebecca put notes on everyone's paper and spoke to them individually, pointing out their improvements and where they need to put in some work, any equipment changes made during the clinic or recommended, and which drills are the best for that horse/rider team to utilize. My co-host and I already have requests to be on the list for next year, I'd say that's a success!

For my own part in the clinic, I'd used Frosty the year before and was planning to ride Lefta this year however she's been fighting a minor injury and was still on the 'rest' portion of getting better so Frosty got the call again. BEC had done a fabulous job with Frosty while he was hers and for the most part he's maintained, however I am not the rider she is - #goals! ;) and while I learn and get better he needs to be brought back up some. And holy heck it's coming again, he's better this year than the last couple that I've had him and since the clinic he's been nice and soft on and off the pattern, and on the pattern he's sharpened up.  I had been considering giving him a semi-retirement this year but he answered me with a "No ma'am I'm ready to rock!" lol

Thursday, May 16, 2019

The other day I had my first "bad" ride on Sarita, and even so it wasn't really bad.  I knew with being young and green she'd be bound to have colty moments but she's been so easy every ride that I was starting to wonder how lucky I was getting. 

Then Monday there it was.  She wanted to rush, she wanted to push through her shoulder, she wanted to make her own decisions lol. 
There were a few things at play... for the first time there were horses in the pasture instead of pens (and in places she could see them), I think she's possibly in heat, and she's on full time turnout now (and getting used to make her own choices for where she goes and how fast with lots of room to do it, which I think is making her a bit more independent)

So what did I do... lots of changes of directions, transitions up and down, backing.  And maybe most importantly (at least for me) just breath through it and ride.  She's not bad, even when she's a bit naughty, and I needed to remind myself of that a few times. 

We got there and quit on a good note - soft, quiet, cooperative. 

At least that's what I thought until I zoomed in on the picture below lol