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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

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Finals, finals, finals!

Man have I been behind... I'll try to get caught up and I'll start with wrapping up the barrel racing season (in short form).

SBRA Provincial Finals
I decided to only enter Voodoo.  I was hauling in with my friend/neighbour but we missed the first day.  We got a LOT of rain the day before and day of, and neither of our trucks have 4x4.  By doing so we were automatically out of the short go :(
We managed to make it in for day two.  That's one thing the drought this year was good for, even after how much rain we got things dried up super fast!  By the morning of day two the back roads had just a few, small scattered puddles.
Voodoo and I had a nice run.  I've been having a few rider issues this year, the main one being that I'm not riding from first to second and not riding hard enough from second to third and then home.  Another part of that issue is that I'm not really kicking.  I *think* I'm kicking but it's more of a small flutter.  So, I tried to remember to R.I.D.E and I did... still needed to work on that some more though.

District Finals
I took both Voodoo and Lefta.  They camped out in the pens on site and I camped out in my brother's living room (about 10 minutes away).  All around it was probably the most fun district finals I've been to.
The first day Voodoo was a bit of a jerk, I couldn't get him lined out right from first to second and then we hit it.  There was a buy back option but our time wasn't even near close to being good enough that I thought it would be worth it.
Lefta on the other hand... she was a bit nervous coming down the alley but once she was in the arena it was like she was thinking "oh, barrels!" and off she went :)  We had a nice run, not super fast but good.  For the first time I asked her for some speed on the pattern.  I RODE her to second and the rest of our run and she handled it great.
That night I got the horses settled and had drinks with some of the girls and then my sister-in-law and little niece came to pick me up.  My niece was so excited I was sleeping over.  It was pretty cute, her cousin was sleeping over too so she said we should tell her dad he couldn't come home so it would be an all girls sleep over ("Even my DOG is a girl!!") lol
My SIL picked up coffee and food on the way to her house (she knows me well!), and when we got to her place I had a quick shower then we sat around by a fire having drinks, goofing off with the girls and making s'mores.
The next day Lefta was a bit of a pill to warm up.  She seemed a bit stiff, probably because my horses aren't used to staying in a small pen, and she was really distracted.  We hit our first ever barrel and the run was crap, I decided to use the buy back option and when she came in for her second run later in the day she was awesome!  It was pretty cute coming down the alley, she had her nose tipped to the left (I go left first) and was just watching for that barrel (at this arena you can't see the barrels until you're in the arena).  I ran her a bit harder than the day before, however our barrels weren't quite as tight and nice as usual - BUT, we ended up having the EXACT same time, to the thousandth! (18.604 both days).
Voodoo had a much nicer run, he warmed up really good and handled so much better.  And I RODE both horses!
The short go took back the top 10 (averaged) in each D.  Lefta was 11th in the 3D, she missed it by one spot!!  I don't think anyone has been so happy to miss a short go by one spot, but since we've barely even started to run I was pretty thrilled with how well she did :D

Biggar Series Final
Oh my, a drought all summer but we get rain at a few key times.  So not only was I not able to make the first day of provincial finals but the day the Biggar series wrapped it was rainy and cold.  It had rained for a few days and the ground was pretty sloppy.
I know Voodoo isn't a fan of mud but he'll run on it (not fast but he'll go).  Lefta hasn't had to deal with mud and slop, and due to how she really holds on to stuff that bothers her (that's a post in itself!!) I didn't want to push her and get her scared.  I also didn't want to risk hurting either of them for a few bucks, so I safetied up and just let them cruise through at their own speed, but I did ask them to start off at a slow run.
I stand by that decision too.  The next day the farrier was out and they were both a bit sore, V even stretched them before working on their feet.  I put their BOT blankets on and then rubbed them down with blue lotion and it seemed to help out quite a bit.  Also, the next time I worked Lefta on barrels she felt like she didn't trust the ground and got a bit anxious.  We worked through it though and she has been better since.
Voodoo ended up 5th in 4D for the series and Lefta won Most Improved :)

That for me wrapped up the 2014-2015 barrel racing series (although technically the Biggar series wrap up was in the 2015-2016 season)  I'm really looking forward to the new season!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Hey hay!

One of the biggest things on the minds of many horse and cattle people in my area is hay.
Saskatchewan experienced a record setting drought this year (yep, worse than The Dirty 30s!)  There was 30 cm of snow in late April and pretty much no real moisture again until July. shows a whopping 14 mm of rain TOTAL in June for my area, a day with 6 mm, a day with 1 mm and then a day of 7 mm (there was nothing in May).  July we finally had rain in the double digits, 84 mm total and on one day alone 54!
Thank goodness for that rain, but for some it was too little too late.
Hay is still very expensive because people aren't getting anywhere near as much as they normally do.  However it isn't as ridiculous as it was a little while ago.  People were panicking and the prices were STUPID crazy.  I saw round bales that would normally be $50 being advertised for $200, worse yet they were selling at that price! :o
Probably the worst one I saw was 5 year old bales selling for $150 - yes you read that right, years.
Hubster and I have actually had a bit of good luck though.  First of all the guy that cuts and bales our hay field had an issue with someone else that he bales for and had almost 300 squares to sell at a decent price.  It had been rained on but would still be decent cow hay so we bought that.
Our field gave us about half what it normally does, which is pretty much typical for most people around here this year (anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 of a normal year).  Between what we got this year and what was left over from last year we have about 500 horse quality squares.
Fortunately the drought actually worked in favour of a friend of mine, and as luck would have it I happened on his Facebook post at just the right time (less than 30 minutes after he posted).  PW's status said that he had been lucky enough to get more hay than needed and was going to offer it to his friends first before advertising it publicly.  Of course I sent him a PM right away!  Turns out he'd gotten 125 bales off a field that last year gave him 58! WOW.
When I told him that Marge and I were both looking for hay he said he'd sell to us for $100/bale and help us load*  I double checked with Marge and she was game for it, we had both been on the lookout for hay and promised to pass on leads about deals - two sets of eyes are better than one! ;)  Better yet, she would haul for cost of fuel and have her hubster help unload my bales at my place (our little tractor isn't big enough for bales over 1000lbs and these ones are about 1400lbs).
*I don't get the ads I see where they state they can't help load.  How do you expect people to load it themselves?
Hubster spoke to people at two local feed stores and has agreements to buy bulk amounts of hay cubes for the current price (both places are expecting the price to go up any time now) as well as to keep getting our complete feeds from the one place at the current price (as most of you know, at times like this all alternate feed sources tend to get more expensive).  Even better, those cubes are in handy little bags, 40 and 50 lbs each so we get the 'bulk price' with the easier handling!
Then today we were talking to our hay guy again and Hubster asked him if he has any more hay for sale and he said "Only for you" lol  We've got another 300 or so squares coming in!
Goes to show it pays off to treat people decently! :)

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Barrel racing finals

Our provincial barrel racing finals were at the end of July, and for the first time since I medical'd out in 2012 I was entered!  I would have liked to take little miss Lefta but I didn't think she was quite ready for it, and to be honest my budget played a part in deciding how many horses to take so I ended up just entering on Voodoo.
We're still a work in progress, he is quite an independent cuss and likes to do things his way. I swear that horse thinks he just needs a rider to make things official lol  I've also picked up some bad habits the last few years, and they tend to come out more on Voodoo than Lefta (probably because I feel I need to babysit her a bit more so I'm more conscious of what I'm doing - however some of the habits do spill over to her too, just not as strongly as with V).
My game plan this year was to just have fun and fix my problems and hope that helps Voodoo enough to fix his.  Sadly we only got one run... we missed running the first day and while we were able to make it to the second day that meant we automatically wouldn't make the short go even if we placed well enough.
Tuesday, day one, we got 3 1/2" of rain before it was even time to head out.  Our RM has done a horrible job with our roads the last few years and any amount of rain makes them a slimy mess, add on that my 4X4 isn't working and it just wasn't worth it to me to risk it.  I had visions of trying to get down the road and have the trailer start to slide and end up in the ditch **shudder**  A few people gave me a hard time, some pretty badly, but you know what... MY trailer, MY horse.  Not worth it to me.
So there we were, one run on day two and the funny thing was I wasn't nervous at all.  Nada.  I texted my friend Marge before my run and said "I don't feel nervous at all to run. I actually feel kinda meh"  Which is probably part of the reason we had a pretty good run!  It didn't pick up any day money, and wouldn't have gotten us to the short go even if we could have qualified, but I managed to do almost what I wanted to!
A good friend had pointed out earlier this season that I tend to turn first and just kinda wait for second to be there. As she put it I'm turning second as soon as I'm out of first, I need to RIDE my horse to second.  Which is where the almost comes in, I rode him about half way to second and then I quit on him.  Dang it.  I also meant to go to two hands between second and third and I didn't, which caused us to bump third... which I was sure meant it was down but low and behold it stayed up!  My issues with not riding to second have been causing us to knock second, or if we salvage that barrel we knock third.  Not every time, but we've had more barrels down than I'm happy with.
So our achievements were... I RODE my horse, sort of, to second (half marks for that), we had a clean run (yay), and we made a time within the goal I had set for us.  All in all I was happy :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Post Posting

I've been so darn busy!  It's good, I'm not complaining, just... busy.  And I keep thinking "Oh that would make a good blog post" but then yeah, life has moved on and I still haven't posted.  So I'll try to catch up with some stuff and also keep more current.  I hope to still "see" y'all around!  In the meantime, here's a quick one...

The Hubster has been on a spree sprucing stuff up.  He repainted all the gates to the pen and the main arena gate, the trim on the lower 1/4 of the barn (the dark brown), the fence along the side of the barn AND the inside of the barn!  That white paint inside the barn sure makes things a lot brighter :)

I cleaned out my tack room and put some stuff up for sale.  Sold a fair bit without even advertising.  Funny, as soon as I posted on Facebook that I had done a tack room tidy and had stuff to sell I had a bunch of messages asking what was available lol

Sunday, April 5, 2015

And Just Like That...

... Smudge was gone.(sold that is!)
Last week my neighbour, Mr Tim, called to tell me about a horse trailer he had for sale.  It's exactly what I want but I can't afford it right now.  He said he'd take my trailer on part trade and I jokingly said how much more would he credit it if I threw in a horse.  He asked which one and I told him I was probably putting Smudge up for sale later in the spring.  Mr Tim said he was interested but the difference was still more than I can afford right now.
A couple days later he asked me if I was serious about wanting to sell Smudge.  I told him yes, he's a nice horse but he's not getting used as much as we were planning and he's a nice horse and too young to just sit as a pasture puff.  Mr Tim was interested so we made arrangements for him to come look at him.
Now, some of you may remember but for those that don't... Mr Tim is a horse trader.  I bought Voodoo, Applejack and Smudge from him.  He's always been fair and hasn't steered me wrong.  So yes, he knew Smudge but things can happen in three years and horses may change so I wasn't upset that he wanted to check him out instead of just saying he'd take him.
When he showed up we got Smudge from his pen, he looked him over, saddled him up and rode out.  I puttered around getting stuff ready for chores and about 10 minutes later they were back.  We struck a deal and Mr Tim said he'd be over later in the day to pick him up.  That's got to be the easiest (and fastest!) horse deal I've ever done (as the buyer or the seller!)
Smudge will probably be at Mr Tim's for 2 or 3 weeks to get legged up and then he'll be off to a new home.  Part of me is sad, but you can't keep them all and he was being wasted here. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Successful Failure!

This January I signed up for a Facebook group challenge... you were to complete 30 rides and a total of 40 hours (the time riding counted toward hours) with one horse.  That was the big catch for me, ONE horse.  If I had been able to add together the time and rides on multiple horses I probably would have completed it, as it was I chose Odin and we didn't make it.
In hindsight if I had chosen Lefta or Voodoo I probably would have been able to complete, but with Odin I just didn't feel safe riding alone so we didn't get enough rides in for the challenge. 
However I chose Odin so I'd stay motivated to keep him working throughout the winter.  I knew with how green he was that if I let him sit over winter I'd be mighty hesitant to get on him in the spring without someone else taking him for a few rides first.
BUT I did keep riding him this winter!  And we've made so much progress together.  He's FAR from broke but I have confidence in him and feel like I know how he'll react to a lot of stuff that I would have been worried about before.  And at our last lesson while we were warming up Coach said "Stop!  Now pat yourself on the back!"  so I did, and looked at her with I'm sure the dumbest look on my face.  Then she said "You're riding him like a broke horse!  Not babysitting him like a colt, good job!" :D
So, we may not have gotten 30 rides, but we HAVE been riding and making progress.  I'll take that fail!