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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 15, 2018

Ponoka!

I spent this past weekend at a barrel race in Ponoka, Alberta.  I hauled there last year with one of my good friends, M.  The Calnash Centre is just such a great facility and that race was so well run (and affordable) that we decided to do it again this year.  This arena can fit a full standard pattern indoors as well as holding pens and an alley for the next five up, AND an indoor warm up area.  There is a barn right next to it that has stalls to rent and is clean and modern.  We really have nothing of this calibre in Saskatchewan.

This year I decided to bring both Lefta and Frosty.  Frosty runs about .5-1 second off Lefta, I was pretty sure he wouldn't be fast enough to be competitive but I thought it would be a good experience for me to have him there and would also be a good race to keep him sharp for district finals.

We arrived Friday for time onlies and a warm up race, which was a fundraiser for cancer.  M and her mare won the 4D (cash and a blanket).  Lefta placed out of the money in the 4D and Frosty... well he just wasn't quite himself.
You see, when we arrived Ponoka was in the middle of a ridiculous heatwave.  I swear stepping out of the truck was like walking into an oven.  Frosty's IR makes it hard for him when it's that hot and the ground is hard (which is why he's shod).  He was fine loading at my house, he was fine transferring to M's trailer for the trip, and he was fine when we unloaded in Ponoka.  We walked the horses, offered water, tied them to the trailer while we went to sort our stalls out and pay for them, signed waivers, then came back to the trailer to saddle for time onlies.  As I ponied him to the arena there it was, the limp he gets from heat and hard ground.  This was the first time this year that it's happened and once we were in the arena where the ground was softer it wasn't as bad but he still was NQR :( 
M and I managed to squeak into the last few time onlies.  She worked her mare then bridled Frosty while I worked Lefta, I swapped out horses and Frosty wanted to work but he just felt a bit wonky strided so we cruised through very slowly.
When the race started I was still iffy on running Frosty, but I figured it was a good chance to see if I should run him in the weekend race or scratch him.  M and her mare ran a 19.0, putting them into the bottom of 3D.  Lefta ran a 19.5, putting her out of the money in 4D (and reaching a secret goal I've had this season, which was to be within a half second of M and her mare), and Frosty... he tried.  He was fired up and wanting to go but still felt a bit weird in his stride... and clocked a 21.5.

Frosty got a muscle rub and a bit of bute.  It cooled off a LOT into the evening... from something like 35C to 21C.  Later both horses were put to bed with their BOT blankets on.  In the morning the temps were pretty much normal and when I pulled Frosty from his stall he seemed back to his old self.
Saturday was day one of the event we'd come for.  Lefta usually hits a slump and goes downhill performance-wise at these multi day things.  Instead she pretty much maintained, running a 19.6.  Frosty sped up a full second running a 20.5.  M knocked which put her out of the average :(

Sunday was cool and damp.  It had rained overnight and the forecast called for it to rain all day.  We lucked out and were able to saddle in just a light mist.  M ran a 19.2, Frosty sped up again and ran a 20.3 however while we were in the indoor warmup I looked out and it was POURING.  Dang... I was thinking I'd have to saddle Lefta and warm up in the rain, plus the indoor warm up was likely to be crowded as heck.  Instead it tapered off to a mist, talk about luck!
M took Frosty to the trailer with her mare, I grabbed Lefta and after M untacked her horse she untacked Frosty and took him to his stall.  In the meantime I saddled Lefta and headed to the indoor warm up, which was surprisingly uncrowded.  We had a nice run even with a few mistakes on my part, it was actually our best time of the weekend (take that slump!) and ran a 19.0!!  I was super happy... watching the video I can see where I made a the mistakes and I'm confident we could have been an 18.9 :) 
In the average from Saturday and Sunday Frosty ended up 10th in the 4D and Lefta ended up 13th in the 3D.  I'm pretty happy with both of them.  Also Lefta ended up picking up some day money on the Saturday, so M and I both went home with some money in our pockets - theoretically at least ;)
 
Thanks to Facebook memories I was able to see that Lefta's best run last year was a 19.6, which was her worst run this year!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Blogger fail... reboot

Yesterday was my first post in, hmmm... 5 months. Wow. Other than crappy rural internet (still, horses are at home so it's worth it!) and a few technical glitches when I've had time and decent internet to try to post I don't have any real good excuses. I do know I've missed blogging, it's nice to have it to look back at as a reminder of things if nothing else.
Wordless Wednesday yesterday featured Sarita, my little filly is growing up!  She came back from the trainer in July.  CS put a 2 month start on her, and a few times threatened to steal her.  He and his wife were very impressed with how smart, willing, and athletic she is.  Now that she's home and I've had a few rides on her I have to say I am more than happy with her too.  The only downside is she may be too smart!  She catches on to stuff quick, I'll have to be careful not to teach her the "wrong" stuff yikes!
There have been a few changes in the crew around here, so I'll be updating that section in the near future.  And there are a some updates to post as well.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

How did I forget to tell y'all...

This fall a bunch of stuff fell into place and I was able to get something I've wanted for quite awhile now... arena lights!! :D 
I had written off actual proper lights as too expensive and a pipe dream but Hubster and I were talking about ways to get something done that would allow me to ride at night and then everything started to fall into place (patience is a virtue) ;)  
Out of the blue one day my friend sent me a pic with "look, lights!"  Turns out her husband, who is an electrician, had found some lights at an auction.  Then he found power poles to install them on.  He got a steal of a deal on the lights themselves, and even with making a healthy profit for himself *I* got a steal of a deal on the lights.  The poles were a good price too.  In the end the only thing we paid full price on was wiring and stuff like that.  So we ended up with properly installed actual arena lights and electricity and a light in the announcers booth!  I'm not sure if I'll be able to host jackpots but I will definitely have more time/flexibility in my riding schedule now!!

let there be light!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Sarita

It's hard to believe it's almost time to send my filly Sarita for training.  
It seems like just yesterday she was a baby learning the basics of life... leading, tieing, coming into the barn, loading into the trailer.


Sarita as a weanling

But she's a 3 year old this spring and starts her "real" grown up life.  With Frenchmans Guy and Firewater Flit on her topside and that cowy cross from her dam I have hopes of doing well in the barrel pen with her. I'll be sending her out to be started and then spend some time "just riding" this spring and summer, and hauling her out to see the sights (at least that's the plan).  I would have loved to have hauled her along for exposure the last couple years but there was just no room in the trailer.  Hopefully I'll be able to upgrade my trailer this year or next, and then Shine and Reya can travel along too :)
I'm excited to see where our journey goes!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Fear

Now there are definitely times to let fear guide you, if your gut is strongly telling you "be afraid!" I'd advise listening to it.  But here I'm talking about those little niggly fears, the ones that either freeze you or force you.

Over the last few years I had a fear creep up on me, I'm not sure how or why it developed, but I started to really dislike getting on strange horses. By strange I mean ones I hadn't been on.  I could have seen the horse and knew what it was like, but ask me to get on and I just could not.  At first I was talking myself into "oh it's just green horses" or horses that I thought maybe had some holes somewhere.
I can tell ya, that made my first few rides with Frosty interesting lol  I KNOW that LT is a helluva hand, that he was broke, and that I was as safe on him as I was on Lefta or Voodoo (maybe more depending on the situation lol) but it was still a bit of a struggle those first few rides.
That's when I realized that my fear was getting on any horse that I hadn't rode before.  With having three young horses coming up in the next few years that was going to be a problem!

Then this past fall I got asked if I would help start a friend's horse on barrels in the spring.  And then another friend asked. 
I said yes to the first one on the condition that she send it to a real trainer for basic training (she had started it herself). 
The second person is JL, one of my closest friends and knows the whole deal about my fear, I told her I would start her filly after she had put a bit more time on her.

I don't know where this fear came from. I do think it ties in with some of the confidence I had lost, with second guessing any of my instincts or abilities.  I do know that working with Shine has helped both of those.

In December I decided to take my fear in the other direction, I let it force me.  When given the option to get on a horse I didn't know I said yes, I forced myself to do it even though my nerves didn't want me to. 
I rode 4 strange horses in 5 days! (and on two of those days I didn't ride at all)

At a club's Christmas ride I asked JL if she wanted to switch horses toward the end.
Then JL and I went on a trip to visit a friend of hers and work horses.  I brought Shine, and we made a lot of progress!  But when T found out I hadn't brought a horse to ride he told me to get on Meredith Grey.  And yes he laughed when I told him I was nervous because she's soooo broke, but after talking about it he was good about it and let me take my time.  Later that day while JL was having a bit of trouble he went to work with her horse, when things settled down I asked if I could get on Mr. Darcy.
The next day I rode Meredith Grey again - and part way through T called me over and took her bridle off then sent me on my way with just a neck rope.  I wasn't scared but I did say I'd probably only get up to a trot.  We ended up loping circles, spinning and doing deep, hard stops. 
And that same night I asked to get on JL's filly, the one that she wants me to start on barrels.
Gotta tell ya, there was a bit of ribbing about me and my fear that last night over drinks lol

So not only did I get on "four strange horses" I asked to get on all but one. However if at any time my gut had told me to be afraid  I wouldn't have been ashamed about not riding or stepping off if I had been on already.  But this hasn't been a gut based fear, it's been a pesky little fly buzzing around that drained my confidence more and more.  And dealing with it has been so freeing!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Two bits!


#1 I'm super happy to be able to announce that my sponsor Natural Balance Equine Therapy has confirmed to be my sponsor again for 2018.  Even better they now also carry Elite Three feed products!
I switched Lefta and Frosty to this a little while ago and so far I'm really liking the results.  Both horses look good and have energy but are calm not hot.

#2 And for 2018 I'm also a sponsored team rider for M Sport 6 - The Air Conditioned Shirt!  I started wearing their shirts last year and I have to say I'm really happy with them, they actually DO keep you cooler!
The picture of me & Frosty in this post below is actually one of their shirts :)

Something that I love about both companies is that they're both focused on being positive and supportive, no matter what level of competition you're at.