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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, May 31, 2009

I'll spare you the singing

There were two birthdays this weekend. For you sake I won't sing lol
On Friday Applejack officially became 14
And today Lola turned 2


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Last Sunday was the first outdoor jackpot I've been able to go to this year. The rain should have been an omen...
I'll back track a moment to the Monday before the jackpot. I haven't barrel raced since the clinic this winter so Kimfer & I saddled up Applejack and Isis and did some barrel exercises. Applejack warmed up nice and was working well. In fact he did the 4 barrel drill better than ever. We set up a regular pattern and made a couple runs. Everything was good, all systems go.
Skip ahead to Saturday. Kimfer and I went for a ride, something seemed kinda off to me though. When I brought the saddle over Applejack's legs had a little tremble go through them. Like he was nervous.
I ran my hands over him to see if I could find any ouchy or warm spots. Looking for a sore spot. Everything seemed fine. We rode out and he didn't seem off.
OK back to Sunday. We got to the jackpot, weather forecast didn't call for rain but there it was. I was relieved that I had brought a hoodie to throw on over my t-shirt! We waited for the rain to let up and then we unloaded the ponies and tacked up. During our warm up something just didn't feel quite right. There was nothing obvious, he didn't seem sore. Just something wasn't quite right. When I say it didn't feel quite right I mean more like a guy feeling, not that he felt off or anything. Also he was calling, not loud calls just little nickers. Normally Applejack isn't a talker.
I chalked it up to nerves and went ahead. I'm still not sure if it was anything or just a flukey bad day. On our first run he ran nicely to 1st barrel but as we approached the bobble he had a bit of a bobble. Kinda like he spooked at something or wasn't sure which side of the barrel he should go to. He also didn't have much run anywhere on the pattern. And to be honest I didn't ride like I should have (so I take full responsibility for the crappy exit from 2nd lol)
On our second run he just wasn't there like he usually is. He fought a lot (well for him) and just seemed like he would rather do his own thing.
Needless to say we didn't place. Boo.
It just seemed so odd, especially after the awesome practice Monday. Oh, and he's not the kind of horse that works nice at home and then you haul out and he's a turd so I don't think that was the problem. I'm considering calling the chiropractor or massage therapist to come check him out - just in case there is something, even minor, wrong.
Hopefully this Sunday he's feeling better, and more co-operative, for team sorting.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Seeing Red

Saturday (last week) Kimfer and I rode 'the Dalmeny loop'. Its a decent ride, we mostly walked but when and where we could we trotted and loped. It took just over an hour and a half, my first real amount of sunshine this spring.
TDL (so named because we start out heading toward Dalmeny) consists of leaving the yard (via the 'new' driveway) and riding along the 305 ditch heading west. We cross the highway (#11 I believe although it could be 12) and continue riding in the ditch alongside the 305.
At the first grid road that turns left (south) we turn. This is the best part of the ride - there is little to no traffic (I've personally never encountered any) and just a handful of homes. In the middle the road becomes just a trail, a 'summer road' basically, (where there is a cow pasture) and then becomes a real road again toward the other end.
This road dead ends at another grid road, here we turn left (east) and head for the highway. This grid road is a major one and there is always traffic of some kind coming down it.
At the highway we turn, yup left again lol and head north and to home.
Not a particularly exciting and scenic ride but its what we've got. lol
*we do sometimes ride in reverse*

Sunday Kimfer's uncle Ben picked us up and we went team sorting! :)
It was a BLAST... although I have decided I do NOT like those dang little Dexter steers they've added to the mix this year. Cheeky little buggers, they just stare down the horse with a look that says "Oh yeah? Who's gonna make me? You and what army?" Sneaky, fast and not too intimidated by the horses. But that's part of what makes them fun too right? lol
We were sorted into 3 teams, each team going twice. On our first run through I got some cattle sorted with each of my teammates. Lunch break was chili (yummers!) and then we were at it again. In the second half my first two teammates let trash through, no score :( But my third teammate and I got some sorted. Sadly I'm pretty sure that wasn't my jackpot partner! (the jackpot is hidden, you don't know until the end)
Apparently there are buckles this year. One for a guy and one for a gal, nice! You get points on your two non-jackpot teams.
While we were untacking Kimfer said I was looking pretty red. I didn't really think much of it, I tend to flush when I'm hot and I had put sunscreen on. When I got home I washed up and took a nice cool shower... and then looked in the mirror.
Whhaaaaat???
I had sunburned half of my face. Almost exactly half. All of my nose, all of my chin, other than that just the left half. And because I had put my hair in a pony tail, and forgotten my cap in MY truck at the acreage, I had also burned my left ear, the left side of my neck and my scalp. OH, and my left arm.
Pie laughed when he saw me (glad I could amuse ya honey)
WTH?
I talked to Kimfer that night and told her. After she stopped laughing she was like, 'Oh yeah, my sunscreen expired last year.'
Well that explains it.
I'll tell ya I was hurtin' the next couple of days. Oh, and very grateful that I didn't work until Wednesday!! lol

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Shopping and more shopping.

Wow. So much shopping so little time! Sis hosted an Arbonne party for me last night, then today she and I took her little guy (Lucas) shopping. Well, I guess you could say Lucas got dragged along - I'm sure he wasn't that interested in helping Auntie find a new purse! lol
Heading out for supper and going to try to hit Welsh's tonight and then Lammle's tomorrow on my way home.
Here's a recent pic of my cutie:

*photo is not mine, it was taken either by my sis or her hubby*

Monday, May 11, 2009

AWOL

It seems strange, but some of you actually notice when I'm not here rambling on (and on and on lol)
I've run away for a few days. Just visiting my sis before she goes back to work full time (maternity leave is over). And OF course there will be shopping (Lammle's!).
BTW thanks for your prayers/positive thoughts etc - Pie got his MRI results today and everything came back fine! :)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Movie Magic

Awhile back Pony Girl did a post about horses and the movies.
(incidentally her post was also titled "Movie Magic")
It raised some questions about the equine actors in movies and TV. I knew I had just the source to find the answers, Mr Tim!
Yes the same Mr Tim that we bought Applejack from, the same Mr Tim that I just saw earlier this week for a test ride. Mr Tim is a horse dealer but he also does work as a wrangler or an extra at times (being Saskatchewan there isn't a whole lot of film work here but it does happen) I can't remember what all MT has worked on but two that come to mind are "Texas Rangers" and "The Englishman's Boy".
I hadn't run into him since PG posted those questions but I made sure to ask him while I was there. And what a happy coincidence, he's working on a movie now! He'd just returned from a week of 'movie work' and after getting a few things done at home he was going out for another couple weeks. I even got to look at and page through an honest to goodness real movie script!
Here's some of what I learned:
When there is a scene with horses running hard (whether ridden or loose), is the ground checked beforehand for hazards and to see if it is 'good ground' for work at speed?
That is part of the wrangler's job. They check the ground and make sure it is safe both for the actors and the horses. They make sure it isn't too soft nor too hard. Also most movie horses only run for a very short distance and then the film is looped so it appears they run for a longer distance.
What about a scene where there is, for example, a herd of 'wild' horses running and you see one fall. Is that just an accident that was caught on film and looks good so was put into the movie or was that planned?
That is planned, although it may also happen by accident... just as your own horse may take a tumble running around in its pasture. However horses are still tripped for movies. It is much more humane than it was years ago but it is still done.

A few more things:
Blind driving - in the movie MT is working on right now there is a scene where they need to make it look the team is out of control and running away. As MT says "you just can't turn an actor loose with a team in a dead run!"
So MT is laying in the box of the wagon, just behind the seat, covered by a tarp. There are tiny holes in the front of the wagon box with cables that run up and attach to the crosschecks. MT drives the team with the cables while the actor holds the lines. (I always wondered why there often seems to be a tarp in the wagon! lol)
Hot, sweaty horses - using the above runaway wagon team as an example... how often do you see a movie horses covered in white, frothy sweat? Well that is equine movie makeup. To make the wagon team look like they'd ran hard, and for quite awhile, they had to get them sweaty. In reality there were two takes with the team actually running hard. Both of those were 100-150 feet. My horse is fat and out of shape and even he wouldn't have been that foamy! lol
To get that sweated up look they put Mane & Tail on the horses, mixed with a bit of water so its a but sudsy and voila! Hot, sweaty horse! This team also had the foamed up mouth look. To get that vitamins (C I believe) were mixed with water and the foam was applied around their mouths.
Those western brawls - Most movie horses are pretty used to the commotion on a set. But there are times when it may be just a bit TOO much. For example those fight scenes that take place right around the horses? You know, where the actors practically roll right under the horses... the horses have a little help staying that relaxed. They are doped so they don't hurt anyone or freak out.

So there you have it folks... a little glimpse inside the magic of movies!

ps - all that whinnying? Usually added after for effect or 'character'. Movie horses usually aren't any more vocal than our own horses.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Totally cheating

My post today is actually from an e-mail I got. And I did pass it on to a few of you but IMO its too good not to share with everyone. So "my post" isn't actually MY post. I'm cheating and posting an e-mail. If anyone knows who created this let me know, I am in NO WAY trying to take credit for it :)
So here it is. Oh, and I love when I'm having 'one of THOSE days' and I open my e-mail and see something like this:


Now THIS is really fascinating, its rather dazzling to see it presented this way




I certainly thought this was enlightening. Beyond our sun? Its a BIG universe!


Antares is the 15th brightest star in the sky. It is more than 1000 light years away.



Now TRY to wrap your mind around this.......
This is a Hubble Telescope Ultra Deep Field Infrared View of countless 'ENTIRE' galaxies billions of light years away.
Below is a close up of one of the darkest regions of the photo above.

Humbling isn't it?
Now how big are we? And how big are the things that upset you today?
Keep life in perspective and don't sweat the small stuff!
Coming tomorrow: back to horses. THE post Pony Girl is waiting for! lol




*images & text are not mine, they were originally in an e-mail I received*

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

He'll be a heckuva horse

Just not for me. :(
I went and gave Mr Plain-brown-wrapper another test ride Monday evening. I took a few of my bridles with different bits.
Kimfer looked at him in the pen and I could tell she wasn't too impressed. I said, "Remember he's not going to win any beauty contests, but he will win some paychecks! And he's one of those horses that looks like a complete plain jane until you put a saddle on and put him through his paces."
And he is. Mr Plain looks like a totally different horse when you put him to work. But I digress...
Kimfer came with me and we took turns trying him out. He was fine at first, but when we headed over to the arena he was really jiggy and just didn't seem to want to settle.
And then when we went into the arena, well that was when the real inkling of him not being The One started to set in.
Kimfer opened the gate and he leapt through it. This horse definitely knows what an in gate is. Here is why this was strike one for me: This was only his third time going into this arena. There were no barrels set up. There were no other horses, people, trailers, basically anything that should signal "competition time". If he was this much more keen today than the day before how will he be at an actual jackpot? Or after barrel racing for a month or two?
The second, and major for me, sign of it being a "no" was when Kimfer was trying to get him to trot and he kept jumping into a lope. She gave him a firm correction and he popped up. Not a full rear but the threat of one was there.
For me rearing is an even bigger no deal than bucking.
I know a hard running, competitive horse may be a bit hot, but this guy just showed all the signs of being hotter than I want to deal with. I could be wrong, this could be as hot as he'll get and if it was that would be fine. But I just can't chance it. I don't want to make a mistake and get a horse that I feel is too much for me. After all I'm still working on regaining a lot of the confidence I lost with the Quinn fiasco.
The good news is Mr Tim has another buyer lined up and he'll get way more money from him. (They were going to honor the original price they gave me even after realizing they could sell him for a lot more)

Monday, May 4, 2009

He ain't ugly

... but he ain't pretty either. lol
Today I went and 'test drove' the horse that Mr Tim had called me about the other day (actually it was his wife Jackie that called).
Mr Tim is a horse dealer and Jackie & I barrel race together.
Incidentally they are the friends with the outdoor arena that live next to house #2
AND
we bought Applejack from Mr Tim a couple years ago.
A couple months ago Mr Tim had been in our restaurant and I told him that I'd be horse shopping this spring. He asked what I was looking for and wanted.
In point form this was it:
  • sane
  • sound
  • use for barrels/cattle/trail riding
  • 15hh - 15.3 (preferably)
  • mare w/papers
  • not a youngster but not older than 15 or so.
  • nice looking (sorry, it may be shallow but I really don't want an ugly horse)

So Jackie calls me the other day and tells me that Mr Tim had this horse in and he thought it might just be The One. We made arrangements for me to come out and see it Sunday... I could hardly wait for the next couple days to go by!

In the meantime I was trying not to get too excited, from what Jackie had told me this horse fit pretty much everything I was looking for! What could possibly be wrong? (well other than being a grade QH gelding instead of a well bred, papered mare lol)

When I first saw him I thought "Well he ain't pretty but he ain't ugly." (or as I described to Kimfer, put him in a line up and he's not the first horse I'd pick out lol) I thought his head was pretty nice; and once shed out, shined up and in shape he'd be okay looking. But he's nothing fancy and is the pah-laaanest shade of chestnut. (and no offense here either but of the "basic" colours I've always been more drawn to bay)

But he stood tied at the rail just checking everything out in a real laid back way.

We saddled him up and Jackie asked if I wanted her to hop on or if I just wanted to get on and go. I asked her to get on and put him through his paces first. Now one thing Jackie gave me a head's up on is that this horse has no real clue about leg cues. But he is well broke, and has done pretty much everything... worked cows, barrel raced, gymkhana (which Mr Tim mentioned a bit later), trail rode, broke to drive, been in parades. Basically a "been there, done that" kinda horse. Nothing really seems to faze him... in fact when Mr Tim went to pick him up the lady jumped on him bareback with a halter and walk/trot/loped him around. (the 60-ish lady)

Jackie put him through his paces at the barn and then we headed for the arena. On our way there a couple of the other horses at the barn called out to him and he just kept on going without so much as a flick of an ear (points for him!) She loped him around a bit more and he seemed nice and relaxed. The poles were set up so she decided to take him through there. "Just go easy and see what he does".

Damn that was a pretty nice pole pattern... especially for an out of shape horse that hasn't done them in a few years. lol This was when Mr Tim wandered over and mentioned "oh yeah she used to gymkhana him too".

We took the poles down (Jackie picking them up and moving them while mounted with him not giving a fizz at all). We set up the barrels and Jackie trotted him through, then took him through and I have to admit I thought "Wow!" especially because she hadn't really asked him for anything other than to run instead of trot. When she ran home and stopped she turned him around and walked him up to the score and halted. He just cocked a foot and licked his lips. (double wow) After a moment she walked him through and then I hopped on.

I rode around at a walk and a trot for a bit. We were ironing out some "communication issues". He really doesn't get leg. But at least he steers like a dream. Jackie did point out that this is all pretty new for him too. In the last week or so he's had Mr Tim on him for all of about 5 minutes, Jackie rode him the other day for about 20 and today for another 20 and now me. Other than that the only other person that's ever rode him was his former owner.

We started to get along pretty good and Mr Tim and Jackie were getting steers ready for some team roping... well my oh my if a few little steers didn't get him AWFULLY keen. This horse definitely has worked with cattle before and enjoyed it! We got him back to thinking mode and loped some circles... and then hit the barrel pattern.

I sat facing the pattern and thinking... how the heck does this horse run? Better still how do I turn him? I never really realized how much leg I use when running the pattern. I thought to myself "Oh well I guess we'll just try to 'point and shoot'" I moved my hand forward and clucked and he was off!

We were just about at first barrel and I was wondering what exactly I should do. So I grabbed horn, lifted my rein hand and BANG we were turning and heading for second in a hurry.

At second I did the same thing, added in an "easy" for good measure and H-O-L-Y crap. I have never turned second so fast and so smooth. ( I just have to add Mr Tim's comment as I turned second was "Holy shit Lisa!")

We got to third; once again grab horn, lift rein hand, 'easy' and he just rocked onto his hocks and whipped around that sucker. We were home and stopping before I quite realized what had happened! lol

All I can think is that this horse hasn't barrel raced in TWO YEARS, he's outta shape and we are still working on learning how to communicate. I didn't ask for anything other than to run, there was zero "encouragement" from me (no kicking, no clucking, no whip of any kind). If I had that good of a run on him now WHAT does the future hold?!?

After that Jackie grabbed one of their new horses and we went out on a bit of a trail ride. Every once in awhile he'd get a bit jiggy and I'd just let him know that NO we are waaaalking now and he'd come back to me.

My only real concern right now is that once he's in shape and doing barrels consistently again that he may wind up a bit too hot for me. I'm planning on going out again tomorrow and trying him with a different bit (or some different bits) because I think he'd have a bit more respect and better 'whoa' in something other than the veeeeery mild one we were in today. (don't worry, nothing crazy or extreme!) I'm also going to call and see if I can get a vet check done sometime this week.

Oh how I hate to say it about a gelding folks... but he just may be The One. lol

ps - Pony Girl: I was able to ask Mr Tim those movie questions, I'll do a post about them soon. :)

Friday, May 1, 2009

Registry question

I have a question that I'm sure someone out there will be able to help me with:

What the heck is the Half Quarter Horse Registry??
I ask because our horse dealer friends called about a horse they think I might like. We played 20 questions for a bit and then made tentative arrangements for me to come check him out.
I asked just before hanging up what he was. The answer was quarter horse but no AQHA papers. He has papers but they say half quarter horse registry (or something like that).
I don't breed show so papers on a gelding aren't a huge deal to me, I just need a good horse. So I'm just curious what the heck that is.
ps - for those wondering where I've been - my modem tanked. Its kinda funny though when the tech guy comes over to find out what's wrong with your line and says "Wow! I've never seen that modem, how old is it?"