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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, January 31, 2010

Sunday Stills - Textures


Lakeside deck boards

Bowl of pine cones

Beat up straw cowboy hat

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Safety Tip

Lets face it... even if we lined the pastures and stalls with foam rubber and wrapped our darling horses in bubble wrap they would find a way to hurt themselves. That's why whenever I come across some safety tip, especially one that's feasible in the 'real world', I like to share it.
Sometimes I think that I'll be dull and boring, that my little tip is something that everyone already knows. But what if its not? What if it can help save one accident? (or even just a small mishap or inconvenience)
That is why today I'm sharing with y'all a blanket tip... aka Snap Safety.
Most blankets have a snap or two somewhere... some on the chest, usually on the leg straps. Did you know there is a 'right' way and a 'wrong' way to do up those snaps? Well there is!
When you fasten the snaps they should always open to the inside of the blanket. For example in this pic of the front of Voodoo's blanket the top snap is wrong and the bottom snap is right... go ahead take a closer look

Some of you may be thinking "Yeah sure, whatever" and clicking away to another page... but hang on, there is a reason! If your snap opens to the outside it is more likely to get caught on something, or in something. Lets face it, even if your horse is kept in pastures/paddocks/stalls that are in "perfect" condition there is always something to get snagged on. A nail will work loose, a wire of some sort, baler twine... something always could happen.
I never really thought much about this until a few years ago when I first read this tip. I started doing all my snaps up facing in, after all it really doesn't take any effort.
That was the winter that AmanDUH was riding for me. I told her about the snap thing and how I wanted the blankets always done up with the snap in.
Now I've never had trouble with my blanket snaps getting caught in anything but sure enough it didn't take long that I had changed my snapping ways when it did happen. AmanDUH had put a blanket on with the snaps out and Quinn got his leg strap snap snagged on something. It was quickly resolved and didn't cause any damage but talk about timing, its funny how the world works!
Another quick pic of the 'wrong way' this time with a leg strap:

And the leg strap done up the 'right way':

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mini me

When I brought Voodoo home we were all struck by how much he looks like Kimfer's dad's horse Rainy... only quite a bit smaller.
In photos where they're not together its not really that noticeable. Both are solid black. Both are fairly nice looking. Both have a slight wave to their manes and tails, long thick manes and tails at that.
Rainy:
Voodoo:
But whenever they're together, wow... its noticeable!! lol
A few weeks ago Kimfer and I went to go for a nice, sunny winter ride. She brought Baron in but his legs were stocked up and she didn't want to risk hurting him. We went to the house where Kimer asked her dad if she could ride Rainy. After a quick 'what the heck?' look and some teasing about riding Ty (who is slightly mental lol) her dad said sure.
Riding along the height difference in the boys was noted. So much so that I said I wanted a picture of the two of them tacked up and side by side. When we got back to the yard Kimfer held Voodoo while I grabbed my camera.
Voodoo looks soooo tiny!

As Kimfer and I were heading out on our ride I told her that I bet some people would be driving by and saying "Oh look. A mommy horse and its child" lol
What's really interesting though is that when we untacked the boys we measured Rainy.
I had measured Voodoo when I bought him, I had been thinking he'd be about 14.3 but he came out dead even at 15hh, I was pretty surprised and remeasured him a few time. lol
We were pretty sure Rainy was going to be well over 16hh, probably about 16.2ish. So we were quite shocked when we got everything as square as we could get it. Rainy is a TWH and was not the most cooperative at standing square... he kept wanting to stand 'parked' lol. But as I was saying, once he was as square as we could get him and the bubble was level it read 16hh.
"What?!?!" you say (as did we)
"But look at those pictures!" you say.
Well yes, it does look like Rainy absolutely towers over my little man. However this makes for a very interesting point, and something important to remember. How a horse is built, and how he holds himself, will effect how tall (or small) he seems. Rainy is built with a higher set neck and naturally carries himself more upright. As a result when he is next to our stock horse bred horses he seems much larger. Voodoo, for example, has a neck that is much lower set and he carries it more low and level (not peanut roller low though!)
Also a hand is "only" 4 inches. That may not seem like a lot but boy howdy does it make a difference! I'm not trying to imply that Rainy and Voodoo are the same size, that full hand makes a difference. I'm just saying that its not as drastic as it may appear.
Here is one last pic of the Men in Black from a slightly different angle, see there's not as much difference as it appeared from the front.




Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Snow!!

I no longer need to be envious of the snow a lot of you have gotten... Old Man Winter finally remembered Saskatchewan when he was distributing snow. Unfortunately he gave us about a month's worth over the weekend. I won't complain though, at least not too much, as we dearly needed the snow. There wasn't much to go around so far this winter, in plenty of places there was grass showing through. Then with the unseasonably warm weather we've had the last couple weeks the little bit there was had mostly melted away.
Saturday afternoon Pie shovelled for about 2 hours at our place (we have a corner lot and its fairly large) When he went to shovel the back yard we let the dogs out and they were soooo excited. The goofballs were bouncing around like puppies! I got dressed in some snow gear and went out to play with them.



As I mentioned it snowed almost the entire weekend. So even though Pie shovelled before we went to work it needed shovelling again later. In fact when we left for work, about 2 1/2 hours after he had shovelled, the only reason you could tell he had shovelled was that the neighbour hadn't so his snow was higher than ours. When we got home for work we shovelled together for another hour. That snow was wetter, hence heavier, than we're used to around here. Shovelling was a workout!!
Sunday Pie was at work all day so Monday he got out the snow blower and cleared our yard, again. Then he went to clear the snow at his mom & dad's house (also a corner lot) My poor honey was out fighting with snow blowers and the snow drifts for about 4 hours. Now if only the city would show that kind of dedication in clearing our roads!! (I'm very grateful for my little all wheel drive!)
I had to try to get a picture of the 'snow sculptures' hanging from the eaves on our garage. I thought it was kinda neat they way they hung over the edge and swirled:


According to Environment Canada we got almost a foot of snow this weekend. In some areas its drifted as high as 8 feet.
Here's what our house looked like after the final snow blowing Monday:

That fence below is about 6 feet tall with a foot or two of lattice on the top... that's a pretty big snow pile people!







Monday, January 25, 2010

Its Madness I Tell Ya!!!!

And I'll share it with you... one of my favouritest shops - Frontier Western Shop - has something called Monday Madness. And they ship to the States as well as here in Canada!
Its an online sale every Monday with all kinds of deals and up to 80% off!!! Now I know there are tack junkies like me that should just avoid going over there. Although I admit I will be checking it out.
For prizes people! Not for myself, but if I did happen to find... NO I should not shop for myself, I have enough stuff. (more than enough of certain things, like reins lol)
Times are tough though and sometimes there are things you just flat out need. And for clubs on a budget, like our district barrel club, its a great way to pick up some prizes.
Here's their link:

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday Stills - Sports

When Ed first gave us "Sports" as a theme for this week's Sunday Stills I was thinking "Great!" You see I was planning on going to some of the local rinks and getting some hockey and figure skating photos, maybe some curling.
Then Mother Nature intervened. We had a major storm come through this way and honestly my first thought was "Yaaay we finally have snow!!!" (there hasn't been much this winter, at least not here) Then I realized I wouldn't be able to go get any photos. There is not much going on in Saskatoon today... even a lot of churches cancelled services!
So once again I dug through my archives, and seeing as I wasn't prepared for a sports challenge I have no baseball, soccer, football, basketball, etc. BUT I have loads of horses and despite what some people may think riding IS a sport!! So here you go, Sunday Stills - Sports 'cowgirl' style:

I took these two when Julie, Kimfer and I rode down to the river from Julie's farm. It was HOT and we took full advantage of the water (please keep in mind that I shot these from the back of my horse while riding):

** please note this is not the same 2nd pic I originally posted. Thanks to Shirley's help I was able to remove it but it insists on loading sideways so I've replaced it with this (similar) pic. The first pic had the horses just running into the frame on the right and the background was nicer. Also the angle was slightly different and you could see both horses seperately and clearly. This photo still shows the fun we had racing along the edge of the beach :)


My two hard-working boys resting on the lunch break during Team Sorting*



Barrel racing indoors last winter (at Sandhills Stables) Due to the lighting, the speed, the dust and the moisture taking photos was tricky. Pretty much none of them turned out but I like the way the background is mostly in focus and the horse and rider are just a blur streaking by.



Ace & Brenda working together during a run at Team Sorting.




Ace during a run at Team Sorting.


* Team Sorting - two riders have to sort numbered cattle from one pen into another in the proper order (chosen at random). If a cow goes into the pen in the wrong order, or goes back into the starting pen once its been sorted, you are disqualified. Oh, and there's a time limit and extra cows that have no numbers and must remain in the start pen at all times!


**All photos are straight out of camera and were taken with my little Nikon S210 (pocket sized, its perfect for taking photos while riding!)



Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Does this look like the face of a bad pony???

I took Applejack to team penning this past Sunday. Or at least I thought I did.
I was pretty sure that's who loaded, unloaded and got tacked up. During the warm up I started to wonder though...
Then, sure enough, during the first half of penning HE showed up, Applejackass.
That darn Appy was a little TOO excited to see cows, and chase cows!!!
He got a little insolent. A little head strong. A little too sure that he was running the show. And when I disagreed he bucked, sorta. Just a teeny little humpy hop.
On the next run he made a little more effort and gave an honest to goodness buck (although it still wasn't much of a buck it was a real buck). For that he got tuned. Same as I did when he tried bucking on the barrel pattern. If you remember I had to tune him in and remind him that I was 'boss hoss' and make him W-O-R-K.
Well on the third run he threw me a new one. He reared. :o
Never has he tried this and to be honest my heart jumped up into my throat. Rearing is THE scariest horse behaviour (for me). I managed to stay calm and keep my weight balanced so I didn't pull on his face or throw his weight backward and cause us to fall. When he came down a gave him a kick forward and put him to work. Hoping that he would realize that rearing equals more work (a fitting punishment as he is by nature quite lazy lol)
During the lunch break I downed a quick sandwich and headed back to the arena. You see I was pretty sure I knew why Applejack had disappeared and his evil twin had resurfaced.
Warm up.
Our warm up was cut short due to the cattle being fresh. They had seen horses before but not been worked with horses. So during the warm up the executive asked the members to stop so they could slowly and calmly move the cattle down the arena, through the pen and back a few times each. Unfortunately after they were done we just went ahead and started the penning, no extra warm up time was given for that time we had lost.
While Applejackass was trying to get the better of me I was thinking about that. We had warmed up a bit but he was still rough and choppy at his lope departures. That is a huge clue with this guy. If he hasn't got his "vinegar" worked out of him during warm up he tends to be rough. That usually surfaces in the work after with some mild little bucks and humpiness. So during lunch we rode.
Some trotting and walking to get him limber and then loping circles. Slow down to a trot and lope off again. And more circles and circles. Soon enough those lope departures were nice and smooth. We loped so many circles that I could feel him saying "please NO more circles. I will be a good boy"
We did one more circle.
Then we walked and got our breath back. (yes OUR lol)
And you know what? Applejack was there for the second half :)
He got excited but he was attentive to what I was asking and he listened. And we (Ben, Julie and I) were the only team to pen all 3 cows on both of our runs in the second half!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday Stills - Moods & Emotions

This weeks challenge was for photos that invoke emotions. Not what they make the photographer feel, but the feelings brought forth by those who see the photos.
Tricky? Hmm, yeah for me it was! lol
I gave it a shot though. Had to pull from the archives as I've been busy playing with my new camera, trying to figure it out, and as such have no post worthy pics from it yet (its my first "big girl" camera, a Nikon D90 - I may have stepped too far out of my comfort zone! lol)
All pics in this post are straight out of camera* and taken with my little handy-dandy point and shoot Nikon S210.
*the last picture was cropped to exclude half of another horse on one side, other than that all pics are completely untouched.















Thursday, January 14, 2010

Global Community

We are truly becoming a global community. Thanks to modern communication (ie the internet, improved television communications, etc) we can know what's happening in other areas of the world in the blink of an eye. We can watch sports events live, watch award shows from distant places, see royal birthdays, presidential elections and far more.

Sometimes what we see though is horrific. I'm sure by now you've all heard of the earthquake in Haiti. Conditions are grim and I don't want to go into them here. If you are curious just Google "haiti earthquake" and you can find recent news reports on Tuesday's 7.0 quake.

What I do want to say is that I am proud that Canada, the USA and other nations are pitching in to send aid to Haiti and to let you know that you can help too.



Both Canada Red Cross and the American Red Cross have information on their websites and you may donate online or call them. Apparently it is also possible to text a donation (although I'm not sure how that works.)

Every dollar donated helps. There is not a lot of extra money floating around out there for some of us, but just think. If 1,000 people all donated $1 each instead of thinking "I only have a dollar, that won't help" there would be $1,000.00 raised!

There are other reputable charities accepting donations as well. I just posted the Red Cross links because that is where I personally direct my dollars at times like this.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday Stills

This weeks assignment was to pick our two favourite photos from this past year of Sunday Stills.
Being that I am fairly new to Sunday Stills and that I didn't get to post very often, due to things like life getting crazy, I didn't have a whole lot of pics to go through and find my favs. These are the ones that stand out to me...
This was taken in 2008 when I went to Halifax for my dad's kidney transplant. However it was posted in Sept 09 for "Rule of Thirds"
I have always liked this photo. It reminds me of a wonderful day my sister, brother and I spent together, something we don't often get to do. Dad was feeling pretty good and had told us to go to Peggy's Cove for the day.
This is my absolute favourite pic of our dog Misty. I love how this photo turned out, your eyes can almost feel how thick, lush and soft her fur is.


Friday, January 8, 2010

Shot

I did it... I shot my horse. Well horses, both the boys.
Applejack was good. He was first and he didn't even see it coming so of course he was fine. Voodoo saw it coming, probably at least partly because Applejack was first. There was no drama though. Just a quick shot and it was all over.
This is blogworthy for me because for a long time now I didn't think I would be able to do it. I used to give shots all the time. When vaccinations were due, no problem! Took the needle in hand and went about it. When Cessa had her abcess (absolutely disgusting, on her withers... that's a story for another day!) she needed two shots of antibiotic twice a day. Again no problem, even giving them in the butt! Which is quite a bit different than the neck.
Then a few years ago it all changed. I'd go up to the horse with needle in hand, and freeze. Sometimes I'd be so sure I'd do it that the needle would stop just barely in the hair!
I'm not sure exactly why I suddenly could no longer give a needle. There was no dramatic reaction from a horse, no bad experience. I just couldn't. The only thing that I can possibly think of that may have caused my freeze ups was that there had been an sudden onslaught of stories in the equine magazines about all the potential things that could go wrong and what could happen. Maybe that was it?
(have you ever noticed that no matter which magazines you read there seems to be a trend about what is being reported?)
If you recall a couple months ago Kimfer took Miss Isis to the vet and he recommended a joint supplement. Well its an injectable glucosamine supplement. Basically the same thing I give Cessa except hers is powdered.
Since the boys aren't getting grain I decided to give this injectable supplement a try. Its a weekly shot, or you can do three weeks on and one week off with the dosage slightly tweaked.
Kimfer did the first few for me but three weeks ago she said "Suck it up Buttercup" and forced me to do it myself! :o She told me I needed to get over this mental block, and she was right. It was time for me to put on my big girl panties and do something that I knew I could do because I used to do it all the time.
Good friend that she is she said she'd be right there with me. That she'd literally hold my hand if I needed her to. It never did come to that but she was right there with me encouraging me. It didn't hurt that I know both boys are very good for needles.
I made it through that first week and the second week Pie came with me so he could hold the horses. Smooth sailing! In fact when I did the first one he was petting Voodoo's nose and said "Let me know when you're ready" I just laughed because the needle was in and the syringe was already half empty.
Then this week I went out completely by myself....
Prepped the needles, brought the horses in and injected them without a 'helper' of any kind! Funny how reclaiming such a small thing makes me so happy (and to be honest proud)



Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Monday, January 4, 2010

Cessa's Owie Update

There have been some questions about Cessa, her owie and how she's doing. You'll be please to know that she's well on the mend. Here she is in the barn waiting for it to be cleaned up.
I kill two birds with one stone and let her eat her yummies* while I tend her wound. She'll stand there the whole time, even after she's done that bucket. She's always been a pretty good little patient.
Of course the peanut gallery has to observe. This door is right behind Cessa and leads to her and the boys corral and shelter. I leave the top of the door open so I get some extra light. Silly Applejack kept nosing the top of the door closed. I guess he was feeling neglected? Voodoo just kept poking his head in searching for a stray carrot or cookie. (I know they both look little total dorks in this pic, there were other pics where they looked cuter but this one shows their true personalities that day lol)
The day I took Cessa to the vet her leg was a little stocked up but other than that she has shown no signs of ill effect. Here is where we are in the healing process. The colour looks good and it is about half the size it originally was. I'm cleaning it every 2 - 3 days. This pic was taken just after cleaning it but before putting on the wound spray. Nasty blue stuff that stains everything! It has a bit of antibiotic in it. Of course the bottle the vet gave me is broken and it leaks everywhere! lol
THE go-to essential for cleaning wounds in sub-freezing temps - a pump sprayer is a gal's best friend! I fill it up with warmish water and pump and spray, pump and spray until the bottle is half empty. Then I dump in some Betadine, give it a shake and pump and spray, pump and spray until its gone. Grab a clean towel to dry off the wet spots (surprisingly few) and spray on the wound spray. Refasten her blanket and we're done!
*Cessa's yummies for anyone interested include soaked beet pulp (about 2 cups dry), 1 1/2 - 2 cups senior feed, 1 cup rolled oats, a hoof supplement, a joint supplement and about a cup of oil.



Sunday, January 3, 2010

What?!

Two weeks ago the ponies all got a bit of a surprise... you can see here they know something is up!
I had pulled my truck & trailer up in front of the barn. I laughed when I walked around the truck and saw them in the corral. I was grateful my camera was in my pocket for the above pic!
You know how some horses are SO expressive? You can almost read their minds? Well I wish I had pics of the looks on the boys faces when I loaded Cessa up. She has not gone for a "car ride" in at least two years. Those boys were so shocked. It was pretty darn funny. Good ole Cessa on the other hand walked up to the trailer, took a look inside and when I said "Step up" she got right in. That's my girl!
Now where was she going? Well I wanted to have Dr. Chris take a look at that wound she got when she was kicked about a month ago. Dr. Chris had been in our restaurant the week after it happened and asked how my horses were doing. I told her about the kick, showed her the pics and described it. She said it sounded good but to keep an eye on it. Well it was still looking pretty good but it also looked like the start of some infection was setting in. So I made the appointment and a few days later here we were, off to the vet.
The roads were not nice that day. Not horrible but not great. There was some hoar frost and that always seems to make the roads a bit icky for driving, but worse was the fog. It doesn't look like much in this pic but this was a pretty clear spot. Most of the way the distance you could see was about 1/2 a km.
I got to SLS/Corman Park Veterinary Service and my first thought was "Dang! WHY did I book for Friday?!" I had totally forgot that almost every Friday there was a sale. (SLS is Saskatoon Livestock Sales)
That Friday there was a bred heifer sale and the lot was FILLED with cars, trucks and trucks & trailers. I had no idea where to park, let alone where they wanted me to take Cessa. So I parked right in front of the main doors! lol
It was just for a moment. I ran inside and to the vet office to ask where they wanted me. Dr. Chris was right there and she showed me a side door I could pull around to so she could take a quick peek before we brought Cessa inside.
I drove around to that door and saw the parking situation. Vehicles lined up against the building with a bit of a gap and more rows of vehicles. And across from them MORE rows of vehicles. I could've just pulled straight across and blocked everyone but that's a bit of a jackass move. But if I drove straight in I'd have to back out. Now I CAN back up but I'm not great at it, seeing as there was no getting around it I thought, "Suck it up Buttercup. Park this sucker."

hey Mikey, check it out! lol
I backed in... there was NO room to back straight in. I had to pull ahead and turn as I backed in. When Dr. Chris and the vet tech came out they were both impressed. In fact Dr. Chris said she wouldn't have backed in, that she'd have just blocked everyone else! lol
After taking a quick peek at Cessa's wound and deciding that yes indeed it needed to be cleaned up and looked at we decided to take Cess into the show barn. I unloaded her and led her around the outside of the building, through a gate and into the barn. Dr. C shaved around the wound, cleaned it and examined it. Cessa stood like an angel the whole time. She's usually pretty good but she has had her moments with some vets. Dr. C said that it's looking pretty good. Although she did wonder about some pain from it because of how Cessa twisted her leg a bit when she walked. I explained that she's done that for years, its just how she moves. (like Mrs Mom says... watch your horses move. Know what's normal for them.) After looking her over Dr. C agreed, everything was looking good.
When I led Cessa back around the building to the trailer this old timer was walking out. He smiled and said "Hey now, you're not selling that fine horse here are you?"
I said "At a cattle sale? I don't think so, I wouldn't get much!" and laughed. We talked for a few minutes while he petted her and I let him know she was there to see the vet but was in pretty good condition. And I made a point of letting him know she is enjoying her retirement at her final home. :)
Dr. C prescribed an antibiotic powder to add to Cessa's feed and to clean the wound every few days. She also gave me a bottle of blue wound spray... the one she had used which had "issues". That sucker leaks everywhere! lol The antibiotic seems to have worked. There is not even a hint of infection now. A gross side note, it gave Cessa some really runny diarrhea... ick. I really need to wash her tail now!
Thankfully on the trip home the fog had finally lifted. Just the hoar frost remained and the roads were much better!





Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!!
2010 is not only a new year but also a new decade...
There are many people who are looking forward to this new start with hope for something better. Whether its due to financial/employment problems or personal problems. Let's all raise our glass and toast to a fresh start!

I wish all my blog friends the very best - health and happiness.
*image is not mine, found by searching New Year's + fireworks*