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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, February 24, 2010

(not quite) Wordless Wednesday

"Gear" from another perspective:
A naughty pony (ahem, the Appy) resting during lunch at penning:
Hard to tell in this pic how sweaty that chubby Appaloosa was, trust me though he was wet!


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Sunday Stills - the letter "G"

Ed's theme for us this week made me think of grenades, giraffes and guns... things I had no access to, and grapes, gelatin and grapefruit... things I didn't have this week.
Instead of running out and grocery shopping I went with what I did have, and go figure they involved horses! lol
Two entries represent the letter G we have:

Gear
Geldings


What? Really?

Our realtor, Cousin J, took us to see a property today... and the post title pretty much sums it up.
I'm willing to look past some stuff, but wow.
The location is decent, the driveway will be gorgeous spring thru fall (tree lined and private). The house itself is pretty good. Once you look past its current condition.

I guess the owner got a divorce and bought out his wife on it. He now rents it out and his current (??) tenants, well to say they were slobs is kind. Apparently they no longer live there and he's going to have to come clean OUT and then clean the house.
We opened the door to the stench of smoke and something else, maybe just stale air? The upstairs looked semi-deserted. No real furniture but there was stuff in the kitchen cupboards... I could tell because some of the doors were missing. And a few scattered things were in the other rooms.
The living room I liked. It was a decent size, nice big picture window, working fire place. The kitchen I would totally gut and start over. As I said the doors were missing on some cupboards, which themselves were butt ugly. Also the counter top, u-g-l-y is putting it nicely.
There were 3 small bedrooms upstairs. I would probably tear down some walls and make 2 into one large master suite.
The bathroom in the current master was closet sized and the main upstairs bathroom was ugly. It had a teeny, tiny, bathtub and the tub, toilet and sink were a weird pale purple.

Downstairs. WOW. I asked J if he was sure the tenants no longer lived there. There were dirty dishes and clothes strewn everywhere! And stuff that I have a hard time picturing people leaving behind... 2 or 3 TVs, DVD players, gaming systems (ie Playstation), a couple computers (not brand new but they looked usable) and personal photos and memorabilia such as signed posters/photos, a few saddles and a pool table. And LOTS of plain old junk. But there was a second fireplace... trying to find the positives! lol
The downstairs bathroom, if cleaned, would be fairly nice... although I think the toilet was so stained it was past the point of recovery. Now I know sometimes water will stain but the other toilets and the sinks and tubs were not stained anywhere near this toilet. The bowl was streaked black and grey.
There were two small rooms being used as bedrooms, but full of junk.
The pumps and stuff for the water looked ok and the furnace is new but honestly I thought "If this is how they lived how well did they take care of maintaining ANYTHING?"
We went to check out the yard and outbuildings and when I stepped outside I noticed something that made me ask, yet again, if the tenants were gone. J assured me they were and asked why. I told him "Because there's a donkey in the corral" He said "What? There's a what?" and I said "A donkey. You know 'heehaw heehaw" He followed me out and as I got closer to the corral I turned and said "Actually there's a donkey and a horse".
Weird.
The donkey mosied back out to the pasture where his horse friend was. I checked out the corral with Pie and J following. The corrals themselves were decent. All nice, solid wood. With a shelter and working water bowl. The pasture fences were barb wire. NASTY barb wire.
Now I know barb wire is NOT good horse fence, but around here it is very commonly used as such. Even so this barb wire was so bad that I looked at it and went "HELL NO". The barbs were much longer and sharper looking than any I've ever seen before and there were more barbs per length of wire. It looked like a nightmare waiting to happen.

The outbuildings, surprise surprise, were full of junk. As was the yard. I just don't get why (at least around here) when people have a farm or acreage they just let junk pile up!
But the 'nicest' (not) surprise was when I went to check out the little barn. I noticed it when I was checking out the corrals. It looked pretty decent from outside. Roof was a bit low to be safe but it would do for a tack shed if nothing else. At least I think so. All I know is that it has power in it, I saw the breaker panel inside. But I didn't really go inside because when I got to the door, which was open, I noticed a THING just inside the door.
It was strange, it looked like someone sheared a large sheep or small alpaca/llama. It was a mound of that type of hair/fur. I was about to step in beside it when I noticed chewed up bone sticking out of it.
ICK ICK ICK ICK

I just turned and walked away. As I passed J I said "There's something dead in there"

EVEN with the bad first impression, Pie and I talked it over on the way home. We know the asking price is already below the appraisal. However with needing to tear out and replace the kitchen and all the barb wire fencing and to build a garage/shop... and this is the minimum of the "Must Dos" there is no way we would get that property for a price that we would feel is fair to pay. Also, as I said before, when people take care of the place like that it makes me wonder how well they took care of maintenance issues.
And then there's the clean up! To just haul the junk away we estimate would be $15,000 - $20,000. And that house needs a MAJOR DEEP cleaning. That could all be a condition of sale but if it falls through and wasn't done it would be a big PITA. Both to actually do ourselves AND to go through the legalities of getting compensated.

The sad thing is, an acquaintance of mine is selling their place which is almost perfect... and just enough out of our price range to make it undo able.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Gotta get some butts in gear

Specifically Applejack's, Voodoo's... and my own. lol
Conditioning seems to be a common theme lately. I've noticed a few bloggers doing posts or leaving comments on the subject. Of course it is that time of year, winter is winding down and in some places its already spring-like.
A lot of people give there horses some downtime in the winter. Whether because of weather, time, lack of light, etc. Then spring nears and we all realize that our ponies are a bit "fluffier" than the last time we expected them to do much.
My own horses are no exception. I've used both the boys this winter, but VERY lightly. Not enough to say that they are in shape. With barrel racing season approaching and more cattle events and trail riding ahead it is high time they were put to some actual work to melt off a bit of that winter weight.
Then tonight I received a phone call which made me very excited, but also gave me a deadline to get those ponies in shape... somebody dropped out of a clinic that I was on the wait list for!! And its over the May long weekend, so I have 3 months, more or less, to get the boys ready. AND I need to be in shape to do some serious riding too! lol
I had been forewarned that IF I was able to get into the clinic my horse better be ready to w-o-r-k. Plans are to take Voodoo but I want to have Applejack in shape too... just in case.
I have heard a lot of good things about these clinics. Dave Manning will be our instructor and he comes this way every other year. Ace & Holly and Brenda, people that I have quite a bit of respect for as horsepeople, all have nothing but high praise for DM.
DM has quite a list of accomplishments including 6 time Canadian Working Cow Horse Champion and has been runner up in the World. He is also known as "Mr Snaffle Bit". Ace, Holly and Brenda all hold him in high regard and say that he can read a horse better than anyone they know.
I am SO excited and happy that a spot opened up in this clinic, but also a bit intimidated!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

De Feets

Ah, farriers... a good one is a horse owners dream. Unfortunately a bad one is the stereotype, whether hard to reach, always late or just plain old doesn't do a good job.
(I do understand being late, sometimes stuff comes up or horses misbehave so things take longer, but a phone call would be nice!)
I'm not sure what its like in your area but around here even a bad farrier is hard to find.

This past summer I was fed up with my farrier at the time. He was constantly late, which is something I've pretty much come to expect from farriers. He would cancel with excuses that turned out to be lies - the best was probably when he couldn't make it because he'd rolled his truck & stock trailer while hauling cattle. Only to show up a week later in the same truck, which was perfectly fine. And to top things off his work which had previously been fine had gone to $h!t.
The last straw was when I called the night before to confirm our appointment, I'd heard he was injured. He said he was fine and would be there. The next morning he called and said he couldn't make it but his buddy that fills in for him would keep the appointment.That particular phrase was important to me, because to me it meant that Backup Farrier would be there at the same time the original appointment was booked. Nope. However we didn't find this out until we called to see if he was lost as he was a half hour late.
This would have been irritating at a normal time but this just so happened to coincide with Pie being admitted to the hospital. Several phone calls and texts with BF later, over the course of an hour or so, and the situation was past aggravating. Kimfer and I had a quick discussion and replied to the latest text with a "Don't bother. Don't come AT ALL!" text.

The good news was that an acquaintance of ours, Kyla, had messaged me earlier in the week that her very good friend's husband would be travelling to our area to trim. He had trimmed Kyla's horses while she was living in his area for school and now that she was home she wanted to keep using him. He needed enough horses for him to make the 7 hour drive and weekend away from home worthwhile.
So I called Kyla and told her what happened. He was in town and she sent Tyler over the next day.
Kimfer & I really liked Tyler, he did a good job and was good with the horses. He shoed and trimmed from June until late fall/early winter.
The only thing that was wrong was that distance. If your horse threw a shoe, too bad. And then the kicker... winter trims.
That first visit I asked if he'd be out this way in the winter to trim, he said yes. At our last appointment, when he pulled shoes for winter and trimmed, I asked him the same question and again he said yes. Well guess what? It turns out that NO he wasn't going to come out during the winter.
WTH?!? I like Tyler and didn't want to switch farriers. But winter here is months long. The horses NEED to be trimmed.

Kimfer & I were dreading trying to find another farrier when she stumbled across Scott's website "Balanced Hoof Farrier Service".
Yesterday Scott came out for his first appointment with us. Oh. My. Gosh. He wasn't on time, he was early! He was quick, not too fast quick but efficient quick. He encouraged questions and was willing to teach us things about our horses feet! (when possible, not taking questions and teaching the entire time he was trying to trim lol) Also he was very good with the horses.
His website says 'taking new clients' but he told us that his client book is pretty much closed now. Right now we're pretty happy that we squeaked in as new clients. Fingers are crossed that he stays reliable and keeps doing a good job! lol

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Doodads

I've been playing around with a few little things over here on the blog. I've added labels to almost all of my posts (there were a handful that just defied a useful label). Yes that's right, I found the time to go through close to 300 posts and add labels! (thank you insomnia lol)
Now that I've done that I went and added a label cloud to the sidebar. You know, just in case you got an urge to check up on, oh say "wounds", there you go nice and easy to find those posts now! :)
I also made a separate page to put all those lovely tokens of appreciation that y'all have shown me. Scroll down the sidebar and there's a link to the awards page.
I have to say that I'm glad I did that, it sure does tidy up the sidebar and its nice to be able to navigate things a bit easier. And just maybe those labels will be of use to someone! lol

Sunday Stills - Valentine's Day

Ed's challenge this week was Valentine's Day and creativity. To be honest I found it a bit tricky. you see... I umm, well I've never really played around with editing photos. Other than the occassional red-eye fix or cropping. And truthfully even that is rare. I don't even own any editing software other than what came with my cameras!!
So I took a deep breath and went to explore and play at Picnik (being ever so grateful that Lisa at Laughing Orca had mentioned them!) So please be gentle when you see what I did to my poor husband and his boy!




Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Someone needs to learn patience

Friday the weather was finally nice enough to hook up the trailer, AND I had time, so I hauled Voodoo and Applejack to an indoor arena about 10 minutes from where I board.
Hansons has potential to be a really nice place. She doesn't have a lot of boarders right now, but that's nice too because she has the arena available for haul-ins like me. For $20/rider you have use of the arena for up to 2 hours and can bring up to 2 horses.
The arena has windows, and it was bright enough that I didn't have to turn the lights on. Its also heated but I didn't turn the heat on. I rode in a hoody and was warm enough. I know that lights and heat get expensive to I don't turn them on unless I need them.
There is also a holding area in the arena. It is separated by a half wall so I tied the boys there while I signed in and put my money in the drop box. There were two ladies there at the time, an equine therapist and the owner with two horses having work done. They seemed nice and a little later I was grateful they were there.
I decided to ride Applejack first because he tends to work up a sweat quicker than Voodoo. And this is where the patience part comes in... Voodoo needs it.
The whole time I was riding Applejack Voodoo was misbehaving. First it was pawing. And pawing and pawing. That got boring so he decided to stretch. Which I have to admit was kinda funny.
He would stretch and lower himself until his head dipped lower than the arena wall. Then he would stand back up and peek at Applejack & I. He did that a few times. Then pawed a time or two for good measure.
Obviously that wasn't doing the job, he needed to get more creative. So he started rearing. He must've seen a dressage video somewhere because the next thing you know he's doing a pesade. Which is kind of like the levade but has a larger degree of angle.
His next trick was to try his version of the capriole. He would stand and paw then stop, look around and kick out with both back feet. He went back and forth through his new routine for a bit. Paw, stretch, rear, kick. Repeat in a new order.
At that point a lightbulb seemed to go off. I swear he looked so mischievous... he started to buck in place. He never strayed from where he was, never even put tension in the lead. He would just buck.
I start to cool Applejack down and Voodoo is going through his circus routine.
The ladies I mentioned earlier where getting ready to go when they asked if I was going to ride the black horse. I told them I was planning on it. They said they would be around for a bit because they had to water horses so they would come and check on me. I have to say I was glad. I was a bit nervous to get on my freakshow horse! lol
I tied Applejack up and loosened his saddle. When I took Voodoo's halter off and raised his bridle he practically put it on himself! He dove his face through with his mouth open looking for the bit. I tightened his saddle and got on.
What do you know... he was perfect! That little stinker was having a temper tantrum because he was impatient. Our ride was good, nothing went even a teeny bit wrong. When the ladies came to check on me they were shocked... and of course Voodoo has new fans! lol
Oh, and I have a new training goal... he needs to learn patience!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

(almost) Wordless Wednesday

bench by our front door
closeup of sign
oops too much glare from flash





Monday, February 8, 2010

Super Bowl is about football??

I love the Super Bowl... for the ads. And of course my favourites are the Bud Clydesdale ads. Here are a few of my fav's from years past:








*obviously these videos are not by me! lol*


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Friday, February 5, 2010

A thought on the WW video

I'm glad you all enjoyed that Wordless Wednesday video (see post below)
I saw it on a friend's FB wall and thought I should share it with all y'all.
One of the comments on FB kinda ticked me off. A guy said something along the lines of 'well that's no big deal. TB and his horse have made that run thousands of times. Of course they should be able to do it bridleless.'
Now my opinion is that is BS. Texaco is an awesome rope horse. He knows his job and does it well. But how many ropers do you see that you think could have their horse stand that calm and cool in the box yet still rip out there and do the job? It seems that *most* horses are pretty darn eager in that box and the ones that are calm lack a little 'zing' in gettin' out and running. Not Texaco in that video though.
A performance horse that acts up a bit before it goes in isn't always bad. Sometimes its just nerves and adrenaline because those horses know what's coming up. Most of them love to work. That doesn't mean that most of them would be able to do it bridleless though!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

(sorta) Wordless Wednesday

Who says that bridleless stuff is just for reiners and dressage ponies?

*not my video, found it on Youtube after seeing it on Facebook*

Monday, February 1, 2010

Maybe we shoulda named him Earl

Do any of you remember the tv show "My Name Is Earl"? C'mon now it wasn't that long ago!
Well the title character Earl Hickey, played charmingly by Jason Lee, had a quirk that certainly seems to fit our dear Applejack... whenever he got his photo taken his eyes were closed.
I was going through a bunch of photos when I noticed that a lot of the time our silly Appy's eyes were closed or squinty. Makes getting a nice photo that much more challenging! lol
Some photographic proof, Voodoo with Applejack in the background:
Trying to get a nice early winter shot:
Even during the Santa Hat photo shoot:
If only we had known about this we might have named him Earl!