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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


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

1 Year Ago Today...

our dream came true! 
May 31st, 2010 Pie & I  moved to our acreage!!

In the year that we have lived here I have appreciated each and every day.  Even those days where it was super cold and snowy, the days it rained, the days were it seemed everything went wrong that could, the days that I had water in the basement (including the one where I got trapped on the roof).  The good days and the bad, I've appreciated them all :)
I've learned that I'm stronger than I've given myself credit for; physically, mentally and emotionally.
And I've met some great neighbours and new friends.  I feel very blessed. 
Now if only I could get that stack of boxes in the basement sorted through...

Strange Find

A couple weeks ago I turned the big horses out to the small pasture and as it has no water of its own I had to turn on the outside hydrant and spigots for the first time since last fall.  Mom was here with me and we strolled around to shut off all the taps and fill the trough in the pasture.  While walking along the trees in the front of the house I caught something out of the corner of my eye and thought "Huh, what was that?"
Unless you have a good eye you won't spot it in this pic, probably not even if you know what to look for, but its there... pretty much in the centre.
Here's a closer look:
There was a deer skull and antlers hanging in a tree!  Its the top half of the jaw and head with the antlers looped through branches.  Its about 5 to 5 1/2 feet up.  Not really sure how long its been there or how it got there.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Sunday Sorting Adventure

Yesterday was our second team sorting of the season.  One of my neighbours that I've become friends with wanted to go so we trailered together.  Shan picked me up in the morning and we quickly loaded up Applejack & Voodoo along with my gear.  Just as I was about to get in the truck I realized my phone was missing... it had been clipped to my belt loop and was gone.  CRAP.  It had rained the night before and was threatening to rain again, I did NOT want to leave and have my phone out in the elements until we got back.  Luckily I knew I had it when we were loading tack so really there were limited places it could be.  While I was retracing my steps in the barn and tack room Shan looked by the trailer and found it.  Little did we know that would be the least of our worries that day.
Even with our late start we got to sorting on time.  I tied Voodoo to the trailer, saddled Applejack and went to warm up.  Applejack seemed relaxed but a bit humpy when I asked him to lope.  He settled down but I decided we'd take things slow while sorting.  Between the weather (cool, cloudy and breezy) making some of the horses 'extra frisky' and getting bucked off the day before I just didn't want to push my luck.

oh yeah... I was a dirt dart on Saturday.  trying out a 'super broke "babysitter" horse' lol
 
In our sorting the teams are drawn.  You go on two teams in the first half, each team gets two goes.  Then there's a lunch break.  After lunch you are on two more teams, again two goes per team.  Of the four teams you are on three of them count for points and the other team is your jackpot team.  The jackpot team is 'hidden' though so you don't know which of those teams counts for points and which team is for day money.
My teammates in the first half were Cathy and Holly.  I let them both know that I was going to keep it slow and steady as Applejack hadn't really been used for much in the last year and hadn't worked cows since the summer before last.  We did okay, not spectacular but there was only one blowout of the four runs. 
When I was done I untacked Applejack as I was going to use Voodoo for the second part of the day.  At lunch I noticed there was a points sheet up and I was sitting in 5th for the ladies.  Three of the girls ahead of me hadn't come that day so I should move up in the standing unless I had an extremely bad afternoon... not that points are really mattering at this point because your best points from 8 of 10 days are totalled for the standings.  This is only the second day so there is a LOT of room for things to change!
After lunch I was drawn with Glen and Ace... yikes they are both very good and competitive!  I had ridden with Ace before so he knows how good I can/can't sort.  I gave Glen a head's up that I'm still a rookie and he just kinda laughed.  Glen and I rode first and we got all 10 cows - yay!  Then Ace and I got all 10! Then on our second run Glen and I got all 10 again!!  And then Ace and I got all 10!!  :D  Holy smokes, I've never gotten 4 runs like that in a row.  Talk about ending the day on a high note!
Shan's mare had tender feet, she had recently been trimmed, so Ace shared his horse for the afternoon runs.  Shan hasn't sorted much (I think maybe two or three times before) but she did pretty good.  Now if I could only get her barrel racing ;) (don't worry Shan, I know its not going to happen lol)
To make things even better it was announced that the jackpot teams for the day were whoever you rode with last, that was Ace.  I knew we were one of a few teams that had gotten 20 cows but I wasn't sure how many of those other teams were in the jackpot and how fast they were... turns out we won the jackpot by 3 seconds!  (payout was $30 each)
On the way home Shan and I are chatting away when all of a sudden she says "Oh crap... you're not going to believe this!"  I wasn't ready for what she was going to say... "we're about to run out of gas!" :o  A few seconds later her truck rolled to a stop.  And we were off on a blacktop side road!
The really funny thing is just a couple miles before we turned off the highway we passed the Sandy Ridge gas station and I was going to point it out to her (she's also "new" to the area).  For some reason I didn't, man did I wish I had, I bet you she would have glance down at her fuel gauge. lol
I managed to get a hold of Kimfer who was still at the sorting location and she sent someone to rescue us.  Turns out it was Ace, who has now been my white knight three times.  I owe that guy a cake!
While we're stranded on the side of the road only two vehicles stopped to see if we were okay.  We explained that we had run out of gas but someone was coming.  The road wasn't super heavily travelled but there was enough traffic that it kinda surprised me not more people stopped. 
Well a third truck did stop... but it wasn't really to help.  He eyed up the horse trailer (3 horse bumper pull) asked if we were okay and when we explained the situation he asked if there were horses in the trailer.  Shan said there were and then he said that he worked for the RM and did we know the road bans were still on??? 
Shan told him she didn't and asked even if they were did they apply to us and he informed us that yes they do.  ANYTHING over 6ooo lbs was NOT to be on the road.  As a matter of fact there are no roads in our RM between hwys X and Y that are not currently banned.  He also mentioned the fine goes by how overweight you are and it carries many zeroes.  And that its not just a threat, that not too long ago a guy was caught on that exact road with a semi and loaded Super Bs.
oh.  shit.
Just then Ace pulled up behind us and the RM guy said that although he really should call Fine Guy (didn't catch the name) that he would cut us a break seeing as our gas was here and that we were to fill up and get the hell off that road. 
Ace takes out his jerry can and starts filling Shan's truck while giving us crap for even being on that road.  He was jumpy, which is not his usual manner at. all.  Then he starts telling us about the road bans and that the fine starts at $10,000!!! No wonder he was twitching out of his skin.  We were for sure overweight, average guess on the horses alone would be 3600 lbs, then add the gear, trailer, truck and us...
Oh.  Shit. 
Ace's advice to us was to get the hell outta there, at the first east-west grid to turn and look for a quieter, less travelled north-south road.  There was a grid about 2 minutes ahead of us we could take he said.  Then the kicker, he was so jumpy not only because he knew the bans were on and we were on a high traffic road but also because he had just seen Fine Guy cruising around as he was coming to rescue us!! 
OH!  SHIT!!
Ace told us that he was half expecting to pull up and see Fine Guy sitting there with us waiting for our gas to come so he could escort us to the scale to weigh us for a fine.
He described the truck and I knew right away which one it was.  Shan & I thanked Ace as we jumped back in our truck and fled the scene, with eyes peeled for the Fine Truck. 
We turned onto the first grid and searched for a road that would meet up with the highway, unfortunately neither of us is super familiar with the back roads on that side of our highway.  We did manage to finally make our way to the highway (thanks Jo, your directions helped!) and we never did see that truck... but I'm betting at least one of the vehicles that passed us while we were stranded had called him and he was out looking for us.
That road is normally not banned by now but because the water table is so high and it was such a wet spring it still is banned.  So until the bans are off we have to drive all the way to the city, cut through the end of town (thank goodness its not really developed there yet other than the Walmart and a hotel), meet up with the other highway and double back the direction we came.  It changes our trip from taking about 30-35 minutes to taking about 50.
I'd still rather use the extra gas and take longer than pay $10,000!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sunday Stills ~ Weeds & Grasses

The description for this week's Sunday Stills challenge: "This will make ya go outside and maybe get a bit dirty. Note the challenge is for weeds and grasses, not garden variety flowers, if the weed has some color then all the better. If you look closely grasses come in all shapes and sizes. So get out and into some high grass and see what ya can come up with..:-)) "

Our backyard, I posted an almost identical pic to this for the Sunday Stills "In the Sky" challenge.  Someone asked who mows all that grass... Pie usually does (although occasionally I do)  This is just the backyard, when you include the front and the side it usually takes 2 1/2 to 3 hours.  Thank goodness for riding mowers! lol
This is between 2 rows of our Saskatoon berry bushes, no mower has been there yet this year
And these last two pics are my favourite grass... one of our pastures :)

Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Funny ~ The Purse

As the bus pulled away, I realized I had left my purse under the seat.  Later I called the company and was relieved that the driver had found my bag.
When I went to pick it up, several off-duty bus drivers surrounded me.  One man handed me my pocketbook, two typewritten pages and a box containing the contents of my purse.

"We're required to inventory lost wallets and purses," he explained.  "I think you'll find everything there."

As I started to put my belongings back into the pocketbook, the man continued, "I hope you don't mind if we watch.  Even though we all tried, none of us could fit everything into your purse.  And we'd like to see just how you do it."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Voices in my head

I hear them when I ride. When I groom, tack up, lead or look at a horse.
Voices, many many voices.

I hear the voice of Bonnie, the first person to give me lessons. When I duck in front of my horse and the fence/trailer/whatever he's tied to.
"Always walk around behind your tied horse, never in front!"

Bonnie again, talking about soothing a horse.
"It doesn't matter WHAT you say, its your tone of voice. The horse has no idea that when you quietly and calmly say 'maaashed poootaaaatoooos' that you're talking about supper."

When I'm feeling goofy but lonely I hear songs Kimfer & I used to sing while riding together.
"I could wash my car in the rain. Change my new guitar strings. Mow the yard just the same, as I did yesterday. I don't need to waste my time, cryin over you. I've got better things to do."

From Dave Manning
"Let me just sit on him a spell"

From Ed Wright
"Now what happened there at 2nd barrel? Just WHY did you leave your brain at 1st? You need to take your brain with you the ENTIRE time you're RIDIN!"
"Quit ridin like a white woman!! You gotta have some SOUL when you ride."
"I'm proud of ya baby"
"Well your horse is done but YOU'RE not."

From numerous barrel racing friends
"Look!"

That's just a few, but needless to say even when I ride alone I'm not really alone lol

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Chickens!!

I got my first hens the other day
Spotty and Dottie
I decided to start small, 
I just got two for now
They are pretty easy to take care of
No eggs though
Which is okay because I think 
they might have a bit of a metallic taste ;)

Monday, May 23, 2011

Puppy Cuteness

My mom & stepdad got a new puppy last week, he's a Shiba Inu.  They still miss their big guy, Mack, but it was time to move on and add a new member to the family.  Mom had been considering a Shiba for awhile now and they knew they wanted a male... their little mini doxie Holly just doesn't do well with other females in her pack (although she gets along fine with our Misty)

Kuma's been out twice now to meet our pack and he and Tucker get along so well.  They run around and play, they "fight" the same way... wrestling and pulling on each other's face, taking turns pinning each other.  Its a good match and when Kuma is full grown he and Tucker will be similar size and weight. 

Welcome to the family little bear.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday Stills ~ In the Sky

This week's Sunday Stills challenge was In the Sky "This can be anything in the sky, planes,clouds,birds or just about anything you can come up with..:-) "

The 4 flags that stand at the end of our driveway
(L-R Canada, Greece, Saskatchewan, and the Roughriders)
My brother came out to our place and flew a kite
(this is at the edge of the hayfield, the neighbour's indoor is in the background)
he did manage to get the kite higher
although the photo doesn't do it justice the moon was very orange this past week
(taken from our deck as it was coming over Pie's workshop)
all week there have been big puffy "Simpson's" clouds in the sky
(I love our backyard)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Applejerk

I rode Applejack the other day.  I was trying Voodoo's bit that I use for sorting and everyday riding so I started in the arena.  He seemed to be working good so we went out in the big pasture.  And that's when I discovered Applejerk had come out to play... that bit just did NOT have enough "whoa" for Applejack once we added any speed.
he looks innocent here doesn't he?
this is before heading out to the pasture

My biceps, shoulders and back hurt so much Thursday night (this ride was Thursday mid-day) that I could hardly sleep.  
To get him to smarten up I had to take a good hold of him and haul  him onto his ample ass a few times.  It worked, he started listening and I was getting a decent slow down by deepening my seat and a good whoa by sitting deep, saying whoa and moving my feet a bit forward.  But I'll still be putting him back in his other bit lol

Other than that it was a good ride, we rode up 'the hill', checked fence, and just in general moseyed around trotting, loping and walking.
I think he was more than ready to head back to the barnyard though, poor guy hasn't been out too much this spring.  And with this EHV going around I'm not sure if I'll be doing any competing this summer anyhow.  So there will be lots of pasture riding... too bad we don't have more land ;)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Funny ~ Buttercups & Golf Balls

BUTTERCUPS AND GOLF BALLS

Towards the end of a round of golf , Dave hit his ball into the woods and found it in a patch of pretty, yellow buttercups.
Trying to get his ball back into play, he ended up thrashing just about every buttercup in the patch.

All of a sudden POOF!!
In a flash and puff of smoke a little old woman appeared.

She said "I'm Mother Nature! Do you know how long it took me to make those buttercups?! Just for doing what you've done you won't have any more butter for your popcorn for the rest of your life... better still you won't have any butter for your toast for the rest of your life... as a matter of fact you won't have any butter for anything for the rest of your life!"

Then POOF!!  She was gone!

After Dave recovered from his shock he hollered for his friend "Fred! Where are you?!"

Fred yells back "I'm over here, in the pussy willows."

Dave shouts back "Don't swing Fred!  For the love of God DON'T SWING!!"

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Blogger Peeps Rule!

I just wanted to give a quick thanks to y'all.  I really, truly appreciate the support and friendship that was extended when I posted P!$$ Off.
I think what bothered me most is that the comments were mostly by e-mail (I think there may have been one that was actually left on a blog post) and from what I can tell its not from someone that really follows my blog.
I have to say, there were lots of comments from people that I didn't even realize read my blog.  It was kinda humbling to know that you all are out there :)

So I'm back and hopefully I'll be able to come up with some posts that are worthy of your time...after all its barrel racing season, sorting has started and there's trail riding, rides with new friends and just plain old riding out to do.  Here's a hint of one that might get worked up yet - I rode Voodoo over a horsey teeter-totter, and he also 'followed' over it at liberty.  Oh, and yeah Friday Funny will be back tomorrow, with a joke that is a teeny bit off colour :p

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wordy Wednesday ~ RIP Ethel

Those of you that are on Facebook with me know that this past Saturday we lost one of our barn kitties, Ethel.
I have suspicions on what happened to her but nothing is certain.  We found her lifeless body in the colt pen with not a mark on her. 
Tucker does torment the cats but the 2 females he tends to leave alone, they refuse to play with him.  The 2 males he plays with, and quite roughly, but the little dummies don't do anything about it.  In fact Oliver will come running to him for a wrestling match.  BUT the last time Tucker was anywhere near her she was alive.
Because of the lack of any visible injury and finding her in the colt pen what we guess happened is that she was kicked by a colt.
It sucked, even though I told myself she was a barn cat and it there was a chance it would happen one way or another.  It also sucks because she was our best mouser, even catching moles. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Rhino EHV-1

If you're a horse-person you've been hearing it everywhere... EHV.  The current out-break is widespread.  Borders are being closed from state to state and between the US and Canada.
There are a few scary things about this outbreak; the speed it has, the ease of transmission, the fact that there is NO vaccine for the neurological strain.

So far there are no cases in my immediate area **furiously knocking wood** however it is in my province (Saskatchewan) as well as Alberta and British Columbia and quite a few states.

Facilities are being quarantined, either by choice to preserve their herd health or to contain outbreaks and many events are being cancelled.  If you travel with your horse for fun or to show/compete check ahead to see if your event is still on or the area is accessible.


Commentary from The Equid Blog

Drs Scott Weese and Maureen Anderson , authors of the Equid Blog, from the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph in Canada, were monitoring the situation today and offered a sage summary of the week’s events.
“Whether or not the show is where the horses were first infected is unclear, but it makes sense because any time you mix together large numbers of horses, and stress them through shipping, competition, management changes and other factors, infectious disease exposure risks rise. This may be particularly true for EHV-1, since the virus is lying dormant within a large percentage of healthy horses. Most of the time, infected horses are not shedding the virus, but shedding can occur if horses are stressed or sick.

“EHV outbreaks and quarantines seem to be much more commonly reported over the past couple of years. Whether that’s because of a true increase in disease or an increase in publicity and response to disease is unclear. There has been a big change in our understanding of how EHV-1 “works,” through identification of a mutation in some strains that makes them more likely to cause neurological disease (and outbreaks).

“Tests are now available for this mutation, and this strain may be increasingly common. However, this strain doesn’t always cause neurological disease, and strains without the mutation can still cause neurological disease, so it’s not a completely clear situation. I suspect that we are truly seeing some increase in disease, but we are seeing an equal (or greater) increase in response to single cases or small outbreaks, with quarantines and press releases that would have been rare not too long ago.

“EHV-1 is all over the place and complete avoidance of it is impossible. Good general infection control practices to limit the spread of the virus when it is being shed by horses, and prompt identification and isolation of horses with EHV infection are important but often overlooked control measures.”
Type in red is quoted from the Equid Blog. Both Dr Weese and Dr Anderson are large animal internal medicine specialists with expertise in infectious diseases and infection control. Their blog is an excellent source of equine health information.

Here are some things to keep in mind:
*Affected horses will often have a temperature spike in excess of 102 F before clinical signs are presented
*Indications can include nasal discharge, lots of sneezing, excessive eye blinking, lack of urine output, elevated temperature, very weak coordination in the hind end, discoordination, recumbency, lethargy and diminished tail tone
*Incubation period is usually 2-10 days but there are cases emerging at 12 days after exposure
*Possible ways to expose your horse to it are horse-to-horse contact, aerosol transmission, and contaminated hands, equipment, tack, and feed.
*Cross contamination can NOT be stressed enough!  This deadly virus can be on A.N.Y.T.H.I.N.G. - your steering wheel in your truck, door handles, trailer latches, your purse, your hat, sunglasses, cell phone, pop or food wrapper, bucket, feed pan, hay bag, rubber bands, brushes, tack, boots, clothing, ANYTHING you touch or rub against could have the virus on it!

Here's a link to another good article:
https://www.facebook.com/notes/top-hatt-equine-center/deadly-equine-virus-all-horse-people-please-read/210166775684654

There's a lot of info out there, and there will probably be a lot of fear-mongering as well.  Do your research, use your smarts and common sense and be careful about protecting your horses from exposure!
I have a farrier appointment, I'm either going to cancel it or ask him about what he does to prevent contamination - just mentioning it because farriers and vets are a source of possible contamination we horse people often overlook.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

P!$$ Off

If you're easily offended don't read this.  Oh.  Wait.  Maybe you should, its kinda meant for you.

Some people may have noticed that I haven't really been posting much lately.  That's because I was trying to decide whether or not to keep blogging.  No, I wasn't suffering "blogger burnout".  Rather I was receiving a few unpleasant messages and wondering if it was worth the bother.  Then I realized I was missing blogging and my blogger buddies.

Now normally I don't go out of my way to try to tick anyone off, in fact I'm pretty sure that I have never intentionally set out to do so here on this blog.  However it seems lately that some people are upset with me.  Over things ranging from a joke I posted, where I was blasted for being racist/culturally insensitive.  Hello! It was a JOKE.  Also I fail to see how it was that bad, I believe you are the only person that reacted with that much negativity.  And if your feelings were hurt I'm sorry.  For the record I will/do/have made fun of my own race and country.

Other things that seem to be upsetting people are my weight... yes I am fat and yes I ride.  Foxtrot off.
As for comments regarding the care of my horses, screw off I take darn good care of my critters.

In short if for any reason you are bothered by what you read here, no one is forcing you to read it!  So click off!!

PS - I thought I'd mention that to avoid hurting anyone's itty bitty feewings I abstained from quoting any lyrics from "Break Stuff"

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sunday Stills ~ Rust

 an old set of railroad tracks
 a barb-wire "wreath" at the neighbour's entrance
 our firepit (the rim from a semi tire)
horseshoe hangers in my barn