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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


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Equestrian Meme



Seeing as I haven't resolved my photo issues with Blogger (I really don't want to pay a monthly fee, even a minimal one so I'm kinda pouting) I decided to steal participate in a series of posts that Crystal over at Ranch Riding is doing. She in turn borrowed it from Louisa over at Time in the Saddle. 

This probably won't be done in 30 days in a row lol but here's what you'll see:

Day 01- When and why you started riding
Day 02- Your current riding goals
Day 03- Your Best Riding
Day 04- A ride that impacted your life
Day 05- Your first fall
Day 06- All the tack and riding clothes you have (brand/color/other details)
Day 07- Your favorite ribbon won at a show and why
Day 08- A little about the barn/stable you ride at
Day 09- Any injuries that occurred from riding
Day 10- How your family/friends feel about your riding
Day 11- Find a horse for sale online that you would want to buy
Day 12- Favorite horse color
Day 13- Most Embarrassing moment
Day 14- Your dream barn/farm
Day 15- If you could speak to any horse, dead or alive, what would you say?
Day 16- Your most recent fall
Day 17- Your equestrian idol
Day 18- Your grooming routine
Day 19- A discipline you would like to do that you’ve never done before
Day 20- Your favorite horse show
Day 21- Your perfect schooling outfit
Day 22- The importance of riding in your life
Day 23- Picture of your favorite jump/combo
Day 24- Your best riding friend
Day 25- Your dream trailer
Day 26- Biggest riding pet peeve
Day 27- You know your an equestrian when….. (Give 5 original ones)
Day 28- Helmet or no helmet?
Day 29- A style/trend in tack/riding apparel that you don’t like
Day 30- Your Future With Horses

Thursday, November 29, 2012

No More Photos??

Well it seems I've exceeded Bloggers photo limit.  Not sure how when there are blogs out there with way more pics than I've got here.

Y'all should be grateful though, it saves you a peek at another horse injury.
 (although those of you on Facebook have seen it)

For those of you not on FB here's the scoop... Odin tore up his leg again.  Same leg, same spot, verra similar injury.  **sigh**
We know for certain that it was on the bale feeder, there was green paint transfer on his bone.  The not so funny thing is that we had planned on getting those netted round bale feeders but they were on backorder.  They came in about 2 or 3 days after he cut himself.

The prognosis for Odin's leg looks good, long but good.  On the bright side... it's winter again, so I don't have to worry so much about bugs, maggots, etc.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

So, I was a hooker...

First let me apologize for taking SO darn long to update the blog.  Things have been busy, you know how it is.

Now, back to the subject at hand.

Many, many years ago I met a neighbour of sorts while I was out riding.  I was boarding at Kimfer's parents place and stopped to chat at one of the farms that I passed by.
Turns out the guy that owned the place, Mel, had Percherons.  Big, beautiful, black Percherons.  He drove them at threshings and such but what he really enjoyed doing with them was competing in team pulling.
I introduced Kimfer to Mel a short while later and he introduced us to driving and the world of Big Horses. 

Being horse crazy young women we helped Mel out whenever we could to get some first hand knowledge and experience with drafts.
(to this day the BEST bareback ride I've had has been floating along at a trot on the back of a Percheron)

Mel's favourite thing to do was to take us along as his assistants at horse pulls.  We would help harness the horses but our real job was to drop the pin from the harness to the stone boat.  You had to be on your toes for that because those horses L.O.V.E.D. their job and were revved up to compete.  You needed to drop the pin in at just the right moment so they could take off pulling to the best of their advantage.  This was also known as "hooking" as you were hooking up the team to the stone boat.
Mel would kinda keep us hidden until the pulls were starting so that the judge wouldn't get a look at who was helping him until they announced, "And hooking errr... ummm... dropping the pin for Mel X is cdncowgirl." (or Kimfer)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Things that make you go hmm...

I'll bet y'all didn't know
that I was once called a hooker.
And it was totally legit
but probably not in the way 
most people might think.

:p

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Lefta Meets Cows

This past Saturday I took Lefta to an "Introduction to Cattle/Team Penning" clinic.  Yes we have a few Dexters at home, but there is a huge difference between taking her into our little herd and taking her into a herd of 15+ and all the other horses, pressure and excitement that happens at penning.
I've taken the clinic before but seeing as I haven't really penned very much the refresher was good for me too.

I was pretty proud of my little greenie.  She may be a 5 year old but as far as experience she's more equivalent to a 3 year old.  She handled meeting the cows and going into the herd pretty well.  She started to learn how to rollback and when we got to tracking she was catching on to locking on to her "cow".

There was penning in the evening but we had left home at 8am and the clinic started at 9 so I wasn't planning on staying, that would be a looong day.  Of course as I was going to leave I ran into some friends coming in for penning, they twisted my rubber arm and I ended up staying lol

Although the clinic started at 9 the riding portion didn't start until sometime around 1ish, then we had a lunch break and we were wrapping up by 5 so Lefta hadn't worked too hard or long plus she got about 1 1/2-2 hours to rest at the trailer before penning started. 

I was glad I stayed, it was lots of fun and Lefta got some more experience (and improved over where she was when the clinic ended) :)  Kimfer came and she & I were drawn on a team in the first half (along with another girl that neither of us knew).  I think that was the first time we've been on a team together, if it wasn't the first then it was one of the very few times we have been on a team.  After the break Kimfer & I got drawn on the same team again! :o  We joked that we'll never ever get drawn to pen together again lol  Our 3rd person was Kimfer's Auntie Jac (my "adopted" auntie).  We did okay, not great but we're there for fun.

Another reason I was glad I stayed is that I'm not sure how many I'll be able to make it out to, I am hoping to make it to some but that will totally depend on my work schedule.  Although it was after midnight by the time I got home so it was a LONG day for me!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Real Life Intrudes...

The "Best Summer", which had morphed into the Horrible Summer, has faded into fall.  With the end of August the end of my severance pay was looming and it was time to think about finding a job.
Being a procrastinator I waited until September, put together a resume and started looking.  Fortunately within days I had two interviews booked.

btw I hate interviews.  I suck at sales and, at least to me, an interview seems like you're making a sales pitch with yourself as the product.

 The Tuesday interview had said she was deciding by the end of the week so when I hadn't heard from her on Friday I was extra grateful for the second interview.
My Thursday interview called and offered me a job the next day, it also happened to be the job that I preferred so I said yes. 
The following Monday the other job called and offered me a spot, I already had the job that I had preferred PLUS she was later with her offer so I turned it down.

So what is the new job?  Well I'm back in hotels... working the front desk at a brand new property (it's 5 months old)  I'm grateful to be "just front desk" and have no supervisor/management aspects to my job.  For starters the program they use is one I'm not familiar with, and also I've had enough responsibility for awhile.  It's nice to be "just one of the guys" for a change.
So far my coworkers seem to be a good bunch and management seems decent.  My wage should put me fairly close to what I made at the restaurant.  The only thing is that my hours are all  over the place.  But hey, at least I can still see Pie sometimes (the other job I would only see him for a couple hours on Saturday before he went to work and maybe on Mondays)
So as of September 19th I'm back in the real world...

It's just been an adjustment, figuring out who does what and when.  Teaching and showing Pete the stuff I do that he needs to do if I'm working and things like that.  Things are coming together though, I'm finally feeling better and hoping to fit some pony time in around work and fall/winter prep :)

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Hey :)

Just so y'all know...
(assuming any of y'all are still hanging around that is)
 
1 - I am alive
(for the most part)
 
2 - I have not been kidnapped by aliens
(at least that I know of)
 
3- I have not been swept up in a torrid romance 
a'la "Fifty Shades of Grey"
(bwahahaha)

4 - If anyone is actually still out there reading HotR, 
I promise to start blogging more ASAP!
(IS there anyone out there still?)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Friday Funny ~ Retiring Farmer

A retiring farmer needed to rid his farm of animals in preparation for selling his land. So he went to every house in his town.

To the houses where the man is the boss, he gave a horse. To the houses where the woman is the boss, a chicken was given.

He got toward the end of the street and saw a couple outside gardening.  "Who's the boss around here?" he asked.

"I am." said the man.

"I have a black horse and a brown horse," the farmer said, "which one would you like?"

The man thought for a minute and said, "The black one."

"No, no, no, get the brown one." the man's wife said.

"Here's your chicken." said the farmer.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

So long yet it seems like yesterday...


Eleven years, it should be a long time and yet so often it feels like yesterday.
I'm someone that doesn't remember the details of many days in the past.  There are certain moments that are hard to forget, but huge chunks of time in a whole day?  Not so much.  However September 11th, 2001 remains vivid to me.
So much so that driving to a job interview today, listening to the radio I made the mistake of listening to the news/talk channel and welling up.
great for a first impression, 
thank goodness I had time to compose myself

It seems this is the case for most of us, and I'd leave it there except I need to say shame on NBC!  While many people in the USA, Canada and other countries felt the pain of today what did NBC do?
Instead of observing a moment of silence starting at 8:46 am ET they kept with regular broadcasting.
Now if that had been something relevant to the day, or even another topic but something of substance and importance it may be forgivable.  But what did they air?  An interview about breast implants with a trashy 'reality tv' "star".  Disgusting.

**image above found via Google images.  Credit here**

Friday, September 7, 2012

Friday Funny ~ 21st Century Newspaper

I was visiting my son last night when I asked if I could borrow a newspaper.

"This is the 21st century," he said.  "I don't wast money on newspapers.  Here, you can borrow my iPad."

I can tell you this, that fly never knew what hit him.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Hay!

It's been quite a spring & summer for weather.  Some places have had a horrible drought, others have been at the opposite end of the spectrum and had records amount of rain, and then it seems like a large portion of the States have suffered through an incredibly bad fire season.

Hay has been on the mind of a lot of horse owners I'm sure.  I know it was on mine, Saskatchewan was one of those places with lots of rain.  I swear it seemed to rain every 3rd day, at least.  There was a stretch (when my neighbour books off from his mine job to hay) that it rained 5 out of 7 days! 
Seriously, how do those of you that live in places where lots of rain is normal get your hay put up?

Then there was the challenge of finding someone to hire to cut & bale our hay.  This is our 3rd summer here and neither AP nor TW, who each did our hay the last two years, were able to this year. 
When we bought our place Pie & I had talked about buying baling equipment and pretty much everyone laughed at us and told us what a waste of our time & money that would be.  This year most of those same people were saying "Why don't you get your own equipment?" lol
Well with how things were going we looked at used stuff and thanks to my awesome stepdad B we bought an old self propelled swather and a used square baler.  Small world moment, I had talked to the swather guy on the phone but I didn't realize it was someone I KNOW until I pulled into his yard... it was an older guy from sorting that always asks if Voodoo is for sale.
In the meantime we were put in touch with a neighbour and he had the time to do our hay, and wanted to.  Funny how many people think it's not worth their time... I wouldn't be so quick to turn down a grand or so! lol

So the end result, our hay barn is stuffed full of small, hard-core rounds and there are 7 more sitting outside.  Also I have a lead on some squares that aren't too rich & were baled when it was dry and are available at a reasonable price (delivery included!).  Squares are always handy to have around.  AND next year we should be set to do our own hay! (well, B is set to do the hay lol)
The back rows are 9 bales across, 5 on the bottom row, 4 on the top.  There's "stuff" on the sides at the front so Pie could only get 3 bales in the front two rows.
(stuff... a huge bag of oats for the cows, straw bales, pallets and the few square bales I had left)

Check it out, literally stuffed to the rafters! :)

I figured it out, if we had had to buy this hay this year it would have cost us close to $3000.  We spent considerably less than that to have someone else cut & bale our field!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Pink!

I'm sure there are going to be lots of "Blue Moon" posts out in blogland.
So to try to change things up I thought I'd show you how ours started out, kinda pink:

Friday, August 31, 2012

Friday Funny ~ Officials

A Department of Water representative stopped at the ranch and spoke to the little old rancher.
He told the rancher, "I need to inspect your ranch for your water allocation."

The rancher said, "Okay, but don't go in that field over there."

The water representative haughtily said, "Mister, I have the authority of the Federal Government with me.  See this card?  This card means I'm allowed to go WHEREVER I WISH on any agricultural land.  NO questions, asked or answered.  Have I made myself clear?  Do you understand?"

The old rancher nodded politely and went about his chores.

Later, the rancher heard loud screams and saw the water rep running for the fence followed closely by the rancher's bull.  The bull was gaining on him with every step.

The rep was clearly terrified so the old rancher ran to the fence and shouted, "Your card!!  Show him your card!!"

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Hello? Anyone there?

I'm still alive, I've just been busy getting some stuff done and trying to get my head together. 

Man oh man I feel like this was The Summer That Wasn't, when it was supposed to be The Best Summer in Years!
I had a few months off (with severance pay) and thought I'd get so much done, be able to ride tons and just enjoy myself.  Then I got hurt a few times, my main horse was sore and we had the worst summer weather I can remember.  Seriously it seemed to rain at least every 3rd day, and not just a light rain.  There was even one week, during the time most people around here put up their hay, that it rained five out of seven days.
*now I know some of y'all live where it's rainy & muddy 
a good part of the year, 
but that's just NOT normal here*
Now of course when things are getting back on track, now is when it's time to start the job hunt.  Or go to school.  Or both. 
See, still trying to get my head together. ;) 
One thing I do know, is I've missed blogging these past few weeks. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

This week's  Sunday Stills theme: "In honor of the Olympics, lets try for some sports shots. You may be able to find some sporting activities in your own backyard (I’ve seen some epic battles at the hummingbird feeder), but it might be fun to grab your camera and head to a community park and look for a softball game, swim meet, bike race, horse shoe tournament, etc. Take your kids, grandkids, family dog..." 

The SBRA Provincial Finals was here, unfortunately my indoor shots didn't work out (the lighting was awful, unless you had the pro photographer set up)  Instead I have a pic from the warmup arena, and a couple of something most barrel racers are addicted to, bling ;)



Thursday, August 2, 2012

Pardon me...

but I'm having a bit of a pity party right now.

I'm sitting out on SBRA Provincial Finals.  It seems like it just was NOT in the cards for me to run this year.
First I only had one horse qualified, Voodoo.  And then he came up sore.  As in he was a total roaring A-hole sore.  Turns out he had good reason, he was out in his wither and really sore through the rib cage so to have an absolute fit when I tried to mount made sense.  He is feeling better and is forgiven.  And he probably would have been okay to go if *I* had been okay (more on that in a moment)
Applejack wasn't qualified; between not having a saddle that fit for almost a year and battling soreness issues he wasn't in shape soon enough to get to enough jackpots.  The good news, we have a saddle and I think his soreness is resolving.  I had been thinking he was IR or borderline IR.  Well after a farrier switch and a good look at his feet I'm thinking that yes he may be borderline IR but most of his problem was how his feet were being trimmed.  (oh and THAT is a post in itself!)
Lefta wasn't qualified because she's too green.  I'll be exhibitioning her this year and hopefully hitting jackpots by spring.

On to me... first I didn't get a lot of riding in because I was having really bad pain in my arm/elbow.  The doctor said it was basically tennis elbow, who'da thunk that would hurt so bad?  (Thank you Smudge)
But for quite awhile I couldn't lift anything heavier than a mug of coffee (and there were days that that was too much)  Riding was pretty limited, and when I did ride it was Lefta or Voodoo as they're the softest.
Now here is the kicker, I ended up having to medical out of finals because of my ear.  How freaking wussy does THAT sound?!  But really it is pretty bad.
I have a history of ear infections.  For the last two or three years things have been pretty good.  But before that, oh man I had so many.  And each time my doctor would say "Next time you come in with an ear infection I'm referring you to a specialist"  Problem was she never did.
Last week my right ear was bothering me.  I thought I just had an ear ache because I had been out in the wind and hadn't put cotton in my ear.  Then it went from aching to a full grown "omigosh I want to cry/vomit" kind of pain.  Thursday I went into the minor emergency clinic and the doctor said not only is it infected but my ear drum is ruptured.  We talked about my history and he wrote up a referral to a specialist.  When I told him I'd need a note in case I had to medical out of a competition I had entered with my horse in a few days his exact words were "Oh you should be okay to ride unless it's something crazy like barrel racing"
*sob*
I just looked at him and said "Saskatchewan BARREL racing provincial finals" he immediately started writing a note.  He did tell me to play it by ear (my wording, sorry lame & punny) and IF I was feeling okay I could still run.  However the burst ear drum causes vertigo, dizziness,nausea, extreme headaches and a very stiff neck.  Saturday I tried to take a short cut and climb over a fence, I nearly spun off the top.  Sunday I tried to get on a horse just to walk, no go.  Monday Pie & I were running errands in the city and he took a corner in the Explorer a bit fast and I felt like I was a goner.  SO yeah, I wasn't going to be running barrels.
It feels VERY weird to be at finals watching friends and not running :(  But hopefully I'll be okay in time to get myself prepared for district finals (end of August)  What I'm hoping for even more is that I regain my hearing in that ear, well at least to what it was before (my hearing is already a bit compromised)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunday Stills ~ Fade to Black

This week Ed says farewell to Sunday Stills, it will go on just with someone else at the helm.  His final theme was Fade to Black:
"This challenge is my last challenge for Sunday Stills. Thanks to all the folks who have contributed over the last 3+ years. If Linda wants to keep the challenges going thats great, if there is someone who is willing to take over and consistantly issue new and freah challenges just leave a comment and I’m sure she will get in contact with you.  Once again thanks for 3+ years of fun and the chance to meet some very interesting friends…. Ed
For the last challenge just include the colour black into either the subject or the background…"

I will confess I used archived photos, sorry but I've been under the weather and I didn't want to miss this challenge.


Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday Funny ~ The Klotschtein Diamon

A businessman boarded a plane to find, sitting next to him, an elegant woman wearing the largest, most stunning diamond ring he had ever seen.  He asked her about it.

"This is the Klotschtein diamond," she said.  "It is beautiful, but there is a terrible curse that goes with it."

"What's the curse?" the man asked.

"Mr. Klotschtein."

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday Funny ~ Delivery

The orthopedic surgeon I work for was moving to a new office, and his staff was helping transport many of the items.

I sat the display skeleton in the front of my car, his bony arm across the back of my seat.  I hadn't considered the drive across town.  At one traffic light, the stares of the people in the car beside me became obvious, and I looked across and explained, "I'm delivering him to my doctor's office."

The other driver leaned out of his window.  "I hate to tell you lady," he said, "but I think it's too late!"

Thursday, July 12, 2012

EDucation continued...

There was a lot of info covered in the "classroom" (non-riding) portions of the Ed Wright clinic.  My notes were in point form so bear with me if they seem a little jumbled.  Also at times there were a bunch of questions being asked & answered and while Ed wasn't wishy washy on his opinions, for me it was sometimes hard to sort out what exactly was being said (blame my hearing and the Chatty Cathys causing distracting background talk)  Again its MY take on what I thought Ed was saying so please keep that in mind.

Feed.  Test your hay!  And if you do, don't just do it once and leave it.  Hay grown in the same field but cut, dried and baled at different times can have different nutritional values.  Heck hay in the same field cut & baled at the same time can have different values in different areas of the field.
Also research which lab you send it to.  I believe Ed said Cornell had one of the best labs in the country.  He told a story about one place he knows of that you could send in the same sample on Monday through Friday of the same week and have completely different numbers from each day.
Also weigh your feed!  A lot of us know to weigh our hay, but at the clinic we were also told to weigh our grain.
Probiotics were recommended for competition horses.
For winter time fat & protein are especially important, with the fat being 2% below the protein.  Fat sources are important too, corn oil for example can heat the body (cause lactic acid to build) and also heat the brain.  Soybean oil and rice bran were good sources of fat.
Water is extremely important.  Electrolytes can help encourage your horse to drink and come in many different flavours, experiment and see what your horse likes.  If you have a horse that's a really picky drinker or won't drink away from home haul your own water if at all feasible. 

Misc. Tack.  Ed seems to like to keep things as natural as possible and is a pretty traditional guy.  For instance his preferred boots are good leather boots, he has his own and there is wrestling mat or something similar in them to absorb shock (I believe).  Neoprene style boots hold too much heat, he actually didn't seem to like neoprene anything (boots, pads, cinches)  Polo wraps are good IF you know how to wrap really well.  The problem with them is that they can only be used about 10 times before they lose they stretch/support/give.
Cinches, a good wool fleece (real wool) over nylon. A nice soft, mohair cinch is great but has too much give for arena events.  Great for pasture/trail riding though.
Pads, they need to be thick enough to absorb shock but also need to breath letting air & heat through, and they need to absorb sweat.  A good compressed wool pad (again real wool) about an inch thick, firm yet pliable enough that after 20 or so rides it conforms to your horse.  Although there are some horses that have a more sensitive skin (such as one gorgeous Appy that was at the clinic, she was pretty much all white and had a lot of pink skin which was pretty sensitive)  He said a blanket style pad made of 100% wool might be more comfortable.  (I believe he said like a Mayatex or Navajo pad but I'm not certain)

Saddles.  There was much discussion over different saddles, trees and materials.  Once again real wool was the winner, this time for the underside of the saddle. 
The treeless saddles aren't exactly 'treeless'.  There's a rigid cantle and rigid swells.  Ed demonstrated how when your horse is running they kinda fold together and can pinch in the seat area.  Also due to how they're made, they kinda lock you in, its really hard to get up into that athletic position over your horse's first two ribs.
Flex tree saddles, well one girl had one and Ed took it off her horse.  He demonstrated how when he pushed on it it didn't really flex.  And that was with him pushing on it pretty good, so how much would it flex on your horse?  He didn't really seem to buy the idea.
He didn't dis either the flex tree or treeless saddle.  In fact Ed said something along the lines of "they're looking for the answer but they're just not quite there enough yet"  The bottom line was, at this point, the traditional wood tree saddle, that fits your horse, is still the best option out there.

A couple more things that fit under 'natural'... Ed gave us a recipe for a flyspray.  He was doing it from memory so I hope this is right.  Take 1 cup cayenne and 1 litre of apple cider vinegar and shake together, spray this on do not feed!
(I'm going to give this one a try myself)
As for materials, everything needs to have 'life' or 'feel' to it.  Reins for example... nylon or rope reins don't really have much feel, and not all leather ones do either.  The leather has to be tanned and handled properly to make good reins with good feel.
(after my first clinic with him I really did notice the difference when I rode with good leather reins as opposed to my old rope reins that I used for trail riding)
Ed really did mean everything though; pads, cinches, bridles, reins, heck even ground.  Ground can only be worked and used so long before you should take it out and replace it (honestly I don't think that is an expense a lot of us little, private back yard arenas can afford lol)
Another thing that loses life that a lot of people don't consider is the wool lining of their saddle.  Even if the saddle is in great shape that lining needs to be taken out and replaced every once in awhile.

There was a lot of discussion about breeding, bloodlines and conformation.  
Certain bloodlines are known for certain traits, but once you get too far back on the pedigree bloodlines are so diluted that a lot of what people talk about doesn't really matter.  So if you're looking at papers the sire and dam, and their sires and dams, are the real things to be looking at. 
Also there are some horses out there that are just freaks of nature.  They themselves may have been outstanding athletes but they never passed that on and none of their close relatives had what they did.
Conformationally what he looks for is a nice full hip, symmetrical slope to shoulder & hip, a short back with a long underline, short cannons and a good wither.
So it kinda boiled down to the motion of the horse, how he/she uses themself is the most important thing, next is the mind, then is the conformation.

As for exercise, this surprised a lot of girls.  Ed alternates 2 mile and 3 mile rides each week (3 days of each) with one day off (ie Monday, Wednesday, Friday 2 miles; Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday 3miles, Sunday off).  Of that time riding, half is a long trot, half is a slow lope.  You do have to work in some speed work, he likes to sprint around the barrels to get that in.  In fact he does some barrel work each week, or day, as the horse needs it.
The shortness of the rides is what really got to some of the girls.  I was pleased to be able to guess the reason, longer rides work different muscle fibres (think of the conditioning Funder does for her endurance and long distance rides)  If you overly condition your horse its harder to get those quick bursts of speed.

There you have it, a good portion of Ed's classroom in a nutshell (from my perspective)

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Intro to an Ed clinic :)

First I have to say, for those of you that haven't had the pleasure of meeting Ed... never ever never say "Ed says" because chances are if you say to him "You said..." he'll say "No.  What *I* said was..." and there will be a bit of a difference, sometimes the teeniest sometimes a lot, between what he said and what you interpret.  That's my disclaimer ;) 
So here is what *I* understood and took away from the clinic:

LEARN YOUR HORSE
Every horse is different and responds to things differently.  It's up to you to know what helps your horse work their best and keeps them soundest and happiest.

Rate.  Unlike how rate is normally explained ("slowing down your horse so it can turn the barrel") this is Ed's explanation of rate: a shortening of the stride, then shaping and guiding into your turn.
Part of what I love about Ed's method is just that, shaping and guiding.  When you ride Ed's way there is NO "yanking" or "pulling" your horse into and through a turn.

Riding.  The athletic position to ride in and get the most from your horse is up and over the front two ribs, this is also the strongest part of your horse's back.  
At this point he showed us two photos of working cow horse trainers.  Sorry I didn't get the names, but I recognized one as this cover with Boyd Rice on it.


The barrel.  There are two good ways to approach your first barrel.  
One is to look at the barrel.  The drawback to this is it may lead you to rub, or worse, to knock the barrel.
The second, and better, way is to look at the ground where you want to travel around that barrel.
Now that may sound funny.  Seems like a simple thing right?  But I've heard of people suggesting other places, such as a point on the fence/wall to look at and 'ride to'.
 
This leads to a comment about the "Look!  Look!" that you hear so often yelled at barrel racings.  It's usually your friends and well meaning fellow competitors, trying to remind you to look up at your next barrel not down at the one you're turning.  Two problems, 1) you shouldn't be looking at your barrel as you turn it (umm, yeah I am guilty of that at times lol) 2) you shouldn't be looking up at your next barrel until you're finished turning the one you're at.  Both can cause you to rub or knock the barrel you're turning. 

There's three good ways for your horse to turn the barrel.  The best way, both in terms of efficiency and for your horse's well being, is in "4 wheel drive", or the other metaphor that Ed kept using "like a slinking cheetah on the hunt".  The second best is a rollback style turn where the horse sets and turns on a hind leg, its a bit more hard on your horse physically though.  And third, a pivot on the front leg style turn... this is much harder physically on your horse.


This photo of Lindsay Sears and Martha is a pretty good example of a horse in 4WD, pulling with those front legs and pushing from behind, the whole body working as one. 

This photo and the one below (again Sears & Martha) are good examples of the next thing I want to talk about, hands.
(actually that 1st photo, of Boyd, is a very good example of the hands and the body up over the first two ribs)
Whether you're turning your barrel, running into the arena, running between barrels or scooting home, Ed wants your hands very forward. 
It was something I noticed at the first clinic of his that I went to (Oct 2010)  I was halfway through the order and observed that he was getting all the girls to ride with their hands much more forward than what you normally see.  In fact he put an elastic in the mane as a visual reminder of where he wanted your hands, that elastic was about halfway up your horse's neck.  So when I went to warm up I practiced keeping my hands there, and I was the first person that day to NOT get an elastic (and there were only a couple others)


Look again at that first photo of Sears.  Her hand is way up Martha's neck, lifting up a bit to help shape and guide but not pulling out to yank her into the turn and around the barrel.  Then in second photo, she's running on a straight but hasn't thrown her reins away.  They are up the neck and forward, moving in time and helping energize that great mare to stretch out and run.
With just a small movement in any direction you can get so much more from your horse!  Shorten stride, lengthen stride, smoother turn with more shape and guide (no yanking around the barrel!), cleaner steps backing, etc. 

That hand position, along with timing & feel (you hear timing & feel a lot as well as shape & guide lol) and that forward body position totally change the results you can get with your horse.  And to me, that is the essence of an Ed clinic (as far as the riding)  Now of course there are exercises and drills but they all seem to come back to that.
Sounds easy right?  Wrong!  Ed has so much knowledge & experience, as well as being very competitive, driven and having a keen eye, that when you think you've got it and are doing well he can pick out something (even the teeniest thing) and point out what you are in fact doing wrong and make you work on it.  And he will work within your level of experience.

There were girls at our clinic that ranged from rookie riders to experienced rodeo competitors and he gave them all something to work on within their range.
For example, girls who didn't have much riding experience... He'd help them work on their hands and timing to help them get a better turn but he wouldn't overwhelm them with other things (such as the hindquarters drifting)
Now some may think that's not good, that he should work on them getting 'perfect'.  But if he did that they'd also feel they weren't getting anything out of the clinic, they might feel embarrassed or discouraged so instead he gives them workable & usable building blocks and as they become more advanced he'll pick on them a bit more ;)  Or if they don't come to another of his clinics there's hope that they'll just become better riders with time & experience. 
And he never let on that you were or were not "top of the class" as far as skill, everyone was treated equal IMO.

This is already getting long and this seems like a good place to stop for now.  More to come!

**photos were found via Google images.  Boyd Rice cover of Western Horseman magazine, 1st photo of Lindsay Sears credited to JB Originals, 2nd photo of Sears I'm not sure who the credit goes to (but I think it's Mike Copeman, sorry if I'm wrong!)**


Monday, July 9, 2012

Stepping up

I'm tired of this... the animal rights whackadoodles interfering with rodeo.
(don't get me wrong, 
I'm all for animals being taken care of properly and not abused 
but PETA, HSUS et al can go jump off a bridge for all I care)
Truth is most of them don't have a clue what's really going on or how the animals are cared for.  They just see an instant and cast judgement without really knowing what's happening.

This post has been rolling around in my head the last couple days.  It's summer, rodeo season, and there's a surge in the "rodeo is evil" protests.  A fellow blogger & Facebook friend just had an 'interesting' experience at a weekend rodeo and then there's all the buzz about the Calgary Stampede's 100th anniversary.

This year it seems the 'big target' is calf roping... or tie down roping as it's now called *eyeroll* and of course, as usual, the chuckwagons.

Yes I agree, the chucks can be dangerous.  And I have no doubt that not all the horses are cared for properly.  BUT in what equestrian sport are they ALL taken care of properly?!  Pleasure horses denied food & water with their heads tied, soring in TWH shows, rolkur, etc.  You can't name one, every discipline has someone that is less than kind. (doesn't make it right!)

What I wonder is how many people realize that those horses are doing what they love?  Running and competing.  And WELL after traditional TB "retirement age".
It would be nice if all ottbs could be 'retired' to a new life as a hunter, jumper, dressage horse, barrel racer, trail horse or pasture ornament.  But lets face it, that's not the case.  A LOT of them end up headed for a dinner plate.  Meanwhile those lucky enough to head to a chuckwagon driver are being taken care of as a competition horse, getting to run into their late teens (or longer)

Like I said, I know not all the drivers are perfectly ethical, but most of them are.  This is their livelihood after all, it's in their best interest to take care of those horses.  So maybe, just maybe, cut them some slack.
I'll step off my soapbox now.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunday Stills ~ Winter

It seems Ed must be feeling the heat, this week's Sunday Stills theme was winter:
"Yep ya’ll read right, so this will be an archive challenge. Its too darn hot to go out looking for pics this week so stay in and enjoy the A/C and lets see some pics of winters past and feel the chill."
 



Friday, July 6, 2012

Friday Funny ~ Let's get physical

During my physical yesterday,
 my doctor asked me about my daily activity level, 
and so I described a typical day this way:

"Well, yesterday morning, 
I waded along the edge of a lake, 
escaped from wild dogs in the heavy brush, 
marched up and down several rocky hills, 
stood in a patch of poison ivy, 
crawled out of quicksand, 
and jumped away from an aggressive rattlesnake."

Inspired by my story, 
the doctor said, 
"You must be some outdoors man!"

"No," I replied, 
"I'm just a lousy golfer."

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

(not quite) Wordless Wednesday ~ Sunday Stills

I missed posting on Sunday because I was in the middle of an incredibly busy few days.
 (barrel racings, the Ed Wright clinic and dealing with a nagging injury)
The theme for Sunday Stills had been "Roads" and I knew exactly which road I wanted to photograph:
And yes there are some people fools that still use that road even though on this end of it there are signs saying road closed.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

I Am...

Hey, I'm not a lumberjack, or a fur trader...
I don't live in an igloo or eat blubber, or own a dogsled...
And I don't know Jimmy, Sally or Suzy from Canada, 
although I'm certain they're really really nice.

I have a Prime Minister, not a President.
I speak English and French, not American.
And I pronounce it "about" not "a boot".

I can proudly sew my country's flag on my backpack.
I believe in peace keeping, not policing,
diversity, not assimilation,
and that the beaver is a truly proud and noble animal.
A toque is a hat, a chesterfield is a couch,
and it is pronounced "zed", not "zee", "zed"!!!

Canada is the second largest land mass!
The first nation of hockey!
And the best part of North America!

My name is cdncowgirl!*
And I AM CANADIAN!!!

*for those of you that don't know, this was a very popular ad campaign and the proper second last line is "My name is Joe"*
 
Over 10 years later and I still love that rant.  In a funny way it signaled the start of Canadians becoming more loud about being proud to be Canadian.  Especially funny as its a beer commercial... way to hold up another Canadian stereotype ;)
For a long time people have thought that we Canadians aren't very patriotic.  Truth is we are, we just haven't been very "in your face" about it.  But that's changing, and its a nice thing to see.

For anyone that would like to see The Rant click here

I post The Rant today in honor of Canada Day -- 
Happy Birthday Canada!

PS I've prempted my Sunday Stills in honour of Canada Day.  I will post my pics tomorrow (hopefully)

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Dear Bloggers

MiKael at Rising Rainbow has a huge opportunity,
 if she can get a little help from her friends. 
 Please check out her blog for the details!

I've voted already.  If its at all something you'd consider please check it out.


Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Funny ~ Trucker

There was a man driving down the road behind an 18 wheeler, at every stoplight the trucker would get out of the cab, run back and bang on the trailer door.
After seeing this at several intersections in a row the motorist followed him until he pulled into a parking lot.

When they both had come to a stop the truck driver once again jumped out and started banging on the trailer door.  The motorist went up to him and said, "I don't mean to be nosey but why do you keep banging on that door?"

To which the trucker replied, "Sorry, can't talk now, I have 20 tons of canaries and a 10 ton limit, I have to keep half of them in the air all the time!"

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A Couple of "Those Days"

The other day I was out doing the morning chores, I'd tossed the horses their hay and gave them a quick check and before I checked the pasture horses I went to check the cows... low and behold, instead of our five little cows there were five little cows and a sixth one, much bigger! (steer actually)
He was coming in from our big horse pasture (the pasture horses are currently in the small horse pasture) with two of our little guys trailing him, our other three were following on the other side of the fence (their side of the fence!)
I went into the pen and called May Belle and Chuck in and Stranger followed them.  I circled around them, keeping an eye on Stranger in case he didn't like people and closed the pasture gate.  Got out of the pen and ran to the house to grab Pie.  He came back to the pens with me and helped me get our two sorted back into their pasture while keeping Stranger in the pen.  Turns out our two must have just pushed through from curiosity over the visitor in the pasture.  I watched the cows and when the went to give the fence a look see they jumped back after touching the wire.
After that I checked the pasture horses, fed hens & gathered eggs (yes eggs!) then went for a drive to see if I could find who owned Stranger.  I was pretty sure I knew where he came from, there's a pasture with some cattle that shares a fence line on the South side of our big pasture.  So I headed South on our road and went down the first cross road to the one house I knew was there. 
The guy came to the door and I explained why I was there, turned out it was his land but they weren't his cows.  He said he'd pass the message on to the guy running cattle on his land.  And sure enough a short while later a man came to my door and introduced himself as RT.  We walked down to the pens and yeppers, Stranger belonged to him. 
A few minutes later he was back with a stock trailer and two helpers to get Stranger loaded.  Good thing he had those helpers... it took a bit of chasing to get him in the trailer.
The next day I woke up with a dream fresh in mind, in it our cows were out and Pie & the quad and me & Voodoo had to get them back in.  Well guess what I found when I went to do chores?  Yep, cows were out.  Just in another of our pastures thank goodness but their pasture is the only one with appropriate fence for little Dexter cows.
I sprinted to the house and yelled to Pie "Cows are out!  Grab the quad, I'll grab Voodoo!" while I quickly swapped out my rubber boots for cowboy boots.
As I was hustling to the barn to grab Voodoo's halter Pie ran by, "How long til you guys are ready?"
"Five minutes!" (I hoped)
I have to say, man do I LOVE that horse!
When I got to the pasture he was on the other side of the announcer's booth, as soon as he saw me coming he met me at the gate and stuck his nose in the halter without any of his usual games.
 (you must give me "x" number of cookies before you may halter me)
I ran to the barn and he long trotted on a loose line beside me.  In the barn he stood PERFECTLY still while I ran a quick brush over him and saddled up.  Usually he's a bit fidgety, and even when he's behaving he moves around me (something I've kinda taught him to do, but it works for me)
Voodoo & I came out of the barn and I got on just as Pie came back from a quick scouting trip.  Pie held the gates while I rode through and then Voodoo was off at a long trot with the quad on his heels.  I led Pie to the gate between the pasture the Dexters were in and the one they SHOULD have been in and we got the gate unwired and open (we'd already shut off the electric).
The cows like the quad so they were heading toward the sound of it, of course they didn't want to actually come through the darn gate so Voodoo and I went in to circle them and push them through, and other than Chuck it went perfect.
Darn Chuck though, just before the gate he split off and ran down the fence away from the gate.  Voodoo was on him like a duck on a tick.  He ran down the fence, got just enough ahead of Chuck to lean his shoulder in and turn him back toward the gate.  Voodoo rolled back and ran him down to the gate and through it.  I was so proud of my boy!
The cows were running back toward the haybarn and I had to get off to help Pie get the gate back up & wired, and that was the only time Voodoo was bad.  He seemed upset that the cows he'd gathered and chased were running away from him lol
We locked the Dexters in the pen by their pasture until we could get the fence fixed.  Thank goodness it wasn't anything too bad... turned out they had ripped out the ground wire, probably by rubbing on the pole.
That was one dream I didn't need to come true ;)


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Sunday Stills ~ Clouds

This week's Sunday Stills theme was clouds. 
If ever there was a challenge made for me, it was this one.  After all they don't call Saskatchewan "the land of the living skies" for nothing!
We've also had a lot of rain lately, including a tornado warning Friday.  Thank goodness no tornadoes in my area (although that could have made a good photo) but there were several small ones not too far away, however I wasn't going to put myself at risk by going TO the tornado!
All these were taken either at my place or within 5 minutes of it.





Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday Funny ~ Proper Disposal

Rummaging through her attic one day, my friend Carol found an old shotgun. 
Unsure how to dispose of it, she called her parents.
"Take it to the police station," her mother suggested. 
My friend was about to hang up when her mom added...
"And Carol?"
"Yes mom?"
"Call them first and let them know you're coming."

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Eggscellent!

There was a bit of shenanigans today so I was a bit later going to check the hens then usual.
(you know, usual since I got them Monday night lol)  
Anyhoo, I was pleasantly surprised to see an egg when I got to the coop! I was thinking it would be at least a week before the girls were settled enough to start laying so I'm pretty happy that I got one in 2 1/2 days :)

Of course I had to take a pic of the egg

And weigh it lol

Not too bad, just 1gr shy of being graded XL!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

To come live at my place!! 
True story! Yesterday I got chickens from a friend that lives down the road aways and on the other side.
Right now they're in their temporary coop.  Its a little bit  lot, redneck. We're using the old dog kennel as their run and they have a little pallet coop and a doghouse for shelter.  There are 6 ISA hens and an ISA roo, plus a few Ameracauna pullets.
Hera seemed to realize that guarding them is part of her job, she hasn't made one aggressive move toward the coop and has chased off the cats when they get too "stalker"ish
Although that doesn't stop them from coming back to check things out.
I didn't hear the rooster at all this morning, but around 1:30 this afternoon he crowed a bit.  The ISA hens are very friendly and will even eat feed out of your hand.
We're planning a bigger coop and run, just need some time and for the weather to cooperate!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Sunday Stills ~ By the Numbers

This week's Sunday Stills challenge:
 "So for the next challenge its all about the numbers, the more the merrier. See how many numbers you can get into one pic..:-)"

Here's mine, a rather dreary looking day on our weather station.  And no, I am not in Toronto.  I think it automatically resets to that after a power outage (we had one last night)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Funny ~ Horse Texting Codes

OOH - out of hay
LAS - lost a shoe
BBM - bastard just bit me
FOMHL - Fell Off My Horse Laughing
FTC -- Forgot the carrots
MIHA -- Mare's in heat, again
IPTI -- I'll pick up tennis instead
LWW -- Lesson went well
MSMBO - mud sucked my boot off
HSIH - Horse Snot in Hair
HAO - Hay All Over
HIMB - Hay in My BRA
PIHH - Poop Induced Half Halt
UD - Unplanned Dismount
PTTDG - Prayed to the Dirt God
MMM - Master Manure Mucker
OOM - Out of money
MHTS - More horses than sense.
BAHHFDP - bought another horse husband filed divorce papers
GBBF - got board bill, fainted
GFBF - got farrier bill, fainted
HRHCF - husband realized horse costs, fainted
SLH - Smell like horse
DQFOY - Dressage Queen fell off - yipee
HTNHFH - Hiding the new horse from hubby
WWFNS - Will work for new saddle
AROGC - Arena rained out - going crazy
SSB - saddle sore butt
BTLGR - B!tchy trainer left - good riddance
ALIGAR - At least I got a ribbon
NLT - No lesson today

HGR - Have a great ride!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Practice & Non Practice Runs

Friday night I got Voodoo from the pasture & put him in a pen for the night.  I'm very cruel, the pen has grass plus he got a very full hay bag.  Don't worry, when I went to get him Saturday morning he didn't hesitate to let me know how mean I was... he's such a drama queen lol
Anyway, I also had the truck filled & hooked up the trailer and had the trailer loaded Friday night.
Saturday morning I was up (after far too little sleep), did chores, loaded my poor abused pony and was on the road to go barrel racing.
The bad news was I hadn't figured into my travel & chore times that I needed to be there a bit early because I had all the paperwork & timers for my friend that was hosting the jackpot :o  The good news is the estimate I had for travel time of 90 minutes was WAY off and I got there in plenty of time :)

I had been doing some barrel work this last week at home and Voodoo has been working pretty nicely.  But when I went in for my first run (it was a double header, one run per jackpot) Voodoo started off at a nice, easy, slow lope for 1st barrel *headdesk*  Hmm... I guess I should have made one or two speed runs at home when I was practicing.
As we were turning 1st I felt a change in him, like he woke up and went "oh this is for reals!" and he picked up speed the rest of the run.  I was very happy with his 2nd barrel, its my nemesis but this time I managed to not start to cue him for the turn too soon and he maintained nice form around it.  The ground felt a bit iffy and I totally safetied him up on 3rd, still nice but way slow.
When it was time for the second jackpot he ran better to first but he felt stiff... I got him to soften up but he also took it as "hey lets turn here" which was about a half stride too soon, we made it around but it was NOT pretty nor was it fast.  He ran nicely to 2nd and I managed to ride him to what felt like the right spot but I think I was a little off again because he was really tight coming out which caused him to veer off like an idiot on the way to 3rd.  I was feeling better about the ground so I didn't safety up like I had earlier (the ground was harrowed every 5 riders, so by the 2nd jackpot the ground was much better)   Overall our 3rd was better, but still not great, and our 1st was worse.
I did manage to keep pushing all the way to the timers which is a huge mental problem for me.  I always think I don't have enough stopping room.  I guess its from running Cessa as my first barrel horse, being a TB she wasn't built to stop like a stock horse... that girl needed room to stop! 
The good news is Voodoo was consistent, our times had a difference of about .2 of a second.  The better news is that in the first jackpot we placed 4th in the 3D and it paid to four spots :)  For the record we placed 5th in the 3D in the second jackpot and it only paid to 3 spots. 
(how many spots are paid depends on how many entries there are)

His runs are starting to come together again, obviously we need to keep doing our slow work at home but to also add in some "real" runs once in awhile.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Friday Funny ~ Mail

Maybe snow or sleet won't delay the mail 
but there are other factors... 
like lack of faith in the system. 

The man ahead of me at the post office 
was getting forms 
for temporarily stopping mail delivery
 and change of address.

"When you've filled them out," 
suggested the clerk, 
"bring them here in person 
so they don't get lost in the mail."

Thursday, May 31, 2012

After Every Ride

Voodoo has a ritual.
First he finds the perfect spot.
Down he goes.
And he rolls.
Gotta get the other side.
Scritch it in good.
Back to the first side & stand up.
"OMG Mom you were taking pictures of that?!"

Makes me wonder why I bother to brush him after riding lol

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Best Laid Plans...

Remember my plan to ride Smudge while there were people around my place for that clinic?  Yeeeah, didn't happen.  I was on the run all morning getting stuff ready for lunch (I was providing a bbq lunch)  Well after lunch the wind came up and it started to rain.  The kind of weather that can put some extra silliness into a horse.  So I decided to go the smart route and let him wait a bit longer.  Instead I decided I would ride him one day this week while Pie was around.
I also altered my game plan a bit, I decided I'd add in what BEC mentioned.  I'd catch Smudge, brush & saddle him and then tie him up and let him soak while I worked other horses, cleaned the barn, etc.  He needs it, the boy is impatient and paws.
Monday it was rainy so Pete & I went green-housing to get plants for the yard.  Today was nice, and being dry & sandy it was drying up enough to ride so I caught up Smudge.  Oh man, this is where I have to make a "bad horse mommy" confession...  You know how sometimes you don't see what's right in front of you?  Yeah that was my problem.  I check the horses daily, but I hadn't taken a real hard look at Smudge in awhile.  I mean I noticed he was fat but WOW I didn't notice quite how fat he is.  When I joke that he looks like he could be Percheron its not that much of a stretch at all.  After I brushed him I weight taped him, I'll let you look at the pics and you can guess what the magic number was lol   Then I saddled him and tied him up outside. 
Applejack got brought in, brushed, weight taped (he's down 115 lbs or so!) :) saddled him up and went for a ride.  The good news about Smudge being so fat is he makes Appy look trim:
Sorry, this was the best pic I could get of Applejack today, he did NOT feel like posing lol
(yes the sky was that blue today) :)
Smudge... "guess my weight"  
Oh and this should help y'all guess, that saddle is NOT a kid's saddle.  Its a 15" Billy Cook barrel saddle.  I am a very bad horse mommy :( 
(and yes I know the back cinch looks terrible, its getting adjusted!)
After riding Applejack for awhile I decided to see if I could pony Smudge from Appy.  This is another alteration I've made to Smudge's plan.  With how fat & out of shape he is I've decided to move him to dry lot and put him on the diet plan.  Also, it just didn't seem fair to start riding him when he's that fat so I will lunge him (if he lunges, we'll try that out in the round pen) and pony him.
The arena was a bit muddy in places but not slick or too deep so I grabbed Smudge and ponied him, which took a bit of figuring out lol  We went for 20 minutes, walk/trot and one lap of a lope (just to see if we could)  After Appy was still just as fresh, in fact he kept wanting to break into a lope and was getting in his "I feel good!" prance steps here & there, he's such a goof!  Appy was rode for a total of 45-60 minutes tonight, Smudge was ponied for 20.  Appy worked at a walk/trot/lope, Smudge walk/trot (except for that one lap at a lope) and Smudge was WAY sweatier than Applejack.  Poor guy!
Trust me, that may not look like much but he was sweaty! 
One good thing came of today, after having to 'discuss' things with Smudge I'm feeling much more comfortable in my new saddle.  I wasn't sure about my seat in it, it felt a bit loose and like I'd slip out of it.  No worries now lol  I do think that next time I'll use a rope halter, so hopefully we'll have less to 'discuss' when I say come along.
And lastly, this was a picture I was thinking of for last week's Sunday Stills.  Anyone know what song I have in mind for this pic?