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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, December 9, 2014

Gonzo Ninja Cowgirl

I took Odin with me to my lesson yesterday.  It was his third time being used in lessons but probably about a month since he was at a lesson. He hasn't been ridden much in between and for the most part he was good.
For.  The.  Most.  Part.
He and I both earned new nicknames though, he was "little asshole!" and I became Ninja Cowgirl.
For some reason he just could/would NOT lope to the right.  I don't mean he wouldn't pick up his right lead.  He wouldn't go into a lope. 
He's not sore, he's just a stubborn little *bleep*.  He picked up a lope to the left just fine too. 
We did finally get him going to the right, but it took riding like (as my coach said) a "gonzo ninja cowgirl" to get him moving (hence the new name lol)  I rode hard and like a crazy person, had to kinda get all over the place, there must have been a few ninja moments because I know there were a few times I wondered how I was staying in the saddle ;)  It was a workout!  (but hey, the horses do all the work right lmao)
I know what our homework is, good thing it's nice out!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Keeping Busy

Geez it's been awhile since I've posted anything!  It seems like a whole lot of stuff has been happening and yet at the same time nothing.  Lets see...
* Winter has sort of started.  There's not a lot of snow but the temps have been cold, once you add in the "feels like" that is.  If it was just the actual temperature it would be pretty nice out for this time of year!  Most days are between -5C and -12C, but that doubles (or more) with that darn feels like.  We didn't even hit the negative temps until November 8th!
* I can't believe it but the horses are still on pasture!  That will change soon though I'm sure.  Either I'll finally have to say there's not enough grass left or we'll get enough snow to cover it.  It sure is a relief though that so far I'm only feeding hay to the cows and the three little guys.  Hay has been a hard thing to find around here this year :(
* My bestie 'Nell and I have been taking riding lessons!  We found a great deal on group lessons - $100 for 5 weeks for an hour lesson.  The "hour" lesson usually ended up being 2 hours, there were only 5 of us in the group, its super close to my place and I love the instructor (even though I had a bit of trouble understanding her communication style at first) but the BEST part?  We can bring whatever we want to for horses, from broke and finished to greenies AND it didn't have to be the same horse every time!  So Lefta and Voodoo went to a couple lessons and then I used ODIN for the last two... yep I'm finally riding my little boy! (err, not so little... he's probably going to finish right around 16hh)
* At the second lesson that Odin went to I loped on him for the first time!  It was my 5th ride on him (maybe 6th?)  He has had miles put on him and loped under saddle but still, it was MY first time :)
* 'Nell and I are going to keep going with lessons, just the two of us, every other week.  We'll cancel a lesson if it's too cold but we're hoping this will help us keep on riding through the winter.
* Team penning has started again!  Penning started late this year, November 1st, because it was a bit tough to find cattle (at least I think that's the reason they gave)  I missed the first one but made it to the next two.
* We lost Hera :(  A neighbour found her out in the bush at his place.  He said there wasn't a mark on her so she wasn't hit by a car or attacked, but he is pretty sure she was poisoned. Well not SHE was poisoned, but she got into some poison.  From the sounds of it there are some people trying to poison the coyotes so she must have got some bait.
* Riding... I've been trying to keep riding.  'Nell and I plan to suck it up and ride this winter, more than just the lessons, but when it's the wind making it that cold it seems pretty tough.  I want to keep Lefta, Voodoo and Odin all going throughout the winter and hit a clinic in the spring with Lefta & Odin.

I'm sure there's more but it's just not coming to mind, or it's stuff that's not really horse blog material (quite a bit of that in my personal life lately, making my head swim... blech drama!)  Well hopefully I'll be back to posting more regularly now!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Lefta

My little girl is starting to be a grown up horse!  It's amazing how much she's changed in the last couple months.
At the Ed Wright clinic this summer I told Ed that I just had NO confidence when I was on her.  It felt like I was sitting on top of something like this ^ and she just didn't feel solid or "there" under me, if that makes any sense, and I sure as heck didn't feel comfortable even loping her anymore!  Ed watched us warm up and said to only go as fast as I felt comfortable with, to not let anyone push us faster than I felt we were ready for - including him.
Lefta was a ball of nerves that first day, she was just recently working through her trailering issues so I'm sure having to go for a "car ride" didn't help.  But being so nervous and on edge most of the day just didn't seem right, she HAS been to places before and around other horses.  Then again, that has been part of the problem.  Even at home when we had jackpots she just doesn't seem to feel comfortable with everything going on.

*she's been to another clinic and spent the winter before last going to team penning, so it's not like she hasn't been in that kind of situation*

On the second day while I was warming up Ed pulled one of his "eyes in the back of his head moments" when I rode past him and said "Nice warm up, you both look better today"  :)
Seriously, how does he do that.  He is very focused on who he's working with and we warmed up BEHIND him lol
When it was our turn I told him I was ready for some faster work.  That she finally felt solid and like she was there beneath me.  It had changed from feeling like I was on top of this ^ to this ---
And we did work... and things were starting to come along except she was having an absolute FIT about going to the left.  Ed said he thought she was sore, most likely in her neck and I told him that she had been but had been checked by my equine bodyworker and was all clear, and that I thought she was anticipating it hurting.  He looked her over and agreed, then he got up on her to do some more advanced work to try to get her over it.  His comment "Wow she sure holds on to stuff doesn't she?!"
Ummm, yes.  Something goes wrong with her and you'll be investing time to fix it that's for sure! (yes, like the trailering!)

Lefta got most of the summer off, other than trail riding, seeing as I took most of the summer off from barrel racing other than going back to slow, "aim for correct & precise" stuff with Voodoo.
But ever since the clinic when I have ridden her, wow!  She's just felt solid and confident.  She even likes to lead the trail rides and doesn't seem bothered by anything (other than dogs that jump out from nowhere)
Well, well... now it is once again the little miss's turn.  We worked in the arena yesterday just to see where her mind is at seeing as she really hasn't had to do much "work" the last couple months . 
Oooh boy howdy did I second guess getting on her for a moment... I put the reins over her head, tightened her cinch a couple holes and then before I could swing a leg over she was gone.  Zipping around the arena with little humpy whale bucks and just ruuuunnnning.
Once she settled down and stood, looking QUITE  proud of herself, I walked over to her and said "Well I hope you had fun, consider that your warm up!"  and then we started trotting and loping.  Lots of different exercises and drills but no actual barrels.  I just wanted to see where her mind was at and I was pretty pleased that she settled down and went right to work after her little shenanigans!  Geez, I was only wanting to see where she was at with doing work instead of trail riding lol
Today I set up the barrels and we headed back to the arena, warmed up and trotted through.  Not bad, not great... didn't like what I felt on the left though.  Loped through and yeah... left was not good.  She's acting like she's sure it will hurt so that second barrel sucks but when she gets to third she's fine.  Unfortunately that is not going to make for a nice pattern though lol
Until she gets through this "ooh noes it's going to hurt" we'll do some body work and lots of work softening and gaining flexibility to the left.  And it will probably also take lots of just riding through it so there will be lots of days she ends up like this:

"I'm tired mom!"

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The New Kid

Not mine! No way, no how... no "new kids" of human or animal persuasion for this lady! 
However, my boarder for the last year or so had given notice that she was leaving September 1st so that left room for a new boarder or two.  That turned out to be a nice little twist of fate for my "new old friend" Jax...
She was able to get a super good deal on a colt and now she was able to keep him at our place, which works out great for a few reasons.
(It's not my deal, 
therefore not my place to divulge the details 
but it was a steal of a deal)
Jax hasn't had a horse in a long time, like since she was in her late teens and she & I are considerably out of our teen years. 
Joey, the colt, is a papered Half Arabian and Jax will be sharing him with her daughter B.  B is "new to horses" so to help Jax get her feel back and B some experience they'll ride some of my horses... so boarding here works because they'll be able to come and work with their horse and ride.  Plus they're more than willing to help out with some odd jobs/maintenance things.
Of course there is still an actual contract to take care of the business part of boarding, and thanks to a comment from Cindy D I remembered to put a clause in allowing for photos...  which allowed for me to catch this bonding moment when we brought young Joey home ;)
So there you have it, my first "official" boarder horses have moved and the new one has moved in.

Friday, August 15, 2014

It's Supposed To Be Fun Right?

Horses that is. 
Yes they're a lot of work. 
A.  Lot.  Of.  Work. 
Especially when you take care of them yourself.
(but that leads me into a whole 'nother topic)
But if you're a horse nut like me, "infected" since you were a wee one, they're supposed to be FUN.

Sometimes though we lose sight of that...
Which actually makes me glad my horses aren't in shape to be competitive at all this year.
We've been entering jackpots still, but working on keeping things correct not on making runs.
We've been trail riding.
We've been working in the arena but not "running" or do a bunch of barrel work.
Just working on softness, suppleness, collection, lateral work, etc.

Even when we're working though we're also having fun...
You know what?  It's showing - even in our jackpot runs :)

Which reaffirms my belief that no matter how competitive you are, you need to respect your horse and keep it fun for BOTH of you!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Good Fences Make Good Neighbours

If you live in the country for any length of time it's bound to happen... livestock gets out, either yours or someone else's. Not a huge deal if it's dealt with properly and promptly. But when it's not, oohhh man!  Get ready, grab a snack, this is a bit long-winded.

There is a farmer/rancher in the area that is fairly notorious for his cattle getting out, we'll call him BN.  We've been here for 4 years now; first year no problem, second year one got into our horse pasture once and he promptly came and picked it up, last year nothing and then this year... it's gone from a minor inconvenience to a problem.  And I think that's part of his issue, he's been here "forever" and we're "new".  But I know for a fact we're not the only ones having issues with him as he rents & owns several pastures in the area and other people are having the same problems with him.

For the story below a five year old I drew you a little "map" (I apologize, my Paint skills are sorely lacking
Here is the key to the map:  Large purple shape is main horse pasture, green shape is the cow pasture.  Blue rectangle is a hay field (with a closed gate to the cow pasture).  The little grey square is the hay barn, the brown square is the pen with gates that open into the cow & horse pastures, where the horses come in for water (the cows have a waterer in their pasture).  The white space to the right of the pen and below the horse pasture is part of my small horse pasture.  Keep those fuzzy red & orange lines in mind, I'll get to them in a moment!



I went to do chores one night and my cows were making quite the racket.  A couple of the calves were small enough to have gotten under the hotwire so I thought maybe some mommas were upset.  I used the little flashlight on my phone and did a quick head count and everyone was there, and then I heard a snorty sound behind me... I turned and there was a strange cow in the small horse pasture!  No horses were currently in there so I didn't worry about it, I just figured one of BN's cows had gone through the fence. That fuzzy red line is the shared fenceline. 
The next morning I went to check and the steer had crawled through into the horse pasture.  I got him moved into the pen and called BN... he came and got him a couple days later.

This sort of thing has happened repeatedly this spring/summer. 

The last few times his cattle would get into my horse pasture and then crawl the fence right into my cow pasture.  BN took longer and longer to come and get them.  Then the worst part happened... his darn cows broke through my cow fence and took my cows with them, right into the hayfield, they broke the fence where the little, fuzzy, orange line is.
I was at my limit, not only were his cattle eating my grass (and my cow pasture isn't big, I don't have grass to spare) but we also were wanting to put our bull out soon and I have automatic waterers so it was literally costing me money to have his stock here.

The last time before this that BN's cattle had been here I had been less friendly than normal and I told him that he really needed to do something about this, maybe improve the fence.  And yes, this was HIS responsibility in my eyes seeing as MY animals were respecting that shared fenceline and staying where they belonged.  He kept giving lame excuses as to why they were getting out... and it wasn't just into my pasture, at night you drive slower down my road and the surrounding ones knowing that there's a good chance some of BN's cattle are out in the ditch/on the road.

So anyway, this last time when all the cattle were out (except our bull, poor Baxter was bellerin' up a storm from his pen though!) the Hubster and I were on our own to round everyone up.  Hubster took the quad, I grabbed Voodoo and we got it done -- pretty proud of us and VERY proud of Voodoo, man oh man did he work those cows!  (really wish he could work like that at penning and sorting but I guess he knows when it really counts and when it's a "game") 
After the deviants were penned I called BN, got his voice mail and left a message stating that his cattle had gotten out, wrecked our fence and took our cows & calves with them.  He needed to pick them up NOW and he better bring fencing tools.  Whattaya know, who pulls into the yard with a little black truck (no trailer) about 15 minutes later to 'make sure they were his cows'.  Really?!  I had left a message over a week ago that they were here, and the day before I had called again leaving a message telling him he had until sundown the next day to collect his cattle. 
(dangit, they got out the next morning!)
Well he couldn't deny they were his, especially with those brands haha!  He was back about 20 minutes later and got them loaded then I walked him to the pasture and showed him the broken electric wire and smooth wire.  BN and his brother fixed the fence and after they left Hubster and I put our mommas & calves out.  Hubster went to work and I went riding with friends.
We got back and who was in the hayfield... my girls and their babies.  I was soo mad but also grateful my friends were with me, we got them rounded up and in a pen.  Poor Lefta, she's not a big fan of cows and she had to work them, and not in the confines of an arena but out in the wide open where she had to w.o.r.k. lol
I checked the fence, it was all up but for some reason there was no *zap* to it.  Hmmm
On his day off Hubster and his buddy went to put up another wire and check the ground and that's when they found it... that jerk BN and his brother had wrapped the electric wire around fence posts instead of tightening it properly, it was grounding out!  I was so mad I could spit! 
Funny, once the guys fixed the fence PROPERLY it's worked fine and the girls, babies and Baxter are all contentedly munching away on the grass and staying put **knock wood**
I really need to look into what my rights are in this situation should it happen again, because I'm not really wanting to keep them in my pens or pastures any longer.
You may have noticed I've been referring to Hubster in this post.  Pie & I are still together, I've just renamed him ;)

Good cows!!
**edit to add, those trees in the background? 
The shared fenceline is right behind them, they're further away than they look**

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Smokin' Fast hahaha

Okay, so actually NOT smoking fast. :p

We had our second double header jackpot at our place this past Monday and gave Lefta the night off and just rode Voodoo.  I hadn't rode him in the first one because he had a fresh cut.  Considering he's running and playing in the pasture and it's healing well I didn't feel too badly about entering him this time.  What I did feel badly about is he is sooo out of shape after a couple weeks on pasture without any riding.

Since I knew there was no hope at all of a competitive time and we just needed a jackpot the only game plan was to work on his gate antics and tune our pattern.  He could cruise through the barrels however "fast" he wanted, heck he could walk/trot if that's what he did nicely lol

I am lucky enough to have a fairly large outdoor arena, the pattern at my place is a full set... standard size pattern, standard distance timers to barrels, standard size timers to gate.  I joked that I'd be happy with anything faster than 25.0 ;)

Our first run he threatened to pop up a bit when I went to go in the arena.  I just kept my hands forward and squeezed my legs asking for forward and suddenly in he went (although he felt a little pissy about it).  Our "run" was okay.  *I* really need to work on ME and second barrel though.  We just loped through and our time was 24.31 haha

I mentioned to my friend KD that I may need help getting in on my second run and she laughed and said "Do you just want me & Tiz to ride up behind him again?" and that's when I found out she rode toward us when he started farting around and we joked Voodoo must have thought "I don't want to deal with those blondes" lol 

My second run came and KD was off to the side visiting so I tried going in on our own and what do you know... he went in just fine!  Again I rode with my hands forward, squeezing with my legs and thinking *forward*  and we walked quickly toward the gate.  He had a brief moment when he hesitated and I thought he'd skitter off or threaten to pop but instead he picked up a trot and swung into the arena without any helpers :)
This run was smoother, funny how going in nicely can do that ;) again I just let him cruise through but we picked up our time a bit... to a blazing 23.46 lmao

For the record, the fastest times for the day were 18.38 on the first run and 18.22 on the second.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Bid Denied

I'm sure all y'all know by now... California Chrome didn't manage to make history and become the 12th horse to win the Triple Crown.  I'm not going to comment here on whether or not I think his injury out of the gate is what cost him the race*.  Instead I want to touch on sportsmanship and tradition.

Steve Coburn, Chrome's co-owner was quite... expressive... in his post race interview.  Matter of fact he came across as throwing a tantrum.  I passed it off as a passionate owner expressing his feelings in the heat of the moment (I'm sure I'd be less than gracious in the same situation).  However if the follow up stuff I'm seeing online is true he's just a real poor sport.

Going into a bid for the Triple Crown you KNOW the deal.  You know there are horses that raced in the Derby and not the Preakness, or possibly neither the Derby nor the Preakness.  However that doesn't mean the whole field has rested... shocking but there are other races on the TB calendar ;)  One thing is certain though, you know your horse will be facing fresher horses.  Ranting and raving that it's a coward's way out is not very classy.  Also, for the guy that's been doing all the PR, not too smart.  Also let's not forget his horse isn't the only one that ran all three races (hello Ride On Curlin and General A Rod)

Those that are saying only horses that have raced in all three should be able to compete is, IMO, ridiculous.  Trainers & owners choose which races to enter depending on their horse's talent and health. 
It also reflects the "everyone is a 'winner'" way that children are being raised now.  Guess what, not everyone wins and when you grow up and step out into the big ole world without ever having to lose or take a hard knock, or stretch yourself to find out what it takes to better yourself instead of everyone getting a participation ribbon, it's a huge adjustment.

Claiming that your horse has a target on it because it's going for the Crown is also pretty stupid, although yes it probably does.  However time and time again other horses have had "targets" on their back because of how dang good they are.  Google Phar Lap and see how even the stewards tried to take him out.  Talk to people that have worked in the industry and listen to stories about boxing horses in on the rail.  How many horses have been taken out of the winner's circle due to interference?
Bottom line, target or not, it's racing.  You only get paid if you win and it's not cheap to own, train and care for those horses so guess what, you're going to try to win (although I have no illusion that some horses are entered as sacrificial lambs to make things easier for stable mates).
IMO the only way to make it *fair* for everyone would be to have the horses run in lanes like human runners do.  No changing lanes, no bumping/interfering, a staggered start so everyone goes the same distance. (somehow I'm sure even that would have people crying "unfair")

The Triple Crown isn't officially a series of races as in a closed series or set, which is why horses can enter any of the races and don't have to compete in all three.  Guess what, it wasn't even called the Triple Crown until approximately 1930 (guess what, the first horse to win the Derby, Preakness and Belmont was Sir Barton in 1919.  Yep, before it was even known as the Triple Crown). 
Tradition and history have made the Triple Crown what it is.  Every.other.horse that has won the first two races has faced the same thing Chrome faced.  It's part of what makes winning the Crown such an accomplishment and why the Belmont is known as the test of champions... to be able to win all three races, in such a short span, finishing with the longest most grueling run, against horses that may be fresher.

Again just my opinion here, if "the rules" were to change and the only horses running are ones that have entered all three... well heck any of those that win that new Triple Crown wouldn't be able to be compared to Sir Barton, Gallant Fox, Omaha, War Admiral, Whirlaway, Count Fleet, Assault, Citation, Secretariat, Seattle Slew, and Affirmed!

* For the record, while I would have LOVED for there to be a new Triple Crown winner I had serious doubts that it would happen.  Chrome didn't seem to finish the Preakness very strong and it looked like Ride On Curlin would have caught him if there had been any more distance*

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Small world, Fate, Coincidence

It is indeed a small world, and fate/coincidence have been in play lately...

Take for instance Carlos! the newest addition to our herd.
I was killing team before our team penning AGM and happened to see an ad on a bulletin board advertising a free donkey to an approved home.  Turns out Carlos had been rescued by the couple (LJK) we bought our acreage from and they had him far enough along to rehome him (Nell & I decided to make his name officially Carlos! with the exclamation point cuz that's how we roll lol)

Nell went with me to pick up Carlos! and while we were chatting it turned out the lady (LK) was looking for some laying hens but wasn't having any luck finding any.  Well *I* just happened to have gotten some new hens but I had a few more than I wanted, so we made a deal and she was going to come buy the rest of them!  Perfect timing too because I wanted to move the older hens out of the redneck coop so that I could move the youngsters into the redneck coop.
It sure was neat visiting with LJK when they came to pick up the hens.  We walked around and showed them the changes we had made, got some more history and info about things from when this was their place and had a good visit.

Then Saturday night L'il Bit had her kittens!  (sometime between 2:15pm when I went to work and 12:30am when I got home)  By Monday all her babies have homes waiting for them... less than two days old and without even trying to find homes!  Although Pie is trying to convince me to keep one instead of giving it away lol

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Peaceful transitions

My laying flock numbers had gotten down to 7 "regular" hens (2 ISAs, 2 Amers, 3 Amer crosses) and 2 bantam hens, plus my 2 roosters (1 Amer, 1 Wyandotte)
I was in need of more hens and managed to get some young stock (5 Buff Orpington, 5 Amer cross, and 2 Cream Legbars) and 10 "barnyard mix" mature hens. 
Thanks to Stephanie's article about introducing new hens I was able to add the four mature hens I'm keeping into the flock with no muss no fuss (I'm selling 6, I had to take them all and I only wanted 4 or 5)
Last night before everyone tucked themselves into bed I caught the four hens I wanted and put them in a large dog crate.  Then around midnight I took them and put them on roosts in the coop with the existing flock. 
Today when I went out to do chores they were happily mingling with the flock, eating, drinking, sunbathing, resting in the shade and dustbathing.  It's like when everyone woke up today they looked at each other and said "oh hey, I guess you've been here all along" lol
Here are the new ladies...


I couldn't get a decent pic of this little black hen, this is the best one and she's with the two roosters...
I'll admit, this pretty girl is my favourite ;)
And speaking of peaceful, Carlos! is now in the same pen as George and Rootbeer.  Other than an occasional reminder to toe the line from Rootbeer things are quite peaceful there too :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Lists

I'm a list person.  Every week I make a To Do list.  I'll be totally honest and admit that sucker has certain things that don't NEED to be on a list, stuff that will get done regardless (like changing the sheets on the bed).  However having stuff crossed off is a motivator to keep going so that's my little cheat/trick to staying on track ;) 

I've also got a project list called The Big List which has stuff that either will take a bit more time/money/effort to put it on a list with a deadline.  Things like painting the trim on the garage (hmm, that depends on when I have the time and what the weather is like), adding boards to the top of the arena fence to make it more visible (time to do it & money for boards are the factors at play), and well you get the idea.

Something I haven't done before is make an official bucket list.  Now I'm not sure if it's because I'm approaching a "milestone birthday" or what but I've been playing with putting one together... stay tuned!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Friday Funny ~ Lessons From My Horse

All I Need to Know in Life I Learned From My Horse
1. When in doubt, run far, far away.
2. You can never have too many treats.
3. Passing gas in public is nothing to be ashamed of.
4. New shoes are an absolute necessity every 6 weeks.
5. Ignore cues. They're just a prompt to do more work.
6. Everyone loves a good, wet, slobbery kiss.
7. Never run when you can jog. Never jog when you can walk. And never walk when you can stand still.
8. Heaven is eating for at least 10 hours a day... and then sleeping the rest.
10. Eat plenty of roughage.
11. Great legs and a nice rear will get you anywhere. Big, brown eyes help too.
12. When you want your way, stomp hard on the nearest foot.
13. In times of crisis, take a poop.
14. Act dumb when faced with a task you don't want to do.
15. Follow the herd. That way, you can't be singled out to take the blame.
16. A swift kick in the butt will get anyone's attention.
17. Love those who love you back, especially if they have something good to eat.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Things to work on

I rode Lefta for the first time in a.g.e.s. Monday night and I realized I have a few things to work on.
First of all I need to ride her more so that we can get to know each other, and secondly we need to build some trust in each other. 
For some reason I'm just not comfortable on her.  Part of it is that Lefta is a bit green,  but also she just doesn't feel "right" to me.  The best analogy I can give is that being on her feels like being on a unicycle whereas on the boys it feels like I'm on a bike, when I'm on her I don't feel like I have much horse in front of or behind me.
Now don't get me wrong, she's got some power and I'm sure that when she's in shape and I'm comfortable enough to ride her like I ride the boys that she'll do fairly well barrel racing.

This was my first ride on her since late last summer, early last fall.  And it was her second ride this year (Nell rode her a few weeks ago)  We warmed up then trotted the barrel pattern and she was pretty great, you`d swear we had just done our last barrel work the other day not last year. 
The only thing that really showed up was that she was a bit grumpy going left.  She'd get her nose up and toss her head a bit.  The more we worked on it the stiffer and crankier she got.  So we came off the barrels completely and worked on trotting and loping circles.  She relaxed about going left at a trot but when we kicked up to a lope that bit of attitude came back.  We worked on transitions up and down and got her relaxed and then worked on a few circles.
(I told her she just needed two NICE circles loping to the left and we could stop)
Lo and behold she dropped her head, took a deep breath and gave me 1 and 3/4 nice circles.  I told her we were doing one more and if she didn't shoulder in we'd stop... perfect circle lol

She doesn't seem sore and I don't think her teeth need done, I really think it was just a bit of attitude coming out.  I DO know that both she and Applejack (Nell came over and was riding him) were a bit cranky at having to work in the arena because it was more work... the ground is a bit deep.  Not "it's going to make my horse sore" deep, just deep enough to make it more work than traveling over the grass lol

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Three Legged Lame

Thank goodness I'm not being literal and it's not one of the horses I'm referring to!  But sadly I am referring to myself :(

Awhile back I had started to get a lot of soreness in my left foot.  It was right around when I was planning to start the C25K (Couch to 5K) training for some races I had decided to enter this summer with my friend Nell. 

I babied it along and kept putting off doing any running, switched out my work shoes and got really good insoles.  But man oh man, every day after work my foot was k.i.l.l.i.n.g me.  Standing 8+ hours on a hard floor with very little walking and anti-fatigue mats that were so worn out they were more of an idea than an actual mat... that was NOT helping anything.

Finally I couldn't take it any longer, I went to the doc and was sent for x-rays and a note for my boss that I had to take at least 10 days off work.

The diagnosis I was expecting was plantar fasciitis.  Well, I was partly right.  There's also a heel spur.  (dangit!!) 

Doc said NO running until I lose at least 20lbs.  **sigh**  Umm, "running" was supposed to be part of the plan to help me do that. 
("running" because let's face it, it would most likely be fast walking and jogging lol)

So now, no Bridge City Boogie (sorry Nell!) but I'm still hoping to be able to do the Mud Run later in the summer.  In the meantime it's time to get riding and leg up ponies, we've got some barrel jackpots scheduled!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wordless Wednesday ~ #2

**Photo credit to my friend/neighbour Nelle**

Monday, March 10, 2014

So this happened...

Tasty had her baby!  Meet...
Dudley! 
As you may recall, after losing the unexpected calf we had moved Tasty into the barn because she looked like she might calve.  Nothing seemed to be progressing so we had put Tasty back out with the other cows on February 17th.  Then we had more extreme cold weather.  Thankfully it was turning around and this past Thursday it wasn't ridiculously cold when I went down to do the morning chores, because this little guy was standing with his mama in the pen just checking out the world :)
Right away I threw some fresh straw in the stall and then the little guy was scooped up and brought in.  I wrapped him up in a cooler and started rubbing him, I wasn't sure exactly when he had been born and wanted to make sure he was warm & dry.  I slipped my gloves off and put my hands under the cooler - yay he was dry!  He wasn't too cold and warmed up really quickly.  So the fact that he was dry and had been standing relieved me somewhat.
Next step, get Tasty in the barn with her baby.  Thankfully that wasn't too difficult.  Then I put out some hay and filled her water tank. 
I was a bit worried though, I wasn't sure if he had nursed at all and he seemed a bit weak.  So I took the cooler off, fluffed some straw up around him and went to get colostrum.  There were a few pathetic sucks on the bottle and then he started to fight it a bit.  Pie told me to go feed the horses and he'd watch the calf.  When I finished feeding Pie met me at the barn door with a big smile, baby was up and eating on his own.  Yay!
So far Tasty and baby seem very content, although Dudley would like a bit more room.  He's trying to run and he can now buck in a circle without falling over.  If the weather holds Tasty and Dudley will probably go out Saturday, mental note - have camera on hand!!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Is It Spring Yet?

Normally I don't mind winter.  Of course by the time it's almost done I'm more than ready for spring, but this winter... well this winter has literally been one for the record books. 
The coldest in 30 years, more days below -30 than the average, and last night what was possibly the coldest Saskatchewan night on record.

If you click on the pics below they should open up for you...
This first pic is tonight's overnight forecast:

And this is a recap from the last 24 hours, the section I am sharing shows that we got down to a "feels like" of -50C! (that's -58 F American peeps)
The only REAL good news in all this... is that it looks like those other three heifers aren't due to calf after all so they should be carrying Baxter babies!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

There's a cow in my barn

Well Mom & Dad B came out Saturday to take a look at the remaining three heifers, and yep they agree with me... at least two, if not all three are preggers with Norman babies.

Trying to look at the bright side, it's going to be one more year before we get babies from the handsome Baxter so it'll be one extra year before we figure out what we'll do (sell his baby girls or sell him).

We're now a bit better prepared, sorta.  As the title says we have a cow in the barn.  We put Tasty in as she looks like she's closer to calving than the others.  Just really hoping she does calve first and then we can move in the next one (or maybe both of them) 

In the meantime we've got some more straw coming so I'll bed down the shelter the heifers have and we've separated Baxter from his ladies, he was feeling rather 'romantic' and we sure as heck don't want him getting that cow that lost her baby knocked up right now!

So fingers crossed that Tasty pops out a nice little calf soon!  And I've already got one boy name and one girl name picked out so hopefully I'll get one of each (Norma and Dudley, because we kept calling Norman "the dud bull" lol)

Then after the cows (and the dog) are done with my barn we'll get that nice horse smell back in there!  :)

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Dang it

Woke up to some bad news yesterday... it looks like our little dud bull Norman wasn't such a dud after all, there was a dead calf froze to the ground in the pen :(

We'd had no calves from him the spring before and never noticed any "activity" between him and the girls.  Last summer we sold him to a lady with a small petting zoo, which was a perfect fit for him.  Then we bought a really nice purebred Dexter bull.  SO if everything went according to plan we were expecting calves around May.  Perfect for us!  We're not set up for winter/cold weather calving.

I'm really hoping that it was just the one cow that took.  For now I'm checking cows as often as possible and holding my breath.  Momma & Dad B are coming out on Saturday to take a look and see if they can tell if the other three are any further along.  Right now I'm not seeing any noticeable signs (but remember these are my first cows and first calves!)

Trying to look for silver linings here... Hera was sitting in the pen "guarding" the calf and led me to it when I didn't go to the pen myself.  It also seems that she ate the placenta, I couldn't find it anywhere.  From what I've read this is good LGD behaviour to help keep from attracting predators.  Momma must have calved easily, she's not in any noticeably rough shape or distressed. (keep in mind these are heifers so it's their first calves) 

So I'm just going to keep hoping that little dud only got the one cow knocked up!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Two in a row!

Two days in a row of horse fun that is! :D

I gave myself the stupidest, most brutal schedule possible this week at work... I had Monday off (which I normally do, it's Pie's ONLY day off) then I did night audit training Tuesday & Wednesday (11pm - 7am) had Thursday off and then day shifts (7am - 3:30pm) Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  ALL so that I could have Saturday evening free to go penning lol

Well it turned out that there was a bonus, Friday night there was a barrel racing jackpot scheduled that I had forgotten about!  So after a few trials and tribulations (stuck truck, low tires, air not turned on at gas station, etc) my boarder KD & I went barrel racing.

Voodoo hasn't seen barrels in months, and he hasn't been ridden a lot so I was just planning on taking a slow cruise through the pattern and getting a couple qualifying jackpots on our card (all you have to do is enter and "run" the pattern at whatever speed you want, you don't actually have to place you're just required to enter a minimum number of jackpots to qualify for Finals)  I was more interested in seeing how he'd act, Voodoo had gotten a bit silly at the gate toward the end of the year.  Obviously, being winter, this jackpot was indoors... so he'd already be "in" the arena.  He would however have to get into the alleyway and run toward the barrels.
Our first run he was juuuust turning into the alley and noticed the pattern set up and gave the tiniest pause and then he was all the way in and loping toward first.  Unfortunately I goofed... on second I didn't ask for that little bit more of a stride and let him turn too soon.
That darn turn has been my nemesis!  But I think I've gotten it figured out, thanks in part to Browneyed Cowgirl for that!  I started barrels riding Cessa, who was much longer bodied and less "bendy" than Voodoo.  As a result when I asked her to turn she'd glide into her turn and around.  When I ask Voodoo for the turn in the same spot he snaps around right.there and turns on top of the barrel.  I'm going to take BEC's advice and ride to MY spot on the barrel not HIS (ride to where my knee is at the barrel)

Saturday I hauled to penning with my neighbour Nell (who also happens to be a good friend and an equine body worker)  We've missed quite a few pennings this last little while either due to being cancelled because of cold, the Christmas break or lack of means to get there, and Voodoo has been missing it!  He's such a funny guy, our Dexters are in the pen on the other side of his and he'll go up to the fence, push his chest against it and stare at them then look up at me and back to the cows, it's like he's begging to chase them lol
This Saturday was pick night, which means you can choose your team mates.  Our little club is a "just for fun" club so teams are usually drawn.  Nell & I opted to team up and said to just put anyone that needs a partner as our 3rd, which turned into a funny story... the lady we ended up with (Carol?) turns out to be a neighbour of ours.  That makes at least 5 "new" neighbours I've found at penning lol
We may not have a very successful night as in actually getting our cattle penned but I was pretty darn happy with how Voodoo worked.  We actually got quite a few compliments - I appreciate a compliment on my riding/horsemanship (especially as I'm not that confident in my own abilities) but a compliment on my horse means even more to me :)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Blue or S.A.D?

I'll be honest with y'all... it's been rough the last month or so. 
This winter we've had a ridiculous amount of extreme cold - manymanymany days & nights of "feels like" temps ranging from -40 to -50 C (for my US peeps that is -40 to -58F). 
The cold is bad enough, but when it's that cold the horses and cattle burn through way more hay than normal, and I didn't really have a lot to spare.  Which is why I was waiting on some backup cattle hay to be delivered.
Then, because of how cold it was,the backup hay wasn't able to be delivered AND our tractor wasn't starting so I had to dip into my horse hay to feed cows.
All this cold meant anything outdoors was pretty much vetoed, even just hanging out getting some quality time with the horses wasn't really happening.
That's just the critter stuff, it seemed like no matter where I looked there wasn't much to be happy about.
Normally that's a bit of a downer but I've just been feeling SO down.  A friend suggested maybe I was suffering from S.A.D. (link here if you're not sure what that is) however it's never been an issue before so I didn't really think that was it.  However when I've said in the past that horses (specifically Cessa) have saved my life I'm not joking... I went through a pretty bad spell with depression shortly after high school and she is what got me through. 
I've had some down moments throughout the years but nothing that bad in a long time until now.  And once again the critters in my life have been what pulled me through.  I still don't feel 100% but things are swinging back around and sometimes you just have to choose to be happy and look for the good (and work at it)**

**this is in NO way meant to discount those that are suffering from depression severe enough to need meds, in fact I probably should have been on meds just after high school**

Monday, January 20, 2014

**taptaptap**

Is this thing on? Is anyone still there? 

I've totally neglected my poor little blog, and I've been missing it! 

With how much I stare at a computer at work, and then Facebook to catch up with friends & family, the blog suffered.
But good ole Facebook just isn't the same as blogging, different audience so to speak. Plus most "posts" are just quick little updates, and if they weren't... well most people don't bother reading long (and, to be honest, often rambling) updates.

Bottom line, I'm going to attempt to post more regularly here on the blog... if anyone is still there that is.