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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


Saturday, December 19, 2015

Yikes!

Yikes! - I haven't posted in almost three months!  I know I've been a "bad blogger" this year and not really keeping up but wow... that's a long time.

Yikes! - the year is almost over.  Where the heck has the time gone?!

Yikes! - I've got some big projects and goals on the list already for next year, and some supportive (and somewhat "threatening") friends.  And yes, one is to return to blogging more regularly!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Finals, finals, finals!

Man have I been behind... I'll try to get caught up and I'll start with wrapping up the barrel racing season (in short form).

SBRA Provincial Finals
I decided to only enter Voodoo.  I was hauling in with my friend/neighbour but we missed the first day.  We got a LOT of rain the day before and day of, and neither of our trucks have 4x4.  By doing so we were automatically out of the short go :(
We managed to make it in for day two.  That's one thing the drought this year was good for, even after how much rain we got things dried up super fast!  By the morning of day two the back roads had just a few, small scattered puddles.
Voodoo and I had a nice run.  I've been having a few rider issues this year, the main one being that I'm not riding from first to second and not riding hard enough from second to third and then home.  Another part of that issue is that I'm not really kicking.  I *think* I'm kicking but it's more of a small flutter.  So, I tried to remember to R.I.D.E and I did... still needed to work on that some more though.

District Finals
I took both Voodoo and Lefta.  They camped out in the pens on site and I camped out in my brother's living room (about 10 minutes away).  All around it was probably the most fun district finals I've been to.
The first day Voodoo was a bit of a jerk, I couldn't get him lined out right from first to second and then we hit it.  There was a buy back option but our time wasn't even near close to being good enough that I thought it would be worth it.
Lefta on the other hand... she was a bit nervous coming down the alley but once she was in the arena it was like she was thinking "oh, barrels!" and off she went :)  We had a nice run, not super fast but good.  For the first time I asked her for some speed on the pattern.  I RODE her to second and the rest of our run and she handled it great.
That night I got the horses settled and had drinks with some of the girls and then my sister-in-law and little niece came to pick me up.  My niece was so excited I was sleeping over.  It was pretty cute, her cousin was sleeping over too so she said we should tell her dad he couldn't come home so it would be an all girls sleep over ("Even my DOG is a girl!!") lol
My SIL picked up coffee and food on the way to her house (she knows me well!), and when we got to her place I had a quick shower then we sat around by a fire having drinks, goofing off with the girls and making s'mores.
The next day Lefta was a bit of a pill to warm up.  She seemed a bit stiff, probably because my horses aren't used to staying in a small pen, and she was really distracted.  We hit our first ever barrel and the run was crap, I decided to use the buy back option and when she came in for her second run later in the day she was awesome!  It was pretty cute coming down the alley, she had her nose tipped to the left (I go left first) and was just watching for that barrel (at this arena you can't see the barrels until you're in the arena).  I ran her a bit harder than the day before, however our barrels weren't quite as tight and nice as usual - BUT, we ended up having the EXACT same time, to the thousandth! (18.604 both days).
Voodoo had a much nicer run, he warmed up really good and handled so much better.  And I RODE both horses!
The short go took back the top 10 (averaged) in each D.  Lefta was 11th in the 3D, she missed it by one spot!!  I don't think anyone has been so happy to miss a short go by one spot, but since we've barely even started to run I was pretty thrilled with how well she did :D

Biggar Series Final
Oh my, a drought all summer but we get rain at a few key times.  So not only was I not able to make the first day of provincial finals but the day the Biggar series wrapped it was rainy and cold.  It had rained for a few days and the ground was pretty sloppy.
I know Voodoo isn't a fan of mud but he'll run on it (not fast but he'll go).  Lefta hasn't had to deal with mud and slop, and due to how she really holds on to stuff that bothers her (that's a post in itself!!) I didn't want to push her and get her scared.  I also didn't want to risk hurting either of them for a few bucks, so I safetied up and just let them cruise through at their own speed, but I did ask them to start off at a slow run.
I stand by that decision too.  The next day the farrier was out and they were both a bit sore, V even stretched them before working on their feet.  I put their BOT blankets on and then rubbed them down with blue lotion and it seemed to help out quite a bit.  Also, the next time I worked Lefta on barrels she felt like she didn't trust the ground and got a bit anxious.  We worked through it though and she has been better since.
Voodoo ended up 5th in 4D for the series and Lefta won Most Improved :)

That for me wrapped up the 2014-2015 barrel racing series (although technically the Biggar series wrap up was in the 2015-2016 season)  I'm really looking forward to the new season!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Hey hay!

One of the biggest things on the minds of many horse and cattle people in my area is hay.
Saskatchewan experienced a record setting drought this year (yep, worse than The Dirty 30s!)  There was 30 cm of snow in late April and pretty much no real moisture again until July.  Accuweather.com shows a whopping 14 mm of rain TOTAL in June for my area, a day with 6 mm, a day with 1 mm and then a day of 7 mm (there was nothing in May).  July we finally had rain in the double digits, 84 mm total and on one day alone 54!
Thank goodness for that rain, but for some it was too little too late.
Hay is still very expensive because people aren't getting anywhere near as much as they normally do.  However it isn't as ridiculous as it was a little while ago.  People were panicking and the prices were STUPID crazy.  I saw round bales that would normally be $50 being advertised for $200, worse yet they were selling at that price! :o
Probably the worst one I saw was 5 year old bales selling for $150 - yes you read that right, years.
Hubster and I have actually had a bit of good luck though.  First of all the guy that cuts and bales our hay field had an issue with someone else that he bales for and had almost 300 squares to sell at a decent price.  It had been rained on but would still be decent cow hay so we bought that.
Our field gave us about half what it normally does, which is pretty much typical for most people around here this year (anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 of a normal year).  Between what we got this year and what was left over from last year we have about 500 horse quality squares.
Fortunately the drought actually worked in favour of a friend of mine, and as luck would have it I happened on his Facebook post at just the right time (less than 30 minutes after he posted).  PW's status said that he had been lucky enough to get more hay than needed and was going to offer it to his friends first before advertising it publicly.  Of course I sent him a PM right away!  Turns out he'd gotten 125 bales off a field that last year gave him 58! WOW.
When I told him that Marge and I were both looking for hay he said he'd sell to us for $100/bale and help us load*  I double checked with Marge and she was game for it, we had both been on the lookout for hay and promised to pass on leads about deals - two sets of eyes are better than one! ;)  Better yet, she would haul for cost of fuel and have her hubster help unload my bales at my place (our little tractor isn't big enough for bales over 1000lbs and these ones are about 1400lbs).
*I don't get the ads I see where they state they can't help load.  How do you expect people to load it themselves?
Hubster spoke to people at two local feed stores and has agreements to buy bulk amounts of hay cubes for the current price (both places are expecting the price to go up any time now) as well as to keep getting our complete feeds from the one place at the current price (as most of you know, at times like this all alternate feed sources tend to get more expensive).  Even better, those cubes are in handy little bags, 40 and 50 lbs each so we get the 'bulk price' with the easier handling!
Then today we were talking to our hay guy again and Hubster asked him if he has any more hay for sale and he said "Only for you" lol  We've got another 300 or so squares coming in!
Goes to show it pays off to treat people decently! :)

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Barrel racing finals

Our provincial barrel racing finals were at the end of July, and for the first time since I medical'd out in 2012 I was entered!  I would have liked to take little miss Lefta but I didn't think she was quite ready for it, and to be honest my budget played a part in deciding how many horses to take so I ended up just entering on Voodoo.
We're still a work in progress, he is quite an independent cuss and likes to do things his way. I swear that horse thinks he just needs a rider to make things official lol  I've also picked up some bad habits the last few years, and they tend to come out more on Voodoo than Lefta (probably because I feel I need to babysit her a bit more so I'm more conscious of what I'm doing - however some of the habits do spill over to her too, just not as strongly as with V).
My game plan this year was to just have fun and fix my problems and hope that helps Voodoo enough to fix his.  Sadly we only got one run... we missed running the first day and while we were able to make it to the second day that meant we automatically wouldn't make the short go even if we placed well enough.
Tuesday, day one, we got 3 1/2" of rain before it was even time to head out.  Our RM has done a horrible job with our roads the last few years and any amount of rain makes them a slimy mess, add on that my 4X4 isn't working and it just wasn't worth it to me to risk it.  I had visions of trying to get down the road and have the trailer start to slide and end up in the ditch **shudder**  A few people gave me a hard time, some pretty badly, but you know what... MY trailer, MY horse.  Not worth it to me.
So there we were, one run on day two and the funny thing was I wasn't nervous at all.  Nada.  I texted my friend Marge before my run and said "I don't feel nervous at all to run. I actually feel kinda meh"  Which is probably part of the reason we had a pretty good run!  It didn't pick up any day money, and wouldn't have gotten us to the short go even if we could have qualified, but I managed to do almost what I wanted to!
A good friend had pointed out earlier this season that I tend to turn first and just kinda wait for second to be there. As she put it I'm turning second as soon as I'm out of first, I need to RIDE my horse to second.  Which is where the almost comes in, I rode him about half way to second and then I quit on him.  Dang it.  I also meant to go to two hands between second and third and I didn't, which caused us to bump third... which I was sure meant it was down but low and behold it stayed up!  My issues with not riding to second have been causing us to knock second, or if we salvage that barrel we knock third.  Not every time, but we've had more barrels down than I'm happy with.
So our achievements were... I RODE my horse, sort of, to second (half marks for that), we had a clean run (yay), and we made a time within the goal I had set for us.  All in all I was happy :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Post Posting

I've been so darn busy!  It's good, I'm not complaining, just... busy.  And I keep thinking "Oh that would make a good blog post" but then yeah, life has moved on and I still haven't posted.  So I'll try to catch up with some stuff and also keep more current.  I hope to still "see" y'all around!  In the meantime, here's a quick one...

The Hubster has been on a spree sprucing stuff up.  He repainted all the gates to the pen and the main arena gate, the trim on the lower 1/4 of the barn (the dark brown), the fence along the side of the barn AND the inside of the barn!  That white paint inside the barn sure makes things a lot brighter :)

I cleaned out my tack room and put some stuff up for sale.  Sold a fair bit without even advertising.  Funny, as soon as I posted on Facebook that I had done a tack room tidy and had stuff to sell I had a bunch of messages asking what was available lol

Sunday, April 5, 2015

And Just Like That...

... Smudge was gone.(sold that is!)
Last week my neighbour, Mr Tim, called to tell me about a horse trailer he had for sale.  It's exactly what I want but I can't afford it right now.  He said he'd take my trailer on part trade and I jokingly said how much more would he credit it if I threw in a horse.  He asked which one and I told him I was probably putting Smudge up for sale later in the spring.  Mr Tim said he was interested but the difference was still more than I can afford right now.
A couple days later he asked me if I was serious about wanting to sell Smudge.  I told him yes, he's a nice horse but he's not getting used as much as we were planning and he's a nice horse and too young to just sit as a pasture puff.  Mr Tim was interested so we made arrangements for him to come look at him.
Now, some of you may remember but for those that don't... Mr Tim is a horse trader.  I bought Voodoo, Applejack and Smudge from him.  He's always been fair and hasn't steered me wrong.  So yes, he knew Smudge but things can happen in three years and horses may change so I wasn't upset that he wanted to check him out instead of just saying he'd take him.
When he showed up we got Smudge from his pen, he looked him over, saddled him up and rode out.  I puttered around getting stuff ready for chores and about 10 minutes later they were back.  We struck a deal and Mr Tim said he'd be over later in the day to pick him up.  That's got to be the easiest (and fastest!) horse deal I've ever done (as the buyer or the seller!)
Smudge will probably be at Mr Tim's for 2 or 3 weeks to get legged up and then he'll be off to a new home.  Part of me is sad, but you can't keep them all and he was being wasted here. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Successful Failure!

This January I signed up for a Facebook group challenge... you were to complete 30 rides and a total of 40 hours (the time riding counted toward hours) with one horse.  That was the big catch for me, ONE horse.  If I had been able to add together the time and rides on multiple horses I probably would have completed it, as it was I chose Odin and we didn't make it.
In hindsight if I had chosen Lefta or Voodoo I probably would have been able to complete, but with Odin I just didn't feel safe riding alone so we didn't get enough rides in for the challenge. 
However I chose Odin so I'd stay motivated to keep him working throughout the winter.  I knew with how green he was that if I let him sit over winter I'd be mighty hesitant to get on him in the spring without someone else taking him for a few rides first.
BUT I did keep riding him this winter!  And we've made so much progress together.  He's FAR from broke but I have confidence in him and feel like I know how he'll react to a lot of stuff that I would have been worried about before.  And at our last lesson while we were warming up Coach said "Stop!  Now pat yourself on the back!"  so I did, and looked at her with I'm sure the dumbest look on my face.  Then she said "You're riding him like a broke horse!  Not babysitting him like a colt, good job!" :D
So, we may not have gotten 30 rides, but we HAVE been riding and making progress.  I'll take that fail!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Odin Update

See the little teeny blob of a horse and rider?  That's me on Odin at our last lesson!
(photo courtesy of Nell, who was sitting on Zoey at the time)
Now sure, it's a blurry little cell pic, and we're nothing but a blip in the background, but... I noticed two things right away.
The first is I no longer look like Humpty Dumpty on a horse (yay 40lbs gone!) but more importantly, even as a little blob I can see that Odin is carrying himself much better - just look at him stepping up under himself. And this was early on in the lesson, he got much better as it went on.
What I *felt* in that lesson wasn't all an illusion :) 
We had really nice trot and canter work, man does he float when he really gets engaged and starts moving out!  Coach said I need to stop riding him like he's a colt and ride him like he's broke, until we get to something that he doesn't know. lol
I am so looking forward to getting him more 'broke' and started on barrels!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

10 Years Off My Life

Odin and I had a bit of a scary moment last week...

I was hauling him over to the neighbor's to ride in the indoor with a friend.  Went to load him and he stepped in just fine, tied him and just before I turned to get the divider he pulled back hard.  When he didn't get anywhere he set back and pulled back H.A.R.D.  He ended up slipping and falling.  When he jumped to his feet he lunged forward then set back again, did that a couple times.  Fell at least once more during all that.

*keep in mind I'm at the front of the trailer during all this with no place to go*

My mind was racing trying to figure out what to do.  I had already tried to untie him but he had pulled too hard and the "quick release knot" was jammed.  I didn't have a knife on me but I did have my phone.  Did I have time to wait for someone to get there to help and who would be the quickest to reach and get there?
He paused and I started talking to him.  I honestly don't know how I kept such a calm, logical tone of voice as I spoke to him because I was pretty damn nervous.  I babbled something about needing to stop being bad and act like a grownup, how he had been in the trailer plenty of times and knows how to load, I told him he needed to come and stand up at the front of the trailer beside me and just be g.o.o.d.  He calmed right down and stepped forward, then touched his nose to my elbow like he was saying "Sorry Mom.  I'm not sure why I freaked out." 
He wouldn't come forward quite enough for me to get the divider closed, but he stood stock still while I smacked him in the ass with it to try to get him to step forward.  Oh well, better than another freak out lol 
Then I talked to him about what our options were.  I didn't want to leave him in the trailer alone while I got a knife to cut the leadrope loose just in case he started to pull again.  The knot on the halter was jammed as well.
(so much for the theory that if you tie a rope halter properly you can un-jam the knot if they pull, I guess there's only so much pulling it can take at a time) 
Thankfully I park the truck and trailer beside the barn, I told Odin I was going to slip his halter over his ears, that when he was loose he needed to let me get out of the way and then he had to go to the gate and I'd let him into the alleyway.  Sure enough as soon as the halter was off and I was out of the trailer he stepped out and went right to the gate, I opened it and he walked into the alley nice and calm.  While he hung out eating some stray bits of hay off the ground I grabbed a different halter from the barn and caught him up again.
We went back to the trailer and I closed the divider and loaded him up in the back half.
(probably not the safest way to haul but I was going less than a mile, literally right next door)
I was quite happy with how calmly he just stepped right in, like not a thing had happened just minutes earlier (I know *I* was still shaking, and it wasn't until a few minutes into my ride that I stopped)
When we unloaded at the neighbor's we went right in to ride and he was just fine.  Moved out pretty nice, a bit of a looky-loo at first (it was his first time there).  Went to load to go home and he loaded just fine again.
Why he freaked out will be a mystery.  However it does underline something I've been noticing about this colt... he may have a bad moment here and there but it's usually pretty brief and he comes back SO nicely.  Like Monday night at our lesson, when I asked him to lope he kicked up with his hind end, I said in a stern voice "Hey now, none of that!" and he settled in to work.  Sure he was just feeling goofy but he stopped and came back with a good attitude and a good mind.  The trailer incident was the worst he's freaked out in ages, last time was during the first bit of doctoring that leg wound that was down to bone.  However I hope he doesn't freak out that big again, this one took 10 years off my life!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

That's Gonna Leave a Mark

Last night there was a barrel jackpot at Prairieland and I had the night off so heck yeah I was going!  Better yet, my bestie Nell was going to tag along which meant that I could take two horses :)
(There's a 'no tieing' rule at Prairieland so unless you rent a stall it's really tough to take two horses without a babysitter.  Fees are already a bit steep at these jackpots and being that I was going more to season Lefta and get Voodoo out again I was pretty sure there would be little to no money in it for me, I don't really like dishing out any more than I have to)

Nell and I had a quick warm up on the ponies before the time onlies started.  I had bought 2 minutes for Lefta, being as green on barrels as she is it's nice to put some work on the pattern with her right at a jackpot but before the run.  The huge turnout (over 50 open in the first jackpot, great numbers for a winter jackpot here!) and the amount of people that were wanting time only runs put the start time of the jackpot behind but they still gave us another warm up between the end of time onlies and starting the jackpots so we warmed up some more.  One of the times as she loped by Nell hollered "I love your horse!" :) 
After the second warm up she said Voodoo was feeling really good, moving nicely and he was very soft and responsive  
*keep this in mind*

I had entered both horses in the first jackpot but only Lefta in the second, testing out the "maybe Voodoo is a one run horse" theory.  I was up on Lefta first and we loped through, hey at the last jackpot she was trotting so there's some improvement lol
Then Nell and I switched horses, Voodoo was still really chill and we just hung out for what felt like forever.  (I was up something like 9th on Lefta and 51 on Voodoo)

During the rake just before my run for Voodoo I started to walk him around, and he was a jerk.  Kept trying to drift over and wouldn't keep his nice shape on the circle.  I kinda chuckled to myself and figured not much had changed.  We went in for our run and I was pretty happy that he didn't have any of the gate nonsense he had been having last year.
Our first barrel was okay but he came out quite out of position, heading more for the middle of the second barrel and could easily go to the wrong side so I lifted my rein and used my leg to push him over.  Over he went nice and easy, and then as we turned the barrel he D.O.V.E HARD.  We hit that dang (metal!!) barrel so hard that he actually knocked my stirrup right off my saddle!! :o
(only thing I can figure is that when he hit he also rubbed around the barrel and it made the blevins buckle slide??)
Going to third I knew I didn't have my inside stirrup but just figured I'd keep riding and try to catch it on the way home.  Yeah, obviously that didn't happen and when I went to get off I saw why lol
I turned toward the pen and one of the rakers was already running up with my stirrup.

I took Voodoo to Nell so we could switch horses and she said "I swear he wasn't bad during warm up!"  I told her it was okay and that I believed her, he's can be an angel during warm up but gets on the muscle and a bit ignorant when he knows his run is coming.  I got Nell to hold both horses so I could run to the washroom and check my leg - yep already bruising and a bloody scrape down the front of it just off my shin bone.  This morning it's very tender and swollen.  Darn metal barrels!!  Nice thank you from Voodoo for the two massages he's had in the last two or three weeks! ;)

The second jackpot started and I loped through on Lefta's next run.  It was a bit faster than her first, not much but still improving.  She's a bit all over the place going from first to second and drifts wide going to third.
I'm sure glad I talked to the neighbour about using his indoor, I see barrel practice in the future for two horses of mine ;) 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Brrr &*$^% Brrr!

I've lived almost my entire life here on the prairies, I know it gets cold in the winter.  But holy heck has 2015 started out C.O.L.D!  The weather icon on my computer has more often than not been a little red square with a lighting bolt instead of the temp... the dreaded weather alert icon, in this case a cold warning. 

It's put a bit of a damper on my riding plans.  Not only is penning canceled when it's really cold but my Monday lesson is canceled and I don't haul to the neighbor's arena when it's that cold either.

There's a Facebook group that I joined this year, to help motivate me to keep riding in the winter, the "2015 Twelve Week Horsemanship Challenge".  But this cold weather has put me behind on that as well. 
We're supposed to do 40 hours with our horse and get in 30 rides, and you guessed it... there's 12 weeks to do it.  The time riding counts toward the total hours, part of the time can also be groundwork but heck it's too cold even to do groundwork right now! 
I made the challenge an even bigger challenge for myself by choosing Odin as my partner.  If I'd chosen Lefta or Voodoo I wouldn't be as worried about completing it because I could take them to penning and count that time in but Odin is sooo not ready for that lol

I tell ya, it sure is nice to come inside and curl up by the pellet stove after chores.  That's one bright spot in this cold.  I plan to spend one of these cold days by the fire cleaning tack, but first I have to get some supplies.  I have a "new" saddle that's desperately in need of some TLC and all my regular use saddles could use a cleaning.  Nice project in the winter, too bad I'm not already stocked up on my supplies!