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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


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! :)