Thursday, June 22, 2017

Guess Who's a Superstar??

This weekend past, Mr. Ritchie headed back to Langley with Jessica to show third level at Thunderbird's GOLD show.  You can absolutely call me a PROUD MAMA, because they came home with RESERVE CHAMPION open third level!  They missed out on champion by only 0.2%!!  Had they scored 1% higher on any of their three tests, they would have taken the cooler home.  This was only their second ever show together, their very first gold show, and there is no sign of them slowing down. 

Langley was wet and moderately unpleasant during the three-day show but Ritchie showed what an "old pro" he is already at 7 years old.  He stayed with Jessica, who recently had a fall off a training horse, and did what he was asked to do. 
He placed first in both of his third level-test 2 tests.  Sunday he rode test 3 for the first time and, although he maintained a fantastic score of 64%, he placed third.  My question to Jess each day was "Did you have fun??"  "YES!!" was always the ecstatic answer.  With that kind of enjoyment, it doesn't matter to me if they came in first or last.  The fact is they're having fun!  All of the pretty ribbons and prizes are just icing on the cake.

Since then, Jessica has advised me that we need to do one more gold show at third level as it will qualify them for a number of awards with Equestrian Canada. 

She's also been invited to California for September as a working student.  When she asked if she could take Ritchie down with her, my answer was an immediate "Of course!!"  We'll make it happen as it's an incredible working experience for both of them. 

I miss my horse but I'm having a bunch of fantastic adventures myself... stay tuned!!

And Happy Horseing!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Catching Up

Hello blogger world! 
I see it's been one heck of an absence from my writing, you must have missed me so!  I feel a little like Dressage Curmudgeon, but I don't think I'm quite as witty.  Used to love reading her entries; sad she quit writing. 

So what's new? 

Well, I was asked to return to Mane Event this year with Equi-Health Canada to speak again about the equine first-aid programs.  I loved it!  I had such a fantastic time with the group and the audience was very receptive.  This year, I was also asked to bring Jose with me and perform with him during the Saturday Night Equine Experience.  I did, and Jose tried his little heart out for me!  It's a scary big arena crammed full of people and loud music so I certainly can't blame him for being a little overwhelmed and off his game.  BUT, he still tried hard, remembered a good portion of the routine we'd practised and lay down with me in the middle of the ring.  I was so happy with him and couldn't have asked for more!

Not from this year, but same ring...

Ritchie has begun his Third Level dressage show season!  I was so thrilled with his scores at his first schooling show, mid 60's, even tying for first place in Third test 2!  Having gone to visit him and Jessica in early March, I'm thrilled at how happy he is and how well they work together!

Water Everywhere!!!  There is video on youtube from my visit and subsequent schooling show too.

Jose is back at home now.  The broodmares are sold.  The only two left to sell this year are the yearlings: Billy and Thursday.  Billy is HUGE!!  He's the big, friendly giant.  As soon as he's shed out and quits scraping himself up, it will be pictures and marketing and send him off.  Thursday still needs more work.  She just had such a rough start that I don't feel she's ready to leave and thrive away from the farm yet.  However, the more I'm working with her consistently, the more I'm liking the brain in there.  So perhaps the sales ad will be up sooner than later. 

Most recently, I had the opportunity to join a good friend in a really cool photo shoot the very talented Linda Finstad was doing for her next book - a how-to guide for equine photographers.  This photo shoot was for the chapter on building a kick-ass portfolio (which I've dubbed "making friends with the crazy horse people".) My good friend Jeanette Hall was doing a shoot for mounted archery.  We'd been talking recently about doing a "warrior women" photo shoot with our black horses.  She had already booked the shoot with Linda and invited me to join!  Who am I to say no to an awesome time?  We went, the photos are amazing, and I had a fantastic adventure again!

One of so many cool shots!!

And, last but certainly not least, Ritchie's one and only foal of 2017 was born today.  A bay colt with a big blaze face!  His name is Meramba and I can't wait to go see him! 

There, now we're updated!  I promise I'll keep up better entries - I'll be working with another kick-ass local photographer this summer, so there will be loads to share! 

In the mean time, Happy Horseing!

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Not to Show, What to Do?

I'm itchy for spring, REAL spring, not teasing spring that we've gotten this February.  I'm itchy for Jose to lose his winter hair (it seems he's going to be the last to start sheading!) and to be able to get outside on dry ground and go ride during daylight hours. 

I'm itchy for show season except, wait now, I don't think I'll actually show this year!  Gasp!  Blasphemy!!  I agree completely!  It's so foreign.  Even just 2 or 3 shows a season is tolerable, but NONE?!?!?!  How will I go on?

I'm considering going to some rail-class shows, do some in-hand with "little" Chai.  It would be so good to get her out and have some experience in the bigger world.  But poor JJ just isn't a show horse.  I mean he's a wonderful performance horse in that he puts on a great show when we do trick demos, but he just isn't the most balanced, rhythmic or easy-to-ride horse!  I don't know that he'd enjoy being in a regular show.  If he's not having fun, I won't either.

But then, if we do decide to compete, if not in a rail class show, do we try baby eventers?  You know I don't jump, hells no, but we could school some small obstacles and we do enjoy venturing out to Beaumont.  I don't want to put him through my beloved dressage shows.  He'll ride into every corner and do his damndest on every line but the poor guy has no natural rhythm, his canter is lateral so he'll be crucified even though he tries so hard. Again, not fun. 

But we do have plenty of events.  Not like eventing events, but our calendar is filling up.  In addition to returning to Brooks this year, we intend to be participating in a friend's wedding for which medieval dresses are being constructed already. 

I've been booked to JUDGE shows!  Perhaps that's where I'll get my fix this year.  I've judged plenty of small dressage shows.  This year I've been invited back to Red Deer again to judge the 4H regional show in dressage.  That's always a lovely time.  And Valley View has contracted me to judge their local show as well.  I'll need to find a hat for that one! 

In any case, I'd love to have some suggestions for things we could do this year to fill our show bug. 

In the mean time, Happy Horseing! 

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

2017, here she goes!

Oh look at me, pulling a "Grain Before Groceries" and being absent from my blog-o-sphere for a long duration.  Just teasing, Ren. 
So what's new?  Well plenty actually. 

The first news is actually quite sad news. My darling Promise mare, while confirmed in foal in the fall, suddenly aborted twins a few weeks ago.  That was a crap way to start the new year, indeed!!!  But that's how it goes in breeding.  We had no indicators that she was carrying twins, but past day 16-18, apparently it's incredibly difficult to tell.  Either way, two tiny, naked fillies were born without a chance to live.  They were approximately 7-7.5 months along.  So unfortunately I won't have any new babies at all this year!  Just one Ritchie foal expected.  They don't live too far from me so I hope they realize that I'll be over to visit often! 

Good news, Jose is recovered and back outside living in the pasture with the rest of the posse.  He does have palpable scar tissue over the exterior tendon, something he will have always, but he is quite sound with no swelling on exercise.  We had a great ride out back in the fields at the garrison a couple of weeks ago, just the two of us!  It's -25C out right now, I don't think he'll be game to do that again for a while, and I can't say I disagree! 

I've become and Arbonne consultant!  I know, non-horsey!!  I've been familiar with the products for the last 10 years, give or take, and watched my friend Tiffany's success including her white Mercedes! I changed jobs 4 times last year, and I can not groom dogs forever, nor do I want to work in an office for the rest of my life.  There had to be something else out there for me to be able to support my family and enjoy my horses.  Arbonne has offered me a fantastic opportunity and it's made a BIG difference in my life already!  In December, I started on a couple of their nutritional products and started losing weight right away.  I ramped it up in January and have seen fantastic results (21 lbs off as of this morning!)  I FEEL amazing, I'm looking way better, I'm starting back on my exercise program from years and years ago and I couldn't be more thrilled!  January 31, I earned my District Manager title and plan to make Area Manager by spring. 

Most recently, we had an experience I hope to not repeat anytime soon.  Old Man Bucky suddenly decided he required some attention on his teeth.  Ok, no problem old man.  He'll be 28 this year, he deserves whatever he wants!  Had the vet come out and she had a heck of a time finding a good place to spike the vein for his IV.  Unfortunately her aim was apparently not too good as he literally dropped off the end of the IV (I've since learned that this was likely a carotid injection).  After a lot of walking and time, he's come around again.  But that's enough of a lesson to say that we're going to have to get teeth done sans sedative.  I've heard of it, but I haven't seen it before. 
Through the incredible world of facebook, I was connected with a lady by the name of Geneva.  She was able to come out the next day and work with Bucky and Promise both, wide-eyed and busy tailed, and get their teeth back to kosher.  Unfortunately I was at work for both events, so all you get is second-hand information here!  However, the rave reviews tell me that this is the way we're going to take care of our horses' teeth from now on.  Lesson learned. 

What's that?  Where's the pictures to break up all the verbiage?  Oh, ok.  I'm a find you something.
I bet Ritchie and Jess are both missing the sunshine and warm weather from the summer!  BC is currently under SNOW!!!  Jess sent me a picture of Ritchie up to his elbows in a drift.  As long as they stay safe, it too will pass.

In the mean time, stay warm and Happy Horseing!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Bow Knows... No Bows? Bows.

Bows.  Not happy, pretty bows that you put on a fluffy, girly dog.  No.  Rotten bows.  Bows that happen on horrible footing to previously clean, tight legs on my favorite horse in this province. 

That's right.  Jose has a bowed tendon. 

The worst part is, I didn't even see it!

Jose came in last week with uneven swelling on 3 legs.  I bandaged him, buted him for a couple days, and kept him on stall rest.  A couple of bandage changes and some hosing later, I pulled his wraps and felt no swelling on any legs, everything nice and tight.  My dearest husband was with me and I'm grateful for his keen eyes. He kept telling me there was still "swelling" on one front leg.  But I couldn't feel anything.  He pointed at it.  I was down at his legs in the stall and couldn't see what he was looking at.  Finally, I stood up and walked out of the stall and looked at him from a distance.  There it was, plain as day, a tendon bow. 

Ugh, I died a little.  I know it's not life ending and fortunately not career ending for him because he's not a show horse, but it's not a fun injury to deal with and certainly it could render him unfit for riding in the future.  No, we don't "show" but we have a lot of adventures and he's my Mr. Reliable.  Not being able to take him for rides again is a horrible, daunting thought! 

I left the wraps off overnight so I could see what was really going on.  The next morning, yup... there it is.  Swelling around and definite tendinitis...  So, back to aggressive treatment right away. Cold hosing, bute, borrowed some BOT wraps today from my incredible friend and got Jose his early Christmas presents with some ice wraps and lik-it boredom breakers.  Two days later, the swelling has reduced remarkably and he's continued to be weightbearing without hesitation.  Small blessings!!!  I'm so fortunate to have a veterinarian who allows me to pick her head for anything I might have overlooked or not considered.  Sweats, cold treatment, bute and something new, Sinew-X supplement. 

There's still definitely thickening back there, but I'm THRILLED with the response it's given already.

I'm also so thankful for all the support at the garrison saddle club.  Many more hands to help keep his water bucket full and his hay net loaded.  It's a beautiful thing to have a group work together. 

Send lots of happy thoughts Jose's way please!!!  <3  So we can join you in your Happy Horseing!

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Back Up and Running!!!

After contacting every single internet provider for a rural community, we're finally up with "LTE" service.  I say "LTE" not LTE because so far we've had a few experiences with no service or painfully slow service.  Regardless, it's more than before and we're back in business!!

So what's new? 

Belle is unfortunately not pregnant.  I was so sad to hear that my good friend, who had borrowed her to breed to a retiring stallion - same sire to her first heart horse, is not in fact in foal but had a very minor infection in her uterus.  My heart is broken that she won't have a wee one in the spring.  Most unfortunately, that is the nature of breeding. 
Positive note, the vets don't expect the infection to have any lasting results as it was caught early and was fairly localized and she should not have any issues conceiving and carrying a pregnancy again in the future.  So, we're planning to try standing her to Ritchie in the spring. 

Thursday and Billy are growing very well!  It's so fun to discover with the youngsters - their first snow fall, exploring a new paddock.  Chai will be 18 months on the 29th of November.  She's already so tall that I have to stand up on my toes to try to get my arm over her back!  Sensible though, oh good grief is she a good kid!  I can't wait until the fall to bring her to the garrison saddle club and have more opportunity to play with her!

Baby racehorse was all sorts of amazing!  #horsewithnohashtag

This is not a trail ride.
If you know me at all, and realistically, if you're reading this blog you must be one of my close friends, you know that there are some things that I do NOT do on horseback.  One of those things is jump.  That's dangerous and scary.  The other is "trail ride".  Again, not safe.  Too many variables and opportunity for accident.  However, I have some pretty incredible friends and they are much braver than I am.  Upon an invite from my dear friend who was taking her brand new baby racehorse #horsewithnohashtag, out to Blackfoot grazing area, we tagged along with another friend and his super-easy quarter horse.  Jose was a rockstar!  We climbed hills - which we've never done together, and he stayed with me the whole way, all perfect!  Not sure I'd be in a big hurry to do that one again, but it was not horrible in the end. 

If he isn't the best boy ever, I'm not sure who is!
Ali was sure to give Jose a good brushing when we returned home. 

Happy Horseing! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Quiet Season

This time of year is almost always very quiet in the dog grooming side of the world.  As such, it turned out that I had no dogs on my book today so I get an extra-extra long weekend!  Again, I'm hanging out at a Tim Horton's for their free Wifi (thank you) as explornet has assured Anthony that it will be another two weeks before they can activate our access but they fully intend to continue collecting money from the account... Oops, that's another blog post for another blog altogether! 

Carrying on!

I like this time of year.  We go so hard consistently from April right through to fall it's nice to have things get quiet again and relax a bit.  I still do a couple of first-aid clinics in the winter, I don't mind that - rather enjoy it really, but no trick-horse clinics in the winter.  It's not worth the risks of trying to haul JJ around on questionable roads. 

Really, I'm so damn lucky!

I also try to spend more time with the foals since they've been weaned.  Most of the herd is disbursed.  I feel much less anxious now that they're all in their new homes with their new people and settled.  Little Thursday and Billy are still hanging out at the farm with Old Man Bucky, the nanny.  He's so good with them for the first few months of weaning but eventually he gets sick of their neediness and wants out!  That's alright though, there's always others to put in...

Her ears... she's growing into them super well, but I loooved them!
I think I'll head to the barn and spend some quality time with the JJ boy before I pick up Ali from daycare.  Just hang out and maybe go for a ride if someone's around.  No stress, just enjoyment.

Happy Horseing!