Sunday, June 30, 2013

Happy Canada Day!

Tomorrow (July 1st) is Canada Day. In past years I have dressed Linus up. Today I didn't have my flags with me and was worried about them spooking Allie so didn't bother going to get them! Maybe tomorrow I will do something patriotic with him! : )
Dad and I were over near the horses when he said he had been thinking we should go for a ride but wasn't sure because it was starting to get hot and humid. He barely finished saying as much when Allie stepped forward, stomped her foot and neighed at him. Then she tossed her head up and down! I told my Dad it sure looked like they were saying yes, let's go! They were overdue for a ride anyway! So we decided to go and just keep it a low-key ride. We had to stay on the road because the trails and fields are under water in the majority of places we usually go. Linus finds the road a bit boring but he did well today. It was so nice to ride on a loose rein. I'm proud of him! He's doing so well as a riding horse. I wanted to practice our barrels yesterday but there was no footing safe enough so I decided to clean our tack. I soaped it then oiled it. I didn't realize how badly it needed to be done until I got into doing it! When I put my stirrups back on I decided to try them one setting lower. I found it much easier for mounting and it gave me a bit of a deeper seat too which I found more comfortable. So it turned out to be a good idea.
We rode to the end of the road and were going to turn around but noticed some cows (yes Karalee Bell, they were yours! : ) they were running the fenceline and acting like they were in a field they weren't supposed to be in. I said to Dad we should go make sure because they are a long a pretty busy road where the traffic really moves. I've crossed over it before with Linus but for the first time for both horses we headed up the highway to make sure the cows were ok. They were very good with the increased amount and speed of the traffic! When Linus spotted the cows, who were in the right place - fence was up and gate was closed, he got really excited. I think he was expecting to go in and drive them back up to the farm. He was disappointed when we turned around but got over it!
We had a nice walk back with a bit of trotting here and there. He knows now that we can comfortably stay at a trot for a distance. He'll trot on a loose rein and not try to break it unless I ask. Good boy!
He was pretty sweaty when we got back. We untacked and walked them up to hose them off. Allie wasn't very keen on it. She doesn't like hoses or spray bottles. But, Dad was able to get it done. Big improvement over last year when he could only use a pail and sponge.
When it was our turn Linus stood with his head up enjoying the spray on his neck and chest. Then he turned his head into it and started drinking from the hose! I laughed my butt off - it was so hilarious!! My only regret was not being able to get it on video but I didn't have my phone or camera on me at all. I bought a pommel bag last year but I find it very big so I'm looking for a smaller one.
Naturally, after we turned the horses out; they rolled in the mud!!
Have a safe and happy long weekend to my Canadian friends and a safe and happy 4th to my American friends!!
Donna & Linus in eastern Ontario : )

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Endurance - whoa we are tired now!

It has been a "very" busy couple of weeks, beginning with our first endurance ride of the season, held here in Summerland on Saturday, June 15th.  It all stated out SO well, we arrived Friday evening and vetted our horses in, Warren made me a wonderful camp spaghetti dinner and we bedded down the horses, they were content!
By the way, if anyone notices that *Serenade's tail this year is a bit short.... it is :(  The orphan colt that I rescued last year ate the tails off of several of my horses, *Serenade's, he ate at least a foot of it in one night!
Anyhow, a good night's sleep and we were up and saddled and ready to go at 7:20 for a 7:30 start time.  Unfortunately, at 7:20, Warren's horse Dakota could no longer stand the suspense of the pre-ride and he took off on his own!  He galloped out of there like the devil was on his tail!  I got on Serenade and went after him of course, thinking that he would run a mile or two and then stop and eat the plentiful grass, but NO, he was on a race (or so he thought) and I followed him out for about 5 miles, finally catching up to him and then I ponied him back to the campground!  We did about 10 miles in about 1 hour and 20 minutes!  So when we got back we decided to go out on the ride anyway even though we were at the far end of the riders... To Finish Is To Win.... so off we went on our first loop.  The first loop went well and we had our break - here are some pictures of the vet check.  These pictures also show a bit better view of our Curly horse shirts :)

So after our 45 minute hold we went out again on our second (my third!) loop but unfortunately, we made a wrong turn and followed the wrong set of flagging and even though we did the right number of miles, we didn't get a completion on this ride!  It was disappointing, but still, *Serenade did over 30 miles that day and did a great job for us.
Here are a couple of photos of us coming back from the second loop.

So it was a lot of riding, exhausting and yet it all turned out okay - it is always very scary when a horse takes off fully tacked in the middle of nowhere.... so we were very grateful to get him back!

So this past weekend we did a 12 hour drive from our home to the ridesite in Devon, AB (near Edmonton) to do a 25 mile endurance ride.  *Serenade was a bit tired after the drive (we took 2 days to get there).

We had a great time at Devon, the people in Alberta are the best!  The weather was great, the food and company was awesome!  There was no one taking pictures though, so I thought I would share with you our completion certificate and also our vet score card, front and back.  As you can see, we were in the top ten, placing 7th, which put us in the running for BC or Best Condition - we didn't get that prestigious award, but I was happy to be considered for it! 

Okay, well, we are pretty tired now!  Resting up for the upcoming Calgary Stampede, we are going to be part of the Light Horse Display again this year, July 5, 6, 7, 8, 9th, so stay tuned for our blog about that!
Shelly in Summerland, BC

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Feast or Famine

~Susan and Ah-D in Maine~ 
Seems like it has been Feast or Famine lately with my time to ride, and this past weekend it was FEAST!  I was able to ride Ah-D four days in a row, and I had company to ride with one three of those days.  Our truck is in the shop, so I didn't have the option of trailering out, but I am so incredibly blessed with places to ride around my place that it mattered not one whit. (well...when we get the bill for the truck it will matter....)

Thursday's ride was a solo ride.  I wanted to show off a couple of things to you; Ah-D's  new halter/bridle headstall and part of my flower garden.  I tried in vain to adjust the headstall to fit with his Mylar combo bit, but the hackamore part of the bit interferes with the halter portion of the headstall.  Drat!  So I fitted it with a curb bit I had laying around.  Ah-D hated it, so I changed it out for a snaffle.
Hiding the peonies

As far as the flower garden goes, I realized afterwards that we were hiding the peonies, which bloomed with abandon this spring.  But, damn, is my Curly handsome, or what?

Friday evening I rode with my 11 year old neighbor Megan.  She looks so gosh darn cute on Allie, with her freckled face beaming.  What a pair they make! We rode until dusk, and when we untacked at the hitching post, I asked her if she wanted to ride bareback.  Helloooo, of course she did, so off we went on our ponies.  We took the closest trail which has not been mowed and is full of tall grass.  Of course my horses were STARVING HALF TO DEATH (kind of like Linus, eh Donna?) and kept snatching at the tall grass. We practiced walking and trotting.  Megan came off, and then she had the challenge of trying to figure out how to get back on.  She chose the fence rather than to use my leg as a ladder.  It was a great learning experience for her, especially since it drove home to her that you must hold on to your pony's reins or he may decide to head home without you.  Ah-D and I headed him off at the pass and brought him back.  That evening was so full of giggles!

Saturday's ride with Kate was fabulous!  We covered a lot of ground in Hebron, including a trip over to Sanatorium Hill.  The  wild roses were blooming near the top of the hill, and riding down the path with fragrant white blooms brushing us on either side was an amazing experience. We took turns posing in the field with the view behind us.

We also took the Mineral Drive trail, with it's nice cantering places where the trails are lined with pine spills.

We rode down a stream near the Sandpit.

We rested the horses in a spot loaded with clover, timothy and wildflowers and took pictures of the butterflies.

When I arrived home six hours later, my husband was weed-wacking in the heat.  After I took care of my horse, I guiltily scurried into the house and made a delicious salad for his lunch and banged out the housework.  Even though his first growl was, " You were gone forever!" he calmed down quickly.  I think it might have had a lot to do with an important invention called air conditioning. That afternoon, I went over to his late mom's house and painted for five hours, which also earned me a lot of brownie points.  By the way, if anyone is looking to move to Norway, Maine and live in an amazingly crafted (and freshly painted!) house where you can look out upon this field and watch your horses graze, I know just the place!
This is a picture that Ah-D took.  He spooked at a turkey just as I snapped the camera.  Nice picture of his saddlebag, eh?

Sunday morning, my plan was to ride early with both Megan and Kate, but thunderstorms put a kibosh to that.  Megan helped me clean and organize my tack room instead, and when the skies cleared a couple of hours later, we fetched the horses from the pasture and hit the road.  The humidity was oppressive, the black flies were ferocious, and the woods were soaking wet, so we kept to the road.  Since Megan has never ridden with anyone except me, we decided to head to Kate's to meet her and Jax.  We had a really nice ride and even stayed quite dry and un-bug bitten! Jax was happy to see us, but made no bones about making sure that Allie and Ah-D knew that he was the boss on his own turf.  At my house, Jax is boss over Ah-D, Ah-D is boss over Allie, and Allie is boss over Jax.  What a triangle!
heading back


Zoe-Zoe palling around with Ah-D

Saturday, June 22, 2013

It's Clicking!!! : )

WOOHOO!! We are on day 3 of our barrel training. As well as working on getting Linus into better shape!! I think both are going very well. He is actually a very easy horse to condition. Both ways! To gain or to lose. 
My husband and son were at the farm with me today (for the new RACers, I do not live on the farm with Linus. It is my parents' farm and where I grew up. We also have a herd of Black Angus there. I only live a few minutes away) so I had a picture taker!! The weather was on and off with threats of rain but we got a nice cool stretch with no rain to saddle up! 
Linus nickered to me when he saw me coming with his tack and a barrel, so I am taking this to be a good sign!  He is not resenting the barrels and is looking forward to some work time.


I'm pretty lucky to be able to tack my boy up in the field with no restraints. He stands calmly for me, even while I throw the reins up and go place the barrels. Such a good boy!

I can feel him catching on to picking up speed as we come out of the turn to get to the next in a hurry. I'm very impressed with how well he is connecting to moving off of my leg at the barrels. I like how it takes away from needing to guide his head so much with the reins. 

We started to trot the pattern a bit today. I don't want to push him and make it a chore. I am trying to present it in a way that is fun for him and he enjoys. Trying to nurture his competitiveness I guess. I know it is in him because I can feel it on the trail or when I take him in to sort calves for fun. He has never had this type of work so it is a new place to find that competitive urge. I use that term loosely. I doubt we'll ever go compete, who knows. But, if the desire is in him to give 'er then who knows?!

I should get Stu to video us sometime, you'd probably fall off your chair laughing at my running commentary. I am always talking to Linus while I ride. Call me crazy, but he knows darn well by the tone of my voice and what I am saying, what I mean. When we start off I'm encouraging him to go, go, go then as we approach i say "around the barrel, around the barrel.." then it's back to go, go, go etc then when we round the last one, I start to encourage "race to home, race to home". I'm sure it is hilarious to watch because I laugh at myself while doing it sometimes! : )

WooHoo! Look at the big guy gettin' his big butt in gear! Go Linus!

Below is one of my favourites from looks like we're just a flyin'!! In reality, my husband said he nearly dropped the camera...which is actually my new phone so I am very glad that he didn't drop it! 
I think we are slowly graduating out of "turtle racing"

I'm having so much fun doing something new with Linus. He really is a fantastic fellow to work with. He has so much personality and while he can be stubborn (we're both redheads so I say Bring It Boy!) we work through everything and always seem to find our way together. 
Owen came out with his umbrella while I was riding so I encouraged Linus to go check it out. He was curious so I thought it would be good. It has been a long time since we did umbrella work. It was the first time for me being mounted I think. I've held one over his back from the ground. After he sniffed it he let my husband open and close it repeatedly and then rub his neck on it. I could tell by watching his eyes and ears that if I wasn't on his back he would have used it as an excuse to go for a buck and fart probably. But, he softened when he turned to me and just sighed and chewed. I was very proud of him. Of course at these times I am also telling him in a stern voice "No excuses". He's maturing quite nicely for me and I couldn't be happier with him : )

Friday, June 21, 2013

Round 2!

Today turned out to be a pretty hot day! By 9am it was already 20C so I dropped what I was doing in the yard at home and went to go work with Linus before it got to be too hot!! He was waiting for me with a very curious expression on his face...I think he was wondering what we'd be up to today!
I lined up the barrels in a row so that we could just weave in and out of them. He's really catching on to that part of it. We did this a few times and then I decided to try him up the laneway. We have some big separation issues when it comes to him and Allie! Surprisingly and with little encouragement from me, we made it all the way to the end of the driveway and then up the road a bit!! I turned back before he got too antsy so we didn't turn it into a bad experience. I was thrilled!! 
 Here Linus is playing out in the front pasture after our session today! I guess if he still has this kind of energy afterwards that must mean I can work him a bit harder?! : )
Not sure if this picture will post a bit wonky looking or not. Doesn't appear bad on my camera but you never know! I'm going to tell my friend that called him fat yesterday that Linus says "this fart is for you!" He'll be back in shape in no time!the weather and soggy footing have kept us from doing as much as I would like to. 
I noticed today my hole seems to be stretching a bit on my nylon cinch strap. Nylon was recommended to me when I bought the saddle. I've always used leather...any opinions on nylon vs leather when it comes to western saddles?? Muchly appreciated!! 
Have a great weekend : )
Donna & Linus
Ontario, Canada

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Been awhile....

After returning home from our last event in May - we have suffered some irritating horse injuries - kicks, cuts, etc.  Nothing serious, just time off from riding and training.  (Boys will be boys playing out in the pasture......)  However, I did manage to compete with Traveler's son - Timbuktu - in a one day combined training event.  I have to tell you that I think the one day events - where you cram in dressage, stadium and cross-country can be a bit much for a horse starting out.  Didn't really realize that until we were literally running from the dressage ring to the stadium ring to the cross-country course.  Almost blew his little mind. HA HA.  He did it and we placed 7th - in the ribbons.  This is the only pix I was able to get of him.  I was also coaching my daughter and niece. 
Here we are in the warm-up area before dressage.  He was very interested in all that was going on.  It was REALLY windy there with lots of scary trees and shadows.  Things you learn when in competition - I need to ride him around lots and lots of trees. Timbuktu is a sunshine boy - we don't have forests were I live, practice and train.  Guess I will need to take him up to the hills and get him used to the trees. 

After Timbuktu competed, my daughter (Luna) once again, took over riding him until he was kicked by his brother, playing out in the pasture.  I moved my Luna onto my other Culy gelding - Khatmoondhu - the one I endurance race and here is a very short video of her riding Khatmoondhu.  She has now taken over this other horse of mine - ha ha.  Since he is over 15 hands - I have Luna riding in her jump vest.  She just informed me that now she is ready to ride Traveler.  (Good luck, honey - that horse is MINE.)    :)

Yesterday before the rains came - I was really able to live out a dream.  My two daughters - Luna (age 7) and Bella (age 5) and I rode together, independently, on our horses.  Luna on Khatmoondhu, Bella on her non-curly mini and I rode Traveler.  I have waited 7 years for this day!  My babies (human and equine) are growing up!

Turtle Racing!

That is what my Dad called it when I told him I got some barrels to teach Linus barrel racing!! Ha Ha Ha, what a comedian eh?! Although, from lesson 1 today - he was right - don't tell him that though! : )
We certainly weren't flying like Janeen and Corky, but one day soon we will be!!

I started with an intro to the barrels. Just letting him sniff and nose and because it's Linus; he also had to knock them over!! The barrels were not an issue. Allie the Arab was a bit freaked by them but Linus just looked at her performance and rolled his eyes. Before long, she came and sniffed them too. She's actually a better size for barrels than Linus is, but it's only for fun and to change things up a bit for us!

Do we roll them??

He stood stock still while I rolled the barrel right underneath him both ways. What a guy!

And then he stood patiently waiting while I lined the barrels up. We worked on standing while mounting a couple weeks ago (I like to keep on top of that!) and he stood perfectly for me. I mounted from the right side. I believe in switching that up too!

We had nobody around to take pictures today, but here he is after his first Barrel Racing 101. I teased him because he actually worked up a bit of a sweat (go fatty!). We had fun, we just walked the pattern today. My first goal is for him to learn the pattern. I'm switching up the hackamore for tomorrow's lesson. It's all set to go!! After a few rounds of walking the barrels Linus caught on that after the 3rd one we speed up for home and he started going into that one with more energy. Maybe to wake him up a bit before tomorrow's run we'll go in and cut a few calves if it isn't too hot. This has been the wackiest weather season! We haven't even cut any yet because just a few days ago the fields were flooded! ugh!

Safe and Happy Riding everyone!
Donna & Linus
Lunenburg, On

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Cinderella and Bucky

Again Bucky broke his door..well it was the one on top so i don't understand how he did it but he did!

Today I made a long ride outside with a friend but we forgot to take whene we came home she made some picures...we had a lot of fun.....

and where just doing a little stupit....
as you can see i was wearing my RAC tshirt

How to get off your horse....
step one;
make sure no one sees your belly 
step two:
costumize your reins
Step 3;
 Put your leg to the other side off the horse 
   Step four;
Jump off
Step five;
Take your horse back to the stables
hope you enjoyd this message as mutch as i did
greetings marjolein, cinderella and bucky.

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