This blog is about my life, a 28 yr old filly; working in the city, balancing her career, passion for horses, dogs, and the life they deserve. Following my dreams, and getting there takes a lot of patience and a sense of humour. This is my take on life, and the amazing and stupid things in it.

Monday, July 28, 2014

How Ace Became a National Pony Club Champion



 Last week Ace and Mia were donated as dressage horses for the Canadian National Pony Club Championships being held in Ottawa Ontario.  Mia was selected for Training level riders and Ace for Second level.  They were taken to Ottawa on Wednesday and came home Saturday evening.

 Aces' rider was from British Columbia and she is an eventer, Mias' rider was from Nova Scotia.  Both girls were lovely soft riders.  The competition included several ridden tests along with a written test.

 Ace scored a 71 and a 72 on her Second level dressage tests, while Mia scored in the mid 60s range!  Amazing work by both riders and horses.  Ace won all her classes and came away as the Canadian National Second Level Pony Club Champion. Go Ace! 

 What a great opportunity for these young riders.  What good ponies :)




Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Started From the Bottom Now We Here




  This is my bffs anthem.  Those who follow my blog know my best friend since highschool Dana has taken over the ride on my retired event horse Archie.  If you don't know Archie the best recap of his story is here.  Dana had been struggling to regain her confidence over fences and asked if she could try Archie when I made the decision to retire him from eventing. That story is here.  Now that we are all caught up, I can fill you in on what Archie and Dana have been up to this year.



  In May, Dana and Archie came to my farms Short Course Event and showed in the 18" - Grasshopper division.  They had an awesome day there where they came away with first place!  A few weeks ago we did the clear round jumper show at my coaches place where they had two clear rounds in the 18" division and took home two more nice red ribbons!

 Their most recent outing was to the Charleston Lake Short Course Event - which is part of the series my farm is a part of in our area.  In a large division of 12 Dana was second after dressage after putting in a really nice test with Archie.  When the jumping phase came around, the first 4 riders were eliminated.  I had no worries in our team though - I knew Archie would safely carry Dana around and Dana would keep Archie in line.  Sure enough the jumped a clear round with NO time faults...which was tough because the posted time was 200 mpm....Archie had to walk some of the course LOL!



  This perfect round was enough to give them another first place this year.  Adding another red ribbon to their collection.  Later that week I had scheduled to go schooling at Lanes End Farm with Penny and my friend.  Unfortunately my friend cancelled on me last minute - as in 10:30pm at night and I had no time to reschedule or get someone to fill the spot in my trailer for the next morning.  As the place is about 1 1/2hrs away, I didn't want to go all that way alone and scrambled to find somewhere to school to prep for my event that weekend.  I texted Dana and she said she would love to come to Canterdown after work with me to try some real cross country jumps with Archie. Whoo!

  Dana saves the day and I got to school Penny before our event.  Dana and Archie tackled all the pre entry jumps like pros!  Including Training/Prelim ditches and a little combination out of the water.  This pair is growing as a team and starting to ooze confidence.  I couldn't ask for a better home for Chi or a better horse for my bestie.  I am so blessed this team has worked out as they have.  I am so proud of both of them!





 Looking forward to the rest of the season, and hopefully more reds hanging in Danas barn!

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Tale of Two Piggies - and an injured Willy


  Once upon a time, there lived a  pot bellied pig named Miss Piggy.  Miss Piggy was a sad and lonely orphan pig.  She was a large Pot Bellied pig, and pink in colour with short coarse white hairs that adorned her back.  When she was a little piglet, two little girls found her in the woods and took her home to take care of her.   Miss Piggy eventually became too big to live with the little girls any longer, their mother demanded the pig go.  The little girls looked for a new home for Miss Piggy, with no luck after many months.  Then one day, a young lady by the name of Lady Victoria went to visit the little girls.  At this time, Lady Victoria exclaimed to the little girls how she had always wanted a pig of her own - to care for and love.  It was decided that Miss Piggy would go live with Lady Victoria  on her plantation, to be pampered along with her horses, and enjoy the relaxed life among a beautiful garden.  The little girls would be free to visit Miss Piggy whenever they chose.

  Through the wretched winter, Miss Piggy burrow happily into piles of straw.  Sleeping softly and waking at her leisure to eat throughout the day.  Life was easy and comfortable for Miss Piggy.  She felt she had finally found her family and was truly happy.  Spring came, and Miss Piggy enjoyed her days waking up to the breeze floating into the barn.  Lady Victoria would spend time with her daily, scratching her belly and picking her flowers to eat. Soon summer would arrive and Miss Piggy would move into her outdoor palace...complete with a beautiful shade tree and mud hole.




  But, there was something sinister lurking in the distance.  A King named William who oversaw the plantation.  He was blissfully unaware of the existence of Miss Piggy living in the barn, until that first summer day, when Miss Piggy moved to her new palace outside under the big tree.  King William seeing Miss Piggy for the first time out his window - disgusted at the site of the pig - threw a tantrum and went on to rally the whole village against Miss Piggy and demanded she leave.  After days and days of protest, King William not being able to take the sight of a pig any longer - threw himself out his window.  

  King William never made it out his window.  He became trapped by metal bars that hung for protection.  He lay on the ground with his legs torn to pieces.  Lady Victoria returned home to find William very sore and unable to move.  She loves Miss Piggy but never meant to cause so much stress and pain to King William.  She held him and told him it would be alright.  She would find a solution where they could all live peacefully.

  Lady Victoria regretfully began searching near and far, for a new home for Miss Piggy.  Through the woods, over the river, into the next Kingdom.  Days went by, King William still too scared to rest peacefully.  Finally, she stumbled upon a beautiful little cottage, full of flowers of all colours.  There were horses there, and ducks too.  Out the corner of her eye, she saw a little wagging tail.  Just then, out of the bush trotted a pot bellied pig.  It was a little boy, who was pink in colour with a black spot on his back.  He was smaller than Miss Piggy and more agile. Ahh..this is the place.  A perfect home for Miss Piggy to grow old in.

 The next day she gathered up Miss Piggy for their long journey.  After a tiring trip...they finally arrived.  Miss Piggy was immediately greeted by Mr Mooshoo...the pig already living at the cottage.  They sniffed noses and Miss Piggy shooed him away...and started rummaging for treats.  She then followed him into the barn, where she curled up in a big pile of hay to sleep.  Finally, we can all rest easily.  Miss Piggy was safe in a world where she could have friends of her own, and not upset anyone else around her.


checkin out her new palace


Mr Moo Shoo

 Lady Victoria returned home to hug King William.  He may be irrational, but he will always be her love.  And they all lived happily, ever, after.

 The End.



 And that my friends, is the story of how Miss Piggy went to live on a new farm, and William ripped the shit out of his legs in an attempt to jump out his stall window.   He has been on holiday for 3 weeks now with one more week then back to work - turkey.

HORSES.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Penny's Summer Debut at Winters End Jumper Show


  On Saturday my coach put on a clear round jumper show at his base, Winters End Farm.  Classes ranged from cross rails to 1.0m, and you could do the long (derby) or short version of the course.  No placings, just a clear round ribbon.  This show was perfect timing for Penny's fitness and training plan, getting her ready for an event this weekend.  


  I signed up for the .90 and 1.0m long course.  Jessica came along with me with Mia and signed up for the same.  We have a young girl Nicole riding Mia also now and I am teaching her on her.  Nicole has been on the blog before as she used to ride Alayne's horses for her regularly.  She is a 13 year old and has only been riding for a few years, and mostly green broke OTTBs.  Getting to ride Mia is a whole new experience for her, and surely one that build lots of confidence and skill for the future!


  We walked the course with Nicole when it was set for cross rails.  Winters End is such a beautiful facility, they really spared nothing when making their outdoor ring.  It has a large bank and a  Devils Dyke a la' Spruce Meadows inspiration.  A great thing about their shows is also their quality of fences.  Rick has built them all himself and they are just stunning.  The course was great, lots of questions but not too tough.  The long course included options and the Devils Dyke and a skinny at the bottom of the large bank.  The liverpool was out for the larger divisions and everything just looked so fun!


  Nicole went first and did the cross rail and the .75m class.  She put in two foot perfect clear rounds earning her two nice red ribbons at her first ever jumper show!  This kid just blew me away, her and Mia make a great pair and are so fun to watch.  We took a little break from the heat after and gave Mia a little sponge bath while they set the course for the .9m.



Mia and Jess

  After our break from the sun, we tacked up and headed down for our first round.  It was a scorcher this day, we opted not to walk the course and just get on with it.  This prompted much heckling from Rick who is a very thorough showjumping coach and rider.  Jessica went first with Mia and delivered another foot perfect round.  I don't know what else to say other than - this pony can JUMP!  Penny and I were next into the ring.  We did a little tour around to look at some fences and the liverpool.  Penny was very spooky about the jumps, and the flower boxes.  I was thinking...oh this should be good.  Once we had our canter established and headed for the first fence, I knew it was on.  We flew around the course, Penny eating the jumps one by one.  Our turning still needs work so some lines were not at straight as I had hoped, but the control has improved immensely.  When she got strong I asked her to come back and wait and she did.  She listened well and we just zoomed around the course.  The devils dyke and bank down to skinny were just childs play. We jumped clean and secured our clear round ribbon - who hoo!

























  That has to be the most fun I have ever had doing a jumper course.  It is also a relief to have Penny jump so well as we have not done any course work yet this year - and the event we are attending Sunday is known for it's difficult stadium courses.  I am feeling much more confident going into it.  I opted to just leave it after the one round.  She was so good, and it was very hot and she is not super fit yet so there was no sense pushing her.  Out of 7 rounds between our friends, only one rail dropped.  Dana was also there with Archie and she rode two beautiful clears in the cross rail division.


  A perfect Saturday show morning!




Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Penny Plays in the Flat Rock River


  Penny hasn't been neglected although it may seem this way.  After tweaking her back in the late winter, she had close to three months off.  When I started legging her up in the spring, she came out a touch sore on the front right.  It only showed up when the ground was hard and since she didn't have shoes on yet, I figured it was either an abscess or a stone bruise.  I had the farrier out to put shoes on and he confirmed there was an owie in there with the hoof testers.  He said not to put shoes on just yet and continue with the soaking and poulticing until the abscess came out and then he would come back to put shoes on.

  So, I poulticed and soaked for days, and then weeks.  Nothing.  So I called him to come back out and put shoes on since she was  looking better even though nothing came out.  Wouldn't you know, the day he came out there was a big hole in her sole by her toe where her abscess finally burst.  We were clear to put the shoes on and Penny was feeling %100 again.  Now, I can finally start her back up with hopes of hitting a few events soon.  We will need a lot of fitness work in the meantime, so things are starting to get planned and set in motion.

  On Sunday my friend David and I planned to go for a ride in this creek I found randomly while driving around with the hubby.  It was a small conservation are with a beautiful shallow river with clear water and a flat rock bottom.  Penny loaded right onto the trailer which was a relief as she has not yet been off property this year.  She can sometimes be sticky about the trailer but I think she has been feeling quite bored!  We picked up David and Zoe and headed on our way.




  At the park, the horses unloaded and settled right in while we tacked up.  I was really impressed with how quiet Penny was.  There were people having a picnic and the water flowing beside us and she did not have a care in the world.  We mounted up and headed straight for the river.  Both mares walked right in.  Penny seemed to enjoy the current and was taking me up stream happily.  The view was spectacular.  Sometimes in life I feel utterly and truly at peace.  This was one of those moments.


it would be hard not to be greatful for life at this point

  After some play time in the water, we went for a good hack down the road, about and hour and half of walking and a little trotting.  I have never road hacked Penny so I was very happy to see that she was an absolute gem!  Of course having Zoe for company helps as she is the best hack horse around.  After our long hack we headed back to the river to cool legs and have another play.   Shortly after we went back to the trailer and untack, have a little graze, and head home.

 What a beautiful way to spend a Sunday afternoon!



also, Goldenbutt is cute

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Kendal Lehari Clinic Recap




  I took the day off on Friday to attend the Kendal Lehari clinic at our local schooling and ex Horse Trial facility, Canterdown Farms.  Kendal is young adult rider who has brought up an OTTB from the track to ride around Rolex sucessfully.  Since watching her ride around Rolex I have wanted to catch a lesson with her.  As this clinic was just 20 minutes from my house - it was the perfect opportunity!


  Since William has been going really well, and Penny is not quite fit enough, I thought it a great chance for Parker to go off property again and I could use an expert opinion on how his training is going and what her thoughts are on him as an event horse.


  We started the lesson after introductions working at the trot.  Kendal told me that although Parker is green he is strong enough that I can start to ask him to work into a deeper frame and to lift his shoulders and himself into the contact.  She encouraged me to use lots of leg and a little counter flexing to help with his racehorse crookedness.  Once we were warmed up we did some lengthening and shortening exercises.  5 strides of lengthen and then 5 strides of shorten, repeated many times.  I was happy with Parker on this as he did exactly as I asked and we have not worked on adjustability at all yet.






  Again we asked for him to come deeper onto the bridle and by the end of the flat work he was feeling very under himself and supple into the contact.  We started over some canter poles which Parker did easily.  We always do lots of pole work at home and it pays off at times like this.  Next she put a cross rail, then a vertical in, with a placing pole in front.  We were to canter in and count the strides to the fence concentrating on staying as straight as possible.  She had us sit the canter to these fences which is different from my usual style as I have a really bad habit of getting left behind - but it seemed to work well for Parker.


 Some horses in the group were jumping hard to the side and not wanting to jump straight.  Kendal set up a "V" on the front facing side of the jump to encourage horses to jump straight and up and over the fence.  The first time through Parker hit his stride perfectly and had a nice lofty round jump over the vertical.  We moved from a vertical to an oxer, then she closed the V tighter and moved the oxer up to about 3'3.  This was a big jump for Parkie who has only schooled about 2'6 at home but he attacked it like an ol pro!





forgot my gloves :(



 After working through the single fences we did a serpentine exercise.  It consisted of a vertical with placing poles on either side, then a pole in the middle, then another jump set up as the first.  We were to canter through on a Serpentine and work on being straight over the fence and getting our lead in the air.  I wasn't sure how Parker would be in this as our steering is a still bit rusty.  He really surprised me though, turned off my outside aids and got all his leads each time.  This horse is really clever with his legs and the more I do with him the more he impresses me.


 We then headed out to cross where we started on some little logs and moved up from there.  My group was mostly riders who are competing at the PT level (Novice in US) so Kendal told me to jump what I felt comfortable with as we went along.  Parker was being amazing - ridiculously brave and quiet to the fences.  He was a tad strong after the fences but I was riding in a little snaffle - and I will take that any day over not being forward! 










  We tackled most of the Pre Training fences - along with the water and two big ditches.  After we jumped the first ditch (a training/Prelim ditch) she asked if he had ever jumped one before to which I replied - nope! laughing.  It was really quite something to be on this horse who is still so green and yet he takes to jumping so naturally.  Kendal complimented me on Parker and said she couldn't get over how brave he was and that he was a special horse and will take me far.  Not sure what more you hope to hear from a clinic but needless to say I was pretty thrilled.


 I was completely impressed by Parker.  He was cool, calm, and showed some major talent sparks.  I got a few ideas on where to go next with him and a lot of encouragement from Kendal and spectators that he is the nice boy I have always thought and hoped him to be.  So very proud of my big bay boy right now. :)




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