Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My babies are growing up!

I’m feeling pretty proud of myself. I have finally found the time to do some work with the horses. Jake is being pretty good to me, we are getting into a pattern. The new hay shed is almost done, so I can do a bit of the training I keep saying I will get around to.

The Buckskin Kids are starting to look more grown up…

So, yesterday I brought them in and tied them up. Patience, kids. Get some.

I groomed the Big Guy all over, including his feet. Neither of which he is fond of. I had to trim off his wind blown dreads in the mane. Which made his mane look positively dreadful (dreadless?), since he had also rubbed out great big patches. So I pulled out the scissors and evened it up in my version of a Teke roached mane. Here he is sporting his modified mo…

Does he look a bit embarrassed to you?? I’ll even it up again later once the hair settles.

Then I tried on my various cavessons and surcingles. I’d like to begin lounging him soon, just to get things started. He was very good for cinching up for the first time. Just turned to look at it.

I like this surcingle better, but it is a bit big for them. I will have to get out my leather punch and make a few more holes.

Then I moved on to Narra. She loves being groomed, so that part went very well. Then I put on the serreta type cavesson on her. I liked that one better, though the nose piece is a bit stronger (it has a jointed metal nosepiece).
But the jowl strap is attached lower, and will prevent the cheek piece from moving and pressing on the eye. I figure this will be Narra’s, as she is duller, and can take stronger cues to get her to listen. For example, a tree branch across her rump when she kicked me this spring.

She was fine with the cavesson. So I backed her up from the fence and cinched up the surcingle slowly. She didn’t care. I think they will be nice horses to play with as things rarely bother them.

They are even easy to worm! Narra tries to steal the wormer from other horses, she likes it so much. Yup, she nuckin’ futz!

Sorry no pics of Narra. I’ll try to get some tomorrow.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Jake’s First Endurance Ride

August 22, 2010

Well to be truthful, he’s already done 30 competition miles… in utero! But this is the first ride we made it to this year.

Actually we packed up and got on the road on Saturday, but halfway to Bel Air Provincial Forest the timing belt on the car shredded and the vehicle died. Jake and I were stuck on the side of the road for an hour, in 30 degree heat. By the time we made it home, I did not feel like packing into the van and trying again.

The next day we packed into the van and started up to arrive just before people would be coming in for the 25s. I set up chairs for Jake and me, and settled down to chat with friends I have not seen in months. Tanya was there with her daughter, and she delighted in telling me how boys are NUTS as they get older. She has a big boy who will sleep one hour in a 24 hour period. I still have nightmares.

Then the five 25s all came in in a pack. I was pleased to see Rachel on Beamer. It was a very exciting few minutes as they all raced to pulse down and present.

I was quietly rooting for Rachel and her Walker. I really like that horse, have ever since riding with them on that CT ride last September. He is so mellow and businesslike about the rides, yet is very forward and you can tell he enjoys it. He looks like a joy to ride, and is so smooth. See, doesn’t he look great?!

I had lots of time to visit afterwards. Jake was great, just sitting in his chair, and watching the trees waving in the breeze. He really likes watching trees.

But I can’t wait to get back into competing! Unfortunately, mine won’t be old enough for two years. Maybe someone will lend me a horse?...

Friday, July 2, 2010

Who'd a thunk?

Well, things have definitely changed in my world. Four weeks ago today I gave birth to a baby boy, Jake. Hubby and I still look at each other and say; “I can’t believe we’re parents!” Many of my friends say the same, they would have sooner believed I’d cut off my left leg. I was always the dog or horse girl, depending on which crowd I was hanging with at the moment, the horsaii or the serious dog people.

But here I am with a baby. I stand rocking little Jake in the upstairs dormer window right now and point out the window. “That pale dun pony is yours, and the big buckskin over there… he’s mine. We are going to have so much fun together as you grow.”

A few years back now I started doing endurance with a leased Gotland mare. I met the breed when I moved in next to Canada’s biggest Russ breeder. Some of the other Gotland owners had wanted to try Endurance for years and so I went along. I got hooked immediately. I worked really hard and used Willow for two seasons, until it really became an exercise in endurance for me. I had to endure her mare-ish behaviour just to try to complete a ride.

During this time, I received an excellent xmas present from hubby; he would pay for stud fee and all associated costs to breed a Gotland foal. I decided that I wanted a more usable horse and so I talked it over with the Gotland owner, and she agreed to breed to a stallion of another breed. I was hoping for more size and improve some conformational weaknesses. We found a beautiful Spanish Colonial Horse Stud (ranch-bred Spanish Mustang), Silvertip.

Luckily, things turned out well. She has all the good points of both parents. But I have learned my lesson; I will never breed again, hoping to get a certain outcome. It is too much of a crapshoot. I had hoped for a colt, maturing around 14h, darkish in colour. Instead I got a short (likely top out at 13.2h), pale (silver dunskin), FILLY! Not more mares!! Horrors!

But it turned out ok. I became pregnant. And right away hubby said “you’re gonna need a different horse, Narra is going to be the kid’s pony”

I said OK. Isn’t he amazing?

But the timetable for getting the new horse was sped up, as Willow went back home to the breeder and Narra was living alone. She became a real handful! And I couldn’t correct her properly as I was too cautious around the horses in my pregnant state. She took shameless advantage.

So I began looking for a new horse. My criteria list was long. I wanted a youngish gelding, 14.2h to 15.3h max, even tempered; kind, willing, calm. I wanted a very forward horse that I wouldn’t have to push all the time for Endurance and Competitive Trail. I wanted good clean legs and well kept, hard feet (I do endurance without shoes). He needed to have great conformation, in that I wanted him to hold up for years at my chosen sport. I wanted a lighter build horse, so he would cool easier and not tire as quickly. After meeting Rachel’s Walkers, I was looking for a Tennessee Walker. They had the temperament and as I saw could do the sport.

Then I got an email from a woman in Alberta. And I fell in love with my dream horse. He is a gelding. But he is just turned two (two years before I can ride and compete on him). And he is an Akhal Teke Sporthorse (crossed with Arab). He was a really great price. Heck, I could probably put a bit of training into him and sell him for MORE than he cost me (training included). Unheard of! But I won’t. I love him already.

He plays with the filly, and has gotten her straightened out already.

I like her again. And I just stand there to watch him move. He is exquisite. I like the cross with the Arab, makes him better looking. While I am one of the few who actually likes the look of a purebred Teke (the equine greyhound/ snake look), the Arab blood does make him more appealing to the average person. I cannot wait to begin riding him… in a year. Sigh. He still looks so immature. I have many dreams of our future riding career together. I want to get serious about the endurance. I want to make it on the Manitoba team for the Nationals one year. I want to compete in at least one low level dressage show with him, just for fun.

But right now, right now, I am dreaming other things. As I hold Jake, I see a beautiful spring morning. Bright green spring grass and flowers on the wild cranberry bushes along the trail. And me and young Jake, riding The Big Guy and Narra on the trail, just enjoying the spring air.

The future is looking great.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Times are changing!

A lot has changed since the last time I wrote. I decided to retire Willow; she did not enjoy her last ride. And so we both decided to both just enjoy riding together occasionally; for a fun ride in the back woods. She stayed living with me for a few more months, but she moved back to her owners for the winter. Now they are talking of selling her to a new home. She will likely be bred this spring too! This is exciting to me as I LOVE her babies. So, I am looking for a new endurance prospect!

I love horse shopping!

I am looking at a really awesome prospect right now (not a Gotland though!) He has a lot of the great things I liked about Willow, but is built better to suit the sport I want to advance in now. I will have to go out and see him, make sure he has the spunk and willingness to suit the level I want to move up to in endurance. It's not that I have suddenly turned cometitive, but I would love to occasionally try a 50 miler, and I now know that would never happen on a Gotland. They just don't cool as well and they have to take twice as many steps! Too bad!

But I am not in a hurry to get a horse for this riding season, as I am pregnant! Hubby and I are so excited, we are already looking forward to all the fun kid stuff. But my second though was... well, there goes my riding plans for 2010!

Well, I'll just have to make other horsey plans.

So my horsaii goals for 2010:

* Work more on Narra, my half Gotland filly! She needs more work on...
* Her leading manners - bossy filly!
* Getting off the property
* Get her used to roads

* Work on my lounging skills, with Narra. A few short sessions just to get her started. She will be 2 in June, so good time to start then. I'll have "dropped" my own kidlet by then. I'll do this in all my spare time!

* Buy my next endurance horse! Fun!

* Volunteer more with my two long distance riding clubs on ride days.

* Get involved in fundraising for the two clubs to keep them going!

* Work on adding fencing to make more tracks for the horses.

* Get back in the saddle by fall!

* Figure out the great mystery of long-lining to get the young horse (horses if I buy the second horse!) ready for the trainer next spring.

I'll have to take some pictures of Nara in her winter woolies, she looks liek a yak right now. A yak with a beard.

Hope you guys are not freezing where you are!