Archive for February, 2009

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s off to renovate we go

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Well, we hope we’ve found a way to keep the wolves from the door until fencing season begins.  Two weeks ago, Glen posted a sign for handyman services, as we were getting desperate with subbing days few and far between and Anivac sales still at a stand still.  We are now working our butts off getting a fairly “bad shape” rental home cleaned and renovated for March 1. We have two more jobs lined up.

This is a no brainer for us, as this is the 8th house we’ve done.  That’s how we managed to move up each time.  Although this is the first house that hasn’t been ours.  We’ve lived in all of them, except one we bought to flip.  Glen and I work well together.  He can fix just about anything and I’m a reasonably good painter/wallpaper hanger and I have an eye for color/decorating etc….and although its hard work, it’s honest work and we enjoy it.  It gives us the flexibility to continue with Anivac and run the farm.  So with fingers crossed, we may be finally moving forward.   With the government tax credit for renovation and the energy savings incentives, this may be recession proof.

Great News!

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

 JOSH NICHOLS will be doing Illusion’s saddle training!!  I was lucky enough to get into two clinics in July and August, 4 days apart.  That’s perfect for Illusion’s temperament.  And not only will Josh back him, I get to learn from Josh.  I’ve long known that saddle work for Illusion would have to be done judiciously, as he is so smart it will set the foundations for his future as a performance horse.  Josh is of small enough stature that he can ride the pony and he is an amazing horseman.

I first met Kathy Nichols, his mom, at Dan Martin’s when Talib was getting his chiropractic treatments.  We had some long chats and I commented on the softness of her horse’s eye.  She then launched into her favorite topic, her son…but who can blame her; she has such a great son…. (and my sons are still my favorite topic too).  Shortly after that, I got to see Josh work for myself as he gave a demonstration at Sonya Christopher’s Health, Harmony & Horses conference.  I saw him again at her HHH conference in Okotoks and he has since presented at the Horse Owner’s and Breeders Conference. I was working in the booth, so didn’t get to see him, but I heard rave reviews about his presentation. 

He is just such a nice man, with such a humble demeanor and sincerity that is rare these days.  I can’t remember his wife’s name just now, but with their young one, they are such a perfect family(I apologize for my bad memory).  His star is rising right now and he spends most of his summers travelling and doing clinics.  It’s a whole family effort from the family’s Eagle Wing Ranch in Colinton, north of Morinville.  Stay tuned to this young man and his achievements, although only 28, he has a depth of horsmanship that spans more than most peoples’ lifetimes.

Note to self: have contingency plan for next winter

Friday, February 6th, 2009

It’s been a tough winter.  We were so overwhelmed we didn’t plan very well for the end of fencing season in terms of income. You’d think people our age would be a little wiser.  But Anivac sales are picking up, we are doing a few handiman jobs, Glen is subbing some and giving guitar lessons, I’m tutoring a bit and hope to be doing a little horse hauling when our insurance policy is renewed, in addition to managing the farm and business.  Fencing season is almost here.  It’s been a learning experience and in my case not an altogether bad one: I finally get “I just can’t pick it up because its a great deal.” 

I have to thank John Anderson and Jacqueline Patmore for a great weekend last weekend at the Rocky Mountain Show Jumping Winter Series Hunter Tournament at Anderson Ranch.  There was some interest in the product and there will be more, as I am there more.  I met a lot of the new trainers, had great chats with Dustin, a trainer at John’s, and watched hunters for the first time in a very long time.  

I think that’s what I love about my new career path; I meet so many great people and sell a product I truly think is going to be the industry standard.  We’ll be at Amberlea Meadows in Edmonton this weekend.  Meanwhile back on the farm, George is recovering nicely from an incident he had with an unlined tin shed; although he hates being confined to quarters.  I’m really pleased to be making headway with some of our more “aloof” residents. Dharma is in a field with Cover Girl, Amelia Bedelia, and Nora G (sadly, she lost her Formation foal in January). Dharma is becoming downright friendly, after the hours I spent in her paddock waiting for her to come to me. Goldmine is coming up to me and letting me drape myself all over him.  He’s still tense and wary, but he’s not running away.   Joey’s still a little brat, but if you can catch him he’s quite sweet.  His favorite tactic is wait until we are occupied with re-bandaging George than nibble/pull on the back of our collars and make a general nuisance of himself; so he’s not far from being people friendly.

All the mares are fat, happy and healthy.  The pregnant ones are not overly huge yet (except Wynona, a career broodmare), but we don’t have any expectations until mid May; two are maidens, Amy had a pony foal last year, and Taylor is having one this year, so everything is as it should be.  Tamara and Texas, however, have been confined to a paddock, as ponies, even those classified as horses, and round bales don’t mix.  I was afraid if they stepped on something sharp, there would be a phhffft sound and my ponies would fly away like helium balloons.

I’m going to start working with Texas and hope to take her to the Hardy Zantke driving clinic at Mane Event.  She has already been long lined to death and almost ready to hitch for the first time.  It is far less maintenance to take her in the beginning clinic than dealing with a stallion.  Illusion continues to be the farm star.  I read Dessa Hockley’s book, “Is Your Horse a Rock Star?”.  In our case, most definitely.  I want to get him backed before breeding season and phantom training, so he knows he has more than one job. Training details to follow as they are confirmed.  If it happens, I’ll be quite excited.  His driving gets better and better.  He is now coming into the bridle for longer periods of time, although I’m not asking him for collection yet.  He gets bending.  He still rushes through the tight turns, but it’s too slippery to work very hard on that.  But he is still Illusion; the first three miles are very fast (I need to find a tractor tire).  When he is tired, he stops – period, or, if my hands aren’t perfect, attempts to spin and hollow in an effort to bolt home.  The other day, when he tried that, I pulled hard on the right rein and dumped him on his butt.  I fell out of the cart and he got a leg over the shafts.  But, he stood like gold while I got him sorted out and I had a very obedient pony for duration of the drive. 

It got too cold for the composter and the waterers this winter, but it’s something we’ll work on for next year.  But the composter is fired up and working well.  This year we’ll use our “bounty” for our own landscaping and gardening projects.  I’m so looking forward to making some cosmetic changes and completing some beautification projects.