Archive for March, 2009

Ponies Kick Butt!!!

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Illusion was 4th in the Olds Free Jump Challenge!!!! The three year old class had 10 entries. The other 9 were warmbloods, all well over 16 hands. Same distances, same heights. 1.15m ramped oxer, 1m spread. Illusion didn’t even hesitate, didn’t add a stride and cleared it easily with lots of room to spare!! He definitely stole the show and was the crowd favorite in his class. I’m on cloud 9.

Free jumping or chute jumping is where a grid is set up in a lane, usually, ground pole, one stride to crossbar, one stride to vertical, two strides to ramped oxer.  The oxer is the judged fence.  Horses are judges both on 3 gaits on the flat and given three attempts through the chute while the oxer is raised to it’s final height for age group. I can hardly wait to get the video and photos.

There were several inquiries about shipping semen, including Chris Gould, National Canadian Warmblood president and Marie (?) from Quebec who is new CW national vice president.  

Illusion was a bit hollow over all the fences, but he still has a lot of growing and muscling in the back end to do. I think if I had to ride that much power off the back end, I’d thank God for hollow; with a bascule, I’d be catapulted into space.  So even if that’s the way he jumps, it’s ok with me if he throws that, all it means is his babies will be good equitation candidates as well.

My heart was in my mouth the whole two hour drive to Olds.  If he was bad, it was going to be a disaster,  and we were never going to talk about it again.  If he was good, well, for the entry fee, I couldn’t buy that kind of publicity for promoting him as a stallion.  The “powers that be” smile on us on Saturday. Brian Denehey had his 6 year old Connemara stallion in the 5/6 year old class.  What a wonderful pony!  He was also fourth in his class.  They were jumping much bigger.  They were tweaking the rules and making the oxer bigger for the horses that could do it.  In the end it was 1.5m with a 2m spread.  The stallion jumped it easily, demonstrating economy by not using more effort than he needed, showing he has brains as well as scope to go higher. 

The ponies definitely stole the show.The Free Jump supports the Olds Agricultural Society while providing the International Young Breeders’ team candidates to get their necessary judging hours in. For $10 Family admission it is good entertainment.  The stands were full mid afternoon when Illusion performed and I think that also motivated the little ham.  The little brat adores crowds; he gets so high on himself.  After ribbon pinning ceremony, he demonstrated a fluid extended trot going by the stands. He just about had me waterskiing on my face. He needed a bigger brow band before, but now I think I have to get “horse”, not “cob”.  It’s a little scary having a pony smarter than you.

Both ponies also were competing against CW stallions and European imports.  Yahoo!!! It’s hard to be humble. 

Enough with winter already!!

Monday, March 30th, 2009

This is a post I wrote at the beginning of March when I was in Saskatoon for Saskatchewan Horse Federation Annual General Meeting.  I see now it didn’t post.  But it is now the end of March and although the melt has started, the sentiments still apply.  I talked to Barb Stephenson from Wild Rose Draft Horse Association from Turner Valley, 300km south of here, yesterday: 24 cm of snow and a temp. hovering around around 0 degrees C.I think almost everyone I’ve spoken to recently can agree this has been a long cold winter…and not only here.

I was speaking to a vet in Florida earlier in the week and he was complaining that it was only 49 degrees this morning; when he asked how cold it was here, my response was,  “well it doesn’t hurt to breathe anymore”.   But yesterday was just plain nasty.  When I went out to feed, I didn’t think it was that bad, when I walked out to the field horses to break their water (waterers are frozen too), I still didn’t think it was too bad, but when I turned into the wind to walk back, I was almost crying by the time I got to the house. We were snowed in and I was supposed to leave for Saskatoon for the Saskatchewan Horse Federation Annual General Meeting where I am setting up a trade booth.  Finally, the sun came out, so did the plows and I was on the road about 3:00.  It wasn’t bad, except for blowing snow, but I caught up with the blizzard at North Battleford and from there on, it was just plain nasty. I arrived at the Bed & Breakfast I had booked, plugged the truck in, and went to bed.  I was up early this morning to get to the hotel where the conference was being held, only to find I couldn’t find my keys.   I sure get my money’s worth out of my CAA card.  The tow truck arrived and unlocked my door (I didn’t tell him, I had just found my keys in the snow in front of my truck).  I asked him to just hang on while I started the truck.  NOT!!!  I pretty much drained his battery and still no go.  Apparently the plug in I used last night was nonfunctional.  My hostess and I found a plug that was working and here I sit waiting for the block heater to do its work.

I’ve been on facebook looking up my kids, surfing the net, catching up on emails and avoiding what I really should be doing and that’s making up information packages for Anivac. I guess I’ll go out and try the truck again and if it still won’t go, then I’ve run out of excuses for not doing what I should be doing.Quoting Judith Viorst from “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”, “I guess some days are like that….”

From Thelwell Pony to Show Pony

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

All the travel, the long winter and poor roads are beginning to wear on us, with me away every weekend promoting Anivac and Glen at home doing double duty on chores.  The one great side benefit is that I get to see my BFF, Sharon, more often, as I stay with her on the Calgary runs.

We have Illusion entered in the Free Jump Challenge in Olds against the big guys this coming Saturday.  This morning was clean up time, as the rest of the week is taken up with the Farm & Ranch Trade Show. I had phoned my neighbor to see if I could use her barn, but she wasn’t home.  I was only going to trace clip him, but he was so hairy, he still looked shaggy… and anyone who knows me knows I tend to get carried away with the clippers in hand.  The best thing about gray horses is that you don’t have to be great with clippers to get good results; racing stripes don’t show so badly.  We “anivaced” the loose hair off and blanketed him.  So with a little Kubota “truck training” and an Anivac grooming every day this week, he should look pretty good by the weekend. imgp1228.JPG

Illusion will have to jump through the chute at horse distances.  He hadn’t free jumped since last summer and at pony distances.  A friend borrowed all of my jumps for the winter.  We tried to make arrangements to set a chute at the arena she is training at, but it just couldn’t be fit in.  So last week, we constructed a chute in the colt paddock.  We were a little tight on distances in the paddock.  We pried out 4 half rotten standards from the snow, found some pipeline support pylons, and used 2×4’s and PVC pipe for rails.   It was very scary looking and it was quite icy.  But we got it done.  Illusion just had too much fun with his head up in the air, back hollow and tail flagged over his back.  We couldn’t catch him and he voluntarily jumped the chute 5 more times after we thought he’d had enough.  Hope he settles down for Saturday. We also sent George, Joey and Goldmine through.  Joey and Goldmine were not really into it, so we didn’t push it beyond walking them through.  But George was amazing!  We sent him through 3 times and although the oxer was narrow and about 2′9″ because of the footing and he consistently cleared the 4′ paddock fence with great form.  After his trip, he’d drop back to a walk and come looking for a treat; a wave of the hand sent him through the chute again.  His price tag has just gone up.

Tricia and I had set up a single vertical for Goldmine last week in his own paddock.  Again another very scary looking set up with one standard, a broken 5′ standard used as a rail with a extended nail supporting it on the no-climb fence.  He was quite proud of himself and continued to jump without much asking, clearing the 3′3″ we put it up to with tons of air.  But the maze of 2×4’s in the chute was too confusing for him, although he would quite tidily pop out over 3′ 2×4 wing after the cross pole. So we are quite excited about the big jump in our little horses.  We’ll put more pictures of the Anivac on the website.  Wish us luck on Saturday at the Free Jump.