Archive for July, 2009

On the road again

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

It seems this summer I’ve had a truck and trailer attached to my butt.  I can’t believe we are at the end of July.  After Stampede, we got turned around and participated in the World Angus Forum at Spruce Meadows.  It was the first ever time, cattle have been shown at the venue and the staff at Spruce Meadows went all out to make it a success for the exhibitors.  There were delegates from all over the world.  As with any first time event, there were glitches, so for us, sharing a booth with Ferris Fencing it was a long show.  At that show the large dark cloud that seems to follow me around turned into a major weather front of linked catastrophes.

After the Forum, I had the opportunity to visit the Sinclair Ranch in northern Saskatchewan.  I’ve heard how beautiful the country was , but oh my, did we miss the boat when the kids were young in travelling to B.C for beaches for the kids.  Check out Ken and Shauna’s production sale of Quarter Horses and Paints, August 8th.  If you want a catalog, contact them at Flying S Ranch, Box 7 Spruce Lake, SK, S0M 2W0.

Last Wednesday, I was off again to the Pacific Association of Andalusian and Luistano Horses National Show and Fiesta in Chilliwack.  This after needing a new headlight switch and body work required when our barely hanging on tail gate didn’t as I rounded a corner with the horse trailer.  I felt like Typhoid Mary the whole trip to the coast, as I listened to disaster news that happened just behind me, almost as soon as I crossed the BC border.

In any case, here we go again.  I am absolutely in love with Iberian horses!!  Glen has already resigned himself to the idea the breeding program may be changing again.  The show organization is amazing with beginners showing their own young horses, alongside seasoned pros and renowned clinician.  Even at the National Level, the atmosphere is relaxed and everyone is having fun.  What a breath of fresh air in the competition world.  There are so many renowned natural horseman here, as well as recognized dressage trainers.  You’ve got to take a second look when their horse of choice is an Iberian horse.  And I’ve got to say, they are making me take a serious second look. 

It’s dressage today and a bit cooler, so I may shove off early and attempt the Coquahalla Pass to give me leg up home.  I think I desperately need a transmission cooler on the old truck.  I’ll be home long enough to deposit my dirty clothes, grab new ones, unload the trailer, catch Illusion and load my trailer for the first of two clinics with Josh Nichols at Eagle’s Wing Ranch.

Yahoo!! Stampede Fun

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

I just returned from participating in the Rare Breeds Canada Exhibit in the Agricultural Building at the Calgary Stampede.  What a busy 2 days.  Many thanks to Linda and John Conrad for inviting us to participate with our Caspian horses.  They did a wonderful job of putting the exhibit together and played the part of gracious hosts to all of all their exhibitors.  This was quite a change from what we normally experience at shows and greatly appreciated. 

We overnighted Monday at Sweet Talk Stables and took their Shetland Pony “Lyndie” with us in the morning.  Joyce had offered me a stall for Texas, but I wanted to try the feasibility of stabling Texas on the trailer.  It worked great until 5am when Texas decided we should get up, despite me groggily tossing her a flake of hay.  Unfortunately, she had more “sway” than I did.  Next came the great fun of negotiating a 24′ rig through Calgary morning rush hour where I had no idea of where I was supposed to be.  But we finally managed.

My best friend Sharon Fellows joined me on Tuesday and we had a delightful day of catching up and promoting the Caspian breed.  On Wednesday, we were, as Linda stated, “ground zero” for the under 3′tall set, as it was Kid’s Day at the Stampede.  The general traffic route came down an aisle of offices and cordoned off livestock areas, so we were the first “petable” animals in the “pig pen” type stabling.  Poor Lyndie, but she’s a “been there, done that sort” and handled everything well.  Texas was exceptional too, except after a night on the trailer, 2 days on concrete and coming into heat she wasn’t always at her best. 

About mid morning it occured to me that many of these children would probably seldom have the experience of being so close to a horse, so I decided to give Texas her grain feed, one handful at a time.  It was such a treat to watch the childrens’ faces.  We were also able to offer petting opportunities to a few wheelchairbound children; they would roll their chairs close to the stall and I would swing the gate inward.  Texas was amazing as she put her head in each child’s lap and allowed herself to be petted and hugged, as she nuzzled back and whuffled their hair. 

I also could not believe the scope of the Stampede, despite having lived in Calgary for several years.  It is way more than a rodeo, chuckwagon races and a midway.  I had no idea it still contained a full agricultural show.  It’s still all about the horses.  I was also amazed by the almost military precision the Stampede staff and volunteers showed in moving livestock rigs in and out continuously amongst the throngs of people, as events and shows changed. 

On Wednesday, I found out that Sharon and I had missed an opportunity to go “riding together”.  While touring the trade hall, I found a booth that featured and “artificial horse” exercise machine, complete with saddle and stirrups, complete with a series of exercises to strengthen core muscles.  Upon giving it a try, it felt remarkably like a cantering horse.   It’s sad to think its come to that, if we want to ride together. 

I tried to take pictures of the booth to send to the Caspian Horse Society of the Americas, but techno idiot that I am, I can’t figure out how to email them to my computer.

I powered myself home late last night to allow this to be my turnaround day and I’m frantically trying to catch up before doing a charity horse wash for “Kids with Cancer” at the Amberlea Meadows “Jump for Hope” show, then back to Spruce Meadows for the World Angus Forum.  I’ve heard from several sources that Spruce Meadows has pulled out all the stops to ensure their first ever cattle event a huge success.

Speaking of Spruce Meadows, we were at Spruce Meadows last Saturday for Military Appreciation Day and through our son Greg, were royally entertained as a military family by the Atco Group of Companies.  At one point during the Parcour de Chausse, an unexpected dismount caused a loose horse to gallop up the bank and contemplate jumping into the Atco Patio.  Greg reduced many of us to tears of laughter when he exclaimed “Finders Keepers”, before the loose horse allowed himself to be caught.