Archive for December, 2009

Best of the Holiday Season

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

It’s been a strange sort of Christmas Season for us this year.  It has been somewhat fragmented.  Mark came to visit us from Banff on Monday, December 15, with his girlfriend Nicola.  I was so busy doing the Christmas feast thing, I hardly got a chance to visit with him.  The next day I was headed towards Calgary on some sales calls.  I was supposed to meet up with Mark on Wednesday night, but bad luck, his “pushing it’s luck truck” lost its drive shaft.  The upside was I had to drive them to Banff from Cochrane for Mark to make his midnight shift.  We had the nicest visit we’ve ever had since we packed him off to Malaspina 5 years ago.

Family Christmas was pushed forward a bit, as my Sister in Law and the two girls left for Japan on Christmas Day; that’s part of the deal of her moving to Canada – a return visit once a year.  So we had another big family thing on Dec. 23rd.  The differences this year were that Glen’s mom is too fragile to remove from her care home and Greg left the morning of Dec 23rd.

Duty called on Wednesday and he went back from leave to active duty and is now Family Support for the family of the Lt. Andrew Nuttall, the officer killed while on foot patrol in Afghanistan.  He won’t be back until sometime early in the new year.  We are so incredibly proud of him, as what his duties involve require more resources than most people have to draw on in a lifetime.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the Nuttall family now, as they make their way to CFB Trenton for the repatriation cermonies and then return to Victoria for the funeral.

On a lighter note, we finally caught the weanlings, did a little more handling and got Captain’s registration completed.  Our first choice for TB name is Paisley’s Finest Hour and its not a long stretch to start calling him Churchill.  Gidget is getting to be quite an escape artist; we are waiting with baited breath for warmer weather to reintroduce the consequences of electric fencing to her.  Razzmatazz has decided to become a people horse; just like her sister Cover Girl, it took her almost a year.  Little Joey is turning into quite a handsome fellow, despite being the world’s ugliest yearling earlier this year.  Tickedyboo is still having some trouble with the remnants of Horner’s syndrome and often has cheeks packed like a hamster’s.  But I think with some chiropractic adjustment and dentistry, it may be correctable.

Some of the mob

Illusion has now been over to Gorsline’s twice for Janey to ride him and is a star.  Janey was a little reluctant the first time.  Greg had come to watch last Monday and was goaded into getting on first.  That was a Kodak moment that went uncaptured, as he struggled for balance on a saddle to small for him, riding something akin to a sheep dog.  Poor Illusion, his fetlocks were almost on the ground.  But the general consensus was that between Lindsay and the driving, a very good job has been done all around.

Just going through a few old photos in trying to get some badly needed revisions completed for the website.  I’ve been looking forward to starting Amelia and George in harness, as they are quite a pair.  This photo from nearly two years ago, shows just how close they have been all along.

IMGP1195

As we drift from Christmas to the New Year,  Glen & I would like to wish everyone a happy, joyous Holiday Season, despite the trials and tragedies around us.  Remember, that despite the chaos of everyday life, this is a time of year for both reflection and renewal.

Winter has arrived!!!!

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009
The extended nice weather we have been experiencing came to an abrupt end Friday as a blizzard blew in with a vengeance.  So here we are at -20 with a wind and a frozen water line.  We thought we had the line solved with new heat tapes, but we now suspect the drilling company didn’t bury the line the required depth to that waterer.  Oh well, a AFOG (another #$%%… opportunity for growth).  This time we have gained enough experience to deal with doing the water line the way we wanted it done in the first place, but that means spring and a lot of carrying water in between.

Agribition was very slow and very long, so I’m trying to hustle like mad to replace what it took from the coffers.  I did sell the Shetland Pony Cart for a substantial loss, but its gone.  On the upside I got a pairs pony harness for a song; it has Amelia and George’s name on it for the spring.  I haven’t ever seen a better pair.  They are both approaching 14 hands, so I’m holding my breath for their status as ponies, but there is always a market for a flashy well matched pair such as they will be for combined driving.

I also picked up a couple of more products.  I’m now dealing Oxy-Gen through Libi Sousag from Montana, a high end supplement for performance horses.  You can check the products page when I get it all up there.  It seemed a natural, as many people who came by were already confusing it with Pure Oxygen.

Dr. Gordon Chang CEO of Omega Alpha was at the show with Scott McLeod.  He is such a nice man.  He gave me a diet for Ticketyboo to address what’s left of her Horner’s Syndrome.  Dr. Chang also introduced me to David from Back on Track.  But in the end, I called Sandy Best of The Best Bandages, as I have used them with remarkable success.  So now I am also a dealer for The Best Bandages.

Lorna from Lorna’s Chap Shop was beside me for most of the show.  She made my chaps when we first moved back to Edmonton over 20 years ago.  She makes the most awesome “Bronc” halter nosebands.  As we got to know each other better, we found we have several circles in common and have crossed paths several times before.  We went out for dinner twice and had a lot of fun.  Also saw a lot of Margaret Semeniuk from Sask Horse Fed and Linda Hazelwood from Horse Country Magazine.

I’ve had more time to work with Goldmine.  The more I work with him, the more I realize what an awesome short stirrup pony he will be.  Joey, also is getting quite handsome, from being the ugliest yearling in the world.  I may persue his full registration (more DNA tests) and use him to breed my small Warmblood mares as a three year old.  We’ll have to wait and see.

I have to get mane hairs for quite a few.  I  need to finish Captain’s registration.  Our first pick for name is Paisley’s Finest Hour, so we have already started calling him “Churchill”, not a far reach from Captain.  The Caspian mares are participating in a genetic research project looking for the gene that regulates height and I am waiting on registration kits for Talib’s 3 fillies.

I can’t remember from my last post if I relayed that Lindsay had a 7 year old girl on Illusion, jumping single fences.  It was impressive.  I’m going to make arrangements to take him back and let her ride him again.  He’s not the same kitten here as he was at Donna’s; he knows how to push my buttons, beginning with now figuring out how to let himself out of his pen.  I’ve made arrangements to haul him Gorslines to start his over fences education, Janey Ockhotsky has agreed to ride him, but this weather has put a kink in that for now.   We’ve been busy trying to decide the best way to promote him as a stallion and so far have ads in Horses Inc., a North West US magazine and Pacific Prairie Horse.  We’ll also do Gaitpost and look for internet sites.  We have a few in mind.

another of Linda's fine photos
another of Linda’s fine photos

I’ve just had a tutorial from Sylvia and Cody at Pondside.  I wrote this post yesterday and the previous one in November, but Word Press has changed its format and I was having trouble sorting through it.

Indian Summer…Sort of….

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

I can’t believe my last post was in September.  We were in overdrive, as usual trying to get ready for the sale.  The weekend of the sale was brutally cold, as in -20 with a wind.  Discretion was the better part of valour and we checked into a motel instead of trying to brave it in the trailer.  I kept telling people that this was just the glitch that happens when Spruce Meadows Master’s is on… it has to happen for it to be Indian Summer…it would get nice again; after all everything else was a month late.  That was my story and I was sticking to it.  Yesterday, it was +17C

The sale was a blood bath.  We didn’t get anywhere near what we were anticipating for prices, even with a recession economy; but both horses were sold and to nice people and it is time to move on.   That’s what counts.

I seem to have been reading a lot of books lately centering on Dante’s Inferno and Milton’s Paradise Lost, so forgive me, that’s where this analogy comes from.  I sincerely believe there is a coven of demons from the 9th circle of hell that have access to your bank accounts, no matter how wealthy you are.  Whenever, you think you have just managed some breathing space financially, they conspire to find a way to strip you of anything that remotely resembled disposable income; a major car repair, failed septic – you get the idea.  It always seems to be within spitting distance of what you thought you had.  We got hit with a 3x what we expected major bill, the same day we got the proceeds from the sale.  If that’s character building; I’m quite a character!

After the sale, Illusion went into training.  I can’t believe he’s coming home on Friday.  He has been a “kitten”; that’s what Lindsay calls him.  I think he is happier at Donna’s “Quinn’s Quarters” than at home.  He has progressed amazingly well.  Lindsay Gerber has done a wonderful job in preparing him for the next phase of his career.  I was fully prepared for him to be gone up to 90 days of training, but he is a star.  We are in the process of planning how to promote him.  He is going to be “Mr. April” of the 2010 North American Sport Pony Calendar.

Then we were off to the Mane Event in Chilliwack.  Hard work, but for us, almost a vacation.  We had a very good show.  We are now selling RejuvGelz for Crystal McPeak Young and took them with us.

We entered the All Breed Horse Showcase with a Caspian Horse/Anivac display for the weekend of Farm Fair instead of booking a trade booth for the whole 9 days, including CFR.  So most of October was spent trying to get Texas fit and reliable in harness.  I was working with Goldmine and Lacey (she is headed to a feed lot to work for the winter).  It was a treat to stay home and do what I love best.  We had a great weekend at Farm Fair.  Texas is such a great ambassador; she never moves to the back of her stall and rarely pins her ears.

sharing a quiet moment

After the Showcase, time was spent running back and forth to Edmonton, new shocks on the truck, helping Crystal in her booth, getting photos of Illusion.  We used Linda Finstad of A Sharper Image, but given the time of year Illusion’s debut as a stallion will be on the Teddy Bear side.  Linda was wonderful and we had a lot of laughs.

Illusion head shotfloating trot

Thanks to Linda’s ideas, we are now considering publishing a monthly bulletin presenting new products that fit into our philosophy of environmentally friendly, sustainable, non-invasive and proactive maintenance.  The intention being we rarely see trainer’s, coaches on the trade floors and it may provide a way for people to stay up to date.  Let us know what you think; if this is a good idea or not.

At CFR, Lynne Hoff saved my life; new orthotics…aaah.  Subsequently, we are now agents for her other product, Bio-Equine.  I saw this the year before last and thought it was awesome, but the price point was too much for me unless it was a show horse.  Illusion will go on it when he gets home.  I have some major work to do on the website, so keep checking for updates and new products.

Which bring us up to present.  Glen is busy packing and I’ve been trying to tie up loose ends all day so I can get myself off to Regina tomorrow early for Agribition.  I’ll be gone for 11 days, leaving Glen with the farm.  I’ll owe him big time.  I’m also taking my Shetland Pony Cart to their Antique Carriage Auction.  I hope those darn demons are on coffee break.