Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Gratitude in uncertain times (blog hop)

I'm always on the lookout for blog topic ideas, so will gladly grab a blog hop idea and run with it.

Liz at In Omnia Paratus did a blog post on things she is grateful for in these tough times we are all experiencing...  I thought I would play along, as thinking positively helps me process all of the difficult information out in the world.

Things I'm grateful for:

* My job and my hubby's job are letting us work from home.  Having our steady income in such a huge relief right now.

* Living in the country:  I can go outside, breathe some fresh air, get some exercise, check on my boys, all without seeing another human being.  Pretty awesome all the time, but extra awesome right now.
Took my afternoon coffee break outside this afternoon!
* Universal healthcare and being a Canadian.  I don't want to get political or anything here, but I'm very thankful and grateful for our health care system and I'm crossing fingers and toes that I don't need to use it during this outbreak! 

* Internet - even my sub-standard country internet.  It is allowing us to stay connected with work, friends and family and sign up for as many streaming services as I can! lol
We even stream cat videos on youtube!  
* My furry critters:  the cats and dog aren't used to having us home, but I'm sure they don't mind the extra cookies and attention.  The horses seem to like the attention too!
My morning coffee routine.  My legs are under this pile!
* The changing seasons: spring is on the around the corner in this part of the world... I think being able to get some fresh air and watch the outdoors come back to life after our winters is one of the best things about this place!
I always get a pair of geese in the back pasture. Fred, as security mgr, had to go investigate this am.
* All of the workers in every field out there bringing us services and health care to keep things running!

* Memes and other cool content being posted right now! 
uhh yeah...this is a problem! lol

Emma had an awesome post today with a bunch of great memes.  And I've been listening to Patrick Stewart read Shakespeare, listened to Sheryl Crow, Garth Brooks and other artists.

Laughter is crucial for me right now, it sure helps with the anxiety and information overload out there.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Weekly round up: SS2020 and viruses

Well, I started this post last week, when we were just monitoring COVID-19 in my region.  It's amazing how quickly things can change in a week....  Amanda at the900facebookpony.com posted about the virus on Thursday am and I glibly commented that things here in Canada weren't too bad.


Things sure went sideways over the course of the day Thursday and by Friday noon, all schools in the province were to be closed until April, the Prime Minister's wife tested positive for the virus and the PM was "working from home" as a precautionary measure.  Our parliament has also closed until April, so that is kind of a big deal (I live near and work in the capital city so the machinations of government affect us a lot).  Since I work for our national police force, I have had a pretty busy week and Friday was the busiest day of all. I work in public affairs tho, so its not like I'm on the front lines or anything, but it still was a hectic day.

We haven't found out yet what our work plan will be moving forward - we all have to come to work on Monday unless we hear otherwise.  My job can be done from home, so that would be ideal.  It is just such a weird situation - I remember SARS and H1N1 and it was never this bad.  I hope we can work from home as that would be the best case scenario, but you never know with our office.

I am trying not to give in to the hype and anxiety over this illness outbreak - but I can't help but worry a bit about the vulnerable population and people that may lose income because their work has been shut down.  Our government is pretty good at helping people in need and they've already announced measures to help, so that is a start.

Anyhoo - enough of the plague-talk.  I meant to do a mini-review on another book, but I didn't get around to it.  In order to help de-stress, I spent an inordinate amount of time window shopping for horse gear that I don't need!

The lure of online shopping has been strong this week, with more and more collections releasing their spring/summer colours.  I normally can resist this stuff no problem, but for some reason, I'm having a hard time this year.

It doesn't make sense for me to be tempted, really, when you look at it.  Let's look at the facts:
  • I haven't sat on a horse in over a year
  • I don't currently own a horse that is broke to ride
  • If I were to ride, I ride western
  • I'm trying to save money for shows and a foal coming next year
Yet, here I sit, clicking through the Hufglocken collection, drooling over the silver-grey and the black/whiskey and the charcoal/blue combo.  Maybe Fred needs some metallic bronze boots or chestnut snakeskin boots? OMG.  lol  What is wrong with me?  Luckily I have been able to resist, but I can't guarantee I will hold out forever!

The other thing I'm obsessed with searching for is denim breeches.  Why?  Who knows? lol  I mean likely because when I ride western, I tend to wear any normal jeans.   I don't really like or need breeches, but when I do, I want a denim pair as they are more like normal jeans??  Lol  Again, I would need to be riding to justify buying breeches, so for now I'll just keep window shopping and resist the little "add to cart" buttons everywhere.

PS of Sweden

 I hope everyone stays healthy and has no issues with work or anything!  Fingers crossed that this virus gets under control and we can all get back to normal...

Monday, March 9, 2020

A little road trip - mares and foals

Yesterday I piled into a truck with 3 friends and we took off on a little road trip.  We didn't venture far, just a couple of hours away to visit a friend's foals.  My friend has 2 mares that she bred - one foal is 22 days old and the other one is about 2 months old.
so cute. omg.  22 days.
And you guys?  I turned into a teenaged-horse-loving-weirdo all over again!  lol  I couldn't get enough of their soft fuzzy coats and soft little muzzles.  I have horses at home and can visit them multiple times per day... but these ones were just extra cute. 
2 months and lots of sass
The barn was full of mares and babies: 2 more mares were about to have babies, 2 yearlings (omg so cute) and 2 older broodies.  What a different place than most barns with riding horses.    The guy that owns this barn has agreed to take our mare Lucy next December to foal her out.   He has been breeding horses for ages and loves the breeding/foaling part of horses the best. He is retired, so he also works with the babies to get them to lead, pick up their feet, etc. 
*sigh* so cute. 
I totally fell for this yearling colt - he just wanted attention and scritches and would nicker if we walked away.  He is out of a reining stud, so not really what I would look for in a riding horse, but man, if I had lots of disposable income, I might have bought him on the spot!   The owner was also trying to sell me one of his broodmares - a cute chestnut appendix mare - who is the mom of the colt above.  I had to laugh at his sales attempt, but my budget is sadly fixed and won't allow for another mouth to feed right now. 

We ended our visit with a few adult beverages and a nice home cooked dinner.  I hope I get to make the trip out here again in a few weeks when there will be even more foals! 

Friday, March 6, 2020

Friday Roundup: Books, Links, Podcasts and Videos

I've been trying to come up with more blog content lately...mostly to keep myself engaged with the process of trying to write something and find a few images to go along with it all!  I tend to spend more time in the winter reading and watching youtube videos, etc. so I thought I'd do some mini reviews of the stuff I've found.

First up is a cute little book: Mini School by Sabine Ellinger

Rating:  2** out of 5

Why:  This book is really cute, but really basic.  It has lots of pictures, but aside from the basics of horse "stuff" like the dressage movements, the training scale, how to longe, how to teach basic tricks, this book is lacking for the experienced horse owner.

I bough this one for 3 reasons 1) I was already doing an order from horseandriderbooks.com so I just added this to my cart and 2) this lady has trained her mini Lancelot to do all kinds of cool advanced in hand stuff and 3) I was looking for a bit of guidance on how to get Copper into long lines.  Turns out I'd be better getting some real-life coaching!

There are a couple of grainy videos of her and Lancelot doing in-hand work:

Copper is suspicious that minis should even been doing this sort of nonsense!  lol
svelte summer Copper:  pfffbbbtttt haute ecole?  Puh-lease.
Link(s): Jec A Ballou's blog

I bought a book that I'll review next week by Jec Aristotle Ballou.  I follow her on Facebook and found the link to her site, where she has a blog.  There are some good tidbits in her posts and I liked one on working a horse over ground poles even though the horse hits every one (FRED!) and one on core stability.  The posts are fairly basic and hint at more information being available in her books and videos, but doesn't bother me too much.    I came across these articles as I was starting to plan some work and exercises for Fred.

A few posts I liked:

Podcasts: The Perfectionism Project and The Confident Rider

So, I have a confession.  It is very hard for me to listen to content and focus on it.  I have conditioned myself to listen to music or the radio as background noise when I'm doing something else.   I've tried several times to listen to podcasts at work, but I lose track of what is going on since I'm not focused on the podcast!

I've been working on building my focus and listening to short chunks of podcasts at a time while at home.  So far, some podcasts make me want to take notes (Perfectionism project) and others bug me a bit as if I don't pay attention for a few seconds, I miss part of the story (true crime)!  

I'm not sure I'll get far in the podcast realm!

Videos - Warwick Schiller  on youtube

I'm not sure how I found these videos - I feel like another blogger might have mentioned it? Maybe TeresaA?  If you know/remember, drop a comment below!

This winter, I thought I would seek out some natural horsemanship content and see what is out there.  I don't typically read/follow natural horsemanship anymore, but I like Warwick Schiller's approach - he even admits he's changed his approach over the years as he learns and understands more about himself and how the horses  react to what we do.  

It is interesting stuff and there are many, many videos on his channel to keep you occupied.  

Any favourites that I should know about? I'm always on the lookout for more content!

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

(Mostly) Wordless Wednesday: Yahooo!!!!!


Plus this:

Equals this:

And now we wait and cross our fingers that all goes well.  I'm not good at waiting.  

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

More winter: meandering, pondering, wishing for spring

On my day off Friday, I took the time to take out my nice camera and just (try to) enjoy the winter day.  I actually don't mind winter and cool temperatures - there is something about the fresh cool air that really refreshes my mind and my spirit.  Okay, that sounds totally cheesy, but it's true!

I took the dogs out for another snowshoe and got a few pics and forced myself to enjoyed the fresh air.
Artsy fencepost photo.  And a reminder to cut brush along the fence line in a month. lolz
This simple fence post image has me thinking about my farm to-do list for the spring. My fencing is in need of adjustments, repairs and some maintenance.  I'm also hoping to get some gravel and maybe repair the shelter footing.

We have my father in law's dog every winter while they go away.  She (border collie) and Sophie get along really well.  Sophie follows her everywhere and they love sniffing all the animal tracks in the back field.
Lots of animal tracks and stuff to sniff.
We don't have a ton of nice trees on the property - most are scrubby willow and a few maple and some pines - so I've been guarding this little oak tree for years.  It was just a stick with a leaf or two when I first found it and now it is about 4ft tall.   I will not likely live here long enough to see it become a huge tree, but it is cute nonetheless.
Grow, little oak!
As we kept wandering back to the little grove of maple trees, I tried to get a few cute pics of Sophie, but she is not the most photogenic dog out there.  Her goofy face makes me smile tho...
Don't worry - there are horse pictures coming.  From the back of the big field, I could make out Fred and the other guys snoozing in the sun.  My hubby calls Fred the jolly green giant when he is wearing his green t/o blanket.  lol
Fred is watching us...
Fred has become the watcher of the herd since Spencer left. It is pretty cute.  He will come toward the fence with his head down and then when you call his name, he perks up and looks all cute.
Coming over to see who/what is behind his field...
This green blanket is toast - the neck part has ripped apart from the shoulder and I don't think it can be fixed.  It is holding up to get Fred through this cold snap and then it will be retired.
She knows my name?  Maybe she has fud?  Fred, probably.
I spent the rest of my day off with a hot cup of coffee, a good book and several cats on my lap. It was nice to have an extra long weekend to relax and dream about spring plans!

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Winter stormy days

We had a big storm this past Thursday - I think most of the eastern seaboard was hit in some way or another.  This storm hit extra hard since it had been so warm the days prior and the snow was melting!  Oh well...that is life in this part of the world.  We got about 8-9 inches of snow, which is nothing like some places get, so I can't complain.

I was able to work from home Thursday, which is rare, so I was very happy I didn't have to drive in that weather. I had also been meaning to take a Friday off to use up some leave, so I did that this past week, as the roads were nasty and I thought I'd save myself the hassle.  I love it when I'm home during the day and I can glance out and check on the horses. They were playing and running around at one point and I only managed to get two shots before my camera battery died.  D'oh!

I'm fairly lucky here with the horses in a big storm.  I have lots of hay at hand and the power rarely goes out, so I don't have to worry about water too much either.
zoom zoom!
I went outside with my cell phone hoping to get some video, as the horses were having fun ripping around.  Fred did not disappoint...lolol

I do tend to watch Copper in bad weather as he is not wearing a blanket this year.  He is fine in cold and dry snow, but when the weather is drastically changing, I don't want him getting wet, then super cold.
As the day wore on Thursday, the temps dropped from around 0C (32F) to -20C (-10F) and the wet snow changed to a drier snow.  Since I was home, I had the luxury of bringing the horses in for a few hours so Copper could dry off before the cold temps hit.

He does NOT like being in a stall for long, so I usually have to lure him in with grain.  Yes, I could get his halter/lead line, but that seems like a lot of work!  lol

I left them in to dry off for a few hours before chucking them back out in the elements.  When I first had horses at home again, I was hesitant to put them out in bad weather.  After seeing Spencer stand in freezing rain and snow over the years, I realize they tolerate a lot more than we think.

They have shelter and lots of hay, so most of the time they are fine!  Although Fred is going through blankets like crazy - he has now wrecked three!  OMG horse.  Luckily they were all cheaper or ones that I bought used, so I'll have a big pile to see if I can get them repaired or maybe I'll just chuck them.  I'll be saving up for a nicer set for him for next year - so far I'm looking at Schneiders, Dover or SmartPak with their warranties. 

Farewell Rip and Spunky (alternate title: What a f**ng awful week)

 I've had another spell of radio silence here.  This time for good reason. On Wednesday, October 20th, I lost Rip to colic.  He had just...