Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Another year of Indigo

Warning: Large photo post. Let it load a wile.

Every year around this time I post some of my favorite shots of Indigo I took (and others did) through the year.

Sit back and enjoy. If a picture strikes your fancy and you want to know more feel free to browse the months posts for 2010 and find the post which the picture belongs to.





(Picture by Sarah)May


(Following picture by Sarah)
(Following picture by Sarah)

(Following picture by Sarah)
(following three photo's by Robin)
Indigo and Sydney

Walk, trot class

Sydney and Indigo

(Following three photos are from Robin again. Shes such a wonderful photographer to catch me and her daughter lil'red cowgirl at our shows)
First prize!

Carriage class - Syd wins 2nd

September 3, 2010


indigo braided.

diamond braided mane


Food critic

Eyes of Indigo



(The following pictures are by Robin. These are the pictures everyone keeps asking about from our little town's Christmas parade. Indigo was a complete doll compared to Santa parade 09 where she had a big temper tantrum in the middle of it. No Santa did not get picked up at the shooters bar door this year and was not inebriated.)

Indigo in the Santa parade

Indigo in the Santa parade

Indigo the elf

Bow in tail

It's been a wild ride of a year I can only hope next year brings as many interesting adventures our way.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Well the cat is out of the bag

I did not want to put this on here until I knew for sure but now I know. I told everyone close to me when I remembered but really it was just one of those things that I was doing regardless of what anyone said because it was not something I talked about then forgot. This idea has been with me for years.

See before I did my equine science Diploma with Guelph I aspired to pursuit a study of the horses hoof. I contacted several schools of horse shoeing in Canada and the USA. I was greatly disappointed by the closest one to me in Canada after the head instructor was incredibly rude to me over the phone and the large sizes of the class put me off of ever thinking about going there. I heard more than one case of people who went in pursuit of a career in farriery only to not get the training they needed in school. There were far more students than the instructor could give hands on in a day. So I went in search of a school that had small class sizes and offered more hours of hands on than lectures or watching someone else. I wanted to handle a horse from day one.

My mothers best friend Souix was a farrier. In fact one of my first memories of riding was with Souix's daughter and friend of mine, Mindy when I was very young. The memory of Souix's rasp and hoof nippers stuck with me my whole life.

Souix went to Belleville school of horseshoeing in Michigan, owned by Red Tomlinson. Red offered me a couple years ago being good friends with Souix, a scholarship to his school in Michigan. It is only a few minutes walk from my cousins house. At the time everyone told me not to do it, not to take such a big risk and I half halfheartedly listened to them. I pleased my mom and dad and finished my diploma at Guelph with distinction. Then I went to work. I've been riding and doing management and barn cleanup. It's true that I make more than the average sh*t shoveler and have a very excellent reputation. But I was still left with this void. It certainly wasn't enough to live off of and I felt like my learning had halted to a crawl.

Not being a person to sit around and wait for results I bucked up and pulled out the old applications I had filled a few years back but never sent in. I looked again at all the schools I had decided were worthy and made my final decision. I am going to the Oklahoma school of horse shoeing. One because it's got amazing reviews. I've talked to many different farriers and they exclaimed although they thought other schools were great Oklahoma was not only one of the best in the USA, the class sizes were small, a new class starting every Monday but many good farriers and even vets resided there to help the learning process.

So I finally got my acceptance papers in the mail Thursday. As I peeled open the envelope and started reading the letters and looking at the other papers I realized there were two things very wrong.

First of all the week they said I was to start was the first week of Jan. My eyes must have popped out of my head. Not the week I applied for. Mild panic attack. I started pacing and reading more. Because I am officially living in Canada I have to complete papers and hand them into the US customs. Everything was printed out on them except my name. Now if you know me I was named Sydney for my grandfather who lived in Perth Australia for a number of years and always wanted to go back. Sydney Australia is spelt with a Y. My name was printed Sidney. Not like I could just take a pen and correct it. I think the whole world could have heard me palmface at that point. Of all the papers they could spell my name wrong on, the customs papers were the only ones.

After a bunch of frantic phone calls I should have my new papers and the correct date of me starting school (the 24th of Jan) by next Wednesday. I've never wanted the mail to come so bad so I can get all my loans and travel plans finalized. What a headache.

Then my main computers power supply died Christmas eve. It's still dead. I am really mad at it.
So if bad things come in threes whats next? Spare me karma, please?

So in all of this the hardest part is going to be leaving my horses. I've never been a homesick person, my sister covered that but I am going to miss for 12 weeks my horses so dearly.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sunday stills: hats

Due to a series of events I have been running in all directions. I did get hat pictures yes. However the said hat pictures are in RAW. The craptop does not have a raw processing program. Ho Hum.

See first I got my acceptance letters for school telling me what week my classes were going to start. First they had the wrong week on the customs papers. Ok, minor panic attack. The major one was when I realized they spelt my name with an i instead of a y. Like Australia people, seriously.
More on that for another post.

Second I go to turn on my computer and I get a wirrr of the fan then nothing. I press the button again and my power button starts blinking furiously. Oh joy. So my power supply died. Died, dead, done. On Christmas eve no less so here I am, that's my story and I am sticking to it. When the stores in the city will be open to get a new one I do not know. So here I am on the craptop babbling on.

So without further adeu, here is Leah Michelle. Leah, just hours old wearing her cute little hat is one of my best friend Amanda and her husband Mikes first little girl. Shes the most quiet, chilling baby ever and tolerated many, many pictures only literally opening her mouth once when I was there in protest to being burped before she fell asleep again.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Seasons WTF!? greetings

(Please if you take offense please divert your eyes to another blog thank you. ps- Seasons greetings)

So I love living in a small town, especially when I see things like the photo on this post.

You know everyone.
Everyone knows you.
You go to school with the same group of kids and can still call them by name all these years later.
You can walk into the deli and the person behind the counter says to you before you even order "Lamb Gyro, no onions, bottle of white creme soda" yup. Mmmm.

In a small town people need to find things to do considering the big city is a good distance away. Sometimes they entertain themselves by wreaking havoc but chances are they don't because your mom knows what you did before you even get back in the door. That is the kind of town I was born and raised in.
Once and a wile they give you the desperately needed dose of WTF!? (What the F***!?)

Today in the early morning hours I was driving back after getting an E-test on my car (which has over 300 thousand KM on it and tosses out a test of 3/4 lower than the max allowed amount. Good car, good) and doing my morning barns when I see something on the side of the road.
I squinted and strained to see what it was. It was red and green and sticking out of a snow bank. As I drove by I realized it was this fellow, whom I came back a wile later to take pictures after nearly swerving off the road I was laughing that hard.

Do you think the people who ran him over came back trying to make peace with his vengeful soul?

See this guys story. He is a raccoon. Raccoon's get hit by things and die at the side of the road. Sometimes they aren't so lucky and they are spread over several feet of asphalt. But this coon was lucky see because he died on the side of the road only mildly mangled to rot. That was until we got our snow almost two weeks ago. The snow plow came by and scraped him up, placing him neatly in the snow drift so he can perfect his T-Rex impression. Then by some random act of randomness someone put a pair of headband Christmas antlers on him. They didn't stop there they also put a nice shrine of candy canes around his taxidermy body.
So if this offends you I am sorry. If only all road kill could be so festive on the side of the road and not on my tires.

I hope you all have a very merry Christmas or Happy holiday and santa didn't bring you too many road apples for your stocking.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Solstice eclipse

Sometimes I gaze up at the sky and wonder...
On this little big planet...

Separated by miles, mountains and even oceans...

When we look up into the sky...
Do you see the same moon as I do?

Monday, December 20, 2010


In 1877 a book called Black beauty was published by an english writer Anna Sewell. Just months after the novel was published she passed away. I think every single one of us horse people have either read the book or seen the movie so we can relate. The message of this book carries on over one hundred years after its debut; treating others with the kindness and respect you would like in return, especially when it comes to animal welfare.
Wile reading the many reviews of the book I have heard time and time again the book was not written for children but rather ""to induce kindness, sympathy, and an understanding treatment of horses"- Anna Sewell. Are we really that far off these days from from what Anna wanted the world to know those many years ago?
The truth is sometimes we are farther from it.

Something the book was said to have helped abolish was the use of the "bearing rein".

The bearing rein was what we modernly call a check (over check, side check, check rein etc. etc.). In Anna's time the rein was tightened as to cause the horse to carry his head unnaturally high in the air. This was mainly for fashion because the horse was a tool in those days. A tool to show ones status, a tool to make money, a tool that could be disposed of and replaced.
A bearing rein or check is traditionally run from the center of the back pad, either between the ears and down the face or on the sides of the bridle and to the bit or on a completely separate bit.

Back in the day the bearing rein was shown to cause many ailments in the horse, even going as far as causing some to become crippled for life. To be able to pull a horse has to be able to push his weight into the collar or breast strap which requires putting his head down, much like how we lean forward to push something heavy ourselves. The bearing rein, or modern check tightened keeping a horse from pulling properly causes improper muscle development, fatigue and as mentioned, long lasting physical ailments.
Now everyone has a different use for a check. In show for pleasure you are not permitted to have a check on your horse. However normally when I am driving on grass or using a collar I use a check for several reasons.
The first being if a horse gets his head down say to eat grass (Indigo) they can put a foot over a line, then your in trouble. Some horses learn early on that eating is not an option and some learn that early on but continue to test it every single time (Indigo).
The second being when you drive with a collar and do not have a check on the horse can put his head down. The horse puts his head down and if there isn't enough tension on the tugs the collar can actually slide down their neck. I had this happen once with Indigo, I had her in the barn after driving, un-did her check and she put her head down. Before I could grab it the collar slid down her neck and bonked her in the head, giving her a good scare.
Having said I drive with a check I do so loosely. I want my horse to be able to put it's head down, pull if necessary and relax when I ask them to stop rather than having to lean on the check. My horse normally cannot get their head lower than their withers without putting tension on the check. When we walk or trot normally it is very loose, not putting any pressure on the bridle.

Take this example of Indigo driving in the sleigh last winter. Shes relaxed, the check is loose yet it prevents her from putting her head down lower than her withers to eat the dead alfalfa (theres a lot more snow in the field than there looks)

A lot of draft breeds want the head in the air and the nose pointing out.
Is there a terribly large variation between this Percheron and the horse in the first image in this post?
Personally a horse travels more correctly and comfortably if he is engaged from the hind end, driving into the bridle and forward. He can see ahead of himself properly and would not have the muscle fatigue.

Then of course sometimes in show according to breed regulations you can have a very tight overcheck to keep the horses head up and a running martingale to keep them from tossing it higher.
It's been a pretty recent topic around here with fellow drivers. Fashion vs correctly traveling. What wins in the big show rings where it counts? Take a wild guess because it starts with an F.

Within the last month I have adjusted the check's on three horses and stopped their head tossing. Two were ponies and the other a horse who recently started the habit. After lengthy talks with the three ponies/horse owners and three follow ups all three stopped their head tossing and are more engaged because they can put their heads down and pull. They are all more relaxed and focused on their work.

So call me a modern day Anna Sewell but things done in the name of fashion or getting quick results that go against the way a horse naturally travels make the horse "loving" population seem a bit behind on times. Other things in the human race that have been around for thousands of years but within the last hundred or so years have evolved tremendously. Why are horse people so stuck in the past with different training methods and other practices of horse husbandry? Perhaps status is more important than we thought because to some the horse is still a tool, subject to fashion and not a living thing. It goes on way beyond the use of a check on a driving horse and into every single discipline. I bet we can all think of some.

(All images minus Indigo and I were from google images and belong to their respective owners)
Blog Widget by LinkWithin