Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Help? Looking for article/post...

I know, I've totally been M.I.A. I will have some posts soon, I'm finally back to work with Brumby and am looking forward to progressing.

In the meantime, I could use some help.  Within the last week or two I came across an article that was talking about fixing a horse who gets behind the bit. I didn't have time to read it all, so I figured I'd come back to it.  I thought it was one of the emails from Jane Savoie but I've looked through all of them. Not Ruth Poulsen either. So I checked the last issues of Horses for Life...nope. Then I got to thinking maybe it was a blog post but now I've looked around and can't find it.

Has anyone come across this??

I'm especially interested because it explained why raising your hands to correct this problem actually doesn't work. I've always felt like this is true but can't explain why, so I'd love to read it. Also, this has been suggested as a way to correct Brumby when he does it and that just doesn't seem right to me. I try to focus on getting more forward first and making sure I'm soft enough in my contact before I ask for the upward transition. With all the time off I don't know yet if this approach is working...and it is muddied by multiple riders and some conflicting instruction, I think.

Any thoughts? Or alternate sources? Thanks!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Finding "the one"

Thank you for the comments on my last post. I know it was somewhat pointless to ask for opinions with bad photos. I don’t know why I bothered posting it, really. I’m just getting distracted because I haven’t really ridden Brumby for two months. So when a cute gelding paid me some attention I was flattered, lol. [Yes, I thought we would be back to work but he plateaued for quite awhile. The farrier was out yesterday so we’ll see if there are any changes.] It's good practice for owning - paying a fortune for something I can't do anything with, lol.

I guess I was hoping that some of the flaws that I’m not seeing could be pointed out so that I notice them too and see if I find the same thing in person. I hoped enough would be evident even though he is immature and the pictures aren’t good. I can’t really tell what is lack of maturity and what will stay “weird”. Maybe it’s not possible. Oh well.

It doesn’t really matter, there will be a lot of time and try-outs before I settle on a horse. There are plenty out there with good temperaments, I’m sure. Soundness and a good “fit” are most important to me in the sense that it can be harder and take longer to assess them. But realistically I will not end up with a conformationally perfect horse and I am trying to learn what flaws can be managed and which I should consider deal breakers.

I know I should be looking for something older and well-started that I can enjoy right away. But then, I’ve enjoyed working with a green-ish horse too. I agree completely that the money spent would be equal, if not more! I think the temptation is there generally (not just for this guy) because I worry more about acquiring a horse that is trained “badly” than one that is a blank slate.

I am in no rush to find something. At this point, I think my time frame for purchase is about one year, give or take. I think it is worthwhile doing these little ‘thought experiments’ as practice. Reminds me of when we started looking at houses to buy – at first we looked at a bunch that we were quite sure we wouldn’t want just so we would start to know what we DID want. Does that make sense? Besides, these types of opportunities could lead to a lease situation that would allow me to assess the horse over a longer term, so I’m keeping my eyes open early. You never know!

I SO need to ride! Oh well, I’m off to reunite with friends from Grad school in Toronto this weekend and have some much-needed fun! See ya next week!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Falling for the Wrong Guy

Or, err, gelding, as the case may be!  This seems to be a fairly frequent topic in the blogosphere, so I thought I'd share my latest crush.
There is a young horse I am somewhat enamored with. I think he's a little funny looking right now, he will be a little late to mature. I guess I'm interested in getting some other opinions of this boy. I find that flaws tend to become less noticeable to me after awhile, so some other perspectives would be welcome. Of course, I realize it's really hard to judge anything from a photo, let alone the rather bad photos I've posted.

So, without further ado, meet Willi.
Here as a 3 year old.

 Willi is a coming 4 year old Hanoverian/TB and is bay with no white. His is by Ikoon, the only fully KWPN approved jumping stallion in Canada and out of an approved Canadian Sport Horse TB mare who is a grand daughter of Affirmed.


Willi is now a coming 4 year old. He was just started this winter and is doing very well under saddle. What I've mostly fallen for is his excellent temperament, he is such a sweetie and just takes everything in stride. He can be a bit sensitive but uses his brain when he's scared and has already learned to look to people for the answer. I was petting him in the field yesterday and he is so interested in what you are up to. At one point I thought he might get a little pushy but he never did. He was always respectful but definitely curious.

Now the challenge. Can you look past the super long hair and dirt? Lol, I know, he looks a mess. But he lives outside and it's been very mild, so this is what you get.

Aside from being in need of muscle, his major fault seems to be that he toes out a bit in front. I'm on the fence about how important this is to me. I do want to compete, likely in hunters, but it's not like I will be showing super intensely anything. I also love dressage. Really would love to do a bit of everything and I think that's possible since none of it will be at a very high level. I've known plenty of sound horses that don't have perfectly straight legs...but they weren't MY horse, so maybe it didn't matter so much.

Front legs. I think this photo exaggerates the right front a bit as he is standing on uneven ground. His whole leg is angled to the outside here but really the toeing out is only from the fetlock.

Of course, the real issue is the young horse and first time horse owner combination. This wouldn't really be my first horse but I was a kid with my first one so I'm not counting it. I was glad to hear this week that his owners are not sending him to spring sales as they thought they might, so I have some time, lol. They are continuing his training until the fall.  Perhaps I can arrange to lease him at that time...

I might be dirty and have 
hay in my hair but I'm cuuuute!

So...come on, tell me how silly I'm being!

[note: I'm not the type to jump into animal-related relations irresponsibly, in case you are concerned your comments may unduly influence me. I am still in love with a very inappropriate mare that I've blogged about before. I absolutely want her and absolutely recognize she is not right for me. So feel free to have fun with comments without worry!]

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I'm laughing...sure, it's hysterical

but I'm laughing all the same. What else are you gonna do?

What's up, you ask?

Well, the attic of my house, for one. And Friday night, after a great dinner and lovely walk with my husband and Hazel, right before leaving for the barn, another thing was up there too.
 Photo credit: www.raccoonatticguide.com
Yep. A raccoon had  made it's way into the attic and was frantically trying to chew it's way back out. Since we only have one car the barn was out of the question and we spent the next couple hours literally driving ALL over the city looking for a live trap in the size we needed. As I drove, I started just giggling my head off. My husband was not so amused since he's the one who would be crawling around the attic. When I wouldn't stop he asked me if I was ok. Oh, yeah. Just peachy! Three minutes before the last option closed, we found our trap. Of course, she was gone by the time we returned home but we set the trap up there.

Of course, any time you go into the attic, little bits of fiberglass insulation end up on the floor. So, I went to the basement to get the vacuum cleaner.

Guess what I found down there?

You're thinking raccoon, aren't you??  Thankfully, no. The hot water tank was leaking out the bottom and there was a nice stream from the tank to the drain. All I can say is I am very happy the drain is only about 4 feet away!

We now have a new water tank. I asked to have a smaller 40 gallon one put in instead of the 60 gallon we had. There is just no need for such a large tank with two people.Turns out our tank was really old and was so heavy they are pretty sure it was full of sediment. Joy. So overall this is a good thing, at least until we can replace it with a gas hot water on-demand system.

As for the coon, it seems the poor thing crawled in a vent that isn't in use and then had a heck of a time getting out. It scratched and chewed and made itself bleed a little in the process trying to scratch/chew metal. The good news is it got out and there is no evidence that she had been in there very long. This makes me very happy because I was ready to turn the attic upside down searching for babies.

Instead, we get to remedy the situation that left that vent open in the first place. When we moved in, the kitchen fan was set to just filter and recirculate the air. We knew we would want to have it vent to the outdoors and we got everything we needed but have been putting it off. So now that's getting done. We will, of course, put some wire mesh around the opening outside too. Oh, and if we almost started a fire when the stove knob was accidentally turned on during installation, setting alight the drop cloth on top, with us racing around the house trying to figure out where the smell is coming from...well, I would just keep that part to myself. It would just be too crazy to believe anyway.

Some weekends (or winters!) were just not meant to be relaxing.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

BC Snapper Two Ways with Roasted Potatoes, Rutabaga, and Corn

Tonight I stopped at the fish market on the way home. I am lucky that one of the best in the city is pretty much on the way home. Tonight I chose a lovely BC snapper. I had no idea what to do with it, so I just started throwing things together while some potatoes and baby rutabaga roasted with garlic and onions.

Dressed simply with a light sprinkle of chipotle powder, kosher salt and pepper. Put aside for the time being. I don't salt it until right before putting cooking.

The "two ways" really comes in the form of two different sauces I served on the side. Prepare the sauces when you put the potatoes and rutabaga in the oven, this way there is time for the flavors to mingle and marry.

Olive Sauce
Olives - I recommend kalamata but you can vary. I had a mix of varieties (large black, kalamata, green cocktail) in a Mediterranean type brine and used some of each. I used about 1/2 cup.
Garlic - one small clove
Basil - use fresh if you have it, I didn't and used good quality dried
Lemon - zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
Ground pepper
Blurb of olive oil

I have a hand held immersion blender that has a mini food processor/mill attachment so I gave it a whir in that.

Like this

Lemon Mayonnaise
Lemon - zest and juice of half a lemon
1/2 Cup real mayonnaise
pinch of paprika
ground pepper

Start the snapper and corn at the same time when the potatoes are pretty much ready.

Heat a pan to medium high. Add a splash of olive oil, salt fish and add to pan once hot. Keep an eye on your temperature. Once the edges turn opaque flip fillets and cook for another minute or two. Don't overcook!

Chipotle Corn
This works well with defrosted frozen corn. I am fortunate that my frozen corn comes from an extended family farm.

Sliced onion - add to hot pan with splash of olive oil
Corn - about 2 cups - add once onion has softened and just started to get some colour. Keep stirring as the sugars in the corn will start to carmelize. This is good but you don't want it to burn! Sprinkle some chipotle powder, salt and pepper. Once corn is warmed through and has some colour it's ready to serve.

And Voila! I admit the overall dish could have used something green but it's the day before our produce delivery so pickings were slim today.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Some people collect stamps or coins. I have a friend who has collected unique bar coasters from all over the world. Me? I think I should begin a collection of hospital bands!
I had a throat infection that was just getting worse by the hour. When I went back to my doctor first thing yesterday morning, I was sent straight to the hospital emergency dept. My tonsil had abscessed and needed to be drained. I won't go into gory details except to say it was the most painful few days of my life. And the cure was worse.

So in the last 8 months, I've been in the hospital more than the last 20 years or so put together! 
Next time, I might just ask for the 
purple band. Kidding, kidding.
Speaking of abscesses, Brumby is doing well. His owner was out of town for 4 days or so, so I was doing his soakings. On Friday the 20th I went up after work again and I knew as soon as I lead him out of the stall that it must be draining. Sure enough, I easily found the sticky, stinky, gooey ooze at the coronet band. Everything looked good though and he was clearly relieved! So I did three more days of Epsom salt hot soaks and just one night of poultice. He improved as he should - nice and fast. I turned him out for a couple hours on Sunday so he could stretch his legs. After that, he was good as new. We are expecting to return him to light work this week.

I have to say it was very satisfying to care for him. Not only does it feel good to see an animal improve under your care but it was nice just spending time with him like that.  It was also kinda cool that when Brumby's owner left, he was extremely lame and when she returned he was back to about 95%. Yay!

February has been like abscess awareness month around here! Ewww.

This blog has been like a tale of my misfortunes lately and they are not exactly the most interesting posts! Hopefully I will be back to normal soon and can use my brain for something other than coping with pain!