Monday 30 December 2013

Therapeutic Riding - I Love It!

Today was my first day back at the therapeutic riding barn. I'm so, so grateful to be able to step back into one of the things I really missed when I moved to an office job - my shifts at the barn! There have been plenty of changes since I left three years ago, but of course it still feels the same. Some of the horses are old friends whom I'm very happy to be able to care for again, while some are strangers who I look forward to getting to know. There are numerous staff and policy changes, but I do believe I'm going to fit in just like I never left.
Cutest little fjord. I've missed him and his muddy ways!
 Our local barn is run on provincial funding along with commercial and private donations. They've managed to build a great program over the course of the years and serve as a model for organizations across Canada. The benefits to working for a place like this are many: they're super efficient and organized, there is little to no drama, the horses receive the best possible care, and the staff and volunteers are all very good at what they do. They also have some pretty nifty facilities (an indoor!) that staff are allowed to use during non program hours. The program mostly caters to school age children as well, which of course only adds to the fun. Plus, you are supporting a really great cause.

The 'big guy'. He's a Belgian/QH cross and used to be my exercise horse. My hips ache again just thinking about it :)
At the moment, they have eight horses who will be mine to care for 3 mornings a week. I usually volunteer a training ride once a week as well, so it works out just about right as far as having lots of time for my own horses yet not feeling like my entire life is taken up with horses. The pay, like any horsey job, is not the best - but hey, I'm getting paid to spend time with the coolest kids and horses in town! (Also for the sake of honesty, I have a tech career that allows me to not starve :)


Saturday 28 December 2013

Life Updates/General Ramblings

Ginger is unfortunately not coming this weekend - the hauler couldn't find anyone else to share the ride so we're hopefully going to see her next weekend instead. Otherwise I've told G we're buying another horse to bring so the hauler will just make the trip already. Yes, I am feeling super impatient.

I had an update on Lainey over Christmas and she continues to do really well - they just sent a quick note and video. I'm guessing it's a 3'6" jump course and they look fabulous. I won't lie, I was a teeny bit jealous and had a little pity party, thinking of all the hard work I put in training her and the big dreams I had, then thinking of how I don't even have a horse to ride at the moment. Then I was back to reality and thought of the many many lessons and training rides they've also taken to get where they're at. There's always so much hard work behind those impressive videos. I miss her and her crazy mare attitude, but selling her to such a great home was the best decision.

Older pic of them having fun trying her out :)
I'm wondering what Ginger's going to think of coming from the land of winter and knee deep snow to the land of people walking their dogs in T-shirts and shorts. She'll probably have to spook at their crazy selves for a bit ;)

We had a nice lead up to Christmas with a few days in Banff. It was a nice way to break up the drive, especially with winter road conditions being what they are. It's so incredibly beautiful there - I would live there in a heartbeat given the opportunity and a billion dollars to buy a home there with room for Ginger.
View from Sanson Peak looking over Banff AB. Elevation about 7200ft. Named after Norman Sanson who apparently rode his horse up there over 1000 times for weather readings in all conditions. We hiked a little of it and those horses (and Mr Sanson!) must have been TOUGH.

We have a couple of places booked to go look at with a realtor mid week. One is a cute little 5 acre hobby farm type place with direct access to the best trails for Ginger and I. For G, it's walking distance to his favorite little restaurant/pub. I like the restaurant too, because they have a safe area to tie your horse while you come in for a bite :) The second place is the same farm we've been mulling over for months now, the 12 acre one with a huge barn but no house. It's only about a ten minute drive from our current house, so there would be no hurry to build if we wanted to wait. I'm not super excited right now, because I think we're both quite picky and happy enough where we are. It's going to be a bit of an ongoing thing, I think, until the right place finally jumps out at us. (Basically, don't get too excited yet, but it's always fun to look at horsey properties, right? :)


Thursday 26 December 2013


As we drove into Vancouver, I was feeling a little down and out. The day was dark and rainy and gloomy, all the things I associate with a west coast winter and dread coming back to. 

This felt kind of majestic and Christmas-y

This.... not so much

We made a quick stop at the hotel, I had a quick shopping trip to cheer myself up, and then we headed off to Odesseyo. The huge tents are set up at the Olympic Village site on False Creek, so super easy to access especially if you don't mind taking the Skytrain.
View from our room, looking up Robson Street. The shopping is good there! :)

We ended up arriving a little early because I was excited and there was no way I was going to be late :) From the moment we walked on site, workers were going out of their way to greet us, ask us if we needed anything, and wish us a fun evening. Pretty cool. We went inside and waited and G was pleased to find tables set up and Heineken on offer at a reasonable cost. 

Eventually we found our seats. Our seats were great, about midway up and facing the center of the stage. Honestly, though, I don't think there was a bad seat in the whole place and if we were to go again I might be tempted to save money and go with some cheaper seats - the sight lines would have been pretty much the same.

The actual show was super fun  - I'm sure its all part of the act, but the performers really did look like they were having the best time out there, as did the horses! For super serious people looking for impressive training or tricks, there is a possibility you could walk away a little disappointed. There was a lot of basic round pen type work and some not overly technical (or well executed) jumping and dressage. I loved it anyways, because it was more just about having fun with horses and reminded me of all the fun and silly things we used to do with our ponies when we were kids. The trick riders were of course excellent, the acrobats were absolutely amazing, and the centerpiece of the show, the horses, looked like they were having a great time. One little Arabian in particular made me smile over and over again because he was obviously so excited to be out there and have fun he could barely contain himself :) He would get carried away showing off or trying to get the other horses to play, then suddenly realize he had missed the plot and was going the wrong way, look all panicked and have to quickly try to find his place again. At one point the horses were supposed to be travelling left, do a spin, the continue left. He somehow got lost and went the wrong way after his spin, then ran back to his spot, did the spin and continued on to try to catch up. Kind of like me in an aerobics class :) The problem? The rest of the horses were done the act and standing in a line facing the audience and every one was just waiting for him. So cute. 

I've been to Cirque de Soliel shows before, and the feeling was very similar - lots of fun and high energy but very professionally executed and run. The 'stage' is pretty cool and has a large projection screen behind it making it seem even larger, and at one point even filled with water to create the effect of the horses running in a waterfall. Sorry about the lack of horsey pictures, but they don't allow you to take photos during the show and there really wasn't much I thought picture worthy in the parking lot. You'll have to trust me - they have 67 gorgeous, photo worthy horses :)

I really enjoyed the whole show, and G gave it two thumbs up as well. As we all know, he's an animal lover and likes horses so that helps. He sort of felt like he'd seen the horse stuff before at the various clinics and shows I drag him to, but he really liked the music and special effects and he particularly loved the acrobats and trick riders. When I told him I was writing a blog post he really wanted me to tell you it was 'unbridled fun', so there you go - it was 'unbridled fun' lol.

Wednesday 25 December 2013

Merry Christmas!

We got home after supper last night, just in time for Christmas. We had a fun and safe trip home and I have a couple of posts planned soon (Odesseyo included!)

I hope everyone has a wonderful day :)


Wednesday 18 December 2013


Tomorrow is the big day! I work half a day then I head off to the airport in Edmonton to pick up G and start driving home. We're going the spend a Rocky Mountain weekend in Banff, then we head off to Vancouver for Odesseyo, then we venture home and back to 'real' life and (literally) greener pastures.

It's a little bittersweet to leave all the good friends I've made here, but I'm beyond excited to be back at home doing the things I love. There are no guarantees that I won't leave again in the future for more work, but if there is a next time I'm picking somewhere where I can bring Ginger, if not G. Oh, and somewhere where the windchill today isn't -50C ;) This little non horsey time out has been good in that for the first time in my life I've really been able to take a step back and evaluate this crazy hobby. Take away lesson: It's not only a hobby I don't ever want to give up, it's a lifestyle I'm going to continue to embrace wholeheartedly.

Ginger's transport is still a little up in the air in that the date could change from Dec 28th or January 7th depending on what other bookings there are. Obviously I am crossing my fingers for the 28th, but either way, I'll be seeing her SOON!

I've also got some lessons booked in the New Year so I will have some help getting the Drama Pony back into a reasonable work schedule. I booked her annual vet checkup and vaccinations with my favorite vet this morning. I'll admit it all feels a little surreal - not only making plans with my horse, but since when does my hometown have a dressage instructor AND legit boarding? I can't help but feel like I'm currently in some kind of really excellent alternate reality.
The photo on my work computer desktop...soon I'll be seeing the actual Ginger :)

Thursday 12 December 2013

Christmas Present!

I found out this morning G is taking me to see Odesseyo  in Vancouver on Christmas Eve! I'm super excited. It may not have been on my Christmas wish list but it is the most perfect gift that I would have never thought to ask for - totally over the top, non practical, and involving horses  :)

For those unfamiliar with Odesseyo, it's the new show from the folks at Cavalia. Here's the link to the website if you'd like to know more:

Sunday 8 December 2013

Christmas Wish List

Since it's the season for gift giving, here's what I'd get if was going to play Santa to myself and Ginger (and wasn't already getting the best Christmas ever by going home to my honey AND my pony!!)

1. Boots for both Ginger and myself. As mentioned previously, I really covet a pair of brown riding boots for myself. I still haven't taken the plunge because I have perfectly good black ones that refuse to die :) Ginger, however, has NO BOOTS AT ALL - poor poor deprived pony :(. I think I might be the only person I know who doesn't own any sort of leg protection for my horse beyond some really snazzy purple polos from when I was about 12 and the usual vet wrap and bandaging supplies for injuries.

2. A nice leather halter for Ginger. I've looked around and not been overly successful finding something that fits her right and is nice quality. Her head is a bit funny. Imagine an Arabian head on steroids and that's what we're trying to fit. Big oversized forehead and jowl, normal horse sized cheek pieces, and probably a cob sized nosepiece. She's also a delicate princess so no cheap, stiff leather that will rub her face.
Ginger with her old halter. Lainey broke it the ONE time I tried to dress her up nice for pictures. Sibling rivalry? ;)

3. A tack trunk. I've never had one since I had my horses at home forever and just had room set aside in the basement and my own little tack room in the barn. I'm thinking something simple and classy to hold Ginger's basics. This could be a DIY project once I am home and am reunited with my power tools.

4. As mentioned on a previous post, an oversized browband to match the bridle that matches her saddle.
This browband in OS to go with her otherwise normal sized bridle.
 ---><--- LOOK HERE, G!

5. Waterproof winter riding pants. If I could find a pair that are actually waterproof but NOT super slippery I'd be a pretty happy girl. Ginger would also be happy to have a waterproof quarter sheet. West coast weather means that I am riding in the rain more often than not, so more often than not, we both end up with cold and wet hind ends. Not a nice feeling :)
V Bandz Water Proof Quarter Sheet.
A random Google search turned this up. While the pink is pretty bold, I love the idea of it being high viz and reflective because I have a short hack along a somewhat busy road to get to the main ring and back.


Wednesday 4 December 2013

5 Day Challenge: Day 5

21. Favorite classes to watch

Some of the big jumper classes are so fun to watch. It's inspiring, but so far beyond me that I don't guilty like I should be at home practicing or frustrated that I'm not at that level. Eventing and Dressage are both my actual favorites, but there's a little bit of the 'I wants' involved when I watch those, so I enjoy them best when I feel like I'm in a good place riding wise and can actually put some of the things I see and like to good use in my own riding :) I have a friend who does combined driving and the one show I attended was amazing!
Grand Prix at TBird, Aug 2013

22. What’s in your cooler at horse shows?

Mikes Hard Lemonade to share after a hot day. Tons of water for me, apples and carrots for me and my horse, and usually a few cookies or treats to keep G happy. For actual meals, I'm usually too nervous to eat and G loves hot dogs. I will never cook them for him, so he's actually very happy to fend for himself and hit the food stands at shows  ha ha

23. One thing about showing (or riding in general) you wish you could change?

At shows- my nerves. Those should be in my control to change. In general and a wish more beyond my control? The cost, and the relatively small number of people involved. I wish horses as a hobby were more accessible to everyone and more of a mainstream sport - less of an 'exclusive' world.

24. Your ringside crew

Greg. He's the best.

25. Best prizes

I love prizes! I once got a nice show photo of us, another time some nice brushes with my horses name on them for our year end awards. Horse treats and gift certificates are great too, as are coffee mugs and horse or human clothing with the show/barn logo. I might be the only person I know who doesn't go for ribbons and trophies. I don't really have a place to put them so I prefer something practical I can use. Maybe once I have a barn large enough to house a nice tack room I'll put some of those ribbons on display and get a little more excited about them.

Tuesday 3 December 2013

5 Day Challenge: Day 4

16. One thing you’d like to change about your horse

I'd make her a lot more confident/sane. She's come a long way, but there are still days....

17. Your horse’s future

This is ever changing. I know she'll be with me for life. Two years ago I would have said I wanted to event her, now I'm pretty sure it's not her thing. I have my heart set on dressage for sure, but even that gets her pretty stressed out, I think because she tries so hard to be 'perfect' that it's very hard to teach her and correct her without getting her anxious. If she was a person it would go something like this:

Me: "Wow Ginger, you are doing this so well, but you know if you used your hindquarters a little more like *so* you'd find it easier."
Her: "OMG, I suck. I am terrible at this. You hate me, I can tell." "This arena is scary and now I'm basically all alone in here and potential barn kitty prey because you hate me and won't keep me safe"
Me: "Settle're fine. See what I showed you? It helped, right?"
Her: "Yes, but I can tell you still hate me because I didn't figure that out on my own. I'm a total failure. To try to make up for it I'm going to use my hindquarters like that ALL THE TIME. Then I will be perfect and you'll love me again"
Me: "OK, lets just go back and do this other thing - you're really good at it!"
Her: "Yes I am! I am awesome at this! But I can do it even better! Check this out!"
Me: "I appreciate the effort, but that's not really something we can use in a dressage test"
Her: "OMG, I suck. I am terrible at this. You hate me, I can tell. But check out this neat trick I just learned with my hindquarters..."

Depending on what we're working on, this scenario can literally play out a few times a minute and it's exhausting for both of us, I'm sure. Our training rides outside of lessons are more low key - she is less anxious because there is less of a focus and I`m pretty patient...I`m quite content to keep the peace and do 5 minutes here, 5 minutes there, rather than 45 minutes of more concentrated work, so we may just get there yet via the really slow and steady route.
 I thought that was just 'her' , and she's so kind and polite it's easy to just keep on and make fun of her 'drama', but after seeing how she is on the trails (focused on a mission and loving it!) I'm wondering if we can't explore some competitive trail or something instead for now. I'm not ruling anything out in the future, but I'm pretty sure she doesn't want to be a serious show pony at this point in time.

We're contemplating a second horse for now to satisfy my more driven side and my desire to event :)

18. Your worst show ever

When I was a kid, a friend and I took our ponies to a local show. We really had no clue and the people were not overly friendly or helpful that day either. I didn't show again for many years, because it seemed overwhelming and with the way we were treated I thought I'd better wait until I could put in as near of a perfect class as possible. Little did I know in the intervening years, the 'crowd' at that show had completely changed and now they are the most helpful and supportive bunch you'd ever hope to find.

19. Favorite horse show venue

I've never shown at a big venue...mostly just smaller, local type shows and clinics. As a spectator I've been to Spruce Meadows and it's amazing, but a little overwhelming. We went to Thunderbird this summer and it's gorgeous and a little less intimidating to navigate. On a more local level, High Point Equestrian has some pretty impressive facilities - if only I had a million dollars (truthfully though, I think you'd need substantially more to live/board there :).

20. Your show day routine

It been a while. I usually bath and get the horses looking their best the day before, then show up early in the morning to braid and do the finishing touches the day of. If there are patterns of any sort to learn beyond the norm( I do the odd trail class or equitation pattern where it's posted day of), I'll do that prior to my morning ride if possible. I always get the horses out and about over the show grounds in hopes they'll be able to see everything and settle in prior to our classes.  I don't get dressed into my show clothes until just before the class. G usually comes along to hold horses for me and generally keep my nerves steady. I'm usually too nervous to eat, so part of the tradition is a big, over the top dinner later on :)

Monday 2 December 2013

5 Day Challenge: Day 3

11. Critique your horse’s conformation
I bought Ginny partly because she was the 'type' of horse I really, really like. Breed didn't really enter into my search at first. I'm no expert, but I can tell you what I like vs what I wish was improved.
- Love her head. Love the little bit of a dished profile and the big, expressive eyes.
- A little 'meh' on the neck. It could be a teeny bit longer and less thick.
- That back - my number one dislike - it's long by any standard, although I do feel it's put together alright otherwise and is strong.
- Shoulder. I'm OK with it. It's big and I wish her neck tied in more nicely.
-Hindquarters. Again, meh. They're nice enough, but proportionally look a little too light compared to that big front end.
-Legs/feet. Her legs are one of her strengths. They're very correct and she's probably the first horse I've owned that honestly moves completely straight. Her feet are awesome. I'll be surprised if she ever needs shoes or anything more than a basic trim.
-General. I don't think she's what the traditional cob breeders ideally look for. She's very tall and not overly wide and cobby. She's pretty light in bone for a cob. But overall, I liked her because I felt she was a nice compromise between athleticism and strength.

Not an ideal confo pic, as her front end is closer to the camera than the back, but you get the idea

12. Horse’s favorite riding exercise

Trails. Hands down, she loves them. In the arena, she finds lateral movements pretty easy, and loves to try to show you her extended trot.

13. Favorite spa day products

Cowboy Magic anything. Smells great and works even better. For Ginger the whitening spray is extra handy for those socks.

14. Three best things about your horse

She's very kind. Not a mean or grumpy bone in her body.
She's smart. It's a double edged sword for sure, but since she's so honest so far her talents are used for good rather than evil.
She has an amazing work ethic. Honest and will give you 110% any day of the week

15. Favorite picture of your horse:

This one is so...her. "The OMG what are you doing? I can't stay away"  curiousity with the "will the camera eat me? I'm ready to run"  drama :)

Sunday 1 December 2013

5 Day Challenge: Day 2

6. Favorite Equestrian Book and Movie:

    I'm all over the map here - almost every book I read or movie I watch that has horses in it, I'll say  "That was the best EVER!"...Until the next one. I'm going to use the more impartial G as my guide here and say that he sat and watched "Buck" with me twice and really liked it too. He also will sit and watch my recordings and dvds of eventing...not the dressage though :)

Books? Maybe Jimmy Wofford's "Training the Three-Day Event Horse and Rider". You can't go wrong there.
Fiction? Maybe Fiona Walker's "Well Groomed". Totally trashy and silly, but fun and I love the horsey characters and the fact the main character competes at Badminton, etc.
As a kid, Walter Farley's "The Island Stallion" was where it was at for me.

7. Most common riding misconception:

That it's easy! It's the hardest sport I've ever tried...I dare any one to take a dressage lesson on a green horse and say otherwise.

8. 2 riding strengths and 1 riding weaknesses:

Strengths: Quiet and very very patient. Good sense of timing.

Weaknesses: The past 3 or 4 years, my weight. I was fit and slim my entire life without really thinking about it, so it's been a bit of a learning curve as far as proper eating and exercise habits go. I know there are tons of examples of good riders out there who carry some extra weight. I don't think I'm one of them - I have much better balance and am much more effective without. I think Ginger probably feels the same. I've slowly got rid of the majority of it over the past year or so, with only a little more to go. And it's NOT coming back...ever :) Next up? I need to address the anxiety...

9. Least favorite thing about horses and/or riding:

The barn drama. More directly related - the vet calls.

10. What do you feed your horse?

I try to keep it pretty close to 'natural'.
At home, I feed my horses plenty of low sugar local grass hay, as well as a timothy/alfalfa mix from Oregon in the winter. It's about 15-20% alfalfa, and just beautiful hay. I have slow feeder nets so they can eat all day.
Ideally, they are mostly on pasture in the summer. They get a little bit of ration balancer when the other horses get their grain.
With Ginger, she can be a little bit of a harder keeper, so in the past I've supplemented with beet pulp and a high fat grain mix as needed.

The pony mocks my attempts to provide ultimate pony nutrition and convinces everyone she is starving by eating fir trees while my back is turned.

Saturday 30 November 2013

5 Day Challange: Day 1

Taken from Fly on Over. Thanks for the inspiration :)

1. Most Influential Person on Your Riding

This has to be the wonderful lady who owns the barn that I basically grew up at in my hometown. She's celebrating her 80th birthday tonight with no sign of slowing down. I so wish I could have been there. The short version of the story is that she took a child (me :) ) from a not-so-happy situation, knowing next to nothing about me or my family, and let me ride and 'help' on the farm for basically free. She somehow made sure we (there were always a few of us there) had just enough supervision and help to stay safe and confident, yet more than enough alone time to let us just be kids with ponies. She's super old school and just full of health and training tips that are just common sense at it's most basic. I don't think there are adequate words to convey the difference she made in my life.
I see her pretty rarely these days. The last time I saw her I was riding Ginger last winter and she reamed me out for being unsafe by riding in my western saddle that was missing the little leather straps that keep the stirrup and fender together. Then, almost in the same sentence she complimented Ginger, and told me to stop boring my poor horse in the ring, get some baling twine to fix those stirrups, and come out for a trail ride with her. Typical :)

First ride, 2011. Hey dummy, wipe that stupid grin off your face and fix your stirrups!

"Are we done in here yet?"

2. Piece of tack you'd love to splurge on

I'm actually pretty content with Ginger's tack, and have a whole nother set (or two) from horses past  *just in case* Ginger is not an only child again. We're pretty well equipped around here, and I think I've mentioned before that Ginger's stuff takes up way more room in the barn than she does. The only thing I'd really like is to find an oversized browband for the bridle I have that matches her Stubben saddle - so far it seems impossible to find at a price point I'm able to justify, and I'm too cheap to buy a completely new $250 bridle for her and pay to have it shipped from the UK, which seems to be the cheapest distrubutor to Canada.

Actually, that's a pretty ghetto pad and girth too...never mind, the pony needs new everything for xmas!

3. Top 5 riding playlist

I don't listen to music while riding. Particularly on Ginger, I think it would be a little dangerous. She's so aware of her surroundings that for me to be tuned out in any way would be asking for trouble. I do sing songs for her, which she enjoys - she's very voice oriented. No one in their right mind would ever listen my singing, so it's actually pretty awesome that she likes it when I rock out. Added bonus is it scares off wildlife and crazy humans who recognize my 'next level of crazy' superiority immediately upon hearing us coming. :)  I don't think she has a top five greatest hits, but I'll check in with her on that. :)

Keep moving...nothing to hear here....

4. Most important aspect of your barn?

Since we're sort of in barn limbo right now I'll just say it has to be safe and provide excellent care for the pony. She needs to be happy and healthy - everything else is negotiable.
Preferences beyond that include lots of turnout, a nice dry stall, some form of ring,  and a trail system available close by. Coaching, jumps, hot water, and of course great barnmates are also total bonuses.

Maybe a little of the Alberta sized pasture with some big city amenities. I think we could both handle that!
5. Three winter riding goals

- Get us both happily back into it
- Take as many lessons and clinics as we can find
- Keep it fun

I'm thinking days at the beach,

Nice long runs,

and a good party now and then, birthday hat optional


Friday 29 November 2013


I got an invite a few weeks ago to attend a beginner yoga class with a friend of mine. I'll admit right now that it's not anywhere near the first time I've been encouraged to try yoga. Until recently, I've always dug my heels in and been too 'busy'. I've always imagined yoga to be a bit of a "spiritual-get-in-touch-with-your-inner-self" type endeavor and that scared me, being the super logical, not overly emotional type person that I am. Add to that my short and not exactly graceful stature and I was pretty sure that physically yoga would be near impossible for me. Nope, sorry, I’m much happier riding/running/biking – something with a goal, a destination, a purpose.

So, despite all my doubts, I was guilted into going. The class was going to be cancelled if someone else didn’t sign up and my friend was going to be really disappointed if that happened.

And it was good!  All those things I struggle with in my riding? The instructor noticed them when I walked in the door, even before the class started, and picked a few poses/stretches she thought would help. “Keep your shoulders back.” ”Don’t turn your feet out, you’re making your stance weak and asking for ankle/knee/hip trouble.” “Eyes up!” “You need to imagine a line from ankle/knee/hip” “Get your power from your core. By collapsing your shoulders you are giving away that power” “Think strong, but relaxed.” – it was all there –every single one of the things my poor riding instructors nag me about…and it all made perfect sense when confronted with the fact that I literally cannot balance well enough to do some of the poses if I am not using my body correctly. If anything, it’s a little harder to have a weak body position in yoga than in riding. Let’s face it, at my riding level, my horses certainly let me know when I’m not pulling my weight, but the consequences are usually just that they don’t go as well as they should. If I fell off my horse every time I let my left shoulder collapse I’d have learned long ago to STOP doing that J

I’m sure many of you out there are smarter than me and incorporate yoga/Pilates/stretches/proper body position into your everyday lives and exercise routines. For those of you out there like me who only really think about it when your riding instructor is nagging you for the billionth time, try working on it outside of riding. Seriously.  After a yoga class, I feel like I’ve had a really great riding lesson focusing on my position. All the same muscles ache to tell me I’m doing it right, no horses were confused in the process, and the cost is a measly $10. I think that’s a win.

That being said, I’m still not entirely convinced yoga is exactly what I was missing in my gym routine – I still have my reservations about some of it. The dark room and ‘Zen’ music is, I think, always going to give me the giggles J. Perhaps something more martial arts based or strength based will be what I end up liking better. For now though, this is an excellent intro for a beginner like me, and, as mentioned, is pretty much directly applicable to my riding - a huge selling feature for a horse nut like myself.

Anyone out there have something they’d recommend for me to try next? I heard a rumor I’m finished work and heading home VERY soon so I’ll have even more time to pursue my never ending quest to become a better rider - with a horse to ride, evenJ

Monday 25 November 2013

In Which Ginger Applies For A Job And Receives An Interview Request

Backstory - Earlier this summer I was so fed up with my job I started sending out tons of applications for different positions. As some of you job hunters will know, many companies now ask you to create an online profile with them and submit your application through their company website. Eventually, if you apply to enough jobs over a long enough period of time, you'll type in your email address and the application upload will be denied because at some point you already created a profile with that address at that company. And if you're anything like me, you have no clue what the password would be and you probably created the profile so long ago it's more work to update it than to just create a new one. That was my thinking at least, when it happened to me on a provincial government job board. No big deal I thought, because I have the gmail account that goes with this blog, right? Just create a new profile with my gmail account, attach my resume, answer the screening questions, and voila! I applied for a job during my coffee break and I felt all amazing and efficient :)

Fast forward to the other night when I finally wrote a new blog post. Oh hey, I have a couple of new emails. And OMG one is an interview request. Oh shoot, and it's for last Friday....:(. I thought it was a bit strange that they emailed an interview request for the following day without any phone conversations, but mentally made a note that I need to check my gmail account more often, or change the job profile back to my primary account. This morning I got to thinking it was a bit rude of me not to reply to their request at all and I'd better send a 'thanks for considering me, sorry I didn't receive your email in a timely manner' type response.

It was then that I realized the email was addressed to Gingersnap. And that my gmail/blogger profile is set up such that the profile name is Gingersnap, complete with a cute little picture of Ginny. Their application system apparently took my gmail profile and used that as my contact info - I'm guessing they didn't read my attached resume at all, just saw that 'Gingersnap' did well on the pre screening questions and asked her in for an interview. No wonder they didn't call, Ginger may have her own blog and email address but she unfortunately does not a phone. So potential employer, I thank you for your interest, and I can honestly say you live up to your 'equal opportunity employer' promise :)

So, job hunting score: Ginger: 1, T: 0.

Lazy pony can't even get out of bed for a job interview. Horses these days....


Sunday 24 November 2013


I thought I'd write a post on this, mostly because it's been on my mind a lot lately. I'm also starting my 2014 goals and thoughts early because my life is only a couple of weeks away from starting fresh and as far as I'm concerned, that's a better excuse to turn over a new leaf than a date on the calender.
 (Be warned this post contains some negativity for the sake of honesty and context :)

I envy those who come by confidence naturally, and admire those who have enough world experience to earn it the hard way.

It's something I struggle with on a regular basis, a lack of confidence. It sneaks around in the back of my mind until I finally notice that it's not sneaking anymore, it's right there front and center affecting my better judgement.

I am a very strong person inside. I know this. I've been through horrible situations and stupid decisions and always come out a stronger, better person. I am entirely capable of doing most anything I set my mind to - if not, I work harder until I can. I know this. I have an amazing partner, and an incredible horse. Again, I know this.

I feel like I've had a bit of a beating in 2013, though. There was the not so stellar year with Ginger, and the stresses that come with living 1500 miles away from G. More recently, the job has become pretty stressful. Budget concerns and department restructuring are bringing out the worst in a few people, including my direct supervisor. Logically, I know I have done nothing wrong and I am good at my job. I've never fully trusted the guy so I keep pretty accurate records of everything. Still, a little piece of confidence leaves me every time I am tossed to the wolves and left to fend for myself, or made to feel guilty for leaving in a few short weeks. That negative part of me wants to take the situation personally, rather than logically just seeing it for what it is and having the confidence to move forward unscathed.

How does this apply to horses? For me, it has everything to do with my success or lack thereof in my chosen sport. The above mentioned work situation and the resulting lack of confidence is a mirror image of my feelings after a bad lesson, an overheard criticism, a health issue with one of the horses, a boarding situation gone wrong, a bad fall. It's always what have I done wrong, what could I have done better, what did I do to make this situation happen? Most of all, did I do right by my horse? In short, taking every situation personally, whether its appropriate to or not, and magnifying those emotions by 10 because there is another living being involved who's welfare directly depends on my actions.

Of course it's healthy to critique yourself and realize your shortcomings and work to improve. It's not so healthy to let your confidence slide away due to things beyond your control or things you shouldn't hold yourself accountable for. Consider me guilty for both the first and the second, not so healthy option. My confidence is at an all time low, particularly where horses are concerned.

There are a lot of positives here though. All the pieces of the puzzle are coming together for 2014. I'm going home to G. Ginger will be there at the end of December. She's going to a great barn. There is someone in the area offering lessons that I think will suit us quite well. I'm going back to a job that I loved, and a place where I am valued. I'm fitter than I've ever been. Ginger has had time to recuperate and mature. I've had plenty of time this year to evaluate my priorities in the horsey world.

I know what I need to do. I see the paths I can take to get there. I've got plenty of time, and more than enough determination. The negative garbage cluttering my brain is the only thing slowing me down, and I recognize it and am going to work hard to move on- it's not going to be sneaking around in there any more. If history has taught me anything, I am going to come out of all this stronger and more capable than before.

So, here's to better times ahead for me, and everyone else out there that's been having a not so great year. Let's get the 2014 party started.


Sunday 17 November 2013

Found a Great Place to Board

Via a friend of a friend of a friend on facebook, of course. 

I've been having a bit of a meltdown over the past few days - the ferry terminal that connects our town to Vancouver Island is apparently going to be out of service for January-March. It's not a huge deal for most because the Vancouver route is still running and there's going to be an alternate route to the island as well. BUT, for horse haulers? Apparently a big deal because they like to do a sort of circular route that involves the ferry to the island. Does the ferry company not know that I'm expecting very important cargo right around then? :) Combine that with the fact I'd really rather not use the hauler that took Ginger last time and suddenly my choices are super, super limited.

And then boarding? As I've mentioned, I'm sure more than once, choices are again super, super limited. Again, I didn't want to use the barn I went to last time, for crazy barn drama reasons we don't need to discuss on a public blog. I really like the owner, let's just leave it at that. But, she's the only show in town. The other decent barn is wait listed for literally years.

I was getting ready to tear my hair out and never attempt to own a horse again ( only half-joking here, sadly).

Can I just say now that I really do know some of the greatest people? I had emailed the hay supplier to pre order Ginger's winter supply, and she asked if I was looking for boarding as well when I came back. Why yes, I am! Turns out the place across the road from her where they store the hay was considering taking on boarders. She gave me a great reference and just like that, I had a really good boarding option. Then, the same day, the lady who is looking after Ginger saw an ad for a hauler with my town on the route. Turns out it's the guy that brought Ginger to Alberta for me branching out on his own with a new company! I had thought he was out of business, but I'm very pleasantly surprised. We're just ironing out all the final details so I don't know if Ginger will be home with me at xmas, but he is a good hauler and he's willing to make the trip so I'm happy.

As far as the boarding, they can take Ginger any time. They have a gorgeous barn with new stalls and attached paddocks. Best part of all - 12 acres of pasture for Ginger to share with only 2 other horses. I've got serious real estate envy. There is no ring on site, but I have friends within about a 5 minute ride in either direction that have rings on their properties, so it's not too big of a deal. I'm apprehensive that it's full board ( non working horse lovers can't have a huge budger!) but I'm hoping my hours at the therapeutic riding barn will help cover the extra.

This is starting to feel like it's really happening!

Tuesday 5 November 2013

Eight Things That Make Me Happy

I'm slowing creeping back to my usual sickeningly cheerful self. Why? Let's make a list. Lists are fun. We'll start with the small stuff and work up to the bigger stuff.

1. There is a very large amount of leftover halloween candy at work.

2. Time change = 1 extra hour of sleep.

3. They fixed the heat at work. No more freezing and wearing my winter coat to meetings!

4. I found a place to live until I leave... and I leave SOON!!!

5. Greg is flying out to road trip back with me.

6. Got an email that Ginger is doing great, and a friend of mine is trying out a pony next weekend from the same farm. So excited for her (and her daughter!)
                                        This guy lives there too and is one cool pony!

7. The therapeutic riding group where I used to work just emailed me to see if I'm available to come back and work for them. Why yes, yes I am. I love the kids and of course the horses there. It's a wonderful place to work and I've really missed it the past couple of years.

8. I just got invited to someone's 80th birthday party. Not only is she healthy and happy, she also still runs the barn I grew up at and mucks her own stalls and tosses hay bales farther than I can. In true farm girl style she's having a bonfire and barbeque. A friend of mine posted on facebook that she wishes she'll look that good at 60. I was like 60???!! she's 80!!!! I can't even describe how great I think that is.

More generally speaking, I'm feeling like G and I are on the same page about where the future is taking us (and Ginger!). After the last few years of being (literally) all over the map, it's a nice feeling. We've lined up a couple of horsey properties to view when I get back, and while it may not come to anything, it's still pretty darn neat to have someone so supportive of my hobbies.


Saturday 2 November 2013

The S Word

Ugghh...I woke up this morning and happily logged on to my computer. What do I immediately see when I go to use Google? A Google public alert. For a Snowfall Warning! I tried to ignore the link but it was following me everywhere I went so I gave up and clicked it and admitted to myself that I live in CANADA. Which means there is usually snow in the winter. Boo!

I dislike this very much

I'm one of the spoiled few in the Great White North. I usually reside in one of the few parts of the country with little to no freezing temps every winter and only a rare dump of white (and that is cause for national news). So this Alberta/Saskatchewan snow-that-doesn't-go-away-for-6-months thing is something I am not accustomed to. Also...proper winter attire...snow tires...plugging in your car...not using summer grade windshield washer fluid... all things I learned the hard way lol. Not to mention horse related things like round bales, heated water buckets and not actually picking poop in the paddock all winter. (Oh, and blogging when I should apparently be out stocking up on groceries;) The leaning curve the past couple of years has been steep. And who am I kidding - I bailed out all of last winter and spent my time on the coast and in Mexico. I LOVE warm weather! 

I do have to say though, while I might not like it myself, the horses here seem to thrive in this environment, much more so than on the coast. On the coast we are constantly dealing with mud, and rain scald, mud fever, and all the things that go along with wet, damp horses living in a rainforest. This means blanketing, or at least bringing them in at night to dry off. It means leaving your horse in after a ride, not because they're super sweaty, but because they're soaking wet. It also means very careful paddock management and sometimes minimal turnout. On the prairies, they are usually brought into smaller paddocks for the winter, but beyond that, life seems to continue on as normal, except the hay is more frequent and the water is heated. Most of the places I've seen don't even have a shelter in the paddock - I see windbreaks more commonly. The more regularly ridden horses certainly get clipped and blanketed and brought in at night, but your average, every day horse seems to have pretty minimal requirements out here.

Due to some 'interesting' rental developments ( house sold and they gave me exactly 25 days to move - making my move out day Nov 25th - and  I'm sure I'll have no problem finding a place to rent for 3 weeks starting Nov 26 ha ha) I may be terminating the contract here sooner than expected and moving on to (literally) greener pastures, once again escaping part of 'real' winter. I expect Ginger will stay where she is until after Christmas. Unless we can find the best hauler ever who actually lives up to that reputation AND will haul to where I live, we'll be picking her up ourselves with a new trailer. YAY! :)


Sunday 27 October 2013

Ginger's Relatives

I'm suffering from serious horse withdrawls. So what'a girl to do? Create hypothetical breedings to daydream about even more Sec D awesomeness? Check.

In the course of researching the perfect boyfriend for Ginger, I of course have to research her pedigree. I came across a few of her half brothers and sisters from her dam's side, and thought it was super neat to see how much they all resemble their dam. Here's Ginger's mama, Ayr Hawks MacKenzie Rose :


I hadn't seen that picture before, Ginger sure turned out a lot like her mom!
Ginger, summer 2013
Here's Ginger's half brother, Whispering Telynor. There's definitely a family resemblance:
Another half brother, Whispering Sparkling Comet.

Yet another half brother. Sugarlane Ovation:

Finally, a half sister! Talywern Fair Rose:
And one more half brother. Whispering Magic Marvel:

Ginger's dam appears to have had a pretty long broodmare career - these are just her foals I can easily find online. What's funny is most of the boys appear to have been stallions at some point in their lives, so their stats are mostly listed. From what I can see, they're all between 14.1-14.3hh. Ginger is the giant of the family at 15.3hh. I can't find much info on her sire, but I'm guessing he must have been taller than most. Ginger, of course, is obviously a girl of extremes, so I wouldn't be surprised if she's just the odd one out. It would only make sense :)


Thursday 24 October 2013

The Most Boring Blog Ever Award

I nominate myself :)

Thank you again to everyone who has stuck through this incredibly uninteresting part of my life with me.

Ginger is fine, I still miss her more than I can say. Work has totally gone crazy, with coworker insanity and all sorts of departmental drama. I try to stay out of it, but it's a small department. I hate conflict and the stress of feeling like the middle ground is getting to me. I can't wait for this contract to be over! I prefer the drama around me only comes courtesy of super cute Welsh Cobs :) After 6 months off, I suspect she's got a little bit saved up for me.

Ginger's barn on the coast. Also, the status of my department at work :)

The Drama Pony being dramatic over picture taking
I've been in a real funk the past month or two since May. I'm typically the girl who is always happy and positive - you know, that cheery person that annoys the crap out of you, particularly on before-coffee Monday mornings.So, this whole serious persona and NOT feeling like I radiate sunshine and rainbows (ha, I never really felt like that, but I love the visual) thing is kind of new and weird to me, and apparently not conducive to blogging. (Or doing much of anything interesting.)

Ginger,G, and I. 2012. (Sorry,  I couldn't resist.)
Also my Halloween costume circa 1985. Yes, that makes me old, but it's a fact that is too awesome not to share.  No, I am not going as far as sharing the actual pictures of my uber cool self.

OK, never mind. That picture has cheered me up considerably. Carry on with your day :)


Monday 14 October 2013

Human Jacket Reviews

I have to start by saying I love, love, love my Kerrits gear. I love it so much that I have had two very similar winter coats from them in different colors. Sadly, the first one is pretty beat up after numerous winters at the barn. Most of the buttons and zips are now unreliable at best. The second one? It was pretty roomy to start and now I've lost a bit of weight and it's just too big. My search for a Kerrits replacement ended in disappointment as it appears the coat I love has been discontinued. I was willing to try another style, but after months of eBay and sale stalking, I couldn't find an appropriate Kerrits coat in a price range I felt comfortable with.
Kerrits discontinued "Precip" coat that I love:
Lots of nice coats at

I'll insert a quick recap of what I need in a winter coat because it's probably more of a spring/fall coat for some of you.

1. WATERPROOF. I hang out on the Pacific Coast. Water resistant doesn't cut it. There's nothing worse than being out in the cold/wind/rain an hour or two from home and feeling water trickling through the seams of your new (expensive) coat.

2. Multipurpose. I'm on a budget. My coat has to be fitted well enough to ride/run/hike/bike in, and look presentable enough to wear to the grocery store now and then.

3. Dark color. So I can pretend no one can see how dirty it really is.

4. Not too 'puffy'. While it definitely gets chilly here in Alberta, the coast sees more moderate temps and I get pretty grouchy if my coat is making me all sweaty and gross. I have a gorgeous Mountain Horse down jacket that I wear maybe once or twice a year because it's so warm. Which makes me sad when I think how cute it is and how much it cost. So, I look for lighter weight and figure I can always add a layer if I'm cold ( or move around a bit more!).

Being the penny pinching, horse expense drained girl that I am, you can bet I was shopping for my new winter coat on the clearance rack this past spring. I failed to find the perfect coat. Instead, I found two very nice coats for screaming deals. Both were about 75% off retail so I felt I could justify the splurge.

Jacket 1 - Columbia Hot Thought jacket. MSRP $140.

Sounds like it would be baking hot, right? Nope, it's a super lightweight waterproof coat with a tinfoil-esque lining designed to reflect your body heat back at you and keep you warm. Or something like that, I admit to not reading/understanding all the gimmicky scientific sounding words on the tags.,default,pd.html
-Super light weight.
-Flattering fit out of the saddle
-So far, keeps me at just the right temperature, even with just a t-shirt on the below freezing mornings we've been having
-Feels like decent quality 

-Not crazy about the color (same as picture)
-Fits a bit on the long side, I suspect that will equal it bunching up around my midsection while in the saddle
-Hood is attached, and tucks into the collar. Not sure how I feel about that, although I suppose it's main purpose is to be my rain coat so I'll need the hood more often than not :)

Overall: Nice coat, but I wouldn't have paid full price for it.

Next up, coat 2.

Outback Trading Company Oxley Softshell jacket. MSRP $120

Such a pretty coat, and it fulfils my need for plaid. It has a soft shell exterior and a nice fleece lining.


-Definitely designed for time in the saddle. Length is just right, and back tapers down a bit to cover better while you're riding.
-More traditional than the Columbia jacket. Looks a little more professional for some of the lessons/clinics I go to. It matches all of my breeches.
-Nicely fitted, so even though it's a thicker coat, it doesn't look overly bulky.
-I did end up getting stuck in a rainstorm last week and it kept me dry. I don't think it's up to serious long term rain, but nice to know I'll be OK if the weather surprises me now and then.
-Dirt fighting/hiding capabilities.
-Well made
-Looks cute with jeans, I've worn it for walking to work on casual Fridays and got compliments on it.


-It has an attached hood. A rather bulky attached hood. I'd rather it had no hood or a detachable hood since I've got my helmet on in the saddle and won't use a non waterproof hood at any time - I'd rather wear a cute hat if I'm cold out of the saddle. 
-Too thick for more intense sports (running, mountain biking), but I can see myself hiking and walking in this one, as well as riding of course. 
-Fit is on the small side - I had to go a size up. (which isn't really a con except for making me feel fat ;)

Overall: Love this coat, wish it was west coast standard waterproof, then it would be my favorite coat ever. I would actually consider buying this coat even at full retail price.

The clock is ticking - not too long before I go home and try these coats out a little more seriously on horseback!


Wednesday 2 October 2013


Wish me luck, the municipality I live in on the coast is actually getting closer to the 21st century and hiring a tech type person. I sent my resume in this morning. I'm keeping it secret from G because I don't want him to be disappointed if I don't get it. On the other hand, I'd LOVE to surprise him with good news. Whichever the case, I have resisted all temptation of pay raises and promotions here and am still on schedule to return home in December, job or no, although working student is still on the table. The dream property is still waiting for me, (as is G lol) and life is generally feeling like it's still moving along in a positive direction. But still, a job AND my man AND my Gingersnap all in one place? Dare I dream to lead a normal life like everyone else ? :)

Ginger is still happy as a clam (Are clams happy? Really? Where did that come from...sounds like something my grandma might have said!) and enjoying her all inclusive vacation from the stresses of real life. I get regular updates regarding her awesomeness, but sadly no new photos to show you yet. I can tell you she's been healthy and happy and even been excellent for the farrier the whole time she's been gone, so I suspect it really was an issue with that one specific barn and farrier. And hey, maybe she's grown up a little too. I have no clue what I'd do if she really has randomly become all grown up and mature about things - she's such a princess it's hard to imagine even when the farm owner tells me she is 'quiet' and 'easy' to have around :)


Saturday 28 September 2013

You Can Take The Girl Away From Her Horses....

But she'll still be obsessed.

I went to try out a new (to me) running route this afternoon. I've been eyeing it up for a while via all the satellite imagery I deal with daily at work.  Real life did not disappoint - it's a beautiful park and the trails are really nice. It's a bit of a drive from where I'm currently located which is why it hasn't made my list of go to places. It was a beautiful sunny fall day, the temperature was just right, the trails had some nice inclines to add a little challenge, and for once I just felt good right to the end of my loop (I am the world's most naturally UNgifted runner. Seriously. I suck. So to finish without feeling like I'm dying/scaring passers by is pretty awesome all in itself :) There was even a rowing regatta taking place on the river right next to my trail, so I almost felt like I was being encouraged along myself with all the yelling and cheering coming from the rowers.

So what could have possibly been wrong with my day? I spent the whole run thinking:

A. How much more fun I would have riding my run route.

B. How the trails are wasted for hiking/running and would instead make a kick ass cross country course.

C. How fall is here and I've officially missed an entire summer of riding.

The trails. Seriously, how is this not a cross country course? :)

View along the river, just cause it's pretty by prairie standards
Actually, it was a pretty nice afternoon.