July 20, 2014
July 20, 2014
June 22, 2014
Originally posted on Back Home in Bromont:
Friday, June 20, 2014: Harnesses are oiled and rubbed to a leathery sheen. Buckles are polished to a glistening sparkle. Carriages are washed and hand-dried to gleaming perfection. Families dress in their finest raiment, throwing the scene in the heart of the Eastern Townships of Quebec back in time to a gentler age. The horses, alert, highly trained and beautifully groomed, patiently await the moments of glory to come… the Driving event at the Bromont Equestrian Park.
The CAI 2* is a three-day event combining dressage, marathon (cross country), and obstacles, and is a qualifier for North Americans for the World Championships. Events such as these keep the traditions and disciplines of the horse-and-carriage alive.
Dressage is a technical discipline involving a series of complicated movements (such as maneuvering the carriage in reverse), which are carefully scrutinised by the judges. Competitors, dressed for the part, are as beautiful to behold…
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June 15, 2014
And the winner is……
Thanks Tom von Kapherr, my partner and photographer/videographer this weekend for this great post.
Originally posted on Back Home in Bromont:
Jessica Phoenix of Uxbridge Ontario, riding A Little Romance, took the red ribbon at the CCI Three-Star Equestrian event in Bromont, Quebec this past Sunday. The three-day event combines the disciplines of Dressage, Cross-Country, and Jumping; the best combined score wins! For many, this event is also a qualifier for the World Championships and the next Olympics. Riders from many countries converged on Bromont, considered one of the best equestrian facilities in the world, to compete. Spectators were thrilled to watch the competition come down to the last rider, on the last day to decide the winner.Vickie Kayuk of Full Horse.com and Country Rider Radio joined me to cover the entire CCI Three-Star event. Over the next few days, I will share pictures, video footage and recorded interviews, to give you a full…
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January 7, 2014
OK…as anyone who reads this blog knows, I have horses.
For the past several summers I’ve been feeding my horses at the farm where I live, then driving to my trainer/coaches barn for a lesson or to ride/video my horses there.
One Day Last Summer
I fed my horses here, had my usual rush of morning coffee and oatmeal, loaded a horse in the trailer, and made the trip to my trainer’s barn.
For the next several hours (in real time that’s translatable to ‘most of the day’), I rode a horse, videoed a few lessons, cleaned tack, discussed coming show and training schedules, told jokes, had lunch, and generally just socialized around the barn.
WOW! Was it 6:00 already??
The time really sneaks up on you when the days are so long, warm, and filled with activity. Someone mentioned getting home to feed the kids, I glanced at my phone, and realized I was late getting home to give the other horses their supper. Luckily, at some point during the day I decided to leave the horse I brought with me at the training barn and just pull the empty trailer home.
So…off I went, satisfied with my day.
Now, from my trainer’s barn to my barn is pretty much a straight shot (other than some fairly significant curves in the road). I pass a school, cross a major road at a traffic light, pass another school, pause at a 4-way stop, and take the final long leg back to my barn. The whole trip–from the middle of one nowhere to the middle of another–takes about 25 minutes, even pulling a horse trailer, and it’s mostly through rural horse and cattle country.
Well, there I was on the last leg of the trip and I hear a sharp “CRRAACK” that sounded like a close-up shot from a gun.
OH MY GOD!!!
What was that!?!
I glanced in both side mirrors to make sure my tires were OK, even though I wasn’t getting a feel that anything was wrong with the truck or trailer. All were fine so the next thought was:
OH MY GOD!!
Was someone SHOOTING AT ME?
That was when I ducked down almost below the dash and tromped on the gas. In less time than it takes to type it, I was racing along a country road with a horse trailer leaping and bounding over bumps behind me and not another car ahead or as far back as the eye could see (which was actually pretty far).
I WAS ALONE….ON A COUNTRY ROAD….IN THE MIDDLE OF TWO NOWHERES…WITH SOMEONE SHOOTING AT ME!!!
After about a century (real time 90 seconds) of a neck and neck race between my heart and the truck, I felt I was far enough from the danger zone to slow down some, then i had a secondary panic attack when I realized how fast I was going.
The rest of my trip was spent wondering if someone was hunting beside the road and just didn’t realize there was someone on the road next to them; if they DID realize there was someone there and shot as I passed as a practical joke; if there was some fluke atmospheric noise in the area; if I was imagining things and going crazy….
After what seemed an eternity
I arrived back in the safe haven of my own farm area and stopped the truck. I got out and walked all around truck and trailer searching for gunshot holes, rock dents, anything that would solve the mystery of the Big Bang, and found nothing, nada, not a darn thing.
Finally I gave up
I backed the trailer into it’s parking spot and was just about to get out of the truck to unhitch when something caught my eye. Something that just looked… wrong. It looked SO wrong that I couldn’t really place what it was so I got out of the truck and walked around to the passenger side of the trailer.
There, attached to the side of the trailer was my spare tire, and sitting on top of it was what, at first glance, looked like some kind of exotic bird. But as I approached, and my brain took in the reality of what was there, I realized that those things that looked like parts of a bird were actually parts of the tire….my brand new TIRE had EXPLODED…but WHY??
Since that time…
I’ve related this experience to many other people. Most show utter disbelief, but a few have commented that similar things have happened to them. Apparently, if you over fill your tire with air and it gets really hot it will explode. My only explanation is that I had my trailer serviced a few months before the explosion and the service person put too much air in the spare tire while the weather was cool. As the Florida temperatures soared and the sun heated the tire cover,
My suggestion to trailer owners is that you check the tire pressure in your spare tire regularly and perhaps keep it a little under-inflated. Better to have a tire that’s a bit soft than one that has a hole in it big enough to drive through.
I would be curious to hear if others have had similar experiences and what conclusion you came to about the cause of the disintegration of your perfectly good tire.
(Although, come to think of it, it probably wasn’t ‘perfectly good’ or it wouldn’t have blown up in the first place.)
My wish for you, my friend, and all others who take the road less traveled (or, in fact, any other road) and decide to pull a trailer:
May Your Trip Be Boring.
January 6, 2014
You, Gentle Reader, may not know this, but there was a time when I didn’t own my own horse trailer. Now, that was long ago but I still remember the anxiety of scrambling around with countless other horse owners, trying to find suitable trailering for my horses in the weeks before a show.
So…I decided to buy my own trailer.
Surprisingly, this turned out to be easier said than done. For months I followed every lead in my search for a “good used horse trailer in reasonable condition”. I saw more teensie weensie trailers (obviously built for large dogs) and sagging frames (probably used to transport elephants) than I would have ever believed existed.
With the show season breathing down my neck, I decided to buy new. Expecting to find my dream trailer waiting (probably somewhere over the rainbow) I instantly became the terror of the local trailer dealers. Until finally (in desperation I suspect) some poor salesman who had seen me once too often suggested that I custom order a trailer directly from the factory.
One of the big advantages in ordering new is that you can get EXACTLY what you want. Now I entered a whole new dimension of pickiness.
Well, dozens of long distance calls later (this was before free long distance and cell phones) (and YES, I was around before cell phones!) I decided to order from a factory in Barrie, Ontario. They explained that, no matter how much I wanted it, a trailer with a dressing room was too big for my Ranger to pull, but an extra wide two horse trailer was just fine–and they happily matched the color to my truck!
I paid a little more for an extra front door and a step-up rather than a ramp, but it was well worth the cost. Now my horse can’t pirouette off the edge of the ramp and I won’t have to fight a hay bale to get out of her way.
The disadvantages in buying new from the manufacturer are that you don’t get to see it until it’s too late to change your mind, and you have to go to the factory to pick it up.
The night before I picked up the trailer I had nightmares.
First I dreamed that my order was lost and the trailer was never built. Then I dreamed the trailer was built but it was only 18″ wide: “We thought you said Doberman, not Dapple Gray,” was the response from the girl behind the desk when I complained about the size. Needless to say, it was a bad night for me.
Monday morning arrived sunny and bright and I was at the factory at 8:30 AM to hitch up. Of course, my order was there just as I had given it. Unfortunately, they were expecting us to leave Ottawa on Monday morning, not to arrive at their doorstep at practically the crack of dawn.
Well, I almost had a heart attack when i saw my trailer for the first time – no doors, no windows, no vent, no floor–even worse than my worst nightmares! But the company owner sent me off to have breakfast nearby, but extra workers on it, and by the time my truck was wired for the brakes it was ready. Everyone at the factory was just wonderful, and they even used my truck to pull my you-can’t-get-any-newer-than-that trailer out of the factory. The color was a perfect match to my truck and there was even matching detailing on the side! Wow!
Back at the barn…
When I got back to the barn even my hard to please mare loved her new chariot. She loaded and unloaded just fine after I dropped the chest bar so I could wake through instead of ducking under. (She seems to have a phobia about people suddenly ducking right in front of her.)
I guess I’ve learned a few things from this experience.
- first, the phrase ‘in good condition’ does not mean the same thing to a seller as it does to a buyer;
- second, let the factory know if you plan to arrive at the crack of dawn.
My next adventure
Now the question comes up….should I take my horse in the ‘Just Barely Has Enough Sense To Stay On Her Feet For The Whole Day’ class next week? Or do I book her into the ‘I Don’t Have A Clue What I’m Doing Here But I Sure Can Jump Fast’ class?
What do you think?
January 5, 2014
I apologize to those who have chosen to follow me, I feel I have let you down. But there are times in everyone’s life when they have to stop, work through internal issues, and decide on a direction. Sometimes the choice is to stay on the same path, and sometimes the choice is to move in a new direction.
My problem was that I lost track of myself. Not an easy thing to do, considering that I’m pretty tightly stuck to me, but Me wasn’t communicating for a while so I was blindly staggering along the path without direction.
When I finally woke from my sleep walking journey it took a while for me to figure out where I was and, more important, how I could get from where I was to where I want to be. I sat on a rock for a long time, musing and watching the time go by.
Then a thought came to me …. how can I choose a new track when I don’t even know who I am? When I fell asleep I was a woman in a daze, but now I find myself awake and wondering what happened to get me from where i was to where I am while I was asleep …. and how do I repair all the damage done by time, weather, and vandals while I was sleeping?
So, I decided to start my journey of the discovery of self by figuring out what I am.
What Am I?
- Writer: teller of stories, creator of tales, weaver of alternate realities;
- Videographer: capturer of happenings, recorder of events, chronographer;
- Photographer: freezer of timely moments, stopper of time, moment saver;
- Friend: sharer, carer, secret holder;
- Pet Owner: petter, caretaker, midwife, nurse, vet, petter, walker, claw clipper;
- Businesswoman: accountant, organizer, record keeper, strategist, worrier;
- Girlfriend: partner, lover, sharer, bedfellow, stroker, sexy, exciting, bitch;
- Lover: giver, taker, participator, caresser, stroker, stoker, compliant, demanding;
- Owner: breeder, feeder, trainer, mommy, disciplinarian, teacher, rewarder;
- Student: researcher, learner, reader, practicer, test taker, striver, thinker;
- Woman: moody, exciting, loving, needy, fat, bitchy, short, cute, thin, beautiful, succulent, slim, untouchable, free, nest builder, easy, longing, empty satiated, unhappy, ecstatic, joyful, unhappy, energetic, satisfied, tired, energetic, happy, lazy, disconnected, sensitive, lazy, telepathic, anxious, lonely, content, therapist.
Perhaps there is no answer.
September 21, 2013
She always looked as if she had just put fresh eyeliner on her golden eyes.Nothing bothered her and she loved wandering around the yard.She was always a very happy dog with a most beautiful coat.
She was happy to share her rug with a pregnant Little Mama cat.
And equally happy to share her carpet with Pookie, an older lady cat.
Monkey cat loved her,
And loved to rub on her
As they strolled around the farm
I think he felt he needed to keep an eye on her
to be sure she didn’t get into a paddock by mistake.
Since her coat was so thick and long I had to clip it for the summer.
But it came in handy when we lived in Canada.
Time Sneaks Up On Us All
Over the past several weeks (months really) I have watched my beloved friend deteriorate to the point where she tripped over doorsills, could not stand without trembling and shaking, and paced in pain and discomfort through the night. Finally, through my dense brain and the belief that I could ‘fix’ whatever was wrong with her, came the realization that she was not going to get better.
So….how do you say good-bye to a devoted friend that trusts you implicitly, never complains, would follow you to the ends of the earth as long as she was able to stand and breathe? How do you decide to end a life? How do you know when it’s time? Is it better to end the life while dignity remains…before incapacitation reaches a point that is embarrassing for the animal?
I hope I have made the right decision.
I hope my Rally Dog is in a good place, enjoying playtime before agility class, riding in a car with her head out the window, eating her own special cup of vanilla ice cream from a cardboard cup, chasing the end of a lead shank, bounding after a flock of turkeys that have had the dumb luck to infringe on her yard, coursing through the woods and looking forward to cookies at the split in the trail, sleeping curled up with Pookie, eating chicken and bouncing along through the tall grass with her ears flopping, dragging her favorite fuzzy toy around and making it squeak, running across a yard covered in 6″ of fresh snow and dipping her head for a mouthful every few steps just because she can, sitting on the porch fulfilling her duty by keeping an eye on the front yard–protecting us from invading squirrels.
I will always remember these things about her. And I’ll remember how she was always happy and ran around with her tongue hanging out of one side of her mouth. I can close my eyes and picture her bouncing around in excitement when I buckled the treat bag on and she knew we were going to agility class. I can feel her nose poking me right in the back of my knee at the most perfectly unexpected time.
She was the most considerate dog.
She shared her food with kittens and cats, let the older cat move into her warm spot in winter, and never got into the cookie bag even when it sat on the porch beside her food bowl.
In spite of blindness and deafness that encroached upon her senses until she traveled in a dark and silent world, she never once threatened to bite any person who surprised her with a touch either when she was awake or sound asleep, whether they were total strangers or well-known friends.
She was always gentle with children, kittens and puppies, and she often settled more aggressive dogs at agility class.
Those are memories I will hold close in my heart of a soul that was always there for me through the worst devastation of my life and through some of the happiest times of my life. A steady light that kept me going when I wanted to stop, comforted me when I felt more alone than I could handle, and looked after me without judgement or expectation and with eyes filled with trust and faith that I would always do the right thing.
Goodbye Rally Dog.
August 15, 2013
Originally posted on Two on a Rant:
I recently had the extreme pleasure of reading A Camping We Will Go on mentalmom02′s blog My one complaint is that it woke memories that I would rather have left quietly gathering dust and spiderwebs in a hidden nook of my mind. Unfortunately, now that the memory is in the front and center it looks like I will have to blog about it and subject you, Gentle Reader, to the horror of it all.
Before you get too freaked out, just keep in mind that it was a long time ago so roaches may not be that big any more, but I’m pretty sure they still fly.
OK….my late husband and I had been living together for about a year and had decided to get married. I’m still not sure how the marriage decision was made. I do know…
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