August 12, 2014
August 2, 2014
July 30, 2014
Originally posted on The Nudge Wink Report:
You’re sitting in the back seat of a car, staring out at the mountainside. It’s early morning and life is crashing around you like a Martian dome hit by an asteroid.
You’re reviewing the road that lead to this particular disaster, wondering what you could’ve done differently.
You could’ve rented a car—if you wanted to play a fearsome game of Rollerball on 4 wheels. A mere 15 years ago it was easy…
…but now? There’s 2000 pounds of vehicle weaponry times a million flying past in streaks of red, silver, and the unusual color du jour chosen by car companies during any given year. Some days it looks like they took all their leftover paint, mixed it together and called it a palatable name like “wine” or “dark ruby” instead of what it really resembles: Bruise.
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July 29, 2014
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?