Welcome to Fern Valley

Here in central Alberta prime farm country,my husband Martin and I work together raising beef cattle and Appaloosa horses. Fern valley appaloosas have long been known for their quality of temperament conformation and color.I have recently rediscovered a love of writing and have published 2 collections of poetry. "Telling Tails" and Tails Trails and Campfire stories" . I look forward to a future spreading my wings as an author and as a horse woman .

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The best darn training tool I never bought!

 A brag and a tiny rant There are clinicians out there that will tell you that all you need to train your horse to , lead,rein ,run barrels load in the trailer , and on and on is ,their very special wonder stick! halter ,bit, saddle etc.
But really that is no magic bullet! It takes time, patience, effort, more patience, and the ability or willingness to use what is at hand .
For example , I don't use a round pen, I like corners, I use them in my ground training and halter breaking. Why? well to be honest when I started I didn't have a round pen, still don't , I have a working pen about half the size of a regular arena but not the typical round pen. So I used what I had, and what I had was a group  of smaller pens we use for sorting cattle. They have corners ,so I learned to take advantage of them .I could go on about how I do that but for the moment I will leave it at that because this post is really about a big old barn of a stock trailer and some sweet smart colts.
The reason I say it is the best training tool I never bought is because I actually don't own it. The trailer belongs to my dad, it is a big 4 horse lift off stock combo. It is about 30 yrs old and it is a bit tired, but I love it,it has hauled my horses, mine, dads, and other cattle and bulls, a piano, a house full of furniture or several,  a lawn tractor, I am sure a thousand bales of hay over the years, posts, rails,and so much more.
It is also the one trailer in my world that I can absolutely guarantee,I will get any horse to load into it.
Even young Harley, who had unfortunately won a battle of not getting into my uncles angle haul. This was regrettable but it was and extremely hot day and while he wasn't spooked or really fighting  he was also not getting in . In 30 degree Celsius,which BTW felt like 40 C in the trailer , I figured that was just not the hill I wanted to die on. So a week later , I got out the old blue stock and Harley ,thought  he was going to win again... nope! I did not drag him on or whip him we just back up to the chute, opened the slider and walked him on, with no options to go right or left, he had only to choose forward or back, and with some time and patience guess what he chose? Yup the only thing more stubborn and determined than an appy cross colt,is  well, the appy cross colts owner ,ME!

But I prefer it not to be a battle of wills so I went out tonight to practice loading Maks and Tango. Maks because he is sold and Tango because he is for sale (tomorrow will be Spite and Casey's turn )
How did it go?
Well the combo of patience , encouragement , a really good open trailer and some darn smart colts was the perfects mix to create this









 As you see it is quite open and lots of light comes in, it is however LOUD , and when they first put a foot on the noise often makes them hesitate, but not for long Tango actually wandered around in there for a bit and was making a huge amount of noise but it didn't seem to bother him after the first step.

And yes there was a pail of "cornflakes" grain in the trailer once they got in so the experience ended in a reward but I did not use the treats to coerce them on , just the commands they have come to know, and lots of pats and "good boys" . And good boys they certainly are!
 That big old trailer is nothing fancy, but it is sure a handy thing to have around, and it works for me .
So the lesson here is learn to use the tools you already have and maybe that "magic stick" can stay in the tack store.
Just my opinion. Stay safe friends

Saturday, July 26, 2014

"the best way to slow down a runaway horse is to bet on it.."

No I haven't been on a runaway horse, in fact I have not been ON a horse at all , seems more like it was I that was the runaway!
I mostly just liked the quote, made sense to me
Busy times last week , even though I was off work I was doing stuff here and hanging out with hubby, then when he went back to work on Monday , I grabbed a few  groceries on my way home before slipping over to my cousins to help them with a horse.
Back to work Tuesday, then out with my niece Deanna and her friends to the Tim McGraw  concert! What a great show. And such fun to go out with these girls! I watched them grow up from little angels to beautiful grown women and I love that they still want to go out with their  old Auntie Sherry now and then !

One of my favorites of his songs. Classic lyric 
"We ride and never worry about the fall, I guess that's just the cowboy in us all"

Then if getting home at midnight one work night wasn't enough, I went to K-days (the big fair ,exhibition) in Edmonton on Wednesday night. We walked around , samples some junk food and marveled at all the crazy rides on the midway, before grabbing some mini donuts and heading home!
I was the walking wounded Thursday and Friday , so much walking on concrete and late nights! I might be slightly too old for this !

And then the rains came, 3 1/2 inches in a day! It was one soggy cold wet day and unfortunately , there is nothing for it, when you have critters, there is no hiding inside. I was one soggy wet person by the time I got in last night. Also,a  side bit of info, when it is raining like that,make sure to take fly masks of the horses. I had intended to take Phoenix' off but got side tracked, then in the morning ,Miss Whoa Dammit was out, and I had to get her in before  heading to work, when I got home I went to take it off and Phoenix was acting quite oddly, spooky and shying away from me, finally got him settled and got it off, and he was immediately fine. I was trying to figure out what was up, and looked through the mask... nada, could not see a thing. Somehow when they are that wet the mesh seems to go opaque. SO my poor guy was "flying blind" Glad he is such a good boy , he didn't panic, just layed low and waited! The mask is now dry and I can see through it easily but I left it off to give him a break, the flies weren't bad today .
Moved cows today and shuffled some horses around as well. Farrier day tomorrow so I better get my self off to bed! 
Stay safe my friends


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Remember Maggie? The "not so" Wild card, and the Pool boy

FV Sparks Image,(Maggie)  by Windwalker Cactus,out of my sweet Jazzy mare (Fern Valley's Jazz)
Now do you remember her?
Sold to Kat, who turned out to be daughter of an old schoolmate, so that particular sale  netted me a new friend  Kat, and reconnected me with an old one as well.
Of all the folks I have sold horses to, (I have been  blessed to have updates on many of them)  Miss Kat , has been the best at keeping me up to date on hers and Maggie's progress and adventures. Just when I begin to wonder how things are going or when I will next hear,I get a text or  email update. Sometimes just a quick update or a hello, but sometimes I get pictures, and even better? VIDEO!!
video


video

So pleased with this gal and Maggie, they are just a wonderful match! 
Kat is starting a new venture as well, taking on some horses over the next year  to train ! I would say  work she has done with Maggie, who she trained herself is a pretty darn good advertisement! 

Wilder is still here,though we did have a young girl out her yesterday to try him out. Hard to say whether  the family will be back, the girl seemed to really like him and did very well riding him,stayed on  walking trotting ,backing etc for nearly an hour. But, there are a lot of good horses out there so while I believe mine are the best (because they are lol)  People have to go with what they feel is the best choice.
But since this sweet horse is here and  truly as sweet horse, he is he took on the role of Equine assisted therapy coach  with the young fellow I work with last evening as well .Cool thing about Wilder is,he had just been in and ridden for an hour, I had barely turned him out when  my client arrived, and yet when I went out to get him he met me at the gate! 



 Just the right horse to help this fellow  with focus and calm. I would love to go into details of the exercise,but that  kinda gives away a few more details about this  kiddo than I want to . Hoping to get together with a few other coaches soon and do a demo day  so we can explain the program better and with any luck I will have video or photos  as well. Suffice to say some of the other pictures I didn't take of this pair involved an ear to ear smile!

That's is it for now ,other than it has been hot, the first cut of hay on  one field is done and Marc has a great start on the next one. Martin is home this week and hoping to be able to get into the field as well, but we are watching the weather ,with rain forecast they don't want to cut anymore just yet. So martin moved bales while Marc  baled today. But we did get a rare  relaxed moment  out of Martin yesterday !
Gotta figure its pretty hot when we can get him to relax in the "Redneck dipping pool! "


Stay safe my friends

Monday, July 14, 2014

Pics of the kids, and Maks is sold

 Yes, my sweet ,handsome Maks has been sold.Funny he has been officially listed for sale on Northern Horse , for a couple of weeks.I did have ads out of a free site and FB but wasn't really pushing too hard till I had some more groundwork accomplished and had him gelded and feet trimmed.Once listed the ad got lots of views, but very few actual inquiries, this didn't worry me ,because as a rule, selling these young ones at least  that is how it goes, nothing much other than views of the ad, then BAMM! the right person sees the horse and we have a deal! That is how it went with Comet and Quinn, and Justus and Maggie before them,and those that were sold before them as well. Put your add out there, put the best foot forward and wait,its the waiting that pays off. SO Maks will be heading south to the Calgary area in the not so distant future. As always I will miss him, but sounds like he has found a good family to start his career with .
I still have Tango listed, and I am hoping his person will come along soon as well. But it  will happen when it happens.Here they are out on a bigger grass area, off hay entirely now , and much to their chagrin off grain as well.


 A fin little animation 
 Buddies 
 Oh ! what a face! 
 Tango, gazing off into ... his future?
 A shot of the littlest cowgirl, Sprite, who is also for sale .Deb is selling both of her horses at this time.
Oakley's Arctic Heather,2013 filly proudly offered for sale , consigned at Fern Valley Appaloosas.
"Sprite" is a sweet tempered willing  filly with a great mind and a world of potential . Pretty and elegant with chrome and color!
Sprite is a daughter of Fern Valley's wonderful palomino stallion, Windwalker Cactus , who passes his great mind,,conformation and overall ride-ability on to all of his offspring. Siblings of this filly have proven to be safe, sane and sound .
Up to date on immunizations, worming and hoof care, halter broke ,leading well and stands nicely for farrier 
Compact and correct, this little girl is all about versatility! Sweet smart and so much more!
I am going to start up my Fridays for sale posts again, to share what I have available , and also ,I always appreciate the critiques and suggestions my fellow bloggers have to tweak the adds to make them pop. Also feel free to share any for sale items that you would like me to spread the word on  . 

That is about it for now , other than  Harley will be going to be lightly started with my honorary niece Katie next week and also will be offered for sale . Once all of that is firmed up and organised,maybe that summer of running wild and riding horses I planned will actually happen! 
There are after all a few "spots" that need my attention!



Stay safe my friends 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The wild card


Just a video update, I have discovered I am not good at video, still pics, I am OK video? well it took a couple tries to get this, lucky the horse is so pretty!


Saturday, July 5, 2014

"Its been a good year for the roses" and my week in pictures

 I have had the last week off from work, well of from my paying job anyhow. Seems summer  vacation days  can be busier than they should but I did get a lot done. Some of what I got done was to take some pictures, and that is what led to the post title, the Wild roses are  blooming beautifully everywhere we go around here so it seems to fit. The title is actually an old George Jones song, and not one I particularly like but this  part of it works well because it has in fact been a good year for the roses !



This week was about getting some things done, I worked with the young horses, and got them on some green  grass for more hours in the day






Wednesday was a big day for the "kids" Honorary niece Katie, who is just the sweetest gal, came out to help get video of Wilder,(which would have been better if I had figured out the settings on my camera !Will try again Monday) And also  to trim the "kids feet" 
THEY WERE AWESOME! no pulling,rearing, or jerking around, even accepted the stand and hving thier feet rasped on it with little fuss>



By the time that was done  there was just time to have a cookie and a cold drink and the vet arrived to geld Maks and Tango.
Also went well, though Maks was a little slow to wake up so instead of watching him form the comfort of the shade and my dip[ping pool ,I got to stand in the round pen for and extra hour or so. He finally  got looking  back to normal, and I hit the pool as he wandered off to eat grass in the shade.
I love this pool! 
 Speaking of which, the redneck dipping pool got an upgrade of sorts this year, I bought a cover so there is less skimming to pull out the fluff and lilac blossoms and bugs  before you can soak

Thursday brought a trip to town to buy a gift for my nephew and also my hubby as their birthdays are a day apart. Both were looking at a similar thing so , this years gifts for the July boys are...
"Nerf Bars " why they aren't just called running boards anymore I don't know, but then I lose intelligence by degrees as soon as I walk into some of these after market auto shops.

Friday was a day to check and move cattle and also to take a few more pictures







So as my week "off comes to a close and I get ready to rejoin the "real" world, I wish you all a good night, stay safe my friends 



Monday, June 30, 2014

Odds, ends and summertime

Just another "catch up" post! I have been out and about working with the babies, and checking cattle.I try to remember to carry my camera, and have gotten a few nice shots of summer here at Fern Valley
A couple of favorites here are the beautiful wild roses . The first a show of what nature will and can do to beautify the marks we make on the land 
 The second, turned out a little oddly, taken at half light on my cell phone, but I still like it even though it is a bit blurry, makes me think of a watercolor somehow

Hubby was home this week so helped me with a lot of odds and ends we needed to do, I worked, her fenced and dealt with plugged up culverts and beaver dams , and life was busy  as it always is. 
But he did make a quick trip to town to get a few things, and one of them was this 

He is such a thoughtful guy! His birthday is next week mine was in May and it was I who got the gift?
Not complaining  mind you  but .
We had a BBQ Saturday to celebrate Martins birthday and his dads as well. Great fun with great people. And there is nothing that says summer like kids and ice cream! 
Great niece Abby, and great nephew Darian enjoying it thoroughly

 The weather has been off and on and that plays a bit of havoc with my joints, makes things just feel off. I captioned this  "When nothing seems to fit" and that is how I have felt  when the storms  fire up lately, just not quite right .But we persevere!

Today was a bit cold and windy but days like this are great for photos , I find overcast days can give great pictures . Deb was out for the first time in a fair while and was pleased that little Sprite had remembered all her lessons 

Added this little animation because it made me smile,I only wish I could get things done that fast anymore! lol

Young Tango, looking a bit grubby ,but behaving well and growing like a weed 





 Such a sweet boy
 And then there is everyone's fav, Maks! 
Striking , handsome and darn smart! 

 also however a bit grubby, but we are working on it 




And finally Miss Casey! she was the last one I went to work on haltering, and really she should have been first! Easy peasy, well more or less, took a little longer walking her down, but as soon as I got the rope on her we were done, just put the halter on and walked away! What a good girls! Very reminiscent of her half Sister Canadian Classic 

  big beautiful Classy!(I have always liked this picture of her )
That's about it for now, seems I cant seems to keep up to date these days.
Off to read about everyone else's week and weekend ! 
Stay safe my friends