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 .

Monday, 8 December 2014

WD40, a torch, some expert assistance and ...

I made a deal over the summer to breed a mare for some friends, and rather than take payment in cash I arranged to exchange it for board at their facility a little south of here.The plan being to make use of the indoor arena to continue my EAPD work and also hopefully once I get back into shape get some time for myself on Cat , and Andee. Get us all fit for spring so I am able to attend some of the great rides I have been invited on and well, just ride my horses. They were initially supposed  to go around the twentieth of November but with the birthday party for my sister and the huge snowfall,then fog, and more snow... we postponed. Finally last Wednesday, the weather cleared and it was time!
I went down to hook on tot he trailer (which was nicely cleared in front of btw by my brother in law) and first  I found the lock on the hitch frozen. Sigh, tried heating the key, then tried WD 40, best thing to have next to duct tape, it is a penetrating oil, and also works to quickly dissolve ice, sometimes. While I waited to see if it worked I though I would just put the ball on the receiver, it is stored in the tack room of the trailer.Imagine my glee when I found the door was frozen shut! More WD40, and that worked a treat , got the hitch together and tried the lock again, no luck, by this time I was more than mildly irritated. I went to my brother in laws and asked if he had bolt cutters or a torch!Marc knows me well enough  he just raised his eyebrows a bit and gave me both, asked if I wanted help but he was busy with a project so I declined. One my way back I noticed that the girls were in the top pen so I whipped up and locked them up so I at least could grab them quickly if I ever got the @#%* thing hooked up!
Used the torch to defrost the lock, and apparently the WD 40 is not as flammable as I thought (about halfway through) so I did not burst into flames !
Dad showed up about then and helped line me up to hook on, I can do this myself but it sure nice to have a pro spotter. Caught up the girls loaded them and away we went !
Thery hauled like the troopers they are, and settled in nicely . Will be starting sessions there with them tomorrow .

Did a final session here with Tango, final that is for this winter, if he is still here in the spring I likely will continue using him , since he is so good to work with and the kids get so much from him. 
This young fellow had not been here for a while and the session went very well, but It took a lot out of all of us , in fact when my second client arrived ,Tango was flat out on his side sound asleep! 
No problem, we have no shortage of "therapists" here lol .
Who should step up for the afternoon session? none other than Johnnie Handsome! 

It was the first time I have used him for this , but Johnnie is a guy who rarely disappoints, and this day was no exception! 
I am really loving this work, there is no better magic than kids and horses! 

The rest of the farm and family is doing well, just steady day to day getting ready for Christmas, and working our way through the winter. Martin is home tonight and will be here right through till New Years! A nice long break for us.
Had a special shopping trip to town with my sister, my nieces,my mom and Dee's future mother in law as well as her maid of honor, for what? the dress of course! , all I will say here is that little lady would be beautiful in a burlap sac, but that is not what she will be wearing! 
I will leave it at that for now and leave you with some pics of the last few days around here.


 Skeeter chewing his nails, maybe worried that Santa know he chased the cats in the barn again?

You have heard of "Cat on a hot tin roof"? well how about "Cat on a warm wood stove"? She moved fairly quickly after this photo lol 

Stay warm and safe my friends 

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Visit with Jack Frost , and catching up

It seems I have been neglecting the blog again! 
No real reason, it seems I have been just puttering around and doing things, and been a little tired of late, so when I am usually going to sit at the computer and write, I am laying in my bed and sleeping. I am continuing my work with the kids and coaching sessions, soon we will be moving Cat and Andee to a local barn where we can continue our work in an indoor arena, hopefully Martin and I will also be able to make use of this facility and do some winter riding.
Also I have continued to go swimming a couple times a week, and have increased my stamina to allow for 750 meters on my last swim, the shoulder is holding up well, and with the use of a tennis elbow braces so is my elbow. I feel confident I will achieve my goal of 100 meter by Christmas.
Speaking of Christmas,it sure is looking a lot like it around here lately, or at least like winter!
We have had several days with Hoar frost, which are cold but sure make for pretty pictures !

The boys are enjoying themselves 
 "That'll do little dog,that'll do"
 more frost 
 even makes the booby trap pretty 
 A different look at a favorite scene








 We celebrated a milestone birthday  for my sister last weekend , I even baked, not one, but 2 cakes ! 
One a gluten free Pumkin spice cake ( for my nephews girlfriend ) And an old fashioned carrot cake! YUMM



Today we had more frost, and an ice fog, which changed my plans to haul the girls, so it will be next week now, but I would rather wait and be sure we can be seen on the road, those two horses like all of them are precious cargo! So instead we have some pics of the gang frolicking in the mist. Well frist we have the kids, munching in the mist ...







 unfortunately I missed the real "money shot" here, as just a moment later Cat reared up then leaped in the air and kicked out !

  Boss mare looking regal ,Get Rich Quick, (That Richie mare) 
and the lights of my warm house where the wood stove was warming the kitchen and  home made soup! 

Stay safe and warm my friends 

Sunday, 16 November 2014

"work with the horse you have now" or the situation

Maybe a bit of a ramble again but I think it might be interesting;

I was working with one of my young clients the other day, one of the issues as a child in a home with foster and adoptive members, are struggles with acceptance of change and the dynamic in the home. Add to that the client  was not feeling great, and it was cold I wasn't sure how much we would accomplish , so instead of a specific "plan " we just went for a walk. I had  just moved the horses around, making room in a small herd for my new mare "Lacy".
In one pen we had Cat, Andee,Johnny, and added Jewel ,Ici and Richie. Johnny thought he was the mega boss and was about to take on Richie's little band with guns ablaze!
Those of you who have read the blog for some time, know Richie is the ultimate boss mare I write about  that here , and well essentially she handed Johnny his own ass! LOL
Johnny is not stupid, so he took his smack down then began to work for  his position as second in command. Respectful of Rich but maintaining his authority with the others, if he went too far, Richie took him down a peg and so it went, the whole integration took less than 10 min. Now that is some leadership Richie!
the two groups , together but separate 


still some division but the are all eating together and doing well 

By the time my client arrived, that was settled, but a couple things had changed. New horses in and Annie was no longer in with that group. Cat (Whoa Dammit) was struggling with that change, missing her friend and simply not a girl who accepts change well. She was leaning over the gate, calling her friend and very agitated, I was talking with my client and gently stroking Cats face, when I did that she settled  with the sense of the familiar ,but as soon as I stopped she became a  bit more anxious. Compared that situation  to my clients home and asked if she understood how Cat might be feeling? A huge YES in response , so we talked a little about how we might help Cat settle herself, and that little gal got right into it talking with Cat about change, stroking her face and just gently being with her . Then the light dawned for the client and the words continued to pour out.
We then moved over to Stryker and Harley ,while walking we talked about a younger sibling, new to the home  and how irritating he was to her. So I asked what irritates you ? she replied , he copies me, and follows me around , and tries to be with me and , and ,and ...
Fair enough, so as we walked over to the other pen we saw Stryker (boss of that group) moving the new mares Annie was new to that pen around , and Harley standing near but behind  and watching . Annie was letting the new girl close ,but not too close , and of course the new girl was on her own. Stood and watched a while as each horse took a time to check the other out. Harley was not aggressive but mirroring Stryker, The new mare Lacy was approaching ,in a submissive manner and also mirroring Annie, maintaining some distance but staying in the vicinity. We talked about the mirroring behaviour,I asked her if that looked familiar? she agreed yes, then I asked why she thought the mare was doing that? her answer  "to try to fit in?" and before I could lead her to it, she said "Oh I get it ! that's what X is trying to do at home ! " Sometimes the moment happens all on its own.
Moving forward on that  path we then talked about some of the behaviours we saw in this nice quiet group, that might translate for her and her family interactions. Will be seeing her again next week, hoping she was able to try putting some of that into practice.

I wanted to share this, just because as much as we plan sometimes I think the moment creates itself , and you need to go with it !

Monday, 10 November 2014

Welcome to my snow globe

We knew it was coming, but somehow the longer it took the more we were able to dream that it might not.
But in the end , Old man winter never lets us down ! Arrived with a vengeance on Saturday . 
But for once I was ready, I had the horse all set up in winter quarters, and the pens ready for the cows. 
 I went out on the gator , to call them in, I should have had video , the cows were more than ready to coma but Bully! well he rivaled California Chrome the speed he came in! He is not even seen in the abocve pic, but shortly after I took it he came out of the bush on the run, passed the cows and me and pretty much met us in the yard! 
 The new girl (who as I type this it occurs to me I haven't yet told you about ) was not too sure about the cows but she and the group she is with settled quickly.
The new mare is named Bright Eyed Beauty, Lacy is her barn name .She is a 9 yr old registered Appaloosa mare who came to me via a friend and fellow appaloosa breeder ,Linda of Starmyri Appaloosas   Lacy belonged to her sister. Linda contacted me in the spring about this mare and initially my response was to decline, but then I saw her, and her pedigree, and well, you don't often get offered horses of that caliber and with the background she has (Linda is a very reputable gal) so I agreed. Her pedigree, suits my program as thought she was bred to be here! 
The pictures I have are not great as she was fairly excited as she met the new herd and then once settled I just could not get far enough away from her to get a photo! Another pocket pony offering free horse hugs!





The other group getting warmed up to face the storm ! 
 All were pretty revved up 




 but it makes some pretty pictures 
 After all the moving and sorting things out it was time to go in and warm up. Hot chocolate with caramel espresso, and Baileys! That will fix you right up! 
 I stayed home Saturday night and for the first time in forever it seemed I was not going to go to the Canadian Finals Rodeo! I have attended since I was a kid. Dad and I were planning to go , but the roads were poor and we decided against it,m sent the tickets along to an honorary niece, Cara,and her boyfriend. I hope they enjoyed it .
But as luck would have it I got a text the next morning from a friend who had a spare ticket to the Final ! I didn't even have to drive far, met her halfway and her hubby drove! Yay for second chances!
Pictures are difficult at best and on a cell phone more so, but this snappy chestnut caught my eye 
 

Put me in mind of this guy. Though Badger was a bigger horse and had one less stocking.

Anyhow that is the goings one currently her at Fern Valley. So again welcome to my snow globe! and the Winter of 2014/15 ! Lets hope its a short one! 
As always , stay safe my friends, and now I will add, stay warm!