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, 29 November 2011

Lookee lookee!!!!!

I am sooo excited ! I kind of jumped the gun on Santa , and bought myself a very cool present !!!!
Jennifer MacNeill-Traylor of The Mare's Tales - Gypsy Mare Studios is a very talented artist and among other things has painted for the Trail of the Painted Ponies ! Currently she has for sale on eBay some wonderful Christmas signs ,and until today she had this one for sale!
But not any more!!!! I had the winning bid and will be watching my mail box, like,well like a kid at Christmas!
Shirley ,from Ride a good horse , and Janice from Own a Morgan  have also posted links   to some wonderful artists And Shirley herself is also a talented artist . What an amazing group of talented bloggers we have!

Monday, 28 November 2011

A good little dog

(I know I have posted this photo many times , but I just love it! )

While moving cows one chilly night
I found myself in  a fearsome plight
Our two young bulls did take a chance
and began to dance an age old dance
They were not really after me
I just got in the way you see
As I looked round for a line of flight
my hero arrived in black and white
He nipped and danced and barked and charged
And those two bulls although so large
parted quick and went on their way
to quietly go and eat their hay

Some will read this with surprise
as this  dog can be a bit unwise
he is shy and silly often times
and has gotten into awful binds

But when it comes to cows
you see
He is fast and brave  
and that works for me

Stay safe and warm everyone

Saturday, 26 November 2011

And now for the words

So yesterdays post was wordless for a couple of reasons.First and foremost I figured the boys could carry the post on good looks alone , secondly ,I was struggling with a headache.Well the headache  came and went all evening , and was apparently a warning of things to come . Suffice to say this morning sucked! big time ! I have not been that ill in a long time. We are talking the kind of sick ,where it doesn't matter how old you are , you just want your mommy!
Got chores done  then went back to bed until noonish . Finally was able to keep some chicken soup down(you know the kind , with zero food value, has never been in the vicinity of a chicken , or a vegetable for that matter) Figured it was a cheap easy thing and I wasn't wasting good food if it went wrong .
Still a little shaky all day so I pretty much laid low, I did go out for a walk and helped my BIL tow a truck out of the way of feeding , and watered the mares ,did afternoon chore a little early (and a little slow ) and got a few more pics of the "kids"

(Tell you a secret)

They have settled well, but last night was a little exciting with Quinn jumping out of the pen over a 3 rail fence I might add!Quinn was the wild child of the day actually , when I went to take them out ,it was quite windy ,so Deb was holding the gate , and Brian wound up laying over the tarp on Phoenix's bales to stop it from spooking them. Comet came out quite well on the lead , a little hesitant , but good. Quinn on the other hand ,was pretty sure I was leading him to slaughter! took  two tries to get out of the barn and then when we were almost to the gate , he bolted and took off ! straight back into the barn , and into Comets stall , then out of there and into his own! (So wish I could have got that on film! ) Three times is the charm though and he led out fairly well and into the pen. As you saw from the pics I let them rip around a bit then caught them up , took off the halters and put them in the new pen .This evening , after some turnout time they are well settled and munching in their new quarters .
Was going to work on Christmas decorations outside and do some housecleaning ,but well the way I feel the dust bunnies will live to fight another day , and the lights will have to wait too!
Before I sign off, I wanted to let you know to check out Ride a Good Horse , and Own A Morgan  blogs .Both have posted some great ideas for Christmas gifts  made by fellow bloggers!
Stay safe and warm everyone!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Don't be a lazy forker !

(Gratuitous Johnnie shot)

Yep, you read it right,I said lazy forker!
What the heck am I talking about? Let me explain .
We have  mostly round bales here, I feed a few squares to Phoenix and the "kids " bot overall I use feeder and round bales. Early in the winter though ,before it gets too cold , and when the horses are in good condition I just fork feed to them off a round bale a couple times a day . They don't all need to be on free choice just yet .
When you fork off a round bale especially ours ,as they are a soft core type , you need to make sure you take the whole wrap top to bottom  each time . Otherwise it tends to ball up at the bottom , and eventually you wind up in trouble , grabbing a fork full of hay when the bottom 6 inches or so is all wound up , tends to yield ,well about enough to fill a cereal bowl. not a horses belly!
It takes a little longer each feeding to do it right and clean up , but in the long run it saves time .

Apparently when we had the cold snap ,I got to be a bit of a lazy forker and just grabbed  what I could and rushed off to the next chore. Then when Martin was home , he kinda did the same thing . So after a week of lazy forking ... You can imagine the mess right?
Well I started it , so today I finished it , spent about 45 min digging in and unravelling the mess, to feed Cactus , still a lot of cleanup to do , but I had a headache and it was getting dark so will finish tomorrow. So essentially I saved a few seconds a day in the cold weather to add nearly and hour of hard labour to today !
That math doesn't work for me !
The moral of the story??? well I think it is clear

Stay safe and warm everyone!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Calenders are ready !

Here is a sneak peek at the boys of January .

Way back when I started doing the calenders this year , I said , anyone who commented on the calender posts ,would be entered in a draw to receive 1. I stated I would draw for 4 winners .
Then promptly forgot about the draw ,until today . The calenders are done and here , so I figured I better get at the draw .
Roped my dad in on it , numbered each entry , then had him randomly pick for numbers . So without further ado
are the winners !

Knotty Dogs
Congrats to all the winners , please email me at fernvalleyappaloosas@hotmail.ca  with your snail mail Addy's!
Stay safe and warm
and to all my friend in the USA ,Happy Thanksgiving , I am thankful for each of you every day!

Monday, 21 November 2011

When do you wave the little white flag?

Hang on friends ! this is one of those "thinking posts" and I am not sure where it is going ,or if at the end you won't be shaking your heads!

As I said , I have been thinking . About horses, and other animals . And when , we decide to let them go . Either sell or re home horses that we cannot manage . Or in the sad situation of a horse or a pet who has reached a level of age or disease that it is no longer feasible to maintain them .

Part of what has brought this thought process on is the team of Morgans we own . They are beautiful horses and a snappy team , but they are hot! Dad quite enjoyed driving them when we first got them , but time gets away on us , and they didn't get a lot of use . Add to that dad is having a rough time with his hip, it is not likely that he will drive a team again anytime soon. And certainly not a team of pistols! And to be brutally honest ,I don't want to drive a team. I drove Sunshine single for several years , and loved it , but have no particular interest in going further. maybe someday again I will want to drive a single horse, but as far as teams go? I am happy to bundle up with some fortified hot chocolate and sit in someone else's sleigh !

I made a deal ,last year to trade my fancy gelding Badger , for some "refresher training" on the blacks. Badger was another "hotter than a pistol" guy that I had ridden , but who needed a full time job. We have a young friend who took him on and I am pleased to report ,he LOVES him. He is using him outfitting , and also on community pasture work . Told me "it doesn't matter what you rope ,Ole Badge will get it to where you need it ! He has no bottom , and loves to work!" I couldn't be happier about that ,I loved the horse, but was feeling like he was wasted here. And he was quite simply too good a horse to let that happen to. SO he is one that I chose to ,in effect raise a white flag, concede if not defeat ,at least that I was over matched and sent him on to bigger and better things .

Bug also was one who turned out to be too much horse for her owner and we sold her this summer .

I was talking to dad about the blacks last night , and also the fellow working with them , and we have come to the conclusion that they too will need to move on from here . The trick with that is to find ,just the right fit for them .

I am finding just also of late I am reducing the numbers in a way, keeping only the type of horse I really enjoy working with . Quiet steady , sane .The ones I raise . Now I sell some of them too, but that is part of the business , but the ones I sell with my farm name attached (as in I bred them here, they all sell in my name I am not hiding it ) are consistently quiet easy to manage using horses I am too old and arthritic to manage the pistols anymore .

As to the older ,infirm , ill or injured animals , that can be as hard or harder to wave that white flag and quit . Many more things come into play , costs, time , emotions etc .

My old housecat Diesel is getting a bit stiff and sore, she looks less like a tough mean "queen of the house" and is starting to look a little frail. No forgive me , but at her advanced age, I am not going to likely take her in for intense diagnostics, I will keep her as comfortable as possible and when it is no longer possible to ensure her quality of life I will have he put down . Plain and simple. There are a few things I can likely do to mitigate some of her pain ,but that is a conversation that needs to happen with the vet ,cats are funny and quite sensitive to some meds , and I don't want to trade one problem for another (ie ,pain management for severe GI upset ) Its easier with a cat or dog, in some ways because you can keep them indoors and warm and safe. A Horse on the other hand, becomes a larger issue .

Chips (mentioned in the honorable mention from last week) when he became ill ,suffered from congestive heart failure. I was offered the option of medicating him to extend his life, but it would have been severely limited, he would have been in a stall (which he hated) and it would only have extended his life a short time . Rather than do that I chose to euthanize him , maintaining his (or my perception of ) his dignity . My greatest fear, living here in the snowy north is to wait too long , and have one of my beloved horse go down in the cold and be unable to get back up. My old mare Togy did just that as a result of a fall , and I have never really forgiven myself for not finding her in time (it was a matter of minutes to an hour but... )

My friend deb, chose to put her sweet Blue down at a much younger age than most 16 but he was in debilitating pain, and we were no longer able to adequately manage it . Yes he could still stand and walk, but it was clearly painful for him , and again side effects of long term pain management in the form of medications do take their toll .

So the choices are difficult. I am not against diagnostic testing, in fact in a animal who is young with a reasonable quality of life and health I am all for it , that said , I cannot , and will not spend the "grocery " money for my herd and family on one horse .But I will do something! One thing I hate to see is  the attitude "I don't know what to do so I will do nothing! As stewards of these animals it is our job to care for them and maintain their qality of life ,and if not to end it . There is never a good reason to just let them suffer while we think about it !

It is a tough business to be in and can be truly heartbreaking to make those difficult choices. If all problems could be fixed by throwing money at them...

Sometimes no amount of money, time or love will change the outcome, and sometimes we need to be strong enough to simply hold up that little white flag and say, I surrender!

Balance all that with the years of poor joy we get form those horse, and or pets that are truly the right fit for us, and I think it is still more than worth it .

SOP forgive the ramble friends, I do have these flights of fancy now and then.

Stay safe, and warm!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

No wonder I have been stuck in the past this week!

The present is ,nasty stinkin cold!
23C /-5F Somehow it sounds better in Fahrenheit . But however you look at it the real temp is HolycrapitsfreakingcoldIcan'tfeelmyfeet Out there ! Scary thing is , here in Alberta , this is nowhere near as low as we can go!

As you  see , at least these guys were enjoying the  snow games ,for a while

But after a while Skeeter succumbed to the  draw of the warm tractor with Dad!
he does OK for a while , but we have to get his coat on if he is staying outside any length of time !

Put a straw bale in with the girls , if I would have thought faster I could have videoed Richie's classic "bale body slam" That mare can take a bale apart and have it spread  out in about 5 min when she gets a notion!

Regular winter chores have begun.
In other news .Dandy is sold ! A young lady from Ft  St John BC  has begun a payment plan for him, She seems very excited , and having seen some of her photos of other horses she has owned and ridden,this gal seems to be a good fit . I think Dandy is going to be ,well just dandy with her!
I struggled for a while with it , but finally got halters on the babies in the barn ,last weekend . Some times ,its not about the horse , I seemed to have real trouble this year maintaining my focus . Once I got my head on straight ,it went lickity split ! Just like it should . Funny that !
Anyhow, life is just clipping along at its usual pace . I am hoping to get a few things caught up this week, and maybe even be ready for Christmas early! LOL (If you know me, you know it will never happen!)
Stay safe and warm ,my friends!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Honorable Mention #5

This honorable mention was posted in Feb of 2010. and luckily I had saved it with Blog2Print because this is one of several posts I was unable to recover through Googles archives . SO here it is again
C7Sparks Jewel
I bought Jewel as a 5 yr. old. A friend had called me about a registered Appy mare that she (or someone ) had "rescued" The mare had come from what was described as a "bad situation”. Not a lot of detail given ,other than her age , her papers,the fact that she had had 3foals (that means bred as a long yearling!) and was very spooky and thin .

Helluva deal right?

Well whatever I went and got her anyway. 2 hrs. loading her in the trailer and brought her home . I kept this thin crazy little darlin in a box stall for a few weeks trying to get her settled .Daily handling,which involved me standing in the door of the stall while she ran in circles and backed into the corner working herself into a total frenzy dripping with sweat and spraying loose manure in all directions ,until she let me put my hand on her , then slowly I got a rope ,then halter on her and took her out for a walk and some green grass. I would get her dried off ,brush her a little then do it all again the next day.

Did I mention I was alone doing all this with this bat sh*t crazy horse?
Anyhow, this continued until she seemed settled enough to turn out , she had stopped panicking when I went into the stall ,and was accepting affection to some degree.

This mare had clearly had a rough go of it somewhere in her life ,but I was hesitant to call abuse ,without other input .My farrier at the time was an incredible horseman , and he agreed that this was not just a crazy horse ,and that among other things she had had a nerve line/war bridle used on her (she would barely tolerate a halter ,and it took years for me to be able to touch her ears)
I never got her whole story ,maybe that's lucky as I believe if I ever found the sonova buck that did the damage to that mare ... well lets just say things might have gotten a little western
I kept Jewel till she was 25 ,and after she suffered a stroke sadly had to let her go. In all that time she settled some and was accepting of my handling her , but I never really was able to heal the scars in her mind.
She raised several beautiful foals here,most of which were sold ,however I saved her last foal FV Jazz ,to carry on the line here .I think I picked a winner ,looking at Jazzy's foals ,FV Jazz Time and FV Sparks Image, As well FV Dandy Line

And honorable mention ,for an honorable mare
Stay safe everyone

Thursday, 17 November 2011

A Chip off the old ...well, Chip

Forgive me all, my blog is a little trip down memory lane this week . One more post on the past today then I swear I will get back to the day to day

So between revisiting the Honorable Mentions , and the followup response on Never To Old (Grey Mare's blog , this post has been on my mind  . So since this week seems to be about reminiscing  here we go  !

 A couple posts back I re posted an Honorable mention of my old stallion Chile Poivre (Chips)

In it I mentioned his last son Fern Valley's Phoenix. I still have Phoenix; he is now 4 and growing up to be a lovely horse. With so many of his sire's little idiosyncrasies. They truly do not look a lot alike ,Chile had a very clear and pronounced blanket with very little roaning , and Phoenix (or Fix as my nephew calls him) is a red roan with s few spots , blue eyes and is considerably shorter and stockier than his sire , and yet... there is something .

Enough so that I , who used to never mix up horses names have begun slipping up and calling him Chips or Chile ,when talking about him , or when he is doing something familiar,(like playing bongo drums with his feed tub) I called out to him to settle down last night and said "Hey Chips!" well the look I got over the fence was priceless ! I swear it could have been the old fella himself staring me down! Funny thing , I have raised several colts from Chips, and Phoenix is the first one to share so much of his personality . Johnnie, has his color pattern, Blue had his size , Digger , more of a temperament thing . Chance ,showed a little of the wise arse side , and his lovely gaits , Wilder is such a gentle kind souls like his sire , I could go on and on , But Phoenix , somehow got something a little different . Is it because he was the last and I set my hopes so high? or is it just luck of the draw . Or something completely beyond my understanding? Whatever it is I am glad, I feel like through all of his progeny Chips lives on , and with Phoenix? Each time he does a "Chips” thing I feel like a get a little gift. Phoenix is his own horse with his own quirks and tricks but the sense of the familiar about him warms my heart.

Stay safe everyone!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Wordy Wednesday

Gonna let Deb(Greymare) post some additional pics of Shiroc on her blog, seeing as she has many of them . But I am also reposting the poem I wrote for Shiroc(At least I think I posted it  before )
They first called her Ashes

But that was just Silly

Ashes was no name for that

 Little grey filly

A pretty rough start

For that little girl

But she showed she had heart

And gave us a whirl

A new owner soon

Who started to see

Just what

 That little grey mare could be

You sure couldn’t push her

Or force her to bend

But with patience and


She gave in the end

Stubborn and stoic

Tireless and strong

She‘d give what she got

And go the day long

She made me a friend

 Lasting and true

And though I wouldn’t admit it,

I loved her too

A stealthy horse,

In shadowy state

Before you would see her

She would slip out the gate

Time marched along

Just like it does

And we are left wondering

Just where it goes

From Ashes she came

To Ashes she went

But the time in between

Was brilliantly spent

She runs through my mind,

Now and again

Like the warm southern wind

That gave her a name

Shiroc and her son Blue
Stay safe everyone  

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Honorable Mention #4

Reminiscing and Honorable mention
This post was oringinally poste in Nov of 2008 and was actually the first in my series of hohorable mentions .It was posted in 2 parts ,the first and then an update with pictures . I am combining them as the pictures were not recovered with the post ,and I am adding in what I have
Got to thinking about some of the horses I have known over the years, some mine and some belonging to friends, and realized that Debs mare Shiroc, among others, has never graced my blog, Shiroc was a # 1 companion to Deb and taught all of her kids to ride, She had an interesting temperament ,but having had an incredibly rough start she did OK . I was graced with her presence here on the farm for a large chunk of her life until just this spring, on Good Friday she went on to greener pastures. Any how I seem to only have one photo of her and it does not do her justice so I will tag Deb to send me some ,watch this post for an update.Unfortunately some of the older horses around here were in their heyday "BD" (before digital ) so I will spend some time this winter gathering and scanning some old photos for more "Honorable mentions" .

So you might be wondering why , if she was not my horse Shiroc was my first honorable mention. I actually met Shiroc before I met Deb. The stable I was boarding at had a fashion model that hung out there and she originally purchased "Ashes" a 14 month old wild child appy filly. She was halter broke(ish) and weaned the day she bought her then lead/drug home behind a ginormous QH. Add to this she had a huge scar on her neck that the origin of which was never discovered. Anyhow Shiroc, or Ashes as she was then named had a "i will get you before you get me " attitude that proved to be too much for the fashionista. Enter Deb and Brian Oakley Deb fell in love and bought Shiroc (immediately changing her name) I belive it means something about a wind or storm. Which brings me to why I am writing about the old love.She introduced me to one of my dearest friends , Deb and I got to know each other working with our young horses and developed a lasting and wonderful friendship. Miles covered together . Deb and Shiroc moved to a couple of other places over the years ,one of which was a fancy Warmblood stable where they showed them that A) Appys are tough, and B) Appys can Jump!!!

Shiroc suffered what appeared to be a career ending injury and came to my farm to retire . but you can't keep a good mare down , some rest some soft footing and she was sound again for pleasure riding . She lived out her years here as the favorite of many kids and ,well she and I loved each other in our way. She will be missed . And I thank her for the gift of a wonderful friend and honorary title of auntie to 3 wonderful kids. The rest of her story if it is to be told must come from Deb.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

My Heros haven't all been Cowboys

Nope, the hero's in my life have run the gamut from cowboys( Had a huge crush on Cody Snyder ,one of Canada's best Bull riders when I was about 14. Never met the man , but when has that ever stopped a teenage crush? )

To Cowgirls (to many to name , but Oh how I wanted to be just like them) to many other walks of life .

 You have all come to know by know ,just how incredibly proud I am of my family, each of them , my folks , my grandparents, uncles and Aunts have taught me something , and showed me a life worth living.

But this hero is a little different , he was a man I met when I first moved out this way . Quite elderly when we met , I have no idea how to spell his name  Heine(sounds like Hiney) Henkel. He was a local horse dealer, but a very special one .

He was honest as the day is long, and seemed to buy and sell horses more as a hobby than for profit . When I first met him I was a little taken aback. He lived in a ratty old trailer  at the entrance to town  with a broken down house on the place and a barn .Inside the trailer , he would sit at the table , which was covered in papers and books . Always cleared a space for you and offered you a cup of tea. Now Hiene's tea was an experience! You needed to time your visit just right . I swear he boiled the kettle first thing in the morning and poured water over about 5 tea bags, then topped it up with water the rest of the day .So if you showed up to early the tea would curl your hair, too late in the day,it was colored water! Right around 11:00 am  ish was darn near drinkable!

I bought a couple horses from Heine over the years , most memorable being Miami Mouse  a Sweet Little red roan Quarter horse , with some great training and some darn slick reining moves! I paid $600 for her which I came to find later was 50 less than he had bought her for. I was quite young , and I recall him saying ," now dear, that's quite a bit of money ,why don't you pay half now and half in a month" Well things happened , and I didn't get back to him for nearly 3 months , I rushed over ,so upset and embarrassed , and he just smiled , ands said "that's fine , are you sure you don't need longer to pay?" I should mention anther thing that  makes Mouse a memorable horse is she is the dam of my very own Johnnie Handsome !

Over the year he would ask me from time to time to haul a horse for him . Usually not far, maybe 30 min drive or so . When he asked what I would charge I said , $20.00 . Well on those trips , he would point out parcels of land that were right around town , that he used to own . I stopped to think about this at one point , and came to realise this man had owned most of what was now Onoway township , and a great deal more !On another trip , for $20 we went east of Edmonton  close to Elk Island park! (for those who don't know the area , about 2 hours one way) he also bought me lunch at a diner that can best be described as the original "Greasy Spoon " I guess I should have charged him more ,for that trip, but he was such a sweet old man I didn't have the heart or the nerve .

Finally someone from town asked me who I had been hauling for. When I told them , they laughed and said $20 a trip??That old man is a millionaire!!! They told me quite a bit about him, and the fact that he was also a WWII veteran and a decorated soldier at that! . He never talked to me about his military years, and I never asked ,I can't tell you exactly why ,just that is seemed very private to him . He lived very simply , and as I said  he got his moneys worth out of a tea bag so...

Shortly after I was "blessed" with all this info  , he called again and asked me to haul a horse for him . Guess what I charged that time ???
Yup $20 . Same as always .

He passed away many years ago , and there was a huge write up about himin the paper , yes he was all of the things I had been told about him, but what they didn't say or didn't know is he was a wonderful kind old man with a heart as big as the sun. and he was my friend .
Nope not a cowboy but a hero all the same

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Honorable Mention #3

Chile Poivre
I am going to tell the end of this story first , just because.

Chile Poivre (Chips) passed away in January 2007 of heart failure(a blown valve) at the age of 23. He fell ill very quickly and we were lucky in that we found the problem and realized its severity quickly. It was heartbreaking but also surprisingly easy to make the call to let him go. We dispose of our animals when possible by burning them on a brush pile here on the property,and we did the same for Chips. The next August ,after a particularly trying summer which included a misscarriage for me , we found this beautiful tribute to my old friend had grown up in his resting placeThis only happened one year and I have seen no sign of it again.

So to the begining , Chips is the "other foal" pictured in the post about Gloalta Toyoga. He was the second foal she had in the time that I had her. He arrived May 15 1984 and from the minute I saw him he just had something, a sort of presence. Imediately I was told "he will have to be gelded " 'Stallions just get mean" and "Little girls can't handle stallions"

Well, I too was born in May (read Taurus) and am nothing if I am not stubborn(not the greatest reason to keep a stud but it worked out well in the end)So I set out to prove to everyone that they were wrong . And prove it I did ! In his entire life he never, kicked ,struck ,bit, or challenged me and though I did place a stud chain on him for breeding I never had cause to do more than growl "mind your manners"and never took up the slack in the rope.

Chips did have a mind of his own ,and a bit of a sense of humour . At about 3 weeks I was leading him and he threw himself down with his head under his body I had to undo his lead (I thought ) to get him up . For the next month every time I tried to halter him he would drop like a stone, I finally got the best of him and more or less forgot about it until he was 5 and in training for a show barn , they called me one day and said "your horse is having seizures" I said what? "yup every time we tie him up to saddle him the past 3 days he falls down grunts and thrashes around ,we untie him and he gets up and seems fine" So I drove over and as I walked up to the barn I heard Sh** he is at it again ,sure enough there is my beautiful horse thrashing and grunting hanging from his lead rope ! I growled (forgive the language ) STAND UP ASSHOLE!! Busted! he scrambled to his feet with the silliest look on his face. I said to the trainer Nope, it wasn't a seizure and went home.

Chips could dance ,by this I mean he would rear and paw ,snake his head and buck and perform , but only "naked " and in his pasture . He would do this most on those crisp fall mornings that Alberta girls know ,I would call to him "Hey Chips are you gonna dance for me?"And away he would go. Sadly again no digital camera .He was shown at several local shows and made the Super Circuit in Claresholm, Alberta where he did quite well. His Legacy remains here in,Johnnie Handsome,Stryker ,Jazz ,Blue ,Digger,Classy, Wilder,Chance, and last but certainly not least, 5 months after his death and one day after my hospital stay was born "The Phoenix"

First snow

We have beaten records here this year for our lack of snow(funny last year we beat records for the opposite ! .But finally  today  we awoke to our first snow . It is a lovely warm day so it is hard to say whether or not it will stay , but it is here now so ...

It seems the only one truly happy about the snow is Winston . He has been rolling and playing like a pup all day . Skeeter is out there when he has to be ,but his reaction is a little bit more like Tommy Toes

Friday, 11 November 2011

Remember , today and all days

"When our perils are past, shall our gratitude sleep?" -George Canning

So much more that has been and can be said about our heroes of the past and present . I had thought of  transcribing a excerpt from my grandfathers journal about my Great Uncle George and his heroism and sad loss. But it makes me cry so hard. And also I cannot single out just one . So many men and women we have known , or should have known...

Stay safe and remember them

Thursday, 10 November 2011

You win some

This poem is about my beloved Sunshine (Honorable mention from last week )And the event is over 20 yrs ago (back when the challenge of a race down and unknown trail  seemed like a good idea!)
To watch her  when I was riding her, she typically looked like she was slipping out of consciousness,.Steady slow , rarely spooked and even at a lope appeared to be making no effort whatsoever . Just really seemed , kind of old and tired . Once  when my uncle jumped on her bareback , she dropped her back and let out such a groan that he jumped right off thinking she was injured! (Have I ever mentioned that Appys have a wicked sense of humour? ) Often walking along on the trail she would do something similar , letting out these sad and pathetic sounds moaning a little from time to time (most often when a really handsome cowboy was riding near , so I would be totally embarrassed and ride off!)
SO in defense of the braggart who challenged me to the race on the Alberta Trail Riders against  Cancer ride . She really didn't look like a horse that could beat him !(insert evil laugh!) But when I got that sweet girl opened  up on a trail?? Well I will let the poem tell the story

Once upon a trail ride
I rode across a meadow wide
I met a young man on that trail
Full of boastful stories and tails
He talked about his big black horse
Fastest thing on feet of course

I rode along and listened some
And though ‘bout how his day would come
He started then to joke and spin
“Your horse can’t catch her own second wind!”
The horse I rode was long and lank,
I knew just what she had in her tank
I shrugged and smiled and rode away
But he kept at me the whole day.

Finally I gave in. And said alright
Let’s take a spin
Along an open trail we ran
Neck and neck along the sand
That black horse ran with all his heart
Until I asked, when does it  start?

Stay safe everyone!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Live life by living it

It hurts sometimes, this life of mine
but I wouldn't change it ,
not one time
The bumps the stings, the aches and pains
It cost far less than what I gained

We can live our lives and ride the ride
or wait and watch and let it slide
I come from tough and stubborn stock
we do the work , not talk the talk

When each day ends I take my rest
and hope I was equal to each test

Live life by living  every day
don't wait and let it slip away
Fear  can hold you back its true
but don't let it take on all of you

Breath the air and dance the dance
And give this life you live a chance

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

educate me

When training a horse

Here is a secret I have learned

More often than not

The tables are turned

While we go along

Thinking we are teaching

The horse goes along with

what we are preaching

but look a bit deeper

and you see a surprise

The very best teacher

Resides in their eyes

We ask them to give, to lead on a line

They teach us of patience, respect and of time

We get on their backs, as really we must

They show us the ultimate form of trust

We teach about pressure, contact and release

They show us their honesty, and willingness to  please

We push them and try them and ask them to give

give us all that and

They teach us to live

Good Morning , stay safe everyone

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Moving ahead by looking back

Sometimes we do things a certain way out of habit , or because we have had success with it . Other times we learn a new way that works better and change based on greater knowledge and skills , and sometime we change things , for what appears to be no reason at all, and find, that we should not . In fact sometimes we find the old way worked just fine , and half of the struggles we have been having are as a direct result of the change .
So in point of fact sometimes it is only by looking back at things that we are able to move ahead

We had a beautiful sunny (if a little chilly)  day today . And a visit from the farrier . Something that occurred to me was that I used to always just tie the horses , and the farrier would trim,unless it was a horse that was a poor one for tying , or very young . They stood tied for trimming and it generally went very well. In working with Dandy for his visit with Charlie , I have been tying him up , and working with his feet while he has his (extra groceries ) . Once this is done , he stands tied  for about 15-20 min after so that he learns some patience as well .
So when Charlie got here today ,we discussed this , I tied Dandy up and picked up all of his feet . Charlie agreed he seemed good with this and away we went . Dandy ? well he was a STAR!!!! Ran out of his snack long before he was done and continued to stand like a trooper ! I don't agree with feeding all of them all of the time , and likely next time Dandy wont be noshing while we are trimming , but I wanted this to be a really good experience for all and it was !
So good I even snuck a photos of the process !
This made me wonder why ,I find myself holding horses. Most of my horses learn to stand tied as one of their very first lessons , so why am I standing holding them for the farrier ?They stand tied comfortably , are not distracted or rubbing on me , if they pull a little they hit the end of the rope on a solid fence not my tired weak self . So what was I doing ??

Anyhow  checked with Charlie to see if he was OK with is , and we basically did the rest of the herd standing tied , and it went ... Just fine . We had one little blip with Johnnie , when Deb brought Ritchie up. Apparently , EVERYBODY likes that Richie mare !!!!! Johnnie (my gelding ) puffed up and made a bit of a fool of himself for a couple minutes till I got Rich out of his line of sight , then settled right back down ,if it hadn't been so stupid it would have been funny . Awe who am I kidding ,it was kinda funny . It wasn't a huge blow up , just momentary foolishness . and he was over it quickly . All in all a good day !
Stopped for a coffee with Charlie ,as well as mom and dad who came out for a visit .To deliver my freshly printed 2012 Fern Valley Appaloosas  Calenders!!! Yeah!! they are here! So now I can go back the the calender posts to draw for the winners!

Also a little sad news today . We heard of the sad death of a Canadian hero . Eric Lamaze' wonderful  horse, Hickstead , died tragically in Verona at the world cup. Hickstead  so terribly sad .

Stay safe and warm my friends

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Honorable Mentions

So I know I said I was done talking about the hacker, and I am ,except to say the the "honorable Mention posts were also  part of what was lost . Those posts were stories about horses in my life of the last XX years , who in their  way helped to shape me , formed lasting bonds of friendship, taught me some valuable and heart breaking lessons .A friend asked me about them the other day , as  have a few others so I am going to post them again (if I can recover them all ) and then post the links on a separate page  for reference.I am title the page Unforgettable spots. So for those who have read them before , please forgive the repetition .And those who are new to the blog here we go!

Honorable Mention #1

This is where it all began.
In order to tell the story of this next horse I have to tell you a bit of my story. I grew up on a Dairy/Beef/Grain operation just outside of Edmonton Alberta. A great place to grow up I lived with my parents and sister on the family farm that also included my grandparents and 2 uncles and their families. Always had horse around to ride and I was at it quite early ,but I always wanted one of my very own.I saved and dreamed and wished and saved some more ,allowance babysitting money and my earnings from working for Grandpa washing bottles in the dairy. There is NOTHING like a focused teenage girl trying to buy her first horse ,dang I was cheap all those savings but never had any money to spend when I went out (lol)
Anyway long story short ,when I was 12 just before my 13 birthday I felt I had enough and Dad took me out to see this Appaloosa Mare named Gloalta Toyoga(Togy) she was a chestnut roan and maybe not the most beautiful in anyone's eyes but mine, But Dad saw her run that day ,and something caught his eye so he agreed and I bought her.
Lots to learn ahead ,Togy was recovering from an abscess, so I learned how to treat her and spent lots of hands on time getting to know her . When I could ride her I was in heaven! Wow could she run!! I truly believed with her I could fly!A graceful and kind mare , A little surprise came along the next year as Togy had been accidentally bred before I bought her . Yup you guessed it the subject of my next honorable mention will be Sunshine, but I will save that for next time.
Togy was a great old girl (just an old soul from the beginning) she took wonderful care of me and taught me so much. Not to say that she never pulled a fast one on me but she was a horse after all. Sadly I lost her at the age of 16 to a bad fall on ice , a freak accident but heartbreaking none the less. She deserved honorable mention not only for being my first horse, but for assuring my lasting love and dedication to horses.

Honorable Mention #2

Sherry's April Sunshine ( I know it was a cutesty name but remember I was about 14)

I believe I may have misled you guys with the pictures of the last honorable mention , There are 2 foals shown, the chestnut with the blanket is actually another HM his name was Chile Poivre and he will be next .

The one in the photo with me is Sunshine ,my special gift. Things I learned from Sunshine include, Appys CHANGE COLOR, patience is truly the #1 rule with horses and unconditional love is COOL,among many others. Sunshine was a bit of a surprise as mentioned it the previous post ,but loved from the minute she arrived. She was born chestnut with a few spots on her rump and ended up...well look at the photos.She was one of those horses that just simply loved people, from day one she was friendly no spook or shyness ever. She was a horse for firsts for me , first foal I ever raised. first black eye I ever had ,first horse I ever drove,first horse I ever owned to go blind and sadly at 23, while not the first horse I ever lost or had to put down the first one I had owned her entire life (I am proud however to have been there for her at the end)

Sunshine was a sweetie and early on became the favorite of many riders as she was so quiet and sensible , she became the "beginners" horse and took excellent care of each of her charges including her young foolish owner!

I rode her as a 2 yr old with about 15 min training(lol) in the St Albert Rodeo parade! She never batted an eyelash at all the chaos and was a perfect lady chewing a hunk of straw throughout.

Over the years I rode and drove her many many miles, chased cows,climbed mountains the works .

She was Alpha mare in the herd until the bitter end (a ranch hand once said about her "she is the perfect horse for me ,I don't like people and she don't like horses")
Sunshine left me a legacy of two foals Stryker , And Badger(my hotter than a pistol Peppy San Badger Grandson) And their stories are not yet finished so I will hopefully have many more years and stories before it is time to post about them .As a momma she was fiercely protective and pity the coyote that ever strayed near her or her baby.

Please forgive the pictures as she also left me BD(before digital )

Thanks for reading . I will be re posting the remainder as I find them . On Saturdays I think .Either as individual posts or 2 at a time as I did this one .

Lots going on this weekend , hope everyone is enjoying theirs ! Stay safe!