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 .

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Right, left, right

Yippee ! another ramble lol

Over the weekend I was cleaning my office at home and found a bunch of the old registrations of

some of the "lifers" of Fern Valley,who lived their lives here with me and have now gone on to 

greener pastures. Took the time I needed to remember those great and wonderful companions then 

smiled and tucked them back away. Each one was a teacher, a friend, and protector. While I may not 

see them out the window anymore, I still do, in the legacy they left, the young stock that are a legacy, 

and in myself, So much of what I do, it seems can be traced back somehow to the lessons of patience 

and determination, courage and compassion that these great and gentle creatures taught me. That, 

and the session  from the weekend and last evening prompted this post.

This is a bit about the coaching I do and a bit about horses, with a dash of life in general. So pour a coffee, or a stiff drink if that is how you roll with my rambles and here we go!

There are a couple of good quotes out there about horsemanship, that might suit, the first,

"Make the right thing easy, and the wrong thing difficult"

"If your horse says no , you are asking the wrong question, or asking the question wrong "

I am not entirely sure who originally said these, but I have been know to borrow them and also to paraphrase  from time to time , especially  with the kids, just saying , "Ask  for the right thing, the right way.

When we ask, a horse to do something, whatever it may be, if we set it up the right way we get the right result, as in the case of "Acting with intention" we have a goal, a plan, and action.
We see the goal, we formulate a plan , we give the right cues, and we take action.
Longing can be kryptonite for a lot of folks believe it or not , simply look at the wrong part of the horse while driving them forward can limit your effectiveness.

I look at it as a triangle , the handler is the pivot point , the nose of the  horse  another point and the tail the third

NOSE                                       TAIL



 I wish I knew how to draw in this , but you get the point I hope, whether you walk with the horse or stand static, your body position need to remain  the point of the triangle or the horse will stop,and or run through. Right cue/question the right way , something as simple as looking at the horses head can skew perception and change the pivot point. I really wish I had taken video last evening at the barn, it would show this well. I was free longing Cat and Andee, and because I was on my game and so were they , I was able to do something kinda cool for my client  . We were talking about focus,and attention to detail. also accountability . This young man is very bright, but like many kids, he has some trouble with accepting accountability, often using the excuse "the horse isn't doing it  because they are not listening " OK well to help him out and cause maybe I am a little bit of a show off ( lol ) I got the girls free longing together , then changed directions once, twice , then changed only Cat's direction so they were circling opposite. ( See why I wish I could have videoed this for you ?) though frankly if I had I would have lost focus and mucked it up so ...

Why did I do this? well mostly so the the excuses could be LEFT out.
The horses were clearly focused and paying attention. He still struggled with the exercise he had chosen because he does struggle with focus and attention but without the "blame game" it was easier for him to see the changes he needed to make , and he eventually had cat working nicely on the longe. 
SO what does longing a horse have to do with  life?

 Nothing and a lot.
The idea of putting yourself in the RIGHT position for success.
Baggage and blame  are LEFT out 
Accountability(good and bad)  falls on the RIGHT person.

I said once years ago working in a different situation, but similar in the sense that the blame game and the lack of accountability can be universal. 
"The most empowering moment in your life is the day you realize you are responsible for all of your actions , good and bad" that is the moment it becomes easier to  choose the RIGHT actions" 

Do we all get it right every time? nope. DO I ? NOPE ,but when I get it  wrong I OWN IT! And I am as proud of my success as I am of  what I learn from my mistakes.

Today I went and worked with the girls separately, because I feel that they may be getting a little to comfortable with the "team" efforts. Andee was a bit heads up, but eventually settled, it is very icy outside so we took our time walking in from the pen, last night with the two of them there was a large spooky moment, and while I wear cleats, the seemed to have a "NOBODY MOVE NOBODY FALLS DOWN " moment . Took some time to get Andee calm and focused, but I still really enjoy working with her, she is a bit reactive, these days, so I need to change my approach to meet her halfway. Cat on the other hand, all confidence, but willing and respectful  but today especially I noticed a real softness about her, I was pretty sore with the weather change, and she was soft and peaceful when I was working her, downright cuddly! Guess the coach needed some therapy too!

After all of that came home and did chores, spending a few minutes with the gang here, Johnny and Tango, and all the rest, by the time I came in for the evening , all was RIGHT with my day!

Stay warm and stay safe my friends 

Sunday, 25 January 2015

I can't means you won't , and shall we dance?

 Hi! It's me, the absentee blogger again!
 I can't believe how fast January is cooking along! 
Same old routine,working, and living and spending a little time with this guy! 
THis little horse, always makes me smile , gotta love Johnny! 

And also treating this gal and her interesting injury! 
Ici came in last week for her supplements, and I noticed something unusual about her, her belly seemed to have a large swelling, On closer inspection I also saw a wound about 2 inches off the midline and open.I was understandably a bit concerned with the swelling, but after checking it out it was edema, and not free fluid, the belly wall was intact! thank goodness. Cleaned it up and started her on a course of antibiotics and she is healing well. What she did? I have no idea, best I can figure is she layed on something, we checked the pen, and removed a broken branch but really I have no idea if that was the culprit. I also texted my vet just to show her and confirm the course of treatment. 
Ici is a sweet mare, a little timid, but very easy to treat so this has been maybe time consuming but certainly not a tough chore 

The weather has been beautiful, but it is slippery around with all the melting so we are using the indoor at the stables even in daylight hours. Below is one of my clients working with Cat, so the look of it is simply practicing side passing along a rail, but the exercise  was about problem solving, and working through distractions. Also the "plan to succeed" and believe in yourself. We have some trouble from time to time with a bad case of the "I can'ts" Working on changing the thought process from I can't , which essentially means I won't to I will, or even I'll try . Funny how simple changes in wording changes the energy we approach a task with. If we can change the spin on our internal recording, it is amazing what we can accomplish! 

 Not all sunshine and light but together they got the job done

 Working with Cat and Andee at the barn brings new challenges for the horses,myself and the kids, there are often other people and horses around and just eh newness of working in an indoor arena with the shadows and light can change the dynamic. Cat and Andee are troopers and doing well with it, but it can be distracting. The kids both really loved working with Tango, and find the different personalities of Cat and Andee to be a challenge as well. Andee , is very soft and a little timid, and then there is Cat, super confident, and well, large and in charge! With her the kids will often lean towards working with Andee then somehow Cat ,just presents herself to them , and both have turned to working with her. SHe is pretty sensitive in her own right, and when the kids are showing petulance or attitude about an exercise, she reflects it right back to them. It is awesome when the kids realise she is doing just that , they get a little huffy with her then usually laugh and get back to work ! Lol

That said , Andee's softness and quiet nature is helping also , one of the moms was quite fearful of horses when we started, and between Tango and Andee, as you can see she is becoming far more at ease

Both families, have requested the opportunity when the weather is good, to come back to working with Tango(FV Shall We Dance)  from time to time. His last session was in early December ,and while I see  him and give him a pat every day he is a "kid" and mostly just turned out and growing. Today was a lovely day so we brought him in and as the pictures show, he was awesome! 

 All work was done at liberty , he followed, backed and stood like he was born knowing it all! Respectful of space,and responsive to body language ,energy and touch!
Yes Shirley , this colt is still listed for sale, but trust me , I am in no hurry to see him go. SOmewhere out there is just the right person for him. But while we have him here, I am sure going to enjoy working with him and watching him grow. 
A big part of me wants to say , just keep him. But a horse this special ,has so much to offer ,if the right match happens for him I will be proud to send him off . 
Still working on that little side project, but after my cortisone injection in my elbow last week, most projects went on hold for a bit. Back in fighting shape now (sort of ) so I went swimming again this week and will be getting back to work on the "super secret project " lol 
 This weekend is about some mid winter spring cleaning , organising my office and getting some things done here, which included taking the harrows around the farm behind the gator to rough up the ice, and make walking a less "harrowing " prospect! I wear my cleats nearly everywhere in the winter, but this helps too 

That's all for now , stay safe my friends!

Monday, 12 January 2015

Here for a good time

Well we made it through 2015 first big bblastof cold! 
it wont be the last I am sure but we have come out the other side into the sun ,almost completely unscatheed LOL 
I did high centre the gator on a log hidden under the snow the other day,,but it got me halfway back before I got stuck so that a good thing. I t was easy enough for my brother in law to pull out with the tractor the next day

Winston is more of a moral support than he is a navigator but he is awfully sweet so its.

Not much to report the last while its been cold and snowy, I worked and shovelled and worked and shoveled some more . 

Then finally the sun broke through and actually cast some warmth! 

so,sing it with  me...
We're here for 
a good time 
not a long time 
have a good time 
sun can't  

Temps are supposed to be downright balmy this week, and hubby is home so hopefully we will get lots accomplished .
Though not too much as I just had another cortisone shot in my elbow, so I need to rest it for a few days . But the good news is that although I will eventually need surgery on it , not yet. The doc thinks I am doing very well, and is agreeing with me that there is no need to rush into it .
So meanwhile I will continue doing what I am doing, trying to build strength slowly and be back in the saddle soon.

There are a few ponies that are ready willing and able when I am...

 until then though Cat and Andee, as well as Tango from time to time continue to work with the kids in the EAPD program.

I also have a little side project going on with the girls, that is good for their minds, and not too hard on my arm...Wait and see  the big reveal could happen any time! 

Stay warm and safe my friends!
BTW, sorry I had to go back to the word verification, spammers are back! 

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Helping hands

In my last post I received a request in the comments from a lady who is trying to gather support for a young 4 H kiddo who recently lost her horse. Now as a general rule I don't post other links if I don't know the person they are related to but I looked this lady up, she has an active blog,and a Google identity,and the link actually goes where she says it will (Sorry Ruth,for stalking your profile but  in this day and age, and after having my whole blog hacked a couple years ago, I am a "trust but verify" kind of gal) anyhow here is the link to her blog Hope Joy and Faith farm and also the link  to the story and fundraiser page to help out if it is n your heart to do so.Help out 
Stay safe friends

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Acting with intention

My year in review will have to wait a bit, I was having a conversation with a good friend tonight,and it prompted one of my random rambles.
I told my friend, (Cut-N-Jump) of The Well Groomed Horse and Show in Style that I planned to blame/thank her for this inspiration depending on how the ramble turned out ! lol

The conversation was about what  her, or my "word for the year" would be.Cut-N-Jump, is a very talented gal, trainer, seamstress, and all around creative lady,she has a line of fly masks that I am privileged to use here and is also making horse blankets, as well as sewing a lot of her own clothing and clothes for her adorable girls! She is working hard to turn that talent into a business, and is going to be a huge success! In that she is also a believer that if you visualise it , or plan for it  it will come. Therefore the "word for the year" hers will be a strong powerful springboard type of word to help her launch.

So that prompted me to think about what my "word" would be. Looking back at 2014 I had a lot going on, big changes in the end of the old home farm, and then my father in law's illness and passing. Losing my dear friend "Mom Brown" on the same day, and also letting go of my beloved Jazzy mare. All of these thinks rocked me , and I felt very drained as the year closed.Yet I also found some great joy in the work I do with the kids and horses, also in personal development of my own , recovering use of my arm and returning to the pool. So in 2015 what do I need? my instant answer was balance , and peace.

 So here is where the ramble starts,
I have written  before about "picture the feeling " as a tool I use with the kids to help them find focus and centre when working through tasks with the horses. Helping them to develop calm. But that tool is also helpful  in completing tasks. "Picture the feeling " or picture the task being completed. I showed these pics in my last post but they are suited for this as well. My student was working with Andee, side passing along a rail in hand. I showed her with Cat, then asked her to try, this was not just about side passing but about problem solving and patience. Andee knows how to side pass under saddle just fine but was quite  wide eyed about the arena and the rails. It took a few tries, but they got it done one direction, then to go back it was a bigger challenge!
Again, I used the prompt "picture the feeling" and had my student close her eyes and essentially  replay the moment before , then try again with that replay going on in her head, eyes open or closed (she did it with eyes closed  these kids are sooo cool!) And what do you think happened???
 yup success!!!!

See it , feel it , believe it , and do it!
That is what I mean by acting with intention. If we face a task,I hesitate to use the word problem,because it puts "brakes on our brains" in that we already see failure as an option when we believe we face a problem, when we face a task  however,if we approach it with (my favourite line)  "a plan to succeed" we stand a far better chance of doing just that!

So acting with intention,is that sense of seeing the task, in its parts and as a whole, visualising it as a success then moving into the task with the positive outcome in mind. This causes us to act, with confidence and to create an environment that allows for positive effect.

This does not mean go blazing through like a brush fire or a bulldozer, there is still the element of energy and resistance to be balanced but a well planned success is achievable.
Andee who was acting silly and playing wild eyed wonder, even did this !

At liberty and yes she walked the length of the rail to me with legs on either side (had I known I was going to write this post I would have videoed it , but I can always do it next time) Because , I intend for there to be a next time !

So while this post and acting with intention is similar in a way to my "plan to succeed post" and one a while back called "Extra Pickles please " (Ask for what you want like the answer is yes) it is different in that not only am I talking about this for horses , I am talking about acting/living with intention.

So what will my "word for 2015" be?  Well in keeping with this ramble, and the fact I don't make resolutions, what I want for 2015, are peace and balance, I want to keep swimming and return to being strong enough to enjoy riding/saddling and riding my horses, also to continue this work I am doing with the kids and horses! they are teaching me so much!
So that is what I want, how do I get it? well if I "Picture the feeling" of what I want ,it is a calm flowing river (funny that is the feeling I picture often when working with horses, and it is going well)
So my "word" will be  RIVER, I will just have to keep it in focus and not let me wind up in the Rapids!
There you go, first ramble of 2015, and because it makes sense to me, I will THANK CnJ  for the inspiration!

-30C overnight here so I will sign off saying Stay warm, and as always my friends , stay safe!

Thursday, 1 January 2015

In 2015,I resolve... not to make any resolutions!

Happy New Year!!! 
Wow 2015 snuck right up one me! I/we had a wonderful Christmas, celebrating with family and friends , and before I knew it ...bam! it was over! 
Now we are into the new year, and the time many people start making resolutions to change their lives in some way is upon us. Well not me , or not really .I hate broken promised so I am choosing not to make any to myself on this issue. That said , I do  want to continue swimming (only made it out once last week but I did go) . And hope also to continue my work with the kids and horses, hopefully getting on and riding some before spring so we will be fit and ready for the good weather.
I also want to get back to blogging on a more consistent basis. I know I have drifted off over than past few months, with chores, then the sessions with the kids, and or going swimming , I am often pretty tired in the evenings and I glance at everyone's blog , then fall into bed. 
But the thing is, I really enjoy blogging and reading other blogs,its just not something I want o give up. I am a busy person yes, but I am not too busy to do the things I enjoy , I just need to get organised.
So I guess, I am kind of making a resolution of sorts, but as for the rest , we can decide to do good things for ourselves,any time. Heck I started swimming right smack in the middle of October ! No need to wait till a special occasion! 
So with that I will leave you with some pictures from the past week or so. 
A special treat for me was a date with Martin and my niece Tara , to walk downtown Edmonton and a view the lights at the Alberta Legislature! Also a night visiting my Aunt and Uncle who put on a spectacular light show of their own! 

(kids and horses,always a great combo )

 (My Uncle's handiwork)
 (obligatory Winston Shot)

 (Skeeter and Fix)

Alberta Legislature


Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Years celebration.I am looking forward to all we do in 2015! Time to put my money where my mouth is and go visit some blogs to reacquaint myself !
Hope to have my year in review post up by the weekend .

Meanwhile,my friends stay warm and safe! !