News from the Archives
Our Welsh-cross American Sport Pony mare, Sweet Grass Gypsy, is now signing autographs. She's the poster child for an article on foaling in the Ontario Farmer, January 15, 2013 edition. Thanks to Dr. Bruce Watt of the Caledon Equine Clinic for his presentation at the Central Ontario Agricultural Conference in January. The same article is re-printed in the Horse Tales column of Country Routes,
Well, I've gotta admit, Xtreme Cowboy Racing is a hoot. Tatti & I competed for the first time in this new sport at the Norwood Fair on October 8th. We took our time and had a lot of fun, placing 13th out of 21 competitors in the Open Division. This is definitely an interesting sport, one that challenges your horsemanship, not to mention your memory - trying to remember the pattern! Adding speed to the obstacles was less of an issue than I thought it would be, but that free ride around the arena with the crowd cheering was a blast! I think Tatti had fun too. We spent a week riding in the Ganaraska Forest afterwards, making it the best vacation a horse-lover could ever want.
I've just returned from the Canadian Farm Writers' Federation Conference in Winnipeg and I am pleased and honoured to report that one of my articles on the Ontario horse racing industry issue received the Q.H. Martinson Bronze Award in the Weekly Press Reporting category. The annual awards competition celebrates excellence in Canadian agricultural journalism. The article appeared in the Ontario Farmer newspaper - thank you to the OF editors for your continued support and encouragement to enter the competition.
Our young Paint colt Spike (Scotch Bay Time x SR Hot Lady of D Nite) had his first show at the Ontario Paint Horse Futurity and Autumn Round-Up Show in Ancaster on September 16, 2012. At 3 1/2 months old he's not yet weaned so he went with his dam, Holly, for the adventure. While he acted like a child in the grocery store check out line during his class, he still managed to earn Grand Champion in his division, both in the Futurity and the Paint show. He did manage to be well behaved for the overnight stay, touring the grounds and trailering, setting a good solid foundation for his show career. Kids...
Congratulations to our friends Gord & Elaine Weisner and my better half, Harry deVries on your excellent performance at the Rockwood Trail Trials this year. There were a record 53 entries and some very interesting obstacles. Add a sunny day and a lot of smiles and you can see why this competition and pleasure ride get more popular every year. Tatti was a star, ponying a young horse and rider through the river with all the confidence of a veteran. Special mention goes to Joan, who rode with our group and her mare Bella. It was fun to watch a new, talented horse and rider team show such trust in each other in their first trail trials.
Hay East was just announced on September 7th. This initiative will bring hay from our western provinces to Ontario to help farmers who have been hit hard by the 2012 drought. Organizers are encouraging farmers who want to register – or who wish to supply hay – to do so through the website www.hayeast2012.com. or visit the OFA website. Haylistings.com is another place to look. Farmers in need can email email@example.com to be contacted about the application process once the program is finalised. Scotiabank is joining the Hay East 2012 effort by establishing an account and accepting donations at branches across the country.
While not writing about the horse racing industry and agriculture this summer I've been busy pursuing my passion for trail riding and showing as I work towards my EC certification with my coach, the legendary Pat Carter. This year has seen an explosion of interest in more than just recreational trail riding: there are organizations now that offer competitions for show trail, handy trail, or ranch trail. I think I'm in heaven! As a coach, I enjoy helping to build the relationship between the horse and rider; as a competitor, I've been spending a lot of time improving our performance and enjoying the resulting better ride when there's time to just enjoy the trail.
The Horse Racing Industry Transition Panel released a report on August 17, 2012 that makes for some interesting reading. Very comprehensive and non-partisan, it faces the reality of the future of racing and leaves me chomping at the bit to get started. Read the full report at http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/about/transition/interimreport08172012.htm I've posted my comments to the Ontario Horse Racing Industry Panel in my blog, The Whinny.
OHRIA (Ontario Horse Racing Industry Association) released their proposed plan for horse racing in Ontario on July 24, 2012. Read the article I wrote for the Ontario Farmer in The Whinny.
If your pastures become crispy again, as ours were with the drought, OMAFRA forage specialist Joel Bagg suggests to put your horses in a sacrifice paddock and feed them hay. It will save hay in the long run. The horses won't appreciate the gesture now but they'll like you lots later! Let's hope for a decent fall. Read the article I wrote for the Ontario Farmer and Country Routes that featured an interview with Alf Budweth of Budson's Feed in Erin about the hay shortage this year in my blog, The Whinny. Alf's got some good insight and advice.
Our Paint yearling, Jake the prankster, is now enrolled in Horse Basics Kindergarten. Read all about him in Jake's Journal. Thanks to all who joined us for cake at Sweet Grass Farm to welcome Holly's new colt, Spike, born May 29th, 2012. (Scotch Bay Time QH X SR Hot Lady of D Nite). It was a brilliantly sunny but hot day so we took our lead from the horses and 20 of us hung out in the shade of the barn. Tatti's yearling Jake just turned one year old on June 9th and he stole a few hearts too. Thanks for the photos!
It's a boy! Holly (SR Hot Lady of D Nite) had a Paint colt on Tuesday May 29 at 10:30 p.m. Harry & I got to deliver the light bay and white overo, sired by Vince Amlin's QH Scotch Bay Time. We were surprised and pleased that he was blessed with wonderful colour! He's already been out negotiating the trail obstacles, taking the jumps in the yard and showing the Cadillac-smooth gaits and transitions that made me fall in love with Holly. His name's 'Spike' right now, for lack of a better name yet! Holly's being a great mother and it's funny to watch her realize that something in life is more important than she is. Stay tuned for updates. I'll put a photo or two in the album and there's a whole album on my Facebook page too.Try this link - it doesn't work for everyone but it might for you: Holly's Colt - Scotch Bay Time (QH) x SR Hot Lady of D Nite
Watch for Spike at the Ontario Paint Futurity on Septemer 16, 2012 at the Ancaster Fairgrounds when he makes his show debut. He's trailering well and visiting friends in preparation, and he's even stayed at a B & B overnight!
Saturday February 4th marks the one-year anniversary of my website Horsebackwriter.net. Thank you for visiting and making it a great success! This year also marks the ten year anniversary of Words For Hire. I think I'm finally getting the hang of this writing thing.
I've just been to the annual FarmSmart Agricultural Conference at the University of Guelph, hosted by the Golden Horseshoe and Heartland Soil & Crop Improvement Associations, and luckily the weather has been yucky so it's easier to stay indoors and write all about it. Look for my articles on Lee Leachman's 10 Game Changers for Livestock Production; using EPD's to improve your beef herd equity; maximizing soybean and corn yields; using one planter; and tillage systems in Europe in upcoming editions of the Ontario Farmer, Corn/Soy/Wheat Handbook and the Ontario Beef Magazine.
Well, shout it from the rooftops! We're pretty excited here at Sweet Grass Farm to announce that our Paint mare Holly - 'SR Hot Lady of D Nite' - has been confirmed in foal to Vince Amlin's Quarter Horse, Scotch Bay Time. He's a bay but he's thrown colour. Yes, in true Royal form, the Princess Holly is showing a 'baby bump' and has cravings for ice cream. We picked up her trophy for 2011 Ontario Pinto High Point Halter Horse this week too. Now we have to hold our breath until June 3rd...
I was fortunate enough to get to Sandaraska Park in Pontypool, ON twice this fall. The trails in the Ganaraska Forest are pretty nice and the campground provides everything you need for civilized camping for those of us who don't particularly like to 'rough it'. Highly recommended. Google it and come see for yourself in 2012. It's a great goal to have: a good horse, good trails and good friends. That's what it's all about.
Our chubby little Welsh pony Sweet Grass Gypsy & I were at the Erin Fall Fair on Sunday October 9 to give a demonstration called "The Basics of Safe Horse Handling". Gypsy was the star of the show. I've put an entry in The Whinny that talks about one of the questions I was asked by the audience about what to do if your pony rubs its head on you? The advice can be applied to a lot of bad habits that we don't discourage soon enough. Thanks to everyone for coming out!
The 2011 Rockwood Trail Trials brought out a record 29 riders on September 11th. Holly tried her very best for her first attempt at the competition and came in the top ten with a 7th (819 points) and I was given the great honour of the Horsemanship Award for the second time in the last four years. Our own Sweet Grass Cody, a 12-year-old QH/Paint, had a very respectable performance for his partner Harry deVries, neck-and-neck with Holly, but she edged him out with her slick trailer loading. Go to the Rockwood Trail Riders website for results http://www.rockwoodtrailriders.ca/trail_trials.html (P.S. Holly's got a long way to go to beat Tatti's 985 points in 2010! Our next goal...)
Congratulations to Karin Zawadowsky and her fine QH Dakota on earning their Horse Basics Western Dressage Buddy Certificate in July. Karin was the first student to accomplish this goal under western tack, achieving the required test scores over 60 in both Walk/Trot Test A and B in the comfort of her home arena. She looked great in her black jeans, half chaps and roper boots, with a crisp white blouse, green scarf and a western Troxel helmet. I am excited about the future of Western Dressage and it's trailblazers like Karin and Dakota who are leading the way, combining the discipline and precision of dressage with the comfort and familiarity of western riding. Thanks to Jenifer Klemm for being our dressage consultant, Shirley Woestenenk for reading the tests, and Elaine Weisner for scribing. Maybe one day we'll see this as a class at shows. Good work everyone! Karin's photo is in the gallery below.