What's Going On?
It's 2020. A year of change. I hope that people are finding the time and energy to explore new opportunities since the COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a monkey wrench into our habitual plans.
For me, it means more time at home with my herd without the pressure and artificial timelines of competition. I'm exploring more, doing more, learning more about myself and my horses. I do miss sharing the fun with others, either on the trail or through coaching. Hopefully some of the best parts of everything will carry forward in a whole new context.
I was proud to be the host for OXC Erin in June, 2019 at the Erin Fairgrounds. While earlier plans had this Extreme Cowboy race set for September 12 and 13 at our farm, that's still up in the air. We do plan on putting in a 100x200' grass ring here at Sweet Grass Farm so, if the race doesn't go this year we will have the facility ready to go in 2021. Stay tuned for more details as we explore our options, such as how many horses and riders would be allowed to participate and what a race might look like under COVID-19 protocols.
For 2019 Sweet Grass Jake, the 2017 OXC Green Horse champion, was back racing at the Intermediate and Ride Smart Division. Yes, I'm over 55! He was third in Ride Smart at the Eastern Canadian Championships in April and at OXC Stevensville. Peterboro Fair was embarrassing as Jake won the Fly Swatter award for the second time for the slowest run of the day. He's been a puzzle but I think that we've got a few things sorted out, including reducing his internal anxiety, which gave him indigestion and sapped all his energy. I also discovered that some dietary changes were needed. After much experimentation and research I found that his selenium levels were low, leading to muscle irritation. That, on top of a few training modifications, and he's turning around. This is a good year for him. I'm starting to see him shine.
Our Sweet Scotch Man - 'Spike' - has taught me to enjoy every day. Every...single...day. He still struggles with navicular issues but his attitude and sweet nature make every day a joy. I've taken him out of shoes and we're working with a barefoot trimmer and boots. It hasn't made much difference but it's been an interesting learning experience.
That hoof knowledge has helped me to understand my old mare, Tatti, a lot better. She's always had flat soles and now I am able to evaluate her feet a lot better and have some good discussions with my farrier. I'm just trying out using boots on her this year.
Then there's Sweet Grass Nemo. At 5 he's just full of himself and his place in his world. He's going under saddle a bit this year and just doing stuff. You know, interesting stuff. He did well with trailering and showing last year, just some local stuff. I was pleased with his sensibility. Stuff. Attitude. I asked Guy McLean for some advice. Guy rides a bullock so I know he's familiar with Nemo's way of expression. He told me, among other things, to hold Nemo to a higher standard. I like that phrase.
Around the farm, haying season is going well. We sold out right away again and we have enough in the barn for the year. We got in an early first cut that's about the softest hay we've ever had. Second cut is growing well despite a short drought.
Until we can ride together again, stay safe, stay healthy, my friends.
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