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've been cleaning out my tool box, so to speak, finding tools long laid down and re-arranging things a bit. Yes, I've 'got junk'. 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 in 2020 at our farm, that just didn't work.
Sweet Grass Jake has 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. Some dietary changes were needed. That, on top of a few training modifications, and he's turning around. This has been 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'm learning about barefoot trimming because of him and that's sparked my interest in feet: I've started doing maintenance work on all of my horses. It's not as easy as it looks!
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. At 20, she's starting to get creaky. She's been with me for 18 years now.
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. We did some work with Jim Anderson last year and that helped. This summer 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. I also have to hold myself to a higher standard. Nemo won't settle for anything less.
Around the farm, haying season went 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.
My new hobby is dabbling in Standardbred racing fractional ownership through The Stable.ca. I now have shares in 8 horses in Canada and Australia. It's very exciting and I'm enjoying every minute, including traveling to Sydney to meet 'Girl From Oz' in February 2020. That trip also included giving an obstacle clinic and judging a non-sanctioned race in Matamata, New Zealand. It doesn't get any better than that.
Until we can ride together again, stay safe & stay healthy, my friends.