Nemo's Manger Commute Route 

It was raining pretty hard the other night, not too cold yet but with a predicted change to snow later in the evening. I just wanted to get the horses to bed, tucked into a cozy shed with fresh straw and generous mounds of hay for dinner. Nemo, unfortunately, had been caught by the storm visiting in Spike’s side of the shed, with Spike. He knew he had to go back to his own side of the shed with his Mamma Tatti for the night but he didn’t want to get wet. 
Our shed is a huge lean-to tacked on to the back of…

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On Being Three 

It must be interesting being three years old. I can’t really remember it but if I could, I know we lived next door to the old Woodbine Racetrack, at Woodbine and Queen, and the smell of the stable must have wafted in to my room and caused my lifelong addiction to horses.
At that time the Beatles would have been just bugs to me and I wouldn’t have understood the concept of peace, joy and love because, at three, I would have thought that’s just the way the world works.
That’s what Jake tells me anyway. Peace…Read more

14 rides 

Jake now has 14 rides under his cinch, so to speak. I only get on him when someone is around so that's kept it slow. We've done walk and trot so far, a bit of turn on the forehand, working on transitions and steering, putting in about 20 minutes in the saddle each time.
I usually longe or ground drive before i get on, using ground driving to practice steering and longing to practice transitions and get him cantering under tack.
He's only had one day when I said to myself, "I don't want to ride that." So I…Read more

Decisions, decisions... 

Jake will be three in May. I see other young horses being ridden and I just can't do that to Jake yet. He's a big boy but he's still growing. If you read Deb Bennett's work on the maturation of young horses you'll understand my hesitation to follow the tradition of riding two-year olds.
I don't think their minds are ready either, no more than a 12-year old child should be behind the wheel of a car, expected to make decisions under a variety of road conditions. They're just too goofy. Add that to the fact…Read more

Eggs - Over Easy Please. 

I learn something new every day. Yesterday I bought eggs at the grocery store for the first time in a few years. We have our own hens, three of them, and they happily lay their eggs around the yard, but lately I haven't been able to find them. They move around if I disrupt their nesting spot and the search is on. In this extreme cold the eggs are usually frozen and cracked by the time I find them, but I wasn't even finding the frozen ones? Where could they be now?
I found out yesterday why I wasn't getting…Read more

Puck Face Smile 

Yesterday young Spike, now towering over me at 15.2, comes over with blood smeared on that big white nose. "Oh, Spike, what have you done?" He sucked up a fair bit of cooing and fuss, loving every minute of it, but I couldn't find anywhere he had cut himself. He was calm, happy and bright.
Hmm, so who was bleeding? 
I should have known: Jake. It was Jake's blood; he was just using Spike as a Kleenex.
Blood was dripping from his mouth. My first thought was, he'd been kicked in the head. Holly was in heat and…Read more


Brats. Both of them. Each in their own way.
Aside from finishing out the show season with Spike, not much has happened with both boys over the last few months, but that is about to change...
We've just completed our new riding arena here at Sweet Grass Farm, and except for putting down some calcium as a dust suppressant, it's finished and in full use. While it has been a three-month distraction from regular routines, it will be a bright refuge through the winter.
Jake, being two-and-a-half years old, thinks he…Read more

Report Card Time! 

Our two-year-old, Jake, has been getting lessons maybe three times a week. He's doing showmanship, getting led from both sides, learning the cues to walk, whoa and stand square like a pro. I've been longing him with a surcingle in preparation for ground driving. I have an 'assistant' - Kathy - come once a week and she not only keeps me motivated, she is there for safety reasons so I'm not working him when I'm alone here on the farm. The other times I wait for Harry to be around so Jake's not getting as much…Read more

Summer School for Horses 

Both Jake and Spike have been pretty busy so far this summer. 
Spike has shown twice so far with his mother Holly along too. They're both showing halter so it is working really well. Gotta say, it's a real treat to have two fine, well-behaved horses. It is like showing is in their genes. 
Spike's learning about having baths, standing still for longer periods of time than he ever thought was necessary, clippers, hair gel, and having one of those lycra slinkies to hold down his mane. He never even budged when I…Read more

Watching The Boys 

Guy McLean says he likes to watch his horses in the field so he gets an idea of what they are capable of doing, then he wants to bring that out when he works with them. 

Well, he should be here at 10 o'clock and 5 o'clock every day. He'd see some pretty interesting athletic feats from Jake, who's nearly two years old now, and young Spike, coming in at 11 months old. Run, buck, spin, rear, repeat. Chase the gray pony, stop. Yesterday I saw something that I'd never seen before though: Spike did a 360-degree…

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Sweet Grass Jake