Monday, December 21, 2009

So much left to do before Christmas!!

I don't think we'll be doing another holiday right before Christmas again, it just seems to make everything an absolute rush! I'm still not done my Christmas shopping, baking, wrapping or decorating.

We *almost* broke down yesterday and bought a tree because we were running out of time. We did end up going and getting a tree from the forest though, so much better than bought trees! It reminded me a lot of the movie National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.... We found this really nice tree but it was rather enormous. When we got it home we ended up chopping several feet off of it so it fit (BTW we have vaulted ceilings....). It looks really nice, now we just have to get it decorated! We started on it last night and got the lights on it but didn't get any further, we were too tuckered out! I did get most of the rest of the decorations up and some baking done.

So much left to do though! Most of my Christmas shopping is done, but not quite all of it. I would really really like to get a bunch more baking done before Christmas, I found a bunch of really neat Christmas recipes that I wanted to try.

I finally got a ride in yesterday since it had warmed up a bit. Not much though! I was sooo cold by the time I was done.

Oh and I found the BEST winter invention ever! It was kind of an early Christmas present from my boyfriend. They're mittens made for riding that have the little finger separated so you can still hold your reins properly! My hands were totally warm yesterday! I highly recommend them!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Viva Las Vegas!

Well we're back from Las Vegas, what an awesome time that was! We did SO much in the four days were were there our feet hurt by the time we got home. We went to the final night of the National Finals Rodeo (and we took a limo over to the Thomas & Mack Center where the rodeo was),

Tournament of Kings,Cirque du Soleil, the M&M factory, Freemont street etc etc We did so much! I got some really neat things at the Cowboy Christmas's. A super pretty horse cameo pendant carved from agate (that was my big splurge), a nice new purse and a new pair fo cowboy boots. I thought things would have been cheaper down there but they sure weren't! Las Vegas is definitely something that everybody should do once though!

We stayed at the Paris hotel...

And we saw the fountains at the Bellagio (amazing!)

(this is the lobby inside the Paris hotel)

Of course, an amazing statue of a horse in the Forum shops at Caesar's palace hotel.

These are the gardens at the Mirage.
Stained glass domed ceiling in the Paris hotel.

And the gondolas at the Venetian.

I have sooooo many other pictures but there's just too many to post! I tried to pick the highlights to share.

Our plane was late and we got back to -27 degrees celcius and a truck that really didn't want to start. Luckily after a little bit of being plugged in the truck started. It was a coooold ride home though!

Monday, December 7, 2009

What a weekend!!

We sure had a big storm over the weekend! It started snowing and blowing on Friday morning and didn't stop until sunday. You should have seen some of the huge snow drifts (I know, I know, I should have pictures! lol) that we woke up to on Saturday morning. They were up and over the neighbor's fences! Our road was completely snowed in. We spent most of the morning helping people who tried to get out, get their vehicles unstuck. Only one or two vehicles actually made it through.

We had a great time over at the neighbor's house making breakfast and enjoying some coffee and bailey's, while watching people attempt to get through the snow again and again. Definitely entertaining!

Finally someone with a bobcat came down and plowed a path so we could get out. We got a LOT of snow!

The temperatures dropped on Saturday afternoon and we woke up to a VERY chilly -30C without the wind chill.... Yuck. It's not supposed to let up until later this week. I definitely put the long underwear on to go to work today! Unfortunately the cold weather and snow meant I had to cancel all my lessons for the week. It's just too darned cold for the little guys to be out there.

I did get a fair bit of house cleaning/organizing done though! I just wish I could put some Christmas stuff up. Not until we get back from Las Vegas though! It doesn't make sense to get a tree yet. Ah well!

We did make it up to the local furniture store and we got an early Christmas present from my parents. We'd been kind of looking for a buffet or sideboard for a while and hadn't been able to find one we liked. We had seen this one in a flyer but it was backordered for several months. It finally came in this past week so we could go look at it. I think it'll match our cupboards perfectly!Our kitchen cupboards are totally full and we didn't really have any place to put our nice wine glasses but now we do! It gets delivered on Thursday morning! Very excited!

3 more days till we go to Las Vegas!!!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Must haves.....

I found these while surfing the internet, aren't they absolutely gorgeous!! I especially like the painting of the chestnut because I happen to think it looks like Brigit (haha)! I think I'm going to have to buy these after Christmas. They are just too gorgeous.

As a side note, yes I think I've officially caught the sidesaddle obsessive compulsive disorder. If it's sidesaddle related, I want it!

Today we're waiting for a big winter storm to move in. They're talking wind and 10-20 cm's of snow. I have a feeling getting home isn't going to be quite as easy as getting to work.

Brrrr!!! Winter is here!!!

I guess we've been lucky up until the past few days with our weather. The temperatures dropped and we're expecting more snow later tonight. Yuck! I can deal with the snow but the cold makes it tough. This morning when I got up the radio was saying it was -20 (celcius) and with the wind chill it was closer to -27. Yuck. Yuck. Yuck.

I had a lesson last night and everybody just about froze. I'm glad our barn is heated but I sure wish the arena was too, it's like a deep freeze in there! I figured it was a perfect night for a bareback lesson! I had plans to ride after the lesson but after standing in the arena for an hour I thought better of it. I bundled the ponies up and gave them some extra food and decided to head home where it was warm.

Brigit's nose seems to have gotten better (*knock on wood!!!!*), it hasn't been really runny for a couple of weeks (maybe it's frozen?? LOL). I'm hoping it will stay that way. We've finally gotten lots of weight on her and she looks great! It's nice to be able to ride her regularly again.

This pair of moose come back every winter (to the delight of the horses I'm sure!) and hang out fairly close to the barn. I was able to snap a picture of them last year. This is pretty much how things are looking at the barn right now. Cold & snowy.

I guess it's time to break out the winter boots, insulated coveralls, toques, mittens and quarter sheet! Just because it's winter, doesn't mean we don't ride up here!

Saturday, November 21, 2009


Well to start off with, the Brigit situation might not be so bad. Her nose has gone from runny to only slightly wet, maybe things ARE clearing up? Fingers crossed!
I ventured outside for the first time sidesaddle this morning. It was so nice to get outside and have a bit more room to move in. I was so impressed with B, normally she gets a bit spooky at things but not today. She was really moving out and relaxed. It was a really enjoyable ride. I attempted the "posting" trot sidesaddle today. Definitely a little tricky! I have no idea if I'm doing it right but it felt ok. Maybe one of these days I'll have to see if I can get a video to post.

Anyways, I just love looking at all the different sidesaddles. Not one looks the same. They're so unique and have such interesting little details. I thought I'd share some of my favorites. This is a saddle I saw at the clinic I attended this summer. Isn't the tooling just gorgeous?

This is a lovely english saddle. The safe and seat have gorgeous stitching (quilting?) on them. I was so tempted to buy this saddle but I was set on getting one with a doeskin seat and pommels.
Isn't that seat gorgeous?

There are so many neat western saddles out there. This one is really interesting with the light doeskin seat and the leather wrapped cinch rings.

And how about these three? All three have such neat details on them. The one in the middle is a saddle that I found on ebay from Peru. It has some amazing tooling and silver details.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Not so good news.....

Well the antibiotics didn't work. Brigit had her last round of them on Sunday evening and she had a runny nose again 24 hours later. Not *as* bad as it was but I'm pretty sure it will get there. Uuurgh.... I was really hoping the antibiotic would do the trick but the vet had warned me that it might not. I talked to the vet today and we're scheduled to go back on November 28th. We're likely going to scope her again and do another round of xrays (this will be the third time). The vet said that it'll likely result in surgery of some sort or another, he's hoping that we can find something obvious this time. That's been the problem, at first they thought it was a tooth and we were going to have it removed but when we went back, they weren't 100% sure so I opted not to do surgery and try the antibiotics. It could just be a sinus infection or it could be a tooth causing the problem. Our options are to do surgery and treat for a sinus infection, and leave the tooth. Or do surgery and take the tooth out and treat the sinus's. I hate to be taking teeth out without being sure.

So it looks like she's going to be laid up for awhile. I guess that means I can work on my other project horse Shadow or ride some of the school horses. There's definitely no shortage of horses to keep me occupied!

Here's Shadow.... I'll write about her another day, Right now it's time for bed!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Getting more confident!

It's been a little while since I posted again, sorry! I keep forgetting! I'll make up for it today with a couple of posts.

I took my sidesaddle down to the barn tonight and had a friend take some pictures. I'm definitely feeling more and more comfortable, I just love this saddle. The doeskin seat and pommels are so secure. I was really nervous my first ride in it and it took some getting used to but I think I've found my balance and have realized that I'm not going to just tip off the side. I can walk, trot, canter, halt from any gait, figure 8's (with simple changes in the middle!) and have experienced the odd crow hop or two.

I think Brigit is getting used to it now too as our transitions are getting much better. I'm really pleased with her, she can be a pretty nervous "squirmy" horse but she's doing well with this and really listening to me.

I attempted to ride her with the fancy new whip the other day and she was definitely not ok with that! She's not used to me riding with a whip so when she saw it she went shooting sideways (*I* was not so ok with that!) so I ended up just dropping it. I think I'll have to get her used to it when I ride her astride first.

Anyways, here are some pictures from tonight! I realize they're pretty poor quality, my camera isn't that great in the dark, dusty arena. However my photographer did a great job considering what she had to work with! lo

Some trotting. I like this pic, I think I'm sitting nice and tall and have my hands in a good spot.

(if anybody has any tips for me, please feel free to post them in the comments! I'm just starting and on the "do it yourself" program, so the more help the better!)

Another blurry trotting photo......

And some blurry cantering. In the last one I feel like I'm tipped a bit too far forward, maybe it's just the part of the stride we're in? Brigit's got a big round stride that's hard to sit in an astride saddle so it's a bit tricky aside.

That's all!

Something I didn't expect to find!

Some friends and I went out antique and vintage store shopping on the weekend. We usually go once or twice a year and always find something interesting.

We had stopped in this one shop that specialized in antique military stuff. It's just crammed full of everything from uniforms, helmets, small lead toys, medals and all kinds of other stuff. So interesting to poke through.
As I was looking through the store I noticed something that caught my eye sticking up out of a round sort of umbrella holder.....

An antler handle.....

It was exactly what I thought it was! An old hunting whip! So of course, I had to have it. I was suprised when the price tag said $35.00. From what I've seen hunt whips can be a lot more expensive.
This one doesn't have a maker's mark on it anywhere. I know it's real antler and the end part is lashed on with a very fine string of rawhide, I have no idea what kind of wood it is. What a find though!!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The cleaning process

When my saddle came I noticed that the leather and straps were all really dry. The Billets were good but all of the panels, safe, balance girth & overgirth were all very dry. I think someone must have kept it in their house for a long time and it dried out?

I wasn't really sure what was best to use on sidesaddles so I emailed a few experts in the field. One of those was Linda Flemmer from the Side Saddlery. What a wonderful lady! I have to admit that over my search for a sidesaddle I've inundated her with questions and she's always been so helpful. I was told to use a soap/conditioner that would have been used when the saddle was made, because the leather was tanned differently than saddles of today. I started out using Lexol but apparently that isn't the best thing to use. I found some glycerine soap and "leather balsam". The main ingredients in the leather balsam are lanolin & beeswax. I gave the saddle a good coating with it last night and it absorbed every bit of it. It's starting to look like a whole new saddle! The panels are getting a bit more flexible and the straps are so much better. Not to mention that all of the scuff marks on the cantle and top of the pommels have pretty much disappeared.

The stirrup mechanism was pretty gummed up and all of the metal fittings including the stirrup were dirty and tarnished. (They had a greenish tarnish on them.....silver plated maybe?) My boyfriend actually took quite an interest in the saddle, it's so different from an english or western saddle. He cleaned up all the metal on the saddle with some polish and oiled the stirrup mechanism.
Doesn't it look nice?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

It's here!!! It's here!!!

My sidesaddle arrived yesterday! I'm so pleased with it! It came in the biggest box that was FILLED with styrofoam "popcorn". Boy did that make a mess at the office! It got all over me, all over the mail room, in the elevator and a huge mess near my desk OOps! Nobody seemed to mind though, they were all really intrigued by the saddle.

I couldn't wait to get home and try it! My fingers were crossed that it would fit!! And it does!!

I'm sure glad I lunged my mare first though! Boy was she fresh! There was a good round of bucking that I would NOT have wanted to attempt to ride through on a sidesaddle! I can't really blame her though, she's been cooped up in a tiny pen getting all kinds of extra food to fatten her up. After she got her energy out she was really good though. We did some trot both ways and cantered to the left.

I really REALLY like this saddle though. The ones I rode in this past summer had smooth leather seats and I really didn't feel very secure. My saddle has a doeskin seat and pommels which I felt a lot more comfortable with. I also thought the seat felt softer than the ones I had ridden in. I still wasn't feeling 100% confident but still pretty good for my 4th time riding sidesaddle!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Must remember to post regularly!! Update on the sick pony...

I've just been so busy! Teaching lessons and doing lots of running around!

Brigit is my 15 year old Westphalian mare. She's been fighting a sinus infection since August. At first we didn't realize that it wasn't just a cold. After a month of it not going away we decided it was time to get her looked at because there must have been something more going on. They xrayed and scoped her and thought that there was a "suspicious" looking tooth causing the sinusitis that would need surgery to be pulled. We scheduled the surgery and came back two weeks later. Only problem is that the drainage switched from the right side to the left side....which wouldn't happen if it was a tooth. Onto another round of xrays and scoping. Poor mare! This time they could definitely see a buildup of fluid in her sinus's but still weren't 100% sure what was causing it (tooth or just a sinus infection). We had two options, surgery to flush it all out and get rid of it for sure OR try a month of heavy duty antibiotics twice a day. I opted for the less invasive route first. We're at the halfway mark for the antibiotics and they seemed to be helping for the first bit but now the runny nose is coming back again! AARGH! The vet said that they *sometimes* work but a lot of the time they just mask the problem and as soon as you take them off the antibiotics the problem comes back. I'm hoping we can get it gone and stay gone but at the moment it's not looking so great! It's not as bad as it was though. I just can't figure out why it's coming back though.
I had to laugh, I rode Brigit for the first time on Saturday and she was a wee bit....wild shall we say? I can't say I blame her though, she's been in a small paddock cooped up and getting all kinds of extra feed pushed to her to put some extra weight on. Fingers crossed she'll get better and stay better! I really don't want to have to do surgery on her!!

The plan for tomorrow is to call the vet's office and see what they think. I might see if they'll send the xrays to another vet for a second opinion to see if they can come up with a collective opinion. I'd be ok with doing the surgery if they knew for sure what it was that was causing the problem. I'd hate to go in and do something and then find out that it didn't work and have to go in again.

The other possibility is getting an endoscope up there and flushing it out that way (if possible) another question to ask.

If we do have to do surgery, they're going to do a procedure called a "bone flap" where they cut a square hole in their skull and flip it back and go in and flush the sinus cavity out and possibly take the affected tooth out at the same time. I guess we'll see.

On a much more positive note! My sidesaddle should arrive tomorrow!! Yay! I sooo can't wait to try it out! Runny nose or no runny nose!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Now to find an outfit....or two....or three!!

Part of what I love about sidesaddle are the outfits. I think I need a whole closet full of them!

I'd love to have a formal habit.
So elegant.

I absolutely love something with a little bit of color.
Simply gorgeous; the horse, the rider, the outfit. Wow!

Or perhaps a more neutral tone.

The costume type outfits are stunning too! Julie had some wonderful examples on her blog RidingAside of some gorgeous costumes.

I have to admit, I might have already put the cart before the horse a bit...because I've already started collecting some clothing. I picked up a black sidesaddle apron from a consignment tack store awhile ago and some matching fabric that happened to be on sale! The lady that runs the barn where I keep my horses has offered to help me make a jacket and a nice yellow vest! How exciting!

In August I saw a fantastic outfit out Ebay. It's not formal and would probably only be good for fun or costume classes but I just had to have it! It took awhile to get here due to shipping issues but I finally got it today! The seller absolutely went above and beyond to get it to me, when she could have just said she'd refund my money. It's so gorgeous and it works absolutely PERFECTLY! (Ok well I could maybe lose a pound or two around the midsection and it would really fit perfect then! LOL) I can't wait to see what this looks like on a horse!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Exciting news!!!!

Guess what I did today! It's so exciting that it definitely deserves it's own post!!!

Can you guess??













I'm so excited! It's such a nice saddle. I was going to hold off for a bit until I knew for sure if my mare was going to need surgery or not but I decided I should just bite the bullet and do it. I'd really be kicking myself if I waited too long and it sold. I've looked at all kinds of sidesaddles and this one really caught my eye. A lot of the older saddles that I had seen needed some kind of repair and didn't come with the fittings. This one comes with just about everything.

I looked and looked for a saddle in my area but couldn't find any. Well I did find one but it was a very old western style saddle. Very interesting but not quite what I wanted. I figured if I'd have to take the chance and ship one in from across the continent, then so be it! I am determined to ride sidesaddle!

It's an Aulton & Butler saddle with a Mayhew breakaway stirrup assembly. This is the only one of this maker that I've seen. I was told that it was purchased 10-20ish years ago at a big show in England. The lady that owned it rode in it for a few years and then her horse passed away and it had been sitting in a closet since. I'm happy to say that it is definitely going to get used again.

I took wither tracings and mailed them a couple of weeks ago and the lady selling the saddle said that it was about as perfect a fit for a horse as she's seen! How about that! I guess my mare's super high withers are handy for fitting sidesaddles to.

Here's a picture of it...


I'm just waiting for the seller to get it packed up and get a quote on shipping and let me know. Once that's done, it'll be paid for an on it's way!!! Hopefully it will be here sometime next week! I really can. not. wait!

Goodbye flowers....

I did something yesterday that I had been putting off because it really made the coming of winter official... I cleaned up my flower beds, ripping out all of the annuals and weeds and cutting back the shrubs and roses. My yard looks so empty and big, kind of like when you move out of a house. Oh well, I'll have this to look forward to again next spring!

I think I'm going to have to go get some halloween decorations or something to spruce it up so it's not so "blah". Perhaps some headstones and pumpkins? I just had another great idea too! We've got a longhorn skull that would work good to... I wonder if anybody would try to steal it though?

I also acquired two more lesson kids yesterday! One is 5 and the other is 7. Both are very keen to ride and learn about horses. I had to laugh, the one family with the 7 year old girl brought her little brother who's 5. He was right in there wanting to learn too. I was teaching them how to pick out the horse's feet and he was right in there doing his darndest to pick up a back leg and pick it out. Talk about determination! And thank goodness for the trusty schoolhorses!

And I got another 3 calls for lessons today! Boy am I going to be busy!!! That's ok though, I really enjoy teaching lessons and the extra $ is definitely nice too!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

An Interesting Find

I was looking through some of my pictures today and I found this... It's a fossil that I found this summer while we were out hiking at the Quilchena Ranch in British Columbia (it's been in my boyfriend's family's for over 100 years, such a neat place but that'll be another day's post).
It's a fossilized wasp. There's a spot on one of the sidehills that's been dubbed the "fossil pit" because there's hundreds of fossils to be found. Mostly leaves and plants but occasionally something really interesting like this pops up! Luckily my step-dad is a palentologist/geologist and could tell us what it was. Neat eh?

Friday, October 16, 2009


Here goes nothing, this is my first blog post! I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to write about but I guess the best place to start is an introduction. I'm 25 years old and live in Alberta. I own a house with my boyfriend, we bought it just over a year ago. We have a couple of horses and no pets other than some fish. I'd love to have a dog but we just don't have the time for one. I recently got my english riding instructor certification and started teaching in September. I'm thoroughly enjoying teaching lessons. I love to help people improve their riding and enjoy their horses.

When it comes to riding I've done a little bit of everything. I started out trail riding when I was little and then moved onto english riding lessons. I competed in High School Rodeo and have shown hunters & jumpers as well as Tennessee Walking Horses. My most recent riding accomplishment was learning to ride sidesaddle this summer on my warmblood mare Brigit. It's become my newest obsession, I'm determined to get a saddle of my own and continue learning to ride aside.

I work as an environmental consultant in the oil & gas industry. I get to travel to some pretty neat places around Alberta and see a lot of things many people don't get the opportunity to.
Hopefully my posts are interesting and you enjoy reading my blog as much as I've enjoyed reading some other blogs myself.