Monday, November 22, 2010


It is so bitterly cold here! It's been super cold since last week. How cold you ask?

Well tonight it's -28 celcius and with the wind chill it's -37 and it's still snowing.

I feel really badly for animals that are outside on nights like tonight. Especially my poor pony. She's got a nice thick stable blanket with a thick high neck winter blanket on overtop, so I think she's probably warm enough. I still feel bad though. I sure wouldn't want to be outside tonight. I ran to plug the car in earlier and it sure dosn't feel nice to have any exposed skin.

We had a bit of an unexpected suprise this morning when we woke up and discovered our furnace wasn't working and the house was pretty chilly!!! Luckily it just needed a new thermostat and didn't cost us a fortune! PHEW!! The heat is back on and we're tucked inside staying warm tonight.

Tomorrow it's supposed to hit -34 without the wind chill but thursday it's supposed to warm up thankfully!!! It usually doesn't get this bitterly cold until January/February here.

I have to say, I almost enjoy the cold nights because you can't really go and do much and I don't feel guilty for sitting at home just relaxing. (I guess I *could* fold laundry....but nah!)

Somebody send us some warm weather!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Winter has arrived

Luckily we got home from British Columbia on sunday and the storm didn't move in until last night. Had it moved in a day earlier, our trip home would have been no fun at all!! The storm blew in so fast last night and unfortunately as it did so, I was on the way home from the barn. It was VERY hard to see on the way home. Luckily the storm waiting until lessons were done and everybody had gone home before it started with the snow.
Brigit is bundled up in her new winter blanket and I've got to say, I almost think the blanket was labelled incorrectly. For a size 78 it seems HUUUUGE! She normally wears an 80 too. She's well covered though, so that's good! I feel bad leaving her outside all winter long (she's got a nice shelter) but being in a stall just seems to aggravate her stifle problems. So she stays out.

On our trip to BC we stopped at a really neat tack store and I noticed a fancy hunt whip with thong & lash up on the wall. Unfortunately it was not for sale..... although I did try to convince them to sell it!

Tonight we are supposed to go for our second round of accupuncture, that is, IF the roads aren't too bad. We shall see. I don't have a lot of desire to haul Brigit if the roads are slippery. I've seen really positive results from the first round of accupuncture. I brought Brigit in and let her trot around the indoor arena for a few minutes and I can see that she's actually picking that leg up better and not dragging the toe as much. I hopped on bareback for a few minutes too and she felt really good. YAY!

I'm dying to ride sidesaddle, so I'm hoping we can get things sorted out so we can get back on with it!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

First acupuncture visit

It went really well. I wasn't really sure what to expect but it was really fascinating. There's a lot of science behind it. I really like my vet because she's a very down to earth, no-nonsense type person. She's not into the fluffy spiritual stuff, she uses treatments like this because it works. That's what convinced me to give it a try.
I was a little concerned about Brigit being needle-shy and flinching but she was so good. The first needle that went in was at her poll, apparently that one releases endorphins and calms them. It seemed to do the trick.

For the most part she didn't even notice the needles going in. They are so tiny and thin that they go in very easily. The vet put two in her shoulders (this was a bit of a sore area) and one in each elbow, apparently those are for their immune system. The one in her elbow was really fascinating because she put it in and some muscles on her flank started to "shiver". It really showed how everything was connected. She put a few in on her back and up by her hips. And couple in the neck. I was happy to hear that her back wasn't sore. There was also a needle put into the front of each stifle, Brigit wasn't too keen on those ones. That was probably the sore-est part of her (as expected). We had to pick up a front leg and hold it up in order to get those ones in because she kept jerking her leg away. After all the needles were in, it was just a matter of letting them sit for awhile and do their thing.

It was neat to watch the muscles around the needles, you could see them almost vibrating. My vet was telling me that some horses that have really bad muscle issues, their muscles will literally "grab" onto the needle when it goes in, making it nearly impossible to pull out again until it's ready to come out. Fascinating.

She said to expect her to be a bit body sore and maybe stiff today and tomorrow as the results are similar to a very deep muscle massage. I'm going to leave her until next week to try riding her. We'll be heading for another treatment next week as well. I think after 2 or 3 treatments, I'll be sending her to the "pool" as the vet thinks that's an excellent idea too.

So keep your fingers crossed that it's helping! And I totally forgot to try and get any pictures, I will try next time.

Anyways, I'm off for a long weekend and a road trip, so I probably won't post until monday.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Wait! Don't jump into the pool just yet!

Brigit's swimming adventure is being postponed for a bit. I was talking with my vet on the weekend after I'd remembered she does accupuncture. When I expained to her what was happening she said to me "I think I know exactly what is going on! I'll bet this will help!" She's a very no-nonsense type person and isn't one to fall for fad's, so if she's doing accupuncture, it's probably because she's seen results. I had a few other people suggest trying it because they've seen great things as a result. So I figured, what the heck, we'll give it a try.

So tomorrow after work, I'm taking Brigit over to the vets place for her first accupuncture treatment. I'm really curious and interested to watch! I will try and sneak a few pictures if I can and I'll definitely let you know what I think.

In other news, Brigit got a trace clip on friday in prep for the pool. I have to say, I think I did better than last year!

Friday, November 5, 2010

What a horse person won't do for their horses.... aka I'm crazy.

I popped out to the wednesday night for a quick ride after work and my quick ride turned into a quick dismount. We did a few laps walking around the arena and as soon as we started trotting, I knew something wasn't right. It seems that Brigit is having issues with her left hind again. Not sure if it's that stifle or what. Poor girl was really dragging that leg and not moving right at all.

I went out again on thursday night, popped her on the lunge line and I'd say she looks about 85% better, still dragging that left hind a bit. I'm halfway wondering if she slipped in her paddock or got kicked? Usually we don't have issues with her stifles until it gets icy and slippery in the winter.

A friend of mine told me that when her older TB mare was having issues, she sent her "Swimming" for a couple of weeks. Swimming ie Hydro Therapy involves putting a horse into a somewhat warm "treadmill pool" and exercising them. The incresed resistance but decreased impact can apparently help with weak stifles and various other issues. I called and had a great chat with the lady that runs the place and am thinking it sounds like a pretty good idea (and MUCH more affordable than I originally had thought).

So call me a sucker....but I've got Brigit booked in for a week of "swimming" at the "pool" starting on Saturday or Monday, whenever I can get her there. Hopefully we'll see a difference! I will DEFINITELY try to get pictures of Miss B swimming.

Fingers crossed that it works!

(My boyfriend is going to think this is beyond ridiculous and that I've truly lost my mind.... LOL)

Tack sale!

At a tack sale last weekend I bought an "Ogilvy" (oh-gill-vee)saddle pad. I'd been wanting to try one out for awhile because they sounded really interesting. I'm a skeptic when it comes to speciality saddle pads because when it comes down to it, if your saddle doesn't fit, you shouldn't be trying to "make" it fit. Kinda like if your shoe is too small or too narrow for your foot, it makes no sense to put another thicker sock on to try and make it more comfortable.

And there seems to be so many different, weird pads out there. Filled with air, gel pads, foam, sheepskin etc etc. Ok I've had a sheepskin pad and loved it, however with my english saddle (astride) it made my saddle bridge terribly, so I sold it.

Now this new pad is made of memory foam. And I got to thinking, "hmm... we have a memory foam pad on our bed and it is SO comfortable, I bet my horse would like one too!". I was a little worried that adding more padding in would make the saddle fit weird, so I was assured that if I didn't like it. I could bring it back.

So I decided to try one. What the heck.

I tried it out the other night and carefully inspected it to make sure it wasn't making the saddle fit too tightly. I was really impressed by it! Even with my saddle girthed up and me on it, I could still fit my hand underneath the saddle (front, sides, back etc) comfortably. Brigit seemed to really enjoy it too, she was moving out really nicely. Her canter felt like riding on a cloud. It's normally a bit of work to sit but with that pad it's nice!

I also discovered that the tack shop has a master saddler that works for them and he knows how to work on sidesaddles!!! So now I've got two people nearby that can work on saddles for me! What a great find!

Back to the saddle pad, I tried it under my sidesaddle the other night as well. I figured it might be nice, especially when we're jumping since memory foam absorbs shock so well. Well that was a big mistake. It seemed to even out the saddle and made me feel VERY tipped to the left. I guess it was worth a try though! So we'll stick to our normal pad under the sidesaddle.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Yoga for sidesaddle riders?

I joined a yoga class this week with some friends. We go twice a week for the next six weeks. I've never really done yoga before but wow do I feel nice and limber today! I was feeling a bit sore in my back yesterday after jumping sidesaddle the night before and the yoga stretched it out nicely!

I have to be one of THE most unflexible people, so I'm hoping that the yoga will help me with that and hopefully in turn help my riding out too!

I use a great (yoga type) stretch with my riding students to help them sit taller and open their chests. I thought I'd share it because it's a great one! Make sure you have someone holding your horse if he's not one to stand quietly.

First off you put your hands in front of your chest, palms together (make a little temple).

Keeping your hands together, you reach straight up, over your head. Reach as far as you can (feel that stretch).

Then you turn your palms to face outwards (away from each other) and while reaching up & out, you slowly bring your arms straight out to the side.

Do that once more and you'll feel much taller and your shoulders will be back where they should be.

It's a great stretch!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

After talking with a few saddle makers...

And everyone I talked with said that it's quite common for that flap to come off (the linen threads just give way with age). I was really glad to hear that it's not all that tricky to put back on. The saddle doesn't have to be taken apart, or anything drastic like that.

It was suggested that another small strip of leather be sewn onto the flap and then that strip of leather sewn onto the saddle. It should prove to be sturdier than before be more flexible. PHEW!

And luckily, I think there are a few saddle maker's within a few hours drive that can do the repair for me. (One being the wonderful Betty-Lynn Tattersall). I'm actually thinking I could likely do some of the repair myself, veeery carefully of course!

Thanks for all of your suggestions on people to help me fix the saddle! You guys are great resources!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Uh oooh......

Well I was working on my jumping again last night and it was going very well. Having a bit more pace and approaching the jump with more of a closed hip angle, definitely helped! It was feeling pretty easy to stay with my horse and I wasn't feeling as if I was getting jerked. Yay!

But here's the uh oh part... Over one fence, my horse chipped really hard and popped the fence, which resulted in me getting pretty loose and scrambling to catch my balance. And in the process, the flap that goes over the stirrup assembly came off.... It looks as if the stitching was just dry rotted as it just gave way. The saddle and the flap are perfectly fine and intact.

My poor pretty saddle.... Now what do I do??

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A new whip in the making?

My step father was going through some stuff at their house and he found an old parasol handle. His parents used to have an antique store and I believe it came from them. I'm not too sure how old it is but I think it's fairly old. The handle is gorgeous, mother of pearl and silver. The rest of the shaft is rusted and looks pretty rough.

I'm thinking it would make a really pretty sidesaddle whip. I'd love to find someone that is good at braiding leather or rawhide and get the shaft covered in that with a little whip end added. It's the perfect length and so classy! It might be easier said than done though, finding someone that does leather braiding seems to be difficult and rare. (hmm... I wonder how hard it would be to learn....)

I'll post pictures if & when it ever gets done!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Some jumping pictures that make me go hmmm.....

I've been watching videos and looking at pictures of ladies jumping aside and I've found a couple pictures that have be questioning things.... Have a look..

So first off, this is how I feel like I *should* look over the fence.... These ladies are REALLY folded forward and looked really "tucked" over the fence. They look like they're giving their horse a good release and aren't going to get "snapped" back over the fence and their bum is still in contact with the saddle.

But then we've got what I'm going to call the "middle of the road" ladies". They're sitting a bit more upright over the fence, still tipped forward but not to the degree the others are.

And then we've got the last group, they're forward but they look as if they have their bums OFF of the saddle upon takeoff.... How are they doing that? I don't know if I could physically DO that in my saddle the way the pommels sit. I would think a person would get "snapped" back much less like this. But I wonder, are they putting weight in their stirrup (standing in it) to get "up" like that? If so, I've always been told not to put weight in the stirrup.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Another attempt at jumping sidesaddle

I had some friends out riding on saturday and decided to attempt a couple of jumps sidesaddle for them. It feels like it's getting a bit better but it's still not right. I'm starting to get a bit frustrated by it because I'm feeling "stuck". I just can't seem to stay forward long enough and keep getting snapped back. Urghhh... I'm not sure if it's a muscle strength thing or if I'm doing something completely wrong or what. Maybe it has to do with how jerky Brigit's jump is. I dunno. I'm determined to figure it out though!

Here's a couple of video's my wonderful friend took. The first one is trotting in and the second is cantering in.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Tiny stirrups

It seems that I've acquired enough little antique stirrups that we could officially call it a collection. I thought I'd share some pictures and show you just how tiny these stirrups are!

So first we have a plain stirrup iron. It fits my foot quite well, even though by today's standards it's fairly small. As you can see, this one doesn't have an egg eye so it'd be tough to get it to fit my english sidesaddle.

Second we have a tiny "Copes" style safety iron. This one came with my really old english sidesaddle. As you can see it's quite corroded and the hinge is very stiff. It's far too small for my foot, so it will never get used but it's sure interesting! I have a modern Copes iron on my english sidesaddle at the moment.

See how the small inside part swivels backwards and the footbed falls out?

And last we've got a small bronze (?) heart shaped stirrup. I think this one is just too cute. As you can see, it's also quite corroded too.

Isn't it neat?

And now for some perspective into just HOW tiny it is. I can fit about 3 toes into it and that's about it! (and that's in socked feet!).

They sure must have had itty bitty feet back then!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Bulbs, bulbs, bulbs!

I finally got all of my bulbs planted and it looks like it was just in time! The weather is really cool, damp and foggy today and they're forecasting snow for later today. (No thanks!) I had a bunch more tulips and lily bulbs that I'd ordered.

Every few years I'm told that you should dig up your bulbs and separate them because they multiply and won't keep blooming because they're too crowded. Well I thought I'd be able to wait until next year but apparently not! We got digging in the flower beds and found that the tulips I had planted 2 years ago had multiplied SO MUCH that we had no choice but to dig them up and replant them. I think we had at least 100 bulbs by the time we had dug them all up. We replanted as many as possible but eventually we ran out of room! The flower beds will look great if they all come up in the spring! But now to figure out what we should do with the rest of the leftover bulbs! (into the fridge for now)

I also discovered a whole bunch of wildflower seeds I had stashed away but at this time, I just don't have anywhere to put them! I *could* dig up some more grass and make another flower bed but I'm not too sure what my boyfriend would say about that... lol

At least it's done now though! Our yard is ready for winter and now I can focus on inside stuff. (Like sewing another sidesaddle habit perhaps?)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Easy or?

Well I finally brought my sidesaddle out of hiding on Saturday and decided to go for a ride. Our flat stuff was awesome (although, wow after a month of not doing it, I feel rusty all over again!) and I decided I'd try to attempt a few little jumps again. It's been forever since I tried to jump aside.
Well it went better for the most part. I put an old stirrup leather around my horse's neck so I'd have something to try and grab on to, to prevent the "snapping" back that I experienced last time. It worked like a charm! Half the time I wasn't able to actually GRAB the strap but I was aiming for it and it seemed to keep my body in the correct position. I also added a thicker "queen" aka big pink sponge onto the upright head which I think helped a lot too.

I was pretty darned pleased with how secure I felt and that I wasn't getting left behind! I think I've got this jumping aside business figured out!

But then yesterday I woke up and WOW was my back ever sore!!! I was supposed to go foxhunting again but I could hardly move. I really like jumping sidesaddle but I'm not sure if I want to do it all the time if my back is going to be this sore afterwards! I'm thinking practice makes perfect maybe? Maybe I just need to do it more often and I won't be as sore?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Busy weekend!

It's Thanksgiving weekend in Canada so we've been busy driving here, there and everywhere to see family and eat WAY too much! It's been fun though.
On our way up to see some family on Saturday, we stopped by a wonderful saddler who builds her own custom sidesaddles (can you guess who it is?) and has done some repairs for me in the past. My western sidesaddle needed a little bit of help. It's in great shape considering it's age but I wanted to get a few things fixed on it so they wouldn't get worse before I tried to ride it any more. Mostly just a little bit of stitching.
I also left my $70 find with her to see if she can make it rideable again. Aside from the pommels being quite bent at one time, she thinks we can definitely put new billets on it and make it rideable again. We shall see! If we can't it's no big deal, it's a neat saddle for display.
We had a great visit and spent over an hour looking through her collection of sidesaddles and related items. She has an amazing collection with so many different unique saddles.
Today I've got the day off, as it's Thanksgiving day. But I'm supposed to have some lessons this afternoon. My plan was to do some gardening this afternoon but I'm not sure if that will happen, it's pretty overcast and cool (only +4) and looks like it might rain.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Giving a saddler some help

On thursday I bumped into a friend of mine and she mentioned that she'd seen a sidesaddle at a local saddler's place (who makes GORGEOUS western saddles). Apparently he was restoring it. So naturally I was curious and called him up. I popped by his shop later in the afternoon.
Apparently a local rancher had brought a few saddles in for some repairs and he'd had this sidesaddle in his barn, so he brought it in too and told him to see what he could do to help it out too. It was an english sidesaddle by a maker I've never heard of, I believe the name was "Louis" something and made somewhere in "MD" (Maryland?). It looked to be a really nice saddle in it's day. Dark leather, smooth pigskin seat & pommels and a little handkerchief pouch on the off-side. The billets looked like they'd never been used! It still had it's balance girth, overgirth and tri-fold girth marked "Mayhew London". (insert little girly squeal here!) It was a HUGE saddle though, the seat was really long and wide. It must have been for someone quite tall. The pommels on the saddle were in rough shape though, really chewed up unfortunately.
The saddler that was working on it really didn't know much about the saddle and had never worked on a sidesaddle. It was really fun to be able to tell him what I could about the saddle and help him out. He'd sewn another strap on the near-side of the saddle as he thought the balance strap went like a back cinch. Luckily that was easily removable. His next question was, "Well what do all the rest of these straps do?", so we went through saddling up the rack it was sitting on. I showed them how your supposed to sit on the saddle and how you "hang on" with your right leg.
The best part was when I brought in the little Copes safety stirrup that came with my $70 saddle. The Copes is the type that swivels backwards and then the footbed falls out to release your foot in the event of a fall. Anyways, he goes "OH we have one of those and I've always wondered what it was for! Now I know it's a sidesaddle stirrup". So then I said "Yup, it sure is, but do you know what it does?", he says "Well what do you mean?". So I pulled it apart and showed him. He says to me "You know, I've been wondering what that was for for 45 years and now I know!".

It was a really fun visit and I made sure to mention that if the owner wanted to sell the saddle, to let me know. hehe

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fox hunting; Alberta style!

I went to my first fox hunt of the year on sunday. It was so much fun! We weren't able to go all last year with Brigit being sick.

I think I finally figured out the secret to having a fun hunt. The pelham. The first time I took Brigit on a hunt I made the mistake of riding her in a snaffle. By the end of the day I had blisters through leather gloves and my shoulders hurt from her pulling and yanking down on me, she just wanted to RUN flat out the whole time. Last year we went in a kimberwicke which helped a lot but since we've been riding sidesaddle in a pelham with success, I figured I'd give it a try. It was definitely the trick! She wasn't pulling and I wasn't sore! It was just a nice day out cantering around and jumping.

Now by "Alberta" foxhunting I mean it's just a mock hunt. We have a huntmaster and other hunt officials but we don't have hounds and there's nothing to chase. So we just follow the hunt master around and jump.

We were at a beautiful ranch called "Palmerra" this weekend. The hills are scenery are so beautiful! I was sure glad we stopped for lots of rest breaks though because my poor out of shape, flat land pony was definitely getting tuckered out!

Unfortunately I forgot my camera at home so I had to borrow a few pictures to post here.


And no, I'm not brave enough to try doing a hunt sidesaddle yet! My mare just gets a bit too nutty with all the other horses and I still haven't figured out this jumping aside business! lol

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Claremont Riding Academy, New York

I was inspired by another blogger who posted about an Edwardian riding academy in Montreal (sidesaddlegirl.blogspot) and thought I'd post some photos and information about the Claremont Riding Academy in New York near Central Park. Could you imagine renting a horse for the afternoon to go for a ride through Central Park?

It was built in 1892 and housed horses on the 2nd floor and the basement.

Horses were brought up and down to the arena from their stalls via ramps.

As you can see it has a small indoor ring that was obstructed by posts. Could defintiely make for some interesting riding!

I wonder if the riding academy in Montreal was inspired by this one? There must be more of this type of urban riding stable in other big cities. They're so neat!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Weeds! Darned weeds!

Well we spent a good part of the day weeding the gardens. I've been wanting to get it done but the weather has just been too rotten lately. So today was the day, partially because it was nice and partially because I received an email from Breck's Bulbs telling me my bulb order had been shipped. Our yard looks 100X better now.

I still haven't figured out how to get rid of the darned 'Ground Ivy' that I planted a few years ago. It's just taken over everything. I ripped and tore and pulled today and then took some 'Roundup' to it. Hopefully that will help. Don't EVER plant that stuff unless you're sure you'll want it there forever!

Wanna see the bulbs I ordered?

Some lillies...

And lots more tulips!

I want spring again.... :(

Saturday, September 25, 2010

A nice new chapeau!

Sorry again for the lapse in posts, I have been super busy with my new job (which I LOVE), teaching lots of riding lessons and to tell you the truth, I haven't been riding much at all. I haven't ridden sidesaddle since my last post which is part of why I haven't had much to post about.

I did FINALLY get a proper top hat to go with my habit though! It's 6" tall and quite old. Gotta love Ebay! I've been kind of looking for one for awhile, they're so elegant looking! The only ones I've found in antique shops in my area have been horribly overpriced and in bad shape. This one is in pretty good shape and was a good price! Perfect!

I was soooo excited to get it! Although when I tried it on I laughed at how silly I looked! LOL I definitely think you need the whole outfit on for it to look good! So no pictures of it on me yet!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Well that was an adventure

Definitely more so than I thought it was going to be! Saturday was the Millarville Fair and I was running horribly late. We were scheduled to ride at 12:00 and as I made the turn to the fairgrounds it was 11:25. I thought to myself "ok I can tack up and get dressed quickly, not a problem". That was until I saw the HUGE lineup of traffic heading into the fair grounds. There was no way I was going to make it....

I was muttering to myself that I could probably ride there faster than waiting in this traffic jam.....That's when I developed "Plan B". I turned into the nearest driveway and ran to the house to ask if it would be ok if I parked my trailer there for a few hours. Luckily it was. I hurriedly tacked up & got changed, clambered on and we were off, galloping down the side of the road, passed all of the cars dressed in full sidesaddle attire towards the fair grounds. It must have been quite the sight! There was a lot of people taking pictures as I went zipping by.

But I made it in there on time!! PHEW!!! Luckily Brigit has been living with a donkey and a llama because there was a whole herd of llama's ahead of us in the parade and she didn't give them a second glance. She was really really good considering how much was going on.

I've decided I've either got to get a different hat to go with my linen outfit or figure out a way to secure it to my head better. It likes to act like a sail and blow off my head when we're going faster than a walk, hence why I spent a good part of the time with my reins and whip in one hand and the other hand on top of my head!

It was a lot of fun though, I'm sure we'll be going again next year!

It was such a neat fair, they have lots of the traditional judged events and the farmer's market was on too. I unfortunately don't have any pictures of that as my camera was back at the truck.

We were lucky enough to get a ride back to the horse trailer too! Which was nice because I was tired and I'm sure Brigit was too!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Millarville Fair & Flower pictures

We're off to do a sidesaddle demonstration tomorrow at the Millarville Fair! It should be lots of fun. I'm taking my camera so hopefully I can get someone to take a bunch of pictures for me.

The linen outfit was requested but I'm torn, I really really like the purple outfit, it's just so bright and fun! I guess we'll have to see what the weather is like tomorrow. If it's muddy AT ALL, I won't be wearing the linen one!

Hopefully the smoke clears too. They're having a lot of forest fires (300 of them!) in British Columbia and all of the smoke has blown over to Alberta. It's SO hazy you can't even see the sun. Very weird.

How about some pictures of the gorgeous lillies that are blooming in my garden right now? (Taken a few days ago before the smoke blew in)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Another fun show day

A friend and I went to a little local show yesterday. It was so fun! Really friendly, well run and just a great time all around.

Brigit and I won the english pleasure, english equitation and hunter over fences classes, we got 4th in the pleasure pairs class and then we swapped attire & tack for the costume class. I just couldn't resist breaking out the sidesaddle and fancy purple outfit again! We got 3rd in that class.

As we were leaving the ring I asked the judge if I could do the next class sidesaddle too. It was a "command class". Basically a show version of "simon says". They tell you to do something and if you don't do it or are the last person to do it, you get called into the middle. The last person on the rail wins. I figured I wouldn't have a chance in heck but thought it'd be fun anyways. It was a pretty big class with lots of people, some riding english & some western and then me sidesaddle! There was some pretty fancy western pleasure horses that I figured would take it for sure buuuut we ended up winning it!!! Brigit was soooo good!

It was so fun to answer everyone's questions about the saddle and riding sidesaddle. There was a group of pony club girls that were fascinated by it and kept asking how I kept my butt on it!

Poor little Winston was soooo tired after being at the show all day, he had a snooze on the way home.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Look at this face!

Isn't he cute? This is Winston, our neighbor's bulldog puppy. We're looking after him until Monday night while she's gone on holidays.

I am absolutely loving my new job and one of the perks is that he's sitting here in my office right now! They're ok with me bringing him in to hang out. He's way too excited with all of the people and attention he's getting; I'm sure he'll be a tired pup by the end of the day!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bar U Ranch Sidesaddle Clinic 2010

We had a great time yet again this year! There was 8 participants including myself, I was actually quite shocked that the clinic wasn't totally full. I guess there aren't that many people that are wanting to try it.

Anyways, saturday we had our lessons and did some touring around the ranch. It was a gorgeous day with a nice breeze and no bugs! Last year the horse flies were terrible.

So I decided since it was such a nice day, I'd break out my linen habit. It turned out so well and it was soooooo much cooler! The material breathes so well. I think I need to find a different hat though.

As you can see Brigit wasn't too impressed about having to stand.

Overnight the clouds blew in and it started to rain. We all did our lessons in long slickers to help keep us and our saddles dry. It was very wet but we still had fun!

It rained most of the morning and we almost cancelled our parade around the site. Nobody wanted to get their expensive clothes soaking wet. Luckily around 1:00 the clouds cleared up and we were able to get dressed up in our finery and go for a tour of the ranch. This was also the first chance I've had to wear my fancy purple & burgundy outfit. I think it's my favorite!

After touring the ranch we went back to the arena and did our quadrille. We were pleased to see that there was actually a fairly decent crowd in the stands that had come to watch. We didn't think there would be anybody with the way the weather had been in the morning. It went really well, nobody forgot where they were going (aka me!). I changed into my blue outfit for the quadrille.

And here's the whole group at the end of the day.

If anybody sends me some other pictures I'll upload those as well. I know there was lots of people taking pics so hopefully there will be some more good ones!

Monday, August 9, 2010

First horseshow in a loooong time!

I haven't actually entered in a horse show in quite awhile. Mostly because I find them too expensive and just not that fun. That's part of why I started riding sidesaddle it's something different and really fun.

Anyways, I was going to try and ride sidesaddle in a couple of the flat classes however the Alberta Equestrian Federation has changed it's rules and you can't show sidesaddle in their shows anymore. Oh well.

We had fun though, it was a great show, really relaxed atmosphere and really well run. We did great too! We got 2nd place in almost every class except for one 3rd place and nothing in halter (we stink at line classes though! lol).

All I've got is one picture thus far, so here ya go. I bought the jacket a couple of years ago because I loved the color and it was on sale, this is the first time I've been able to wear it.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Soooo sorry!

It's been forever since I've had a chance to update my blog. The company I was working with blocked access to any blogs so I couldn't update it during the day. I've been so busy with my trip to England & Scotland, changing jobs etc. that I didn't get a chance to update it at home.

There are lots of things to share but I think it might have to wait until after the weekend.

For a bit of a teaser, we did our 2 week tour of England & Scotland and it was AMAZING!!! We had a great time and saw so much!

I finished a new riding habit, it's linen with a really nice floral cotton lining! I had a lady do the jacket for me as I just didn't have time but I did the apron ALL by myself! I'm pretty darned impressed! But you'll have to wait for pictures!

I'm off to the annual sidesaddle clinic at the Bar U Ranch in Longview, Alberta this weekend where I hope to show off my new habit. We're performing a quadrille on sunday which should be something to watch as well!

Have a great weekend and look for an update on monday!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Working in Northern Alberta/BC

Well here I am typing this from my hotel room, waiting for my microwave dinner to finish heating up and I thought I'd share some pictures of what I've been up to.

First off, some pictures of my garden before I left. I can't wait to get home and finish planting!
I love my tulips and I can't believe how much they've multiplied in just a year!

This one it my favorite...

Now for some work pictures.

Here's my work truck for the week, a shiny new dodge! Although, I think it might be related to "Herbie" because it keeps trying to lock me out!

And the exciting point of my day was seeing these two across the field from us!

Yup that's a great big mama bear and her cub!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

And I think it's time to build another saddle rack or two...

Yes, I've acquired another sidesaddle! It was too neat to pass up! It was made by the Great West Saddlery Co. in Calgary in 1902 or 1903 back before Alberta was a province. It's marked "Calgary, North West Territories".

How neat is that? What a piece of history and it feels really special that I was able to bring it "home". A lady in Texas had the saddle for years. If only these old saddles could talk, the stories they'd be able to tell. To go from Calgary to Texas back when this saddle was made, must have been quite the journey.

Considering it's age, the saddle is in fabulous condition. There are a few tears on the upright pommel (which you can see I covered with a brown sock to protect it a bit) and a little bit of surface cracking but it is in rideable condition.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Wedding cakes!

A different kind of post for today! I've also tried my hand at making fancy cakes for a few friend's weddings. I now know why wedding cakes are so expensive to buy, they actually do cost a lot to make and take a lot of time and effort. It's a LOT of work but also a lot of fun.

This is the first one I made. It was a carrot cake with cream cheese icing on the inside between the layers and smooth, rolled buttercream icing on the outside, decorated with fresh flowers to match the brides colors.

This was the second cake I was commissioned to make. It was also rolled buttercream on the outside but it was a chocolate/vanilla marble cake, decorated with fresh flowers. It turned out really well too!

And lastly, here is a photo of a baby shower cake I made for a friend's sister's baby shower. I like the rubber ducky the best! This was my first attempt at using fondant. I was a little worried but it was SOOOO much easier than the rolled buttercream (although I still think fondant tastes gross lol).