Friday, 17 June 2016

Feedlot Warmblood: Part One

I received Henry’s official papers from the Canadian Warmblood Horse Association in early April.  So I finally feel like I can talk about the adventure of registering a horse from a feedlot.

Fuck yes.

I was part of a facebook group called “Horses Needing Homes in Canada” where many rescues share horses who are available for adoption.  I had been searching for a draft cross filly and nothing closer to home had caught my attention (although I had applied to adopt Mystic over a month prior, and hadn't heard anything).

And then this…

When I read that he was in a feedlot my heart sank.  It said his group of horses would be shipping by the end of the week.  I wanted a draft cross filly that was at least halterbroke…. But I found myself sending an e-transfer to a complete stranger 2000 miles away for $250.  

I paid for him to stay in temporary holding for a few weeks as I arranged the haul.  It was November in a particularly cold Canadian winter, moving a horse across the country was not going to be an immediate/cheap venture.    But I began the work of slowly sorting it out.

And then I got a message on facebook from a woman named Tanya.  She claimed that her friend Louise had wanted to buy my horse, but hadn’t sent the money yet.  I had beaten her to the punch sending the money to the rescue.  Would I consider selling him to her instead?  Louise lived in the same province as Henry and could provide a great home.  Tanya mentioned to me that Henry was quite well-bred, according to Louise.

I honestly gave it a lot of thought.  I felt kind of bad about dragging an unhandled baby horse across the country in the middle of winter.  But I decided against it.  I decided the risk of selling a horse that I bought from a feedlot to a stranger was not fair to him.  I let Tanya know that I wasn’t interested in selling him but would keep her posted on him and would let her/Louise know if I decided to sell.  I asked for more information on his bloodlines (mostly out of curiosity/for fun), I messaged both Tanya and Louise.  Louise never responded to me.  Tanya responded to me saying 

“Louise is too hurt and sad about you not selling the horse to her to share the information.”

And my brain said: “Bullshit.  This horse is worth more than $250 and Louise doesn’t want me to know why.”

So began my obsession with finding information on Henry’s bloodlines.  The woman who ran the rescue, Tracey, told me that Louise mentioned something to her about Henry being by a horse named Piper B.

Henry the baby peanut, his first day at his new home

So armed with that information I harassed many people on the internet!  I eventually tracked down Piper B’s breeder, Sylvia.  She sent me baby pictures of Piper and she gave me the name and information of Piper B’s current owner. Sylvia was absolutely wonderful and told me that she would help me with the registration process if needed. 
Piper was now owned by a man named Larry. 

Piper B at his stallion inspection 

Grandsire Ilian de Taute vs. Baby H


I figured Larry would have records of which mares were bred and I could do some sleuthing from there.  I had a really difficult time getting a hold of Larry.  Turns out that he’s a long haul truck driver and was away from home quite a bit.  I chatted with his wife quite a bit and gave her the scoop.

After a few weeks of phone tag, I finally got Larry on the phone. 

Larry was a bit confused as he had just given all this information to Louise on a horse that she bought from a rescue.  Did she sell this horse to me?  

No… she never bought the horse.  

Turns out Larry had bred Henry from one of his mares, named Rhapsody V.  He had dropped Henry and his half-brother off at the auction in November.  Piper B was recently put down due to colic and it was a very bad year for hay prices.  It sounded to me like he wanted to cut his losses.

Henry’s half-brother was apparently injured and was “stupid” according to Larry.  He told me that I was lucky to get Henry, as he was the smarter and nicer colt of the two.   He sounded frustrated that no one had any interest in his horses until they ended up at a rescue.  I asked him if he’d sign Henry’s papers for me so I could register him, he said yes.  And he did!

Pretty insane that I was able to buy a horse from a feedlot 2000 miles away and register him as a Canadian Warmblood!  This is the link to his pedigree if anyone is interested.

My whole heart

More rambling thoughts to come in part two! :) 

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Eventing 101 Clinic Recap

So I as I mentioned, Mystic and I went to an eventing intro clinic.  It cost $25 bucks for 1.5 hours of instruction – that fit into my meager budget quite nicely.  It was intended to provide information on the basics of eventing for people new to the sport and an opportunity to school cross country.
Coordinating the trailering to move my horse 20 minutes down the road was a complete nightmare.  And totally my fault for leaving everything to the last minute.  There were a few tears at the 11th hour and I came pretty close to not attending at all.  But one of my wonderful friends came through for me a big way and loaned me her little trailer.

Ready to go!

I was the first person mounted up in my class of three.  I walked Mystic around everywhere and she was quite keen and forward.  The person who trained Mystic was coaching the clinic, we discussed doing only the small obstacles and keeping it fun for her.  

Off we went to trot over some logs.  I think this was the most fun part of the day for me.  Mystic was very willing and honest about trotting over the logs.  I was really proud of her and she seemed to be having fun.  I felt really safe trotting and cantering with her in an open field (a feeling that I do not have on Apollo all the time).

The two other riders in my class were showjumpers, who do the 1.10m classes.  So they obviously jumped larger/scarier options than I did.  I spent a fair bit of time watching them, which was really cool.  They both rode very seasoned athletic horses, who were both quite game to try jumping some different looking fences.
Then we moved over to the bank.


Trotting towards our doom 

Mystic was a good sport about walking down it.  I never really felt like I got my balanced figured out.  I didn’t slip the reins enough the first time so I caught her in the mouth a bit.  After than she decided to launch off it and almost fall over upon landing.  Eventually we progressed to trotting down it.  The launches got bigger, my balance got even worse and she bucked me off at the bottom.  I haven’t fallen off in a long time.  It hurt and winded me.  I landed on my back (my husband said it was a very loud thud!).  

It took me a minute to get my breath back.  I got on and walked her down the bank twice and decided that was  enough bank for me.

Then we moved over to the water.  Pony did not want to go in the water.  I didn’t have a crop but the coach gave me a stick (like an actual wooden stick from the ground).  After enough “encouragement” from my leg and the stick she finally went in.  We followed the other horses in the water a bit too.

We ended the day trotting a log jump and cantering down into the water.  She still wasn’t 100% sold on going in the water but complied begrudgingly.  

The coach said that we need to work on our canter work (very true) and that the saddle was sliding forward a bit, these were the two things that caused us issues.  She thought Mystic was very quiet and calm for her first outing.  And she was happy that I got back up and continued riding after the bank incident.   

I wish I had ridden better.   She’s a green horse who gave me a very nice effort for most of the day, overall I'm really proud of her.  We do have some homework to do for sure! :)

My mom and my husband were watching me.  It probably wasn’t a great ride to watch and I’m sort of embarrassed I asked them to come.  I guess I’m proud that I didn’t cry or break my glasses, so those are two wins right there.  As I flew through the air I was thinking "OH NO, MY GLASSES!" because I'm old/cheap.

I do have some video of the bank and the water but I haven't figured out how to get it off my husband's photo without terrrrible quality.  I hope to have those LOL/Fail Friday-worthy videos to come shortly! ;)

Thursday, 9 June 2016


I’m back!  I went through a bit of a tough time; I simply had no mental energy to write anything.  I still kept up on reading most of the blogs I follow – just didn’t leave many comments.  Thank you to everyone who reached out to me in the comments of my last blog or via e-mail, it meant a lot to me :)

I have a post sitting in my drafts folder that provides a lot more detail about what’s been going on, but it’s a bit personal and I’m not ready to publish it yet.  Essentially I’ve been working really hard the last two months to make my life less stressful.  

So what’s changed?  I’ll break it down by horse, as that’s probably easiest.

Mystic  – This mare continues to impress me.  We have been doing a lot of trail riding lately and she is a complete #BAMF on the trail.  I walk/trot/canter her outside and feel completely safe.   We did an Eventing 101 Clinic a few weeks ago and the post about that will be up shortly.

We are in the midst of some saddle fitting woes at the moment.  I have a saddle that is an OK fit (like 7/10 I’d say) but even with strategic padding it’s the wrong shape for her.  I feel like its ok for trail riding but for arena work/jumping we need to find a better fit.  I have a few things in the works so I hope to have something better for her soon.

I haven’t been able to afford lessons since early April for her (or any of my horses) and have decided to move her back to the property where Apollo lives at the end of June.  Lessons are on the horizon for her and I -starting in July with Coach D.  I hope to take her to the one day event on August 1.

Henry – Henry finished his training with some interesting/surprising notes from the trainer (post to come shortly).   I found him a very affordable place to live where we can do lots of trail riding this summer.  The woman who owns the property is quickly becoming a really close friend and we have so much fun riding together.  She’s very kind and patient with his quirks. 


My aunt’s saddle fits him quite nicely and thank goodness because I can’t afford anything else for him at the moment!  It's an exsellle AP, not the western saddle in the picture above.

He has become quite a lovely trail horse.  It’s quite a big change for me to ride a warmblood.  He feels a lot more athletic and springy than my draft crosses (and I feel like he could dump me very easily at any time – but he hasn’t! Good boy Henry!).  Riding him has inspired me to start working on my own fitness again in a big way.

At one point Coach D came very close to buying him but that has been placed on the back-burner right now for various reasons – some of which I’ll get into when I share the notes from his trainer, RK. 

Apollo – Sadly Apollo has not gotten as much riding and attention as my young horses lately.  Soon he and Mystic will be living at the same property so I will get more rides on him.  He’s been quite a good boy for me when I have squeezed the odd ride in.  He really needs to be ridden at least 4 days a week or he’s an incredibly hot ride.  I hope to have my husband riding him by the end of summer- so we have some work to do there!  I actually rode him with only a neck rope a few weeks ago, which was one of my big 2016 goals!

Going forward he will be starting lessons soon and the plan is for Coach D to ride him in the one day event in August.  The Verhan saddle still fits him beautifully and he doesn’t have to share it with Mystic anymore because it doesn’t fit her now.

I had a fall last Friday when he bolted at the mounting block, so mounting block manners will our number one priority going forward.  Followed closely by fitness/regular riding!

I had planned to come back to blogging when the dust had settled a bit.  But I’ve learned that creating a less stressful life is ongoing, and the dust will never really settle because life is always changing.  I’m a bit sad that I have missed documenting the last two months and in future I think I’ll try to blog through rough patches in life.

I’m excited to properly catch up with blogland and share more details on what's up with me and my herd! :)