Sunday, 23 June 2013

Our First Ride

So we went out yesterday to just check on the ponies and somehow, from that, this ended up happening.  I'm still not entirely sure how.

The bottom of Artemis' pasture is pretty flooded out, but it's not really that much worse than usual.  It's not fast-moving or dangerously deep, and she still has over half the field of high ground to get away from it.  The worst issue is the bugs.  They're absolutely insane out there and made for a very eager Artemis to come inside. 

Since she was up at the barn, I saddled her up and lunged her.  We had an audience today, (K and our barn owners) so instead of my mom helping me out, K helped me out.  She held Artemis while I leaned over her back and then lead her around.  Like usual, Artemis was fine with it.  So we decided to see how she'd be with K leaning over her back.  Artemis didn't care.

Since she was being so good, we decided to push a little further.  We wanted to see how she'd be with me actually sitting on her.  I think the video speaks for itself.

When I first put my leg over her, she tensed up for a second and then relaxed almost immediately.  The two moments where she does start to get tense are when she begins sidestepping.  But as you can see, she at no point had any inclination to freak.  In fact, she was a lot more calm than I was.  I was freaking out inside the whole time.  She didn't share my trepidation.  At the beginning of the video, when she turns her head away from the camera, she's actually trying to nibble on my foot.

I know I'm only on her for like thirty seconds but it felt like forever to me.  We ended the day once I got off of her.  She did so awesome, it would have been stupid to expect more out of her.

There's still a lot of work to do, but I've put a plan of sorts into place.  I think I'm going to switch Socks and Artemis out for a while, so Artemis comes up into the pens and Socks gets some down time in the pasture.  This way I'll be able to work with Artemis more regularly for a while.  This won't happen until the round pen is dried up because I intend have my first real ride (where no one leads her and I'm controlling her) in the safely enclosed round pen.

I'm so proud of her, I couldn't stop smiling all of last night because I couldn't stop thinking of how awesome she was.

As an ending note, the flooding, for the moment, seems stable.  As far as I've heard it hasn't gotten worse and waters have even begun to recede a bit.  Hopefully that keeps up.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Horses Are Safe

I was able to get a hold of my stable owners and the ponies are currently safe, wet, but safe.  Cell phone service is not good right now so we weren't able to talk long, but it was pouring out there in the afternoon.  The creek is getting pretty high but luckily Artemis does have some pretty high ground in her pasture so she can get away from it, and the my barn owner's are pretty confidant the creek won't reach the paddocks or their house.  Like I said before, the creek isn't glacier fed, it isn't connected to any of the flooding rivers so it won't have the water in it that all the rivers do.

We're going to try to drive out tomorrow and check on them.  I'll feel better once I see with my own eyes that they're okay.  I'm once again so thankful that not only do I happen to live in a safe area, but my horses are in a safe area.  Everything's gone to hell around us, but we're safe so far.

Unfortunately not many are as lucky.  People who cannot trailer their animals out, which has been many, have been instructed to open their gates and cut their fences so their animals can escape.  It's terrifying to think of all these animals out on their own, but they have a much better chance of survival if they're not locked in fields, and especially not in barns.  And do not leave halters or ropes of any kind on your animals.  They may make your animals easier to catch once the flooding is over, but the risk of them catching on branches or other objects is too great and your animals are safer without them on.  I've heard of people painting their phone number on the sides of their animals and then setting them free. 

The latest update I've heard on the flooding is that river levels are constant for the moment, but there is still a chance that the Bow River could rise some more.  It's crested in Banff and so should be rising in Canmore and Calgary sometime during the night.

State of Emergency

Southern Alberta is in a state of emergency due to the massive flooding all across the lower part of the province.  It's not just a small area of the province, the flooding goes as far down as Lethbridge and as high up a Sundre and Red Deer.

This map gives you an idea of how far the flooding is spreading, and now BC and Saskatchewan are seeing the effects from the flooding. 

I'm safe, I'm very lucky and happen to live in a neighborhood that is high enough up not to get flooding, but none of us were able to go into work because we all work in evacuated areas. 

This video has been on the news a lot (without the audio due to the swearing).  And the water has only gotten even higher since this video was taken.

The town of High River has been completely evacuated, all 13 000 residents.  The town is completely underwater. 

Here are pictures I've taken off of facebook, it gives you an idea of the destruction being done.

This is supposed to be a road near downtown Calgary.

This a picture of the Calgary zoo.  Animals have been evacuated and the zoo is currently closed down.

Downtown Calgary.

This is High River, and once again keep in mind that the water is even higher now.

Highway 1 in Canmore is just gone.  The videos of it are amazing, the water has cut right through the road and the debris in the water is unbelievable. 

Houses in Canmore.

This is High River I believe.

This is one of my biggest fears, not only are people being affected by this devastation, but the animals are as well. 

Here is a link to even more pictures.

I'm about to call up the stable and just check on how they're doing.  They do have a creek that runs through Artemis' pasture but it is not glacier fed so while I'm sure it's high, I'm pretty sure they are at least not in danger of it flooding like all the rivers have.  That's the biggest problem, its not the rain over places like Canmore, High River and Calgary, it's the rain in the mountains.  The more rain they get (which is supposed to be a lot) the higher the rivers are going to get.  The water comes down from the mountains in giant surges and that's one of the biggest problems with this flooding.

I am incredibly lucky in that I live in a pretty safe neighborhood from flooding, my neighborhood is at a higher incline, my street is at the top of a hill, and I'm not near any sources of water.  The stable is lucky in the same sense, and I believe it's far enough away from me that it's not even getting the rain we are. 

However, a lot of people I know have been evacuated out of their homes.  Thousands of people are being forced to leave behind their homes and all their belongings and there is no clear idea of when they might be able to return, if they have anything to return to.

I know people really want to help out right now, but the best thing for everyone to do is to stay indoors.  Do not go near any rivers, the river banks are extremely unstable right now and the waters could rise by feet in a matter of seconds if we get another surge from the mountains.  Stay home, listen to the news and let the emergency crews do their jobs without having to worry about the safety of civilians.  That's the best thing you can do.

I know I'll be praying for everybody affected by this tragedy, and although it doesn't look like it's going to end soon, I'm praying the rain will stop soon.  It's currently pouring where I am and it's supposed to keep raining through the weekend.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Learning to Lunge

So much has happened in the last month and a bit, it's not all going to fit into this post.  In short, I've started riding again, Artemis has been doing awesome in her training (more about that in this post) I started a new job (which I need to be up at 4 am for, which majorly sucks), I went to a horse show for three days to support a friend and that was definitely an interesting experience, and we passed the one year mark of me breaking my arm.  I'll try to stop being lazy and actually write about these in future posts.

Artemis has been great.  She never ceases to amaze me with her willingness to please.  Seriously, this time last year, she was a nightmare.  She didn't want to come in and would put up a fight each and every time we brought her in.  So far (knock on wood) she's been coming in happily. 

We've been working on lunging.  I've never met a horse that picked up on it so quickly, especially considering I've only done it a handful of times myself.  The first time we did it was in the round pen, so she had the sides of the pen to guide her.  The first couple of times I asked she just stood there and stared at me, completely confused.  Then, after a little guidance, she got it.  By the end of it (she only ever gets lunged for ten minutes max because she's young) she was even whoaing just to my voice. 

The next time we went to lunge it was too hot outside so we decided to give it a go into the arena.  Again, it took a couple tries before she understood what I was asking but she got it quickly.  She tries so hard and gets extremely frustrated when she doesn't understand what I'm asking.  As long as I stay patient with her, she gets it though and she's getting to be an old hand at lunging.

I brought my sister with me one day to film her lunging and after we were finished, I left Artemis free in the arena while I cleaned up after her.  She's like my shadow.  Anytime I'm near her, all she does is follow me.

As you can see, I'm not that great at lunging myself but I think considering we're both new to this, she does pretty good.

And here she is following me around.  I think she looks massive compared to me but she's still only 14.3.  You have no idea how much I'm dying for her to grow one more inch.

The second last time I was out, Artemis was not so good.  I hadn't worked with her in two weeks though so while she wasn't horrible, it was obvious she'd had too much time off.  My friend K led her in for me and Artemis took advantage of the fact that it was someone new.  She was trying to lead K instead of the other way around and kept pretending to be afraid of everything.  Unfortunately for her, K doesn't fall for that kind of thing and little Miss Artemis had to pay attention.

Last time I saw her she had two-year-old brain going on.  Focusing was not something she did.  However, two-year-old brain is still so much better than yearling brain and even though she wasn't focused, I was able to get her to do what I wanted. 

That's all about Artemis for now.  I have a few things I'm planning on doing with her so hopefully I'll have more interesting news to report soon.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013


I have some real updates coming but I'm waiting on some videos to finish loading (my computer is horrible with videos) so until then, I figured I'd try this out.

1. Dish face or Roman nose? Why?
Roman nose, I really, really hate dished faces.

 2. Mares or Geldings? Why?
I'm definitely a mare person, I love that they have no quit to them.

 3. Do you think warmbloods are over-rated?

4. Describe your dream horse.
Hmm, honestly, Artemis.  A horse that I've raised from a foal.

5. What kind of bit do you use and why?
Socks goes in a curb bit because that's what she's always been in and that's what she responds best to.  Artemis currently doesn't have a bit but she'll be started in a snaffle.  Jimmy switches between the bitless bridle and a snaffle, depending on what we're doing with him.

6. Stock horses or sport horses?
Stock horses.

7. Favorite horse color?

8. Least favorite horse color?

9. Dressage or Jumping?

10. Favorite stock horse breed?
Quarter Horse or Appaloosa

11. Favorite Hot-blooded breed?

12. Favorite cold-blooded breed?
I'm partial to Clydesdales

13. Dapple grey or Fleabitten grey?
Dapple grey

14. Most expensive piece of tack you own?
My saddle, even though it really wasn't that expensive

15. When did you start riding?
I think I was ten

16. Leather or Nylon halters?

17. Apples or Carrots?

18. Chestnut or bay?

19. Palomino or Buckskin?

20. Lazy horse or Hot horse?
Hot horse, I hate having to push a horse on

21. Have you ever been trail riding? 
Yes, I miss it a lot 

22. Have you ever had to put down a horse that you loved?
Yes, still the hardest decision I ever made

23. How many saddlepads do you have?

24. How many bridles do you have?
Oh man, we have a lot, we have at least six in our locker I think.

25. Favorite saddle brand?
I don't have one
26. Beige or White Breeches?

27. Least favorite discipline?
Western Pleasure

28. Do you own a horse?
I personally own two

29. Do you collect breyer horses?

30. Favorite color of saddle pad?
Red, Socks' colour

31. Private barn or Boarding stable?
Hmm, it depends.  It is great having other people to ride with and bounce ideas off of when you are at a boarding stable

32. Opinion on spoiled riders?
Annoying, I try to stay out of the drama though

33. Have you ever ridden tackless?
Yes, Socks and I are not so good at it

34. Have you ever stood up on a horse?

35. Overo, Tobiano, or Tovero?

36. Favorite face markings(s)?
Blaze or bald face

37. Why you started riding?
Because I thought horses were the coolest things ever

38. Does anyone in your family ride?
Everyone in my immediate family does

39. Have you ever owned a horse?

40. Something you want to improve on?
My riding skills, all of them.  I feel like I'm much better with ground work than riding

41. A bad habit you have?
I either have my reins too long or too tight, never just right

42. A bad habit your horse has?
When Artemis gets scared she gets pushy

43. How high have you jumped?
I'm not sure exactly, up to Socks' chest (it was on the trail)

44. Have you ever had a dressage lesson?

45. What really makes your horse spook?
For Socks and Jimmy, nothing in particular, just the odd random, stupid thing.  Artemis is continually freaked out by the manure pile though.

46. Trail riding or ring work?
Overall I prefer trail riding but I also enjoy ring work

47. Indoor or Outdoor arena?
I'd rather ride in the outdoor but I refuse to board any place that doesn't have a heated indoor, it's too cold to ride in winter otherwise.

48. Colorful or plain saddle pads?
I like some designs, not crazy amounts though

49. Do you like horses with blue eyes?

50. Have you ever gotten into a fight with your trainer?
I've never had a trainer

51. Light bay or Dark bay horses?

52. What is your equestrian dream?
 To continue enjoying horses and having fun with them, no matter what else happens

53. Long mane or Pulled mane?
54. Opinion on fake tails?
I'm not a fan of them

55. Least favorite thing about your barn?
I don't live there

56. Favorite thing about your barn?
The owners

57. Have you ever ridden a stallion?

58. Socks or no socks on a horse?
I'm partial to socks

59. Favorite horse names?
 I don't have any

60. If you could ride any horse in the world, which one would it be? Why?
Martha, Lindsay Sear's horse, because she's one of the greatest barrel racers