Champs Day 2

Here are some more photos from the Championship ride this weekend. These were taken today….

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Champs Day 2, posted with vodpod

Ontario CTR Champs

Here are some photos that I took yesterday at the Ontario Competitive Trail Championships. Day two is today, so more pics later probably.

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Swamp Dog

When my Great Aunt died recently, I inherited her Cocker Spaniel, Taz. Actually I guess I inherited her when Pat went into hospital last winter. At that time, she was vastly overweight. 48lbs. A 48lb Cocker Spaniel is wider than they are tall. Believe me. Her hind legs were starting to give out on her, and she could no longer go up two stairs. The poor little dog could barely walk. My great aunt loved her dearly, and liked to feed her. Towards the end, as her dementia became worse, I think she must not have realized just how much she was feeding her. But she’d taken to pushing dog biscuits into Taz’s mouth against the dog’s will. I was alarmed at just how big she was, so I put her on a diet. She’s lost quite a bit of weight so far. Not all of it yet, but she’s at least somewhere in normal fat dog range anyway. Last time I weighed her (a couple of months ago) she was down to 34lbs. She should be a bit less than that now I would think.

I have a cat named Taz already. But it’s hard to rename an animal when you’ve known them a long time. So I have a “Taz the Dog” and a “Taz the Cat” now. But I think I may finally be able to rename this little dog “SwampDog”.

Yesterday she went missing. When she didn’t turn up by nightfall I was sure something had eaten her (a coyote perhaps). But this morning the neighbour called to say that she’d found Taz on her front steps. When I went to pick her up, I was greeted by a matted, smelly little ragamuffin. I immediately called my friend Virginia with my dog emergency. She is a professional groomer (

It’s a bit of a drive to Virginia’s, and that dog REEKED. I think she must have found some dead frogs to roll in. Or maybe just a dead skunk. I dunno. It was really truly disgusting to sit in the truck cab with her. I opened both windows, and the sunroof. And I ran the air conditioner full blast too. I was pretty much gasping for air all the way.

Virginia was quite impressed with the magnitude of Taz’s bad hair day. But set right to work. I decided to document her makeover…

Here’s the raw material that Virginia had to work with. Those are little burrs and stickers all through her coat.

The mats were so dense that she had to do a partial clip before bathing her.

It must be admitted that I let the grooming thing get a little behind schedule. She should have been done a couple of months ago. So there was a LOT of clipping to be done.

Then she had her bath. Although not obvious in this photo, she seems to like her bath. I guess it’s a spaniel thing, liking water.

Then there was more clipping and trimming. And toenails. And ears.Can you see the little fat roll still hanging off the end of her behind? That used to be at least twice that big.

And in the end, this is what SwampDog turned into.

She’s actually kind of cute isn’t she?

Parker WON!!

Well FINALLY! Parker (Danish Spirit) won. This is his first win. Here’s the video replay….

Parker is out of the lovely mare we lost earlier this year, Freckles. Which makes him Reno’s (the orphan foal) older brother. And he’s the most like her in personality. Sweet, kind, and very high energy. He also has her beautiful face. Although he’s a bright flashy chestnut with a flaxen mane and tail and Freck was a bay.



Snorty Horses and a New Camera

I had to go and buy myself a new camera this week. A few weeks ago, when I had my unscheduled dismount from Dressy in the Vivian, I apparently deposited more then just my backside in the shrubbery. I had my little digital camera in my pocket too. And I came home without it. I guess I forgot to zip up the pocket.

The new camera is very small. It is a 16MP still camera and also does HD video. So of course I had to give it a bit of a test run. So here is a video of the horses being turned out into the pasture this afternoon.

And in case you are wondering how I fell off the damn horse…. have a look¬† She’s the tall, black, snorty one with her tail flagged . I think she needs to be ridden a bit more actually. She is just feeling WAY too good.


New Standardbred… Ares Gold

Here’s a quick photo of the new Standardbred that’s just come in…


Ares will be looking for a good, permanent home in the near future. He is 11 years old. Raced for a couple of years and has been out to pasture for a year or two. He was not broke to harness until he was five, and never really showed any speed. I think he won a little over $4,000 in his career, so he didn’t pay his own way. He’s sound, with very clean legs. His trainer seems to have been quite fond of him, which is why he kept him for a while after retirement.

I don’t know a lot about his personality yet, as he’s just arrived. But I do know that he’s a very friendly guy. It’s tough to get a photo of him because he follows me like a puppy around the round pen.¬† I’ll start doing some basic ground work with him in the next couple of days to prepare him for backing.

Blooming Foxy

When I was crewing at the ride this past weekend, I happened to look up towards the gate and noticed a beautiful glossy black horse going out on trail. It took me a moment to recognize her. It was my little darling Foxy.

Back when I worked as a Standardbred groom, one of my charges was Foxy Baronessa. She was a pacing filly by Rambaran. Black, dainty, and rather timid. She didn’t have a lot of talent, and as the least experienced groom in the barn, I got the “worst” horses. Always the fillies with no talent. They were sensitive and sort of withdrawn when I got them. So I babied them. And Foxy ADORED being babied. She gave me kisses when I arrived in the morning, and nipped me in a jealous snit if I groomed another horse in front of her stall. She turned into quite a little princess with me, though was always shy of strangers.

Like many Standardbreds, Foxy was remarkably steady-minded. One time, I had her on the cross-ties (rickety ties held together with bits of wire and binder twine) at the barn door. So she was standing with her head and neck outside, and body inside while I hooked up the jog cart. It was winter and there was a lot of snow on the roof. There was a whoosh, and Foxy suddenly reared up about a foot – just a little baby rear – and I looked up to see her head and neck covered in crusty wet snow. The entire roofload of snow had landed on her. She looked pretty concerned. But stood while I brushed the remainder off her. She settled right away, and I jumped on the cart and we headed out for our usual half hour jog. I was totally impressed that a three year old fit racehorse would stand so well in a situation like that.

In harness, she looked completely misplaced. She was only 14.3hh, with an Arab-type head. Pacers are generally fairly unbending, since the pace itself requires that they stiffen/hollow their back muscles, raise their heads and rock from side to side. Foxy definitely paced (and racked… and slow-gaited… and trotted and cantered for that matter), but she also tucked her nose, arched her neck, and flexed around corners. The trainer used to call her “that damned rubber-necked filly”. It got in the way of her racing career, since she would turn her head and neck during a race, but would drift outward anyway. Frustrated her drivers no end.

Anyhow, Foxy washed out as a racehorse and I got the okay to try to market her as a riding horse. I’d had the perfect person in mind for Foxy for months before that. A longtime rider who had been in a serious accident that shattered her ankle. She was told never to ride again, and had to give up riding her lovely but spooky Arab mare. She was still determined to ride though. This is someone who is very soft and gentle with her horses. Possibly even too gentle for some horses. Perfect for Foxy though. If there was ever a horse who needed to be adored, it was Foxy.

First though, I figured I’d better back the filly. So I brought my tack from home and worked with her. She was a bit alarmed when I stood up on a bucket beside her, but otherwise was very accommodating. I had someone lead her up and down the barn aisle (long barn… 40 stalls or so) with me on her back. Then I rode her by myself up and down the barn. She felt like a dressage horse. Tucked herself into a frame. Bent beautifully at the end of the barn. Stayed quiet and balanced. Soft as butter.

Her destiny came to see her later that day. Watched her do her dressage pony routine. And fell in love with her, thank goodness. Foxy has blossomed in her new career. She’s gotten a little taller. Filled out. Developed some presence.

Because of her ankle, her owner can’t ride as far or as fast as she used to. But Foxy takes good care of her and carried her to her 3000 mile award. Foxy only has a little over 150 miles. But they have been important miles.

Foxy’s mileage page

Here’s a photo of Foxy from a couple of years ago…

You Have to Take Care of Yourself Too… Not Just Your Horse

I spent the day yesterday pit crewing Misha and Diego in their second fifty. It was HOT out there. That horse looked awesome all day. Even while Misha was threatening to make dogfood out of him after he bucked her off on her tailbone. They rode with Emma and Zillary all day, and finished together in 5th and 6th place.

Shortly afterwards, Misha started throwing up. Sunstroke and dehydration, not to mention pain from the bruised tailbone. She threw up all the way home in the truck, and I drove her home from there in her car so her husband could take her into the hospital (she was adamant that she had to go to the hospital where her Dad works). She was admitted last night so they could get IV fluids into her.

Diego looked like he hadn’t done a thing after the ride was done. He actually looked reasonably cool all day. And he still looks like he hasn’t done a thing. It topped out at 35C yesterday, with a baking sun. Maximum humidity was 94. Dressy would’ve dropped in her tracks out there, and King wouldn’t have been a whole lot better I suspect. So it’s good I didn’t decide to ride.


Helmet cam of Jefferson Forest Ride

Put together a new helmet cam video. This is King and I in the Jefferson Forest on Saturday.

We had a lovely ride, and he was very forward and free-moving. We did 13 miles and he was moving well for the entire ride. The last minute or two of the video is towards the end of the ride, and he was still cruising along happily.

The next day though, we had another muscle cramping incident. So he’s not sorted out quite yet.





Harold Won!

Our big crazy chestnut boy won today. Handy Harold in the 10th race at Woodbine. Here’s the video replay:

He was obnoxious before he went over to the paddock from what I hear. Bucking and rearing in his stall. Trying to kick the walls down. Full of his own magnificence.

And the horse that ran third is my old pal Sammy (aka Stolonboy). Also a crazy chestnut. Sammy is the horse who liked to throw his jolly ball at hotwalkers and at baby horses (two year olds new to the track) to see them spook.