Sunday, February 28, 2010

Always learning

Today the sun was shining here on the Island. Was a great way to finish off the Olympics in Vancouver, and even better as I had a chance to spend most of the day outside with horses.

I have been wanting to train my older horse Magnum to pull a cart for a couple of years now. He is 24 now and I only light ride him as he gets a stiff shoulder now and again. Training him to harness will allow me to keep him in shape with non weight bearing activity - and I have always wanted to learn as well.

Luckily for me, I have a couple of friends - Richard and Phyllis Payne who are hosting a clinic in a couple of weeks where I will get a chance to work with Magnum for four days. To prepare, they asked me to bring him over to get sized up for a harness and to see how he would respond with all the stimuli.

So I loaded him up in the new trailer - and am sure he looked at me to say "Mom - I am retired, remember?". But I know he loves to get out and he is the kind of horse you want to spend lots of time with as he is so respectful. He is a "worker bee" if you know about horseonalities.

Phyllis and Richard fitted him up in the barn with one of their rigs and he stood fairly patiently for them. Then she took him out and while it took him a bit to learn what she wanted when she was standing behind him, he was soon walking forward for her and keeping to the rail.

I stood by taking lots of photos like a proud mom. He is a Morgan cross and Phyllis says they catch on so fast that its like they are turning around to say "what took you so long?". I am sure it won't look so pretty when it is me standing behind him in a few weeks! But for today, I stood by and watched as he and I both learned something new. I can't wait until we can load up John in a buggy and head down to the Crow and Gate for a beer.

I truly enjoyed the day - sunshine, learning, and being with my old handsome friend Magnum.

Enjoy the shots - they should make a great painting.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Horsin around

While my canvas has been a bit dry the past couple of weeks, I have been finding ways to get out with the camera. The damp spring creates some challenging shooting conditions, but sometimes the light can be just right (not often enough for me).

A weekend back, I went out with a couple of friends from the Backcountry horsemen of BC - South Vancouver Island Chapter. We met at the Glenora Staging Grounds in Duncan - a one of a kind equine facility that is nearing completion. To quote from one of Ybo Plante's emails (President BCH-SVI) "Cowichan River Park (Glenora Staging Area). Currently in place are: a) large designated parking area for trailer rigs; b) covered manure pit; c) gravelled picnic area under trees; d) water hydrant; e) electricity/lighting; f) better equine access lane to the TCT and improved trail footing. The washrooms in the main park area now have hot water and showers are functional. Next step is the installation of two 12’x12’ corrals, hitching posts, and picnic tables."

We parked three rigs and you could appreciate the design as it is built with a circle loop so you don't need to back up or turn around with the horse trailer (good thing as I am just learning to drive with my new rig - see photo). I appreciated the open access, good signage, access to the Trans Canada Trail and the attention to detail. These types of facilities are so needed to create access for equestrian users in BC - this is a model to showcase.

Ybo also indicates that "None of this would be happening without the Parks & Rec Commission of the CVRD's vision and leadership! The Commission is still requesting contributions to the costs. So far, they have spent approx. $16,000 of Commission’s dollars but the only contributions from the horse community/users has been $400 raised by BCHBC SVI Chapter and $100 by Twincreeks Bed & Bale". BC Competitive Trail is planning to make a significant contribution as well, since we host at least one ride in the region every year, and Tammy Knutson, President of BCCTRA also has the fundraising coordinator on board to design a fundraising event specifically for the site - money will be donated at the Twincreeks ride in July hosted by Rhonda Hittinger. For any other horse groups out there - think about donating funding to help this great facility and maybe we can encourage more of them in different locations of BC.

Get out and enjoy - and get inspired by spending time in natural surroundings with your four legged friends.