dancing horses

dancing horses

Tuesday, February 28, 2017


We picked up the newest addition to the family. Ed and I drove to the pick up location at the airport and met up with the family taking my dog's brother. As soon as we opened the crate he ran up to me.
Oh my god he was so adorable.

I put on his new collar but it's too big. I thought I had bought one that was small enough and it won't be too big for long but I was worried that he could pull out of it. I did a short walk and he didn't pee and I was worried about him getting loose so we decided to get in the car and head home.

On the way he was quiet and then started to howl. I think that he had to pee but I was more worried about him getting lost then the pee so we kept going. When we were about half-way home I felt my lap get really warm. He had peed on me. He looked at me with his warm brown eyes and promptly fell asleep.

When we got home I gave him some food which he gobbled.

the only time he was still enough for a photo

I know that I'm biased but I believe that he's the most adorable puppy ever.

d'Arcy is behaving as expected- which means that he's enthralled and has assumed babysitting duties right away. When we went outside he was trying to introduce the newest member to sticks and dropped it on him. That did not go over well with puppy so I put the stick up.

I brought him out the barn and put him in the crate I set up there. He howled blue murder and the horses were riveted. Irish wanted to go check it out. Carmen looked interested and not freaked out. I told her that she wasn't the baby anymore.

 The puppy has peed on the floor twice and pooped. Every time I go outside he's only peed once but we'll get the hang of it. Now he is in his crate howling blue murder again but I believe that he will settle. He has toys, a kong and can see us (d'Arcy and I. Ed is at Wal-Mart buying a new collar). I do suspect that it will be a long night. Tomorrow I will get out my good camera and take some shots.

Oh, what's his name?

Right. I forgot to tell you. Allow me to introduce you to Guinness.

My heart is happy. 

Sunday, February 26, 2017


Two more sleeps until our house gets significantly livelier.

In the meantime the weather has turned warm and the snow is melting like crazy.

remember my post from a few days ago where the snow was practically to the 'H'? 
the ring is still a bit soggy but it's getting there. 
Last year about this time I was writing about how Carmen seemed to be more settled and mature. I would say that this year she's 'softer'. Not as on edge or sharp. When I pick out her stall it has always been pretty easy to move her over so I could get a spot but her reactions were always sharp and fast. Now the slightest touch on her haunch and she quietly steps over.  A few times I go into the barn and she's still laying down rather then leaping to her feet. Of course she would say that it's because she's too weak from hunger. 

I love her soft expression in this photo- it's fairly typical these days. 

When I was having lunch with Carmen I was telling her that I'm starting to realize how similar Carmen and I are. It was brought home to me a month or so ago when I was walking a trail. I was trying to get in my 5 km. I had my hood up and I was in my groove striding along. All of a sudden I heard 'Hello' from the woods on my right. 

'JESUS CHRIST' I yelled and jumped sideways about 10 feet. 

I spun and looked around to see an elderly couple standing in the trees about 25 feet off the trail. 
'Oh my heart- you scared the crap out of me'
'I'm sorry. ' said the older man. He explained that they had found a geocache. I could see that he was trying hard to not laugh at me. His wife looked offended- probably at my initial yell. But heck, it wasn't like I planned to jump around the trail swearing. 

I realize that that's what Carmen does when something startles her- she jumps sideways (and likely is swearing). 

I want my opinion to be heard and I will be quite persistent. I'm okay if the decision goes differently then I think it should as long as I'm heard.  I'm pretty sure that sounds familiar. 

I often have far too many thoughts in my head. 
Carmen often has a very busy brain. 

I get frustrated if I don't understand the task or I think I'm failing. 

I'm pretty sure Carmen is like that too. 

Wait, could we both be perfectionists? 

Irish: You are both Mares, what were you expecting? 

Are there ways that you and your horse are similar?

Saturday, February 25, 2017

I Get By....

Thank heavens for my friends. They are helping me to occupy myself while I count down to the GREAT PUPPY PICK-UP. Tuesday around 6 pm is when the plane is scheduled to land.

Last night we were curling and our skip was sick. I took over as skip and we were tied in the last end. I had last rock and I  had to make a shot to win the game. And I did. It was a sweet win.
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Today I met up with my good friend, Karen at Bits N' Bridles tack shop. They were having an Anniversary sale. I found a few things that were clearly needed in my life:

I always buy bell boots for Irish when they are on sale since he goes through them like, well like a horse that has to wear bell boots all the time.

I fell in love with the saddle pad. It's not that I have a saddle pad problem, it's just that this one was so nifty. I loved the air dry quality and the reinforcement where there billets go was a nice touch. I think the it will look really snazzy on Carmen this summer.

It's hard to see, but there's a fly bonnet there too- the ears were stretchy and I thought that would be better. Irish's bonnet is getting pretty worn. The boots were great- I have to wear rubber boots but when I'm working for a while in the barn they are not comfortable. These are Noble Outfitters and after wearing them once I love them.

The puppy toy was inevitable and the owner threw in the treats as a gift to the new dog. I love local service.

After the retail therapy we went for lunch and had a great time catching up. I then drove back home to play pickleball. This time there were others there and I got to play some 'real' games. I was nervous at first because I only tried it last week and I'm really not any good (not yet anyway). But everyone was kind and helpful and patient with my mistakes.

The weather has been gorgeous the past few days and my ring only has a shallow layer of snow. If this continues I might be able to start working Carmen again.

So rather then spend the day waiting for time to pass and lamenting on not being able to ride I managed to have a fun and busy day.

I should sleep well tonight. Now just 2 more nights after that....

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Waiting is Hard

When I die the message on my tombstone- assuming I have one which is not certain because I think I'd rather be scattered in the roots of a tree but I'm getting off topic- 
anyway I am pretty sure it will not read 'She was known for her incredible patience'. 

Frankly, it's much more likely to read 'it seemed like a good idea at the time'. 

So as I wait for snow to melt I'm trying to distract myself with plans.  I'm driving myself nutty with'will I do this clinic? or should I go to (insert name of friend)'s place? Is there a trail riding clinic I can attend? What about Joanna, is she coming back? It would be fun to have a fun show. .... and on I go.  I want to get some poles to incorporate pole work into our work. Where do you get those anyway? Has anyone used PVC pipes? 

I've been spending time grooming Carmen and practicing braiding. With her long mane I need to make sure that I know how to do a running braid. She's enjoying these sessions. 
"H" is for "help"

it's not as bad on this side
I can live with not riding (well sort of) but the lack of exercise is starting to tell on Carmen too. She's gained too much weight. This is what happens when you spend all day standing at the hay net and not moving around. She doesn't like snow but is getting better about going out in it. I've cut and cut her feed. Her hay overnight is practically non-existent. I've taken her blanket off to see if that helps burn some calories. It's been warmer and I'm pretty sure she has enough insulation! If it rains I'll put on her rain sheet. I'm hoping that this will work.

Here's the other thing I'm waiting for:

I was having trouble hearing back from the breeder and was getting quite frustrated. The kennel has moved to another province and she was having internet troubles. I think we have ti worked out and if all goes according to plan this little cutie will be in his new home on Tuesday. I've arranged for time off work (as one co-worker described as 'paw-ternity leave').

And yes, we think we have a name, we're just waiting to see if it 'fits'. Once it's confirmed I'll let you know. This is my first puppy since d'Arcy was a baby 12 years ago. I have a crate almost ready. It will  not work for his whole puppy hood but it will do until I get a larger one.  I'm trying to find one second hand but we'll see. I have a pen set up in the barn too. And making plans for puppy classes, socializing, etc.

This snow better keep on melting or I may start building an indoor all by myself. At least that would keep me occupied until Tuesday.

if you're expecting me to cooperate with these plans you better stop calling me fat.
And give me more cookies. 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Snow Horse

Carmen: What a beautiful and warm day. I'm glad that the servant took our blankets off- I was too warm in mine. Maybe spring is coming after all. I think I'll have a nap. 


*slamming door*

Irish uh Oh here she comes. 

She's not thinking to ride is she? The snow is still too deep! 

Let me look- hmm, nope she has that black bag that holds the weird box she likes to look into. We should be okay. 

Oh good. As long as she doesn't expect me to go into the deep snow. 

Where's she going? 

Out into the paddock. With her black bag. She better be careful- the snow is deep in places out there. 

Well I'm not following her! Not without carrots and I don't see any. 


Irish:  what on earth is she doing- rolling up the snow? 

Carmen: go check it out. I would but I'm a lady. 

Sigh. We can watch her from here. 
can you see Irish? What is she doing?
I'm not sure- she may have lost her mind

Carmen: I can't believe that she's completely ignoring us. I can't take it anymore let's go see what's she's doing! 

Carmen: what on earth did she make? 

Irish: I think that it's a snow horse? 

Really? Let me see! *sniff* doesn't look much like a horse to me. Maybe it's modern art. 

hello little horse

Ha! I think it looks like you! 

Very funny. I'm going to fix it for her. 
um, horses don't look like this

first of all the hind quarters are all wrong
and don't get me started on the front! 

Irish: Now you did it- you knocked off the head. Let me help you

Carmen: I think we might be making it worse

 It's kinda fun to play with....but these servants are weird. 

Tell me about it young one. You have no idea....

"it wasn't me it was Irish who wrecked it, I told him not to"

Saturday, February 18, 2017


Remember when I said that I was giving the horses February off?



I have to keep reminding myself of that.

From last year
The truth is I can't ride anyway- the snow is too deep.

But I want to.  After all it's been three whole weeks. 

And because the weather is cold I can't really be outside. There's too much snow to even snowshoe- it will need to pack down.

Today I was bored. I cleaned the stall, the barn, the tack room, scrubbed the buckets and then returned to the house.

yes I am a hardcore BTVS fan

So bored that I even contemplated doing housework.

I can recognize a crisis when I have one so I put a plea out on FB to save me from myself.

My friend Heather saved the day by suggesting I try this game called 'pickleball'. It's a tennis like game played with large 'ping pong' type rackets.

I like to try to learn something new every year and I hadn't figured out that was yet so this seemed like a good idea. We arranged to meet and she showed me the ropes. Heather teaches Grade 1 so she's a great teacher and very patient.

Turns out that it was a lot of fun. I quite liked the game and I signed up for 10 passes. It will help me stay in shape and out of trouble until the snow melts.

What do you do when you can't ride? Do you get bored?

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

The Things We Do For Love

Let me start by saying that Ed and I are not really into Valentine's. While I am a fan of celebrating love, I am a believer that what happens on one day a year does not define whether someone loves you or not.

Sometimes though there are exceptions. Like today.

Yesterday we were hammered with a blizzard. Three times we cleared a path to the barn only to find it completely obliterated the next time I went out. Mostly we cleared it for d'Arcy- with his hind end these days he can't really deal with deep snow anymore.
I remember when he could bomb through the snow. 

This morning I had to carve a path to the barn again-the snow was up to my thighs. I never even questioned what I was doing. While this is the weather that makes me long for an indoor I am happy to have them home rather than worrying about them at a boarding facility and feeling guilty that I can't help the BO.
you can see that the wind has made deep drifts and then nothing.
The path I carved is deep- the ground slopes towards the house which
makes the photo deceptive
 After feeding the horses I went back into the house to load up on caffiene. Ed used the tractor to clear the paddock so I could let the horses out. A strand of my fence had come undone as well and I had to trudge through the snow to fix it. When Ed had the small paddock cleared I let them out. They moved around the small area snorting and trotting. I then started to work on clearing a rough path to the bigger field. It took a while while Irish supervised watched closely 'hurry up!'
not sure if you can see the path but for perspective the fence posts are over 4 feet
After a quick inspection Irish ran out to the field. Carmen decided to carve her own path through the drift. 

I think that Carmen might be learning to enjoy snow: 

She was pretty adorable prancing up to me and then stopping to look at me wide eyed with snow on her nose (sorry no photo or video). 
Wow, this is a lot of snow. And it's kinda fun! 

As Ed continues to plow out the driveway and I am getting ready to go back out and shovel I am struck by what we're willing to do for the creatures we love. I am not alone. My FB feed is full of updates shovelling snow and getting the horses out. 

If it's not love then it might just mean that we're crazy. And that couldn't be it. 

I am sure that Irish and Carmen appreciate it. Right? Right?

Monday, February 13, 2017

Horses in Cuba and Other Random Facts

We are currently in the middle of major blizzard. It's a bad one and showing no signs of stopping. The horses are snug in the barn and I thought that this was a good time to spend going through my photos from Cuba.

Cuba is a beautiful country and the people are open and friendly. I felt completely safe walking on my own on the beach every morning or back to my room in the evening. Before travelling there I knew very little about this small island nation but I learned some tings there and have been learning more since I returned. I am sure that there are some negative things about the politics of Cuba and it is not perfect by any means. But there are things to admire about this nation that seems to have truly put taking care of it's people first:

  • Cuba has one of the highest literacy rates in the world (about 99%). All Cubans must finish to Grade 9. University is free but you need to have the grades to go. There are over 40 universities for a population of 11.5 million. 
  • Medical care is free. There is one doctor for every 150 people and medical professionals are one of the largest exports. Medication is paid for but it is on a sliding scale- so the less you make the less you pay. And before you leap to the conclusion that the care would be sub-par the life expectancy is 79 years which is slightly higher than the U.S. and slightly lower than Canada (Monaco has the highest at 89 years)
  • Homelessness is virtually unheard of. Between government subsidies and the cuban culture there is always somewhere to live. It may be small and crowded but it's not the street. 

Transportation is a big issue in Cuba and people get around in all kinds of ways. Government vehicles are legally required to pick up hitchhikers if they have room. On the bus ride to the hotel we saw all sorts of ways people were travelling: walking, bicycles, back of pick up trucks

Horses are key part of the transportation system. We saw lots of wagons and horses being ridden. 

There horses tied up and grazing along the side of the road and some free around the resort

I saw a few thin ones and none I saw were great conformationally but all seemed sound and, frankly, as healthy as the people. I was talking to one driver and I asked about the tails because they all seemed to be very short- they are trimmed because behind the horse is a 'manure catcher' so that the streets are not dirtied. It was an interesting idea. 

Cynthia and I went riding one day and the horses were narrowly built but very agile climbing up the mountain. Mine was named 'Lucera' and he was quite forward and sweet. Our guide was named Louis and he was a civil engineer turned tour guide:
Many of the people working in the hotels and tourism industry have at least one degree. The money is  better. Louis and I were talking and he loves the outside and being in the country as much as I do. We compared horse keeping and were both fascinated by the differences. Of course hay is unheard of there - horses are let out to forage. I explained how horses love the snow and he was shocked.  

We went up a mountain side through a series of switchbacks but I never felt nervous and  the view was totally worth it:

While we were waiting for our bus to pick us up and take us back to the hotel Cynthia and were chatting about how safe Cuba was for women. Louis looked surprised that that would even be a concern. He looked at us and frowned 
"But women, they are a treasure. We must protect them. They are a gift."

It sounds smarmy but he was 100% genuine- I am not a swooner but I swooned a bit at that moment. 

If you have a chance to go to Cuba take it. It's a jewel. 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Letters From Home

I am back from a wonderful vacation. It was just what I needed- warm, full of sun, sand, snorkelling, swimming, food and really really great people. There was also a horse ride up a mountain (but that's a different post).

The internet in Cuba is not good. As in it sucks. I couldn't even get the site to open so I could pay so I had to be trusting and assume that all is good. On the last day I was sitting in the lobby at 6:00 in the morning and could get on. I found a series of emails from home that I'm going to share with you.

Note that not all of the emails below were actually received but that doesn't mean that they are not true. 

28 degrees and sunny

January 31, 2017
Day 1:
Everyone is tucked in and all is well.  Could have killed Chester.  I went out to do tuck in.  I'm walking under the trellis and I hear something on top if it and then it jumps down off the trellis in front of me.  After I landed from when I jumped, I realized it was Chester and he wanted in come into the house.
Hope you are enjoying Cuba.


Where are you? The male servant was late with dinner. And then with the night feed. I tried to tell him by whispering in his ear but he's awfully jumpy.  I need to lodge a complaint. 


February 1, 2017
Day 2

Well, nothing exciting today.  We got about 2" of snow.  Everyone is good, including me.
Love you, miss you!  Hope your enjoying your trip.

Where are you? Irish says that you left us but you wouldn't do that would you? The male servant is not giving me enough food. I need you to come and sort this out. 


February 2, 2017

Greetings from snowy NS.  We got about 6 cm of snow yesterday.  
Horses are all good. Nothing really to report.  I was in the garage tonight before tuck in and I heard a chirping nose.  After a while I started looking to see what was making the noise.  I saw 2 barn swallows in the garage.  I opened the door and they flew out.  Then Chester appeared and started stalking them.  To his dismay, he didn't get them.  Bird feeders are being stocked.
Curling tomorrow night so my report will be late.
Love you,


Are you ever coming home? it's cold out and I need someone to groom me. The male servant continues to sleep in and I'm pretty sure that it's noon before he feeds us and lets us out. Carmen is being cranky and not letting me at the hay. She says that she's starving but I think she's getting fat. You should come home and exercise her. 


February 3, 2017

Irish says that you must have left to go buy another horse. You wouldn't do that would you? Not that I care. 'Cause I don't. 

So whatever. 

But you're not, right? 


February 4, 2017

Day 6 I think. I never posted any entry yesterday.  It was a day from hell, but not because of the horses.  Did I ever tell you that a HATE home depot. I'll tell you why when you get home.  Our bathroom is torn apart.  We'd are leaking water from the shower and the drywall is wet.   Bedroom is painted, but not the bathroom.  I picked up the tile on Friday.  Curling Friday was fun.  

Today I spent the day at Alec's.  We fixed his steps and hung his tv downstairs.  Did some cleaning, shopping and came home. Joanne texted me to see how I was making out and to see if I needed help.  All is good, but I'm exhausted. Wait, I think this is day 5! Anyway, Amanda's coming tomorrow so I can change her oil and rotate the tires.
Cold here yesterday and today. Minus 10 - 12.  I think I have the heating system figured out.  I've been very good following your directions on feeding.  Carman is not happy that I'm doing so.
Can't wait until you get home!


Carmen is getting out of hand. She's trying to steal my food and doesn't respect that I'm her elder. Your servant continues to be late. whatever happened to the other female servant? I like her- she gave me scratches. He never gives scratches. 

I can't believe you abandoned us. 


February 5, 2017

Conditions are not improving. I saw the male servant cleaning my stall and I rushed over to show him what I wanted but he chased me back out. If you are going to leave us to fend for ourselves you should at least get servants that are respectful. 

We don't need another horse here (if that's what you're doing- not that I care). 

Are you ever coming home?


Due to extended absence you have forfeited your side of the bed. You will have to bunk with the dog. 

Chester & Martin

February 6, 2017
Very cold morning (-12).  It did go to +3 during the day.  Amanda stopped and did get laundry and had lunch.
Horses are doing well.  Irish didn't eat much last night, but ate all of his breakfast.  He is one messy horse!
Bathroom is still pulled apart.  Have to shower downstairs (heads up).  I think I know where the shower is leaking.  I'm hoping I find time tomorrow to work on it.  Then Tuesday I can put the drywall back.  Should be able to use the shower by Wednesday or Thursday (fingers crossed).
Love you, miss you, see you soon.

The dog is pining for you. I hope you're satisfied- you broke his heart. I was only teasing Carmen about a new horse but if you are getting a new one I don't want a mare. 

Dad says you are 'vacation'. I don't know what that is or why I couldn't go but don't worry about anything- I have it all under control. 


 February 8 
(I was home and back to work.  I caught up on a number of chores in the barn, groomed the horses and, frankly was missing my morning walk on the beach. )

That's better. 

Ed, Irish & Carmen