Thursday, June 26, 2008

Surprise Find

When I went to Minnesota a couple of weeks ago, my brother took me to a little hole in the wall tack store in Sherburn. He warned me, "This guy likes to talk and is a little strange." When we pulled up, he was up on the roof and I yelled "You open?" And he smiled and said "As soon as I get down!" He let us in and began to tell us about all his treasures, a story behind every piece of tack. Some historical pieces, others just impeccably made. Racks of harnesses to old branding irons, the little Mom and Pop Tack store had it all. He apologized for not having more things in stock, but he was busy doing historical re-enactments around Minnesota on his trusty steed. I really enjoyed the visit. What was "strange" to my brother, I took as passion for all things "horse." I could appreciate how he gently picked up a saddle from 1860, and pointed out the craftsmanship. I bought two chin straps and my mom bought a neat set of old hames. I could have bought more, but with the airlines cracking down on only having one bag, I was limited in my take. It was a nice stop, off the beaten path. As you can see by the photo, my mom enjoyed it too, learning a bit about old harnesses. I look forward to stopping in again for a little history lesson.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Life is Good

Kasey and I have been hitting the trails hard. We went out Saturday and Sunday to two different parks. I had a little trouble with trailer loading on Saturday, but today, she walked right in. I think things are really progressing nicely with Maddy's trail experiences. I am just trying to build on one positive experience after the other. Kasey is willing to "school" along the way if something comes up and we both enjoy a leisurely pace with bouts of trotting and cantering on long stretches. It is so nice to finally have someone who enjoys riding the same way I do. I have come to realize that these excursions take a lot of organization. I am working on getting the right tack, including better fitting boots. Currently I have two sets of Boa Boots, but the fronts are a little big, so I am working on getting a pair of Easy Boot Epics. I really like how those fit. The Boas seem a little clunky, although I do like how easy they are to put on and take off. Also, have to buy a hay bag and cantle much to think about! But I could not be happier. Things are progressing with Maddy and I had a new horse bud who I really enjoy hanging with. In this photo, Kasey is riding "Pantz." Her cute Appaloosa.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Another good ride

We have a new boarderout at Templeton named Kacy. I think she likes to hit the trails as much as I do. We finally got some clear weather this weekend and we trailered up and went to McIver Park. Just a gorgeous day. We saw a woman on a Paso and asked if she knew Jerri over at Learning Horses and she did. We chatted awhile and she took this photo of us in a meadow and you can barely see Mt. Hood in the background.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Jockey Down

This is the race I wanted to post about previously. It was a maiden 2 year old race at Canterbury Park in Minnesota. My dad had one horse in the race, the three horse "Tricky" wearing the white bridle. When loading one horse flipped in the gates and was scratched, so the horses all stepped out and were re-loaded. When they broke, the one horse just slammed on the brakes. The jockey went straight up in the air and then hit the ground and was promptly run over by the two horse. Tricky saw it. You can see his head is up and he swerved right almost all the way across the track. In the second photo, Tricky is on the outside if that shows you how far over he swerved. Consider that these quarter horse races are usually 850 yards and usually run in 18 or 19 seconds. This all happened so fast. The jockey lay crumpled on the track as the horses stormed past the finish line, one horse without his rider. It was pretty horrible to witness. I was shocked I caught it on my camera. My dad later said the jockey was doing "ok." But "ok" in the racing world sometimes means broken bones and guys too tough to even go to the hospital. Almost every backside has some sort of fund helping jockeys to pay medical bills. Tragic that the industry doesn't work harder to give health insurance and quality care to the athletes that risk their lives every time the gate opens.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

My new nephew

My little nephew was born on June 6th. His name is Weston Asher Murray and he weighed a whopping 8 pounds. He is the first grandchild for both families so it is pretty exciting for all of us. They had to induce my sister-in-law a few days after her due date. He just didn't want to come out. Feel so lucky to have been able to go home and see my little brother fall into his role of becoming a dad. He was a natural holding the little guy. When Weston cries, he sounds like a little baby lamb. It really melts your heart.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Belmont Stakes Scam

Does anyone else out there think the whole Belmont was a scam? Watching that race from the get go looked phony. The break was odd, the maneuvering of horses seemed orchestrated throughout the race. There was even a shot in the post parade where Desormeaux was riding along with his feet out of the stirrups like he was out on a trail ride. Everything about this race seemed wrong. We watched it from Canterbury Park and for Ken to completely pull him up and out when Big Brown appeared to be ready to go citing that "he was probably just tired." What?!?!?! I watched the ESPN footage in slow-mo at work and I am even more convinced than ever. Desormeaux makes a big show (huge flapping arm) of asking for more when he is clearing pulling the reins tight. He pulls up so hard in the corner, Big Browns head goes up and he staggers to the right. Big Browns health and safety are obviously most important to me, but this was something else. We heard once as we were sitting there that the betting totals at Belmont alone were almost 6 million dollars wagered on Big Brown to win. That is not counting to place or show and all the exactas and trifectas, ect. The track is required to pay 1.20 even if the odds are 1-1. So you can imagine the pools around the world betting on this horse. Dutrow is a crook and the track stood to pay out a lot of money. When something doesn't sit right, follow the money. This looked like the WWF version of horse racing....I can't believe sports writers and analysts aren't blasting it and looking into what a complete joke and scam (in my opinion) the 2008 Belmont Stakes really was.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Visiting Minnesota

I arrived in Minnesota on Saturday and am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my little nephew. The due date is today, but no sign he is coming out! I went to Canterbury Park yesterday to watch one of my dad's horses run. It was a first out for one of his two year olds. You all know how I feel about running horses at that age. The race didn't go well, but I want wait on posting about it. In the meantime, I wanted to post some photos of my uncle Jim, someone I admire and is a horseman through and through. I have few photos of my dad in the black t-shirt. He tends to dodge the camera. I am very proud of him and enjoy being a part of something he loves so much. I just wish I could have this sense of pride in the sport itself. Despite my feelings, I have to believe my uncle and father choose to do what is best for their horses. These photos are of my uncle and father preparing "Tricky" for the tenth race at Canterbury Park.