Friday, March 26, 2010

Expo Likes and Dislikes

It took a week to recover, but it was a lot of fun...the 2010 NW Horse Fair and Expo. Friday, three of us headed down and hit Steve Rother talking about body control. Next we went to Al Dunning talking about Western Dressage. Then it was off to shop. I bought a few things, a Courbette dressage bridle, a dressage pad, and a cool bag.

Sunday..we hit Steve Rother again, trail obstacles. Then it was the "Mustang Challenge." We did a little more shopping and decided to head back into Portland.

Things I liked about the Expo:

1. I went with a fun group of friends, interested in learning and exploring.
2. Steve Rother is coming into his own as a clinician. He did a nice job this year.
3. People were willing to "wheel and deal." Got some really good buys.
4. Parelli had a booth and I got to catch up with Ann Kiser.
5. Ansur Saddle was there. Beautiful saddles, and nice to see a big presence.
6. Mustangs that were auctioned off seemed to be going high. Great to see the demand for these horses and love that the program is gaining popularity.

Things I didn't like about the Expo:

1. A lot fewer vendors this year.
2. I liked Al Dunning, but wish he would have taught us about Western Dressage instead of giving us his resume. He started showing us some patterns with about 15 minutes left in his hour.
3. Tired of the ya-hoo's that do Mustang Challenge and place high even though they are just jerking their horses head all over the place and forcing their horses into maneuvers. Top two were said "ya-hoo's". I prefer watching trainers with softer hands and have a more willing partners.
4. Tired of judges who still give high scores to ya-hoo's.
5. They schedule it the same weekend as Canby tack sale. Boo!

I can bad mouth "ya-hoos" because I was one once...thank you Tom Dorrance for changing my ways.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Dude, Where's my Forest?

What a great horse weekend in Oregon! We had the "NW Horse Expo" along with the "Mustang Challenge" down in Albany. On Saturday, we had the famous "Canby Tack Sale," the biggest tack swap meet in the country. We also managed to squeeze in one heck of a ride.

The only bad news in all this...they are cutting our trees! Well, not our trees, BLM trees, but they felt like "our" trees. We headed towards a trail with a decent water crossing and found our route was no longer. All the trees were down. If you watch the video clip, even the horses looked stunned. We knew they were planning on cutting portions of the forest soon. It was sad to see our routes decimated. We're never afraid to blaze a new trail, so my riding companions searched for any possible way of getting through but the trees were stacked too high. We found a way around it by going back out on the road. We rode long enough for me to be sore the next day. Sucks getting old. Anyway, the expo was tons of fun, even if I was hobbling around on Sunday. I will post some highlights and some disappointments later this week.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ride with Cliff

Maddy is looking over at Freebie thinking "I wonder is this old red roan can keep up?" My step-dad Cliff is out visiting from Minnesota and I was hoping there would be a clear day so we could hit the trails together. "Freebie" is the barn husband horse, the pack master, otherwise know as "the couch." She is the kind of horse that takes care of her rider. After brushing about two pounds of hair from her, we hit the trails. I promised a short ride so Cliff wouldn't be too sore tomorrow. We had a great time and the mares trailed so well together. We even got some good glimpses of Mt. Hood. I am really glad I talked him into saddling up with me. Even if it was a western saddle...Cliff was a dressage enthusiast back in the day. As we left the barn for our drive home, he said, "I hope this doesn't give me horse fever...." Cliff, by the look on your face...I'd say your temp is at least 104.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fatal Horse Accident

A really sad story came in last night while at work. A Battle Ground woman was found dead after a horse returned to its boarding stable without a rider.

She was identified as Candace "Candy" Morrison, 57. Morrison was a music teacher at Hudson's Bay High School in Vancouver.

Another rider found the horse and she immediately began to search for the missing rider, going down a gravel road on Longview Timber property.

About one mile along, the rider found Morrison lying on the road. She had head trauma and was not wearing a riding helmet.

I don't know the lady, but my heart goes out to her family. I think anyone who has experience with horses knows the risks, but we chose to take them anyway. I started wearing a helmet 5 years ago and will never ride without one. I wish she had one on yesterday. It may have saved her life.

Monday, March 1, 2010


A package arrived on my doorstep on Saturday morning. It came from Minnesota, the return address bearing my dad's name. I opened it up and found this letter on top with a picture of my grandparents.


"All this things in here are over 100 years old. The horseshoe was made by your great grandpa in 1908. He was 14 years old. It was made at the stable at the lake. The horses had this kind of shoe so they could go out on the ice and pull ice blocks back. Great grandpa and great great grandpa would sell the ice in Perham and Wadena. The ice house in Wadena was two blocks from the farm."

I unpacked the box and found the horseshoe as described, an old lantern, some neat jars, and an old lock.

My dad and I have had a difficult relationship. It isn't always easy to love him and I work really hard at it. This package was so thoughtful and dear in so many different ways. I wondered what prompted him to do this. It was simple, but so meaningful. As I took the horseshoe out and held it, I knew in that one instant it will always be one of my favorite things.

Isn't it just amazing? Look at the size of it and the design. It now sits on my mantle above the fireplace. A simple, rusty old horseshoe that means so much.