Saturday, August 13, 2011

In which I travel to Canada for the day, and ride a standie!

I didn't have time or money to get Fiddle vetted for an international health certificate so I could take her to Canada for the event, but I didn't want to miss the fun at the Standardbred Game Day in Langely, British Columbia...
 Fortunately, Greener Pastures was able to loan me a standardbred so I could play in the games with everyone else.  My mount for the day:  I'm A Pocket Picker.  He's a 7 year old, 15 hand standie gelding who raced successfully and retired sound.  Now he's looking for a new job as somebody's saddle horse.
 ...and look!  He has brindled tiger stripes (above)!  

The games were, as usual, very low-key.  This is not cut-throat gaming; rather, this is a gathering of folks who are just a little bit different than your average quarterhorse or arab or thoroughbred rider.  Standie people are accustomed to being the only one in the crowd with a horse "like that." 

And when we get together, we spend a lot of time complimenting each other on our beautiful horses. 

 Stephanie's horse (above) is 17.2 hands, with legs like phone poles.  She usually rides him in English shows, but for the day she put the Western saddle on him.  She did keep her lime-green helmet, though, which made me smile.
 Pocket Picker had never seen a gaming arena, nor barrels, nor jump standards, nor weave poles.  I didn't rush him, and he did fine.  
 This event (above) was called a "catalog race":  go to the barrel, retrieve the page number that the caller announces for you, and return home.  We didn't go fast, but we finished 5th anyhow!
 Phantom (above) hasn't been ridden in months.  He's a standie, though:  it's not a problem.
 This big gelding (above) gets ridden all the time.  He is dressed entirely in pink gear.
 The spotted horse (above) is not a standie.  There was an "open" division so standie people to bring their other horses too.  I thought that was nice.

The chestnut horse (below) is also not a standie:  this is a mustang who will be the "pickup" horse at the harness track in the fall.  His rider is taking him to all kinds of events to teach the horse how to do all kinds of crazy stuff that might come in handy someday.  My kind of training!
 I love this horse (below).  He does The Big Thing just like Fiddle.
 Duett (below) is another Big Thing trotter.  I'm not sure if she ever raced--she's been Marga's horse for a lot of years.
 Pocket Picker and I didn't worry too much about accessing his Big Thing.  Our goal was to have fun.
 And we did!
 He has only been carrying a rider for a few months now--and look at his trot!
 Now, here are a bunch of pretty pictures of standardbreds to admire:

 The Stuffy Race:  go to a barrel, get the stuffed animal.  Carry the stuffy to the next barrel, drop it there and pick up another stuffy.  Go to the third barrel and leave the stuffy on top and race for home.  We finished 3rd!
 Yogi (below) got a prize for his costume.
 Could you do this game on a green Arab?  I think probably not.
 Ribbons, plus an extra prize for being the "Good Sport" of the games and coming up from the States to play.

Somebody who is shopping for a nice horse please go get Pocket Picker.  He's a real sweetie--greener than my new brush tote, but willing to try just about anything.  Just exactly the kind of horse somebody out there must be wanting...right?  

Tell 'em Haiku Farm sent you!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

In which I stall for time by posting somebody else's video

I've got three posts in the works, but I've been so busy (RIDING!  in the SUNSHINE! with my FRIENDS!) that I'm nowhere near ready to publish them.

To keep y'all entertained, I'll give you this:

Clearly, this is not our house, and these are not our shetland sheepdogs. For one thing, these all have hair, and one of ours doesn't yet. For another thing, we may be crazy, but we're not nuts: THREE shelties is plenty. Seven (or is it eight???) is a waaaaaaay too much floof.

Anyhow, enjoy the floofiness, and I'll be back in a day or two with more news from the Farm.

Monday, August 8, 2011

In which the new dog's name is silly, and she is doing very well

Newdog has a name!
She chose the name herself, in an hours-long search for the perfect handle that involved Jim and Lisa and me on three different computers, fielding suggestions from all over the world.  The names ranged from the lovely ("Lila") to the less-lovely ("Goblin").  She ignored them all...until Patty (my friend/riding partner/small animal vet) suggested via Facebook that we call her Pickles.

"Pickles," I said, and she stood up at attention.  "Pickles?"  I asked, and she came to me. 


Newdog's name is Pickles.

My mom insisted that she at least have a pretty feminine little middle-name, and so she has one of those.

Everyone, please say hello and welcome to Pickles Marie.

  Pickles is hard at work, learning the expectations of a Haiku Farm Dog.  

There's plenty of stuff to be sniffed to on the farm, and also a bunch of squirrels to be reprimanded, and shadows to chase.

She doesn't have a lot of strength yet.  She gets frequent short walks, and I'm teaching her some basic obedience stuff (come, sit, down, stay, heel, out of the kitchen, wait, and far).  Some of this she clearly knows already, but she's also a quick learner, which is gratifying. 

She will go with me everywhere for the next few weeks, so she'll have lots of practice in what we call Puppy Boot Camp. 
Puppy Boot Camp gets dogs out walking in all kinds of crazy situations, on-leash and off-leash, on city sidewalks and forest trails, through fountains, creeks and puddles, meeting all kinds of people, dogs, horses, and everything else I can find.  So far she's been to the mountains for Willy's Parent Night, to the lesson barn where we take riding lessons, and to Canada for a Standardbred Play Day (more about that soon, I promise). 

Now she'll spend this week with me at work, hanging out in the truck when it isn't too hot. 
My co-workers adore her.

This picture (below) was taken on the way home from the shelter on Friday evening.  Contrast with the first two pictures at the top of this post, taken this morning.  See some differences? 
Secret ingredients:  a good flea bath and flea treatment, a course of antibiotics, good-quality food served in small frequent meals, lots of walks and LOTS of encouragement and love.

She's doing fine.  Life is good.