In which we go to Canada for another dose of Sensible

It costs a small bucket of money to get health papers to transport
a horse into Canada, even if you're only going for a single day.

For reasons already explored on this blog, I don't have a bucket of money this year.  But the calendar contains a gaming day to benefit Greener Pastures!  I couldn't stay home!

So, I didn't.

I tagged the coordinator of GP with my plea:  "Can I borrow some adoptable sensible horse for the games?"

No surprise here:  the agency that specializes in Standardbreds has several sensible options available, and they offered me Promising Girl.

"Promising Girl" a 2009 mare who raced and then retired (unsuccessfully) to be a broodmare.   

Sirie came with me for the day, to groom and generally be an extra set of hands--and to take photos.   Pictures in this post were mostly taken by her or me (with my little camera) unless otherwise noted.

Sirie and I like to come to Canada together.  We should do this more often!

What a treat to spend a beautiful day with her, and with a bunch of nice horses too!

Of course, I admired the Standardbreds first.

Alina and Little Sister.  Photo by Melissa Hutchinson.

Charlene and Sadie

Margot and Genelope.  Photo by Melissa Hutchinson.

Christie and Outlaw Mr. Cool.

Steph and Red Star Governor

Since this event is a fund raiser, supporters brought their other horses to compete in the Open division.

Jen and Bucky (Quarter Horse/Hackney Pony). Photo by Melissa Hutchinson.

Sarah and Dougal (Clydesdale)

Maxine and Shooter (Paint) Photo by Melissa Hutchinson.

Claudia and Orion (Friesian)

Mikayla and Aspen (Appaloosa). Photo by Melissa Hutchinson.

Heidi and Levi (Quarter Horse, I think). Photo by Melissa Hutchinson.

Tim and Cricket (Paint). Photo by Melissa Hutchinson.

This business of borrowing an adoptable horse isn't completely new to me.  In 2011, GP loaned "I'm a Pocket Picker" for a day of fun.  Prior to that, (2007? or 2008?) Jim and I went together to the games and we took turns riding a lovely mare called Gracie.  

However, Pocket Picker and Gracie had considerably more practice under saddle than Promising Girl.

Promising Girl entered the Greener Pastures program on September 1.  On the day of the event, September 10, she'd been ridden 4 times, total.  

I was able to enjoy her 5th ride.  Also, a nice 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th ride, what with hopping off and back on all day.

Promising Clever Girl learned that "go home" was the end of each game.

I'm serious when I call these horses sensible.  Promising Girl isn't exactly green.  At the harness track and in training she saw all kinds of people and machines and weirdness.

So I could maybe have just jumped into the saddle and yelled "YEEE-HAAAAWWWW" and she probably wouldn't have killed me.

But I'm not dumb.

A nice stroll around the grounds to get Promising Agreeable Girl accustomed to the saddle and bridle

I realized last week (after already committing to GP to play with them on Promising Girl) that I haven't ridden a green horse for many years--and certainly not since having both hips replaced.  I got a little nervous.

Then I met Promising Reassuring Girl.  And I wasn't nervous any more.

Sirie and I saddled her up (NBD) and then we went for a walk to see what there was to see.

Big stinky garbage barrel = interesting but not a problem for Promising Practical Girl

When we'd gotten to know each other a little better, I hopped aboard.

At first, she wasn't sure what she was supposed to do about the mounting block, and Sirie helped position her next to it so I could mount easily.  By the third time, Promising Girl lined herself up as if she'd been doing it for years.

We explored the warm-up arena...

A few laps around the warm-up arena.  Promising Observant Girl was looky, but not spooky.

...and then the big arena.

Promising Curious-about-the-camera Girl looks at the sights from the big arena

Game Day offers all kinds of new experiences: motorcycles and trucks and fire trucks zooming by on nearby roads, target shooting happening less than a quarter mile away, and all those strange horses, not to mention the actual games: barrels, poles, a low jump, a keyhole obstacle and more.

Let the Games begin!

Keyhole obstacle:  run into the weird shape in the sand, turn around, run back out.  We walked.

Jump standard, lowest setting.  She strolled right over this (some of the horses got stuck here)

Pole bending.  Slow and steady, no problems.

Baby snorfling.  Promising Snorfling Girl is already an expert.
(this is my old friend Jessica, who brought her young kids to the Games to say hello and watch the fun)

Stand quietly for grooming, tack up, and photos.  Check.

Promising Prizewinning Girl finished in the ribbons on her 5th (6th, 7th, etc) session under saddle.

Promising Adoptable Girl is available through Greener Pastures in Langley, BC.  

Her adoption fee is $600 (Canadian dollars, which is $492 USD with today's exchange).  She is recommended for an intermediate-level rider.

She's a level-headed, low-drama mare.  She is very green under saddle, but is a quick learner, willing to try new things with some encouragement.

Somebody go adopt Promising Girl!  
You're going to love her.

Promising Girl has been adopted! 

She will be heading to Shawnigan Lake where she will be enjoying the trails and ring work! Happy trails sweet girl.


  1. ooooh she sounds and looks A LOT like Willie! (except shorter)

  2. What a great post - thank you for sharing. Remember when I rode Star Island and found out he'd retired from harness racing 2 weeks before? He was fine, but tripping like crazy because he hadn't learned about uneven ground. He is SOOO BIG!

    In this post 4, FOUR people have my helmet! Including you! It's so sleek.

    Your borrowed ride has quite the head. But the insides make up for it. And the gorgeous legs and bay color. SO CHEAP, it blows the mind.

    I've never seen a Friesian in a Western Saddle until now.


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