(Originally posted by Katherine at 7th January 2012 at 02:26)
Well what happened to December, you may be asking? With the excitement of the holidays, a very special visit from a friend from overseas, multiple trips to visit my recuperating father...I guess the month just got away from me.
The worries I had about winter training - slogging through eighteen feet of snow, shovelling a path to the barn just to FIND a horse - turned out to be needless. We are experiencing the exact opposite of last year’s winter, with the temperatures consistently above the freezing level. We HAD snow; the only evidence left is the frozen patch of treachery (from the constant melting/refreezing) in front of our deck. Anyone who’s experienced Alberta’s Chinook winds will know what I’m talking about – you have to balance the beauty of the balmy temps with the occasional headaches brought on by the wind, and the icy patches that take down even the surest of feet.
I had originally intended on riding my Dad’s gelding through the winter and borrowing our ranch foreman’s quarter horse to mix it up a little, but one balmy night right before Christmas, a stock trailer with four ex-racehorses aboard pulled up in our yard. Thanks to some good friends and business associates (Wild Rose Farm of Fort Langley BC) who are in the racehorse breeding business, I have acquired four new training partners.
A day or two after their arrival, my daughter and I commenced training riding: Day 1. It went something like this:
Mom: Let’s take out the mellower of the two geldings for you, and I’ll ride this sleepy little mare.
Daughter: Sure Mom...um, should he be falling asleep while we are saddling him? Because I think he’s about to fall over.
Mom: Well, I see why he didn’t make it in the racing business...
That was day one with “Woodley”.
Let’s just say that the “sleepy little mare” turned out to be a candidate for the bucking horse line-up at the Calgary Stampede. We named her “Honey”, hoping her name will sweeten her demeanour. Good practice for the Derby methinks!
Somewhere in there I was also fortunate enough to make contact with one of the Derbyists from last year (Sophia Mangalee) and I have been immensely enjoying her take on the 2011 Derby. If you have not already, you should check out her blog from 2011 – it is an excellent account of the Mongol Derby. Thanks Sophia!