Monthly Archives: June 2013

WEG Eh????

We’re home from the Calgary show.  It was a weekend of mega highs and mega lows.  I am very glad to be home after this one!!!!

Thank you to FEI Steward Linda Millar.  I took up a lot of her time asking question after question. She was so kind as to patiently walk me through her very thoughtful answers.  It is a great asset to our sport in Alberta to have such a knowledgable official at our shows.  Thank you Linda, you are awesome!!!

After Thursday and Friday, that because of technical difficulties, Lance was left confused and unhappy in his work.  It resulted in a disastrous first Grand Prix test on Friday.  The disaster in the test was no surprise; the problems in the warm up ring told us it was going to be a tough one.  The surprise was the mark…a 60% from Gabrial Armando, FEI 4*, ARG.  I really don’t know what he was looking at…that test was barely acceptable, barely a 50%.

The mark was so unimportant.  What was important was that we work out the equipment problems we were having and get the job done…get Lance back happy and confident and doing his job in the ring.

So with some more information from Linda Millar I made some decisions about Saturday’s ride. With this plan, we were now ready for the day.  I wasn’t convinced Lance was going to easily come back to his normal confidence so Lindsey and I discussed the ride.  We went over the approach to the half halt she would apply in the warmup ring.  If everything worked out as I hoped it would, we would have back our happy, confident Lance.  It worked and we were back at it!!!

A great Grand Prix test!!!!!!  Oh yeah…we did it Barefoot!!!

This test was a 65% from Mercedes Campdera, FEI 4*, MEX, and guess what…a 60% from Gabrial Armando, FEI 4*, ARG…I repeat my thoughts from Friday’s ride…”I really don’t know what he was looking at!!!!”.  Welcome to the subjective world of dressage… 🙂

Was it totally where we want it?…no.  Was it a great start?…hell ya!!!!

We don’t have him powered up yet.  We needed to get the half halt headed in the right direction at a low power setting in the ring.  When we power him up the passage and piaffe will then get more confident and confirmed.  The pirouettes will then get tighter and faster.  To power up Lance takes a very little ask (he wants to work at full power all the time but it’s not always going in the right direction 🙂 ) but to power him up and have it going in the way we want it to go, takes skill, finesse and a lot of time to explain it to him (I love him a lot but he is really not a “fast” thinker!! 🙂 ).

On our road to WEG (World Equestrian Games in France) August 2014, this is June 2013.  We are on track and heading in the right direction.

And Shannon Peters is here in a couple of months!!!!!!  We’ll have Lance (and Fred and William) very ready for Shannon’s input and polish.

Off to turn out a very tired Grand Prix horse to his very green paddock for a very well deserved day off!!!

(I love my job….. 🙂 )

V

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Tests, tests, tests…barefoot!!!

A  great weekend of tests!!!  Lindsey rode Lance’s first Grand Prix test in a year and his first ever Grand Prix test barefoot!!!   And it was awesome!!

Lance and Lindsey Stroh, Grand Prix test on Saturday.

Lance and Lindsey Stroh, Grand Prix test on Saturday.  Barefoot dressage!!

Thank you to Double W for hosting a super dressage show.  You guys rock!!!  A rainy, rainy weekend and still, because of great management, a wonderful show.

And because we had so much fun (and we knew we would!!!) we did it all again yesterday at Flying Colours.

Thank you to Paula Meehan for all the photos yesterday.  Not only did she take such beautiful photos, she also totally made my Gracie’s day and curried, brushed and brushed and brushed till Grace was smiling inside and out.  🙂

Our barefoot horses…

Fred, yesterday

Fred, yesterday

Good girl Fred.

Good girl Fred.

William, yesterday

William, yesterday

William is growing up!!

William is growing up!!

Zorro

Zorro

Lance, yesterday

Lance, yesterday

Lance

Lance

Lance, Grand Prix test yesterday

Lance, Grand Prix test yesterday

Lance and Lindsey, job well done and so much fun!!!

This photo says it all…Lance and Lindsey, job well done and so much fun!!!

And yes…I’m back in the saddle and loving it!!!

Vickie and Grace

Vickie and Grace

Gracie is getting very fit as I am back in the saddle and keeping Grace tuned and happy for Barb’s lessons with Lindsey!  Galloping Grandmas!!!!

It really has been an awesome weekend.  Hard work paying off…

I am so grateful.

V

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I love lilac season….

I really love lilacs in my barn.

The barn smells sooo nice right now (well I really do think it smells wonderful all the time but it smells especially great right now!!!!)

lilacs 3

Lilacs, lots and lots of lilacs…

lilacs 4

The lilacs will only be around for the next week or so…off to enjoy the aroma…

V

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We’ve done it…we’ve gone organic!

Okay…I’ve thought about this for a long time.  Organic makes sense for my family so organic should make sense for my horses.  And then I start thinking; “Oh dear…that really is overkill.  My horses are fine with a well thought out feed program and with “organic” hay and “organic” grass in their turnout…right?…right”.

Till this study was released last week…

http://occupymonsanto360.org/blog/new-study-proves-gmos-cause-severe-inflammation-of-the-stomach-and-abnormally-enlarged-uteri-in-pigs/

The GMO problem in Canada is not quite at the same level as the US but it is now on my “scary” list.  This study with pigs; and it is good science; shows a significant increase in stomach inflammation and it put me over the edge.  The management around here is to reduce inflammation.  That means reducing inflammation in everything I can influence with well thought out decisions from pasture management to feed programs and everything in between.

So I’m re-doing my feed program from the ground up 🙂 .  Genesis Organic Horse Feed ticks all the boxes and I will slowly be transitioning all my horse to full organic by the end of the summer.  I’m sure they will be happier…I know I will!!!

Flying Colours Dressage is now the distributors for Genesis Organic Horse Feed for Alberta.

http://www.genesisorganichorsefeed.com/

Unloading our first load of Genesis Organic Horse Feed...

Unloading our first load of Genesis Organic Horse Feed…

We now have Genesis in stock so if you would like to try a bag let us know!!!!  780.352.0007  Genesis Organic Horse Feed is $37.00/50 lb bag (plus GST).

Off to the barn 🙂 ,

V

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You know that pkg of quinoa you have in your cupboard…

That package of quinoa can easily become a Quinoa Butternut Squash, Peas and Dried Cranberry Salad.

Ok, I know quinoa as a grain is weird…little tails and everything…but it’s delicious warm and cold and so good for you on sooo many levels…google it…you’ll be impressed.  It is really easy to prepare and as yummy (even the non-vegetarians in my family request a quinoa salad for pot luck dinners).

Quinoa salad

Quinoa, Butternut Squash, Peas and Dried Cranberry Salad

2 C quinoa

1 large butternut squash

1 C frozen peas

handful of dried cranberries

Citrus vinaigrette Dressing (recipe to follow)

Bring 4 cups of water (I use vegetable broth sometimes) and the quinoa to boil and then simmer for about 20 minutes (I leave the lid off the pot, seems to go against most cooking instructions, but works better for me).  Fluff it up occasionally and when the water has evaporated the quinoa is ready!  Easy peasy!!!

To roast the butternut squash; cut up the squash in about 1″ X 1″ pieces (the cut up packages of squash work great as well, not as fresh tasting but very nice anyway).  Drizzle EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) on a cookie sheet and place the cut up squash on the sheet…don’t crowd the pieces or they’ll steam rather than roast.  Liberally mill fresh pepper and salt over the squash and more EVOO.  (if there are not many processed foods in your diet, go for lotsa salt on the squash, healthy and tastey together!!!)  Place them into a 220C (400F) degree oven and roast for about 20-30 minutes.  Toss a couple of times and check for doneness around 20 minutes…yummmm.

Nuke the frozen peas (no water in the bowl) for about 3-4 minutes and set aside.  They’ll be almost done and will finish in the salad.

Once everything is cooked, add it all together with a handful of dried cranberries and drizzle the Citrus vinaigrette over the whole thing.  A little toss in the bowl and presto changeo…dinner is ready!

Citrus vinaigrette Dressing

1/4 C EVOO

1 tsp maple syrup (or any other sweetener; agave, honey)

juice of one lemon

balsamic vinegar to drizzle

Put the EVOO into a small bowl.  Add the maple syrup and lemon juice.  Whisk the mixture.  While whisking, slowly drizzle the vinegar into the mixture.  Once it gets a bit thicker and creamier, you are done…add it to the salad and enjoy!

Quinoa Butternut Squash Salad…healthy yumminess!!!

Now off to start my day…ponies to be fed…

V

 

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Barefoot, heading into week 4

I wanted to snap some photos this morning but the sun just didn’t cooperate.  Everything was too dark to show you how all their feet look super great!

Dan Sullivan (our farrier) was here on Friday and he worked his magic and cleaned everyone up a bit.  It was nothing  major, just a bit on the rasp and bingo…they are all set for another couple of weeks.  We want to keep on top of any chipping of the hoof walls that will occur till the hoof grows out past the old nail holes.

The quality of the work we have been doing in the last couple of weeks has been really off the charts.  All of them are carrying more engagement while staying out and through in the top lines and quick…whew…excellent, excellent work.  Lindsey and I have been puttin’ it together in the arena and the horses are digging deep and looking awesome!!

How much of the improvement has to do with barefoot?  Well, I’m not quite sure but my gut tells me…not much.  The improvement in the work is primarily the improvement in the rider (yeah Linds!!! 🙂 🙂 ).  But, in my position as chief analyzer (horse and rider), I do notice a freedom and lightness of the limbs that has shown up in the last couple of weeks.  I’ll definitely attribute that to the barefoot change.  It’s very significant in Lance (Grand Prix level); the piaffe and passage is really getting some awesome air time (he’s such an amazing horse!!).  The other horses are moving with the same lighter, freer change in their movement but as the work is not so collected I think the change is not so obvious.

I am very pleased.  Thank you again Shannon Peters for letting me know that our goal of competitive international level dressage is attainable with no shoes.  The knowledge  that we are not taking a step backwards as we push towards our goals to compete in the international rings of dressage by going barefoot was really only “knowable” because of Shannon’s example.  To read about it or to see it occasionally in the competition ring wouldn’t have convinced me to make such a drastic change.  But to watch the management of barefoot horses in one of the top dressage barns…???  Well…’cause barefoot makes sense on so many levels and Dan’s on board, let’s take the leap and go for it!

Barefoot and happy…so happy…

V

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Some weeks I need a couple of more hours each day….

I’ve happily checked off lots and lots of things on my list this week…happy hubby, happy horses, happy babies and happy me each day :). Whewwwww…I really could use a couple of extra hours each day though.  And OMG after the rain yesterday, the lawn around here might have to be baled!!!

And fly fishing season opens Sunday…I hear a small stream in the Rockies calling our names…  (If the rain stops this weekend, we’re there for Sunday sunrise!!)

too short

So…Life is far too short, be nice and do good…and have fun 🙂

V

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