Friday, February 19, 2010

A horse named George you say?


(reposted from a previous post) One of the lead stories on the CBC news last night tells the story of the RCMP presenting Queen Elizabeth with a horse, formerly named Terror, now named George, after the Queen's late father. He is a very handsome horse, and the Queen looks well pleased with the gift, although this article appears to have reignited the old monarchy argument, and it seems as though not all Canadians are pleased that we have a Queen, let alone that we are giving her horses. I for one like history and tradition and am all in favour of retaining some of the pomp and circumstance of days gone by. I've been to London many times, but only once did I catch a glimpse of the Queen, at which point I did feel a special "warm" connection to Britain and the old gal. I never tire of visiting her many homes and museums. Good for tourism, that's for sure, and as they say, it's not always what you know, it's who you know - and I'm glad that we are in the Commonwealth. Inspired by the Queen and the RCMP, my mother and I stopped by the humble barn where I board my horse, (Sophie) at Valleyview Stables, a stone's throw away from Ste. Anne's. Sophie is very pregnant, due to give birth towards the end of June. Despite her extra tonnage, Sophie seemed to be in uncharacteristically good humour - I even got the sense that she was happy to see me (for a change). We had a bit of a nuzzle or a snuggle and then she resumed her habit of stall pacing while chewing on bits of hay. Valleyview runs a first class operation, with a collection of very fine mares, stallions, geldings and 2 friendly cats. Horses are such beautiful animals - so strong and powerful, and yet there is often a sadness in their eyes. I have stopped riding for the time being; for one thing my allergies usually act up after about an hour in the barn, and Sophie, once broken, was not a good ride for me. I always felt she had plans to unceremoniously dump me into the dirt at the first opportunity. I'm hoping her offspring will be a little better natured and more to my liking, at which point I plan to take up riding again.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Happy Birthday Dave!

40 years ago, on February 17th, 1970 - David Navia was born in PuertoViejo Ecuador. Four years later he moved to Canada. On February 17th, 2010 David celebrates his 40th birthday. David is much loved by many people. Please join me in wishing David a Happy Birthday by writing your comments and best wishes to David, and spread the word to others whose lives have been made brighter by the laughter and love that David has brought into our world. All the best my friend!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

On a beautiful sunny day, even a big pile of horse poo holds promise

While the thermometer dipped to some pretty cool temperatures this weekend, the bright sunshine seemed to bring out lots of friendly smiles as the ever so delicate scent of spring started to play on the minds of many. Saturday morning was so brisk that the pipes in the barn were frozen, and I initially thought I'd leave the horses in the barn, but soon realized that they were well equipped and much better off to enjoy the warm sunshine, so out they went. For my part, I cleaned their stalls, topped up their water and measured out their daily ration of grain. As I do my barn choirs I can't help but hearken back to the time, a few years ago, when a couple were referred to me in need of a hand up. They had 15 horses, mostly Arabians, and through some set of circumstances that I never fully grasped, had lost their farm. As a result, they were looking for lodging for themselves and their 15 equine friends. I met the couple - they seemed nice enough and in fact I thought I might be able to find a place for their skills at the spa. We worked out a deal that I think helped them get back on their feet, but ultimately wasn't meant to be a long term association. They moved on "to greener pastures", less one mare who stayed with me as part of our deal. The reason I'm telling this story is that I used to visit them at the barn where they were always working hard at the barn chores, feeding, grooming and mucking stalls. I remember thinking that their skills could be put to better use than this, as surely the job of picking up horse poo was something that anyone could do. It seems somewhat ironic then that years later, I'm the one meticulously picking the poo out of the wood shavings, as I ponder how the relationship between man and horse has evolved to this. Did you know that the average horse leaves behind about 35 pounds of poo each and every day? For more horse facts, click here. Not to worry - all this will make good compost for the garden in a couple of years. For my part, I spend much more time doing chores than I spend riding. Maybe when the snow and ice is gone and I'm brave enough to venture back into the saddle of one of these magnificent beasts they will remember how well I served them before they decide to send me flying off their back.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Hockey the way it should be

Over the years I've spent a fair bit of time in various arenas watching hockey, sometimes friends, sometimes kids of friends, and the odd NHL game. I enjoy it. The air is cold and fresh and there's an energy in the air. Sadly, I've never been on the ice playing. I'm sure Freud and I could come up with a litany of reasons as to why things turned out this way, but at this point that would probably be a moot exercise. This Sunday I took a drive up to Peterborough where a friend's son was playing in a tournament on the lift locks. It was pretty neat. I can see what all the hype is about taking the game back outside. The parents were still mouthing off to the refs, and the little tykes were playing their hearts out - perhaps some hoping that if they played hard enough and if they yelled hard enough someday they would find themselves at the Air Canada Centre in the big leagues.