Horse & Pony May-July 2018

Saturday mornings
    It’s Saturday, the morning my dad always stopped by the farm to check up on things. My Saturdays usually included Dad. When my sister and I were little he took us to the farm where we played in the barn, listened to stories, and ate Grammy’s pie. Soon there were ponies, and then early Saturday mornings were spent in the truck going to horse shows or lessons, or driving through snowdrifts and over icy roads to get us to the ski hill or a race somewhere.

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Horse & Pony Feb-Apr 2018

Cyclones and sandpipers
    The covered faces of the folks on the cover of this issue tell the tale. We’re in the middle of a “polar vortex,” hot on the heels of a “bomb cyclone” as we put this issue to bed. In other words, everything that blew over and away is now frozen to the ground. Regardless of the challenges of horse keeping in the Great White North, the horse industry in Atlantic Canada is a going concern as evident in the pages of this issue.

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Horse & Pony Nov 2017-Jan 2018

Giving thanks
    Here we are with the snow biting at our heels. Summer always seems to pass by in fast-forward. Give me the month of May – when all of the good stuff lies ahead. It’s Thanksgiving weekend as I write this and a time to count blessings. There’s lots to be grateful for, even though cancer is here and sitting with my family. We’re not alone – so many of us are going through the same potent mix of emotions.

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Horse & Pony Aug-Oct 2017

Bouncing back
    Learning to take the good with the bad, or the bad with the good is the key to happiness. A life with horses presents many opportunities to check the level in the resiliency tank. Nailing a training milestone, winning a ribbon, or a relaxing hack through the field can be overshadowed in a split second by a career ending injury, the death of a foal, or a scary fall. You can cry a little (or a lot) and nurse your wounds, but ultimately you have to move on and get over it. 

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Horse & Pony Feb-April 2017

Knowing when
    We have a good dog. The kind of dog who comes around once in a lifetime. If you’re lucky. He’s the dog who hears his name no matter where he is on the farm and comes running, lies by the barn door until chores are done, carries the paper up the lane each morning, shares his food with the kitten, and quietly requests a brief belly scratch every evening – if it’s not too much trouble. 

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Horse & Pony May-July 2017

Biting bugs and horse math
    Two years ago at about this time I bought a pony. I’m a big fan of the under 14.2hh set. They work well for kids and older people. I am closer to the latter and it’s comforting to know the ground is two hands, or eight inches closer if I happen to end up there. My budget was small. I didn’t need a world beater, just a decent moving, sensible pony to have some fun with.

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Horse & Pony Nov 2016-Jan 2017

Easy as pie
    I’m wondering who coined that phrase? Was he or she referring to the eating of the pie? If so, it makes sense, but frankly making pie is challenging. It’s not easy at all. Maybe for someone more practiced than myself – someone who stuck with it, soldiering through batch after batch of crappy tough pastry before finally nailing the perfect, delicate, light, and flaky crust. I googled the phrase and found another idiom to use in it’s place – “as easy as rolling off a log.”

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Horse & Pony Aug-Oct 2016

Learning to fly
    I spent the last few months on baby watch. In March, a pair of Red-tailed hawks set to work raising a family in a tall spruce tree on our lawn. Through rain, snow, and heavy wind they worked away – first building the nest, and then taking turns sitting on their precious eggs. I often caught sight of mom flying out, and dad stepping in to keep the eggs warm. Our lane is a wind tunnel – a precarious place for fragile eggs and tiny babies.

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Horse & Pony May-July 2016

Lots of green
    The frogs are peeping and the grass is greening. It’s almost time for spring pasture. It was interesting to follow a recent thread on Facebook addressing the financial implications of horse ownership – something most of us try not to think about. The economics of pasture board came up. There seems to be a general assumption among those who have never swung a fence mall, dropped $5 on one fence post, screwed in insulators with frozen fingers.

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Horse & Pony February-April 2016

Making a mark
    I just heard the news Lloyd Newcomb passed away. Newcomb was ring master at horse shows and exhibitions throughout the Maritimes over the last half century. He kept classes moving along, and schedules on time. He was also a sport horse breeder, host of the Fundy Hunter Show, and a fine man. As I sourced old photos for this issue, Newcomb appeared repeatedly – smiling, and stylish in his tie and sports jacket.

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Horse & Pony November-January 2016

Being prepared
    The warm season went by too quickly. Our daughter’s wedding made summer a cleaning, painting, weeding, kind of blur – with riding and horse time squeezed in. Thunder boomed for hours in the distance, but the heavy rain held off, and August 22 was a perfect, happy day. Four days earlier we were sweating it out stuffing an extra 400 bales into the loft.

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Horse & Pony August-October 2015

Winning with horses
    Winston Churchill said, “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” If the smile on the face of our cover girl Maggie Stagg is any indication, it’s even better for the inside of a child. Kids with ponies often have a good handle on real life issues long before they head out into the adult world. Winning, losing, disappointment, and sometimes even grief, all come wrapped up in the horse owning package.

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Horse & Pony May-July 2015

Digging out, digging in
    The winter of 2015 was a good one for skill development and creative thinking. Those of us keeping horses discovered new and not so exciting ways to solve problems and get things done. We found muscles we didn’t know we had, discovered alternative uses for tools, and perhaps expanded our vocabularies. Each time we felt thoroughly beaten by the snow on our windy farm with the long lane.

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Horse & Pony February-April 2015

A Royal Adventure
    I love animals, food, and exhibitions, so visiting the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is heaven! I committed to seeing everything during my three-day visit, staying fueled on potato rösti, fresh lemonade, noodles, tacos, and cheese. It was fun to feel the excitement of a packed Ricoh Coliseum during the National Holstein Show where the judge explains the placings in the cattle classes.

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