A lady told me the other day that she often goes for drives in the country and it is quite lovely but it looks like too much work.
Before I moved to the farm I never thought of it that way. I always thought it looked like freedom and horses and a great place to raise my kids. I found out it was true. All of it.
Actually the work isn’t evenly distributed over the year. It is directed by the season and the weather more than anything. The busiest season is fall (although spring can be nearly as busy). Getting the harvest done and things put away for winter is a big job. And the weather doesn’t always cooperate. So every “nice” day you need to spend getting “the fall work” done with the pressure that winter could arrive and end your harvest and fall chores at any time.
I’m having trouble finding interesting news for the blog. This may change when the pandemic is over. Or not. Who knows? So in the meantime I have decided I may as well just post some of the things that are happening here on the ranch.
Dave and I were having coffee in our little garden the other day when he commented that this summer reminds him of summers of his childhood. Like most farm kids we didn’t go anywhere in the summer. Perhaps to the fair although Dave had to work in the dairy barn with his uncle so even that was a different experience than the town kids. Not to say it wasn’t even better. You got to sleep over and hang out on the midway until late. You got to visit friends and other kids who were involved with the animals at the fair. And mom made fried chicken and potato salad and sliced up a big watermelon.
While Alberta continues to dig its way out of the economic downturn, this trickles into show entries. The 2019 Wild Rose Show had about 50 ponies and horses, including welcoming some BC ponies.
Our annual three-day, three-judge event is the largest Welsh show in western Canada, and in 2019 sadly it was the only Welsh show across British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan. Manitoba has its annual show, and Ontario has a number of Welsh shows each year, while Quebec has been picking up momentum for some time and now hosts breed events.
For the Friday Youngstock Futurity & Performance Stake, Jennifer Caldwell from Ontario officiated, while the Saturday – Sunday main show was judged by Diana Cappellanti from Virginia and Megan Burtness from California.
YOUNG STOCK FUTURITY & PERFORMANCE STAKE: Judge: Jennifer Caldwell
This portion of the show is for Welsh and Half-Welsh only. It begins with several riding and driving classes for ponies aged three to eight, and culminates in the youngstock halter championships.
The Futurity Grand Champion Section A and Futurity Res. Supreme Champion went to Shell-Crest Starlight Silver, a 2018 grey Welsh Mountain Pony filly (Gallod Twm Sion Catti x Shell-Crest Starlit by Dandardel Flit) bred and owned by Shelley Snyder from Didsbury.
Her owners say, “This filly showed very well throughout her first year; she took everything with ease and showed off her Section A characteristics: movement, temperament, and conformation.”
In reserve came Alvesta Fflach (Delami Red Legend x Alvesta Caris by Nerwyn Gwyn), 2018 grey gelding. Fflach is the first offspring from Brenda Podolski’s 2014 imported colt, Delami Red Legend (Sunwillow Galong x Delami Simply Red by Delami Diablo).
Being a late foal (born July 17) and only 13 months old at the time of showing, our active yearling could have had more weight and been more mature for the show ring, but took him out for some experience. A typical smart, eager Welsh Mountain Pony, Fflach decided was quite confident with the proceedings by the end.
A real mover, he was entered in the main show’s Liberty class. Although he initially thought he should stick around for treats, he ended up stepping out and being awarded 1st and 2nd (two judges) amongst some beautiful moving ponies.
Onto the Section Bs, yearling chestnut roan colt Alvesta Owain (Thistledown Arctic Lore x Alvesta Fairy Lustre by CadlanValley Pirate) would be awarded the Futurity Gr. Ch. Section B trophy and then the top two championships of the evening: Futurity Supreme Champion Welsh Youngstock and Futurity Gr. Ch. Sport Pony.
With a herd of females sired by CadlanValley Pirate—with a few Llanarth Tarquin and Alvesta Helios daughters—we were on the lookout for a quality B colt. Then in 2015, we had the opportunity to visit Welsh studs in Wales and England, including Sandy Anderson’s Thistledown stud. After seeing well over 100 Thistledown ponies and cobs (only a portion of Sandy’s extensive program, since we didn’t get into his mountain pastures) we were particularly impressed with Lore and his family’s quality, type, and substance—plus height (sire 13.3hh, dam 13.2hh). Later we learned of their renowned temperament and movement, and Lore was purchased.
Imagine being dropped off in the middle of a country where the locals are out to get you, you don’t understand the local customs, and the food sources, water, rules and terrain are completely different. You have no map, in fact you are not even sure why you got moved here. Not a single one of your friends in your past life are with you. The first day you broke an, unknown to you, important local custom and there is a good chance you could be soup.
That’s pretty much what happened to Rio.
By horse standards Rio was raised and lived in a fairly protected world. A pretty black mare with a popular pedigree, she was destined to be a show horse. Her coat was kept smooth, soft and shiny, her mane groomed and her tail washed and braided and protected.
She was trained and had proven herself in the show world when we met her. She was loved, being cared for and shown by a very nice young man and his family. He was ready to move up. Rio was offered for sale. We bought her.
The 25th anniversary of the Canadian Warmblood Horse Association’s Fall Classic Sale was a great success. The arena was standing room only as the sale got underway at 6 pm on Saturday, October 5. The decorations were outstanding, the food and wine offered were superior, and the horses set a new standard in quality and pedigree. Of the 40 horses offered, 31 sold, with six going to out-of-province homes and one traveling to the US. The gross sales of $377,250 Cdn, is an increase from 2018 of $90,000 and the highest gross since 2007. There was also a $1,500 increase from the 2018 average sale price to $12,169 ($9,360 US).
The sale hit the ground running when Lot 0, the cover and poster art “Baby Steps”, a beautiful chalk pastel created by Rebecca Shuttleworth of Airdrie, Alberta, was hotly contested and sold for the sale-record price of $3,000 to Rosemary Church.
The energy remained high as the horses were brought through the sale ring. The cooler for the high-selling young prospect, sponsored by Sparks Innovations, went to O’Star de Chacoon (Chacoon Blue x Zeno H2), bred and consigned by Klondike Victory Farm. This excellent weanling filly sold to Rocky Mountain Show Jumping of Calgary, Alberta for $19,000 ($14,615 US).
Grab the old folks and the kids. There is something happening in west central Alberta this weekend that they all will enjoy. Wild Rose Draft Horse Field & Pioneer Days on June 1 & 2 at Double Tree Village Museum. Gates open at 9 AM. It is 2 whole days of fun with something for everyone.
I’m going to start right off with my favorite part. It is the Draft Horses working in the field. Few people remember when that was “how it was done”. The turning point – when the amount of tractor power overtook the amount of horse power on American farms – was 1945. Jobs for draft horses were pretty scarce after that.
The draft horses at the Double Tree Museum give all those youngsters under 75 a chance to see horses working in the field. Actually putting in a crop. In a beautiful setting which includes a whole village filled with interesting things from the past.
You can tour a village reminiscent of the early villages in Alberta stocked with thousands of items. Join in the Jam Session and Cowboy Poetry Sat. at 5:00, vendors, Handicrafts, Pack Horse Demo, Hand work demos, Mini horses and much more…
There is a concession but if you are trying to have some fun with the family but on a severe budget, bring some fried chicken and potato salad, a nice big watermelon and lots of water and enjoy a whole day of fun for just a General Admission of $5.00 per person. There are places to sit and eat or rest. There are wagon rides to and from where the horses are working in the field.
Maybe you would like to purchase supper provided by the Spruce View Lions Club on Saturday evening during the jam session. Or breakfast which includes Cowboy Gospel singing as breakfast is served. You will be welcomed with true western hospitality.
6 miles west of Spruce View on Hwy 54 to RR41, turn north as the sign and follow the road into the village.