December 6, 2013 10:56
Image credit Bonnie Newton
1. Perfect reason not to go into work, no argument from the boss, ever.
2. Eliminates annoying door to door salespeople.
3. Highlights any and all mechanical weak spots in your car, truck, or tractor free of charge.
4. Proves your winterproofed drinkers are indeed winterproof.
5. A cry of “there is no water” brings the entire household awake instantly.
6. Best, cheapest and fastest wine cooler ever.
7. You never have to tell you child again “Don’t put your tongue on any metal”, they only do it once.
8. Perfect time to mass produce food that needs to be frozen. Just place your cookie sheet of perogies outside for 5 minutes, bring in and pack into small containers, pop into your freezer. Eliminates long, tedious freeze times.
9. Birthrates increase in 9 months.
10. Crime rates drop.
11. Your dog can go outside, do their business and be back in the blink of an eye.
December 6, 2013 10:48
Image credit/copyright Bonnie Newton
God gives us horses and compels some of us to love them. Yet why does the horse, an animal with such a big heart, live such a short life?
Perhaps it's because if our horses lived longer, we wouldn't be able to bear losing them. Or, perhaps it's because God wants to ride.
Perhaps God looks down on the fine horses we raise and decides when it’s his turn to ride. He gives us a few good years to care for and learn from them, but when the time is right; it's up to us to see them off gracefully. OK, perhaps not gracefully. Blowing Kleenex is rarely graceful. But we can be grateful. To have a horse in your life is a gift. In a matter of a few short years, a horse can teach a girl courage, if she chooses to grab mane and hang on for dear life.
Even the smallest of ponies is mightier than the tallest of girls. To conquer the fear of falling off, having ones toes crushed or being publicly humiliated at a horse show is an admirable feat for a child. For that, we can be grateful.
Horses teach us responsibility. Unlike a bicycle - or computer - a horses needs regular care and most of it requires that you get dirty and smelly and up off the couch. Choosing to leave your cozy kitchen to break the crust of ice on the water buckets is to choose responsibility. When our horses dip their noses and drink heartily, we know we've made the right choice.
Learning to care for a horse is both an art and a science. Some are easy keepers, requiring little more than regular turn out, a flake of hay, and a trough of clean water. Others will test you- you'll struggle to keep them from being too fat or too thin. You'll have their feet shod regularly only to find shoes gone missing. Some are so accident -prone you'll swear they're intentionally finding new ways of injuring themselves.
If you weren't raised with horses, you can't know that they have their unique personalities. You'd expect this from dogs, but horses? Indeed, there are clever horses, grumpy horses and even horses with a sense of humor.
Those prone to humor will test by finding new ways to escape from the barn when you least expect it. I found one of ours on the front porch one morning, eating the cornstalks I'd carefully arranged as Halloween decorations.
Horses can be timid or brave, lazy or athletic, obstinate or willing. You will hit it off with some horses and others will elude you altogether. There are as many "types" of horses as there are a person - which makes the whole partnership thing all the more interesting.
If you're never ridden a horse you probably assume it's a simple thing you can learn on a weekend. You can, in fact, learn the basics on a Sunday - but to truly ride well takes a lifetime. Working with a living being is far more complex than turning a key in the ignition and putting the care in "drive".
In addition to listening to your instructor, your horse will have a few things to say to you as well. On a good day, he'll be happy to go along with the program and tolerate your mistakes; on a bad day, you'll swear he's trying to kill you. Perhaps he's naughty or perhaps he's fed up with how slowly you're learning his language. Regardless, the horse will have an opinion. He may choose to challenge you (which can ultimately make you a better rider) or he may carefully carry you over fences…if it suits him. It all depends on the partnership - and partnership is what it's all about.
If you face your fear, swallow your pride, and are willing to work at it you'll learn lessons in courage, commitment, and compassion, in addition to basic survival skills. You'll discover just how hard you're willing to work toward a goal, how little you know, and how much you have to learn. And while some think the horse "does all the work", you'll be challenged physically as well as mentally. Your horse may humble you completely. Or, you may find that sitting on his back is the closes you'll get to heaven. You could choose to intimidate your horse, but do you really want to? The results may come more quickly, but will your work ever be as graceful as that gained through trust? The best partners choose to listen, as well as tell. When it works, we experience a sweet sense of accomplishment brought by smarts, hard work, and mutual understanding between horse and rider. These are the days when you know with absolute certainly that your horse is enjoying his work.
If we make it to adulthood with horses still in our lives, most of us have to squeeze riding into our over saturated schedule; balancing our need for things equine with those of our households and employers. There is never enough time to ride, or to ride as well as we'd like. Hours in the barn are stolen pleasures.
If it is in your blood to love horses, you share your life with them. Our horses know our secrets; we braid our tears into their manes and whisper our hopes into their ears.. A barn is a sanctuary in an unsettled world, a sheltered place where life's true priorities are clear, a warm place to sleep, someone who loves us and the luxury of regular meals….Some of us need these reminders.
When you step back, it's not just about horses- it's about love, life and learning. On any given day, a friend is celebrating the birth of a foal, a red ribbon, or recovery from illness. That same day, there is also loss, a broken limb, a case of colic, or a decision to sustain a life or end it gently. As horse people, we share the accelerated life cycle of horses: the hurried rush of life, love, loss and death that caring for these animals brings us. When our partners pass, it is more than a moment of sorrow. We mark our loss with words of gratitude for the ways our lives have been blessed. Our memories are of joy, awe, and wonder. Absolute union. We honor our hoses for their brave hearts, courage, and willingness to give.
To those outside our circle, it must seem strange. To see us in our muddy boots, who would guess such poetry lives in our hearts? We celebrate our companions with praise worthy of heroes. Indeed, horses have the hearts of warriors and often carry us into and our of fields of battle.
Listen to stories of that once - in- a - lifetime horse; of journeys made and challenges met. The best of horses rise to the challenge we set before them, asking little in return. Those who know them understand how fully a horse can hold a human heart. Together, we share the pain of sudden loss and the lingering taste of long term illness. We shoulder the burden of deciding when or whether to end the life of a true companion.
In the end, we're not certain if God entrusts us to our horses or our horses to us. Does it matter? We're grateful God loaned us the horse in the first place.
November 22, 2013 08:48
Working outside in the winter can mean you are facing everything from wet, heavy snow to blowing winds and blizzards. A wide range of conditions and various levels of physical activity mean that your choice in clothing needs to be deliberate and flexible.
Protect Your Body:
In the winter, clothing is best worn in layers. Multiple layers provide a bigger bang for the safety buck than a single thick garment. Each layer has a specific purpose and addresses two clothing challenges that threaten the health & safety of outside workers; moisture buildup and wind.
1. BASE (layer which is closest to the skin)
• Should be able to wick, or move, moisture away from your skin.
• Clothing should be snug but not constricting.
• Use materials that don’t absorb moisture – no cotton. (Thermal underwear made from polyesters and polypropylene)
2. MIDDLE (insulation layer that goes over the base layer)
• Will trap warm air as your body is constantly giving off heat.
• Clothing should be relatively loose-fitting.
• Materials like wool or fleece.
3. OUTER (shell layer)
• Purpose of this layer is to protect the layers beneath from wind, rain and snow.
• Jackets should be easily closed off or opened at the waist, neck & wrists.
• Waterproof and windproof fabric work well.
Layering allows you to add and remove layers as your physical activity changes. When you’re working up a sweat, take layers off. When you stop, put the layers back on; bundle up, pull up your hood, put your back to the wind, and trap all that heat you’ve generated.
Protect Your Feet:
Your boots need to protect you from workplace hazards but they also need to keep your feet warm and dry. Make sure they are well insulated and will repel moisture. If in doubt, apply a moisture-repellant product to keep out the moisture. Put in winter insoles as the steel-toe and/ or steel shank of your boots may conduct heat away from your feet, so the extra layer helps stop that heat loss. Your boots also need to protect you from slips & falls; choose a sole with a chunky lug type tread. Ice grips are an arrangement of metal springs or treads that can be strapped onto your boots to provide extra traction.
Don’t forget your socks! The simple fact is you need good winter socks. Thick wool socks are cheap, easy to find and can keep you warm even if they get wet. Modern synthetics have improved wicking ability – the property of removing moisture from around your feet - but will be pricier.
Always wear clean socks. The oils & moisture from your feet can rob a few degrees of warmth from your feet. Clean socks keep your feet warmer.
Protect Your Hands:
Your fingers, toes, ears and nose don’t have major muscles to produce heat so they usually feel the cold first. Your Cold Weather Cut Resistant gloves are to protect you against workplace hazards but may not provide you with the necessary warmth when working outside. Wear a thin polyester, polypropylene or fleece glove inside your work gloves to help stop heat loss.
Remember bulky gloves can interfere with your grip. Be extra cautious to ensure you have a firm grip when climbing a ladder or using a tool. Your Cold Weather Cut Resistant gloves have a gripping material built into the fingers and palm.
Protect Your Head:
Last but not least is your head. Just like any other body part that we protect from the harsh winter elements we need to keep our head warm and dry. But at the same time we must ensure we are protected from workplace hazards and that means wearing our hard hats at all times.
Fabric winter liners designed to work in conjunction with our hard hats is the best option and only option approved by the CSA. Winter liners are designed to attach to the hard hat suspension and seat down onto the head. There are a variety of styles available that offer head protection as well as ear and neck protection from the elements.
If wearing a hoodie under your hard hat you must ensure that it is worn completely down on your head so that the material is not interfering with the suspension bands of your hard hat and that you have adjusted the tension so it is secure on your head. Be aware that a hood can block your peripheral vision and affect your hearing. Be particularly careful around moving equipment or vehicles. Also, the strings on hoodies are a potential hazard; they can easily be caught in moving or rotating equipment like a hand grinder.
Wearing a toque under your hard hat is not recommended by the manufacturers nor approved by the CSA because a hard hat needs to fit tightly on your head for maximum protection. With a toque underneath, your hard hat could slip off more easily. If you are wearing a toque you need to ensure you are adjusting the suspension to ensure it is snug and secure.
Taking a few extra minutes to prepare can ensure you stay warm and dry this winter.
Health and Wellness Promotion
City of Saskatoon
November 20, 2013 10:07
Mankind developed slowly, and then all at once. Anatomically modern humans first appeared some 200,000 years ago  ... yet the world’s first known civilization of Sumer didn’t begin until 5000 to 6000 years ago. 
Those experienced in humans may not be shocked the brutes didn’t play to potential way back when. It’s possible to see lessened glory in a species prone to such epic stagnation, but division-of-labor and retention of knowledge are surely advanced concepts that took eons to learn. (They are not so perfectly practiced even today!)
Horsemanship began with Civilization ... or vice versa
Whatever the reason for the delay of civilization, a great change took place at the time of its birth: the advent of horsemanship. The quirky, panicky and potentially dangerous animal somehow became more than prey in the eyes of early civilized man. Much empathy is exercised in handling horses—since the skill is also required to sustain civilization, perhaps this is why they began together. Empathy is a civilized art.
Horsemanship is more than a foundational skill: in all times it has flourished or decayed according to the state of society. In all times, also, horses have returned investment in their care and potential. People and horses are partners in the joint venture project of civilization and we rise and fall together.
Still Alive and Growing
The value of horses in our motorized society is often underestimated, but the horse has always been more than horsepower. Since first painted on prehistoric cave walls the animal has inspired our better journeys, a gift that can never become obsolete.
Today horsemanship is alive and expanding, and continues to advance. An important NEW value of horses is to keep alive a founding force in civilization. As a seminal art that continues to mirror society, horsemanship is a valuable legacy to preserve for future generations. This can be done! Horses are not necessities in daily life today—but horsemanship has taken many engaging new forms in recreation, sport and therapy.
Amazingly, horsemanship thrives even in our modern technological age. As long as we have horses, we are keeping one of the founding fires of civilization lit.
(c) John Royce
October 30, 2013 14:22
Teresa Binetruy started riding as a child and has been riding, taking instruction and showing in all of the three equestrian disciplines ever since.
Teresa’s riding experience began in the sport of Three Day Eventing, giving opportunity to compete at major competitions across Western Canada over the years. Arguably, the highlight of her three-day experiences was riding Ludi Mae. Ludi Mae was a thoroughbred mare that the Binetruy family purchased locally that went on to be a member of Team Canada at the 1990 World Equestrian Games in Sweden. When Ludi Mae was retired from international competition in 1992, she became Teresa’s riding horse; allowing Teresa to take advantage of the vast ‘world of experience’ this horse had to offer, literally.
Being a three day event rider puts a person in the unique position of having to develop skills in all three arenas. To that end, Teresa and her horses have always attended regular dressage lessons, clinics and shows; and continued to develop skills with regular hunter/jumper lessons, clinics and shows. It has been a few years since Teresa has competed at a three day event, but she is commonly showing in the dressage ring and the hunter/jumper ring in Saskatchewan and Alberta.
Most recently, Teresa has taken the opportunity to concentrate on her dressage work. Among many great clinicians, Teresa has been traveling regularly to Calgary to take lessons from Crystal Kroetch – a member of Canada’s 2011 Silver Medal Team at the Pan American Games.
Teresa lives west of Saskatoon on a farm where she previously raised beef cattle and currently runs a warmblood breeding operation. There is an exciting line up of young horses coming up through the ranks. Teresa feels extremely fortunate to be mounted on 2 lovely home raised horses for this edition of the Ellen Bontje Workshop. Outside of the riding arena, Teresa has a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture and is the manager of the Beef Cattle Research & Teaching Unit at the University of Saskatchewan. She also plays competitive women’s hockey, traveling around Canada and the United States to hockey tournaments during the winter season.
Frolic is a 2004 Canadian Warmblood gelding sired by Frobisher (Florestan I x Diamantino) out of Brisa (Bajazzo x Arkansas). Frolic was born on Teresa’s farm and has been under her care and guidance ever since. He has shown in the hunter ring to 3’3” and in the jumper ring to 3’6”. While Frolic still competes in all disciplines the focus has turned to more serious dressage work. Frolic is a great big, strong horse with rhythmical lofty gates, a sweet temperament and a great attitude. In 2013, Frolic and Teresa were awarded the Saskatchewan Provincial Third Level Championship and the Alberta Provincial Reserve Championship.
Farenheit is a 2008 Canadian Warmblood gelding sired by Freestyle (Florestan 1 x Parademarsch) out of Blythe Spirit (Bajazzo x Arkansas). Frolic is sponsored by Norm Kohle Farrier Service of Grandora, Sk.
Farenheit was also bred, born and raised on Teresa’s farm. 2013 was Farenheit’s first show season where he got his start in the hunter ring and the dressage ring showing at Training level. He attended 2 shows in Saskatoon, the Saskatchewan Dressage Provincials, and the Alberta Dressage Provincials obtaining very good scores consistently winning show championships and reserve championships for his level. Farenheit is a tall, elegant young man that grabs the attention of judges and spectators everywhere he goes. Farenheit is sponsored by Brookscon Construction of Cochrane, Ab.
For details http://horseownertoday.com/ellenbontjeworkshop.aspx
October 30, 2013 14:14
Horses have always been a passion for me, starting with the spring horse my brother had when I was 2. I started riding lessons with the Regina Pony Club when I was a little older. After leasing horses and riding lessons I was able to get my own horse and I competed with him in dressage in Saskatchewan. Once I went to university I had to opportunity to travel to Germany to train and earn their rider performance medals. I earned my silver performance medal and also earned my Trainer B certification in dressage and jumping. That is the equivalent of the new Coach 2 Competition Specialist designation through Equine Canada. In the past several years, I have continued to train and compete in Germany and Canada in Dressage with much success with my horse Paso Doble 40 and my other horses as well as with some horses owned by other riders. I even had the opportunity to present a horse for a client in the Trakehner Mare Performance Test in Hessen, Germany. I competed this year with Paso at 4th Level and have seen great improvement in him throughout the season with much success. He is a spirited horse who is very smart but easily stressed when he doesn’t understand something. He loves attention and bananas. We have high hopes and big dreams to one day make the Canadian Team and it is through clinics like this one that we can get the help we need to continue on the path to success.
For details http://horseownertoday.com/ellenbontjeworkshop.aspx
October 30, 2013 13:53
I used to be a dancer! At the age of eight all the makeup, hair, and costumes led my Mom to the statement “why don’t you quit this dance and take up horseback riding”. Who can turn down an opportunity like that……… off to summer riding camp my brother Brodie and I went!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! One whole week of learning about tack, horse anatomy, what to feed them, how to care for them, and the smell of them – I was hooked!
My first horse was a rental pony from Madison Wilkening. A pinto pony with an attitude named “Bandit”. He was boarded at High Country Quarters in Drayton Valley where I took my initial riding instruction with Sabrina Bablitz. Bandit and I were together for two years doing flatwork and jumping. His quirky little attitude always made going to the barn interesting. In May 2007, my parents bought me Cracker Jack from Henri and Laurie DeGroot. He was a 7 year old 16.2 HH Hanoverian Thoroughbred and it was love at first sight. He had incredible ground manners but only 10 rides on his back (not the best parental decision!) So began the adventure of Cracker and Kallecia.
My first riding instructor took an immediate disliking to Cracker and his hissy fits – not the horses fault I now realize. Ute Miller from Bashaw then started coming to the barn every three-four weeks or when her Paramedic career allowed her to give lessons. We were riding casually just for fun, but as I progressed and Cracker progressed I became more interested in Dressage so we started with the basics. Cracker and I did not progress a lot during the first while together, but we had a great bond.
During the summer of 2010 I decided I was going to become an Eventer and went to a riding camp with Sandra Donelly in Canmore, AB. We had a great week of arena jumping, dressage work and cross country jumping. Three weeks later we went to Amberlea Meadows in Red Deer for our first event. We had a blast. Cracker and I both loved the cross-country run, our stadium jumping needed some work but we excelled in the Dressage with a score of 81. I was always intrigued by all the different movements of Dressage since I watched the Olympics and like every little girl I dream of someday being there!
The summer of 2011 my family moved from Drayton Valley to Olds Alberta and we were introduced to Jack and Linda Johnson at Peaceful Valley Stables. Linda was helping me with my riding and suggested that I might be interested in trying some lessons with Gordon Dalshaug. The spring of 2012, training was going great and I was entertaining entering some dressage shows when all those thoughts came to a screeching halt – Cracker coliced!
Dr. Mike Scott from Moore & Company Vet Clinic in Balzac Alberta put his survival chances at about 20% but donned his lucky operating cap and thank goodness for small miracles. Three weeks of nothing but school and sitting in the stall at the vet clinic and Cracker was moved back to Peace Valley Stables where he was treated like a Prince and the spring/ summer of 2012 to recover. We started back with some slow trail rides and have gradually worked our way back to good conditioning. Our skills have grown immensely working with Gordon. Together, we have been able to get Cracker to a place where I was once told would be impossible. Our goal is to make the 2014 Canadian Dressage Team and compete at the 2014 North American Junior/Young Rider Championships.
Cracker is my best friend and we trust each other which I believe makes a good team. When we’re together I’m “On Cloud Nine”!
September 28, 2013 08:56
Watching Horses is part of being Human
To say mankind evolved watching horses is simply reporting evidence. Incredibly the sight of horses is older to humanity than the use of fire or tools. Horse-watching predates walking upright.
According to science, the horse developed into its current form much earlier than humans did. The oldest known evidence of equus—the genus of all existing equines—comes from Idaho, USA, and is dated to about 3.5 million years old.
Photo credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:HyracotheriumVasacciensisLikeHorse.JPG
In comparison, humans are new kids on the block. Recognizable equus herds were present as early human-prototypes evolved ... human ancestors like australopithecus, who lived about 4 to 2 million years ago, were still losing their body hair and learning to walk upright at a time when fully-formed horses were already galloping across the plains.
Evidence reveals that the sight/sound/smell of horses is instilled in the most primal part of us, yet what this means to the realm of consciousness is less clear. We do know the earliest discovered prehistoric artwork concerns horses. Paleolithic caves are filled with equine figures and carvings that give testament to the awareness and importance of the animal to primitive man.
Science has only recently verified what horsemen have long claimed: horses are integral to human experience. However science does not answer what this means to present-day humanity. Charts cannot plot the horse’s deep link to our psyche. Does it ground us, does it balance us psychically to watch horses in action? The answer may be outside our empirical senses; it may be found quite simply in our hearts.
If today’s horse-lovers claim horses are important to the human spirit, it may be unwise to scoff. We should remember there are things poets knew ... before scientists proved it.
(c) John Royce
March 1, 2013 16:31
Photo credit: Andrea Lawrence
Follow me on Twitter @FridaysMyDay
I ride. That seems like such a simple statement. However, as many women who ride know, it is really a complicated matter. It has to do with power and empowerment. Being able to do things you might have once considered out of reach or ability. I have considered this as I shovel manure, fill water barrels in the cold rain, wait for the vet/farrier/electrician/hay delivery, change a tire on a horse trailer by the side of the freeway, or cool a gelding out before getting down to the business of drinking a cold beer after a long ride.
The time, the money, the effort it takes to ride calls for dedication. At least I call it dedication. Both my ex-husbands call it 'the sickness'. It's a sickness I've had since I was a small girl bouncing my model horses and dreaming of the day I would ride a real horse. Most of the women I ride with understand the meaning of 'the sickness'. It's not a sport. It's not a hobby. It's what we do and, in some ways, who we are as women and human beings.
I ride. I hook up my trailer and load my gelding. I haul to some trailhead somewhere, unload, saddle, whistle up my dog, and I ride. I breathe in the air, watch the sunlight filter through the trees and savor the movement of my horse. My shoulders relax. A smile rides my sunscreen smeared face. I pull my ball cap down and let the real world fade into the tracks my horse leaves in the dust.
Time slows. Flying insects buzz loudly, looking like fairies. My gelding flicks his ears and moves down the trail. I can smell his sweat and it is perfume to my senses. Time slows. The rhythm of the walk and the movement of the leaves become my focus. My saddle creaks and the leather rein in my hand softens with the warmth.
I consider the simple statement; I ride. I think of all I do because I ride. Climb granite slabs, wade into a freezing lake, race a friend through the Manzanita all the while laughing and feeling my heart in my chest. Other days just the act of mounting and dismounting can be a real accomplishment. Still I ride. No matter how tired or how much my seat bones or any of the numerous horse related injuries hurt. I ride. And I feel better for doing so.
The beauty I've seen because I ride amazes me. I've ridden out to find lakes that remain for the most part, unseen. Caves, dark and cold beside rivers full and rolling are the scenes I see in my dreams. The Granite Stairway at Echo Summit, bald eagles on the wing and bobcats on the prowl add to the empowerment and joy in my heart.
I think of the people, mostly women, I've met. I consider how competent they all are. Not a weenie amongst the bunch. We haul 40ft rigs. We back into tight spaces without clipping a tree. We set up camp. Tend the horses. We cook and keep safe. We understand and love our companions, the horse. We respect each other and those we encounter on the trail. We know that if you are out there riding, you also shovel, fill, wait, and doctor. Your hands are a little rough and you travel without makeup or hair gel. You do without to afford the 'sickness' and probably, when you were a small girl, you bounced a model horse while you dreamed of riding a real one. Now you are there. I ride.
--Author Unknown (although, many of us feel she is our sister)
March 1, 2013 13:02
The Serenity Prayer
posted by Horse Owner Today | May 25, 2011 10:51
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
- See more at: http://www.horseownertoday.com/blog/folklore/post/2011/05/25/The-Serenity-Prayer.aspx#sthash.ilIHZVF5.dpuf