The Study Group
I started 2021 with my new monthly membership program, The Miniature Horsemanship Study Group. It’s been a wonderful experience, and I am so grateful for the community we’ve built. We’ve shared adventures and struggles with our horses, had excellent guest speakers, and I’m so excited to see what 2022 brings for the Study Group!
My only horse goal for 2021 was to enter Little Duke in the online Horse Agility competition through the International Horse Agility Club every single month.
It was so much harder to stick to that goal than I thought it would be! From weather to injuries (mine) to super challenging courses to general life busy-ness, nearly every month seemed to be a struggle in one way or another.
But it was so much fun too – Little Duke and I accomplished things I couldn’t believe we could do, most notably the September course where I had to stay in a hula hoop in the center of a circle on obstacles while he negotiated them at a distance from me.
On Christmas Eve when I filmed (at a temperature of -20C) and entered once again on the deadline I made it – an entry every single month of 2021!
The Stampede Parade
Deciding to take the Stagecoach with a four horse hitch to the (abbreviated due to covid) 2021 Stampede Parade was a big undertaking.
The four we’d been driving at home included two horses who were too old for us to feel comfortable asking them to drive away from home, so we had to cycle a couple (relatively) younger horses in. One of them was very experienced in driving pairs, but had never driven with any more than that, and the other was extremely green in anything but single driving and had a big learning curve to get him up to speed, but both did awesome.
And then there was getting comfortable with the stagecoach itself, an authentic, antique behemoth, built in 1920 to one half scale of the original Concorde Coach blueprints. I spent ages just figuring out how to climb up to the drivers seat, and still ended up with bruises every time – clearly I am less agile than the stagecoach drivers of yore! 😉
I wore my Grandad’s hat to drive his horses and stagecoach in the first Stampede Parade since we lost him. And I am learning that I really enjoy driving four!
On May 7th Image colicked. I was pretty much right there when he first went down, thank goodness, as he was super painful. We immediately took him to the clinic, where Dr. Lee did some diagnostics and let us know that his prognosis was very grave, and we made the decision to end his pain.
Image was 31 years old and he’d been my best friend, my whole world, for 25 years – since I was 16.
His health had been a bit of a challenge to manage the past few years, and at his age you know it can happen at any time. I thought I was prepared for the day to come, but it hit me very hard. Even with so many other horses, Image had always been “my horse” and I still feel quite lost without him all these months later.
Less than 2 days after we lost Image, Ruble foaled. Her baby would be Rocky’s last foal, as he was gelded last fall.
She had a beautiful colt, and against the odds (we fully expected a silver bay or bay), he is silver black, with a snowy white mane and tail, just like Image.
I named him Zoom, not for the ubiquitous video conference service we all use so much in these covidtimes, but instead for Image, the fastest and zoomiest horse I’ve ever driven.
We added baby goats (Joey and Chandler, who have been such fun), a beautiful driving horse named Regal (whose sweet personality has quickly made him a favourite with everyone who meets him), we brought 24 year old Fergie home (last foal of our foundation broodmare), we hatched baby chicks (most of whom grew up to be roosters lol), and we had three beautiful cats dumped here, who became family.
In November of 1981 my grandparents brought home our first three Miniature Horses, which means that this November we celebrated 40 years of Miniature Horses and I personally couldn’t be more grateful.
Here’s to another 40 years!
I’d love to hear about your year, and here’s to a positive 2022!