Another Lesson On Caring For Horses

Around 7:30am, Sam, Kira and their dog Molly arrived. Huib, Canyon and I were ready, so we all got into our car and set off for Herb’s farm in Milton.

I had wanted to bring both goldens, but since Arizona had not yet seen Bianca, I thought it was better to leave her home. I worried about her contracting fleas or some sort of parasite.

when we arrived at the farm, we let the dogs out of the vehicle and walked towards the barn.

Canyon lived on a Mennonite farm for the first 6 months of his life, so I was pretty sure he’d be okay around the horses – and he was!!!

Canyon was amazingly well behaved. he stayed in the barn the entire time we were there. He was off leash, but stayed close and got out of the way without even being asked when people walked near him with horses. If a horse seemed to be uneasy, Canyon backed up more or walked away completely.

we got several compliments on canyon’s looks and temperament.

Huib and I took care of four horses while we were at the farm. We brushed Lovie (Love Detective) and Wine (Wine Photo), then got them both ready to jog. then we brushed Jerry (Jet black Cadillac(. Jerry was a gentle guy, but he was a bit uneasy having Canyon around, so Canyon wandered off and spent some time with Kira, who was caring for a sick horse and then brushed some of the young foals in the pasture.

After Lovie and Wine were bathed from jogging, Huib and I combed and brushed them. then Sam came over and began teaching me how to care for the heels and hooves of the horses. She had me feel for scabs on the heels and then showed me how to put the heel cream on and then she showed me how to oil the hooves. After we finished with Lovie and Wine, herb had Huib and I go groom gem (Magical Gem).

Gem is my absolute favourite horse at Herb’s farm right now. I love how she feels and I love how affectionate she is when we spend time with her. Huib says she has a really nice coloured coat and said he really likes the dappling on her back end. I was so glad Huib got a chance to meet Gem. gem had been in the pasture until near the end of our time at the farm, so I wasn’t sure he would get a chance to meet her. I guess Gem was in a bit of a bad mood, so it took the farm helper a bit of time to coax her inside.

Once everyone was groomed and had their halters removed, we put their lunch into their stalls and got ready to go home.

Canyon was walking around the farm with Kira, so while we waited for them to return, Huib and I talked a bit with Herb. he asked me about myself and asked how my phone works. I showed him how Voice Over works and sent Sam a text message while herb watched.

When Huib saw Kira coming back, he saw that Canyon had gotten into some mud, so walked towards them and took Canyon over to the bathing stall to be hosed off before going back into the car.

I think it was a great day at the farm and I will definitely be bringing Canyon with me again. I just hope he stays out of the mud next time because I worry about him getting hot spots.

Horsing Around

As mentioned in a previous post, our friend Sam is part of the horse racing industry. After meeting her friends Herb and Caroline at Grand River, I was eager to learn more about the horses and what goes on behind the scenes.

Lucky for me, Sam’s friends really liked me, so invited us out to their farm in Milton.

Sam took Kira and I to the farm early Monday morning to help wash, groom and prepare the horses for their daily jog around the track.

Herb and Caroline worried about Kira and I working with some of the more unpredictable horses, so assigned us to work with three they felt were safe.

First we groomed Gem and got her ready for her jog. I brushed her with the softer brush, while Kira worked on her mane and tail and then we both cleaned out her hooves. Then Sam helped us put her gear on, showing me each step so I’d get an idea of how it all worked.

Kira and I with one of the horses we groomed.

It’s not totally the same, but the harness racing gear is sort of like the gear Canyon wears for drafting.

Maybe I’ll see if Sam will explain it all to me so I can post it here sometime.

After Gem was ready, herb took her on to the track.

Next we worked with Love Detective or Lovie. Lovie isn’t as nice as gem in my opinion, she isn’t as streamlined, her hips are really boney and kind of stick out. Sam says the best horses are the ones with big butts, lol!

Lovie is a 3 year old filly. She is a really dark brown bay horse. I really need to ask Kira to describe how each of the horses look again, so that I can explain it better.

She was really patient. She stood calmly while I brushed the dust out of her coat and Kira combed her mane and tail. Then Sam came and we got her ready to take out. Kira really wanted to help Sam jog her, but Sam wasn’t sure how Lovie would be, so asked us to stay in the stable and help Caroline bath Photo Wine or Wine for short.

wine was a 2 or 3 year old gelding. He was going to race that evening, so needed to have a bubble bath.

first Sam wet him down completely with the hose then Kira and I got out sponges to soak Wine with soapy water and wipe down his body. he was perfectly happy to stand and wait for us to finish cleaning him. After he was thoroughly soaped up, we took turns hosing him off. Kira worked on his back end while I did his front and the top of his back since Kira couldn’t reach. At one point herb came over to tell me that I needed to aim a bit lower because I was hitting the horse in the next stall, lol!

While we were all busy working with the horses, Molly, Kira’s 2 year old female French bulldog was running around the stable looking for rats and other critters. At one point she found a toad that was probably half the size of her head. She went to grab it with her mouth and it sprayed her, causing her to foam for several minutes straight. While Molly foamed, Kira grabbed some water for her and Sam took the toad outside where it could find a new place to hang out.

I think I want to bring the golden retrievers to the farm the next time we go. I think Canyon will enjoy wandering around the stable and it will be good for Arizona to learn to interact properly with horses and other people.

After we finished bathing Wine, I stood with my back against one of the stalls. I didn’t know who was inside until Herb told me “your horse is in that stall behind you”. It turns out Gem was in the stall and she kept nuzzling the back of my head and neck and tried to eat my hood a few times, lol! Every time I turned to touch her, she’d back up and then when I turned, she’d return to nuzzle and check me out, lol!

caroline asked Kira and I to groom her again because she had been washed after her jog and needed to be brushed. Both Kira and I love this filly, so were eager to spend more time with her.

I brushed her with the soft brush and Kira combed out her mane and tail. Then Kira asked if it would be okay if she braided Gem’s mane and Caroline said sure. Unfortunately, Kira wasn’t able to finish the braids because lunchtime for the horses came, but she got about half of Gem’s mane done and it felt really neat. It would have been cool to see how her mane looked after the braids were taken out.

Once all of the horses were given their lunch of pellets made by Purina, Sam took Kira and I into the field to visit the brood mares and their foals.

a brood mare checks me out.

A foal checks out Kira.

There were about five mares and 5 foals, most of which were females.

I'm in a field with a number of foals and brood mares.

The foals were about 3 or 4 months old and 3 of them were really interested in us.

I'm surrounded by foals and maybe even a brood mare or two.

We had some foals biting at our clothing and others trying to bite our bums. It was a really neat thing to experience. I had never been around such young horses.

Kira with the foals.

Magical Gem

Our friend, Sam, has her horse racing and trainer license. She used to race regularly, but now tends to only help friends warm up or care for their horses. Huib works with her and we became really good friends almost immediately.

On Wednesday her friend’s horse, Magical Gem, was racing at Grand River raceway in flora, so her and I took off for the track. When we arrived, we went directly into the stables and I got to meet Gem and meet several of her friends which included a couple jockeys, like Sylvain Filion, that I often hear about when we go to watch horse racing at Mohawk.

It was SO cool! I have always loved horses, so it was really neat to be able to get up close and personal with real race horses and their owners, trainers and drivers.

When it was time for Gem to race, we went out to the benches to watch. gem did well at first, she was in third place until the last quarter. then she broke stride and fell back to fifth or sixth place.

Magical Gem is a two year old copper coloured Bay. She is dappled and has a bit of white (I think) on a couple of her legs, but otherwise I think she’s just copper colour. she was very patient when getting her gear on and she really enjoyed the attention she got from us.

I stand with gem in her stall at Grand River while she waits to go home.

After Gem’s race, we went into the horsemen dining room and ate with Sam’s friends herb and Caroline. they were so interesting to talk to and really nice to me. When dinner was finished they got ready to load gem back into the trailer to go home, so Sam and I took off.

I can’t wait to go to another race with Sam, she does an amazing job at explaining what is happening.