Yesterday was a busy day. I had been hoping to visit my trainer and good friend Morag O'Hanlon at Balsam Hall for weeks. Unfortunately that visit was put off until after the New Year.
That brings us to the Balsam Hall inspired Jump Fillers. A number of people who saw my hounds and foxes asked if I also did Jack Russells. I then started thinking about Bizzy, Rupert and Maisey and let their inspiration be my muse. I also wanted to do something special for Morag O'Hanlon. She has been my trainer for about 10 years now. She has helped me with all three of my horses as well as pushed me to be the best rider I can be. She has kept me healthy and safe in a sport I love so needless to say making three little Jack Russell jump fillers based on three of the wee dogs of Balsam Hall was the least I could do. So welcome my version of Bizzy, Maisey and Rupert. Can't wait to see the horses of Balsam Hall flying over these wee doggies.
Then John and I set off to pick up a painting on Princess Street. I have become addicted to the webpage Maxsold.com, it is a site that handles estate sales, inventory downsizing and fundraisers. I follow it looking for art and other items. I had been watching a particular painting for a couple of weeks. An Oil by a local artist John Benn. I was lucky enough to be the highest bidder and needed to pick it up yesterday in Kingston. It needs a frame but I do love this little work of art.
Then it was a quick stop at Bridle Path Tack Shop on Princess Street. There were great sales I was able to get a new pair of winter jumps, new breeches and barn boots. All for incredible prices. Then on to Le Chien Bistro for a very late lunch before dropping off a set of running hounds and fox jump filler for Adrienne Schmitke at Encore Equestrian. Adrienne had purchased one of my Buckingham Foxes a few years ago and wanted the hounds and fox to go with the standards. They are like the photos at the top of this blog post. It is an honour to have repeat customers.
After a day like to day I have to remember how very lucky I am to have such good friends, and hobbies that introduce me to so many more people.
January is one of those months when you just can't plan for the weather. In the last 24 hours we've had rain, freezing rain and then a blizzard. The ice and heavy snow have been hard on trees and hydro lines but so far the only loss of electricity at the farm was a short flicker.
The horses stayed in their stalls yesterday during the rain and ice. Their paddock behind the barn wasn't icy, thankfully there was a good base of snow so they would have been fine to turn out but I didn't want to deal with the wet blankets at the end of the day so I opted to keep them in. I opened the barn doors so they had lots to look at, it was mild enough to rain afterall, and kept them in hay all day long. Sometime in the night the rain changed to snow and heavy snow at that. I had a large deep path to shovel at the back of the barn to access the paddock. Did I mention the snow was deep? I wanted to make sure I had a good clear safe path as sometimes the boys can be a bit fresh when I lead them out in the morning. Well this morning after 24 hours in they were beyond fresh.
Rolo, the old man who's now 20, actually cantered on the spot as I took him out of the stall. There was a lot of "HERE NOW" and "HEY PAY ATTENTION TO ME" before I got him outside and unhooked the lead shank. Derby was another story. I tryed to hold him but with Rolo now racing around the paddock it was, well impossible. So out when Derby lead shank and all with me smashed up against the wall. After much swearing, and picking myself up off the floor I then had to try and catch little darling as he trotted around the paddock with Rolo dragging his lead shank between his legs. Then came Floyd. He by this time knew I was not in a very good mood, so he at least contained himself long enough for me to get him out of the barn and let him in with the other hooligans. The paddock is attached to the back of the barn, I'm so glad I got it finished this summer as it means I don't have to lead the horses across the laneway to the front paddock. Now if they do get away from me as Derby did this morning I don't have to worry about anyone getting out on the road. Phew.
The rest of the day I worked on painting. I finished two more dogs. I can't post a picture as they are a gift and I don't want to spoil the surprise. I will post photos after the recipient opens their present. I then worked on drawings for some other commissions. I'm pleased with how work is going. I'm getting into a routine now and it's good to have projects on to keep you occupied in the winter.
Now back to the barn to see if the boys are ready to come in for their supper. They often stand at the back door, watching while I put their food in their bins. Then when it's time to come in, forget it. What I need is a pony with an appetite like mine to lead the others in. The down side of Thoroughbreds, they are not ruled by their stomachs, or at least my three aren't.
Wish me luck.