Monday, December 17, 2012

My new driving rug

 Well, its almost Christmas and I took a little time to make my horse a gift ;-)  I sewed up a new driving rug, designed to keep her back warm on the cold winter days we drive.  It took a bit of  "experimenting" since I did not have a pattern,  just had a copy of one driving rug version in a catalog.  I used comfy no fray fleece, that you can find at awesome prices this time of year, and also a wide variety of colors or even colorful patterns.  The rug pictured below is what we in our family call the "gopher"  ... a cute story stands behind that. Years ago, when Mike's Mom was married to Harry Graf she wanted Harry to cut out of wood, a couple of bears....having no pattern (just a photo in a magazine) the first attempt Harry proudly brought in from his workshop for Frances to see....she simply exclaimed "Harry, that is NOT a bear, it just like a "gopher" .....and the term, here is my "gopher"  what some folks would call a prototype, a first attempt or...LOL...a gopher.
 The concept worked well, and this rug in a whole lot like the rugs you see in catalogs...but I wanted the back half of the rug to lie closer to my horse's loins to keep her, after driving in the rug a few days, I modified the rug to be cut out above the first section of shafts, and then to lie flat behind the breeching strap where it connects to the shafts.
 Another practice round of make sure it works fine and dandy.
And....drum roll please...the finished product....I will be adding velcro straps that connect the rug to the saddle of the harness, so it won't pull back as the horse moves...but I needed my horse holding groom for that task....and...the rug is simple enough to sew up in a matter of minutes...Legacy already has 3 now, all in different colors...I had better stay out of the fabric store for awhile.!  haha!  I bet they put fleece on sale REALLY good sales, in January...and....I will be making some matching harness pads, and matching polo wraps too, I already have the fabric. Who would have thought a gal that could barely pass home ech in school could be so creative?  Merry Christmas !!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from all of us at Creekside Curlies!  This has been a year of amazing blessings, and life changes for our family....In October we brought home Mike's Mom to live with us, and on the First Day of November, our 2nd Grandson arrived....Both Grandma and new baby are doing nicely!  Time to drive has been limited,  but I always have much more time for such things in the winter months of January and Feb.  Legacy is in the "handy" pasture and I can literally go drive anytime I have a half hour or is good for my soul!  We wish you the best Holiday season, and a VERY Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

New arrival

A new arrival in our world ;-) Mr. Nickla VavRosky.... One mighty handsome Grandson arrived November 1st at 8:56pm....making his birthday the same day of the month as Great Aunt Robbie !!!  congrats to the really proud parents, and to our other Grandson...."big brother" August James.  What a sweet baby,  he loves to be held and cuddle.He is yet another miracle baby from our Momma with RA. This pregnancy went well, but shortly after Nickla's birth, his Mom had problems..we are praying she is stable now and will continue to be the wonderful Mom that she is. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A little fun photography

Take one two year old,  one covered arena and add a sunny day and a few of that young man's favorite photos and what do you get?

                                                    A whole lot of FUN !!!!
I am always amazed how well silhouette photos show every detail, include facial expressions..though I can't actually see it, I can see August is smiling, by the position of his little cheek and jaw.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

                                                                      Good bye Summer!     
                                                              Harvest time on the farm

Fall brings harvest time to Creekside Curlies......Our garden was poor this year, due to weather conditions and lack of time on our part,  but our fruit trees rewarded us regardless. August and Grandpa picked plums, prunes, apples, and blackberries. August was very fond of them all.  Mike and I put up 66 jars of blackberry jelly and we also have a good supply of berries in the freezer for cobbler on a cold winter's day.

I have been running way behind on my blogging,  August and September were consumed with activities off the farm. We are glad to be settled back in for our fall weather and time to enjoy it!  and more time for blogging ;-)

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Photo fun...what I have been up too

 Some of my latest photos......I have been doing "people practice" and trying to improve my people skills. Here is my Great Nephew, and my Great Nephew and my Sister (his Grandma)

 Again, people skills Sister and her Hubby
These two shots are of my super adorable Grandson.....always a smile for Grandma !

I pass the tree plantation near Boardman, OR on the way to see family...after 14 years of passing, I finally got the chance to stop and take some photos! I hope you enjoy my latest photos.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

My Olympic connectin

A few years back, I had a friend tell me "just you watch, Adrienne WILL be in the Olympics someday"  My friend Alene, was talking about Adrienne Lyle, who was in college with her at the time, at WSU.  I had the opportunity to meet Adrienne shorty after Alene made that comment....and this year, in the 2012 Olympics, Adrienne competes for the first time.

I have chose a couple links to is a blog from Adrienne, written for a magazine, about the journey to the Olympics, and the other link, is her profile page for the games.

Adrienne story is a Cinderella story,  a story we can all relate too. As you youngster, she bought her own first horse,  trained it, competed and sold it..the funds brought the next horse, and so the story goes. Adrienne had the opportunity to attend a clinic put on by Debbie MacDonald (2008 Olympician) and was offered a dream job...come work for me and lets see where you can go!  So, Adrienne has bee working hard, and bringing along her young mount "Wizard".....I always noticed when she was in the news from the Dressage Community, whether it be show results or articles written.

Back when I first met Adrienne, she was riding her mount "Miguel" that day...I was offered a ride on Miguel, and boy, I kick myself for not taking the opportunity..he was a fantastic horse, very talented and capable. I was really afraid I would embarrass myself, due to my level of training,  but I wish I would have been brave that day, and taken the ride!  Most likely that will be the one and only opportunity to ride a Grand Prix level horse in my lifetime...and most riders never get the opportunity....I really do kick myself!  Adrienne was as kind as can be, and never wore the "stuck up" attitude so many times seen in the upper levels of horsemanship...just a regular gal,  with a heap of talent....and really, that is the true spirit of the Olympic games......Adrienne, I wish you MY best, and come August 2nd, when Individual dressage competitions starts I am rooting for you! 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A boy and his horse

A boy and his horse.......August James VavRosky often stands by the window watching the "real" horses outside in the pasture....who knows what he is thinking...he usually brings his "stick" horse with him to watch, making an image I could not resist capturing as a photograph.

Saturday drive and lots of wildlife

When Mike mentioned we take a drive, I hopped at the idea ;-) We wanted to go and check out the fishing spots on the Grand Rhonde, and the quaint little town of Troy, Oregon.

NOTE...I found this blog entry in an unpublished file....thought I would go ahead and was late winter, probably Feb. 

The Teddy Bear Farms Combined Driving Event

Well, here we are!  Competing at the Teddy Bear Farms CDE in Mead, WA in June 2012. My very first CDE and we made it with grace and style. Our weekend went well. I had to make the trip without my Gator, as she had a family emergency.....but I trudged on. I did call Liz though, and have her come over and take some photos of Legacy and me.....something for the photo album of our driving career together.  I made the decision to scratch the marathon portion of the CDE. The weather conditions were not the best, leaving the roads with ruts and footing that I was unsure of taking a green horse and driver out, we scratched. Legacy and I headed home on Sunday...the CDE was well attended and the Saturday looked more like a picnic from the 1800's with the ladies and their hats and the gentleman and their top hat or bowlers....what fun and what a wonderful way to spend a weekend.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Pacific Northwest Driven Dressage Festival

 On June 1st my harness horse "Legacy" myself and my Gator "Alice" arrived at Olivia Farms in Ford, WA
We were attending the PNWDDF annual event at Olivia Farms....we drove the easy, quiet trails after we arrived on Friday evening, then competition on Saturday, and a lesson from the judge on Sunday. 

 I want to THANK my gator Alice, who rode along, and willingly hopped off the carriage to snap a photo...
Sunday was lesson time, and then we headed home....full of knowledge and ready to practice for our next challenge. Legacy, was simply an angel. She handled all the commotion with the grace of a well seasoned driving horse.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hill Work

 Today we start hill work. If you have ever been here to our farm, you know we do not have "gentle" hills. The hills here are extreme. I was not sure I could ever work Legacy even on our driveway, as it is very steep.
 Being the lady that she is, the kind and willing team member, she is tackling the hill with ease!
Coming down is nearly as difficult on her, as she must now use her bum to brake the weight of the cart and me. To accomplish the marathon phase of our local CDE, she will need to build enough muscle to carry and brake 2 people......
My friend and mentor "Virgil" came over to help work the hill, he took Legacy up and down the hill several times before I attempted it. He also stopped her on the steepest part of the hill, to see if she could hold him and the cart in place...she did!  he also brought his camera ;-)  thank you Virgil for these photos!!!  they are priceless ......and thank you Legacy for such a willing spirit and a can do attitude.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

CDE playday

Legacy, and I attended a CDE playday at Teddy Bear Farms in Mead, WA in mid May. I also introduced my "Gator"  to the world, Alice D.  Alice was a superb gator, always a step ahead of me in plans!...For this shot of Alice and me,  a gentleman had stopped beside the road to snap a photo of us out in the lovely field. We asked for a photo of us, with my camera and he willingly took on the task!   He had the same camera as mine (Canon 7D) 
 We did the trails, Legacy has not done any hill work yet, so the hill was a bit of a learning experience for us. After the hill, she was gawking at a roadside pile of logs,  very intense she was!  when a butterfly flew off its roost and startled her....Funny girl !!!  big horse scared by tiny butterfly!   she was just concentrating so can not ask any more than that.
 Legacy LOVED the cones course. I swear she can not only read, she can add too...she loved the course, and hit the mid section of the cones with a jumper that does not want a rail down, she was careful to center herself...even if I did not help!  Each round of the cones course, she wanted to go faster and faster, she was sure using engaging her mind.

Good friends, lovely weather and an oh so lovely place to practice......our first CDE is in June...I HOPE we are ready ;-)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The end of an era and the start of something new

Well, over the last week I have watched my two last sales horses leave. Princess and Tekara both headed out to new homes, Princess had a short journey (of the two) to Colorado, and Tekara is in Calgary now, in quarantine, headed to Germany.  This is the end of an era for me, years of building, learning, a lot of luck, judging horseflesh good and bad, and what works with each to make better. It is a long process and looking back I am amazed at how much I really DID learn. 

Our new era starts next weekend, when I take my harness horse and attend our very first playday. I will also be introducing my "Gator" to the world over the next few weeks, I have been carefully training her to help Legacy and I on our journey. Driving allows a person to do something a ridden horse can not do. The chance to share the experience with a non rider, in a safe venue (well, as safe as horses can be)....I find this a positive thing in my life and will want to expand on that very idea. Having a navigator (gator) is required in Combined Driving events, she will also serve under different titles,  Gator, header, Groom.....we are having a blast together and I hope she might want to learn to drive someday....added bonus?  some one to snap photos of Legacy and I.

The curly world has changed in many positive ways in the last 15+ years we have been in business. IF I were to start a mare herd today, my search for quality mares would be much easier than it was years ago. Prices might be up a bit,  but the quality is way up and that is encouraging....course, you never know, I "do" own a mare, and that is how it kind of all started!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Legacy makes her driving video debut
Today we debut Legacy's first driving video. With the help of a friend, I videoed Legacy driving, and then reversed roles and drove her myself. We also took still shots, pictured here.

I am busy schooling trot to canter transitions, what a BLAST !!! Legacy is so light and responsive.....
This is fun beyond words ;-)

Truly a dream come true

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Our first road drive

Yesterday was a incredible day...First I drove Legacy in the pasture and yard (English term for in front of the barns at the stable where she is boarded)..she was a doll! the gate from the pasture to the "yard" was a nice controlled walk...she gets pretty excited to go through that gate, as driving out in the yard is an easier task for her...the yard has a nicely packed dirt road, much easier to drive around. After my driving session I asked Virgil to take the lines and work Legacy a bit on her cantering. Talk about a RUSH of adrenaline !!!! Virgil and I sat back and enjoyed the ride....a smooth horse, in a controlled canter eating up strides at a fairly rapid pace...this mare is just dreamy....We cantered short lengths, several times. I hope later this week, it is me taking the lines for a spring time canter....a wonderful gait, like flying on a cloud.

After our canter, Virgil mentioned he would like to check the pasture down the county road. We have been on the road for a short ways, but this would entail about 1/2 mile of road work. The road had actually been pretty quiet....and off we went.

Of course, as soon as we stepped out onto the road we encountered traffic. Legacy just trotted along willing and quietly. She slowed and stopped to listen when some unseen dogs started a barking frenzy..not only could she not see them, due to her blinders, but they were actually hidden behind a tall fence and shrubery.....after a moment to process the whole thing we trotted on. Next came what every whip (driver) dreads.....coming right at us was an over sized semi with a huge piece of farm equipment on its low boy trailer bed. Pilot cars in front let Legacy know traffic was in the area and the semi passed without any issues....thank goodness for decent truckers! most semi's coming down that road chose that area to slam on the noisy jake brakes....but this guy was awesome and we all had a safe passing of the huge equipment. OK...perhaps I would not have selected that to happen on our first road drive...but, hey, it is real life here.

When we could get a clear path, we turned and headed for home (after checking the pasture) Legacy gave us a brisk trot for a bit, then Virgil slowed her to a walk for the rest of the journey...

We drove a couple more circles around the yard and put her away....this mare is nothing short of amazing.......

I plan on doing video later in the week...stay tuned!

Even Virgil a "tried and true" QH guy is now singing Legacy's praises ;-)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Whips from Team Donk and Team Creekside meet

A week ago, Kristi, of "Team Donk" came for a visit....this photo was taken by Virgil Wicks, as we warmed up for our meeting of the whips of Team Donk and Team Creekside

More warm up time.............

After Kristi arrived, we set out to do some harness adjustments...Legacy is moving much free "er" now that we made minor adjustments. It always amazes just a tiny adjustment can make your horse much more comfortable...both riding and driving!
Kristi spent a bit of time "opening up Legacy" allowing her to use her good forward, willing attitude at a little higher rate than we normally work, it was a huge confidence builder for me. We had a fun day, learned ALOT and have continued our work over at this barn...soon we have a clinic scheduled.