What I Did On My Summer Vacation

09 Sep

I’m stealing this idea from the lovely Valerie Ormond. I thought it was a great idea for getting back in the swing of things!

I went to a lot of horse shows – which is what I usually do in the summer. I’m also far busier at work in the summer time, so perhaps “Summer Vacation” isn’t the most accurate term. Summer is very limited where I live (though we’re currently enjoying a stretch of the hottest temperatures we’ve seen all year —  in September) so we pack a lot into a few short months.

Shortly before my first competition of the year my horse came up lame, which resulted in him taking the summer off to (hopefully – still have my fingers crossed!) heal. Just about the same time, my driving mare, Jamie, who was supposed to be heavy in foal, came into season. No baby this year, but that meant that Miss James was promoted (demoted?) to show horse again. After only a handful of drives we started the show season in June in Vermilion, and despite her disadvantages of lack of fitness and training, not to mention excess tummy, she had a great year. Through the summer she went to eight shows, fairs and driving trials and we both had a lot of fun.

Several of those shows were Miniature Horse shows, and our show string of 5 kept us busy. Highlights included Jamie’s Reserve Championship in Classic Pleasure Driving, and my yearling colt, On The Rocks, winning Reserve Champion Junior Stallion over some very tough competition.

Jamie also was driven by 5 year old Caitlin Jacula in the Vermilion Fair, where together they won $15!

This past weekend I volunteered at a CDE (Combined Driving Event) for the first time. I’ve always been competing before, but this was getting pretty late in the year to ask Jamie (who is hopefully 3 months in foal) to do a full 11km marathon, so my aunt and I went down to watch instead, and when we were asked to help out we were more than happy to. The High Country Carriage Driving Club takes excellent care of their volunteers! An added bonus was the fact that Rick Mercer was filming an episode there, and we enjoyed seeing him in ‘action’, driving Gerard Paagman’s four-in-hand of Friesian’s.

In August, I went to When Words Collide, my very first writers conference, which was an exciting and scary thought, but I really enjoyed it. Everyone was very friendly, and I enjoyed the sessions and discussions. The “Live Action Slush” was fun to watch and very educational, and I enjoyed many of the panels I saw. Best of all, I was introduced to Jack Whyte.

Jack Whyte is articulate, intelligent and has a great sense of humour. If you ever have a chance to hear him speak, don’t pass it up! I purchased a copy of “The Skystone’ simply so that I could get his autograph, and since then have been devouring the rest of his ‘Dream of Eagles’ series. Several times I’ve had to forbid myself from picking up the next book for a few days, because once I start on one I find I’m unable to put it down and get anything done.

When I was in Vermilion in July for the Fair, I made a point of finally going to the site of Fort George and Buckingham House, the first Hudson’s Bay outpost in Alberta, built in the late 1700’s. We had a guided tour of the interpretive center and the site where the forts had stood, and if you are ever in the neighbourhood of Elk Point, Alberta, I highly recommend a visit. Our enthusiastic and well informed guide made it an excellent afternoon!

Another highlight was a dinner at the Calgary Tower, in the revolving restaurant. There is no better way to see the city, and for a history buff like me it’s a great way to see where Fort Calgary sits at the junction of the Bow and Elbow Rivers.

Fort Calgary

We also liked seeing the Center Street Bridge from the tower. My Great Grandfather worked as a teamster, driving 17 horses hooked to a grader, during the construction of the bridge, and my Grandad told us that his dad got $75 a month and was the highest paid man on the crew since he was skilled labour.

Center Street Bridge

We also took pictures of the Stampede grounds, where my family has spent a lot of time at livestock shows in the Ag Barn and Big Top, and cheering for the Flames in the Saddledome.

Stampede Park

The Tower was fun (and the food was amazing), but I couldn’t make myself stand on the glass floor – unlike my Grandma.

Finally, after discussing it for months and months, my friend Stacy and I managed to get to Heritage Park. We had a great day visiting all the old buildings and talking with the interpreters. We particularly enjoyed the Weedon School (Stacy is a teacher) and the Thorpe House, where we spoke to a couple very informative people, including one lady who was making bobbin lace, which was beautiful. She gave us some information on the group she belongs to, who knows what we might be able to learn this winter. I like to crochet lace, but this bobbin lace was so delicate and beautiful, what a great skill to learn.

This week my writing has me researching how to set and splint broken bones and wilderness survival while working on a second story for Adelaide. Poor Adelaide, things are not going well for her.

Tomorrow we’re off to Spruce Meadows to watch the Battle of The Breeds. Some years we’ve had to dust snow off the bleachers in order to sit, so these balmy, summertime temperatures will be nice change. Hopefully this nice weather lasts a little longer, I have some young horses I’d like to get working with before winter comes.

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Posted by on September 9, 2011 in history, horses, reading, writing


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