Happy Valentines!

I should put up the video of Jessica’s dancing alpaca she got for Christmas.

I think we all know, given my sporadic updating I will miss Valentines all together. Probably. We are at the Wynfield on Valentines Day – pretty excited, think we will take Red. She really likes it there, plus it’s a double header on Thursday so Mia is taking over those. You know, I think Red can tell time… Right at the hour and a half, (our usual time for visits), she’s like, I am outta here! Meanwhile Mia is still going 2.5 hours in.

Understands French, tells time, she learns to drive the truck and I won’t even have to go along. – Like I’d trust Red to collect the cheques, I bought these magic oats, you see I was hungry and they magically filled me up. None for Max and Mia though!

I am babying my computer through this next little while. It is dying a slow death. I have my eyes on a new Lenova Thinkpad – so those little minis better get some more work booked! Just kidding, we’re already booking April and July and August are starting to fill up. I am going to start bagging poop though soon, monetize those monkeys from head to tail. You see horse poop is one of the few manures that does not need to rot or age, it can be spread, quite literally still warm. As we bed on peat moss, you just mix with a bit of topsoil and you have a great dressing for flower beds, we can make a concentrated liquid tea too. Wow, Red is right, I do talk about poop way too much! Anyways, we will have it available for a couple bucks a bag if anyone is interested.

Speaking of business and growing, I got accepted into Community Innovation’s NEXT 25 program!!!

I actually dance like this whenever my daughter is watching, it humiliates her. Which, as a mom, is my job.

So what is NEXT 25? – From their website

“Who are the NEXT 25?

The Refinery’s one-year program brings together a cohort of amazing women who are poised to grow their businesses. They are Durham Region’s NEXT 25 – informed and inspired women, committed to growing their ventures.

The Refinery’s Intensive program is a one-year growth accelerator for women who have completed The Refinery’s three-day Boot Camp. In Intensive sessions, we tackle the most significant challenges for women entrepreneurs – capital, talent, and process improvement. Throughout the year, we help women connect with advisors and mentors, and provide marketing support and access to space for professional meetings and events.”

– shh don’t tell them I am Kawartha – actually there is at least one other Kawartha I know of 🙂 Miss Heather Chapman, who I am going t get t d some rebranding for us this summer. Time to step away from Vista Print, as great as they are and get a truly professional look.

It’s kinda a big deal. Plus a year of advertising on their site, access to the most brilliant minds in social media management and engagement, new trends in business, personalized coaching – I am so excited to travel this journey! Plus, we get to co-host an event with another business.

NEW BUSINESS

I had a board meeting this weekend, felt like injecting a little parliamentary procedure into the blog.

Information for people interested in our mini horse competitive team. The Resources for Exceptional Children and Youth – Durham Region have assistance available through the Dual Diagnosis part of their mandate to cover the cost of a child or youth’s participation on our team. You submit our invoice, they cut us a cheque.

What else… We are back to the drawing board on boots, Red blew out the back of her Cavellos – we are at 8 boots purchased, right now I have 4 usable, only 2 of which are the same size. This weekend is a trip to Fabricland and Petsmart. We are literally limping along this week. I saw Karen, our Farrier yesterday and we did some brainstorming, none of which seems likely to work, she apprenticed with a barefoot trimmer who was actually trimming to have a cleat of sorts in the actual hoof, but that is barefoot racing on grass and dirt, not the hard, slippery surfaces we encounter. I saw a lady has a set of Davis boots for sale, but they are soaker boots, not jogging boots and I am remiss to pay another $100-150 for something that just isn’t going to work. Any suggestions, lemme have them!

Found a great deal on surcicle and diaper – problem only one left, so it should arrive this week.

We are all booked up with stuff for Family Day – should be fun. We start showing in June in Brooklin. First weekend! I think Kiefer and Rachel and I will go down. Then I can talk to the MHCO folks about whether it is necessary to paper Max and Mia, I am not going to lie, a foal out of Mia is starting to be appealing. My biggest hold back, say the foal lives to be 40, I’ll be 84, I don’t want to abandon a horse in it’s twilight years, of course the foal might only live to 35 and I am pretty sure at 79 I will be spry enough to look after a geriatric horse. We’ll see, not this year, maybe next. Or maybe I go buy a cute little foal and then I don’t have to worry about losing a good horse, who works very hard for me, during foaling. Leave breeding to the pros. Decisions, decisions…

That is all lovelies, have a great Valentines Day! and happy February 15th when the chocolate is all on sale – and the roses.

Molasses and Apple Treats

“Mom, are you actually going to serve it like that to the horses?” So much judgement.

Sometimes I like to give the minis a little something extra.

I use these treats as high value rewards to elicit or reward a behaviour. They are super simple, one bowl and I use ingredients they already get in their diet. The result is a tasty treat without the tack shop price tag.

Pre-Heat oven to 425

You need: bowl, measuring cups, tea spoon, cookie sheets, spoon for stirring

Ingredients:

2 cups sweet feed

2 cups rolled oats

1 cup molasses

1 apple grated

1 cup grated carrots

1 teaspoon salt

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl. Form into balls and place on cookie sheet. I made 16 balls.

I wish my mom read my blog, she’d be horrified by my cookie sheets and buy me new ones.

Bake at 425 for 20 minutes. Turn off oven and leave cookies in, for approximately 90 minutes. Place in airtight container and let your horses enjoy! (Or put them on a plate with carrot peelings like you are some sorta chef)

Bon mini appetite. Ah who are we kidding, they have huge appetites, to go with their personalities.

Bootcamp

What do you get when you cross a youngish, really good looking entrepreneur with a passion for horses, with a business boot camp facilitated by an MBA with a degree in psychology?

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Is it possible to feel like your brain is scrambled eggs and uber focused at once? I feel like Harry Potter when Snape was teaching him to block Voldemort’s ability to access his thoughts.

I went in with one goal and found out, it was wrong, the goal I need to focus on, totes different! So I have my 30/60/90 goals, and I am going to have a better social media presence. Special thanks to our group leader who helped me clarify what I want to accomplish on social media and how to use it effectively. No more cat memes…

Ok, just 2 more…

 

What we are going to focus on for the next little while, is the competitive team. I talked to Kiefer last night and will speak with Rachel as soon as I see her, they will be the helpers, but I really need to focus on the fun. One of the main reasons we do this, the horses need to have fun too. These little guys take in a lot. Often people recoil when I say, my horses have been punched and stood and took it. I will stop right there and say, I do not let it happen, if I can avoid it, but if we have staff and other residents standing around, someone could get hurt, if we move too quickly. Where I can, I get them back, sometimes I cannot. Memory wards are draining to people, let alone a sentient creature. So running and jumping and playing, that’s fun for them! They get to be horses. The team is as much for them as it is the kids.

So you will see a lot of posts, for those of you who follow us a lot, some of the pictures will be repeats. I am going to talk about the team, what we observed in the kids who participated last year. We will be at Easter on the Farm on Good Friday, hopefully the ground is unfroze and not too muddy, we’ll run some obstacles. Have an info booth.

To see those kids blossom, even my own Jessica who isn’t always that interested in the horses, to see these kids have fun and work together and support each other. Honestly I tear up thinking about it. It was amazing. So until later, a look back on the season that was, as we look forward to the season that’s coming. You will probably see us in Brooklyn in June!

 

Happy New Year

So we are a bit late.

How is everyone? Good, full of p & v for the new year, broken any resolutions yet?

We rang in the new year wishing Jessie would go to bed! Trent plowed snow, we watched Harry Potter. I have no idea what the minis did.

Mia, let’s talk about this muffky!

Hanging with the staff at Wynfield
In the library at a school

Say what, she’s working and she is good. Except pottying, we are working hard to get trained, the diaper is pretty good, I carry wipes and bags. Last week was worming, next time we will do it before the weekend 🙂 OOPS. Red started her season, so we have charted, and will observe as the spring arrives. Mia worked 2 days last week, Red took 2 days. I feel very confident going forward with Mia and what a love bug, in your pocket, high threshold for stress. She is better than her Mom, she just doesn’t have Red’s attitude, or her hip sashay, or her way of looking at you like she owns you.

We have launched the registration for the competition team. Mia and Max are coming from my herd and Michelle is deciding on 3 from hers. I imagine, Brownie, Ladybug and Dreamer, but I am not sure. Practice starts May, so in April we will hopefully be able to work them a bit. Quick rundown, $300 for season, 5 shows, shows are extra, practice once a week for an hour, 6 month commitment. We have monthly payments available. The contract is 6 or 7 pages, ’cause we are that extra.

The Down Syndrome Association Christmas Party

What a great afternoon. The horses behaved, rode a small lift, no big service elevators this day, AND made it outside for potty! I had Amy with me, God love that child. Always on the lookout for hot guys 🙂

The kids led the horses, posed for pictures and fed them peppermints
Mia did a great job, she really excels with children with exceptionalities

Amy is laid up right now, blew out her knee at wrestling practice. I took her to yoga last week, some people will do anything to get out of class. It’s a community center yoga, last week was pre and post partum yoga, just what every teenager needs. no wonder she claims to be injured!

I got to spend some time with another young lady. Katelyn is the minis former owners granddaughter. A wicked hockey player and very accomplished horsewoman in her own right! However, I think her judgement is lacking, she said Amy seemed so nice, I was like, you know she bites people. 🤣 She bit me.

Kiddo. get me out of here, this woman is nuts. Also, sorry I bucked you off when you were younger, you were my favourite.
Seriously, we can make a run for it. She pees when she runs

We are working on a program with the Down Syndrome Association and a couple Community Living Centers in Toronto. We are also going to be working with Children’s Wish. See, Mr Sheppard, I wasn’t just sitting around eating gingerbread for 5 weeks… He never said that, he’s not certain I don’t actually know how to geld, so he watches the old p’s & q’s.

Finally, we, big Shep and I are going to be sponsoring a horse. He is a 25 year old Arab stallion who has been abandoned. I fell in love with him, he looks like the Island Stallion from the Black Stallion series. Up until recently, he had people, it appears he no longer does.  The fate of old stallions, not really fair to geld, need special housing, someone who can handle them… Many end up abandoned, if there is no room in a rescue or at a sanctuary, well we know the fate of unwanted horses. It is someday and my Prince has come.

He looks startled because he is an Arabian. He was also physically abandoned long before he was financially. It’ll take some time to earn his trust.
Red has a crush on him, she’s going to be so mad. Here’s your new brother!

Well that is all lovies. Hope everyone survives this ice storm, stay warm, stay safe and I will be back soon with more tales of mini muffin mischief and pictures of Prince.

We are going to talk with people over the next little while, whether this will be a family sponsorship or a company. We are a social enterprise and I feel like for all of you reading, who are essentially stakeholders, this is something you could be a part of as well. We are growing, the business is profitable, the minis are well looked after, using some of our profit in this way, feels right.

Year in Review

Is it a year in review if it’s your first year and you didn’t actually start until February?

It is if you are trying to kill time, mentally willing the outdoors to warm up.

Smart am I…

No doubt this was an amazing year with amazing people.

Guess who learned to overuse her layout app?

Plans for 2020 are well underway.

No way my canvas is that neat

So happiest wishes for 2020 to our friends and followers.

It’s going to be our best year yet. (Way easier when it’s only your second year)

So that’s a wrap

Hoping everyone is having a good weekend. My, there are some grinches out there, though aren’t there?

So we did the Little Britain parade, we really hemmed and hawed on doing it. The weather cooperated, our friends were available and Denise, our minister has always been so supportive of what I do with the horses, she is a huge part of the community association, so I wanted to do it, to support them too. It was so much fun, Miss Red again, needed to be taken by me halfway through. I don’t complain, I love working with that little monkey.

She is a little stunner!

I took her over to meet kids, we dressed the minis as unicorns. It was great.

We forgot to take a picture until after we loaded. Mia is in there, eating hay at the front.

Full week coming up, actually every day until Christmas. I am definitely looking forward to it and Mia got some new boots. They are sparkly Cavallos. Thanks Victoria Feeds, Horse and Hound! They never disappoint. Red will do Monday, Mia Tuesday, both Wednesday, (I will be joined be a new recruit that day too) and then maybe finish the week with Mia. She is less reliable on potty training, but if you walk her 10 minutes before a visit, she will go. Unlike her mother who asks to go, gets 10ft from her trailer and fills the diaper. It’s like she’s saying, clean me peasant…

I am mulling over our social media presence and marketing. I really feel I need guidance. I am proud of how we are growing, I love our followers, but I want to make sure we are sharing good, timely content. People have such limited time, any time they spend on your content is really important to you as a business owner and if your content is same old, same old, poorly written, badly timed, you might still have likes, but you probably have a lot of scroll on bys. I feel like I need someone to look at our analytics and help me devise a plan. I am followed by a well known politician, within minutes of me posting, he likes my photos, he is either a stalker or uses a social media app. Do I need an app, how do I better engage, these sorts of things. I would love to do videos, do I need YouTube, Tiktok or Vine if that even exists anymore. I follow businesses who have what I want, I watch what they are doing, but I do have horses to train, visits to do, a wonderful child to spend time with and the big guy too. I want to make sure I am spending my time effectively. I have the bootcamp in January, then I/we will be a part of Next 25, which is a year long mentoring program. I guess I will see what supports bootcamp and Next 25 have, I may spend some money and get an influencer friend to take a peek. Maybe see if she would do a seminar for us.

At any rate, for now it will be me, writing our content. Lawd help us all!

Full Time

It’s here, it really is. Small Hooves is going fulltime. After a short vacation, punctuated by horsey visits and some work on my CRM files and some more accounting… Not as many mixed emotions today, although it started out as a cluster you know what of a day…

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All is not lost, I will retain some accounting clients and I always have plans up my sleeves for money making events.

Christmas on the Farm – the worst storm of the year, but the vendors came, the medium came, Cheryl Bailey came, families came and it was good. I got closer to a falcon than I ever thought I would. We are definitely doing it again next year and maybe doing a little weather dance, hoping for better weather.

This weekend is Sleeping Beauty or Snow White – whichever one had little people. That is Sunday in Beaverton – come out, support the dancers! All proceeds go to diabetes charities. It is also the farm’s potluck on Saturday. A little partaying – fortunately I do not drink, but I do know how to video  – just in case business slows, I can always blackmail others. Money is money and Red and I gotta eat!

Next week is a slow week, time to do stuff – Next weekend my Papa turns 70! Little party.

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Time is almost up, I can go home and close the door on this office for the last time – not the last time, I’m coming back to do their year end. – Because I am a putz who cannot say no!

Chat soon blog fans!

 

Mia Did It

Well, Mia and I did it…

Ok it was all Mia.

Mia rode the elevator, three times! The first time was a please, get on. The second time went a bit better, the third time was an accident. We had rode up to the second floor, doors open and a resident gets on, I never ride with residents, too much of a liability and this particular resident was known to be violent, so we got off, the staff got the resident off and back on Mia and I got! She did it!! When Mia arrived a couple years ago, she was shy and nervous, hated mud puddles, hated bathing, farrier and the first time we put her on the trailer, Phil and I basically lifted her on.

Now look at her, ready to be used in therapy work. She needs a new harness and boots, she is significantly smaller than Red.

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CHRISTMAS! Did I mention I love Christmas, probably like a gazillion times. Did you see us at the parade, we were pretty much the best group in the whole parade. We didn’t win an award or anything, but I’m sure it was just an oversight. I will upload more pics later, we had Valentia’s minis, Brownie and Star and then our three. Red being the only one who pooped on the route, I sorta cleaned it up 🙂

Sunday is going to be Funday – also sorry Denise, I will not be in church again. We have Christmas on the Farm and the Down Syndrome Association of Peterborough’s Christmas Party. Saturday we have baths. I noticed yesterday both girls smell a little “country”. We’ll cowboy bath for Thursday, but Sunday it’s gonna be the real thing. Oh, we could watch Christmas movies and eat apples!

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I quit my job!!! There are so many good memes for this… I try to keep the blog PG though. We are halfway through my three weeks notice, I am going to take a week to do nothing. Well nothing of substance, I might take little Missy to the Aurora festival – wondering if there is any feedback from folks who have went, or just a quickie trip to the Distillery District for the Christmas Market. Lots of paperwork.

Speaking of which, I sometimes feel like sharing bizness stuff too. I got accepted into my founder boot camp and judging from the pictures, I missed a great time, I think they are doing it again in January, so hopefully I will be at that one. Timing sucked. I am slowly becoming one of those people you have to book stuff 6 weeks in advance with.

We upgraded to Quickbooks, it has aspects I like. So because we accept money for the horses, we have to travel in a commercial vehicle, CVOR and commercial insurance and inspections annually, so we have a transport side to the company to offset costs, so I don’t have to raise Red and Mia’s rates for 2020. This is why, I am uber careful to not call Max, Mia or Red, therapy horses. I provide trained, clean horses, UTD on immunizations and in accordance with strict bio-security protocol for use in therapy programs. See the difference? It’s important. All that aside, Mr Sheppard needed to be able to access the app on the go and lets face it, him uploading receipts is so much easier than him keeping them and me getting them 4 months later. (Actually it is more me) So we do some custom trucking, graduating to Quickbooks made sense. We previously used Wave and it was great! However, Quickbooks has one other integration I desperately needed, Method CRM.

CRM’s are customer management software, so Method integrates with QB and Gmail, I can manage my calendar from it, it works on a pipeline platform to track point of contact to sale and helps with retention. I am getting older, new companies get confusing, you are energetic, you talk to 100 people, you remember 20 – I want to remember the 100. Plus, this helps with task management, time management and goal setting – all things I love, things that can get pushed to the wayside. You tend to focus on the current clients and forget the prospective or the previous. Not everyone can afford us, so while I have 30 appointments for next month for example, my off time needs to be spent helping to problem solve for the 10 who need a bit of help, so I tag them onto a nighttime, or weekend, or a quickie one hour pop-in on the way home. Remembering to talk to those organizations who rent space for programs and can’t have a horse inside the building. Talk to them before Spring, can we attend an event for them, are we doing an event we can split proceeds with. For Small Hooves to survive and serve it’s clientele and expand, I need to employ my business school training (cough, Lazaridis, shameless plug), and my sales training. (Not the part where the older men in our professions told us we were young and pretty, don’t act like tramps if the wives were around. – Yes it happened, what a world we started our careers in. Sadly, I was back at Lazaridis a couple years ago and found out from a younger lady, who is an entrepreneur, University professor and business maven, the same thing was said to her recently.)

So for anyone thinking we have forgotten about them, we have not and I will be in touch very soon. Just winding down the old,to start up the new.

See you soon! Hopefully Sunday, 188 Valentia Road, Little Britian, 11am – 3pm 🙂

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The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

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That’s me excited for the Christmas season that kicks off, this weekend! (Kinda looks like Red, when she gets excited for food and before she got put on a diet). I am positive, the busier we get, the less time I have to obsess about inconsequential details, like whether all our hats are going to match on Sunday – just wear a darn hat! Toque, cowboy hat, just cover your heads! Last year I planned everything in my head and it all changed on the fly.

Sunday – Lindsay Santa Claus Parade! 2pm, be there! The parade leaves from Fleming College, Frost Campus and ends at Mill park. We are bringing the truck, trailer, 5 minis and 7 kids. Couple adults too – wave to Mr. Sheppard he will be driving. The theme of this year’s parade is Christmas Movies, I have a horribly trained, short haired Beethoven I want to stick in the truck. Young kids, Beethoven, people my age, oh Cujo! Some days she is both.

Poor Dixie – do a little throwback to last year.

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See last year, it was in a way a good thing we had a travel incident, because we found out, the end of the parade is a cluster you know what. So we figure, smarty pants we are, to take the truck and trailer and load as soon as it is all over! This is why I am a lunatic about trailer training, get on and stand still with no BS. We are supposed to marshall at noon – I might be there with the jeep, but I am not having the horses stand 2 hours, they can roll in at 1:15pm

Next weekend is quiet on the “horse” front – see that, clever gal I am! It is my daughters great, big, 9th birthday weekend. Some manis, pedis, a taco buffet.

December 1st, Christmas on the Farm and, just announced today, we are going to the Down Syndrome Association of Peterborough Christmas Party! Sorry Fairview, we might need naps Monday afternoon. I was going to schedule a home in the morning, sometimes things work out for the best, in spite of me, that is a good thing because I could blankety blank up a church according to my ex.

The 7th and 8th are quiet for now. We are in Sleeping Beauty performances for my daughter’s dance school. I really want to go to the Aurora Festival… But, they have a pretty good bake sale at the performance.

We follow that up the following weekend with Little Britain parade Friday night – Michelle is totes in charge, I will just drive the truck and trailer there. Saturday is Woodville Parade in the evening, I am down a child for that, she has defected to her dance team’s float. She was pretty excited til I reminded her she isn’t a “little kid”, anymore and will probably have to dance the entire parade! On the street, in the cold.

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Then, we start 10 days of Christmas Cheer and visiting. Some visits are surprises, you never know where we might show up! Like outside the CBC studios in Kitchener 😉 (After finding out L’il Ben rode the Go Train and then that a man and his goat were interviewed on the CBC, I reached out to my sister who works for the CBC, she is not interested in my minis. However I guarantee, I show up outside the studios with them, they will let me in! Then call my Mom, who will yell at me.)

Happy start of the holiday season folks! This year, because of what we are doing, it seems extra special. 🙂 Mr. Sheppard is disappointed I put the tree up alone, he seemed more upset when I mentioned, it was because, maybe this year it won’t look like an abomination. Our little Miss Glass Half Full reminded him, yes that is their tradition, but so is the gingerbread house and the scarfing down of 15lbs of sugar and candy in the building process.

‘Til later friends!

 

 

Barnyard Round-up

Roger’s Video

That is the link to watch us whenever and wherever you like!

So much happenings. We did Halloween at Frost Manor, it was a surprise, Red and Mia went. We had a special handler in Katelyn, she is the granddaughter of the minis previous owner, a very accomplished horse woman, and probably one of the best female hockey players in Canada. Ok the last part might be an exaggeration. Or not.

Christmas on the Farm. December 1st. This is going to be so much fun and work, but fun!

Everyone loves a parade! Instead of Oshawa, we are doing Lindsay, Little Britain and maybe Woodville. I love the vibe of Woodville so much, but Christmas is pretty packed this year.

Day camps, dear goodness what have I done? Michelle and I are running day camps through the holidays, add in 2 surprise visits Christmas Eve and I’m probably just going to sleep through Christmas Day.

So that is about it, plugging away, waiting to hear about a founder’s boot camp I applied for. Oh and in one of my founder groups for young, hot entrepreneurs, (made the last part up), there was a request to share this with our friends, so for the person who reads this blog, Earth Suds Get your clean on for the holidays! They have been successfully targeting hotels with these products that do away with single use plastics. For $5.99 you can buy a spiffy, little box to keep your shampoo and conditioner in. I am thinking of ordering as Christmas presents.

‘Til next time friends!