A Little Time Off

I don’t want to write about COVID 19, but I feel I should. Even though, everyone is talking about it.

Really, I am not making light, we are at a standstill.

I didn’t buy toilet paper for my family, but the horses have hay cubes and nice grassy hay and a great performance feed to mix with their oats. I was afraid the feed stores would close. Plus we have a bidet, who needs toilet paper? As long as we don’t run out of sugar free pudding and whipped cream, otherwise I will have to riot.

Honestly, the minis have no clue what is going on. Mom isn’t yelling at us for getting muddy, we can play outside all day, no trips on the trailer… They are just living their best life.

Mr Shep is ramping up, construction is unaffected. Permits for road closures are still being issued. With the early closure of rinks and community centers, any hvac, roof work can be done. So he is staying busy, his union has mailed out a gift card worth 2 weeks of groceries at Loblaws. Every bit helps.

We are continuing the colouring contest, displaying them on Instagram and Facebook. Just something, to do. My cousin just messaged, the care home where she works is going to do it. The more the merrier. They are starting to run out of stuff to do.

When we can, we will start pony play dates up. The farm runs its own programs and I don’t want to be in the way, so it was, I am sure a strange few phone calls last week, but I am covered to have them at the house. Converting half the garage to a wash stall might be easier than first thought.

Off horsey topic, but a great big congratulations to my handsome step son who graduates this week. His conservation officer ring ceremony is tomorrow. Very proud of that young man. Also he should totally move to Ontario, so I can convert the garage to an apartment with a walk in shower, accessible from the outside for the horses.

Ok then… I am not crazy, my mom had me tested.

That is all I can think of. Mr Shep tries to stay away, I have all kinds of projects for my time off. Expect another website reboot. Today we fixed an eavestrough that has irritated me for 2 years and cut down some scrub brush, oh and fought like cats and dogs.

You got up at 5am, why have you not had breakfast by 11.

Just leave me to hug my horses 😉 Our online Lindsay Advocate article is up, I will link it in media tomorrow. Apparently there are a few industry articles I haven’t got my claws on yet, if you see them, send them over. Take care lovies. Wash your hands and hooves, don’t clean any sheaths for anyone you don’t know.

Just so you know buddy, I’ll be paying someone else to clean your sheath.

Maxie driving, that’s another post!

Social Enterprise and Cost Structure

In having a conversation with a potential client today, I was explaining, we never say no, to anyone.

Right now, we are a partnership, our structure is that of a social enterprise. A social enterprise uses traditional business methods, to achieve a social impact. So we take that great business school education and we use it to solve a social issue. In time, we will incorporate and then we will seek B Corporation status. B Corps are these new, sexy, hybrid businesses that balance profit with purpose. They focus on a social, environmental impact as well as employees being treated as stakeholders and fostering inclusive environments. As we reshape our BHAG, ever so slightly to refine it, we stay with the moniker, our horses are changing the world, for everyone, not just those who cut us a cheque.

So please don’t be afraid to pick up the phone or drop us an email. Money is not the only commodity I trade in. We also are more than willing to help you make money for your business. Have kissing booth and cute horses, will travel. Maybe you pass our name on to 10 people, or have a teen who would write my social media posts for a year, maybe we host a club horse show at your facility and everyone but the residents pays to watch. A pair of size 9 Ariat boots, someone to spend an hour a week on my website… the list is endless! Where there is a will, there is a way, because when you have seen someone weep with joy, believing they would never get to see or touch a horse again, or heard someone non verbal, speak the word, beautiful; you understand what an effect these horses have. I want everyone, everywhere to experience it.

So call me, we will not say no. We might say, we have to figure this out lol, but never no.

Fire Alarms

I am not sure if anyone who reads the blog, trains minis or is thinking of starting their own business supplying minis for therapy work…

Fire alarms, you have to train for these. They can be terrifying. Doors shut on their own, flashing lights, loud horns and sirens, loud speaker announcements and a sense of controlled panic.

Great Patti, how do I train for it. I don’t know. It is 100% trust between you and your horse. Red and I wandered down a hall, out of the way and sat on a bench. We chatted, I think and hope the staff were impressed with how she handled it. I didn’t react, so she didn’t react. The predator in charge of her doesn’t care, and is relaxed, there is nothing to fear.

So take them to loud things, run and walk a thons, always have mega phones. Walk by the tractor, walk down busy roads, blast air horns, race around on an atv. It is literally the only way and keep your wits, because everything that travels down that lead shank is what the horse feels.

So even when you are not sure it is just a drill, act like it happens all the time, kick your feet up and relax. We have been in homes for several now, the first time I didn’t know what it was, so I couldn’t react lol. Sometimes the element of surprise and being oblivious is a blessing lol.

Happy Valentine’s Day all!

Someone bought Red a sugar cookie, it was a cookie gram fundraiser. I ate half, but if Red asks, say my dogs ate it 😉

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?

giphy

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…

giphy

 

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.

giphy-1

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!