Well that was a hot minute!

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How cute are Max and I? First place in Adult Showmanship – We also took first in obstacles, but we were all competing against each other, so I beat children in that one. 😉 Not really brag worthy!

What have we been up to – quite a bit, apparently it has been 3 days since I signed into Candy Crush, in Patti world, that is a lot! 🙂 Sensory Saturday was great, we showed in Minden in September, I sent out 45 prospecting letters for when we go full-time in January and got a great response! I am going to take PJ on the road with me in January, that way we can bring 2 horses. (PJ’s parents own Casey’s Garage in Little Britain, go use them! Tell them I sent you! They also board at Valentia)

We attended a Fall Fest at Fairview Lodge in Whitby, we had a blast, hopefully we were useful in their fundraising efforts.

This past weekend was Farm Fest/Horse Fest at the farm. I put on the Marshall costume and I think I found my calling! I am a Paw Patrol character at heart! It was fun, plus walking circles at the pony ride was fun, for the first 3 hours, Marshall was a good change, once I got used to the feet. We did a mini horse obstacle demo and the competitive riders put on their own show, (ours was better).

Then we were off to Minden, on Sunday to show. Kiefer hurt his leg on Saturday, so it was Mya, Rachel, Jessica and myself. we took home 4 first place rosettes, 2 second place rosettes and 2 third place. What a great showing. This was an exploratory project. We wanted to see if we could put together a team, if there would be interest, in showing minis. Most importantly, could we see a positive effect on kids with exceptionalities, anxiety, behavioural issues or on the spectrum. Yes we did. So next year, we will have 4 age classes, 6 horses will be involved and we will attend 4-5 competitions with the kids as well as learning clinics and lots of practice and cool vests to wear. I wear a vest and black pants working, so I can get a discount for next year’s vests, (shameless planning). Also, I learned my trash talking can go too far when I teased the kids anyone who didn’t win had to walk home, guess who didn’t place in halter…

What is coming up? A ton of Christmas parties, we are doing a trick or treat visit on the 31st – it’s location is a surprise. The week of the 16th to 20th of December will basically just be parties, pay your regular visit fee and we’ll hang out all day – buy us lunch though. We are also doing special visits Christmas Eve – the evening is booked, but if anyone wants the afternoon…

Christmas on the Farm – my brain child, please do not fail. This was a rough year for hay yield, we are not alone in feeding our winter hay, now. Valentia doesn’t have the deep pockets to compete for quality hay and we will have to buy this year. So we need to raise money. So we will have a fun, rustic Christmas party on the farm. Professional photos, marketplace in the barn – no more rustic than that! Guided trail walks, visit the animals, decorations, maybe sleigh rides, the sleigh is antique,so it has to hold up and nobody wants to wreck it, ’cause it is worth a fortune. Free hot chocolate and cider. Michelle is doing Christmas arrangements – fresh and I will have led pictures for sale in the “birthday” room. We have a chocolatier, she is consigning with us, as she is at another show and I am hoping to talk another vendor into consigning to us, she is at the One of a Kind show that weekend. We are only having 10 vendors plus ourselves, top quality, handmade, artisan type stuff. I also, may have carolers coming. I am negotiating with a 9 year old to get her friends from choir to come. She wants $15 a kid for the day, I lied and said I found a group on kijiji for $7 each 🙂 We’re now at $10 each and a coffee can for donations they can split. I am making them buy their own caroler costumes 😉 and lunch and their hot chocolate – $0.50 a cup. Negotiations are tough and continuing! I will keep you up to date.

Whew, I think we are caught up! I got 75 photos loading too, to the photo page.

Thanks everyone who follows along! Come to Christmas on the farm, I’ll buy you a hot chocolate,with money from the carolers can.


Sensory Saturday

This Saturday! We are really looking forward to this.

If we ever needed affirmations that this type of programming was needed, we got it Sunday. I took one of the young ladies who is on the spectrum with me. Her mom said, I only put her down for 2 classes, don’t let them talk her into more. That young lady went in every event she could find a horse to run. A girl who never runs, running beside horses through poles and over jumps, giving advice to other kids!

To see the effect these horses have, I have a hard time articulating, but I know and am so grateful to see it!

Show and Tell

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See what I did there, pretty cool!

So, like, since we got the minis, I have been saying they need to show. That way if they act up in public I am not cursing under my breath threatening them with, wait ’til your butt gets back to the barn. Our farrier suggested Haliburton Horseman’s Association, small club, lots of minis, very laid back, no politics. Perfect for us newbies – I come from the racing world, whole different kettle of horse manure.

Getting ready, we shaved off whiskers, any longer hairs, trimmed up the manes, thinned them, cut off stray hair, shaved the feathers. This is where we made a decision, Mia was just going to watch. Mia wouldn’t let me shave her legs. I do not know why, I don’t know why the clippers were scary this time, but they were. So, instead of a quiet day at the barn, Red came in to pinch hit. Red would be shown by my daughter, I would show Max, Mia was coming, she could hang out with Trent and watch what happened.

Day of the show, we’re there an hour early, Max is clean(ish), we are ready to roll. The judge has kidney stones, there is no judging, just a fun day out!

We had Red, read by an animal communicator. The communicator knew stuff we were blown away by. Red apparently asked if I was feeling better – nobody outside of Trent and I knew anything about me not being well this year. Talked about her diaper, how she doesn’t always enjoy the memory wards, how her feet felt better since we changed how she is trimmed. She called Max a brat LOL

It was a great day! In light of the strangles outbreak, we will only be doing limited shows this year, but c’mon out! Now that we have the mini express trailer, we are trucking a ton of horses to Minden on September 8. We have 4 or 5 kids and minis coming.


Feeling so good!

Honestly, the last few days, amazing.It started with an email from a resident’s daughter, a story from an older gentleman, who actually raised and showed mini horses about how seeing Red helped their mental health. Today at our last visit with Community Living York South, I heard how some of the day program participants were too excited to sleep last night.We are doing something amazing, I feel so honoured to get to do what we are doing! Thank you to everyone who is along on this journey with us….oh and I shaved a heart on Red’s tushy. She didn’t seem mad.

Little Mia Worked

Max, bathed, stall cleaned, fresh shavings, poops and sleeps on it.So Mia went to work! I explained she was very young and new, at the first residence I walked her through a breezeway, getting her used to the doors. She stayed out until Red finished her rounds, then both came in at the end. She did pretty good! Except the elevator, she wouldn’t get on. BUT she has only been trailered a few times. So all in time.And now, some exciting things, we are shooting a TV spot on August 8, we are at the Haliburton Horsemans Association Show on August 11, we are doing the Oshawa Santa Claus parade, as well as Lindsay and, we go full time in January! Super exciting and this journey has been amazing. Thank you all for following along.I tried to get Tianna to do the get up challenge with Mia, have an Amy vs Tianna, Max vs Mia challenge! Mia kept laying down and rolling, she misunderstood the challenge.

Max the Therapy Horse?

He did it! He went to a nursing home and made people happy!

Here is before we left.

The first home he didn’t go in and the accidental double feeding of hay the night before was not favourable for Red. The diaper over flowed. Max ate hay at the trailer and hung out with Amy.

After a disgusting cleaning of Red’s diaper, Amy actually turned green, I was completely oblivious, because, well poop happens! A quick lunch, it was time.

Scary, new smells, weird grates on the floor, an auto door, where did we take sweet Max? I saw him quiver and I took a deep breath in, long breath out. He relaxed and did ok. Actually, he did really well and is going to start coming along. We will extend visits a bit longer and switch horses halfway through. Red got silly left alone with Amy, but Max wasn’t diapered and I wasn’t taking chances. 🙂

Everyone thought he was so gorgeous. He is.

Amy is tasked with teaching him the Get Up Dance Challenge. Check out Facebook and Instagram, some video there!

The minis are part of the programming at the farm this week. They get to play! Obstacle courses, inhand races, oh boy, they will be tired!

Sensory Sensitive Saturdays

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Hey Michelle, I have a crazy idea, that is how I greeted one of the owners of the barn about a month ago. She was busy, I was busy, but I did tell her, I thought we should combine forces and do a sensory sensitive, mom and tot time at the farm.

So we are working on researching and market studying, with a goal of a soft launch in September.

We would have a choice of two crafts, some neat ones I found were foam fireworks, no bang, hidden treasures in a sensory bottle. We would have just a few animals in the barn and a choice of grooming or feeding, (from a bucket) in a one on one scenario. We would have a calming tent as well as a calming corner for when kids find it too overwhelming. No machinery would be run, no radios, just the peace and serenity of the barn and the animals.

The cost – a free will offering, right now with the cuts and changes to provincial funding, especially in our area, we want to do our part to support the caregivers of autistic children.

Maybe even just let a mom or dad or grandparent have a coffee with another carer.

So we are looking for feedback! Email me, dm me, call me! 705-879-7034 We also want the program to include feedback from the parents, so we can evolve and grow it.

Canada Day Birthday!

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My friend’s daughter’s birthday is July 1st – lucky kid, fireworks on your birthday!

We decided to go up and do the party, bring the minis as much as for exposure as anything. The kids loved them, but they are junior kindergarten kids, they have the attention span of gnats. As our own daughter was attending, that left Mr. Sheppard and I, to walk Max and Red. They did an awesome job of eating down my friend’s weeds!

It took me an hour and a half and 13% battery power on my phone to finally get that picture above.

And that is the last party we have booked for 2019 – another might come in, but August and September are pretty booked with showing and Max is only starting doing nursing homes this month, so it is highly unlikely he will be able to take them on himself this year. That leaves the majority of the work for Red, which means she gets weekends off – except Pride! I love Pride, I love the sense of community, the love. Red and Max will be at Pride, then Max will start getting ready to do shows with Mia and Red will have her weekends off. She’ll probably just hang out with her BFF Buttercup (one of Michell and Jim’s minis), talking about how handsome Prince is.


Oh, so you speak French?

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In addition to interacting with the residents myself, answering questions, massaging Red, feeding Red 🙂 , I also spend a lot of time watching Red.

Something I noticed, her ears would start going, like little antennas, especially on special wards, where the people require more support, some have reverted to mother tongues. Now obviously she is more alert because there is a different energy there, lots of confusion, some agitation,  where I noticed her ears twitching the most, was when we would encounter Francophone residents. So it was a theory, I knew she came from Ottawa area originally, there are a lot of miniature horses in Ottawa and Gatineau, in fact, I have bought quite a bit of tack from there. Yesterday when we encountered a French speaking resident I answered the resident in French, now it was difficult, I haven’t spoke French with any proficiency since grade 13 – which in itself tells you how long ago it was 🙂 , the resident was missing teeth and using a dialect, a few words I had no clue, I couldn’t even play, sounds almost like that. I then spoke French the rest of the day to Red and it went well! The resident asked if she was a dog, I said, “non c’est un tres petite cheval”, (no a very small horse). Red leaned closer to me and her ears swiveled to me and stayed there. As we left, she started doing her, I’m not going any farther, I want to eat grass, I said “Marche Red”, she didn’t stop walking til we got to the trailer. Put her on the trailer, she started eating hay, I said, “Caca Red”, immediately she pooped. I praised her in French, called her a belle fille and petite bijou. I feel like this is a major breakthrough with her, not only does it make our communication better, I feel like it brings us closer, it also adds another layer to Red’s story, which the residents we encounter love. I’m going to have to get a Rosetta Stone and brush up! Especially since if I can’t find a word in French, I will often use a German word. Poor Red, sa mere est confuse 🙂

Also sorry Red it took me almost 2 years to clue in.