Friday, 25 February 2011

Kia Kaha Christchurch

Somehow it hasn't really seemed right to blog about the everyday goings on here at Talisman Farm since the horror quake that shook Christchurch to its core at lunchtime on Tuesday. The sheer scale of the atrocities that are facing the people of Canterbury in the wake of this event are nearly impossible to fathom and I have wept many tears as I have been swept along in the horror of it all. This sort of thing doesn't happen in our beautiful country but, it has.

So far I have managed to make contact with friends in the area and am not aware of anyone known personally to myself who is dead or missing but I have friends who have friends awaiting news of loved ones and colleagues. So small is our country that everyone here will either be affected directly or know someone who knows someone who has perished or been badly injured. The world may enjoy six degrees of separation but, it's more like two degrees in our small and close knit nation.

All I want to be able to do is help in some way but I have no skills that are required and so I sit it out, like so many, helplessly watching in complete horror as it unfolds on the TV screen before my eyes, just like some sort of hideous waking nightmare.

On Thursday I became aware of an auction that is being set up to help raise funds for Quake victims. This has given me the opportunity to offer Stallion services to the auction organisers and made me feel as if there is something, albeit small, that I can actually do to help. The website has not yet been completed but, as soon as it is, I will be sharing these details with my blog readers and anybody on facebook who cares to listen. I hope you will all support us in our efforts to raise much needed cash for those whose lives have been devastated by what is now the worst disaster in our Nation's history.

If you are reading this and have been affected personally by the horrors of the Canterbury earthquake, please accept my sincerest and most heartfelt condolences. I cannot even begin to imagine what you are going through but I hope that you can find the strength that you need to pick up and carry on. You are most definitely in our hearts and minds. Kia kaha.

Monday, 21 February 2011

The Joy of Showing

Someone I know recently said "Showing is about travelling around the countryside looking for a judge who loves your horse as much as you do".

To date Meg has had moderate to good success in the show ring. I know she is never going to be Clydesdale Horse of the Year because, although I absolutely adore her and think she is a beautiful animal, I realise she has shortcomings that are breed specific. Funny thing is that it's those shortcomings that I particularly like about her and they are what make her ideal for the riding horse she is for me (she has a round 'cooks bottom' not a rectangular 'working' bottom, she has sloping shoulders and a fabulous topline, she has good but not excessive bone, she has good but not overly large feet and she has beautiful feather but not an abundance). All these things mean that she's more of a 'handy horse' than a show Clydesdale.

Yesterday we met a judge who, it appeared, did not like her at all. I watched him judge and in the open classes, he didn't even look at her. It was hard not to feel despondent and hugely disappointed. I felt like jumping up and down and pointing and saying "LOOK! She's beautiful, just look at her!!" but, at the end of the day, he was the judge and it was his choice. and he had a clear preference for the rangier, more slab sided/square working horse. Fair enough too, that's what the breed are supposed to do - work.

Ironically this year I made the biggest effort I probably ever have with turnout (even getting a friend to help me with her tail) and it was the first time ever that we were unplaced in a turnout class. If I had not been sick as a dog with a nice dose of gastroenteritis, I would have asked the judge for some feedback as I felt she was easily top four in the line-up and know that there was not a speck of dust in her coat or loose hair to be found and her plaits and mane roll were tight and neat.

All that aside, she WAS the most beautiful horse on show to ME and the only one I wanted to take home with me and that is what really matters. We had heaps of people come over to us during and after the competition telling us how beautiful they thought Meg was too. Here are some photos of Meg from yesterday. I have photos of the other horses but not yet got around to sorting them out. I will pop them on a later blog.

Beautiful Meg

Meg doing what she does best - eating!
Meg walking out
Meg and Nick = Gorgeous!
Meg and Caroline
The amazing tail!
Beautiful expression
That tail again
More gorgeousness

I hope none of the above has come across as sour grapes as I completely accept that Meg is not going to be every Clydesdale person's idea of perfection and I know just how subjective showing is. I am hoping that my blog today will remind everyone who has a 'bad' day out showing that the most important thing is that you love and enjoy the horse that you are showing and taking home with you as that is why you share you life with that animal.