The year was unbelievably busy, and I definitely got behind in updating the web site. So here goes…
From an educational point of view it was an exciting yea. We had Ellen Hockley, driving expert, here for lessons, clinics, and schooling shows. The participation was amazing, and would be drivers and their horses seemed to be coming out of the ‘woodwork’.
For a special treat we had Joni Lynn Peters, one of Canada’s elite Olympic dressage riders, here as the judge for our driven dressage schooling show.
Once again we had two ridden dressage schooling shows. This is a wonderful opportunity for our young (and not so young) riders to compete in a low pressure friendly and inexpensive environment. And in front of a REAL judge. And we even have Old Friends Canada Ribbons for prizes. Our program is expanding and this year we had more Western dressage riders join our English dressage riders. Thanks to Cadora and Western Dressage for not charging ‘user’ fees for their tests. Riding is expensive expensive enough…we need to keep costs down so more can participate without ‘breaking the bank’. Thanks to Kelly McIntosh, Suzanne Wallace and Leah Jantzen for donating their time.
As a completely new event this year. Helen started ‘Campfire Movie Nights’. Numbers are on the increase each evening, and the fabulous story of ‘Hickstead’ drew quite a crowd. Our cold weather caused a postponement of our next movie but once this prolonged cold period subsides, Helen will have another movie underway.
This was quite a year for new additions to our Old Friends Family. We are bursting at the seams now. We were lucky to have our neighbour Julie let some of our horses ‘chow down’ on her back yard this fall. And the Weinsteins were very kind to let us use their pasture on Okanagan Centre Rd… as the saying goes, “Happiness is acres of pasture”.
We also had another ‘first’. Old Friends Canada received a summer student work grant and we had our lovely volunteer, Chelsea, become out first ‘employee’ for the summer months.
We really enjoyed having her, and hope to have another opportunity for students next year as well. We welcomed ‘Mozzy’ this year who was really quite scared when she came. She has settled now and is a lot more friendly than we originally thought. She is quite good friends with Hale. She is a ‘companion’ horse – we think in her 20’s.. not for riding. But certainly is learning her manners.
Hale Bopp, our 17 year old Arab, came from Grand Forks area last January. He was in pretty dire straits, and was a stallion. He came through gelding well (Thanks Doc Wales), And Helen has had some great breakthrough sessions with him, and now even ‘ponies’ him with Rafferty.
Please note – Hale’s tail is growing back. Apparently it had been cut off before we got him due to the mess it was in… Hale and Mozzy are both in the ‘foody’ category.
Our Savannah had another trial, but she is very sensitive, and came home to us again. Don’t worry Savvy. We all love you.
Jack, our New Forest Pony, had been rehomed on Vancouver island but his owner outgrew him and he is home with us again. He is certainly Mr Popularity around here.
Our most recent arrival is ‘Tommy’ aka Kruizin Cat. He was a huge winner on the track. Over $235,000 in winnings but his owners passed away, and he was left destitute. He has only been here a week, but is really a sweet boy..
I am hoping he and Pirate will ‘hit it off’. Pirate has been ‘lost’ since my beautiful Maxwell (County Pass) died this July. Maxwell was the ‘herd boss’ and was my first horse. He passed away suddenly one night in July at the age of 29. He left a large hole in a lot of hearts here at Old Friends.
Sadly, this year, we had to say goodbye to our Delia. She had come to us, in a very bad state in 2007. All I ever really wanted for her was that she could realize that humans could actually be good, and that she could live happily and in peace. I think we did manage to show her that. She was a constant companion to Maxwell, and faded when he passed away. Her old injuries finally made it too difficult for her to walk, and Doc Wales kindly helped her on her way to that pasture that Maxwell had gone over to visit. We miss them both, a lot.
Where we are heading in 2017…
We are going to do a spring fundraiser at a nearby winery. Details coming soon. Hope many of you can join us.
Well there is a lot of education in store for this year…two more schooling dressage show, and a driving show and derby to be sponsored by OFC and taking place in June at the Vernon Riding Club. And hopefully a few more students grants this summer.
Our volunteer list gets longer and longer- thanks to Helen for all the time she spends in training-and thanks to our dedicated volunteers who are the ‘unsung heroes’.. Susan, Laura, Avery, and Keisha.. our perennials, and many others who come whenever they can to help out.
A big thank you… once again to Amber… for our web page. My New Year’s resolution is to try to update this page more often. Some rather serious health issues slowed me down this year. At least the Facebook page is more active. Hope YOU can join us for our events this year. As always-we are in great need of donations for hay, farrier and vet fees. Donations gratefully accepted and we are able to give tax receipts since we are a Registered Charity.
Deborah Battrum, President