Superstar goalie Grant Fuhr is one of those people who was a high achieving partier. He’s featured in the new movie, MAKING COCO: THE GRANT FUHR STORY. Plus the Calgary Polo Club has a VIP tournament coming up. But if you’re feeling more farm than fancy, AB Open Farm Days is for you. Details in the vid! Don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube.
My polo ponies may be out in the pasture, but they’re still on my mind… all the time. Are they eating enough? Will they be warm this winter? Gabby (above) is a pro at snow, but it’s the first Canadian winter for Mojito (below).
If you still haven’t rounded up the perfect gift for your horse-obsessed loved one this Christmas, allow me to suggest two books – both charming, but totally different from each other.
Lead with Your Heart: Lessons from a Life with Horses is written by a neurosurgeon with a passion for horses. Dr. Allan J. Hamilton’s writing style is not Dry MD — which is probably why he’s a script consultant for both Grey’s Anatomy and Private Practice. His book is a collection of bite-sized essays on training, peppered with examples from horses he’s worked with, and non-horse situations that he believes draw a clear parallel… like kids at the grocery store checkout.Horse Owners’ Essential Tips may have a humdrum name and yawn-inducing cover art, but this is definitely a case of “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Inside, Philippe Meyrier’s down-to-earth conversational writing style, along with cute illustrations, detailing all kinds of great ideas. Tips include natural fly repellent, a cure for chapped lips, and -my favorite- a suggestion to stop ponies from nibbling on wooden fences or stall doors.Both books are a wonderful winter vacation read. I know I’ll be consulting them again in the spring, when it’s time to get my fat polo ponies fit again. Merry Christmas!
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. With apologies to Mr. Dickens.This was one of the best. I was so thrilled it was caught on camera. I’m just about to hit my third neck shot in a row, at a good pace, and still everyone’s hanging back, playing me for the miss. Ha! Not this time.Frequent rain, including several storms, made for a lot of missed games this season. Gabby survived being pelted with ice chips with no damage, unlike my car, but it was her pensive look that tugged on my heart strings. Which brings me to the worst of times. Losing my first horse, Simon, in March. We both still miss him. A lot.But when Simon moved on to the big polo field in the sky, the tale of two ponies had to continue, or I wouldn’t be able to play four chukkers this summer. After crying for weeks, I boarded a plane for the desert. During a whirlwind week of trying numerous horses, I discovered there’s a body type I prefer: short and round. Not Skinny might be a better way to put it. Mojito fit the bill, and her laid-back personality fit all the other requirements. Usually more motivated to go slower rather than faster, I spent a good deal of summer trying to encourage my new little 12-year-old with my heels. And, after inadvertently experiencing her top speed of 35 miles an hour (by all estimates of everyone at the club who saw The Runaway Of The Summer), I’m fine with her normal MO. She goes fast when I ask, and slows down when I ask. As long as I keep her off Gabby’s senior feed.Although the weather issues and the aforementioned runaway combined to cost me some of my polo mojo, there were many happy moments. Like whenever I managed to get ahead of Heidi.Or played with friends who were visiting from out of town.When I got smashed in the chin with a mallet two days before the President’s Club Ball, I wore black to match my bruise, and thanked my lucky stars I still had all my teeth.I still need to break my habit of tilting forward … … and I still need to go a lot faster.But at least I’ve got a decent swing. And a mare with a masculine Spanish name. It’s no coincidence that the Mojito also became my beverage of choice for the Summer of 2016.See you next year, Calgary Polo Club!
If you have a horse lover in your life, get them this book for Christmas.
When I was 12, I went to horse camp in Lac La Hache, BC. Growing up in urban Vancouver, I didn’t know the first thing about horses or the people who devoted their lives to them. Walking through the barn in the cowboy boots my mom had bought me from Sears, a grizzled cowboy looked up and told me I have one leg that’s longer than the other. It’s true, but the difference is minimal. He had noticed by the sounds my boots made on the floorboards. We didn’t dwell on it — he mentioned it in just a few words — but it was the beginning of my respect for cowboys and their less-is-more way of detailed observation.
A cowboy in Horses Don’t Lie, who is simply called ‘the Old Man,’ brought that memory back. He rarely speaks, but when he does, it is honed wisdom, there for the taking. Author Mark Rashid chose to take it, and build on it, with a theory of passive leadership, developed from a life lived around horses.
Rashid’s quiet, thoughtful prose is an example of passive leadership in itself. In conversational, homey style, he explains how a happy horse will try its hardest to work for you. He believes in watching for a horse’s tries, versus forcing the issue in alpha leader style.
Now that I’ve owned horses for three years, I know enough to know that I still have a lot to learn. This winter, my ponies Gabby and Simon are on vacation, out in the pasture with their friends at the Calgary Polo Club. We’ve been having an unusually warm fall, so I’ve gone out every few weeks for a casual ride. When you enter a pasture of thirty shaggy, fat horses who are all too happy to be on holiday, it’s a huge compliment when your horses mosey over to say hello.
It makes me hope I’m doing something right! But still, I found Horses Don’t Lie is not only full of ideas how to do things better with horses, it suggests how to observe things better, before the doing. In that cowboy way.
With the October days strangely warm, I’m still sneaking in a few rides at the Calgary Polo Club. But coming soon, dry winter weather threatens leathery skin … like an old saddle!
I’m bee-ing proactive by stocking up on Bee Lovely Body Butter by Neal’s Yard Remdies. Organic honey and orange oil soften the skin while smelling divine, with bonus karma points. The recently launched product line ties in with NYR’s international campaign to save the bees.
Simon and Gabby had a busy day of polo planned on Saturday, but they were happy to take a few moments to help spread the word about a Toronto-based initiative making the world a better place — through fashion.The Fabric of Humanity offers ethical employment for those in the apparel industry, from as far away as Columbia and Mongolia. And gives us a chance to wear our hearts on our tee.Fresh off a Kickstart fundraising success, in which 82 backers pledged $20,588, the Fabric of Humanity will be helping apparel industry workers in Tado, Columbia create their own co-operative and invest in professional sewing machinery.So when you don a Fabric of Humanity tee, you’re doing more than just making a change of clothes. You’re wearing clothes of change! Show your support in style here.I always have time for a little snuggle with Simon…… but soon it will be game time on the field behind us at the Calgary Polo Club. Time to get ready. Oh, and the players who oppose Team Blue Besos today? FYI, the charity stops with the T-shirt.
Boy, was it a hot one last night! 35 degrees Celsius at the Calgary Polo Club. That’s 95 Fahrenheit, my American friends. Still, look at my faithful steed Simon go! He’s flying ahead of doggy doc Tom LeBoldus’ pony. How do you like them apples?Or carrots? Before the game I checked out the new Juice Because pop-up at Willow Park Village to stock up on some tangy and energizing Peter. Named after a certain rabbit, I’m guessing.It must have helped, because I even managed to hit a ball or two. Our camo-jerseyed Team KatSaw made it into the finals, which are scheduled for tomorrow if it doesn’t rain. Meanwhile, check out KatSaw Farms patron Ross Prokopy making a splash in purple at the Veuve Classic.The temporary cold-pressed juice shop off Macleod Trail and Willow Park Dr SE is a handy pit-stop on the way to the polo club, but if you don’t check it out before they close on August 31st, don’t worry — they deliver! Head to their website.Meanwhile, come on out and tailgate at the Calgary Polo Club — soon, before the season ends. This heat won’t last forever.
If there are yellow jerseys on the field at the Calgary Polo Club…… and people like Gael-Anne Hatch and Chad Oakes (producer of must-see TV shows Fargo and Hell On Wheels) in the VIP Lounge…… then it must be the 2015 Veuve Clicquot Calgary Polo Classic. This is where the bubbles meet the storied hardwood of the Ranch House bar.Leslie Echino, owner of Blink Restaurant, and Katy Bond of Parker Bond PR managed to look dewey fresh and delightful despite 30-degree heat.While Rob Peters, the man who started Peters & Co, Elaine Duncan and leather-vest wearing horse whisperer John Scott kept cool inside.Katrina Prokopy, the inspiration behind hubby Ross’ team KatSaw Farms (he named it for his wife and son Sawyer), knows this is no time for a Mona Lisa smile. Especially with a pair of Prada Baroques perched above. Go big or go home!Meanwhile, alpha male Ross Prokopy of GMP Securities proves that not only does he play an aggressive game of polo, he also makes a mean mimosa.Despite the talent in Club League, I celebrated a rare summer week of bruise-free legs. Veiled spectator-sporting Paula Marie took support staffing to a stylish new level.While Gordon Ross of Remax and Bernadette Geronazzo, who’s accustomed to being In The Public Eye, toasted the game…… that was still in progress, beyond the revelers at the Ranch House. Mitch Horne checks up for Land Rover, under Allison Rooney’s watchful eye.It was only fitting that Team Veuve, aka Northern Blizzard, took home the cup. John Rooney, CEO of Northern Blizzard Resources, hoists his bubbly, with long-time pro Joe Henderson in the background. Cheers!