2016 is coming to a close and it has certainly been a big year for us!
We arrived in Canada on the 28th of December 2015, with expectations which have not aligned with what actually has happened! But I guess that's part of life.
I won't lie, this year has been difficult. We have struggled with money all year and continue to do so. It is hard to start a business in a new country where no one knows your name as a trainer, and as such I have had a grand total of 4 client horses this year.
Of course this may have been different if I didn't spend the summer in Montana! But I could not pass up the chance to participate in the Extreme Mustang Makeover! So in May I set off with my future brother in law Louis (as Jimmy had to work at the last minute!) and we drove over 25 hours from Alberta to Burns, Oregon and then onto Wolf Creek, Montana!
I was randomly assigned a bay 5 year old gelding, who was only gelded 2 months earlier, and caught the previous November. I named him 'Sweet As Maple' or Sam! He was pretty skinny and scared of people... but he progressed very quickly physically and mentally.
I want to thank firstly the people who made it possible for me to do the EMM, my wonderful friends at Rocking Z Guest Ranch in Wolf Creek, Montana! By a stroke of good luck and the wonderful reach of Facebook I got in contact with Anna who offered for me to stay at Rocking Z so I could do the Makeover. This turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life and I will be forever grateful to Anna, Maria, Ben, Patty and Zack for having me, Sam and Koda!
Check them out at www.rockingz.com and on Facebook.
If you want to see the progression of Sam's training please like our Facebook page and have a look at all the photos and videos of Sam from our time together from May 13th through to September 17th in Texas! There are lots of longer videos on my Youtube page also!
During my time in Montana I was lucky enough to ride with Martin Black and David Ellis. Both are exceptional horsemen, and I learnt a lot from them. In April before heading to Montana I got to ride with Warwick Schiller at the Mane Event in Red Deer, Alberta, so its been a good year for riding with some wonderful horsemen and mentors!
The Makeover itself was amazing. The whole experience was just brilliant and the final competition in Fort Worth, Texas was so much fun. It was great to meet and ride with so many wonderful trainers, many who I have followed on Facebook for a while.
I was so proud of my Sam, he did so well in such a challenging environment and although we didn't make the top ten he gave his best and sold at auction to a great home, for the highest non top ten price, and 7th highest price overall! You can follow his adventures with his new owner on the Facebook page 'Limitless' as he prepares for some exciting adventures alongside some of the other Mustangs from the Makeover!
The other exciting thing that happened at the Makeover was Jimmy proposing to me in the arena during the top ten freestyles! I was very surprised to see him appear in the arena with a microphone- he said he was going to the bathroom! So that was a great high to end the weekend on.
We finished up in Montana and made the move to Northern British Columbia, to a small town called Chetwynd. It started snowing the night we arrived! Its cold here. I'm not going to lie I'm not pleased about how cold it is!! We have had some days colder than -30! Not fun! But at least I have access to a heated indoor arena so I can still train horses there. However with winter and being new here I am still finding it hard to get clients; fingers crossed for an early Spring!
That's all for now, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all and I hope to have news about my return to Australia soon!
By Georgia Bates 23/12/2016
Riding Along The Cowboy Trail:
horsemanship and life in Canada.