Life is Good... but Horses Make it Better Equine Adventures 101: “Always have A Plan B”

By Donna Blanke Much like our current

topsy-turvy weather de- mands of wardrobe flexibil- ity, my life has changed its tempo these past couple months, now that I am an Oma! Only a few short decades ago I was cradling my daughter, and here she is cooing over her own baby girl now - otherwise known as Oma & Morfar’s l’il lovebug. Crazy how fast the world moves. Which sort of ties into

what happened recently to my dream of having a horse. Oh, I still have a barn,

the space, and the deep de- sire... but remember that free horse ad way back when? Yup. You more expe- rienced folks probably guessed it: G-O-N-E. Poof. At first I wasn’t fazed,

expecting to find other free horse offers.... and there were. Deb Sutor (GrandErie’s horse consult- ant - and my co-worker) was a big help as I sifted through ads, and she even gave me a list of what to ask during phone calls. Alas, in the end, my efforts yielded no score.

I think not. I just did- n’t happen to be in the market for a blind one, a lame one, one who needed a few thou- sand in vet care costs upfront, nor one lo- cated eight hours away. Sure I had a borrowed trailer lined up, but going all the way to Timbuktu did not sound sane, espe- cially when faced with a long trek of a less- than comfortable drive; teeth grinding, loud hollers of pan- icky horror, body cringing at every turn, and oh all the spilled coffee messes... Jeesh. You’d think by now the hubby would have gotten over being so sensitive to my finely honed skills. After all, my dad was a race car driver, so obviously excel- lent wheel work is in my genes. So. Apparently - for

me- a free horse was not the way to go, but I still wanted that equine life. I put my thinking helmet on. A week later, with the

Am I too fussy?

imagine where you are going with this.” His frowning mouth con- tradicted the curiosity shining from those baby blues, meaning it was GO time! I cleared my throat and gave him an aid. “Well wouldn’t it

be a hoot to get a baby horse instead, sort of a gift for lovebug?” Fork paused in midair, his chewing slowed. Caution sign. I needed to add something fast & strong to get him to jump over to my side of the fence. “It would be a

aroma of fresh homemade bread aroma filling the air, I dished out even fresher scrambled eggs onto hubby’s plate as I recounted my “free horse” failure to hubby over the next Sun- day’s breakfast. “So that’s that then.

No horse.” Shoulders shrugged upwards. Whoa. Wrong trail of thought. I grabbed the conversation reins quick to get him back on the same path as I.

ing that. All is not lost sweetie! Just... tweaked... a bit.” Sliding over his favourite jar of my grape concord jelly, I knew his smile of gratitude was a good start. “I got to thinking

about how you are so excel- lent with animals, and that we have raised many pets... “ I watched his eyes. “True, and we already

agreed on a horse, so I can’t “Oh no, I am not say-

bond too. I mean, can you see her wanting to come visit us - and her horse- every weekend? And she’d

great way for us all to

love it even more when her very own Morfar is the one to teach her how to ride!” Too much? “What did Deb say?”

He holds a lot of stock in what Deb has to say, be- cause -and I quote- ‘Deb knows her stuff.’ I relived again the look on her face when I’d told her I was con- sidering having a baby horse so it and my l’il lovebug could grow up together: it was.... an interesting expres- sion. But that’s not what he’d asked. “Well she’s raised

horses from birth. And she said we should definitely talk about it - in depth - when she returns from her

vacation.” He nodded. Good enough for me. I can’t wait for Deb to

get back, and have been oohhing and aawwing over cute pictures ever since... so many websites with sires and mares and ... did I men- tion the cute pictures? This really is SO exciting! Stay tuned for more in

your next Rider issue, and in the meantime - if you have any of your own equestrian questions or feed & supply needs- feel free to give GrandErie’s horse consult- ant, Deb Sutor, a call: Home Hardware, Farm & Country Dept, 1051 Broad Street East, Dunnville (905) 774- 6115

New investments announced for rural Ontario

Guelph, ON – Rural Ontario received a boost with the recent announcement of two programs to grow our communities. The re- newed Rural Economic Development (RED) program and the new Natural Gas Grant Program were both announced by the Ontario government earlier this week at the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) conference. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture

(OFA) welcomed the renewal of the RED program that will provide $5 million in funding every year to support community economic development. The program sup- ports local initiatives to enable rural munic- ipalities and partners to diversify and grow their local economies. Applications for the RED program funds are already open for submission at “Investment in our rural communities

is what Ontario needs right now,” says Keith Currie, President, Ontario Federation of Agriculture. “Rural Ontario has great po- tential for economic growth through com- munity engagement and revitalization. The renewed RED program will support some great initiatives this year.” OFA is encouraged by the govern-

gram will be available in spring 2017. “Natural gas is the most important in-

vestment that will give rural Ontarians, in- cluding farms and businesses, the competitive edge to drive growth,” says Currie. “OFA looks forward to working with the government to develop a real pro- gram to secure natural gas access through- out rural Ontario. This will require a longer term commitment to rural investment and we’re working to make this happen.” The Ontario Federation of Agriculture

(OFA) is the largest general farm organiza- tion in Ontario, representing 36,000 farm families across the province. As a dynamic farmer-led organization based in Guelph, the OFA works to represent and champion the interests of Ontario farmers through government relations, farm policy recom- mendations, research, lobby efforts, com- munity representation, media relations and more. OFA is the leading advocate for On- tario’s farmers and is Ontario’s voice of the farmer.

For more information:

ment’s recognition of the importance of ex- panding natural gas to rural Ontario with the Natural Gas Grant Program. The pro- gram will provide $100 million in grants to support the building of natural gas infra- structure and enable more communities to access to a lower cost energy source. Ap- plications for the Natural Gas Grant Pro-

Keith Currie President

Neil Currie

Ontario Federation of Agriculture 705-441-3362

General Manager Ontario Federation of Agriculture 519-821-8883

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