Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ontario


I started my trip across the country on June 16th, and it has been a fantastic journey so far. My first stop was in Carleton Place, west of Ottawa, where I stayed overnight with a Parelli friendly family that just bought a horse farm and is hoping to host clinics in the future. The horses got their first taste of a grass pastures, but also on Ontario bugs, which were fierce and furious and kept them pacing all night. They galloped over to me in the morning BEGGING to go back to the trailer so they could get some rest! The neighbours came out for a barbecue and to see the horses, and we are hoping to have a Level 1 clinic there on my way back in October.

Next stop was Dowling near Sudbury, where I stayed with the Day family, who have been dedicated Parelli students and hosts for several years. They own a beautiful property and I enjoyed teaching the kids and getting to know them. Again, the bugs were unrelentless, and my poor horses ended up bloodied from a combination of mosquitoes, horse flies and black flies. It is the season! They got to love staying on the trailer, good incentive, and I caught them snoozing in there several times.

Ontario is alot of forest, rock and water, and it's not wonder mining and forestry were the main industries for years. You can see the effects of the decline of those activities, there are lots of boarded up motels, restaurants and gas bars along the Transcanada, a sure sign that businesses have left the area.

Onto a short hop to Sault Ste-Marie, which is the doorway to Lake Superior. Lou-Anne Train was very welcoming and we shared stories and lots of food! I helped her with some private instruction with her challenging horse, and for someone who has mostly studied the program on her own, she has done a great job and is moving along nicely. We played with some foundation issues on the ground and respect and confidence in the saddle. Menina and Easter got a respite from bugs, and Menina did lots of socializing with Lou-Anne's gelding over the fence. He was devastated when she left, he thought he'd found his harem...

Once on Lake Superior, the road hugs the banks of the Lake and the views start becoming quite spectacular. So are the hills! This is when I get to appreciate my diesel engine and large gas guzzling truck. It can sure haul a big trailer up and down steep hills. I spent another day and half in Wawa, Ontario, half way between the Soo and Thunder Bay. Apparently, they don't often get a Parelli instructor in Wawa, and my students there were very grateful to have me there. We had fun, the horses enjoyed a lovely pasture with shade and trees, got lots of rest and so did I. Wawa is peaceful and nested in the woods, lots of wildlife around. EVERYONE there hunts moose, deer and fowl, kids, women and men. And I found out, butcher everything themselves. It is quite the life. No video games or sitting in front of the TV for the kids, there are outdoors, active and experience the goodness of life and nature. As someone said, 'there are no malls in Wawa'. And they consider it a blessing. One of my students, Tracey, cares for horses, emus, alpacas, dogs, cats and chickens on a 2.5 acre property, pretty amazing!

I have just arrived in Thunder Bay, where I am staying at a neighboring farm since my host Judith has not space on her property. It was quite a tricky maneuver getting the trailer it on that piece of property, and it tested my driving skills, but I got it done. No grass for the horses here, but the bugs are not bad either, and they have a small shelter for shade. The views on Lake Superior were really spectacular today, with blue-green water and red rock encased in a mixed forest.

I will try to post pictures once I get my camera batteries recharged - I came to use it and the batteries were dead.

Geneviève in Thunder Bay, Ontario.


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