Aggie Days

Hi! My name is Hawk, and I am a registered Miniature Horse. I am 9 years old, and 2012 is going to be my 6th Aggie Days!

Miniature Horses have to be 34 inches and under, and I’m 33.5 inches, so I’m almost as big as I’m allowed to be. I’ve been a show horse since I was three years old, and have won lots of ribbons in halter classes (which is like a beauty contest), jumping (my favorite!), and all sorts of driving classes.

Once I got a little more experienced at driving I started competing in Combined Driving Events. Those are fun because I get to compete right alongside horses and mules and donkeys of every size!

Aggie Days is always the first event of the year for me, so the first thing that happens is that I get a haircut. I live outside in the winter time, in a big pasture with all my buddies, so I grow a lot of winter hair to keep warm. Since Aggie Days is in the spring, it’s not quite warm enough outside for me to have shed that winter hair yet, but once I got into the warm Aggie Days Barn I’d be too hot. I get body clipped in the week before Aggie Days, and I always feel so much more handsome afterwards – like a show horse instead of a scruffy pony. Don’t worry though – when I get home from Aggie Days I wear a warm blanket and sleep in a cozy barn to stay warm until the weather is nice enough for my new hairdo.

First thing, when I get to Aggie Days, I have to catch up with my friends! There’s Zoe and Silk, the miniature donkeys, who are friendly girls but never share their hay with me. Dolly is a Welsh/Hackney pony, and she’s a fancy driving pony. Ole is Norwegian Fjord, a breed of light horse with lots of history and a unique hairdo. And Jamie is the biggest of our Aggie Days family, a Black Clydesdale.

We all have a bath and are carefully groomed so we look our best before our first visitors arrive. And once they do, things get busy!

The first three days of Aggie Days are for school groups. We do several demos each day in the horse display, and each one of us comes out so the kids can see us and learn about each type of horse. I also teach them how to approach a horse safely and about how horses see. Did you know that horses can see almost every direction? We have a blind spot right behind us, which is the real reason why you shouldn’t run up behind a horse – we can’t see you and you’ll scare us! And a scared horse will defend himself – that’s where the kicking part comes in. But horses don’t want to kick people – trust me! – and we only kick when we are very frightened or upset.

Ole and I also like to sneak in a few tricks during the demos, so be sure to come and watch us show off!

Even though I don’t like strangers touching my face, I know that the kids all want to pet so I keep my bum or side near the front of the stall so they can reach me. Some of those kids are very good at scratching my itchy spots, which is much appreciated after my haircut!

Later in the afternoon, when the kids have to go home, I get out to stretch my legs. I go for some exercise in the Corral with one of the other horses, or sometimes I just go for a walk around the Aggie Days hall and say hi to all the other animals.

Saturday morning things get underway early, starting with Giddy Up Aggie Days. This is a favorite part for lots of us at Aggie Days! Our visitors this morning might be in wheelchairs, or need to touch because they can’t see well, and I make sure to stand extra still and be extra good. It’s also the morning when the Stampede Royalty stop by to take pictures with our visitors … and maybe visit a handsome little horse as well!

After that it’s time for Family Fun Days to start! On the weekend, Aggie Days is open to the public, and admission is free! Not only do lots of families come down to have fun and learn about agriculture, but there are other events going on – the Canadian Horseshoeing Championships, the Stockdog Trial, and even an Extreme Cowboy Race, so there is lots of fun things to see!

In addition to our regular horse demos, starting last year 1I also volunteered at a new feature at Aggie Days, the Story Corner! I was the only non-human celebrity reader, and I practiced lots to be ready. There are lots of great celebrity readers, so stop by the Book Corner to see who’s reading during your visit!

I’m counting down to the start of Aggie Days, I can’t wait to see everyone! Be sure to stop by my stall in the horse display and say hello on your trip to Aggie Days!

Aggie Days Family Fun Days

Saturday, April 21, 2012 from 10am – 5pm

Sunday, April 22, 2012 from 10am – 5pm

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The Mane Event

Saturday morning I started out in the booth, which isn’t so bad at all. After the first year, when my back got sore standing in the stall with just shavings between me and pavement, Kendra and Charlene bought nice squishy mats to go under the stall, and now it’s a great place to hang out … and to curl up and have a nap because it’s so comfy! Plus, while I sure don’t mind visiting with all the kids at Aggie Days, the people at Mane Event KNOW how to scratch a horse!

About an hour before I had to get ready for my clinic Kendra took me back to the barn so I could “rest”. Obviously, SHE’S never had to live with Duke, if she thinks that’s relaxing!

Did I mention the cookies? When you sign up for a clinic at The Mane Event, you get a goodie bag with all sorts of interesting things in it. Kendra’s favorite part was the bale cutter. Mine was the cookies! Best. Cookies. Ever.

They did try hard to improve the footing in the arena, taking out half the sand and packing it, but it was still deep, and only got deeper as the clinic went on. Each time it was our turn to go through the cones I’d have to rest and catch my breath again. The instructor kept telling Kendra not to cluck at me all the time, but usually Kendra has to get me to slow down when I see cones! It was hard work, but Cones are NEVER not fun! The big horses in with us (a Standardbred and a Connemara/Warmblood) were tired too, very sweaty.

The instructor, Dana Bright, said that Kendra needed to focus on accuracy, not speed. Which Kendra agreed with, but I REALLY DON’T! I want to go FAST! 😉

Right after the clinic was a demo, and I didn’t go in this time since I’d just worked so hard. I walked out of the arena and there were all my buddies! I was happy to see them. After I’d caught my breath and Kendra talked to the instructor for a while, I was ready to go again, but by then the demo was over. Kendra said I needed to walk, so Emmett jumped in with her and drove me around for a while. Emmett is 2, and he likes to drive! He even got a helmet at the trade fair, so now he’s ready to go for the summer.

Drifter spent lots of time in the booth on Saturday. He’s just 3 years old, and a stallion, but he was a pretty good boy, other then pulling up the tarp when he got bored. I do that when I’m bored too, and I’ve been doing this for 5 years now!

Looks like Drifter likes the new cookies too!

A few people talked to Kendra after my clinic, and they were worried about me because I had to work so hard. Kendra was even a little worried about me, but they all don’t know how tough I am! By the evening when we hooked up for the “Equine Experience” I was ready to go! We got to go warm up out in the grassy infield, and that was fun – more like what we’re used to. It was just me and Duke and Charizma that night, and we only had about a minute in the arena.

A LOT of people go to the Equine Experience. They start staking out their seats by mid afternoon, and when we go in there are people sitting and standing in every available corner, and they all cheer like crazy when they announce “Miniature Horses”. (They probably cheer like crazy for all the other breeds and performers too, but I’m not there for that part. 😉 )  First you have to go through a hitching ring filled with lots of other horses, and then go into the arena with the cheering and music – it always makes me a little hyper! Kendra was thinking we could go at a nice trot around the ring, but I wanted to go FASTER so she let me and I got to tear around which was FUN! Duke and Charizma got caught up in the spirit too, though Duke doesn’t go for fast for very long. Charizma though – she’s usually a slow and steady type, but I think I showed her how much fun FAST can be! (Charizma’s driver, Peggy, is still not speaking to me ….)

In the last couple years the Equine Experience has gone so late – it was usually dark before we ever got started. Not this year – we were scheduled for 8:54, and by that time we were back at the barn. It was quick, easy and a fun outing to stretch my muscles after working hard earlier in the day! We got a nice bed time snack (even Drifter and CinDeeGo, who didn’t have to work) and went to sleep.

Sunday I started in the booth again, and very much enjoyed the comfy sleeping arrangements! I had a big long snooze, and Kendra said that her and I would look after the booth during the demo, so I got the day off from driving. I did do my tricks by request for lots of pictures (amazing how word travels around!) and try on harness and eat lots of cookies!

Me in the WCMHC booth.

At the end of the day, I was finishing my supper and they started shoveling out my shavings! Then packing up the booth stuff! It was pretty alarming, until Kendra took me back to the barn with Duke for a few minutes … then they started shoveling out those shavings too! It was actually a world record tear down – with the help of the Tilleman’s, Lapierre’s and Cook’s we were loaded in the trailer in under an hour!  Awesome!

Mane Event was fun, but I was happy to be home in my own little stall (that I don’t have to share with Duke!)

Next weekend Kendra tells me we’ve got a lesson scheduled with Deb Laderoute, the first woman to drive a four-in-hand for Canada at the World Equestrian Games!  Kendra’s very excited, so I guess I am too!

Kendra says she’s busy getting the Hawk’s Nest ready to head down the road!

Flooding & Deep Dirt & Bordom

There was some sort of a problem in our barn last night – it was raining hard outside and somehow (our people couldn’t figure out exactly how) the water all ran into our stall. Our shavings were all wet, but the Gypsy Cob next door had puddles in her shavings! Luckily, when Kendra and Charlene got here in the morning they cleaned it all out and gave us fresh dry shavings. Much better!

Later on this morning they came and moved us to a new stall in a new barn. No flooding! Also, now we are next door to Charizma and CinDeeGo and one stall down from Drifter, which is much handier for our people, even though our nice dry barn is further away from the trade show.

This afternoon we hooked up for our demo – it was chilly when Kendra took off my blankets, and I haven’t had a lot of exercise the last week since Kendra pulled up lame again, so I had LOTS of energy. Kendra didn’t take too kindly to my high spirits, and made me do some boring walking to warm up before she let me stretch out and trot around the track. That was fun until the muck got deep and it was hard pulling! Then it was time for the demo, and the arena footing made the track look like smooth sailing! It was DEEP and hard work, but people clapped for me and Duke and Charizma and Blue Jay while we drove, and Totalee jumped and Blossom was just too cute, so I think it went pretty well – but I was tired. Hard work! They said they’re going to take some sand out tonight though – even the big horses were struggling, the footing was so deep. I hope it’s better before my clinic tomorrow afternoon!

After the demo it was my turn to be in the booth. Which was fun for a while, but then I got bored and tried scratching on the fence (the pen moves nicely when I rub on it) and playing with the tarp, which got me lots of attention. Score! I really liked doing my tricks for the people, but for some reason Kendra doesn’t think I should do them constantly. I do get lots of requests – people ask Kendra, “Is he going to do his tricks soon?” and “Could you please make him stand up so I can take a picture?” I’m happy to oblige!

I do like this trade show best of all – everyone here knows where horses like to be scratched!

See you all tomorrow! Come by and visit me or I’ll get bored and loud again!

All Ready for The Mane Event

This morning, it started to snow. It snowed a LOT! It wasn’t cold though, so I didn’t bother to go into my cozy shelter, and by the time Gram brought me into the barn, my blanket was soaked.

What it looked like at our house this morning!

It didn’t matter much though, since their next plan was a bath for me and Duke! Kendra says it was toasty warm in the kennel house (that’s what my people call their tack room – something to do with it’s previous residents I think) but I still got shivery when I was all wet. It was pretty warm though – there was a newborn calf in there warming up under the heat lamp, and the main heater was turned up too.

After we were dried off and bundled up, we loaded up into the trailer.

This is my fifth year at The Mane Event. It really is worth going to, any of you Alberta Horse people! Not only is there three huge halls of trade show, there is always lots of (free with your $15 admission!) clinics going on in all sorts of topics and disciplines.

I’ll be spending time in the Western Canadian Miniature Horse Club booth, participating the Miniature Horse breed demos (2:30 on Friday & Saturday; 1:15 on Sunday), and I was chosen to participate in a driving clinic with Dana Bright on Saturday at 1:15. Dana Bright was one of the judges at my very first CDE!

For now, Duke and I are tucked into our stall at in the barn, in between Jonathan Field’s horses (Kendra says that’s cool) and the Gypsy Cobs. I’m wishing I hadn’t bit Duke so hard the other day when we were playing – he never lets me forget it. If you’re walking by and he’s being mean to me, yell at him, okay? I didn’t bite him THAT hard …

The Return of Winter

The tough part about spending the week at Aggie Days, where I get lots of attention and get to show off for lots of people, is that then I have to come home and go back to being a regular old horse. Which wouldn’t be so bad, but we’ve had another blast of winter here, and I’m stuck in the barn and I’m BORED.

First, there were mares that were close to foaling so I got ousted from the big stall. I didn’t like my new stall in the corner, so I figured out how to open the gate. Much better! Until they figured out how I was doing it and fixed it so I couldn’t anymore. Party poopers.

Then on a nice day last week, I got to be turned out with the new guy, Tempest. He’s even a bigger chicken than I am! I could chase him away from both piles of hay, it was awesome … until they took me out and I had to live in a run by myself. Party poopers.

There is quite a bit of activity in the barn these days though, so it’s not all boring. I’m currently sharing the barn with two mares and their brand new babies (who are SO cute, but their mommies get mad if I peek in the gates on my way by), and a bottle calf (who’s kinda scary, but don’t tell anyone I said so). Every time someone comes in I stand on my hind legs and bang on the top of the gate so that they notice me. Usually, noticing me means they yell. Party poopers.

I get to go for a lunge in the roundpen in our little arena, and it’s great fun to buck and play and stretch out my muscles and roll and roll and roll in the dirt. Then Kendra says we have to do some real work, and puts me on the long lines. She says I have to get fit for The Mane Event in just a couple weeks. I’d much rather drive for real – I wish all this snow would melt so we could get out there! We also practice trickies which is super fun. We’ve been working a lot on Spanish Walk, which is fun and I’m really starting to get the hang of it, but rearing and nodding yes and no are still my favorites.

I’m off to stand on my hind legs and try to get a look at that new filly that was born last night … if you want to keep an eye on the new babies as they arrive, be sure to ‘Like’ Circle J Ranches – Miniature Horses on Facebook. Kendra gets new pictures of the babies up right after they’re born.

Last Day of Aggie Days!

Aggie Days is over for another year, and I’m happy to be back home in my own little barn!

I heard today that on Saturday between 17 and 18 THOUSAND people came through Aggie Days!  Wow!

This morning, before all the people arrived, I went for a walk and checked out the rest of Aggie Days:

This is Marigold, she's a Toggenburg dairy goat.

This is as close as I was getting to Manny the llama! Kendra says he's friendly, but he looks scary to me!

What I look like on the inside!

Trying out the corn maze.

Going through the grainery.

With "Bluebell" - she's the pretend cow that all the kids get a chance to milk.

Aggie Days went well – thanks to everyone who came out to visit me, and watch the demos and my readings in the Book Corner!

Saturday at Aggie Days

During the week at Aggie Days it’s all school tours. But the weekend, is Family Fun Days, and it’s open to the public. And there was a lot of public on Saturday!

In addition to our four demos, I also went over to the Book Corner and read a story to the kids. It was a little scary to get over there, through the crowds, but standing on the stage wasn’t bad. Kendra says I was pretty good, but that I didn’t need to knock the book out of her hand. She asked me some questions about the book while we were reading, and the kids must’ve liked it, because they all ran up to the stage and started asking questions me as soon as I was finished. I was happy to answer them!

Here’s a few photos from the day!

 

Taking a bow with Taylor.

Dolly & Christine

Abby riding Ole in a bow.

 

We’re getting ready for the last day! Aggie Days is open Sunday from 10-5 at the BMO Center at Stampede Park. Come down and see me! I’m reading again at 1:00.

Aggie Days – Day 2

Today I started the day out by doing a TV interview – the reporter was thought it was great that I was able to answer her questions, she said it was the first time she’d ever interviewed a horse!

There were a LOT of kids here today! I swear there was more than yesterdays 2500 (plus teachers and volunteers). Todays kids were a little bigger, grade 4-6 for the most part. Taylor and Kendra said I was bad in the first demo and wouldn’t give me my cookie, so I tried to behave myself better for the next two and I got my treats … phew!

After the kids went home, Dolly and I went to the Corral to lunge for a while. I was SO glad to get out and stretch my legs, I bucked and played, it was great fun!

We may have walked down the concourse to get to the arena so we didn’t have to go outside … shh, don’t tell on us!

First Day of Aggie Days!

We sure visited with a lot of kids today!  I don’t really like all the little hands touching my face, but I know the kids like to pet me, so I back my bum or my side up to the front of the stall so they can reach. Sometimes I get tired and go have a break at the back of the stall, but mostly I try to make sure every kid gets a pet if they want.

We also did three demos – they’re a little scary, because there’s so many kids, and Kendra’s voice sounds so loud. But Taylor leads me and I get to show off my tricks, so that’s fun!

I did get a chance after the kids got home to walk around and see all the animals. The llama was scary, even though Kendra said he was being friendly, and there was a plastic calf that gave me the willies – we’re staying away from him tomorrow!

We had one special visitor today. This is Jackson, he’s 3.5 months old, and his mom, Kim, has been showing horses with Kendra since they were little girls – 20 years! (Wow, I’m 8, Kendra much be ancient!)

Since it’s been winter ever since Jackson was born, he hasn’t been able to get out to meet his horses yet, but I know he’ll be spending lots of time riding my uncles, Bunanza and Chief, this summer!

Extreme Makeover – Horse Edition

Today was the day for my spring makeover – though whether or not spring has actually sprung is still debatable!

Before:

After:

This coming week, I’m headed to the Stampede Grounds in downtown Calgary for Aggie Days! Aggie Days is a wonderful program where children come to learn about agriculture. There are all kinds of animals for them to see, as well as interactive displays to learn about all aspects of agriculture. I’ve been going to Aggie Days for several years now, and Kendra has been going for as long as she can remember. I like to show off my tricks! During the week, Wednesday through Friday, school groups come through – about 10,000 all together! Then the weekend is Family Fun Days, and anyone can come and enjoy Aggie Days!

This year they’ve added a Story Corner, and I’m going to be a “celebrity reader” on Saturday and Sunday at 1:00. Kendra taught me to read, but I haven’t quite learned to speak English yet, so she’ll be my interpreter.

I can’t wait to go see my Aggie Days buddies! There’s Jamie, the black Clydesdale, Ole the Norwegian Fjord, Dolly the Welsh/Hackney Pony, and Zoe & Silk the Miniature Donkeys.

If you’re going to be in Calgary this coming weekend, April 9 & 10, be sure to stop by and say hi to all of us!