So here we are at the beginning of November, and we've already had our first snow fall, but thankfully it didn't last long. It did however, give us a short sharp shock to finish out Winter preparations!
We were supposed to run in a gymkhana on October 24th, the weekend after the snows, but that got cancelled, however, the snow had cleared before the final scheduled gymkhana of the season on Halloween, November 31st, and we were very pleased to make a really good show of it.
First Snow of the Cold Period
As we said, the first snows of the cold season came in during mid-October. We got hit hard-and-fast with about two inches, then came sub-zero temperatures, which froze it solid for days. The temperatures started to ease, however, it didn't thaw in time for the October 24th double-run gymkhana, and the arena was frozen solid, hence the gymkhana was cancelled, as was a two-day barrel race at Kamloops Race Central.
Over the course of the next week, the snow slowly disappeared, aided by several days of rain, brought in by the tail-end of the cold-air system and the warm air that followed. By the end of October, the snow had all but gone, leaving us some lovely clear weather going into Halloween weekend and the last gymkhana of 2020.
Final Gymkhana of the Season
The final gymkhana of the season, on October 31st, was cold; we arrived at the Pritchard event early so we could guarantee a spot close to the arena. And we still had our camper on the back of the truck, so we had coffee, bacon and sausages for breakfast, and chilli for lunch; which was great!
The event was a Halloween special, with fancy dress costumes for horses and riders alike, all controlled with COVID-19 protocols in place of course, with a cap at 50 riders.
The arena was being groomed as we arrived, and was in really good condition. After a good warm-up session, we relaxed in the camper to watch the lead-liners and peewees, then it was time for Lily to run barrels in the junior division, who was riding Louie at this time, since Joker seemed to be limping. Then came Amanda's runs on Louie in the Adults. Their runs were both successful, with both Lily and Amanda guiding Louie through the pattern successfully, and Amanda achieving a personal best time in barrels at the gymkhana.
Pole bending and stake races were also very successful with both Amanda and Lily, who was now back on Joker as his limp seemed only to be because his shoes had just been removed. Both riders came out of the event feeling really positive about next year's gymkhana season on their new horses.
We were all tired at the end of the day, but with things working out as they did, we were really happy, and it doesn't get any better than that!
Getting Ready for Winter
We had been slowly organizing ourselves and the farm for winter, but when the snows hit, it gave us a swift kick up the rear end and we set about in earnest.
And its amazing how much you can get done when you have to!
In the space of a day, we got heated buckets organized, setup temporary animal enclosures closer to the barns and resources, organized firewood supplies, adjusted and repaired gates and pens that had fallen into disrepair, organized our feed supply rooms, and winterized the RVs.
There are a few things left to do, but in the main, we're ready for the onset of Winter. Bring it on!