Thursday, August 27, 2009

Polo, Anyone?

Polo has always been one horse sport that seemed too distant, beyond the reach of most horse people that I knew. Recently, I've been very fortunate to meet a few members of a local polo club that totally erased that dated thinking, and spent a terrific evening with them this week trying to get the hang of this dynamic sport. I'm looking forward to going out to another one of their practices, now that I have an idea of how the game actually works.

The polo ponies themselves are exceptional animals, extremely athletic and the valued ones are very "into" the game. The rules are basically written to protect the horses, and it's exciting to know that this type of horse sport seems to be growing in popularity and finding it's own place among grass roots horsemen.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Puppy Pawlooza!

Yesterday was the first annual Puppy Pawlooza, London's Festival for Dogs. I've never seen so many displays, vendors, interactive opportunities and contests for dogs, and then so many dogs, in one place! The day offered such events as agility demos, a pet psychic, canine first aid, and quick lessons in cute tricks, obedience, nutrition and safety with children. There were lots of samples to give away, and the events were free. It was a fabulous day and I hope this was the first of many Pawloozas to come!

This dog's owner was giving a jumping demonstration. Yes, it really was the dog who was supposed to be jumping, but watching this owner (and others) who decided that this was the way to teach their dog how to jump was really far more entertaining!

A pair of young Sharpei.

And two stunning Harlequin great danes.

Here's Rustle, just too sexy for his new hoody!!

One of the highlight events was the dock diving. All kinds of dogs participated. The real water dogs who knew exactly what they were supposed to do, the wanna-be water dogs who were all gungho until the toy was actually tossed into the water and no amount of barking would beckon it back, and those that just plain barked at every one else. That would be the Shelties :).

Another very popular event was the frozen doggy yogurt eating contest. Three prizes were awarded: the fastest, the most polite and the cutest. Can you guess who won the cutest prize??

I was laughing so hard, I almost couldn't take this picture!! The victors in the "cutest" category ... and who would argue? :)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dragon Boat Races

Since 1993, the London Dragon Boat Race Festival has held this exciting community event with not only the races, but great food, interesting cultural displays and different arts and crafts.

For the first time, this year the London Dragon Boat Race Festival partnered with the Rowbust Breast Cancer Survivor Dragon Boat Racing Team. The London Festival events and community racing were held as always on the Saturday, but as an added bonus, Rowbust marked their 10th Anniversary, racing on Saturday and Sunday with teams coming from across Canada and the US. I'm sure there were at least 12 or 15 Rowbust teams, plus the many commercial teams competing. Proceeds for this event went to Children's Hospital London Health Sciences Centre.

A close up of the ferocious dragon figureheads on each boat.

Six boats competed per heat, advancing along through the weekend.

The winning team in this heat crosses the finish line.

Celebrating by splashing the drummer who keeps the beat for the rowers in each boat, more than welcomed on this very hot day!

To keep the races going, the next group of boats is already heading down to the other end of the "race track" before the finishing teams have come in to the docks.

Two of the heads that are worn in a traditional Lion Dance as part of the ceremonies.

One of the groups comprising the Rowbust Breast Cancer Survivor Dragon Boat Racing Team.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Puppy Pics

Here's a group photo of Keva's puppies at 12 days old. I've waited a bit before posting their pictures, as the one little tri girl was less than half the size of her siblings, only 3 oz at birth, but now she's catching up and doing fabulously. She hasn't seen a scrawny day yet, but it's been a lot of work keeping her tummy full :). The other girl is also a tri colour, not a bi black as I had thought up until a day or two ago, and then there's a blue girl and a blue boy. The male is on the far right. I've included a picture of mom "Keva" - "Chelson Satin Image" - as well, and you can see dad "Jasper" - "Lynphil Timeless Piece" on the Lynphil Shelties website. I just love these puppies!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Rodeo Drive: Part 2 - The Cowboys

These are the guys' events. The first one is the steer wrestling. It was a fun challenge to follow the horses as well as the cattle and try to anticipate where they would all end up :).

Calf roping wasn't nearly as one-sided as you might think. The calves did win a few times!

And the final event that everyone waits for, the bull riding ...

Rodeo Drive: Part 1 - The Cowgirls

The third last event in the Dodge Rodeo Tour in Ontario was held in Exeter this past weekend, and what a show! In spite of the heat and humidity, there was a breeze and enough clouding over that the afternoon's fun could still be enjoyed. It's been more than a few years since I've been to a rodeo, and this is world class competition. They're back again in September at the Western Fair just before the final championship event in Mississauga. I can hardly wait! I took a slew of photos, so I'm posting in two parts, first, the ladies' events and then the guys' in the next day or so. Yee haw!!! :)

These ladies were competing in the barrel race, the fastest timed rodeo event. The winning time was just under 20 seconds, which is excellent time.

First and second barrels done, heading for number three ...

Coming around the third barrel ...

And heading for home!

These were two synchronized teams for the musical ride.

Another high speed and tremendously athletic event, polebending.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Bits & Pieces

I've collected some photos of various events and occasions over the last few weeks, not enough for an entire post, I thought, but interesting or different enough to share at some point, so here they are (newest to oldest).

Last weekend a few streets in downtown London were closed to accomodate the Imadon Street Painting Festival, a large group of chalk artists including a separate group that dedicated itself solely to the re-creation of the Sistine chapel. It was amazing!

That same weekend we celebrated my daughter Chelsea's birthday. We enjoy "theme parties", and this year it was all about Hannah Montana. Here's Chels and Rustle blowing out her candles.

Two pictures of my entire vegetable garden, one fancy tomato and one cherry tomato plant. I planted them some time ago, and had hoped to be harvesting them any time now. I'm still waiting.

At another festival in mid July, this fellow was making molds of peoples' hands as a fund raiser for an arts project which would contribute funds toward making artificial limbs for war victims in Asia. It was kind of eery to see all these fake but very real looking hands strewn about.

And the ever popular rope game. That's Jolie leading Kelly and Keva on a merry chase. A moment later, they ran into something and it was game over, for a minute anyway.

Keva giving fair warning ...

And of course here's Rustle giving Kelly the evil eye. It was a draw :).