I haven't been able to post much on my blog as we're currently on holiday visiting my family in Montreal (don't worry, I'm home very soon!) and it's too awkward doing blog stuff as my mom doesn't have any photo editing programs, FTP programs and my Blackberry phone is a pile of expensive useless plastic junk!
It's been lovely and HOT here, not like the 16C and rain that we left in England so we have been soaking as much heat up as we can before going back home to the UK's perma-spring/winter (I call it "Sprinter".
There are no places to ride where my mom is so no riding for me and I've gotten incredibly fat and out of shape, can't wait to get back to my Aquatone classes and to riding everyday. I did get to go to my favorite tack shop, Sellerie Lemay, to go shopping!
Ever since I was about 14, they have had a c. 1870's ornate side saddle hanging up above the cash register and I was looking forward to finally being able to take photos of it. I always used to ask if it was for sale and the answer was always "no" as they said it was "broken" (never said what was broken on it though). Well, got there and there is an empty spot above the cash register. I asked the wife of the owner where it was and she said that it got sold while she was away and that she wasn't very happy as she did NOT want to sell it as it was kind of the mascot of the shop. Grrrrrr....
Despite the disappointment of not being able to take some photos of the beautiful saddle, I did do some serious shopping and got a beautiful Reinsman western felt pad with cutback head that is covered in pink microfibre to use with my side saddle surcingle, an Equine Couture light brown square saddle pad with little polo saddles and snaffles printed all over it for my close contact saddle, a pair of navy blue full seat breeches for my habit (hope I can still fit into them!) and some Absorbine products which cost a fortune in the UK.
We've been doing the typical touristy stuff and went to Old Montreal to look around. There are lots of carriage (called caleches) that tourists can ride in to take in the atmosphere of the area. I've only been on them twice in my life (once when I was a teenager and the driver let me drive!) and about two years ago as they are expensive (about $60 for half an hour). Most of the horses I saw this year seem to be draft types with only being being a Standardbred type. I guess because of the closure of Blue Bonnets racetrack (renamed in later years as the Hippodrome de Montreal) where Standardbred racing was held, the supply of ex-Standardbred race horses needing new jobs has dried up.
I did take photos of the owners washing their horses down, watering them, giving them treats, putting fly sheets on them when they were standing in the caleche line waiting for customers to show that the horses were being taken care of during the heat but I can't get the photos off of my useless phone. My mom took photos of some of the beautiful drafters in Montreal that we saw that day...
The City of Montreal also washes down the streets regularly in Old Montreal to get rid of the horse poo and wee so as not to offend the sensitive noses of those who have never seen a horse before but even so, it still smells horsey there, mmmmmmm...like home....
For some reason, there was horse poo on the bike path even though caleche horses aren't able to get on the path! I wonder if someone went riding on it? Police horse maybe?
Afterwards we went to the Sir George Etienne Cartier museum. This is one of my favorite museums as the house has been restored to look like how it did in the 1860's when the Cartier family lived there. They had a photo from 1870 of Sir Cartier's daughter, Hortense, in a riding habit along with some sporting clothing she had in a display case. I tried to take a photo of her photo but they had a spot light shining right on her face so there is some glare.
After a full day of sight-seeing, we headed back home and passed an over-priced clothing shop in Old Montreal (you know the kind I mean, the minimalist ones where they only have one size, extra small?) and they had a saddle in the window for some bizarre reason. They weren't selling anything remotely horsey in the shop except for some REALLY REALLY REALLY expensive Le Chameau wellies but other than that, it was all modern city clothing. I thought it was a neat photo that my mom took though.