"She was a big boned gal from Southern Alberta, you just couldn't call her small," sang K.D. Lang. While Vedas' dam was actually from Manitoba, her sire was from Valhalla Centre, considered Northern Alberta. She was at the top end of size allowed by the breed standard and we often referred to her as "Big Vee" or just "Biggest". Sometimes we called her "last hole Vedas" because all the tack and equipment we bought or used on her had to be adjusted to the last hole. She was very feminine and our most affectionate horse always nickering softly at me and offering her soft nose to exchange breath and get a kiss. I had to oblige her.
She was the Cooker's main riding horse for a number of years and taught her a few lessons on how to stay on a horse. Vedas didn't like water on trails and would do whatever possible to keep her feet dry. This included getting very close to the wet spot, be it a creek or puddle, bunch herself up, and take a great leap with nearly the power to achieve orbit over the offending dampness. This taught the cooker how to stay on a leaping horse. Here is a pic from one of our local horse shows where all four feet are off the ground where she is trying to get airborne by outrunning gravity.
She had some funny quirks. She loved being scratched wherever it itched. Her butt itched this one time so she backed up to a fence made of 2x6 lumber and started to rub. I heard a loud snap as the board broke and ran to rescue her so she didn't get a giant splinter in her ass. After that if she needed her butt scratched she would back up to me or whoever was there and look with expectant eyes. Sometimes she would point at the itchy area with her nose and if the itchy part was under her she would lift a leg, usually hind, in order to facilitate the job she needed you to take care of.
One of the things she learned well was to give to pressure. She eventually got very easy to control with the minimum amount of effort from the rider. If, from the ground, I needed her to back up I would just grab her tail and ask her to back while giving a slight pull. I don't recommend doing this to just any horse.
She got to represent the breed at the Greater Minnesota Horse Expo one year along with our grey gelding, Mirage, seen here waiting to go into the arena in the Parade of Breeds.
Over the next couple of years I learned a lot more about the process and also how to present the horse in the best way and show the judges her quality. We did our homework, went to seminars, and prepared for the evaluation that was to come in July of 2001. For at least four months preceding the evaluation she was ridden at least four times a week and she and I worked in hand so that she would do anything I needed her to do on a loose lead. When It was time for the evaluation I was a different person showing a different horse.
Vedas was in good shape and so was I. I showed them a big walk and several speeds of trot with me running full out and Vedas in a big extended trot. We pulled up to the judges for a closer inspection and she stood up with head held high and a pride that came from believing in her own awesomeness. The judges were impressed. I knew we would get a much higher Red ribbon. We got the highest Blue at the show of an 83.25. That put her in the top 4% of evaluated Fjord mares in North America. I barely kept my tears of joy in check as we walked up to the judges to get our ribbon. I was in shock, but if Vedas had never done anything else beyond that it would be okay with me.
She gave us a lot of pleasure through the years, but was showing her age for the last two, or so. Here she is about 10 years after the evaluation with her pasture mate, the short and chunky Pookie, but Vedas still knew that she was special.