it's hard to say no

When you are tagged in a foal video of Cierra's half sister, because they have similar dispositions, and a breeder/friend you trust gives you first dibs on a special baby horse, it is really hard to say no.

We were not looking for a new horse, but we drove 1.5 hours one way to visit in person anyways. Mostly to visit our friend at her new place & see her kids again. But yes, to see the foal. It had been a good six years since we had seen each other, unless you count a brief encounter at fair. We used to meet for lunch, years ago before life & jobs changed. I thought maybe the foal would sweep my off my feet, and I couldn't live without her. We could possibly board her there, or at our trainers. 

But we came to our senses. We would never see her. The timing just isn't right, and that speaks to me. We are in the middle of building two forever buildings, then moving, along with everything else that needs to happen with our current house, work, and life in the next year. It just wouldn't be fair to anyone, especially this sweet foal.

There were a good 5-6 horses, all three babies, to a two year old, to a broodmare, to the former stallion (foals daddy, was gelded by a different owner before she bought him back) that could have come home with me. I don't know how she does it, her horses are all sweet and good natured. You should see how gentle they are with her little kids, and no - it's not a gimmick. Here is her webpage, they also do horse transportation. I highly recommend them for either.

For those of you into bloodlines, here is the foals & Cierra's dams pedigree. The mare is foundation. Here is the foals stud pedigree. And here are but a few of the photos from our fun, memorable visit...

Yes, I am still trying to get her out of my head. Can you blame me? Next year, there will be a whole new crop of foals - and we will hopefully be settled into our new place. Where we can love on them every single day. Doesn't make it any easier to say no.


one down, three to go

The show season is well underway for many, while others are just getting started. Like Brad.

Cierra has been very looky in the show ring, especially at the main venue. 
She is getting noticeably better, but it is still obvious. Therefore, Brad's trainer wants her to get more show exposure. Brad had made the decision early on to do the same four shows he did last year, and no more. His priority this year is getting our house & barn built. There were other things out of our control that went on for months, and he didn't feel ready for an early start. He simply didn't get enough training time in the saddle.

His trainer took Cierra to an early AQHA show and showed her in three Ranch Classes: Pleasure/Trail/Conformation. We went to watch, and helped care for Cierra. I tried to talk Brad into at least showing her in Conformation, but he wouldn't budge. She came home with a few halter points, and the circuit champ conformation award. It's really nice, but not as meaningful if the classes were larger and Brad had showed his pretty girl. 

Cierra's circuit award
Cierra's second show was in Minnesota. We trucked up to watch the ranch riding classes. It was the only ranch they offered. I don't recall the placings, but it wasn't noteworthy.

One year ago, Brad made his AQHA show debut. I remember he was so nervous you couldn't even talk to him. He didn't remember a thing about his rides and showed Cierra in Conformation for the first time, with zero prep. Surprise! But he did it. 

Fast forward to his first show of this season - at the same venue. What a difference a year makes!! He still has some nerves, but manageable, and is doing flying lead changes. Although Brad's rides weren't perfect and he has things to work on, he also has much to be proud of. Including two first places in Ranch Riding (out of 9 entries) and two firsts in Conformation. They have already qualified for the World Show.

The video above is of his first place ride. You'll notice some transitions need work, and a pole clunk - but don't blink or you'll miss the lead change :)) Speaking of missing, I didn't catch the very beginning, and the end of the pattern (they walk, and back). Everyone watching cheered loudly. I was very happy for him, they've come a long way.

The second set of judges were not Ranch judges, they were Western Pleasure judges. Suddenly the Pleasure horses started winning everything, and all the true extended ranch horses were bringing up the bottom. Go figure. It's far from all about winning, but that was ridiculous.

Any new readers wondering why I don't have photos of Brad showing, it's against AQHA rules. Altho other people do it. I can't. The show photographer who shoots all the shows, got her undies in a bundle last year and complained. Now I get written permission every year from the local organization, just to take photos of my husband and horse during non judged times (insert eye roll). Whatever, I like to keep the peace.

Cierra's trail classes have left something to be desired. Needless to say, they've switched lessons to include trail work. Thank goodness we can finally ride outside, most of the time! 


build-a-barn ~ one section at a time

They started pouring the flooring inside the barn this week! The wash stall, feed room & tack room floor are in!! Thanks to Brad, our son, and a few wonderful employee/friends willing to put in extra hours at the end of a long day to help us out.

Brad installed the wash stall drain (lower right)
& put insulation down in the front room.

He ran pvc pipes to the stalls for waterers,
one for each set of two stalls.

Plumber will eventually run the water lines through the pvc.

We now have a real floor in three rooms!

The yellow arrow points to the wash stall drain, where the
concrete was slightly pitched in all four directs towards the drain

Notice anything else that was done with the flooring?

Brad is grating & framing up the next section in preparation for another upcoming pour. Basically it's the center aisle, around the long drain. We also plan to finish hanging insulation this weekend, and hopefully the remaining tongue & grove board on the storage side. I will be SO glad when that part is done!! It's fun to see the flooring come together, one section at a time. 


Build-a-barn links: 


how much wood can a woodchuck chuck

None, at least not in our barn. 

We need everything to dry out, so the barn doors have been staying wide open for now. Of course that is an invitation for curious visitors. We have found many tracks inside the barn, across house flooring, and over the mounded peaks of remaining dirt piles. Our wild critters aren't shy!

Basically, we've created a play land for all the animals that have lived on our land long before we started building. 
That's all good & fine, until you come face to face with one...

Me: Um, there is something black & furry in our barn. Everyone stops what they are doing and comes to look.

Brad: What did it look like? 

Me: I don't know, black & furry. Low to the ground

Brad: It's probably a woodchuck, let me go get something

Daughter: Plops on the ground. I think I see it!!

Me: Be careful!! They can be nasty & bite! Especially when cornered.

Jameson (daughters dog): Ma!! Ma!! I think it's over here!! 
No wait, maybe it's over here?? I dunno. Wag, wag, wag. I love this place, it's so exciting!!

Look at the brave guy with the super long piece of rebar trying to rattle everything so black & fuzzy will run out, lol! Yes, I know - I am allll the way across the barn by the opposite exit. Yep, I am the braver one ;)

Brad: Well, that didn't work.

Daughter: Plops on the ground. I think I see it!!

Mom & Dad: Be careful!! They can be nasty & bite! Especially when cornered.

Daughter moves the styrofoam. Risking life and limb getting bit, while her faithful companion stands by wagging up a storm.

Daughter leaps on the styrofoam, because she doesn't really want to get bit. Meanwhile brave guy rattles the pallet until black & fuzzy makes a break for it. He scurries out leaving the barn unharmed, in search of some wood to chuck.

Brad: Aww, it was just a little guy

Daughter: What are you talking about?? It was HUGE!!!

Me: Will you guys stop playing with the animals and get to work!