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!


expect the unexpected

Not sure where I am going with this post, but hopefully by the end it will be clear (er). We have had more then our share of a very wet cool spring, and it makes me think. About life. About expectations. About purpose.

Our horses are an important part of our life. Every time we seem to get past "things" as they occur, we take a turn. Sometimes better, sometimes worse, and many times just different then we expected - or hoped for. Which is practically the same thing. 

Nemo's allergies are back. Did we really expect them to go away? We sure hoped they would. They are not as bad as last year, but his allergies are back. I don't think it means the subcutaneous immunotherapy isn't working, I think it means he is still being exposed to high environmental allergens. Once we have him at home, we can limit exposure much better. At least with Timothy Grass, we planted a mix without any. 

Grey Horse Matters (or other's with related experience) did your daughter do anything in conjunction with her horse that was on allergy shots? or did the shots control the allergies? Feel free to message me if you prefer.

We've got a call into the vets to see if he has anything more to add. We are already doing the basics (masks, adjusting turn out time etc) but maybe there is something else??

Life these days revolves around the land/building X2. Last night we agreed to cancel our upcoming annual trail riding trip up north. I keep telling myself, it's just this year - but will it be? Who knows what life holds in store for us. 

After a horseless weekend, we arrived to the barn on Monday with high expectations of riding and spending time with our horses. All I can say is, our move can't happen soon enough! No use whining about all the silly stuff. I'll just say - Brad couldn't ride Nemo and I chose not to ride Koda for long. I wasn't a whole lot of fun on the 40 minute ride home.

It had been a week since I've ridden Koda, and my last few indoor rides were marginal. When you add feeding time and commotion, he get's his appy-tude on. There were waay too many riders that are never usually there (surprise!) to get anything accomplished, and it was wet and sloppy outside. Sigh. When do I get to ride and be with my horse?? I had such high hopes. Patience. I have learned some over the years. I always say I was in the bathroom when patience got handed out ;) it's not one of my better virtues. 

Then there is this thing nagging at me, called purpose. Brad thinks my purpose in life is to drive him nuts. That's true, I do it all the time - hah!! But seriously, life's purpose makes a person think. I try not to dwell on it, but who wants to aimlessly float down any ol' stream of life? Not me.

Photography? Sure. It can be a beautiful thing, with purpose. But I don't want to snap photos, just because I can. The whole entire planet is doing that. I've been trying to figure out my style/purpose. My most recent effort lasted 56 consecutive days, almost to the end of February. It's further then I thought I would get, but a whole lot shy of 365 days. The daily challenge was more "pressure" and less purpose. Now I only shoot the days I feel compelled to. Most people who accomplish the 365 challenge year after year, do it for fun. Some do it for recording daily life, others enjoy sharing detailed life out loud. 

My self restriction was no phone photos, and no quicky photos just to get it done. I wanted to practice with my camera more, take thoughtful photography, with hopes that there would be a revelation. I may try the challenge again under different circumstances, but it simply wasn't serving my purpose. Whatever it may be.

Woodland ~ 96/365 photo challenge

So much for clarity. Welcome to my overcomplicated brain. If you've got all this life stuff figured out, do tell.


Expectation is the root of all heartache.

 ~ author unknown


build-a-barn ~ a months progress

It has never been more apparent then in recent weeks, how many times you have to dig the same piece of ground in the building process. You dig it, fill it in, re-dig, re-fill - just to dig it up again!! 

My last barn update was over a month ago. The guys dug a trench, and poured a support "wall" for our room. More (re) digging was required for services to go inside the barn. Brad rented a mini-excavator to get that part of the job done...

front room is dug up for services
from house to be connected
stall side wall gets dug up for water to run off outside
stall wall pvc pipe is secured
outside gets re-dug for pipe extension
We did a lot more then dig this past month. Brad & I hung up insulation, and covered it with plastic. What an itchy mess that was, altho we were well protected. Our daughter came out to help us hang tongue & groove board. Things go much faster with an extra pair of hands!

long outside lower half of wall is done
Brad and I set the second half of the wall using two ladders. The boards are super heavy, especially the ones that aren't completely dry. Wish I had the upper body strength and nerves to climb an even higher ladder, to finish the top row. Sigh. 

so much done, and yet so much wall left to do
including the end walls, and trimming
The horse side required a lot of work done for sections of concrete (not the stalls) to be poured. Last weekend Brad needed "fines" (ground up rock, that compacts) scooped from a pile outside the barn, brought inside, dumped in strategic locations, and spread. Our son was too busy to help, so he asked me to run the bobcat for him :)

Nothing like coordinating 2 feet and 2 hands to raise,
 lower, move and spin ~ including inside the barn!
 Yikes, t
hank goodness I didn't hit anything!!
It was tight (for me) near the floor drain that was already set
while I hauled, Brad compacted
and compacted
and shoveled
(my view from inside the bobcat,
waiting to finish dumping the load of fines)
I got better and faster with the bobcat as the day progressed, except I kept hitting the horn accidentally. It is strategically placed on the back side of one handle. Scared the crap out of me every time. We had us some good laughs!! 

front room has gone through multiple phases
to get to this stage
more digging happened to connect key areas
Brad also framed the other room(s) floor
plumbers did some work (and of course digging!)
the pressure tester is temporary
The last photo was taken yesterday. That pretty much sums up a months progress on the barn. Whew, didn't think I would ever get this post written! Thanks for reading and scrolling along. Hope everyone is having a great weekend, and enjoying better weather then we are ~ brrr!!

Build-a-barn links: 


wheely nice table

I was trying to do one collective catch-up post with photos, but can't seem to pull it off. So I'll just have to post separately, or they'll never get posted! Below are a few long overdue phone pics of the wheel table we picked up at fair. 

Our wheel table was purchased from a vendor called Cowboys Friend Remade Treasures out of Iowa. They reupholster furniture & repurpose antique things. The vendor owns a similar 8 foot wheel dining room table. She added an old lariat to hers, between the wheel and the glass. She showed us a photo to give us ideas of what we could do with ours, and mentioned barb wire as another possibility. The wood is so old I love it the way it is, altho barb wire would be cool.The fun part is the table spins.

We were hoping to learn the back story of the wheel, but apparently the guy who made our table has passed on.The only thing I know about it, is her husband stumbled across a smaller 4 foot table made by the same guy who made their table. He bought it right before our fair. She didn't have time to do anything to it, which worked out for us since I like it the way it is. The only thing I plan to do is re-felt the bottom of the loose hub.

The wheel hub on top comes off. It just sits on the glass.
The vendor puts her horse theme salt & pepper shakers inside hers.
Decorations or flowers would look nice too.
Looking down at the table.
 See the photo bomber? 
My silly cat Sydney, he follows me just like a dog.
Table top with the top hub removed.
Click the photos to see how old & weathered the wood is!!

Sorry the phone pics aren't that great. The table is sitting in our unfinished dark basement. It was our first purchase for the new house, or maybe the human room in the barn. Four chairs fit nicely around it. The chairs were included, but we will likely look for others that match better. I think it would make a fun card table, as long as it isn't a game of spoons!! 


interesting timing

Sunday morning I called the furniture gals we met at fair and asked if the old wagon wheel table we were drooling over was still available. It was. They offered to put a hold on it until we could get there. We had no intentions of buying furniture, but after giving it more thought it was too unique to pass up. We decided to go back to fair for another spin (ha, ha) and the table came home with us. If only that old wheel could talk!! Sorry, again no photo. I've been slacking in the photo taking department! 

Since we made another trip into fair, we decided to revisit a stallion we came across over the weekend. We weren't looking for a stud either, but when you find something you like you look into it. Brad bought Cierra with the intention of eventually breeding her. For now he is enjoying showing her, and wants to put more points on. It will be a few years before she is bred, and it will be just for us. We have more bloodline research to do, and plenty of time for things to change. I couldn't resist generating color possibilities. It's the last thing we care about, but it's fun & easy with this generator. Here is the potential breakdown:

Hollywood Glo Cody has a sweet disposition and as a bonus is a handsome guy. His previous owner of 10 years spent a significant amount of time telling us his story. She came all the way up from Texas because the horse had never been in a show environment, let alone a crazy fair. That alone tells you something about how special the horse is. The above name link is pedigree. He's got some nice reining lines. This is his page on the current owners website. If you've got thoughts, especially about bloodlines - please feel free to share or message me. 

Nothing has been decided, as this came out of no where. All we know for sure is when Brad decides to breed Cierra, it will be primarily based on disposition. Everything else is TBD (to be determined). Who knows what the future holds.

We arrived to find the studs stall empty. The person who was watching over their other stallions, told us he was about to do his first ever stallion review. We made a bee line over to the show building and got there just in time to watch:

We left fair afterwards, stopped at home to load tack and made the 40 minute drive up to the barn. It's a good thing we went when we did, instead of skipping fair and going in the morning. We arrived to an empty barn, and found our trainers brand new baby foal! Surprise!! The mare had started expelling afterbirth & the baby was just trying out her legs. We quickly realized nobody knew. 

The barn staff was at fair (in between chores) and our trainer was gone due to a family emergency. We called them both, and assured them we would take care of this surprise situation. Both her staff left fair anyways and came back as quickly as they could. They were a good hour away. Everything was done by the time they arrived, but they were very thankful.

babies first picture
Brad went to the farm store to get bedding & iodine to dip babies belly button. I stayed back to keep watch. With the help of a boarder who was out back with her horse, the three of us got mom & baby moved, bedded and taken care of. We figure the foal was born within the hour for sure (based on the other border's arrival & seeing the mare still pregnant) but more like 30 minutes or less.

We eventually enjoyed a nice ride outside in the sunshine. I completely forgot to take a photo of Brads new saddle. It was a day filled with interesting timing. The table, the stud, the foal - all of it. I know the phrase "things happen for a reason" is over used. Maybe it's all coincidence, but I believe.


fair findings

We survived another Midwest Horse Fair weekend! It never ceases to amaze me how different our experience is from year to year. I hate to say it, but for us this year it lacked pizzaz. We drove right into fair, all three days. No lines no waiting. Very odd. Some years it's taken 1.5 hours just to get through the gate and parking. Don't get me wrong, it's awesome to get in fast and get great parking.

For the most part, we did have a fun three days and enjoyed memorable experiences. However, fair was definitely lacking something (besides attendance). Just can't quite figure out what. Perhaps it's just us. We are in a different place in our lives and
 really just want to be with our horses and/or working on our land. Almost didn't even go on Sunday. The weather was sooo gorgeous. It's a good thing we did go!! You'll find out why later.

Here are my fair findings:

We shortened our shopping list this year, and didn't do any impulse buying. Altho I tried! First vendor we stopped at had a copper metal relief wall hanging that we both liked. While deciding on purchase, the vendor reached over my shoulder and slapped a sold sticker on it! I was stunned. Someone bought it minutes earlier. Funny part is, they said it's hung for 5 years in their shop and no one even asked about it. Oh well. Win some, lose some.

We picked up the custom saddle we ordered for Brad over a year ago. It turned out really nice! Workmanship is outstanding. Now we each have our forever saddle from Reed TackWe got our yearly supply of Nemo's hoof supplement, bug spray & Show Sheen. Koda also needed a new cinch. I am trying a new one that allows for more airflow (photo credit to Weaver):

We attended a couple Ranch riding clinics given by Butch Campbell & his AQHA Judge wife (from Texas) they really know their stuff. They were rider lesson based clinics. You can only watch so much of that, we opted to skip the remaining four. The part we enjoyed the most was watching Nemo's half brother & his girl riding in the clinics. Funny how certain characteristics carry through genetics.

The only other clinic we watched was by default. It was on working cattle, led by Sandy Collier. It was also lesson based. Looked fun, and challenging. Maybe someday I'll even give it a whirl? Nemo & especially Koda is bred for it.

The PRCA rodeo was blasé. Our seats were tucked in the corner, by the chutes. Good for behind the scene and chute release, but everything else was far far away. Brad talked to a couple other guys who said similar, along with "Animals Won, Cowboys None". Next year should be better, they'll have two nights of rodeo. 

My favorite photo from the rodeo:

The best part of fair this year were the new vendors we met. We had a ball chatting with the stall rep, sign maker and a couple furniture repurpose gals. It's fun talking future things for our new place!!

We left fair early Sunday afternoon to head up to the barn for a ride. Our horse filled weekend was topped off with an unexpected visitor...to be continued...


orange you glad

Last week I had an orange week. I couldn't help but notice, that bright orange was making a noticeable appearance in my life.

It started with my blooming Clivia's. I overwinter mine inside, until they can go outside to summer camp. They have the most magnificent blooms and smell mmm good too!

Shirley from Ride a Good Horse made a keen observation in my most recent building related post, asking about the unusual use of lilac flooring insulation. We are using it, because of something orange.

not an orange snake barrier

colorful orange water tubing is attached

cement will be poured directly on top
The lilac insulation is a heat barrier for heated floors. I learned some tubing runs hot & some runs cold. It alternates side by side. I've never seen it installed before, but I've felt it! It was interesting to see how they laid the colorful maze out on our basement floor. Orange you glad you asked ;)

The very same day, I stopped to photograph a damaged bridge that I've been wanting to shoot. I got so excited when an unexpected visitor came floating around the corner!! Bridge? What bridge? To heck with the bridge, I couldn't believe my eyes! I ran back to my truck to switch to my longer lens. Knowing moments like these are rare & fleeting. If only I had stayed calm and not given off so much frantic energy, he probably would have stuck around longer.

Favorite Color ~ 102/365 photo challenge
I had to look up this unique bird. He has a funny bump on his bill. Apparently it has to do with breeding season. I had no idea we have American White Pelican in our area. Orange was my favorite color *that day* for sure!! Click photo to get a closer look at the vibrant color around his eyes.

I wonder what, if anything, will stand out this week. Do you ever have those weeks?


productive weekend

In order to keep things progressing with the barn & house build, my guys are back to being weekend warriors...

Brad laid out the barn rooms earlier in the week
with spray paint (click to enlarge)
the front room begins to take shape
with a trenched wall support
our son floating concrete
I learned it's not called finishing, that is different
the front of the barn is still dug up
so they poured concrete the old fashion way,
by the bobcat bucket full, which is better then the hand bucket full!
basement beam & wall supports in the house got dug out
Brad pouring concrete
 he found muscles that haven't been used for a while
our son ran the belt truck
a well deserved lunch break
 look where my funny kid found a comfy seat
he always makes us smile
Sunday was all about insulating the basement floor
First a layer of plastic, then lilac 
styrofoam, then taping

While all this was going on, I picked up garbage around the property & building site. Obviously took photos and picked up lunch for my hard working guys. I usually go later, and leave earlier. Hard to believe it's another weekend already! Hope everyone gets a chance to get outside. My favorite place to be. Have a great one!