10.14.2019

a different show season

2019 proved to be a different show season for Brad, for several reasons. Mainly because it was just Brad & his trainer from the barn showing Cierra. Our Ranch buddy ended up not showing at all due to family illness. Other past attending Western/English riders from the barn either moved onto other trainers, or decided showing at lower levels was a better fit. A sweet young teen we've known for years (brand new to showing) got a schooling class under her belt towards the end of the season. Intimidating level to begin at, but she grew up around horses and is a good rider.

Brad agreed to go to five shows, adding a new one this season. At the last minute, they ended up pulling out of the very first show. Cierra has developed allergies and needed medicine. AQHA shows do random drug testing, and give penalties for positive results to both owner & trainer. They decided it wasn't fair to Cierra, and didn't want to take the associated risk. They ended up attending four shows after all.

new venue (to us) was the second first show

record hot humid temps made for a very small show
our grands came to watch Brad anyways

The first couple shows Brad placed near the end of his classes. His trainer didn't do a whole lot better. I guess there were positive things happening that they achieved. I would be remiss if I didn't say after endless years of non-stop training, it's hard to watch the same struggles in the same areas. Let me make one thing clear, it's not remotely related to winning. It's about what I see, and inevitably hear. With all that *not* being said, Brad continues to be happy with his choices and that is all that matters. 

I wish he would bring sweet Cierra home, to be a horse. She deserves it, and then some. I believe she needs to rejoin her family and breath fresh air on a regular basis. Of course that means he would need to buy another show horse. Sigh. It is completely his decision on when to "retire" her, and no doubt a hard one. If only we had a riding arena, Cierra could benefit from a change over the winter. I am supportive, really I am. I'm more then thrilled Brad is living his dream!! I even slap a smile on and attend all his shows. See :))))) 

Another difference this show season is that Brad is no longer showing Cierra in Ranch Conformation. For a couple reasons. It is always the last class making the shows excruciatingly long, and she is older now. Conformation is a young horses class.


Tank (7 months) at Brad's third show
Brad really wants our puppy to be a show dog. I brought Tank to a couple shows. It's hard being the new guy, when most dogs live at the shows. There are gazillions of dogs (many run loose) and Tank doesn't know what to make of the show dog madness. He did pretty good, but I end up watching only Brad ride from afar and leaving early. It's just too many hours. I missed Brad feel the thrill of putting it all together for the first time this season. He even won his Ranch Riding class under two of four judges (out of 11) at his third show. Impressive considering the majority of his competition are very seasoned talented riders, that show a lot.


AQHA Ranch Riding continues to evolve as a discipline in the Midwest. Class numbers have increased, judges are more familiar with requirements and patterns have become more difficult. Especially Ranch Trail. Sadly Youth Ranch classes continue to have little to no entries. A sign of the future. The young gal that showed with us went in Open, instead of being the only one in Youth. You have to be 18 to show in Amateur. 

Brads show season typically ends with a four day State Show on Labor Day weekend. The venue is closer to us, so I was able to leave Tank at home. Brad practiced and waited alllll day to show, into the evening. Waiting for endless hours is sooooo boring!! I felt so bad for Brad when he scratched, just before getting called up on deck. Cierras allergies suddenly flared up. It was extremely dusty, a lot of horses were coughing. Something to do with the shavings. Brad loves his horse, and made the only right decision. They loaded the two horses earlier then planned, and took them back to the barn between Ranch show days. Thankfully Cierra improved enough to show the last day. Brad & Cierra had nice rides, and ended the show season with positive rides. 

If you are interested, below are video clips from his last rides at the State Show. Ranch Trail is first (2:40 min) For reference, three judges placed him 3rd, 4th, and 5th out of 12. The second video is Ranch Riding (1:40 min) he got 2nd and two 4ths, out of 15 entries.





Happy that Brad was able to put things together and feel good about their rides!! They practice weekly (year round) and he really loves his beautiful girl. I love watching them together, they make a good team!




10.10.2019

random summer snippets

When a season rolls over into a new one and you haven't posted for months, you begin wherever with snippets. Below are a few of our summer projects & highlights, in no particular order:

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Early summer, Brad finished the visible side of the barn. He seeded grass & built a flower bed that runs the length of the barn. I transplanted some of my favorite daylilies from our old place. Hoping they get established, as it's not ideal light.


Clematis transplant, also from my old gardens
I've never tried growing them up tree's.
It's doubtful it will overwinter, but at least I tried!

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Half of the storage side of the barn floor got poured, making it easier to stack hay etc. The original plans are for the other half to remain gravel/sand, for potential future stalls. Although it's highly unlikely we will ever put more stalls in. We have more then enough for us. 

Boarding/training barns around here are closing up at an alarming rate. We've already been asked if there was a possibility, and said no. We are not set up for other owners, and have no arena. We also don't want the guaranteed headaches that go with taking care of other peoples horses. However, one never knows what the future holds. So for now, the plan remains.



Between the endless rain, we managed to get three cuttings of hay this season. We sold all alfalfa, and first crop hay (gold bales on left below, holding for some goat people). We kept the rest of the hay for us, and our horses think it's yummy!! We did have some spoilage with the big bales, but it's sorted out. Brad rearranges this side of the barn on a regular basis lol, and assures me we have plenty of hay.



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Apparently it was a frog lovin' summer. We had tiny green "tree" frogs, everywhere. You had to look, before grabbing an exterior door handle.

side of the barn

hanging out on my potted elephant ear
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What you see below is what our horses at home have done daily this summer, actually the past year and a half. Not much to share, other then these three are loving pasture life. 

Brad's current project
re-fencing the preexisting fence in the lower pasture

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Natures beauty continues to surprise and delight me, especially our sky.


our tree line sunset in june

rainbow in june
I never did find the pot of gold!

We continue getting ready for Winter, as you all know they predict a cold one. Hoping to get back here to share more about our other animals, before the snow flies. Until then, enjoy all the wonder that Fall offers!!

our tree line sunset in september

8.02.2019

thoughts of stillness

I have started several blog posts, yet can't seem to hit publish. No particular reason. They sit, waiting to be revised. Or deleted. Idle words, that just don't seem worthy.

As for my photography, clicks are far and few between. I take photos when moved by what I see and feel. Mostly for me. Sometimes for pay. This girl doesn't need constant travel in search of the coolest thing to photograph on the planet. To share and share (and share) on Facebook. It has become a turn-off, nothing short of a competition. Don't get me wrong. I love seeing others creative work, especially of things I'll never see in person. There is SO much incredible talent in the world!! It's the one-upping, nit-picking and desperation to out do/see/know/duplicate what others are doing. It's a virtual "keeping up with the Joneses".

Not for me. I share where I am in my photography journey, every now & then. On my own photography page. Doesn't matter that my posts do not reach many. I am not in it for the likes. Altho I do appreciate those that do like, read and interact with me. Here or on other Social Media. Nobody likes to talk to themselves. All the time.

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The night sky has caught my attention this week. I dusted off my camera, and found beauty in the sights and sounds of darkness. It is very quiet on our land. The most common comment we receive from visitors.

Milky Way over our pastures
July 31, 2019

No fancy blues & pinks. The Milky Way does not look like that where I live. I prefer to keep it real. I tried to capture what I saw and felt, under the endless stars. Listening to the sound of our horses, tucked away in their stalls. It fills my cup & feeds my soul. 

Milky Way over our barn
August 2, 2019

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I'll find more words to publish sooner then later, mostly about our summer projects. I've checked your blogs a few times, it's been quieter then usual on Blogger. A sign that everyone is (hopefully) enjoying summer!! It goes by too fast. It will be Fall sooner then we can hit Publish, or at least me lol! Be well my friends!!

6.21.2019

two or three

A couple weeks ago we went to our neighbors for an outdoor dinner & fire. They had barn kitties looking for homes, so we agreed to take two. They said they tried to socialize the kittens, but they were very scared and scattered everywhere humans weren't. Hard to pick out what you can't see. Even the mama cats ran and hid. I caught a glimpse of a cute black kitty with white tipped paws and whiskers.

Imagine my surprise when the next day Brad said we should get "two or three". Shocker! This from the guy who doesn't like cats, and has put up with mine since day one. He thinks three will increase our odds of having a couple stick around.

When we went to pick them up they corralled the 8 week old kittens, or tried to. They still hid, but were easier to find. First one grabbed was a light grey cutie, which has since turned into a love bug. He is social, funny, loves to be held and purrs the entire time. He will crawl up on your lap if you ignore him.




The next one to come home with us was the black kitty with white paws that I wanted. It is small and very scared. I am still not sure of it's gender, think it's a female. This kitty is also playful and very fast. It has recently started purring when held, but unlike it's grey sibling would rather not be picked up.




Then came the third cat. Brad's cat. I told him if he wanted three, he had to pick it out!! I only wanted two. That poor third kitty was hissing and clawing, trying to escape when it got caught by it's tail :( and then by it's back leg. Dangling. Brad felt sorry for it, and promptly spoke up saying we will take that one too. Our neighbors are very kind people, I absolutely know it wasn't grabbed that way on purpose. It was just a wild crazy one. Still is.



We (mostly me) work with our kittens every day, multiple times. However my patience is wearing thin with Brad's untrusting cat. After days of gentling, I tried to kindly pick it up and the silly thing went bananas. Not that I blame it after it's past experience while being picked up. HIS CAT is going to take some serious time and patience. She (I think it's a she?) is coming around at a snails pace. There are some cats you just can't hold, and I think this may be one of them. Although Brad picked her up yesterday for the first time, and she didn't go crazy. Now he is a cat whisperer too {roll eyes} !!

My family have all warned me not to get close to these kittens. I am well aware the risk of loss with barn cats is profoundly higher. I still plan to get them fixed, feed them and give them basic vet care. I don't want sick cats hanging around, multiplying. We have not named them yet, everybody asks. I have a few ideas, but they are not all PC lol.

They live in one of the stalls for now, with tall cardboard blocking the slats. I put all kinds of fun cat loving things inside for their entertainment, most of which we had. I only bought one toy, and a soft pillow type bed on sale for $11. The little busy bodies use everything. They are a hoot to play with, chasing the dressage whip around.

The light grey kitty is sooo very sweet. I am considering finding him an inside home, or he may just be a well loved barn cat. 



Brad's cat is hiding under the far box, right flap

If you hang around long enough, all three come out to play
For now I am free feeding the kittens a high protein grain free dry kitten food. They also get a small can of shared wet kitten food most days as a treat, for less stress petting. I have high hopes that they will all survive, and stick around the barn. Time will tell.