we lucked out

We had so much fun at Spur of the Moment Ranch in June, we wanted to try a Fall trip. We booked shortly after, but already there were no cabin openings until the end of October. Our weather is frequently nasty by then, we decided to take a chance regardless. It's been a slow Fall this year. We lucked out, and got gorgeous weather!!

It was dusk when we arrived. Both the boys unloaded, and were happy to go to their paddocks. I was proud of Koda. He walked inches from the giant horse eating boulder, without a second glance, to get to his paddock. I think our horses recognized the place. Is that possible? It quickly became obvious they have grown up some since our last visit.

We unloaded our stuff, fed the boys and went to grab a quick bite to eat. My hubby was resourceful, when we returned he used our receipts as a fire starter. Needless to say we started a "what to bring next time" list. It was sooo nice to relax and enjoy a camp fire, with Koda and Nemo nearby. Listening to them munch, and the occasional knicker. There wasn't anyone else camping, it was so serene.

The following morning while we waited for the sun to melt the frosty dew, I took photos at the ranch for the Sunday Stills challenge.

We headed south for our first morning ride. Koda & Nemo were very apprehensive. As we approached the multi-use trail, they both stopped. Nemo listened to his cues and continued forward, and Koda...backed. Not how I wanted to start out, it instantly changed my focus. He turned around after one ask, and headed forward onto the path. 

Backing and not listening on the trail has been an issue for us in the past. It's tough to block out. I thought hard about Trainer Patty's suggestions "Catch it before it happens". Easier said then done. "Don't pull back, they just back more. You have to have forward movement. Use the additional encouragement of a rein on his butt (if needed) make sure I have a hold of him, and heading in the right direction". My biggest problem is getting him to stop backing. Much of the multi use trail we travel has steep drop-offs on both sides. We spend a lot of time in the middle of the trail, just incase. Too bad, the ground is softer on the edges. Thankfully Koda only backed up a few more times on our first ride, upon approaching whatever he would rather not do. I got better at catching/correcting it. Let's just say I am still working on putting this all together. The rest of the ride(s) were pure bliss.

Multi-use Trail

We kicked up a large Grouse, but never saw any deer.  A couple campers settled into the ranch on our second night. The following day, we passed them while heading out on the trail. We rarely saw anyone, it was much quieter then June.

Colorful Water View

Backwood Trails

We stopped to chat with a local couple walking the multiuse path. They suggested a path that has since become one of our favorites. It's so pretty, with varied terrain. It made our boys think about where they are putting their feet. We walked over, under, and around trees. It was windy, with some hill to it. We maneuver between/around several huge horse swallowing black mud puddles. We rode this trail two different days, and didn't see a soul - other then a flock of large turkey's scurring across the trail.

A Favorite Trail

Koda & Nemo seem to like the ranch, and all the unusual sounds and smells it brings. Not to mention the catered peaceful meals.


We ate at another favorite restaurant, Maiden Lake Supper Club. It was all decked out in Halloween decorations. There was nothing spooky about the food. I had mouth watering hand breaded walleye and scallops ~ mmmm! While we went out, we had someone watching over our boys...

Cabin Angel

We absolutely love the area, and look forward to future trips!

Sunday Stills ~ 25 and 50 Steps

The challenge this week was to choose a starting spot, walk 25 steps in any direction and take 3 photos. Once steps had been counted out, we were asked to anchor one foot to shoot 3 photos. Harder then it sounds. Pivoting on that foot was allowed, but the anchor foot may not move. I thought we then had to continue on from the ending 25 step spot, and walk 50 more steps. After re-reading the instructions, we got to choose the starting spot for the 50 steps *rolleyes* wish I would have read the instructions thoroughly! For some reason, I have a way of making everything more difficult then it needs to be lol!! However, this actually helps with my predicament. I tried doing my version of the step challenge twice and ended up liking the results from the first round of 50 steps, and the second round of 25 steps. I found this to be a good challenge, either way. 

We took a Fall trip up north camping with our horses this week. Enjoy the frosty morning views!

Photo captures taken from my chosen 25 steps:




Photo captures taken at an additional 50 steps, from the ending above 25 steps:




Photo captures from my first attempt, these would be my chosen 50 steps:




View other 25 and 50 Steps at Sunday Stills.


savoring the sun

We had a beautiful sunny Fall day for a weekend trip up to Iron Horse. Our boys seemed happy to be back at their home away from home. Trainer Patty noticed Koda's round tummy right away. He hasn't done much of anything but be a horse for several weeks, amazing how quickly horses can change. 

We started with a short warm-up lunge, that would have been shorter if someone would have payed attention to me sooner. Koda was busy noticing every little thing that had changed since departing Iron Horse. Over to the outdoor arena we went. Koda & Nemo joined some friends. Rasta and owner Sue, and Patty was on Capone. We've not ridden with Capone before, altho he's been their for a long time and was stalled nearby. Capone is a Gypsy who was mishandled, and is patiently being re-trained. Trust is his biggest obstacle, along with the fear he was taught of other horses. Lucky for him to have been rescued by his new owners, and given a new lease on life.

It was so nice to ride in a large outdoor arena! Loping felt good. We didn't do too much, but just enough. We rested in between the fun, and caught up. When I asked for a turn, I once again got nothing. This time I had my spurs on, but even then had to increase my ask.That was the only resistance I got, everything else Koda picked up as if he had been doing it everyday of the week. We did a few other turns and side passes, he even read my mind on one particular spin. Funny boy.

Wish I could have bottled the feeling that day, of a long awaited ride in the warmth of the Fall afternoon sun. We weren't done riding, however during one of our breaks Koda closed his eyes. Capone was quite. Rasta and Nemo relaxed. We all smiled, our horses fell asleep while savoring the sun.

I had taken two camera's with me. My good one was in the truck, my point and shoot on my belt. We were on our way home when I realized, I completely forgot to take pictures. Guess that's a good thing, or at least a sign of pure enjoyment.

Koda was a thirsty boy when we got home

wrap, rinse and repeat

Harmony's leg is once again improving. She is putting some weight on it with a "flat" foot, but still limping and sporting a wrap.

Justifiably annoyed, while waiting

I didn't get to see her yesterday. Tonight I got the "it's swollen again" news. Sigh. Two steps forward, one step back...

Wrap, rinse and repeat
Her girl is taking good care of her, doing what she can to help her heal. She applied multiple sweat wraps, rinses, and fed prescribed meds.  Stall rest seems to be key. Even so, it's time to call the vet again. Next on the list is an ultrasound of her pastern. I wonder what the heck is going on??


changing routine

We've had an ever changing routine since Koda & Nemo came home a few weeks ago. One that is not conducive to riding. Weather is changing, we are rapidly loosing daylight. Work is busier then ever, with both of ours experiencing change of it's own. Harmony's injury care changes things up, and even the resident equine turn-out situation has changed again. It's all part of life. Fall just seems to bring it on full force, and you feel it more.

In regards to the resident equine turnout, the girls felt it was unfair for our four horses to be put in the arena while their horse and pony got turned-out in the pasture. They think Old Man should get turned out in the arena. Fine with us, it's in our favor. The way the girls see it, it's one vs four. I think they also want Resident Pony to be turned out with our herd, they love our horses and so does the pony. The five of them are a happy bunch. In fact, Resident Pony is the only one Nemo allows eating right next to him at the hay bunk. She is so persistent. I think Nemo gave up a long time ago, and allows her into his space. So far this turnout routine has worked out better, less musical horse. Other then threatening gestures, there has been no additional altercation. Good thing too, Nemo is still healing.

We've only ridden once, in over two weeks. Makes me sad not to ride, especially when the weather is pretty decent. I miss it. I called our Frainer Patty at Iron Horse, it's time to start trailering. Too far to do often, but a scheduled ride is just that. Setting aside time to do what you love is important. We headed up there this weekend! Post to come.

Among the changing routine, are familiar sights that carry us through...

My two loves, my husband and my horse

Sunday Stills ~ Rocks

I was going to opt out of this weeks Sunday Stills, because I couldn't fit a road trip in to shoot some of the beautiful rock formations in our area. I love rocks, always have. They can have such unique textures, colors, shapes, and embedded (or lived) stories. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to shoot a sample of some of the many rocks in our gardens, and remember the beauty in the little simple things that easily become ordinary in our rushed lives.

Geranium growing between rocks
Rocks surround our stream
Hens & Chicks fill in a large rock retaining wall

Rock walk way

Tiny sedum, finds a home in a rock crevice
Large rock
Red Rock
Blue Gray Rock, that sparkles in the sun
Self planted sedum, finds a home among the pond rocks

Corner boulder, good resting place
Self planted sedum, among the rocks
A different kind of rock, with my children's hand prints

My favorite rock.
Years ago my husband found it for me (disposable, from a construction site).
He carried it around in his work truck for weeks...
It is sizable and has a unique shape, a lot of texture, and varied color.


not a happy mare

After a week of Harmony's girl wrapping, hosing, giving bute and caring for an injured pastern - it was time to call the vet. We thought Harmony was good to go, the swelling was gone. By mid-week she had stopped favoring her left rear leg and was moving fine. The wrap came off, she ran faster then anyone. That didn't last long. Harmony is now on strict stall rest. She has been pastured all her life, and dislikes being stalled for long - not a happy Mare when she can't be with her herd.

We started noticing some oozing, coming from a small bump that developed on the back of her pastern. Appears Harmony got stuck/stabbed with something, and now it's infected. Her girl added Tri-care to the regiment, but the lameness returned and got worse. The vet came out this morning took xrays, applied a DMSO/Furacin (nasty stuff) sweat wrap and put her on antibiotics. The wrap comes off after 12 hours, her leg gets rinsed and she continues healing in the make-shift stall. We'll see what tomorrow brings...hopefully a horse that is on the mend.

One of my favorite pictures of Harmony & her girl


first 2011 ride at home

Yep, you read the title right. Today was our first ride of the year at home. We had a very windy, but good sunny Sunday ride. We haven't ridden for almost two weeks. I was SO happy to be back in the saddle!

One never knows how horses will behave when they return home from an extended stay at the trainers, and are asked to go to work in a completely different (relaxed) setting. Koda's ground manners were great. I really think he misses Iron Horse, and was happy to do something structured. Nemo got himself in trouble and had to be reminded what is not acceptable, however that didn't last long and the good boy that he is showed up for the rest of the time.

The resident girls were sooo excited, they came running down to watch everything. They are very sweet. We hope they'll join us in more horsey related things, eventually maybe even trail rides? I briefly lunging Koda, much to my surprise he listened better then usual. We did a short warm up ride in the arena. I asked him to turn on the haunches, and got nothing. Really? I have to put my spur on and roll?? This was unusual. Nothing worked. I know darn well he knows what I am asking for. I lifted my rein to encourage him, but didn't have to use it. He gave me a sloppy turn, but I''ll take it - next ride I'll make sure to leave my spurs on (I prefer not to trail ride with spurs) so I can roll, and remind him the same rules apply at home. 

Out on the trail we went...Koda & Nemo did well walking past the big machinery, and other farm stuff and onto the path, that leads to the fields. With the crops rotated, much is different and yet the same.

Hay fields can be pretty.
The sun was very bright and shadows were long. On the way back, I got a big spook from Koda. Not sure what that was all about, no one else saw whatever caught him by surprise. Shortly after we kicked up a big pheasant in a different field. Brad said it's been years since they've seen any of them on the farm. 

The sun made everything glow.

I'm looking forward to many more farm rides, and once the fields are harvested, even further ones. It's going to be another busy week, have a great one!

Sunday Stills ~ Focusing on the Foreground

I often find myself focusing on the foreground while on the road shooting landscape, however looking specifically for this type of shot was challenging. I tried several views, and learned you really need to be out in an expansive natural setting for this type of shot to work well. With this in mind, I did manage to get one new shot that fit's the challenge:


Below is a foreground archive photo, from the same location taken in August. It didn't make it into my Potluck Challenge, which includes a couple additional foreground photos.



life in the pen

It's been one week since we brought Koda & Nemo home. We continue putting them in the arena, separate from the resident equine. Since our boys were gone we never worked it up this year, turns out to be a good thing. Sometimes our horses are in there for the afternoon, sometimes the working day, or not at all - just depends. Being on someone else's random schedule makes me very uneasy.

No one is particularly thrilled with the situation. It's more of a hassle for everyone, equine included. Among other things, it's unfortunate the resident girls can no longer freely use our arena with both of their mounts together (only because it's either occupied, or they would have to lead an unpredictable Old Man through our herd). I am sure the fact that the resident horses are no longer getting fed with ours, has also crossed some minds. They want us to put Nemo and Old Man in the arena and let them at it. We won't allow that to happen. I don't see it much different then setting up a dog fight, where you know one (or both) of them gets injured - in this case Nemo. Letting a mixed herd work things out when you have lots of acreage for separation is one thing, this is another. Not to mention we didn't just send Nemo to training for nine plus months to set him up for injury. Maybe someday we'll try a better approach, but not anytime soon.

We are looking at other boarding options, and have had an offer at a friends private location. It's always a trade-off. We really just wanted to have our boys home. Not sure what we'll end up doing about this predicament...

Here are some view's of life in the pen:

(L-R) Harmony & Cierra, never far apart


Crabby, muddy Koda
(pretty sure he wishes he was still being pampered at the trainers)

(Old Man in the background)


even more lovely

A sincere thank you to Wolfie, from What was I Thinking, and Megan, from Operation Horse Rescue for this award. It was lovely to receive, and even more lovely to get to know both of you better!!

Seven things about me:

1) I'm an unperfect perfectionist. I used to be super organized, what happened??

2) I love olives, Kalamata are my favorite.

3) I'm a Lifetime Member of the National Home Gardening Club.

4) I recently bought a new saddle, after a looong search. I ended up getting the last one I tried.

5) Much to my mother's chagrin, I believe in using and enjoying things - no matter how good they are.

6) My favorite wine is a Riesling, called Relax - comes in a blue bottle. Perfect in every way. It's light, sweet-ish, and priced right.

7) I've used purple inked pens at work for the past 8 years. No particular reason, but if I use anything else now - people notice.

If I follow you, I think you're lovely!! Grad the award and if you so choose, tell us about yourself.


reunion, the rest of the story

The rest of the reunion story is an eye opener. Altho Koda & Nemo had never met Old Man, we assumed an old horse that was at the bottom of the pecking order would stay there. The Resident Pony even bosses him around. I drove my hubby nuts the two weeks prior to bringing Koda & Nemo home, speculating how we were going to merge the herd so that Old Man wouldn't get hurt.

Nemo really listens to Brad. If needed, we knew he would stop whatever action might occur. We've never seen Nemo move horses for any other reason then food, he just gestures - and they move. For the past six months we've watched Old Man move when asked, and figured it should be a non-issue. We completely misjudged the situation. Who knew Old Man would turn into a raving Alpha out for Nemo's blood??!!

Harmony planted a good one on him, I think it was a "don't even try it" message. That didn't faze Old Man, he bolted and cornered Nemo in the shed. Thank goodness Brad was nearby to get him away, and stop the attack. Nemo didn't know what to do, he didn't even try to fight back. Poor guy :( he got two bites with broke skin, that swelled up. It could have been a lot worse.

Needless to say we separated our four, and the two residents. Its been that way all week. We put our four in the arena so that the residents get some turn out time. Old Man is still charging and ramming himself into the metal panels. I've never seen a horse with blood in their eyes, that just wants to fight. It's not likely to change anytime soon. I'm not falling for his woe is me "I'm so old" act again...we are considering several options.

In the midst of the madness, our trio quickly re-bonded.

(L-R) Harmony, Koda, Nemo were glued together
Nemo has had a lot to say since he's been home.

"I didn't miss your camera"
When we came back to do chores the following morning, Harmony was lame. Her pastern was so swollen, she could hardly put weight on it :( No clue what caused it, might have been the kick or the footing in the woods? Her girl wrapped her up, and is helping her heal. Interesting how much better Harmony was able to walk with her leg wrapped.

We spent the following Sunday morning cleaning up the wooded area in the pasture, cutting and hauling fallen tree's - and spending time with our horses. It's good to have them home all together, just wish the situation was different...

Some things are just better together, even water.
(L-R) Harmony, Nemo, and Koda



(L-R) Cierra & Harmony
Who is THAT...can it be true?

Yes Harmony, you can be with them soon.
(background butt's are resident horses)
Harmony's boys are home, she was sooo excited to see them!  It's been just over 9 months since our little herd has been together. I can't figure out who's happier to see who. We separated the horses at first, and saw things like this...

(L-R) Koda & Harmony
There was a lot of friendly love going around
We let horses out into the larger pasture with Nemo & Koda one-by-one. First Cierra, she was a little overwhelmed and resorted back to doing her baby mouthing. It was uneventful. We added Harmony, same thing. Our herd was happy to be back together...

Girls on the left ~ boys on the right
We let Resident Pony "Barbie" out, no issues. That makes five. All that was left was Old Man "JD" also a resident (aka not ours). He came to the farm while our boys were gone. There was some of this going on...

...and then things went from good to bad...to be continued...