double or nothing

For our horses second day in the big green pasture, we decided to double their turnout time.

Yesterday's turnout brought on high energy & sounds of freedom from the horses. Did you watch the video on yesterday post? If not, I recommend turning up the volume & expanding the screen. It's short, and worth watching.

Day two, Brad opened the gate annnnd Harmony walked out. Grazed, and meandered towards me. That wasn't very exciting for a photographer.

Once again, Koda watched the pasture "action". But this time, so did Nemo. Really? You have fresh pasture to roam, and you guys would rather hang out in the dry lot?!! I couldn't believe my eyes. You have a chance at double the grazing, and you prefer not to graze at all? I don't get it.

I was almost to the pines, and called and kissed and clucked to Koda. His head was raised, he was listening. Maybe it was too much effort? Brad went over by the boys, and did a little coaxing. Koda decided to head out, at his regular jog. A much different pace then yesterday... 

Nemo finally came out to the pasture. Stopped, grazed by Brad/gate, and then he took off towards the pines. Again, at a much different pace... 

It wasn't long before he caught up with Harmony... 

...and rounded Koda up...

...and just like that, the three of them stopped and settled into grazing. No running, no snorting, nothing. Guess the pasture is old hat, already. Lol. One hour yesterday, that is all it took.  

Eventually they worked there way back towards the dry lot, drank water, and used up their green turnout time, they way they wanted to. Peacefully.


the spirit of freedom

The day finally arrived. The day our horses got to stretch there legs, in the BIG pasture with green stuff growing in it! For the first time, ever!!!

Brad turned horses out into the dry lot first
Nemo & Harmony wasted no time exploring
Koda didn't go out to the big pasture on his own. Weirdest thing ever.
He just munched on hay and watched the other two zoom around.
Brad had to get a halter, and lead Koda out.
The gate opening was right in front of him.

Koda ran like the wind across the pasture

He joined up at the far end of the pasture
they all turned and came running back past me

Nemo, the leader of our herd
He was breathing in the freshness, and blowing out the loudest.
Prancing, with tail head high, and leading the fast and furious running.

We called out, in an effort to slooow them down.
Of course we wanted them to enjoy, but not get injured.

Deer & turkey frequent our fields, and pines smell so fresh in the mornings. It must have been exhilarating for them!

Harmony was so happy to be out
Harmony frequently walks the perimeter of the dry lot, looking in the direction of the big fields. She grew up in a larger herd (20 horses?) and lived in a back pasture. I think this is where she will be happiest.
they settled into grazing by the pines
(iphone pic)
I walked back, and left them to be horses(iphone pic)

After one hour, Brad haltered Nemo
they all headed back 

I found it interesting that after being in the big pasture,
they hung out unusually close to each other
after tearing up the fields,
Koda & Nemo were all tuckered out
(iphone pic, through my window)

Watching and hearing our horses run free, like the wind, was priceless...it sounded and felt like the spirit of freedom. It makes every ounce of painful moving, worth it.

"I have seen things so beautiful they have brought tears to my eyes.
Yet none of them can match the gracefulness and beauty
of a horse running free."

~ Author Unknown


mind over matter

In the midst of our moving craze, Brad showed Cierra in Ranch at two AQHA shows. I feel bad I completely missed his first show this season. The May venue is two hours away. In typical show world style the times predicted, shifted. I was too far away to make it in time. Sounds like the riding went okay, but not as well as past years. With everything he has going on, Brad hasn't been able to put in the riding time. They did really well in Amateur Ranch Conformation, coming home with all 4 firsts out of 6 or 7 horses. 

This past week/end was Brad's second show. I had our son's dog with me the first day he showed, so I didn't even bother attempting to take photos or video. She is new to horses and horse shows. Our "little horse" is a sweetie and got lots of attention. We are really proud of how she handled everything! It's a huge busy show, with multiple arenas in two pavilions. The horses were at this show Tuesday-Sunday. 

Brad placed & did okay with his rides again. Ranch trail/riding classes had around 12 entries. He continues working on not letting his nerves get in his way. Mind over matter is hard to achieve. Most riders at AQHA shows are so very seasoned, that any little thing puts you out of point placement. Placing is far from the only thing that counts anyways. Brad is having fun living his dream, and that's what's important. I am really proud of him! 

The only other ranch rider from our trainers barn got some firsts & seconds, and came home with a beautiful handmade Dale Chavez halter for winning high point ranch. We are good friends & thrilled for her! 

Father's Day was Brad's second day of showing, and both his rides improved. Our son & daughter came to watch, as well as his parents. This was the first time they've ever seen him ride. 

I shot video with my phone. You'll notice Cierra didn't want to line up on the log side pass for both Brad (& our trainer, she shows her in open classes). Silly girl, I've seen her do this right 100X. He also got docked for inadvertently dropping his rein after the log pull, right in front of the judges. Whoops! He didn't want me to share the trail video. Too bad. I think Brad should have gotten bonus points for gracefully grabbing his rein and continuing on like nothing happened. SO many other good parts to his rides, like his flying change and his transitions are getting smoother. If you are interested, take a peak:

Amateur Ranch Pleasure Riding 

AQHA Amateur Ranch Trail


build-a-barn ~ a few changes

A few things that changed in our barn, after moving:

• Our barn is looking more lived in by the day.

It smells and looks like horses live in it, except for the back half. 

• Brad installed three permanent feeders to the stalls we are using, a couple days ago.

We were using buckets for grain, removing them overnight for safety, which meant rehanging them daily. When they became noise makers, we decided to purchase feeders. I like that you can take the bowl out & clean them, similar to the waterer's.

feeder (L) auto waterer (R)
• Halter holders were added to the stalls.

Cute story: Brad welded 8 horseshoe hooks that sat in our garage for years, way before we designed the barn. We decided to use them as halter hooks on each stall. I painted them, and they turned out to be a perfect fit! Funny how he made just enough for the number of stalls we have. I love it when things like this happen!

homemade makes everything more special
• I’ve discovered our fans are amazing!

At first I was a little alarmed at how large our fans are. You can see them in the first photo, altho it doesn't show perspective of how big they really are. They span the entire aisle, from the edge of the stalls to the edge of the rooms. It took me some getting used to, horses on the other hand didn't bat an eye. I love these fans, they quietly spin slow and keep the air circulating! I highly recommended Big Ass Fans.

I love sitting underneath these fans!

• We have a functioning toilet :))) 

our out house

• Brad welded more horseshoes, this time for hooks to hang brooms etc

I am painting them today. Next on the never ending list is staining the feed area wall, so these horseshoes can be hung and put to good use! 

• I made two boot planters. One from a pair of Brad's cowboy boots, and the other from mine.

my old boots

What hasn’t changed? The long list of things left to do, and the sheer enjoyment of living the barn life!!



For some odd reason I feel like I am glamping. You know, “glamourous camping” as in living outdoors with comforts of home, otherwise know as glamping.

Living on our land reminds me of our annual trail riding trips, up north with our horses. Not sure why. Maybe it’s because we live with our horses in close proximity in both places, or maybe it's the never ending sand on my feet. It could be the peaceful early mornings, or tired evenings spent caring for our horses? 

Stumbling outside in my early morning stupor with fresh coffee in hand, while heading to the barn. Putting on a sweatshirt to ward off the damp dew, would make anyone feel like they are camping. It could be the peaceful evenings spent watching and listening to our horses chew. Up north it's by the campfire, at our land we do that sitting in the barn under a slow whirling cool fan. No campfires here, yet.

When we are up north the poop pile we wheel barrel to is close-by, almost too close. Here I have to wheel the wheelbarrow (most days two trips!) allll the way into town & back, around corners, through sand traps, swatting mosquito's the whole way. The whole time I'm trying *not* to tip the wheel barrel. Most days, Jameson (our daughters black lab) makes me laugh hard as he races and jumps through the winter wheat like Bambi. I mean, bad dog!! No running through our upcoming field of gold. It’s just too darn funny when that dog gets his boogidy boogidy on.

Someday I’m going to haul my camera, or video that crazy dog with my phone. Imagine that...roll-n-balance, slap-n-balance, snap-n-balance, lol! I was thinking, I hope I never have to write a post called "the day the wheel barrel tipped over" cuz you know it's going to happen, and when it does...look out world.

Okay, so our ever growing pile of fermenting nuggets is not as far away as town, but the rest of the post is true. It is down the drive way, past the house, around a corner, down a path and through a sand trap - surrounded by mosquitos, and around another corner. Good grief, I feel like I am crossfit training! 

It appears I've become the official stall cleaner at our barn. I was going to take weekends off to rest my shoulder, but it is one thing I can do to help so that Brad can work on other things. 

Just like up north we have plenty of bugs, specifically mosquitoes. They are horrible here this year!! After morning chores, I head back inside the house and take a loong hot shower. 

Yes, that’s it! This is *all* why I feel like I’m glamping. No wonder this place is starting to feel like home, even when I'm rolling, rolling, rolling... 


new routines & first turnout photos

Our first morning came with our horses home, and it was chore time. Who’s going to do what? and in what order? Gah, everything is completely new!!

Brad & I are working together to figure things out. We know it will take time, and change as our barn & schedules do. For now it’s a bit like “who’s on first? what's on second? and I don’t know is on third”. We are intentionally mixing things up, to keep the horses flexible in their routines. For example, who gets fed first, out first, time of feeding etc I think it's better for them, and us.

Just like chore flow & the horses, I need some adjustment time. I still feel newish at taking care of horses. For those of you that don’t know, Koda is my first horse. I got him when I was in my forties. My horse care experience from
 prior years of riding is limited at best. I did learn some when all four of our horses lived at the family farm that used to surrounded our old house. Thankfully the high horse energy has been minimal. Although we haven't done much with them, except hand walk to/from turn out. Soon, I hope. It's been a long time since I've ridden Koda. Maybe a month? 

Every day things get better, as we all get more accustom to our new routines & surroundings. 


Until the pastures get established, our horses are limited to the dry lot. Thankfully it’s a pretty decent size. First day of turn out, as expected Nemo and Koda quickly explored every inch of it. For some dumb reason I chose to leave Koda's halter on, just incase. I wasn't thinking about photos, but did take a few shots of them exploring their new digs. I was hand holding so not all are sharp, but I included them anyways. 

first release into the dry lot
nemo was really silly


pausing to take it all in
before running to explore again
always with 
grass in his mouth
wasn't long before they completely settled down

Our daughter brought Harmony home that evening. She spent her first night in the stall next to Koda. When Brad & I arrived home from a work function that night, we found them glued next to each other.

In the morning we turned Koda & Harmony out together first, and once we knew they were good Nemo joined them. I stayed up at the house, and shot photos from our deck. Sometimes it's better for Brad to deal with our daughter where Harmony is concerned. 

Harmony (L) and Koda (R)
released together for the first time in years
they ran down together, to share hay 
Harmony (L) looks so fantastic!!
Sure hope we can keep her looking & feeling good.
She is a nervous nelly and gets stressed out easily.
Nemo checking Harmony out
Koda wants no part of their discussion
Harmony sending Nemo a reminder

uneventful conversations

Other then one Harmony double barrel in the air, there was no drama. Nothing. Nada. 
It was very obvious the horses remember each other. It is so sweet to see the three of them together again, grooming each other & trading hay piles and being buddies. 

It wasn't long before I walked past the window and took this photo with my phone of the trio...

(L-R) Harmony, Koda, Nemo



With much anticipation we made the drive north to pick up our boys and bring them home, forever.

We pulled into our trainers farm to find all three of our horses in the front pasture. I SO wish Ciera was coming home too…maybe when Brads show season is done, or then again maybe not for a while. Sigh. He feels Cierra has stayed sound & healthy during her show career because she stays in training, and therefore gets ridden regularly. Without an indoor, that would be impossible for Brad to do. Especially in the winter.

Nemo was tossing his head & trying to hide under Koda's tail. A clear sign his allergies were bothering him. We also noticed both boys had been bitten up pretty badly on their chests over the past few days, especially Nemo. They’ve gotten bites before, but not this bad. Poor babies! At least the gal that works at the barn was putting SWAT on their nasty bites.

We didn't stick around long. Both horses loaded up right away. 
Nemo walked himself into the trailer when Brad sent him, even tho he hasn't been trailered for a loong time. Such a good boy!

I must admit I got a little teary eyed on our drive home…this was really happening!!! After too many years, we were bringing our boys home!!

Whodathunk the poor little city girl who had to get sponsored to be able to go to horse camp, not only has her own horse, but even a place for him to live! I never thought it possible, not in a million years. I am so thankful, and feel truly blessed!!

We tucked Koda & Nemo into their new stalls. In our barn, on our land, and fed them our hay, that we grew. Nothing short of amazing that this is really happening!! 

We sat down to spend some quality barn time with the boys, and let it sink in. Us humans celebrated with a special adult beverage we don't normally drink. Jack Daniels Single Barrel on the rocks, mmm!! 

Their new stalls are larger (12'x12') then where they were living, and so much brighter. I'm not sure they knew what to make of it at first. So much newness to look at. They absolutely love their windows, fresh air with a view!



Tomorrow will bring more firsts. No doubt it will
 be a snort fest. Exploring those new sights, new smells, a new pasture, and Harmony will arrive. I can't wait to see the three of them together! I wonder if they will remember each other?


dreams are hard work

I dream of lush pastures, with a rolling hill, surrounded by tall stoic trees. Seeing our horses grazing in the not so far distance, with birds chirping, surround sound. 

We move our horses today. By the time you read this, they will be here.

Unlike dreams, reality isn’t perfect. Our pastures are not lush. Brad just replanted them, a third time.

weeds grow better then grass

We have no walk-in shelter for the horses, and Brad is working on the outdoor waterer as I type.

Dreams are made from hard work, and patience. 
Just a few weeks ago, Brad & our son pounded 72 fence posts into the ground. Thank goodness for the rented postmaster! The monotonous pounding was sooo loud, it echoed throughout our valley.  

Weeks prior, Brad built & put in sturdy corners to form our three pastures. Needless to say any additional progress to our new home has come to a screeching halt. We are living in it as is. People don't seem to understand why we aren't "all settled in"...I can't understand, why they don't understand, that starting from scratch is a HUGE undertaking!

In Spring of 2016, we purchased our land and our vision started to become a reality. I've spent a fair amount of time documenting & photographing the changes over the years. I never want to forget where we started, and because I will never ever, ever (ever, ever) do this again. Ever. Just like Mrs. Shoes, they will have to carry me away from our land.

We picked up our deep roots and moved them, for the love of our horses. This land, the endless move, it's all for them, to be able to live with us. I truly hope our horses will adjust, and love it here as much as we do. It is so quiet & peaceful.

view from our house deck
Life hasn’t been easy lately. Nothing worth doing is. The past few months or so have been more like hell. We moved exactly how I didn’t want to move, without things being completed. But I gave in, and don't regret it. Sometimes you have to leap, in order to be able to get to where you are going, and have patience. This challenging time, will someday be a memory.

I look forward to getting back to enjoying life, and living this thing we call "our dream". Maybe someday, even with lush pastures!?!!