it wasn't suppose to be like this

I did not (and do not) want any more horses, and certainly not another show horse. For so many reasons, that start with the never ending monthly training that goes on for endless years, to the gobs of time spent away from the homestead and experiencing other things.

My horse cup is full and I love it the way it is.

Healthy relationships support differences and dreams, and we always 
have. One of the reasons Brad & I work together so well. Mushy stuff spared, to say we have many common interests and our core is similar, but we are more different than alike. 

Differences are what makes life so interesting.

So he bought a show horse. T
hat's nice. I am bound and determined to be supportive. However for the most part, I thought I would disengage. Go my merry way doing things I love that he would rather not do, while he is happy doing his show thing.

I want to do more local photography, soak in art and spend more time outdoors (not working) explore new places or chase dark sky phenomenon, connect with friends and even take the occasional photography trip etc

I was not going to get attached to whatever show horse Brad found. I care too much.

Nope. Not me. Sell "it" when you are done. After all, that is what most people do with their poor show horses. Use them up and ship them out, to be replaced by a younger shinier model. What a horrible thought!! I could never do that, even if I didn't like his show horse. 

Then he finds this girl, and gets me involved in the purchasing decision (smart man):

and when we meet her, we both think she is an absolute sweetheart:

We have gotten several reports since she arrived (just a short two weeks ago) that Padame "is full of it" and yet, when we go see her all we experience is a sweet two year old trying to understand what is being asked of her. Not acting up at all, at times responding with the wrong answer but listening in order to get the right one. I don't think this horse has a mean bone in her body.

Timing is everything, but handling is more and she obviously 
needs a job.

Brad put her in ground training the very next day. It can only help Padame. 

such a good girl

All the images & videos on this post are from our third visit. We had the barn to ourselves, yaaay!! I can't wait to go back for Brad to go back.

y iphone works better than my camera in the dark aisles:

those understanding eyes

acting pretty wild

meeting Cierra for the first time

When Brad lunges Padame it is to establish connection, not to work off energy. As you know training barns typically lunge younger horses (especially with no intent of riding) for exercise. They go from one horse, to the next. Walk, trot, lope. Stop. Switch directions and repeat. Done. Next horse. 

These experiences are different, for both horse and handler.

If you watch the video's, you will notice Padame stopping and starting. After only three visits they aren't connected yet, but they are off to a great start! I think she remembers us. Who knows if she has ever twirled on a rope. Brad was missing having his own gear. As soon as his part of building our arena is done, he will have more time to spend with his new girl.

18 seconds going left

26 seconds going right

Since day one, Padame seems to like the sound of my voice when I talk to her. Our trainer was the first to notice. I am just being me, and jabber jawing to those with four legs. Padame listens to me intently. I think she likes me :)) Brad might just have to share...

I don't know who you are lady, but I like it when you talk to me

It wasn't suppose to be like this...I love Brads new show horse and I am SO very thankful she joined our family!!! 

I guess my cup had a little more to fill, but after this - no more horses!! Well, except for Cierra's upcoming baby....


one last day for snow play

My favorite kind of snow, is the snow globe kind. It makes me love Winter. It decorates the trees, and sparkles in the sun. I wanted to take advantage of one last day for snow play before a warming trend. Where everything becomes wet, compact, heavy and messy. Including the newly fallen snow.

After fluffy snow fell overnight, our horses ventured out into the lower pasture. A place they haven't been for some time. When it is cold they opt to stay in the not so dry lot, closer to food and shelter. It is no fun taking photos of the horses there, the shed & feeder block my views and it is hard to not get fencing in shots.

Walking past the windows, I noticed something brewing in the lower pasture. Nemo was unsettled and trying to rally his little herd. I usually just watch & enjoy the dynamics. By the time I manage to get my camera, the fun stuff is over.

Judging by Nemo's action, he wanted Koda and Harmony to go back up to the dry lot with him. Whenever that happens, the horses usually all come running up together with little notice. Koda was resisting Nemo, and Harmony 
was off by herself. The rousing was taking longer than usual. I think I might have time!! I managed to grab my camera and rushed outside. Brrrr!! I thought to myself, nothing is going to turn out if I am shaking said the lady wearing sandals. I went back inside to grab at least a coat, hoping I wouldn't miss all the action. No time to switch shoes. 

Just in the nick of time:

Nemo making gestures to Koda

and they are off

heading towards Harmony

my favorite photo of the series
(guess I don't always post them last)

our two appy boys, born one day apart

we promised them, to live and run together

c'mon Harmony

Harmony flew passed Koda shortly after this photo

Nemo doing laps of rousing

whenever our horses run, typically he is last

thanks buddy

I love watching you and your herd!!


from woolies to windbreakers

For some reason my wordiness is not flowing. I am falling behind on blogging and processing photos. I have updates I want to document, and horse photos to share!! It happens when all I want to do is be outside. Everything else falls by the wayside, including housework. Perhaps because I was stuck inside for too long during the extended cold front?

My snowshoes have been put to good use lately. Five days of snow shoeing in a row is a record for me. My first day out was cold and solo, but ever since then the dogs have come with me. They live for our hikes. Me too.

Some days our time outside is longer than others, but who's counting. I do occasionally set the stop watch on my phone and track my hiking time just out of curiosity, but I definitely don't set time goals. That would defeat my purpose, which is to be among nature and absorb its magnificent qualities.
I do like that snow shoeing takes longer than hiking, and I linger more. I have to carefully watch both feet placement, and pole placements and two dogs (especially Jameson) while absorbing my surrounding. It is a wonder I don't face plant!

I try to go to different areas of our property each time I head out, to keep things interesting. We are significantly warmer, and sadly our snow is melting. To walk the pines, I decided my boots would be a better option. In hindsight, a combo would have been ideal. While I am getting better at putting snowshoes on/off, the idea of doing it twice a hike doesn't thrill me. So I put my foot brace on and hoofed it all...it goes something like this:

Step on top of snow (yes!) step and sink in snow (ugh!) step and slide (wobble like a drunken sailer) and repeat. Every single step. I try to use old step indentations so the snow walking is less daunting 
comical, now that I have some. 

I hoofed multiple paths
 yesterday and let me tell you yesterdays walk-a-bout kicked my butt!! It was soooo nice out, we just kept trudging along. I wore a windbreaker, and had to take it off because I was too hot! I should be used to going from woolies to windbreakers, but when our weather swings so drastically it catches me by surprise.

Some views of my recent hikes that caused me to pause:

lower pasture path draws me into the trees
I love walking this area!

Once you take the bend, the path Brad (and deer) made gently weaves.
Most of the trees are understated, but it is very quiet and more remote than other areas of our property. Someday, I am going to spend time down there and draw or paint...it calls to me.

we only own a few rows of the pines that border our pastures
but those woods are quiet and rarely used

the light that filters through these pines is magnificent
with a southern sky that is ever changing

these pines are frequently in my photos

our pine woods morph into very different terrain
we under utilized this area, but have plans for it...

I stick to the top path loop with the dogs

looks like a coyote den

evidence of woodpeckers on the lower pine path

most trees have bounced back up on our main trail

except for these trees, they are further down the trail

I thought of Val and her love for lichens
when this papery growth caught my eye
no clue what they are

close-up of what I assume is fungi

woodpeckers are still digging the latest tree 

I can't climb the short steep hill (when it's slippery) to get out of the lower woods so I took a by-pass loop for the first time, it dips down into a valley
I have to backtrack, but that is okay - more time in the woods!

it connects to the Y path

how have I never noticed these little red berries
and why has no wildlife eaten them?


yesterdays sunset filled me with wonder


one load at a time ~ build-an-arena

After being put on cold hold, our arena build has started back up. To date we've hauled 27 dump truck loads of fines, 3 gravel loads and counting.

That is a lot of coming and going, and dumping.

Brad built a ramp out of the gravel in the back of the arena, so the dump truck can drive right inside and put the loads in different areas. He has spent many many (many) hours in a bobcat getting the loads moved to exactly where they need to be, and leveled.

I am sure the neighbors that live closest to the barn will be happy when we are done with hauling. A truck dumping (actually when it's done) makes a loud bang. I assume every one has seen a dump truck, dump. I've been slacking at taking action photos of the build in-progress.

The three dogs and I checked out the start of the backfilling:

a couple loads of fill

The small dirt ramp on the long side is where a service door will go (work in progress).

grand dogs checking out the ramp

Um, Remi...pretty sure you are not suppose to be down there

Tank from the inside back of the barn, looking out

A few days later, the arena is starting to fill in:


running a heater on the drain ditch so it can thaw enough to be tweaked

Brad is waaay in the back running the bobcat

our cats think we are building them a big play structure with a litter box in the middle

the walls are long and tall

A few more work days later: The drainage tube has been installed and covered, and the arena looks like this:

inside the back of the barn looking east

inside the back of the barn looking west

The actual riding part of the arena starts close to the side service door and goes back 120'. See cut-out of concrete, with Brad standing by it (on the right). We will be using the non-riding space for storage. Note; perspective is skewed.

13 second video of the arena (taken today)

The actual building starts going up mid March. I can't wait to see the trusses flying!!


snow monster

After just shy of two weeks, we made it up to 19F!! I left three not so happy dogs inside (our Tank & two grands) strapped on my snowshoes and texted my hubby that I was heading to the pines for a solo hike. I quickly found out it would be slow going. 

The snow was light and deep on the way down to the pines.  
Knees up, waay up...again and again. One step at a time. I could barely clear the snow. The closer I got to the pines, the less snow there was and it was more compacted from previous treks.

I was surprised to see not all of the drooping snow covered trees on our main trail had sprung back up. I pushed past them and continued on towards our spooky tree trail. I am happy to say I found no additional evidence of human trespassers. There were however more wild animal tracks than I have ever seen before. In every direction, sometimes crossing. It looked like the wild ones had a running party in our woods!! 

The stumps and uneven terrain were buried in snow. I was able to snowshoe the entire upper pine loop. I usually hike it in my boots.

spooky tree trail
(mostly old domestic tracks)

I couldn't believe my eyes when I noticed another large pine tree being used for feeding. We have left many standing (and ground) dead trees intentionally for wildlife to forage. I guess the birds want the insects/sap from the live trees. I googled and found out the woodpecker holes themselves do not kill pine trees, but they do make them more susceptible to disease.

the holes are huge

I headed out of the pines and took the connecting path towards the lower end of our property. Another wooded path usually traveled in boots. I saw two wabbits running for cover, near coyote junction. 

something was on a full run, crossing onto neighboring fields
grouped tracks are very far apart (likely coyote)

snow monster alert
(Harmony & Nemo on guard)

Nemo trying to round up his defense team

18 second video of the snow monster approaching
my mohawk boy knows it is his mom

Snow crunching picks up so loud on my phone! Excuse my heavy breathing in the background. The home stretch of my hikes are always a gradual heart pumping incline. I had my hands full with two poles and extra glove in one hand, while trying to navigate phone videoing Nemo's ridiculousness on snowshoes. At least I wasn't also carrying Leo. Too cold and deep for him to venture far from the barn.

horse eating snow monster

The wind had picked up, my face was starting to get cold. Time to go warm up, and get ready to bring horses in. I was getting too warm earlier in my trek, and had taken my balaclava off. In frigid weather I wear it as a neck guard where it is easy to pull up incase needed. 

I was out late afternoon for over 50 min, between 4-5pm. It was brisk, even with the sun shining. A much needed, welcomed outdoor workout that was sooo refreshing!!