Sunday, January 20, 2013


We had the most beautiful snow this past week - 14" of fresh snow followed by 3 gorgeous, sunny days!  We lost power almost immediately Thursday, but thanks to the generators, water kept flowing, the fridge and freezer stayed cold, and we even had an outlet for the coffee pot/pancake griddle!  We spent our days feeding animals and playing in the snow and our nights eating and playing games by candlelight - pretty awesome!  Here are a few highlights from the weekend of winter:

The cows heading toward the pond.
Bruce, Rowdy, and Bella pull the girls in the tube.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Around the farm . . .

With the warm temperatures this past weekend, it hardly felt like January.  In fact it was so warm that our Christmas tree and decorations started to look really ridiculous to me, so I finally took the last of it down.  Of course we won't complain about riding bikes and ponies outside, playing basketball in short sleeves, or being able to let Sally outside without her coat!  Our new chicks and ducklings also arrived, so we have some seriously cute little chirping in our house.  Rowdy was (and is) so excited and checked on them every hour, cleaning their water and making sure everyone was warm and snug.

Today, though, is a rainy, depressing kind of Monday.  My one New Year's Resolution was to enjoy my Mondays and not dread them like usual, so in honor of that, we moved the jumps inside, and the pony and I galloped around jumping two foot verticals like they were four feet tall!  No matter how many years I spend in a dressage saddle, my jump saddle still feels like home, and having a pony in the barn who loves jumping even more than I do makes it so much fun!  She can contain her excitement over a big crossrail, but as soon as you make it a vertical, she wants to launch a mile before the jump - she just can't hold it in for one more step!  After some serious dressage work on her connection last week, she was pretty pumped to go around in jumper frame - head in the air like she was trying to see over the Puissance Wall.  I love that little girl, and she is quite the cure for a gloomy Monday.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

2013, onward and upward or over or around . . .

So, it's that time of year where I reflect on the past year and attempt to make plans for the next. . .

2012 in review -  On the horse front - after retiring Barney and Caruso for real in the spring, I dedicated my horse efforts to being a horseshow mom for 2012 - a role I completely loved.  Normally it is very hard for me to go to a horseshow without a horse to ride, but I have to say I relished the experience with Sydney and her Glory; I was actually thankful to not have the distraction of my own rides so I could focus on her experience, and our entire family enjoyed just being together and supporting our girls.  Even riding the pony at home with Sydney's rides in mind was a fun change in training focus, and there is nothing like a sassy pony to put a smile on my face each day.  I had feared I would never find a pony for my kids that could come close to my first pony, but we did, and as a coming nine year old, we hope she is with us for a long, long time.

Then and now . . .
Farnley Pirouette (aka "Pony") - 1981
Glory Be (aka Glory bug) - 2012 DAL
2012 also took our family on the trip of a lifetime - six days in Paris and 11 days in London for the Summer Olympics.  This was so huge that it would take a book to describe the experience, but we loved every minute and were a little sad to return to normal life after 17 days of just the four of us enjoying so many firsts with our family. 

Sadly, after we returned from that magnificent trip, we lost our Pee-Paw just a week later.  My step-father was a wonderful father, grandfather, and horseman, and he has been so missed, especially during this holiday season.  I am eternally thankful, though, that his last days were at home with my mom, relatively comfortable without major medication, and that he was still so clearly himself and able to communicate right up until the very end.  It was as peaceful as it could have been and divine in its timing.  We love and miss you, Pee-Paw, but I know you are having some great rides up there with Kelly, and I am grateful that the heartache is over for you. 

We ended the year with a lot of excitement as a community when our local high school football team won the Virginia State Championship.  It was so much fun to watch these young men (who were in kindergarten and first grade when we moved to Wytheville - yikes) win each week when most said they wouldn't and finish their high school football career on such a high note.  Our entire little town went crazy, and it has been one of those special times when I realize again how much I love living in a small town.  Congratulations again to the George Wythe High School Maroons! 

Shaking hands with the team from Honaker - a great group of young men!
Other 2012 notables - I cooked my first Thanksgiving feast on my own this year, and not only was it not terrible, it was actually quite tasty (I was more shocked than anyone at this positive outcome)! We also threw in a speedy trip to Disney World before Christmas as soon as the kids were out of school.  We had a blast with my mom and brother, and Bruce conquered some major roller coaster fears - nothing like the peer pressure of your nine year old son to push you out of your comfort zone!

So, what's in store for us in 2013?  Honestly, who knows?  Bruce has a very big birthday this year, while I am having my last!   In just a few months, I will be the mother of a teenager - how is that possible?  And Rowdy will hit double digits this summer - no way!!   As for the horses, Barney was bought with the expectation of being a three year horse for me, and while those three years didn't go exactly according to plan, the three years are up nonetheless.  The horse savings account has recovered enough to start thinking about the next one, so we'll see if anything comes along.  Thanks to things like the Dodd-Frank Act, presidential election, and fiscal cliff nightmare, 2012 was an absolutely insane year for business, so I am looking forward to a calmer 2013 on that front, which may give me a little more time in the barn and in the saddle - fingers crossed.  

Mostly I just hope 2013 continues to keep us healthy and brings us more time to enjoy our family and friends.  Time with our kids feels like it is slipping by too quickly, and I want to make the most of these amazing years with them filled with wonderful memories of an innocent and happy childhood - I pray it's not asking for too much.

We also continue to pray for the families in Newtown, Connecticut as they begin a new year and wish that community continued grace and peace in 2013.  As a mother this tragedy has brought me to tears and to my knees more than any other, and I hope those families continue to feel the love, support, and prayers of a nation that continues to grieve with them, remembers those who were lost, and commits to moving forward in a positive way.

We wish you a blessed 2013 and hope it is a year filled with joy for you and your loved ones (two and four legged)!!  Come see us at the farm!! 


The season of Thanksgiving

I realized I never published this one, so I'm doing it now because I am so thankful to be able to live this life on this farm with my family . . .

From November . . .
I'm sure you have all seen on Facebook the daily posts of Thanksgiving.  Personally, I think this is one of the best trends to come out of Facebook.  Anything positive in print is welcome on my computer, especially post-election.  While I haven't been posting daily online, I do believe strongly in daily thanksgiving.  My list begins with the up-close-and-personal relationships in my life, without which there is no meaning to the rest of it.  But since this is a "farm" blog, I thought I would share some of the things for which I am thankful that are related to this little piece of heaven. 

One of my favorite quotes from Oscar Wilde is, “There are only two tragedies in life: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.”  As a little girl, I dreamed of having a horse farm when I grew up.  Now, though, I cannot count the number of days I have questioned the insanity of getting back into horses and buying/building a farm.  Seven hores have come into my life in the past seven years (with 4 taking up permanent residence), and I don't seem to have made a lot of progress in the dressage department, except that I now have a pasture full of retired, very large black horses.  I certainly wouldn't go so far as to call it a tragedy, but where is the blessing and thanksgiving in this? 

First, I am thankful for my daughter's pony, Glory, who has single-handedly restored my faith in mares.  She has given our family such joy in the past year and a half, tries her little heart out for me, and packs Sydney around like the pony is 18 instead of 8.  I love that little girl and pray I'm still feeding her 25 years from now.  (My welsh pony mare lived to 32, so it's not too much to hope for.)

Second, I am thankful for the ability to care for three wonderful geldings who deserve a great retirement.  They are like my extra children, from the sensitive one who clings to his mother, to the "too cool" TB who marches to his own beat, and finally the gentle giant who literally licks my face each day like a black labrador.  I know part of my purpose has been to give them the gentlemen's life of leisure in their older years, and I smile at their sweet nickers when they see me coming.

But here is where I am beyond thankful and completely excited.  I have tried and tried to find that "horse of a lifetime," and I have failed. You know that horse -  the one that every horseman and woman talks about, the one that when they reminisce, they say, "there will never be another one like him." - yeah, I still haven't had that.  The reason I am so thankful is that I know that my "horse of a lifetime" is still in my future and not in my past.  I am thankful that the best is yet to come and that I'm not telling stories about the glory days, but still dreaming the big horse dreams of my future. And each of these "not it" horses has taught me so much about being a rider and a keeper of horses that I will be a better person for that horse of my lifetime when he or she does come to live at Sally Run.