Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I don't have time to write much of a post tonight. My house is still in desperate need of cleaning despite my repeated wishes that I walk in the door to a clean house. I could also whine complain mention that my repeated wishes for rain at the farm have been completely ignored. On the other hand our new farm (which isn't very far away!) sees a nice, steady rain once a week. The Big Boys have no idea how good they have it right now. Half the time you can hardly see them because the grass is so tall. If the other horses knew of the big disparity in grazing conditions they would all be signing a petition to move and arguing about who got to load on the trailer first. We now have hay out in a couple of the pastures here as the grass is struggling since it hasn't rained in weeks.

My only conclusion is that this lack of rainfall here is something personal against me. So whatever I have done to offend you Mother Nature I offer my most sincere apologies. I will ask again that you send the rain clouds that insist on missing this farm by a couple of miles into position directly over us. If you could get on that sooner rather than later I (and my allergies) would be even more appreciative. However I suspect I am still on the bad list and my pleas will be ignored.

Hemi and Chance snoozing

Grand and Leo

Levendi, Hoffy and Elfin

Trigger and Hoffy

Chance and Thomas

Apollo and Ivan sharing a meal

Elfin and Leo

MyLight and Missy

Asterik, Faune and Sebastian
My Dad and Cloudy hanging out

Snappy rolling


Wiz and Dutch

Boo and Bella the dog

Alex, B-Rad and Ogie cruising through the pasture . . .

. . . and then trying to decide where to go next

Murphy, Dutch and Wiz eating together

Monday, September 27, 2010


Maisie is a gorgeous bay mare who made the trip from northern Illinois to join us for retirement. Maisie is owned by the wonderful family who also have Lily and Norman retired with us. Most of the family members ride and they give their horses forever homes, all horses should be so lucky as to be a part of this family.

Maisie is an absolutely gorgeous mare

The family does not really know a lot about Maisie's history. On top of that they are pretty sure the information they were given at the time of purchase was not completely accurate anyway. For example, they were told that Maisie was 7 years old when they purchased her. However Maisie grew three inches during the first year they owned her so I think it is a safe bet to say that she was not 7 years old!! They think she was probably about 4 when they purchased her. Other unsavory tidbits came to light after purchasing Maisie including the fact that she had been given a long acting tranquilizer while she was at their barn to be tried. Typical horse world stuff, with the most unfortunate part being that it is typical.

I had to take a picture of Maisie's left front sock; I've seen lots of horses that have black spots in their socks around the coronet but I've never seen one where the black "spot" takes up such a large area. I think it is really neat and picture worthy!
Another view of the black and white sock

Needless to say it was a good day for Maisie when she joined her family eight years ago back in 2002. Maisie has a very sweet personality and is well known for her "snuff-a-whuffs." Maisie likes to snuffle and muzzle people, cats, dogs and pretty much any critter. Apparently she was not like this when they first purchased her. Her mom described her as being very shut down and withdrawn and not interactive with the world at all. Over time her true personality, and her snuff-a-whuffs emerged.

Maisie meeting Cuff Links while Lily keeps a watchful eye on things

Unfortunately Maisie has been plagued by soundness issues pretty much since they purchased her. After going through a few rehabs with her and dealing with a couple of reoccurring issues they decided it was the right decision to retire her and let her just enjoy being a horse rather than trying to keep her patched together and in work.

Maisie may be retired now but she can still show off when she wants to!
We were all interested to see how Lily and Maisie would react when they saw each other again. They had lived together for several years until Lily joined us in retirement last summer. It was very clear to me that Lily absolutely remembered Maisie. As soon as she spotted Maisie she came over and was making all sorts of vocalizations and greetings. I have never seen Lily react to a new horse in the same way before with so much talking, and she was also very persistent about following Maisie and pretty much demanding that Maisie acknowledge her.

Maisie checking things out in her new home
It was harder for me to read Maisie's reaction to Lily. Maisie is pretty submissive with other horses in general, and Lily has always been alpha over her. Maisie was acting very meek and submissive while Lily talked and babbled away and kept demanding that Maisie acknowledge her. I'm not sure if Maisie was just picking up where they left off in their relationship with Lily the boss and her the subordinate, or if she was acting submissive because that is how she tends to act with other horses.

Maisie and Lily taking a run together

They quickly settled down and grazed quietly together

It was fun to reunite Maisie and Lily and to see how everything worked out. For now they spend most of their time grazing relatively proximate to each other. It will be equally as fun to see how their relationship continues to unfold over time - will it be similar to how it was before or different?

Norman and Lily also had the chance to visit with one of the family members as well. Lily's "mom" was the one who drove Maisie to our farm from Illinois, and she spent a bit of quality time visiting with Lily and Norman while she was here. It was fun to see her again and we really appreciate her making the long drive with Maisie.

Visiting with Norman

Lily greeting me and her mom
Lily and her mom

We are so fortunate to have the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people and horses. As I said to someone recently we have been very lucky to have so many amazing horses trusted to our care, and they always have equally wonderful owners. I've yet to have someone contact us and say "I have this horse that I really don't like so I want to retire him." It is the opposite, we get the nice, fun horses that everyone tends to fall in live with!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Busy Weekend

We certainly had a busy last few days to say the least. Friday was a farrier day so lots of horses coming in and out of the barn. Then Saturday morning we had one resident who apparently was having a gassy day. It was what a lot of horsemen refer to as a "one banamine colic" but anything involving the dreaded C word is stressful no matter how easily it is resolved. Jason and I are still a bit on edge although everything appears to be completely fine and back to normal.

It was one of those scenarios when everything seemed to be mostly alright but not completely right. The horse in question was eating but not with enthusiasm and maybe not as bright eyed as normal, but other than that was himself. However this guy is a chow hound so even eating but without enthusiasm was a sign something was amiss. Thus we had a Saturday morning visit from the vet. All vitals were normal, everything normal upon rectal palpation, everything normal when the NG tube was passed, etc. The only thing not completely normal were the gut sounds. As the vet said it sounded like the horse had eaten mexican food the night before and had one too many helpings of the refried beans and he needed a bit of banamine in his life.

I must say that we just love working with the vets at Tennessee Equine Hospital. They are always so responsive to our needs. After the initial vet visit we spoke with the vet on the phone 5 more times throughout the day and the evening on Saturday as the vet checked in for updates. Then he called again Sunday morning to make sure all was still well. You can't ask for better service and communication than that.

Jason and I finally managed to do something non horse and farm related on Sunday and go grocery shopping (we lead such an exciting life). We had almost nothing to eat in our house. On Saturday desperate times were calling for desperate measures and the only thing I came up with to eat despite staring in the pantry and the refrigerator multiple times was a box of granola bars. It was a granola bar for breakfast, lunch and dinner yesterday! Am I the only person who will keep looking in the fridge and the pantry again and again hoping that something will magically appear before me that wasn't there two minutes ago?

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Picture of the barn and run-in at the new farm taken from the pasture

some of the big boys grazing; Hemi, Elfin, Apollo, Tony, Homer, Leo, Grand

Levendi found some mud to roll in (because it rains once a week at the new farm - but still no rain here; my allergies are taking on a life of their own)


Tony really wanted to have his picture taken!

MyLight and Chili

Dutch found some dirt to roll in; no mud to be found here!

Murphy and Fuzzy Punch

Spike and Lucky grooming each other

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It Takes a Village

Actually, it takes a community, or so it seems at our new farm !

As many of you know, Melissa and I have been splitting our days up of late. One of us stays here and the other one goes to Lynnville to work at our new place. Lately, I've been spending the majority of my spare time building out the interior of the barn, so I have been "commuting". I think I've mentioned before that the community in which we're located is an amalgam of upper crust hunt folk and normal, rural farm people. Regardless of who they are or which group they belong to, they're all friendly and many of them are curious about what we're up to.

At some point during each day I've spent working at our new farm, one or more vehicles of various types have driven down our lane and come to a stop in front of our new barn. I'm never quite sure what sort of person is likely to emerge until the vehicle pulls up in front of the barn. It's little short of amazing to me just how broad a spectrum of humanity has taken an interest in what we're doing, especially given the small size of the community. I've greeted folks wearing everything from full camo (it's turkey season) to bib overalls to suits, ties and cravats !

Their professions range from retired engineer to landscaper, farmer, farm helper, huntsman at one of the local foxhunts (no kidding, and an Englishman to boot), storekeeper, lineman for the local electric co-op, restauranteur, and everything in between. After they've gotten out and admired everything, we usually spend some time propped up on the fence learning a little bit about one another. Often, they share a piece of history about themselves by telling a story about something they've done or someone they've known who lived at one time on our farm. This never fails to put a smile on my face.

Many times I've thought that the community where our new farm is located reminds me of the place in which I grew up thirty years ago. I'm enjoying meeting everyone very much, and I have met a lot of very good people. The only thing we look forward to more than meeting everyone is being considered a productive member of the community and a good neighbour. We're going to work hard to make sure both things happen sooner rather than later.

Murphy and Spike checking each other out while grazing

Asterik, Alex, B-Rad, Ogie, Winston and Faune

Slinky, Snappy and O'Reilly

Lily made good use of the morning dew; dew + dirt = very dirty grey mare!

Lightening and Teddy



Jo and Mina, World's Cutest Fainting Goats

MyLight, Harmony and Missy

Clay and Wiz