Thursday, November 29, 2012

Adding Stalls

(Post written by Jason) We have a group of horses that come in every day to get a hay cube mash, some year round and some seasonally. There are a variety of reasons owners may choose to have their horse handled this way. Some of the horses are hard keepers that struggle to maintain weight no matter how many calories they get every day. These horses get straight alfalfa cubes soaked into a mash. Some may have poor dentition which may limit their ability to chew grass and hay. Some of the horses come in simply because their owner chooses this option along with daily grooming for their horse. As far as we're concerned these are all excellent reasons but one of the problems of full time, or mostly full time, group turnout is that the horses become *extremely* herd bound. Depending on the horse's temperament removing them to another area of the farm to stand in a stall where they can't see their herdmates is challenging. In some cases it worries the horses so much that it cancels out all the benefits of additional feed and in a few cases it is almost impossible.  Having stalls that are located close to all the pastures is a huge help in overcoming the separation anxiety .

Some of our astute blog readers may remember that we built a couple of extensions on two of our barns earlier this summer. We built the extensions so that we could add  more stalls that were proximate to ALL the pastures on the farm. We will now have stalls in three locations around the farm.  

The addition on the rear barn shortly after it was completed this summer, ready to be turned into a shedrow of stalls.

These areas are now graveled in and, as of today, partitioned for stalls.  We have had a run of fabulous weather lately that has allowed to finish these projects without whining about being hot or cold.  It is hard to complain about that as November draws to a close.  Our newly finished stalls will now begin welcoming some daily residents.  Hopefully their rooms with a view will encourage them to stay relaxed and eat.


O'Reilly, Walden and Fabrizzio


Lotus and Asterik

Renny and Dutch

Trigger and Homer

Bergie was keeping an eye on Johnny

Silky and Maisie dozing in the sun

Elfin and Leo


Romeo showing off his new 'do

Who doesn't love the snarky pony faces?  Cuffie and Traveller

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Catching Up

I just got caught up on sorting through recent pictures. Between doing that and getting them on Blogger I am out of time at the moment.  Now I need to go act on the worst phrase ever in the English language: "What's for dinner?"  I have decided to add something to my  "if money was not an object" list.  In addition to having someone carry around dirty horse blankets for me I would also have a personal chef.  


Rocky and Toledo

Lighty standing nearby while Alex (rear) and Africa nap hard

Johnny and Sebastian

Apollo, Hemi, Homer and Levendi

Chance, Leo and Trigger

 view of the front half of the farm

a barely awake Rampal

Faune and Winston

Johnny and Tiny

Dutch, Wiz, Murphy, Sam and Chili

Merlin, Lightening and Noble got the memo that the gray horses were meeting in the shed


Apollo (you can tell from Stormy and Apollo that it rained last night!)

Darby with hay stuck in his nose and all over his head

Sunday, November 25, 2012

In Memory of Zeus

The last couple of days acted as a reminder to me and to Jason that sometimes life really does not go at all as planned.  On Saturday morning all was normal in our world, and by Saturday evening we had said goodbye to Zeus.  If there is anything good about these events it is that everything happened very quickly, and Zeus went from a normal, playful and active horse to being euthanized literally in a matter of hours.  From the diagnostics and treatment he had done at the clinic Zeus had a strangulating lipoma.  The only way to treat this is through surgery and for several reasons we all knew that Zeus was not going to be a good candidate for colic surgery.  Jason and I are still trying to absorb everything that happened - and changed - in such a short period of time. 

Zeus often gave you the impression that he was saying "wheeeeeee!!"

Zeus was a Danish Warmblood gelding and he had been with his mom for 13 years.  His mom has been a lifelong horseperson, however she had taken almost a 20 year hiatus from horse ownership.  She was still involved with horses in various ways during that time including leasing and also being part of a partnership that imported and sold Danish Warmbloods.  She rode several of these sales horses and gained a real appreciation for the Danish horses.  When the timing was finally right for her to rejoin the ranks of horse owners she bought a plane ticket and went to Denmark. 

Zeus on his first day; "this place is . . . different!"

His mom spent four days in Denmark trying horse after horse after horse.  She knew she was probably going to end up with a horse that was young and green in order to get the conformation and gaits she wanted within her budget.  As she was reviewing all of the videos of the trial rides with her trainer she kept going back to a very young bay horse with a star on his forehead.  On the other hand her trainer kept steering her back towards Zeus.  He kept telling her that he was a bit more mature at six years old, he already had some limited showing experience and was more of a known quantity as far as temperament.  

early morning grazing sessions

She said they talked in circles for awhile with her talking about the bay horse with the star and her trainer talking about Zeus.  In the end she made what proved to be a very wise decision and listened to her trainer.  She made arrangements for a pre-purchase exam to be done on Zeus, and soon he arrived in the United States.  After a 20 year break she was officially a horse owner again.  

Just having fun; I love how he his looking right at the camera in the top picture

Although Zeus was six when she bought him he was still very green.  He had been purchased to be a young girl's mount from the breeder.  With that owner he was started under saddle and shown a few times at what was the equivalent of local hunter/jumper shows in Denmark.  After a year of being under saddle his young owner went off to college.  At first she did not intend to sell Zeus and turned him out.  After being turned out for a couple of years his owner sent him back to his breeder to be sold, and that was where Zeus and his mom crossed paths.

Zeus (front right) enjoying a gorgeous sunrise grazing session with his friends

Zeus, Winston and Faune

Zeus and his mom embarked on a dressage career together with much success.  They showed through 4th Level together and were building the foundation for even more advanced work.  At the time that he retired they were doing half steps and perfecting pirouettes which his mom said came quite naturally to Zeus.

Zeus enjoying some down time with his friends

Zeus and Winston having some play time

Zeus and his mom had to put their climb through the dressage levels on hold as he began having some soundness issues up front.  Zeus had arthroscopic surgery on both of his front fetlocks.  As is often the case the surgery was the easy part and the hard work starts with the rehab.  In the year following the surgery Zeus had stem cell therapy, IRAP and PRP done, as well as a slow and deliberate return to work.  All of the rehab work paid off as he returned to full soundness on his both of his front legs.  Unfortunately shortly after his return to full work it became apparent that arthritis in his hocks was making it hard for him to work at his usual level of performance.  After hock injections failed to provide enough relief his mom decided it was time to retire him, and then we had the pleasure of meeting Zeus.

Zeus and Silver grooming

Zeus had just joined us in late September and we were looking forward to years of enjoyment together, not months.  However we had a wonderful time watching Zeus in the short amount of time we had with him.  He had more fun in his time with us than I've ever seen any horse have in two months.  He was always running, playing and grooming.  He definitely made the most of his short time with us and really lived it up.  Upon reflection it is almost as if he knew his time with us was going to be limited and he needed to make the most of it.  My only regret in this story is that we were not able to accommodate Zeus more quickly.  As everyone knows we stay full with a waiting list and Zeus had to wait awhile for us to have a place for him.  I wish he could have spent those months reveling in his new life with us since his time here was far too short.

This was definitely not how we expected our time with Zeus to end, but as I've been reminded far too often this year, sometimes life is like that.  Zeus took to heart the concept to live every moment as if it  might be your last, and I'm glad we had the opportunity to watch him do that.  Rest in peace Zeus.

the way we will always remember Zeus

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Kennedy is a Dutch Warmblood gelding who joined us for retirement in January 2011.  Kennedy was born in the Netherlands on July 4th and his birthday undoubtedly ended up being a contributing factor in his name being Kennedy.  I think his mom picked the best show name possible when she chose the name "Mr. President" for him.  As you can imagine we have had all sorts of fun with his name and have amused ourselves with the obvious jokes.  His friends are his secret service detail, the trailer of course is Air Force One, and, well, you get the idea!

Kennedy, better known as Mr. President in the show ring, with his mom

Kennedy's sire is the Dutch Warmblood stallion Uniform who is one of the leading sires of dressage horses in Holland.  One of Uniform's best known offspring in the United States would be Metallic.  Metallic competed with Robert Dover in dressage in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, earning a team bronze medal.     

Uniform, Kennedy's sire

Kennedy's mom has been riding and involved with horses most of her life.  She started riding hunters, then switched to eventing, and finally settled on dressage about 20 years ago.  She also had some time working on thoroughbred farms in Kentucky when she was a student at the University of Kentucky prepping yearlings for the sale.  After riding most of her life and having owned several horses, she has a very good idea of what she is looking for when searching for a horse.  

Kennedy grooming with Toledo while Rampal and Stormy graze nearby

Kennedy and Stormy grooming

Kennedy's mom had a horse that she had decided to sell and she was searching for her next equine partner.  Her trainer happened to be discussing this with a hunter/jumper trainer that was also based at their barn and had Kennedy for sale as he had recently been imported to the U.S. in March of 2004.  Kennedy came up in the discussion and it was decided that his future mom should try him.  Normally his mom prefers to buy younger horses and Kennedy was 12 at the time, but she decided to consider him for a few reasons, with the main one being that she had two young children and she really needed a steady, quiet horse.

Clayton, Rocky, Kennedy and Stormy having a group nap

Kennedy, Toledo, Johnny and Tiny grazing under the early morning sun

The match was instant as Kennedy's mom knew the first time she rode him that he was the perfect horse for her.  Kennedy is a very comfortable and steady ride which was exactly what she was looking for.  In addition to being a steady and comfortable ride, she said if she rode him correctly and found his buttons Kennedy was very honest under saddle and would give you exactly what you were asking for.  In May of 2004 Kennedy and his mom officially became partners.

Mr. President surveying his surroundings

Kennedy and his mom did some showing in dressage, eventually competing through 2nd Level and earning a Dover Medal Award at one show.  Their showing together was very limited as his mom's life partner had cancer and ended up passing away.  Kennedy's primary job description was to provide support for his mom during a very difficult time in her life and showing was a secondary concern.

Kennedy and Toledo

A couple of years before Kennedy was officially retired he began having some suspensory issues in both hind legs.  Kennedy was very patient through his rehab and he did get better, but in the end it became apparent that his hind legs were not going to hold up to regular work. Since Kennedy also had issues in the past with a dry cough from dust his mom knew she needed to find a place where he could live comfortably outside.  In January 2011 Kennedy made the trip to our farm.  I remember very clearly when Kennedy arrived. My dad always loved to meet the new horses so he made sure he was at the farm when the shipper arrived.  As he was being led down the ramp my dad said "another white one?" and Kennedy officially added himself to the collection of grey horses at Paradigm Farms.  I still smile when I think about my dad's comment of "another white one" so thank you for the fond memory Kennedy.

Kennedy, Toledo and Stormy

Kennedy fit in easily from his first day.  When he first began transitioning into his group he immediately decided that two of the horses in his group, Toledo and Rocky, could not possibly make it through life without his guidance and immediately began escorting them everywhere.  Kennedy has been loyal to his two chosen charges and almost two years later is still happily attempting to run their lives for them.

trotting through the pasture

When not eating or grooming with his friends, Kennedy can most often be seen standing quietly, often in the woods, quietly hanging out.  This pose is almost always accompanied by Kennedy's signature drooping lower lip.  He is definitely enjoying the good life.

Kennedy with his drooping lower lip

We hope you have enjoyed getting to know Kennedy as much as we have!