Thursday, February 28, 2013

Search Me

(post by Jason) You may agree or disagree but in my mind perhaps the scariest sentence in the English language is, "Hello, I'm from the government and I'm here to help." My immediate thought is always,"Oh God help me, what now?!"

Last week Melissa and I got a letter from the IRS outlining what we had paid in taxes and when we had paid it for 2012. Of course all the payments were made on time which was reflected in the IRS summary. Today we got another letter from them penalizing us for late payment regarding this same series of tax payments. Of course this is a simple, straight forward mistake on their part. It's something that ought to be easy to sort out and it's frankly so dumb that I laughed out loud when Melissa showed me the two competing letters. We've all dealt with this sort of "buck stops nowhere" mistake and we can choose to find them frustrating, let them make us angry, or find them humorous depending on the situation and our mood at the time. It is certainly no way to run a business or a tax collection service, yet it is ridiculously common to run across this sort of mistake when dealing with big business or big government. If I ran my business that way I promise I'd expect to be OUT of business pretty darn quickly. Apparently a lot of people must have a lot more tolerance for this sort of nonsense than I do.

I think our clients would agree that this is the antithesis of how we run our business here at Paradigm Farms. It is our belief that our business and our reputation are built on trust.  The first tenet of building trust is doing exactly what we say we are going to do and then communicating that in clear, concise terms. When someone has concerns about what is going on the buck stops in front of Melissa or in front of me. We do the lion's share of horse care around here and I never want to get so big that I don't have my finger on exactly what's going on with every horse all the time.

Melissa deserves a lot of credit for giving "good service" to our clients and this is one area where I genuinely feel we beat the pants off our competition. Or maybe since she does most of the communicating I should say she beats the pants off our competition. Unlike the lion's share of our competitors, caring for our retirees is not a sideline or a hobby. This is our business and our living. We take what we do very, very seriously. On top of that we like each other AND we like what we do most of the time. In addition to communicating with you we also communicate frequently with one another. I feel confidant saying our competence level is high enough that the likelihood of getting two letters from us in the same week telling you two entirely different things is nil. And that has to be a good thing !

Hope everyone has a great weekend !


Apollo leading the Big Boys on a charge across the field

Apollo, Hemi, Grand, Homer and Moe leading the way in

Apollo had thundered past me when I took this picture; Levendi, Hemi, Baby, Grand and Homer are leading the way, with Thomas, Trigger, Elfin and Moe bringing up the rear behind the trees

getting closer

Baby and Elfin did an extra lap around part of the pasture just for fun


Walden, Fabrizzio, Lightening, Merlin, Snappy, Noble and O'Reilly


MyLight on a leisurely stroll through the pasture; Lily is peeking around the run-in shed

Kennedy and Oskar

Lightening and Thor

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Fiscal Cliff

Like everyone else I am tired of hearing about our impending fiscal cliff. I am also sick to death of listening to all of our politicians, from the President all the way through every member of Congress, pointing fingers at each other and claiming the sequester is the other guy's fault. Personally I think we need some term limits for Congress and no special healthcare and retirement plans for them either.  Sorry guys, you gotta live under the laws you pass just like the rest of us. 

What does this have to do with horses?  I told Jason a few weeks ago that after hearing the term fiscal cliff for the billionth time it struck me that Fiscal Cliff was the perfect name for a horse. My dad always said buying me my first pony was the worst financial decision of his life. I am sure I am the typical horse person that decides not to download a song from iTunes for $0.99 because I don't need to spend the money, yet I thought nothing of buying a couple of new pairs of breeches and new half chaps recently. I would never spend $150-$200 every six weeks on shoes for myself but will do that for the horse.  There is no logic in any of this.  Yep, Fiscal Cliff is an extremely appropriate name.

In that spirit I had to share this picture that has been floating around on Facebook. Pardon the bad language but it is SO perfect:


Faune and Silver having an early morning play session

Romeo, Asterik and Lotus trotting across the pasture . . . 

.... they caught up with Winston, Silver, George and Gus (you can see Gus' ears at the very back!)...

... then they all fell into single file

Norman and Cuff Links were having a grooming session

Darby and Alex

Miracle, Sparky, Sky and Griselle


Toledo, Largo and Bergie hanging out after a rainy night

Oskar was happy it rained, he clearly found the perfect place to roll and get himself thoroughly coated in mud

Wiz and Sam napping in the shed

Sunday, February 24, 2013


We hope everyone had a nice weekend and is looking forward to a wonderful week. Enjoy the pictures!


Lucky with a big mouthful of hay

Romeo and Lotus

MyLight and Calimba hanging out

Bergie and Stormy

Lighty, Sam and Sebastian

Homer and Moe

Chance and Leo

Thomas and Apollo

Slinky and Snappy


Thursday, February 21, 2013


As I was looking through some of my old pictures of Alex to use in this blog post I realized that it was three years ago today that he joined us for retirement.  In a sense I guess you could say Alex had some excellent connections to our farm.   Alex joined us for retirement from Florida, and there were already two other horses from his barn in Florida retired with us, Elfin and Levendi.  Thus when it came time for Alex to retire it seemed an obvious choice for him to join his fellow barn mates in Tennessee. 

Alex and his mom dressed up for a Hawaiian Luau at a Halloween show; Alex was the perfect first horse

Alex is known as Time Marches On in the show ring.  He joined his forever family over eleven years ago.  They don’t know exactly how old Alex is, but they think he was in his early teens when they purchased him.  In addition to his exact age being unknown Alex’s breeding is something of a mystery as well.  They were told he was some kind of warmblood cross, however one of their vets felt he was probably a quarter horse or quarter horse cross

Alex and his young rider in the show ring

Their daughter began taking riding lessons when she was seven years old, and as all horse crazy girls do, she begged her parents for a horse.   Her parents finally broke down and said they would buy her a horse when she was in the fourth grade.  Like most parents who purchase a horse for their child, they had no idea what they were getting themselves into. 

Alex and his young rider

The great horse search began for the first horse.  Several horses were tried that did not work out for various reasons.  Their daughter began riding at a new barn in the midst of their horse searching process.  They told her that she could ride Alex while the search for her perfect first horse continued.  I am sure it is obvious to everyone where this story is heading!

One of the very first rides Alex and his young rider had together; Alex is showing off his springy jump!

Alex had been at the farm for a few years when his eventual forever family came along.  The farm had originally purchased Alex as a resale project.  They had not been able to sell Alex and instead ended up leasing him out to some different riders. He was leased by various people and shown in the adult hunters. 

Alex (second from front) grazing with friends at Paradigm Farms

Darby, Alex and B-Rad

There are a few reasons why Alex ended up not being the successful resale project the farm had originally meant for him to be. Alex is a bit on the small side, and he is definitely not an easy, automatic ride.  Alex also firmly believes that his rider must do their share of the work.  I’m also told that he has a very bouncy canter and jumps very round and hard.  A springy canter and a round jump are not bad things but they also don’t always make for an easy ride.  All of these factors probably played a role in Alex not being sold. 

Alex and B-Rad hanging out


Their daughter did not get the memo that Alex was not supposed to be a child’s first horse.  She did not care that he was small or that he had a bouncy canter.  In her eyes he was the perfect horse and she fell in love with him.  Despite the fact that she fell in love with him the farm waited a few months before they were willing to sell Alex to his forever family.  He had never been ridden by a child before and they wanted to make sure that Alex really was going to be a suitable mount.  Finally the sale was completed and Alex had his own family.

Darby and Alex having a nap

Darby, B-Rad and Alex

Alex taught his new young rider not only how to ride, but how to ride well.  As mentioned above he expected his rider to pull their weight and to ride him correctly.  He was actually much more challenging to ride at home than at shows.  At home he would sometimes duck out or do a  drive-by past a jump if things were not being done to his standards.  However take him to a horse show and Alex became all business and turned into the perfect horse. 

Alex and Ogie grazing together one morning

Alex and his young rider first competed over cross rails.  They then moved up to short stirrup and from there went on to the pre-children’s division.  The pair earned year end ribbons in their divisions every single year for three years.  By the time his young rider was  ready to step up into the children’s hunter at the 3’ height Alex was getting older and was no longer able to consistently jump that height. 

 enjoying some down time in retirement

with his friend B-Rad

Alex’s young rider ended up getting a new horse to move up on. However her mom had grown very attached to Alex during the three years he had been in their family, so she began to take riding lessons on Alex.  However between being a mom, having elderly parents to take care of, and working, it was very difficult to find the time to ride.  They had all become very attached to Alex and did not want to sell him, so they ended up leasing Alex to a friend of their daughter.  Alex and his new partner were very successful showing in the pre-children’s division, and he ended up helping their family friend win a scholarship for college based on their winnings.

Alex hanging out in the woods with Darby, Lighty and B-Rad


After their daughter’s friend stopped leasing Alex he joined their other horse at Kingsmeade Farm, and  Mom began taking lessons on him again.  Unfortunately Alex came up lame soon after that.  A lameness exam revealed some very arthritic hocks and the vet felt that Alex should not jump anymore.  

Alex and friends enjoying another great day of retirement

Alex on the run across the pasture

The hope had been that Alex could be partially leased out so Mom could ride him as her schedule allowed and to help cut down on expenses.  As we all know keeping two horses at a show barn is not inexpensive, and their daughter was doing a lot of showing with her new horse as well.  In the end the best decision for all involved, Alex and his family, was to retire him.

trotting across the pasture with B-Rad

As I mentioned earlier Alex had two barn mates, Elfin and Levendi , who had already joined us for retirement.  It was a natural decision for Alex’s family to send him to Tennessee to join them.  Thus, three years ago today, we welcomed Alex! 

Alex grazing with friends

Alex finds retirement tiring

Most of you will associate Alex with B-Rad and Darby as they are his constant companions in most of the pictures.  When Alex first retired with us we thought he was a very submissive personality with the other horses.  That was the case for the first few months, but once Alex had gotten the lay of the land things changed.  He became quite the bossy little guy and has been that way ever since!

We hope you have enjoyed learning a little bit more about Alex!