Winter, Blessings, and a Barn

What an absolutely brutal winter.

*

That star up above represents the 800 words I just cut from this post, where I went into a bunch of boring detail describing how sucky it was for me, linking to articles proving how abnormally rainy and grey it was to “prove” it was okay for me to feel that way, etc, etc.

When I’m boring myself with my whininess I know it’s probably time to cut the words.

Suffice it to say, it was an abnormally rainy winter.  There were only 3 mild days between October and March (when there are usually 17), some months broke rainfall records that have lasted since… well, since they started recording rainfall records. Other months didn’t break those records… but they fell short by less than a tenth of an inch.

At the library we had a lot of people coming in and printing bus tickets, or plane tickets, or any other ticket they could find to get outta Dodge.  “I can’t handle it anymore.  You never see the sky,” they’d say, with a half-crazed, almost caged look to their eyes.

Continue reading

Shallow Hope

This is so inconsequential compared to the big, important, “real life” stuff happening out there.

But.

Today my mom offered to watch the kids so I got in my car, backed out of my driveway, closed the gate, and drove very slowly to my new barn.

I arrived and took the long way through all the barns so I could walk and see each horse.  To be honest, I’m a little concerned this barn might ruin me for life.  It’s like…. if you had a 5 star chef cooking food for you every single day, would that make you appreciate food more, or would it just make all other food taste kind of gross?

At any rate, since boarding here is still new to me, I am like a 14 year old boy set free at a Playboy bunny convention (do those exist?  Eh.  Roll with me on my simile here).

 

Anyways, I took the long way to the barn so I could stare at all the Morgans, because some of them are for sale, so I better gawk while the gawking’s good.

 

13892069_10208707211790927_8327305110191772025_n

This is a yearling (Scandias Signature). None of her yearlings got the memo that they’re supposed to be gawky.

13686747_10208701324043737_2358393700760368323_n

One of these days someone is gonna buy Scandias Anthem…. and I’m gonna be so sad when they do.  In the meantime, I get to scratch on him whenever I want…. SWEEEET.

I arrived at Caspian’s stall (he’d just come in from spending all night out at pasture), took him out, and groomed him.

I saddled him, and led him to the roundpen and asked him to go around a few times to warm up.

I mounted up and rode, with the sun beating down on my shoulders and the wind making the summer flowers bend in the breeze.

I cooled him down and hopped off.

I groomed him again.

I said hello to Kathleen (the breeder/barn owner).

I picked Caspian’s stall and picked up his manure from the round pen.

I got in my car and drove home – slowly again, so I could know how long it might take me if there was ice on the ground.

…….

Wait for it……

And I did it all in 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Guys.

Guys, I know this is so small compared to some of the bigger issues some people face….. but I am feeling so hopeful for the first time in a long time.  I might actually be able to do this “mom of four” and “horse owner” thing after all.

New Barn and Morgan Horses

About a month before the twins were due, I received a Facebook message.  I’m too lazy to look up the actual wording, but the basic idea was this:

“Hey Becky, I know you’re going to have your hands full with twins and you probably won’t get as much horse time as you want over the next few months, so if you ever wanted to board out here, we’d be open to the idea.  We have plenty of turnout….”

The message wasn’t all that thrilling in and of itself – it was who it was from that made me all hand flappy with excitement.
You guys remember how excitable I was back in 2012 when I started researching barns around my new home in Oregon?

Remember how I wrote that one post where I went and called dibs on all the pretty Morgans that lived on a Morgan horse farm right by me?

Remember how I was drooling over contestant # 1 in my last post?

If you’re friends with me on Facebook, remember how I’ve been peppering my feed with constant updates about the horses over at Scandia Morgan Horse Farm, sighing and drooling?

Well, it was that farm who reached out to me.

I’d met the owner when I first came into town and had a chance to go out and groom a couple of times, but life got in the way of me doing anything more so I had to kind of drool from a distance.

Fast forward four years (can you believe I’ve already lived in Oregon for four years?!), and she wrote to me.

I sat on my answer for days, because I was completely torn.

On the one hand, Scandia Morgans was not only closer to me, it offered more turnout and was… well, let’s face it.  It’s a stunning barn chock full of stunning Morgans. Boarding at a place like that would be like The Bean getting a call from a parking garage in Portland, offering him a chance to park his car in an Aston-Martin-Only Parking garage.

And yes, the only reason I put that metaphor in there is because I’m still trying to explain to The Bean how excited I am over what just happened.   After close to 9 years together he gets a glazed look every time I start talking horse, but he still reads my blog, so I’ve got to work with what I’ve got.

Aston Martins, Bean.  Scandia Morgan Horse Farm is the horse equivalent of a barn full of Aston Martins.

Anyways, like I said, I sat on my answer for days. On the hand, all of the above…

But on the other hand, I was about to give birth to twins, and should I really rock the boat? I loved my current barn, and Caspian was receiving great care, and we’d already been there for almost two years. What if something happened and the new situation wasn’t a good fit?  What if Caspian decided to tear around his new pasture in the middle of winter and slip and slide through a fence, causing tons of vet bills at a time when we could least afford them?

What if, what if, what if?

I finally decided to regretfully decline the offer, mostly out of fear of the unknown.

Fast forward a couple of month.

I had Caspian in the cross ties, grooming him after one of my too-infrequent trips to the barn when the barn owner came up to break the news.  There was no rush, but she wanted to let me know that they were going to slowly be shutting down the barn to boarders.  Too much work for too little income… they were making decent money by offering up the indoor arena to clinics instead…. there was no rush but maybe I could start looking around for a new barn, etc, etc….

I raced home, logged onto Facebook, and shot out a message as fast as my fingers could type.  Was the offer still open?  Was there still space available? I knew she wasn’t going to be a boarding barn, but had been hoping to only have one or two friends keep their horses with her, so I was really worried I’d missed my opportunity and she’d already found someone else.

As luck would have it (in case you haven’t already figured it out) guess who just became the newest horse at Scandia Morgan Horse farm this morning? 🙂 🙂 🙂

Guys, are you hearing this?  I GET TO BOARD WITH AND HANG OUT AND SCRATCH AND LOVE ON THE HORSES I’VE BEEN DROOLING OVER FOR FOUR YEARS.

 

996695_509308302591387_1250328379061182433_n

I’m usually pretty good at picking horses out from each other….. but with these guys I keep guessing wrong.  They are almost all bay, and they all have the same pretty head and clean lines.

It was a little bittersweet saying goodbye to the old barn, since I’d had such a great time there, loved the care he received, and had spent more than two years boarding there…. but this new situation is too, too perfect for words.

The best part about the whole situation is that it’s not really a boarding barn.  The only horses there who aren’t Scandia Morgans are Caspian, and one other lady’s Morgans.  I know it sounds kind of antisocial to be so excited about the lack of sociability at this barn…..

But while I don’t mind chatting with other boarders, when I get the rare chance to spend some time with my horse, that’s usually what I like doing – spending time with my horse. I don’t mind talking with people I know, but at a busy barn you’re not only obligated to remember names (something I’m terrible at), you’re also obligated to make a lot of small talk with semi-strangers (something I’m equally terrible at.)  If I’m paying a babysitter or using up spouse points by getting some kid-free time, I’d rather spend my time riding or just enjoying the peace that horses bring, rather than sitting on a hay bale and talking, you know?

Wait… where was I, before I got all “get off my lawn” about being sociable at the barn?

Ah, yes.  So, today I moved Caspian to his new barn.  Although he had a minute or two of hollering out his welcome to the other horses during the long driveway up, by the time I unloaded him he was acting like he’d been living there for years.

That’s not to say there wasn’t a lot of nervous snorting and blowing – there was plenty of that going on…. but it was being done by the other horses as I led him down the aisles.

Horses may not see the same color as humans, but they certainly notice the lack of it.  Most of the young stock had never seen a grey horse before, and they were really unnerved by the giant, white, lumbering “ghost”.

His stall inside is a private box stall – but after he settles in, if he gets along with the other horses, he can actually spend a lot of his time out in the pasture (as long as the weather holds, but still, hooray!).

And, oh, what a pasture it is.

IMG_3524 (2)

I think this is technically the mare/foal field, but they all pretty much look the same brand of amazing.

13445586_10208303110448646_1601801686457329128_n

13256394_10208127816706412_1963299053955672024_n

IMG_3510

View from the roundpen- there’s another turnout pasture down below.

In fact, the whole setup is kind of like the barns I used to daydream about when I was a little girl – all red siding and tidy aisleways, neatly hanging turnout blankets, and brass nameplates.

IMG_3514

All the horses in the box stalls (they do rotational turnout) have happy expressions and move right up to come say hello/beg for scratches.  I find that so telling – it’s unnerving to walk into a barn full of horses with sour expressions.

13501820_10208397252882148_1129289547003047250_n

Every horse on her place has the same expression as this “Contestant #1 colt”… and it’s a good thing it’s a cute view,  because that’s the view you get of all the horses – good luck trying to peel them off of you. Their expressive, happy, sociability is a lot of fun after working Caspian’s stoic dignity for the past few years.  I feel like I’m surrounded by paparazzi, only they’re begging for attention instead of photos.

I may have even taken Caspian for a little walk around the barn simply so I could hear the delicious clop-clop of his hooves on the concrete driveway leading up.  There’s just something about that sound, you know?

The apple trees on the property are producing – any of the apples that fall to the ground are fair game to feed to the horses.

IMG_3513

Caspian thought he was in seventh heaven when I led him over to graze on grass AND apples.

In addition to an indoor arena, there’s a sizeable outdoor round pen right outside of his barn.  The footing was great – there were a few stray clumps of grass that had grown up in it since nobody had used it recently, which is just mind-boggling to me after having grown up using barns where there would be a line three horses deep to use a teensy, tiny turnout.  After letting Caspian mosey around his box stall for a little to see if he seemed upset (he didn’t), I took him to the round pen and asked him for a few laps.

I expected him to blow around, high-headed and snorty with the newness…. but he seemed really at ease.

IMG_3476

IMG_3446

His barn (there’s more than one barn) to the left, giant indoor covered arena to the right.

IMG_3475

IMG_3484

I couldn’t believe how calm Caspian was – here he was in a completely new barn, and he was acting like he’d been living there for years.

That’s not to say he didn’t cause a bit of a ruckus.  In addition to the “HOLY CRAP WHAT IS THAT THING?!” snorts from some of the younger horses, one of the younger fillies who was in the middle of a training session was so unimpressed with him that they had to take a break mid-lesson to come introduce her and prove that the Terrifying Grey Thing was actually a horse, so she could focus on her work.

As the two of them sniffed noses I remarked to the owner how at ease he was, and she brought up that she thinks horses can tell when they’ve landed in a nice spot…. and I agree.  It’s like Caspian took one look around and said, “Oh, yeah, this is just great.  This is really great,” and settled right in.

He’s come a long ways from the tooth-grinding, quietly nervous horse he was when I arrived.  Don’t get me wrong – my parents treated him amazing and his nervousness in new places didn’t come from them –  but at new barns he always acted a bit concerned that the rug was going to be pulled out from underneath him at any moment, that he might end up with a not-so-nice home.  The first time I moved him he ground his teeth for weeks, and chewed on the wood in his stall.  When we moved to the last stall he only ground his teeth a couple of times, and nibbled politely.

This is the fourth barn he’s been to since he’s been with me, and I think he’s beginning to let himself believe that just because he changes barns doesn’t mean he’s going to get a new owner with a completely new set of rules.

IMG_3465Update:  He settled in so nicely he’s already been turned out for the night, and I received what may be my new favoritest pictures of him, because she actually managed to capture the size of him.

13901909_10208686527033821_925129749_o

13918640_10208686526873817_101082840_o

13682543_10208686526793815_718692163_o

13681716_10208686526833816_1742038913_o

Updates, Horses, and Photo Dump

I gave birth three and a half months ago.

It is SO strange to type that out.  I feel like between exhaustion and the simple act of caring for twins  I completely lost a chunk of time.  One moment it was winter, and then I went to the hospital on February 29th, labored for a little bit, pushed for a couple of minutes and out popped twins.

 

1915707_10154808062307281_6171513268662621561_n

 

12802762_10154809290337281_8636150306803661472_n

 

12805645_10154809289202281_5219360041772846416_n

 

12798850_10154822518327281_7787100509574826116_n

 

I loaded them up in the car two days later, marvelling during the ride home at the hints of flowers popping out on trees that marked the arrival of spring.  We drove home, unlatched the car seats and walked the new babies inside…

 

942523_10154838735307281_4313803038910168263_n  12472520_10154822517452281_1391916541412220588_n

12794517_10154817443682281_8508668550380854142_n   12832378_10154822517902281_7067435542771614292_n

12799298_10154830437912281_3340587170465325706_n

 

12994472_10154978353612281_7749180799523894317_n

12928379_10154944750572281_6633320149987029115_n 12931258_10154943253887281_2875714726056229232_n 13007361_10154972907577281_4531946006978595646_n 11219040_10154972887227281_1534712009765985781_n

12961546_10154956855042281_6844455235766811848_n

13178935_10155017018947281_1467481214184739474_n

 

13240093_10155061263767281_76000303744534257_n 13238913_10155073695052281_5709391569371100508_n 13227151_10155073589082281_3868437887350603153_n 13177299_10155024417127281_5353450363397419577_n

 

 

13220952_10155033681352281_1946612199424028109_n  13139174_10155031232027281_2029443165290527499_n

 

13346703_10155097560327281_1241894477539380072_n 13325727_10155086167222281_4557871376157484765_n

13332868_10155089748742281_5906963150032801269_n

And now it’s summer.

I feel like a DVD with a scratch. I never felt the time pass, even though I was awake for most of it, what with nursing ’round the clock.  Where did the spring of 2016 go?  I have no idea, but it was 100 degrees this past weekend, so I’m pretty sure summer is here.

There hasn’t been time for much other than living in the moment, especially not much time for writing.  The words are still there, rattling around in my sleep-deprived brain, but I just don’t have the spare hands for the typing.  I’ve been working on a post here and there, as well as a “birth story” post for the past… well, three months. I  intended on having the story  of their arrival typed out within the week so I could remember all the tiny details.

At this point, I’ll be happy to post it by the time the twins hit kindergarten.

And you know what?

That’s okay.

It’s more than okay.  These are my last babies, and while it doesn’t make for good blog posts or even a great social life, I’m simply allowing myself to enjoy them as much as possible, because having been through this twice before, I know exactly how fast the first year flies by.

 

56023c5da1d4feceac02a831b390bbab

 

I am content and happy with my life, my four kids, my family.

 

In fact, I’m so content and happy it actually makes me feel a little uncomfortable.    There’s a small part of me that wishes I was unhappy with simply hanging out, that wonders if I’m becoming… well, placid.  Isn’t that why they used to recommend breeding fractious fillies?  To calm them down?  Shouldn’t I be uncomfortable and itchy, struggling against the bonds of a minivan (I had to get a Kia Sedona to fit everyone…. and I actually love it.  Oh, how the mighty have fallen) and angry at the fit of my mom jeans?

….and yet I’m not. Oh, sure, if I had the chance to go on a secret mission where I travelled to Europe and saved the world against Nazi Zombies I would totally go….

 

I’d look just like this, only with slightly fewer tattoos

 

….But if I did go I’d have to bring along my breast pump and pump every two hours to avoid clogged ducts.  I’d also have to arrange daycare for four (FOUR!?!) kids, which would be so expensive I’d have to save up for it… and even if I could arrange it, who would cover my shifts at the library?

Daydreaming about big adventures has gotten so complicated as of late, which is why I’m sticking to daydreaming about horses.

Speaking of daydreaming about horses….

Now that I’ve sort of caught everyone up on what I’ve been up to since January, you can help me with a very important question:

Which imaginary horse should I imaginarily buy?  I mean, we’re just going to ignore the fact that I barely have time to see Caspian as it is.  I definitely don’t have the money or time for a second horse right now.  We’re also going to ignore the fact that this imaginary horse is being bought in addition to this guy, who I’ve already imaginarily bought from Scandia Morgan Farm:

12472557_10154933658962281_4192601747039798001_n

This is Scandia Anthem, and I’ve been drooling over him since he was born. He’s not even for sale, yet I’ve been imaginarily buying him for years now.

This new imaginarily bought horse is one that I am going to put in my imaginary pasture on the imaginary land I don’t own.  He/She is going to grow up and (aside from learning basic manners and maybe ponying a couple of trails)  will just grow up and be a horse until around four years old… at which point the twins will be old enough for me to start really working him/her.

Now that you know the rules, which one should I nab?

Currently we have three contenders:

Contender #1:

 

 

13346510_10208260609786156_2970993304695643487_n

13315763_10208260612786231_8848409883204923049_n

13346555_10208260613786256_249776546123009213_n

 

 

 

This little red colt was only born this week, so he’s less and impressive and more  adorable with that ribby, just-born look.  Still, everything seems to be put in the perfect place as far as his conformation, and he comes from a long line of GORGEOUS Morgans.

 

Here is mom:

 

sparkle

And here is dad:

 

trademark

Scandias Trademark

And here is Grandpa:

 

intrigue

Marvelous Intrigue

 

I mean…. ’nuff said, am I right?

Contender #2:

 

 

Curtain

Look at her!  She’s 14.2 at two years old, so she’ll be plenty stout enough to carry me and not make me feel too big.  Plus, she’s stunning.

 

Here is mom:

 

lady in red

Scandias Lady in Red

And here is dad:

 

intrigue

Marvelous Intrigue

As you can tell, I’ve got a thing for Marvelous Intrigue – I think he’s put together gooorgeously and all his colts and fillies grow up with that same gorgeous look.

Anyways, since the filly’s older I won’t have to wait as long to start her.  I’m not a big fan of the yearling stage, so I’d get to bypass that stage as well.

 

Contestant #3:

 

13266005_10206550376663949_2253397621333149808_n

13064559_10206550383344116_2079309872513266865_o

13267874_10206550381984082_3037343551504318298_n

BLUE EYES.  I don’t care if you don’t like blue eyes… I’ve got a thing for them.  It’s silly, I know.  But LOOOK.  IT’S A BLUE EYED BUCKSKIN MORGAN COLT.

Here is mom:

 

 

And here is dad:

26658859032_289e3b74e2

UDM White Water… photo credit to the very talented Heather Moreton: https://www.flickr.com/people/desertnightcreations/

I guess, in the interest of being a nice person I should mention these horses are actually for sale, and that I suppose you could for-real buy them.  You can find them here:

Scandia Morgan Horse Farm

and here:

Beaches Triple T Ranch

I suppose I would even forgive you if you did buy them out from underneath me, but only if you promised to update me with regular photos.