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We Are Flying Solo

April 30, 2012

Moving On

For a variety of reasons, the time came for Team Flying Solo to find a new home base.  Thus began the hunt for the perfect combination of facilities I need to train, space for my horses to move around, and no drama.  Ha, well, two of three can't be impossible.

Through an eventing friend, I learned of and visited a farm up the road and as I stepped out of the vehicle, I immediately felt calm and content (I am big on vibe).  It's an old Walking Horse farm, so it had a long low barn with no windows, surrounded by hotwalkers, several round pens and a sea of paddocks.  I wandered around and peeked in stall doors and kicked some dirt and sniffed some hay.

It wasn't glamourous, most of the fencing was high tensile wire and grass was cropped short and sparsely scattered.  But each pasture had a fluffy, nice round bale or two and I could find no manure just lying about.

All of the horses were in good condition, their feet were taken care of, and everyone was perky and bright.  No cribbing collars, no stall weavers, and every horse got at least 12 hours of turnout a day.  There was an arena with lights, a dressage arena measured out in the back, and a freshly built set of jumps.

"Can I have a pasture with a shed where my horses just live 24/7 and the fence gets a strip of white hot tape added?"

"Absolutely, no problem, when do you want to move in?" the owner replied.  He is just a SUPER nice guy, answered all my dizzying questions, and my board costs got cut in half then and there.

I'm not sure they've ever had a sporthorse boarder, as there were plenty of giggles at my detailed feeding spreadsheet and Encore's Mt. Everest of food.  The owner breeds VERY nice old-style Walking Horses, the ones I loved to see when I was a kid:  compact, sturdy, balanced, and built to last forever, with a willing, honest brain and solid feet (the new anorexic looking ones with deer legs make me sad).  In fact, the boys' new neighbours is one of the broodmares with her week old overo foal (SQUEEEEE!) who hops like a kangaroo and squeals to amuse himself.

The half-built shed.
The owner shows all flat-shod walkers now (hooray!) and has gotten enthralled with the versatility classes (horses do their regular gaited stuff, but also have dressage tests and jumping courses), so he is excitedly learning about dressage and jumping from my eventing buddy and applying it to all his training horses.

So as of Saturday, this is the TFS new compound.  I've built a tack locker by my horses' paddock so between it and the trailer, I just have my own space and my own end of the farm with the dressage arena and fields for hill work and XC schools.  As soon as I got the boys settled in, I realized this was going to be EXCELLENT desensitization for Encore.  Yes, he's already seen all the stuff on the track, but now he is seeing....

-miniature spotted donkeys braying for their dinner
-horny ducks who like to mate repeatedly while the pervy geese circle them and honk
-peacocks who call from the trees and leap on top of his round bale to squawk to the hens
-ponies whose main job is to kick the yearlings and teach them some manners
-and my favourite....

Meet Rocket, the mini stud who lives across the lane/fence.  He comes up to, oh, a little above my knees, but he reckons he can take on both those chestnuts and show THEM who's the boss.  He came "for free" with a recently purchased mare, but is actually a very nicely put together little horse and will do some breeding of his own and take over teasing duties from the owner's stud.

He paws like a little bull and assures us all that he could beat all our asses in a 'fro contest.

Solo and Encore, happily, put their trust in each other and rolled about the pasture together in an ADD frenzy, unsure of whether to be fascinated or concerned about the shrunken denizens that surrounded them.

They even showed off a new pairs routine they'd been working on, in beautiful synchronicity.

But by the time I came back on Sunday, they were relaxed and chowing down on clover and hay, the novelty of birds and stallions and donkeys having already worn off in favour of working out what the new breakfast and dinner schedule was. 

It's a big change for us, but so far, a happy one.  I've got a few projects to finish, including matting the shed and some pasture management, but in a few weeks, they'll be set and settled and I can take a deep breath and just enjoy the peace!


  1. New place sounds super. Sometimes those little laid-back spots are just the best.

  2. Every evening I am there, I feel like I can just sigh and relax. I'd forgotten that!

    I truly feel I have a future as a professional video commentator though, don't you think?

  3. I had no idea you were thinking of moving the boys. I like it!

    I used to have a mini stallion, they are little spitfires!!

  4. Looks very laid back, the kind of place I'd love to find. Make sure you cap those T-Posts if they're not already - hard to tell in the videos. Your boys look so happy!

  5. Barn shopping the the absolute worst thing EVER, but it seems like you found a gem! Sucks that you had to leave the old place, but new place sounds great--less expensive, 24/7 turnout, plus lots of cute critters = awesome! Mind nabbing a mini donk for me and Fed Ex-ing it down to be Salem's new friend? I'm sure they won't miss it!

  6. SP, the posts are all capped. I didn't specifically checked but I distinctly remember leaning on one tonight, LOL.

    Frizz, I HATE barn shopping even more than saddle shopping! But the peacocks are pretty cool and the ducks are AMAZING little manure spreaders. I try to pretend the guineas don't exist, stupid little monsters. To make the spotted minidonk even cuter, he's old so he doesn't have any teeth but when he brays at you he sticks his tongue out.

  7. Hey now your red boys get to live down on the farm like my guys. It is very peaceful. In. I hope all of you like it. I just thought of something, now that Aimee has jumped on the red gelding band wagon we should start a club or something.

  8. Congrats! I love it and I love the video footage of your bootiful boys!

  9. Hee hee hee, Amy, everyone is learning that the red geldings are the bestest. ;-)

    Thanks, Nina! I just hope the owner won't hate me for my intensive sporthorse mgmt!

  10. That stallion is so beautiful. The place you moved too seems really relaxing.

  11. Lauren, I know, I just wish he was about 16.2, wouldn't he be a knockout?? It is definitely very peaceful there so far, I feel calm -- although I will be calmer when I actually have time to do the pasture projects I want to do!