January 30, 2009


As best we can guess, Fiddle went about a week over her due date...But our patience has paid of! We were greeted by THREE bouncing baby goats tonight when we returned from dinner....talk about CUTE! I cleaned up Fiddle best I could, I don't think they were more than an hour old when I found them....got their umbilical cords disinfected....got their bedding freshened up...gotta mama some much deserved warm bran mash and a special black licorice treat...refilled water....closed off the opening to the rear paddock (they just aren't big enough to navigate that ramp yet, and too many other dangers reside out there they are not ready to handle as well).

Of course I will be taking lots of pics tomorrow, so check back to just how cute these kiddies really are!!!

Happy Trails,

Fiddle & Family

January 28, 2009

Ice, Ice, Baby!

No, not the rapper type, the toddler type! Mommy's little snow devil, I mean ANGEL...

We got our first snowfall of the season yesterday and it was well received around the homestead! When I got home from work I bundled up the Little Brat and headed for the great white outdoors for some fun in the slush.....we got a good 3+ inches!

LB made quick work of building some snowballs to play with....

She was just a tad confused as to what to do with them though....is that YELLOW?!?!
Mommy just HAD to pipe up and offer her some totally unecessary and regretable advice... "Throw it silly girl!"....and she DID.....INCOMING!? (OUCH, that was cooooold!)
We had just enough time before it got dark to put together the most handsomest of snow men you could imagine....tall, lumpy, dirty......he must have reminded LB of Daddy (who is out of town on business this week) the way she warmed right up to him like she did.....

Hey, if its going to be this stinkin' cold out, we might as well have some snow to play in! Stay warm out there!
Happy Trails,

January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day 2009...

...although I opted to come to work today instead of joining the thousands of people up north for President Obama's historical inauguration, we did have an opportunity to watch the event live during our lunch hour from a conference room on-site...All I really have to say about the event can be summed up in 3 words.

Regardless of your political stance, I think we can all agree on what an eloquent and inspirational speaker Obama is...if you did not feel moved by his message of hope and resilience in this challenging time, I don't know what could possibly move you!

Here's to a better and brighter future! Only time will tell if his words will be mirrored by his actions, or if American's will step up to his call for personal accountability, but I look forward with anticipation to success...As I see it, if he succeeds, we all have something to gain!

January 17, 2009

Check out this site....

...I just created for our local 4-H Club! What a great bunch of people...if you or anyone you know is interested in being a part of a really wonderful 4-H group, give Fred or Maggie a call!

What to do with all this ICE?

There are a lot of negative things about the cold and ice, especially when you have responsibilities that take you out into the elements on a frequent basis....there's always a positive for every negative though, and the cold is no different...as I looked out over the frozen landscape this morning, I came across a few beautiful sites....like the sparkly crystals of frozen dew on the top of this fence line, for example...GORGEOUS!

And this ice sculpture that Uncle Travis made from all the ice removed from a water trough....AWESOME!

And speaking of water troughs.....I think we may start a new business of selling frozen tombstones....or super-sized ice cubes! That large shiny thing leaning against the fence is actually the top lay of ice removed from this water trough the day PRIOR...you can see the NEW hole I had to make in the ice for the horses to drink today....JR came behind me to get the loose ice out for them....

Happy Trails & Silver Linings!


Good Morning Dually! Has this cold treating you? Yeah, the extra pudge you have stored up does help a bit...

So, we are right smack-dab in the middle of a mighty cold spell....the kind of cold that makes your face hurt, eyes water, and icicles form on you snotty nose....On this morning, it was actually 0 degrees...ZERO....as in NOTHING...NO HEAT AT ALL....Not even ONE degree of it! As you can imagine, the sights to see on a morning such as this are quite interesting....the landscape is sparkling with frozen dew....and whiskers have grown icy as they collect moisture from each horse's breath....

Treasure would like to voice his disdain with the current weather pattern now....I hear ya buddy! And could not agree more!

Snuffy would like to express his opinion on the matter as well...I pick up what you are laying down buddy...hang in there, warmer days are ahead!

Jack has accepted the frigid cold with silent submission though....he is more worried about when I'm gonna put this camera down and give him some grain...
So, here's to hopes the weather forecast is correct this time and we get those 'above-freezing' temps here in the next day or two! Pretty pleeeeeeeeeeese!!!!
Happy Trails,

January 14, 2009

Pinki's Finally Home!

We picked up Gma Kathy and Uncle Travis at the airport yesterday, and along with them came Randi's puppy, Pinki-Dinki-Doo! She named her that, not me...."Pinki" for short....her inspiration for such a name was her little white (pink) toes in front....She's grown a lot since Thanksgiving, but she is still just as precious as ever!

They are total BFF already!

Welcome Home Pinki!
Happy Trails,

January 12, 2009


"Never before have so many people with so little to say said so much to so few."

Just one of my favorites from a long list of good ones on: www.despair.com

Happy Trails!

January 11, 2009

Clydesdale Q&A

Since we brought "Tiny" home, we have learned a lot about the Clydesdale horse, and thought we might pass some interesting tid-bits of information along to the rest of you too...

For example...you might wonder how in the world you get ON a horse this size....well, let me tell you, Tiny is actually on the small side for her breed, but is still the biggest horse we have on the place! Let me illustrate how you accomplish the feat of mounting a mountain...First, you find the tallest mounting block you can find. Next, YOU JUMP!

I've been asked what my favorite physical feature is on our Clydesdale beauty, but there are just so many! The breed is known for their long, flowing 'feathers'...This is the hair that grows from their knees down to their hooves and is quite distinguishing and lovely...However, all that hair attributes to dermatitis issues if not kept clean and well-groomed...Pretty, but high maintenance! That big round apple-shaped booty is also a favorite feature of mine....Tiny got back! But I will have to say that one thing that stands out above all the rest of her wonderful feature are her big, brown, sleepy, puppy-dog eyes! They draw you in...they are just precious.....what do you think?

You may be wondering what kind of load this breed can handle...how much weight could one horse carry or pull? I wondered the same thing, and although I have not determined yet their pulling capacity, I have found that 2 tall teenagers are a piece of cake for them to carry!

Finally, what in the world do you FEED these massive creatures? The answer is simple...they eat what all the rest of the equine species eat...just about anything they can get in their mouths....what our Tiny REALLY likes though, are apples....she will take them so delicately from our hands....they are a real treat for her, and she savors every bite! She eats an apple this size in about 4 bites....

Let us know if you have any other burning questions about the super cool Clydesdale horse, and we'll do our best to find you an answer!

Happy Trails,

Leah & Clementine "Tiny"

Clementine Update....FAMILY PICS!

The older brats were out this weekend and got to meet Clementine for the first time! Since Clementine is a horse for the family to enjoy, it was very important that everyone got some one on one bonding time with the ole gal...everyone got along great, and the kids were so impressed with her size...for a Clydesdale, she is on the petite side, but when compared to the average horse, she is still a honker!

Here is "Tiny's" pit crew getting her dolled up for family pics....when you put the brush to this girl, she goes right to sleep! She LOVES to have her hair done.....what a priss.

Middle Brat worked hard to get all the caked on mud off...seems she spent the majority of the day pretending she was a pig; wallowing in the mud!

Oldest Brat jumped right in and made sure her tail was tangle free...

Daddy got her face cleaned up....these guys worked fast! I should hire them out!

Oldest Brat walked Tiny out to the pasture for pics...Tiny is a fast walker and a bit strong, but OB did a great job of keeping her in line...here they stopped and waited for everyone else to catch up...
For all her effort, OB got the first ride! I can't believe how tall OB has gotten...I think she actually fits Tiny pretty well!
What a good lookin' crew....they are just so excited to have their very own "Budweiser' horse...

Daddy got to lead Tiny back to the barn...actually, Tiny led Daddy back to the barn....like I said, she is a little strong....she moves with a purpose!

I rode Tiny a few times this past week and she is coming along well....she is getting easier to turn, and is more responsive to my hands...she does, however, have a bit of an ornery streak in her.....when asked to do something she is not in the mood for, she simple shakes her head 'no' and stops....great....just what we needed: ANOTHER BRAT IN THE FAMILY! LOL.....We're working on it though....a friend of mine is going to help me get her under saddle a few times a week to see if we can get her a little more compliant.....I am totally cool with a lazy pony, but defiance is NOT our friend....stay tuned!

Happy Trails,


January 07, 2009

Oh my darlin'...

Oh my darlin'...
Oh my darlin'... CLEMENTINE!

"Tiny" for short.

We added a new member to our herd this past weekend.....she is a 17+ hand, 12 yr old Clydesdale mare. She came with another name, Claudia, but it wasn't near as fitting for such a pretty girl, so we changed it....she likes it....she told me so....

Clementine is bright eyed, and since her arrival has been taking all the new sights and sounds in with much interest....Westwood is a busy place, and there's a heck of a lot of hooplah going on around here, so there is plenty to keep her entertained. She greets me each morning with her head held high, ears perked up, and a soft low nicker as I walk down the hill to the barn each day....I'm not saying she adores me or anything, but she does really like what I represent, which is FOOD.....a full figured lady like herself did not get that way on beans and bread!

We purchased Clementine to help fill a gap in our herd that was left when our best old nag of 26 yrs passed away this past spring, Fever. She gave a lot of good rides to a lot of good people in her lifetime, and we were looking for something to step in and fill that void. Something that could be our go-to pony for family and friends that wanted to stop in for a ride....Our other horses are too young and green to be that reliable....Clementine is our choice, and I hope she is as happy to have us as we are to have her!

Clementine was a trail riding horse in her previous life and is a bit on the lazy side. She is going to be getting a tune-up this month, since she has had quite a bit of time off and is just a tad rough around the edges....she'll be practicing a lot of turning and stopping exercises to get her more flexible and responsive...the kids are really looking forward to taking her for a spin, as are several friends, so we're putting her to work right away....

It's been cold and rainy since she came home, so I have not had a chance to get any pics....hoping the weather is more cooperative this weekend! Please check back and hopefully I will have some pics of Clementine with the family posted soon!

Happy Trails,
Leah & "Tiny"

January 01, 2009

Fancy Update: FIRST RIDE!

The first ride is always a bit nerve wracking for both horse AND rider....even if you've done all the ground work ahead of time, there's no way to know exactly what is going to happen when you put your foot in that stirrup and climb on.....In Fancy's case, you can see above what happened....she smiled and posed for the camera....what a ham!

So, I asked her to move forward at the walk, using the same verbal commands I taught her during our ground-work, and we were off just like that! On a totally random note, notice the heavy jacket? That's because it's high 20's, low 30's today.....nothing like the 'no-jacket' weather we had JUST LAST WEEK where I was sweating in a long sleeved shirt!!!! What is with this crazy weather??? Anyway, back to the subject of little Ms. Fancy-Pants.....here she is walking forward on command like such a good girl....I love this horse, have I mentioned that before? Maybe once or twice? We're gonna grow old together.....

Once we are walking consistently around the arena, I start asking her to bend and turn to the left and right...Now we're cookin' with fire!

Finally, I work up the courage to ask her for the trot and lo-and-behold off we go! And in a totally collected, controlled, and completely 'what took you so long to ask me for it' kinda way! I so underestimated her! On another totally random and somewhat embarrassing note....I am not without pet peeves...I have lots of them...mostly neurotic, anxiety laden, petty, obsessive and compulsive in nature....but when riding, THIS one is one of my biggest: pants riding up....I normally make very sure I buy my jeans at the 36" length to ensure that when I am riding, the heel and 'upper' of my boots are ALWAYS completely covered.....I pulled this old pair of jeans that were obviously purchased 10lbs and 4 inches ago and put them on without considering the photogenic atrocity that awaited me....please look away....I'm sorry.....

Fancy is scheduled to go to finishing school next Sunday, so I will try to get some video shot before she leaves...I sure am gonna miss her! Check back monthly for updates about her 'formal' training!
Happy Trails!
Leah & The Fance
UPDATE: I did not get a chance to take any video of Fancy before she went to school this weekend....our final tally was 2 rides before she left though....we even cantered a little around the indoor arena...I think her trainer is going to have a good time with her....not a mean bone in her body, so I doubt she'll give them much hassle.....stay tuned for more updates!

Happy New Year!

One of my good friends, Dave Rhoades, is a photographer out in California and is now publishing calendars like the one above for public purchase....he has many lovely backgrounds to chose from...what a wonderful and beautiful way to enjoy the passing of each day! Please visit his website if you are interested in getting one of these gorgeous calendars for yourself or even someone else! They make great gifts to ring in the New Year.....
Well, I wonder if your New Years was more exciting than hours...it wouldn't take much to be! I am battling my annual winter cold and cough, so the Little Brat and I hit the rack at about 9pm for our beauty rest....JR stayed up flipping thru channels.....last year we stayed up together watching the Twilight Zone Marathon....it could be my single most favorite run on TV all year long, but this year I just wasn't up to it...
I made a few resolutions last year, and followed thru on MOST of them....OK, SOME of them.....so this year I am scaling back and starting small so I can do a better job of reaching all my goals....we'll see how it goes! I'd share them with you, but then you'd hold me to them, and I can't have be having that! I am feeling particularly non-committal this year, and I need my space to ebb and flow as necessary ;)
Happy Trails in 2009,