Beautiful skies

The past few days we have had the most beautiful sunrises, sunsets, and clouds, the kind that just make you stop and stare.

Sunday evening over the goats and donkeys

Sunday evening over the goats and donkeys

Yesterday morning

Yesterday morning

Last night on my way to feed

Sunset last night on my way to feed

This morning after feeding and mucking

This morning after feeding and mucking

and two seconds after that...

and just a couple minutes after that…

It really reminds you to be grateful.  Except that it’s only rained maybe four times this summer and the grass in the paddocks is all dead and more dirt than anything, sadly.

Case in point - the carrot greens are about a thousand times better looking than the donkeys paddock.

Case in point – the carrot greens are about a thousand times better looking than the donkeys paddock.

Which means – it’s time to till and reseed a paddock!

Looking forward to some new grass.

Looking forward to some new grass.


We’re going away for a few days but when we get back this will get reseeded and Robbie will irrigate the heck out of it.   Hopefully we’ll get some decent rain soon.


Updates – Baby updates

My little man is 10 months old already! Time is flying by so fast. I decided to stay home with baby so we opened our barn up to 5 boarders, who are excellent, and I’m also doing daycare on the farm, which is exhausting but so fun. Today is all about baby though, Little Robbie was born Oct 20th at 10:58am and was 7lbs 10oz. He came home two days later on our 2nd wedding anniversary, he was a pretty good present! Here’s a few (a lot) pics over his first months.

First night home

First night home

The girls have been so amazing with him, for the first several weeks they stood guard at his door.

The girls have been so amazing with him, for the first several weeks they stood guard at his door.

Sleepy boys

Sleepy boys

His first day as barn manager

His first day as barn manager

And then he gets demoted to groom...

And then he gets demoted to groom for sleeping on the job…


First vacation - combined Anguilla trip and a friend's wedding on St. Maarten

First vacation – combined Anguilla trip and a friend’s wedding on St. Maarten

First discovery of his foot, man does that taste good or what??

First discovery of his foot, man does that taste good or what??

First friend! Who is 9 days older than him

First friend! Who is 9 days older than him

Littlest Broncos fan in the family

Littlest Broncos fan in the family

First ride

First ride

Filling dad's boots

Filling dad’s boots

I love this kid

I love this kid

Happy New Year

Just wanted to say a quick happy new year to everyone and share a pic of the reason I’ve disappeared (again). Hopefully I’ll be back to posting more regularly soon. 

ImageHe’s been keeping me rather busy…

Thank you!

Sorry, it’s like I fell off the face of the earth.  Just wanted to say thanks so much for all the kind words about Dino.  Every time someone has said I did the right thing has made me feel better.  I knew even as I made the decision that I would doubt myself at some point, so having others say the same things I keep trying to tell myself has helped.

We’ve been seriously occupied with all things baby the past couple of weeks so I feel like I’ve barely even spent time with the animals lately :(.

Except for these girls, they are my constant companions.

Except for these girls, they are my constant companions.  I definitely feel like they know baby will be here soon, they don’t let me out of their sight lately.  

Everyone else is doing really well though!  The goats are getting bigger and fatter.  Trying to cut back on the little bit of grain that they do get to see if that helps, Pete looks more pregnant than I do!  The donkeys are still the best thing ever, I get lots of cuddles from them now, they love kisses on the nose.  And the horses are good too.  Lena seemed to spend some time looking for Dino but really she has handled everything better than I was expecting.  And the kittens are still super shy but they’re doing ok all in all.

More awful news

Sadly, I have more bad news to share.  Over the weekend we had to say goodbye to not only a beloved family member but also a great athlete and partner who taught me so much, brought me so far, and saved my life a time or two throughout the years. Dino, you will always be in my heart and thoughts, with your sweet, hardworking attitude and over the top personality, through all the early morning lessons, late night shows and all the moments in between.


While he was certainly getting up there in age he was doing so great over the past several years.  Right up until this weekend.  Saturday he got an infection in his right hind leg from the tiniest little scrape imaginable.  But his leg blew up out of nowhere from hip to hoof and he wouldn’t put any weight on it.  Our vet, Eric, came out and gave him a shot of antibiotics and and an anti-inflammatory.  Unfortunately, while his fever did start to go down, the swelling did not and we still couldn’t get him out of his stall to cold hose it, so Eric was back in the morning.  He gave him a second, stronger antibiotic and we were able to get him out of his stall and cold hosed it, walked him for 10 min., cold hosed it again and turned him out so that he could keep moving around, which would help with the swelling.

At 5 that evening I cold hosed it again and put him in his stall with some hay.  By then he was walking better on it and his fever was down a little bit more.  At 6:30 he was fine.  At 9 he was outside, laid flat out and unable to get up.  Eric came right back out and couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him.  His fever was completely gone and the swelling in his leg was down, so the antibiotics were working.  He wasn’t colicing and he really wasn’t dehydrated either.  The only thing that he could find wrong was that his heartbeat was elevated and he had an arrhythmia but that still didn’t explain how weak he was.

We tried for just under 3 hours to get him back on his feet, alternating between actively trying to get him up and letting him rest.  Finally in a last ditch effort, and since Eric could only hear one side of his gut, we gave him a shot of Banamine and then did a rectal exam.  This would be the point where Eric gave up on the chances of Dino getting up, in his words, “you’re never going to try harder to get on you feet than when someone has his arm up your butt.”  And Dino only made the most half hearted of efforts.

Eric thinks it is most likely that Dino already had some kind of “old man disease”, most likely cancer or the beginning stages of organ failure and his body just couldn’t handle the infection on top of it all.  It was then up to me to make the heartbreaking decision to do the best thing for him and put him down.  He was obviously not going to get on his feet, he was in pain, and he was breathing so shallowly that I kept holding my hand over his nostril to make sure he actually was breathing.

The past two days have been pretty much unbearable, I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much in my life and Robbie has had a very difficult time with it as well.  I keep walking around the house reminding myself that I made the right choice and it would have been selfish to drag his suffering out just because I couldn’t stand to let him go.

What’s funny about it (if you can say that) is that whenever Jenna and I talk about buying and selling horses, Robbie remarks that he doesn’t understand how everyone can do that so easily.  Our response is always the same, they aren’t pets!  But at the end of the day, it’s almost like they are so much more than that because of the working relationship that we have with them.  No matter how much I love my dogs and how close I feel to them, I feel like I’m more in tune with my horses minds and bodies, partly because we have to be in order to get the best performance from them, and partly because of the sheer number of hours spent focused solely on them, whether it be grooming, cooling out after a workout, during the interminable wait between classes at shows, or walking them for what seems like endless hours during a bout of colic.



I’m so grateful that I was able to keep Dino at home through his retirement and wasn’t forced to send him off to a retirement farm, where I would have been unlikely to ever see him again.  I’m also extremely grateful that he had such a high quality of life right up until his last two days.  But I’ll always miss him.


Barn Cat

Almost immediately after Penny’s death we started talking about getting a barn cat.  Not that we could ever hope to replace her with a new cat, but it is very necessary.  Since Penny wasn’t actually meant to be a barn cat, she didn’t discover the barn until the spring after I moved in.  I will never forget the difference between the mice that winter and the next.

So we started the discussion about getting a barn cat, that would be an official barn cat and live in the barn.  Robbie got in touch with a girl he knows who works with a local shelter and fosters cats for a couple local vets as well.  And wouldn’t you know, she knew of two feral 6 month old kittens.  It seemed that they wouldn’t adjust to living inside, so barn cat status would be a great solution.  I was fine with two, it actually made me feel better about them living out there by themselves, and we went to see them last night at the vet.

As we’re walking in, Robbie gets a text that there are actually three kittens there, siblings.  We both say there’s no way we’re taking all three.  Absolutely not.  And then we came home with this –

cat carrierOh there are three little heads in there?  Shocking.  But seriously, how was I supposed to take two and leave one behind???  I would have felt awful, especially knowing that they weren’t going to make it as a house cat.  We all (me, Robbie, and the vet) reasoned that they’d be living in the barn, definitely earning their keep, and how much more expensive could one additional cat really be?  Needless to say the vet was ecstatic when we looked at each other and said we’d take them all.

Now we have three kittens, one girl and two boys, living in our tack room.  Three kittens that I can’t tell apart.  Three kittens that already look like full grown cats, and large ones at that.  Last night they made the big move from the carrier to hiding behind one of the tack boxes.


I’m sure it’ll be awhile before they settle in and come out in the open.  But, they did use the litter box last night, which is great.

And this morning one came out of hiding.  Of course he or she then tried to climb up the wall, terrifying me, and ran back behind the box.



Does this look like a 6th month old to you??  The vet swears they are though, they’ve been with them since they were about 8 weeks.  I’m guessing that they’ll have many adventures together around here.

Updates and Escapees


donkey greeting

This is a scene I am starting to get used to seeing every day when I get home.  As soon as I pull in the driveway the donkeys come over to get some love.  They’ve decided that getting pet all over is very enjoyable and not actually torture.  As long as I don’t make any big sudden moves they follow me around and investigate whatever I’m doing.  I am totally in love.

This next pic is a scene I hope I never have to get used to seeing.  It happened yesterday.


The goats managed to wedge themselves through the gap between the gate and post.  Three very small, very agile and fast goats.  One person.  Not good odds.  Thankfully, getting them back was easier than I expected.  It took awhile to get their attention but I was finally able to lure them back in with Nilla Wafers.  Hopefully we’ve fixed everything and I will not be coming home to this again anytime soon.  They’re just so tiny still…

Over the weekend we decided that the donkeys were ready to get a little bit more freedom.  Once they decided that nothing was going to jump out and eat them they really enjoyed themselves, although they stuck to each other like glue.   But they ate, rolled, and chased each other around like crazy.


This was the first time that Dino and Lena actually saw them.  They were very interested in them and Dino had me worried that he might jump the fence to get closer to them.

dino lena


He paced up and down the fence line for quite awhile, even pawing at the ground occasionally.  I felt bad for Lena because he bulldozed over her several times before she gave in and observed from a little further back.  Sadly for Dino, Theo and Oliver got tired of watching his antics and went to take a nap.

donkey nap

A few hours later, it was time for everyone to come in for dinner and they marched themselves right back to their barn.  Success!