The contractors were out this morning with their drones taking aerial shots of the farm. We are finally getting ready to break ground on our stallion barn. Graeme and I are so very proud of the farm; looking at the aerial shots really puts into perspective the scope of all the hard work and long hours that have been put into the farm.
The stallion barn will be located to the northeast of the main barn and will mirror the broodmare barn ("V" shaped barn at the northwest corner.) We'll be adding 6 new run out paddocks and 2 large pastures. For the first few years the barn will also double as our young stock barn.
Which leads us to our next big news! This evening Graeme and I are sitting down to put together our breeding plans for the broodmares.
One of the new 'features' at EquestriSim is a Monthly Photo Challenge. It's not a challenge as in 'contest' but a challenge as in challenge yourself - your imagination, your skills, your creativity. Each month a new 'topic' will be posted and participants are asked to create a pic/image for that topic.
(Participants are encouraged to share any cc, poses, lots, etc that are produced in the creation of the image.)
This month's topic is Fall or Autumn.
For my first pic, (I may be doing more if time allows) I chose Scarlet. She doesn't seem to get as much attention, so I thought she deserved some quality time.
The show scene has been a little slow this week. There are two Equus-Sims Traditional shows that I would like to enter - one for Hunters (Ennis) and one for Jumpers (Scarlet and Jewel) - I've just got to spend some time getting the lot ready and then we'll take some time getting a feel for the lot and the jumps. I'd like to try and do all of my own poses this time. The shows don't close until Nov 5th, so I have some time.
We just finished up our October Lost Hill EquestriSim Hunter/Jumper/Dressage show, so we have a bit of a break before our next competitions at the end of the month.
5 October – XI Rayville Warmblood Show
(Equus-Sims Randomized Show)
We entered our three primary show mares and Ennis in last week’s XI Rayville Warmblood Show hosted by Raymond Equestrian Centre. It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed the time with our fellow competitors and guests at the show. We always enjoy any opportunity to talk about the horses. During the ‘hurry up and wait’ Graeme and I got to enjoy some good food from the vendors and some lawn chair bonding time by the horse trailer.
We were quite happy with our results. Read on for a few pics from the event and our placements...
Ennis – Halter (Stallion)
4th in Class – 5 points | for Total 30 E-S Warmblood Points
Here’s a shot of Iris and Jewel in the ring together showing their movement.
Iris hates being away from home. She gets so frazzled that in all of E-S shows she’s been entered in she hasn’t placed. She gets fidgety, tense and is a real pain in the behind to handle. This week it just so happened that Jewel and Iris ended up in the same class. Iris relaxed and showed like a charm.
Iris – Halter (Mare)
3rd in Class – 6 points & $100 | for Total 6 E-S Warmblood Points
Jewel – Halter (Mare)
5th in Class – 4 points | for Total 26 E-S Warmblood Points
Scarlet was entered as well. She placed 7th in her class.
I thought it would be fun to try and keep a ‘photo record’ of some of the horses’ randomized shows. (Plus it gives me practice on editing.) I may try to focus on the shows that I have ‘photo inspiration’ or maybe the shows where someone places first….
Next up are some photos from the recent EquestriSim Horse Trials and Ennis' recent E-S Dressage show win.
I know plenty of people (like Graeme) who love the heat and live for summer. Me, I got plenty of that living on the Louisiana coast. I love fall. I love the cool nights with bonfires, friends, toasted marshmallows and spiced apple cider. I love the colors - the oranges and yellows and dark greens. I love bundling up in sweaters, sitting in front of the fire with hot cocoa ... obviously I have a fall fetish.
I made Graeme pull out the ladder this week and we decorated the main barn for fall. I think it turned out pretty darn good if I don't say so myself. Our monthly EquestriSim Hunter/Jumper/Dressage show is coming up on the 17th so we'll be all decked out for our visitors.
I have a bunch of pics from this week's Equus-Sims Warmblood show. I'm going to try and put them up in a separate post and include every one's points. For now, here are a couple of pics that I snapped today.
I updated our cover photo with this picture of the mares grazing in the big back pasture. I swear I could've sat back there and watched them all day, listening to them graze and socialize with each other. We've been very lucky in that the mares usually get along very well or maybe they just know Jewel won't put up with a bunch of shenanigans. She runs a pretty tight ship and doesn't put up with any sass. Iris tries to stay out of every one's way - she'd rather be safe than sorry. The other two don't challenge Jewel, but they do have their own little power play going on. Scarlet is typically an easy keeper and Jewel's best buddy. Duchess, however, can be a sneaky little witch. She tends to strike when no one's looking. Her usual target is Scarlet, since Iris does her best to stay out of her way.
The youngsters... I caught this picture as the duo were watching some deer grazing in the field by the paddock. They're still housed over at the broodmare barn since we haven't gotten started on the 'growing out' pasture and barn. Both just turned two so we work on manners and ground work; but primarily they're just growing up and being typical teenagers.
Farrah is on the left. She's the first horse bred here at Lost Hill Farm and Ennis' first offspring. Don't let the sweet face fool you, she is all mare. She's probably dreaming about how she'd jump the fence and run over there and scatter that herd of deer if she didn't have to stick around and boss Jester around.
Jester, was an orphan foal that got sent over from Millbrook Farms. Daisy did an outstanding job raising the pair as twins. Based on his bloodlines and conformation Jester was gelded. We do have high hopes for him performance wise. He is quite bold and is a quick learner if you can keep him focused on the task at hand. He loves being the center of attention and puts up with Farrah's bossiness with the air of a doting boyfriend.
I thought it would be nice to start a little blog highlighting events around the farm. There is so much that has happened already that I know one day I will want to look back on... so, here we go.
I guess this first post might be a good place to talk about how Lost Hill Farm came to be...
I grew up on horses, competing from the time I was in elementary school through college. As a graduation gift my parents gave me a month long trip to Ireland. I fell in love with the country, it's people and Irish Draughts. Instead of staying a month, I stayed a year.
I was introduced to Graeme MacNamara at a horse trial I attended shortly after arriving in Ireland. We talked horses over pints and over the next ten months I traipsed all over the UK attending horse shows and visiting horse farms with Graeme and a slew of other UK riders. I've never slept on so many couches and in horse barns in my life and I loved every minute of it.
I eventually returned to the US with dreams of importing Irish Draughts and starting a small competition and breeding operation focusing on this beautiful and kindly breed.
Ennis arrived a short three months later as a feisty yearling. Over the next seven years he grew up, we trained and eventually began competing. Graeme and I stayed in touch and I followed his professional eventing career closely. The year that he was tapped for the Olympic team he suffered a nasty spill during a horse trial and was in a coma for two months. The doctors not only advised against further eventing, they suggested giving up horses entirely. A little less than a year later he called and wanted to know if I seriously wanted to put together an Irish Draught horse program like we had talked about so many years ago. "Of course I do," I answered without hesitation. "Let's do it." he said. I've always been a sucker for a guy with an accent, how could I say no.
We pooled what money we had and took out loans that we'll be paying on until we're 80. Graeme began scouring Ireland for our foundation horses and I started looking for a location we could grow into, that was centrally located to shows and foremost, something that we could afford.
When Graeme arrived with the girls we spent the first few months at my parents while the deal closed on the farm and we worked to make it livable. Literally days after we closed on the farm, Graeme shipped me and Jewel off to the Ziwa Bonde International Horse Trial for our first event and I swear we haven't stopped yet.