February 28, 2010

You're So Vain

There are certain riddles which have perplexed mankind for years. These unanswered questions are woven through  the fabric of our popular culture until they have become legend. Who really shot JR? Who is so vain? Did Puff the Magic Dragon inhale?

Some riddles are never solved; some questions never answered. But occasionally, a truth escapes the great unknown and finds its way home. As I turned on my computer this morning, I was struck by the headline that Carly Simon had finally revealed the subject of her hit song "You're So Vain". Will wonders never cease? Actually, it doesn't really matter whom it was. I couldn't really care less. I was just struck by the absurdity that someone/anyone felt that this news warranted equal or higher billing than the plight of mankind.

It ranked on my headline news above the death toll from the Chilean earthquake; it came before the information regarding the landfall of the resulting tsunami. Someone in their infinite wisdom actually thought that this little blurb of popular culture was news. Well, I suppose to a fish in a bowl, it may have been. To someone who was too wrapped up in our Hollywood culture, or fame, or show business- it probably was more important than human suffering or a South American's plight for survival.

So, I'll answer the question with a riddle of my own- who, exactly, among us is so vain? I am personally going to examine myself and those around me carefully. I'm sure there will be things I don't like. Ringo is very vain and Chevy can be narcisistic at times. But we all know that raccoons and stallions have large egos. Regardless, I think it's time we step aside from our selfves and the "me" and think about the collective "we"...I'm going to suggest that Ringo and Chevy begin practicing that policy effective immediately.

February 27, 2010

Top Ten List of reasons...

reasons I like Winter...

10. Snow Ball fights
9. 4-Wheel Drive Trucks
8. Carhart Bib Overalls
7. January foals
6. Wool sweaters
5. Snow Angels
4. Warm horse coats under their winter blankets
3. Hot Chocolate
2. The fireplace
and the #1 reason I like Winter is...

Spring follows it!

February 24, 2010

Paris France

There is a new mare who lives at the farm and we call her Paris France. This is not to be confused with the horse named Just Paris or the city near us called Paris, Kentucky.  She's a bit too exotic to be just down the road and a bit to tall to be compared to the other mare named Paris so she has received the moniker Paris France.

She is a daughter of a deceased stallion named Luke At Me. He was a black horse and his offspring have a tell-tale dark coat color. She is either black or extremely dark brown and towers above me and the other horse handlers at the barn. She is a gentle giant who although likes to play and toss around in her stall, is quiet and mannerly when we work with her.

She arrived a few weeks ago to be bred to Chevy. She came straight from a life where she was recently attending horse shows and traveling the country. She seems to have settled well into country life and likes the surplus of food coupled with the lack of anything strenuous to do. She lounges around and from her stall can see visitors entering and leaving the main barn entrance. She is quick to nicker a greeting or ask for an extra morsel of food.

Last week, she began her journey to motherhood and was introduced to the sperm of Chevy. It was an uneventful affair which ended with a human kissing her on the nose and an extra flake of hay for dinner. We will find out in another 12 days or so if it worked!

February 23, 2010

The Calm Before the Storm

The snow has begun to melt- the birds chirped yesterday for just a bit. It has been above freezing for at least 3 days. I believe that Spring may be just around the corner. Of course, I won't let my guard down and trust Mother Nature for even a moment. Her whimsy may turn to revenge in a moment's notice and we may find ourselves buried under a deluge of ice or snow again. She is female personified- crazy, volatile, flirtatious, sexy, manipulative, bubbly, and sweet. That's the Mother Nature I know of late.

On other fronts, the mares, trainers, young horses, and rest of us have settled into a gentle (yet busy) routine. That's always a sure sign that there is a storm brewing. One thing that previous foaling seasons have taught me is that just about the time I adjust to a routine- it will change.

Dr. Mather has resumed her regular farm visits to check mares for breeding.  She seems to have fallen back into our regular morning routine rather easily this year. Chevy has seen more than his fair share of the AV (here's a link- I'm not going to explain what that is here  http://www.extension.org/pages/Horse_Semen_Collection
 and even he seems to have settled back into the routine of a breeding stallion rather quickly.

I found myself wondering if this were the calm before the storm today. The routines seem easy- the help plentiful. So, we shall just wait and see what comes of this calm that everyone seems to be experiencing...

February 22, 2010

Ode to the Goat

Sadly, Kit the Pygmy Goat lost a valiant battle with cancer yesterday afternoon. She passed over the Rainbow Bridge just a few steps away from where she was born 9 years ago. She was the source of much amusement, frustration, and laughter in our family. Services were held for her earlier today in the Goat Family Plot at Fields Quarter Horses and her cremains will be interred there later this week. Her smiling face will be missed.

RIP...The Goat...2/22/10

February 21, 2010

Top Ten List...

This is a top ten list of things I would rather be doing today:

10. working in my Spring flower beds
9.  riding Chevy
8. watching an episode of the HBO series "Big Love"
7. wearing a bikini
6. selling a brown Chevy yearling colt
5. eating birthday cake
4. wearing sunglasses
3. going to a horse show
2. foaling a mare
 and the #1 thing I would rather be doing today is...
seeing our grandest child Shelby in Arkansas

February 20, 2010

New Sheriff In Town

There's a new sheriff in Fields Town and his name is Gary. Earlier this month, Fields Quarter Horses announced the addition legendary horseman Gary Trubee to our team. Gary has been involved with the American Quarter Horse as a professional for over 40 years. He brings with him hands-on knowledge having been an intrical player in the careers of so many legendary horses and horsemen in our industry. It's always interesting to see yourself through someone else's eyes and this week has been interesting to watch Gary watch us and our horses.

Although he has been a fan of Chevy- he has been admittedly surprised at the talent and greatness that Chevy shows us on a daily basis. He has commented on his unusually gentle and playful nature and marvelled at his mad Western Pleasure skills. It's always a relief to have an NSBA Hall of Famer tell me that my horse is truly special.

He's worked side by side with Amber this week watching, discussing, and offering advice on the training horses. She, too, must be relieved to have been pronounced talented and "a good horse trainer".  We've bred a remarkable number of mares already for the 2010 breeding season to have just kicked off. I keep telling everyone that maybe it means an early Spring. No one seems impressed by that statement as we daily shovel snow, sled hay to paddocks, and carry water to horses. On that note, let me just say that Gary Trubee is not only a great horseman but a damn good water bucket carrier as well. What a bonus to discover that he has other mad skills in addition to working with great horses.

So, as the dawn of a new breeding season emerges, I believe so does the dawn of a new age at Fields Quarter Horses. The calls are even more frequent, the horses are looking even more special, the show homes are more plentiful for the Chevy foals, and I can honestly say that my plans to take over the world are taking shape!


February 16, 2010

The White Death

Winter has slapped us in the face the past couple of weeks. As if she were reminding us that we are ever vulnerable, small, and not really in control of anything, she laughed at our efforts yesterday as our farm received over 8 inches of snow. This fell quickly and atop several other snows which were already inhabiting the Earth around us so we (and our neighbors) quickly conceeded the battle and hunkered down until her fury was diminished.

The snow event arrived in full force around 6:00am yesterday morning. Cooper the miniature stallion was outside in an overnight paddock so after the horses were fed, watered, and bedded down for the storm, I went to retrieve him. As I approached the gate to his paddock, I peered through the pelting snow for his little head. He stands 27 inches at the shoulder and is mostly white so in a snow storm, he could be easily lost.

I didn't see him immediately but began calling his name. I felt as though he wouldn't be able to hear me as the wind gusts were nearly 30 miles per hour and the snow was obscuring everything. I heard his shrill whinny and kept trudging to the gate. He was waiting there for me- head bowed to keep the driving snow from his eyes, too.

I slipped the tiny halter over his nose and fastened the buckle behind his ears. As soon as his gear was fastened, he nearly raced out of the gate beside me- anxious to reach the warmth and shelter of the barn a few yards away.  Abruptly, he encountered a snow drift. Having just traipsed through the wall of snow, I knew it was nearly as high as my thighs. Cooper only paused a moment and leapt forward into the air to breach the 4 foot drift. He landed a few feet forward- smack dab in the center of more snow. With another huge effort, he leapt again, snapping his tiny knees upward in a perfect Hunter horse pose as he hoisted his body into the air.

Now, the snow was beating upon us. All thoughts of its beauty and softness were gone as we were faced with ice cold lethal white death. Beside me, I could feel Cooper's fear mount as he continued to leap forward in giant bounds. He reminded me for an instant of a Lipizanner from the Spanish Riding School in Vienna that I had once seen in an exhibition. He continued to snap his knees upward and with great thrusts of his haunches, propelled himself out of the snow only to land back in the deep drifts. I could only offer my encouragement and let him know that I would not leave him alone. He seemed to understand and we paused for a moment- both of us out of breath from the force of the wind and snow. Then, his second wind grabbed hold and he leaped and bounded in several great bursts.

Soon, we were out of the drift and both able to trot the remainder of the distance to the barn. Neither of us needed encouragement to get to the warm haven quickly. Once inside, I pulled the door closed and walked Cooper to the stall. There, waiting for him was a fluffy bed of straw and a snack of delicious green hay. He whinnied once more in his shrill little voice as if to make sure that everyone in the barn knew that he had arrived.

I passed by the stall later and overheard him retelling his adventure to Wendy- the red roan yearling. She hung on every word and her eyes glowed with the excitement of his adventure. I did not have the heart to correct him when he took the liberty of adding even more danger and drama to the saga. After all, he had earned his tale- however he wished to retell it!


February 14, 2010

Soap Operas

I was raised on Soap Operas. My mother and aunts were dedicated to the characters of The Young and the Restless in a manner which now seems cultish. The characters were much like extended family that were never present at family gatherings but were discussed in great length and with much familiarity. It occurerd to my yesterday that our farm and its characters is nothing more than a string of mini-Soaps.

Days of Our Lives: Like sands through the hourglass, so are the Days of Our Lives.... this opening narration plays through my head each morning as we begin and end every day. Perhaps because we work with animals who like the rest of nature crave routine and order, we become creatures of that environment and carry out routines without noticing the grooves that we are forming.

The Young and the Restless. It's foaling season and we are consumed by young, tender, tiny things every day. Either last years foals, or two-year-olds learning new lessons, or the tiniest little horses who are coming this year- they are all so young and anxious to see the world.

The Bold and the Beautiful.  Chevy had his first semen collection on Friday and I could not help but stand in awe of this magnificent animal. He is kind, loving, and an old soul yet the raw power that a stallion exhibits during the breeding process is overwhelming at times. Watching him do his part to create future Quarter Horses, I could not help but stand back and wonder at the true beauty and character of this animal.

General Hospital.  Dr. Mather has resumed her often visits to the farm as there are foals to see, mares to ultrasound, and breeding work to do. With the influx of new horses to the farm, there are ever-present medical needs from the small to the momenetus which always need attention. Why aren't horses born with helmets to protect them?

As the World Turns.  Now that we've walked this path for a while, I find the breeding seasons are beginning to blend together- one year into the next. The routines are established- collect the stallions on Monday, Wednesday, Friday; eat Pizza on Tuesdays; groom mares; halter-break babies. I find them comforting and am happy that I can lose myself in my work. It's a wonderful place to be!

All My Children. My children are becoming spread about- Brittney is away at school, Josh and Amanda are in the Air Force in Little Rock, the foals move away to new homes. Ringo and Chevy are here with me- yes, I consider them in a category just short of children. With each new departure, our family grows and I become more blessed to have new friends and family members.

So, today as we accept a few new mares, send Cash the two-year-old home, send Wolf to his new owner, and go about our regular business, I'll maybe hear that Soap Opera narrator's voice in my head a few times. But, that's better than hearing strange voices in my head, right?


February 12, 2010

Two Policemans and a Tractor

Whew. I have been swamped this week. Every one of us has been rising with the sun, going hard all day long, and falling into bed much too late each night. For some reason, I think we forget exactly how busy foaling and breeding season truly is. It takes a huge team effort each and every day to accomplish both the mundane and the extraordinary things we do.

Here are some Noteable Notes along with some Quotable Quotes from the past few days:

On Sunday, Wayne, Tara and I began the process of constructing 6 stalls in the indoor arena for the overflow of horses we were expecting to arrive at the farm in the next week. Like many things, the project seemed to creep forward at a snail's pace. Two horses who were already living in the main barn thought that since we already had our tools assembled,  they would oblige us by breaking a couple of stall walls. How thoughtful of them to do so while we had drills, saws, bolts and screws handy. That day's quotable quote is not fit to print.

On Monday, we continued the construction process and still had one wall to repair. This time, Amber joined our crew to construct stall walls and Neighbor Jim showed up just in time for the wall fixing party. He took the lead assisted by myself and Tara. Neighbor Jim is an oddity of nature because he owns every tool known to the industrialized world. He could singlehandedly build an ark in one day, I do believe. At one moment during the wall fixin, he observed Tara and I standing on an upturned bucket together- vieing for a foothold as we tried to reach a bolt high above our heads. He asked, "Girls, If I may use your ladder bucket for a moment please?"  We obliged.

On Tuesday, we attended to regular chores and business and caught up on neglected duties from the previous days. I believe someone on the team may have said, "I'm sore," once or twice. I helped unload bulk straw for bedding while Amber resumed teaching her tiny ones their lessons (horses and humans alike).

On Wednesday, we woke bright and early and dove into the final stages of the stall construction process. Wayne and Tara unloaded the final hardware and fixtures for the stalls and then everyone revved up for a final massive effort to finalize the project. By 9:00pm on Wednesday evening, the lesson mares from the farm were happily munching hay in their cozy new arena stalls.

On Thursday, we disinfected stalls and prepared them for the afternoon arrival of Chevy and Company from Michigan with Christa Baldwin. We were anticipating the snow and ice we had received since the weekend was going to cause some complications so we coerced the assistance of Bubby (Neighbor to Neighbor Jim) and his large tractor to plow the parking lot and driveway. Then, salted the small hill leading into the farm heavily and prayed. Unfortunately, we either didn't pray long enough or use salt liberally enough as the trailer loaded with 4500 pounds of Chevy and 3 friends became firmly lodged into the bank as it entered the driveway. Unable to go forward or backward, we were in a pickle. Within approximately 9 seconds, we were swooped down upon by several policeman who deftly guided traffic around the sight. Like an army of worker bees, neighbors poured forth from their homes to weild shovels and advice. Soon, the crowd swarmed to near mob size of 12 people. Neighbor Jim's Neighbor Bubby was called with his large tractor and after roughly 90 minutes of strategizing and several failed attempts, the 50 foot rig and it's truck were finally pulled up the incline by the little tractor that could. Someone was heard to say, "Well, all that took was two policemans and a tractor." If I had known, I may have had those tools on standby.

The events of this week ended with a most bizarre dinner at Olive Garden which involved a shortage of Lasagna and Gluten Free Pasta. No one was injured in the making of this blog so all-in-all, it can be counted as a successful week. And, now on to construct something else...after all, that's how one builds an Empire, I hear!


February 8, 2010

Another Top Ten List

This is a top ten list of things to do in February at Fields Quarter Horses
10. Think about having a foal
9. Shovel snow or ice
8. Build temporary stalls because we are crowded
7. Buy a yearling Chevy
6. Tease a mare to see if she's in heat
5. Look at the Show Season list
4. Ultrasound your mare
3. Daydream about green pastures
2. Have a foal
And the number one thing to do in February at Fields Quarter Horses is...

Breed a mare to Chevy!

February 7, 2010

Technicolor Bugs

I walked along the flower lined path at the little barn and noted that nature had decided to be creative in her display this Spring. I paused a moment to determine the name for one such color and was distracted by tiny voices below me. I craned my ear toward the source of the commotion. Peering through the tapestry of colors alongside the drive, I noticed a miniature procession. It was being led by the most important looking beetle that I had ever seen. He was polished and so shiny that my reflection looked back at me from his black shell. Atop his head, was a large grey top hat made of the highest quality mouse fur available. He wielded a walking cane that appeared to be ivory- I surmised it must be polished bone although it was so fine and fragile it was nearly transluscent.

Behind the surely important beetle, there was a pair of matching caterpillars with unruly orange hairs. Although they wore matching harnesses, the caterpillars creeped with untamed beauty as they tossed their fine heads. Behind the unruly pair of caterpillars, was an expertly crafted sleigh driven by a handsome carpenter ant. Several of his arms deftly held silken spider web reins used to control the lively caterpillars as the rest of his legs lifted and steadied his body into an upright position atop the sleigh. With each powerful thrust, the caterpillars propelled the unusual contraption forward.

The contents of the sleigh were at first hard to distinguish. I knelt onto the gravel drive to peer more closely at the procession. From my new vantage point, I had a much better view. There, carefully contained in the handcrafted wooden sleigh and nestled among a downy bed of dandelion fluff, was a lady bug. She was heavy with bug and her discomfort was evident as she shifted her bulk trying to find comfort. Her black spots seemed to have taken on shapes of their own and were no longer dots but rather splotches on her ruby exoskeleton. Although she was trying not to grimace I noted that she had the most exquisite face I had ever seen on a bug- lady or not.

The flowered canopy cast a rainbow of shadows across their path and I could not help but wonder about this technicolor parade beneath my nose. Then, before I could ponder their destination or origination, the important beetle lifted his cane into the air above his head. Behind him, the carpenter ant deftly pulled the spirited team of caterpillars to a halt.

To Be Continued...

February 5, 2010

Peeple of the Wurld...

Peeple of the Wurld...may I have your attention pleez?

This is Ringo the Raccoon. I discovered the compooter had been left unguarded and have decided to write my own bog tonight. I asked the goat what she thought I should say. She said "Bleh." Stoopid goat. So, I think I will write a bog about what I did today.

This morning, I woke up. I scratched my tummy. I ate a big marshmallow. I washed my hands in my water bucket. I plotted to take over the wurld. I ate another big marshmallow. I was tired from plotting so I took a nap. When I woke up, I washed my hands and scratched my tummy.

Tomorrow, I will ask my mudder what she writes in her bog each day. She doesn't eat marshmallows but sometimes I see her plotting. My fadder is afraid she may take over the wurld.  It is now time to eat another marshmallow.

Oh no. I think I got sticky fingers on my mudder's compooter.


February 3, 2010

The Little Barn

If you traveled down the little road just a little while, you would come to the little barn. It sat nestled between a grove of oak trees which was older than most of the people I know and a wide open field of blue and orchard grasses. It was just a ways off the beaten path but close enough to be right around the corner. In Summertime, the fields surrounding the little barn were filled with mares nosing through lush green grass that grew so thickly it reached above their ankles. Their foals played and laid on the plush carpet around them.

Sunshine peeked through pillowy clouds and floated to land upon the roof of the little barn. The rays were infected with warmth and they wrapped it in their embrace. Inside, even the shadows radiated the glow and beckoned one to sit within them for a bit.  Those who lived in the little barn were charmed. They did not know trial nor sorrow for it was banished here. For longer than the oak trees could remember, only happiness had lived beneath their embrace. In the little barn, it was easy to forget time itself. This was a place for life and living and ease.

The exterior of the little barn was neat and tidy. It seemed as if someone loved it very much, from the great care that was placed in its keeping. It was evident from the carefully placed gravel in the drive winding to the carefully latched front door. On each side of the long drive, there were wildflowers which sprung up from the ground in a sporadic pattern that was so perfect, it must have been accidental. Rich colors sprinkled the path to the little barn in daring combinations. Only Nature could be so carefree that it would wear such vibrant colors.

    At the little barn, the raindrops were warm and the snowflakes were the extra large variety that stayed on your tongue for a few moments longer. The seasons swayed gently with the rhythm of life and creation. I stop by the little barn sometimes, just to pay a visit and enjoy the fresh air. But, like many who stop there, I cannot stay long for I must get home to tend to my own animals. So, next time you are down the road just a little way, stop by the little barn for a visit of your own- you won't regret it.

This was just a peek at my own personal Heaven- hope you enjoyed it!

February 2, 2010


Now on Cam at Fields Quarter Horses....Tootsie!

You may remember Tootsie from last year. She is due 3/3/10 and bred to AQHA stallion Huntin For Chocolate. Tootsie is owned by Ronnie and Vickie Kent from  Florida.

The entire Quarter Horse industry grieved with the Kent family when they lost the great horses Wonit Ona RV Version and Ill Be RV Radical. Tootsie is a full sister to the mare and half sister to the gelding. Full story here: http://americashorsedaily.com/a-horsemans-heart/

She safely delivered a healthy bay colt last year and we are expecting a safe, normal delivery for the Kents again this year. Please join us in watching Tootsie on cam as she approaches her due date and delivery.

Here are photos of her siblings at the 2009 AQHA World Show before their passing. And here is the Fields QH Cam link: http://www.marestare.com/fcam.php?alias=fieldsqh

February 1, 2010

Leaps of Faith

I had a realization today. It came to me somewhere between Ella and Tootsie's stalls. Of course, some of my greatest thinking moments have occurred while I was holding a manure fork. I determined that my life can be summed up as nothing more than a string of decisions. Like strands of DNA which connect to form the cell of my life, my decisions have also connected to create the who, the now, the where, and the why that are me.

Sometimes, these strands are repeated. We make one good decision and are likely to repeat that decision in our favor over the course of our lives. Other times, we mutate and make decisions that seem out of character. These are the decisions which can oft times define our evolution to a new self. Of course, mutant decisions can have life-altering affects as well. Sometimes, we spend years overcoming the results of these decisions.

Regardless, my life is a culmination of the decisions I have made. Never one to be a passenger, I have steered my own course- with whatever guidance seemed appropriate at the time. As I get older, I find that I am beginning to make choices more cautiously. Where I once held my breath and jumped into the deep end with no fear, I now find that leaps of faith are becoming harder to make.

I'm not exactly sure why this is so- my life is full and I am happy. Obviously, I've made some good decisions along the way. Yet, for whatever reason, I find myself on the cliff of a choice and I've been teetering on the precipice. I've held my breath, waited for someone to push me/or pull me back, and prayed that a sign would come. Silly me. It's been there all the time- I just need to take a leap of faith.