Friday, July 27, 2007

Depths of summer

Hello! It’s been WEEKS since I’ve written an update; so let me give you some highlights.

Our stallion Legacy’s Renoir went to his first horse show in two years and wowed the judges and the crowd. He showed in a stallion halter class in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Wednesday, June 13, and won a blue ribbon, which qualified him to compete in the Region 10 Championship show the next evening. We did not know it at the time, but in winning that blue ribbon Renoir beat out the Brazilian National Champion! On the 14th, Renoir was awarded a Top 5 Ribbon and then was judged Reserve Champion for all of Region 10 (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Upper Peninsula of Michigan) in the stallion class for ages two years and over. Of course, we’re thrilled. It was fun to see him do so well and Region 10 is one of the toughest regions in North America. His regional win qualifies him to show at U.S. and Canadian Nationals this year and next year.

Renoir’s next show will be in Des Moines, Iowa over Labor Day weekend (August 30-September 3). Then later in September (27-30) he will in St. Paul again at a big show we call “Fall Fest.” Each time he shows Renoir’s handlers will be professionals; either Jeff Schall or brother Jerry. We’re not doing amateur owner to handle (AOTH) this season. After Fall Fest, Renoir will probably have a long break and not show until February in Scottsdale, Arizona. Of course, he can be called upon to begin breeding mares in February 2008 too.

Renoir had two photo sessions with different professional equine photographers in late June. He also was videotaped and we’re watching to see the final DVD version. These are used in promoting the stallion. Renoir will have a full-page ad in the Arabian Horse Times in the August and September issues; both ads are related to the above-mentioned shows.

In mid-June we went to South Dakota, very near the Minnesota border, to see Mona (see “Spring Update” entry). She is a beauty and we fell in love with the chestnut colt at her side and he will come with her to the Auld Macdonald Farm this fall. We have dubbed him Clifford. He is a large, fiery red chestnut Half Arabian with three white socks and a white star and snip that travels down his forehead. When I picture any big, red animal the children’s storybook “Clifford the big red dog” comes to mind. I’m not sure what we’ll officially name him. His sire is the palomino American Saddlebred stallion Goldmount Royal Design. During our South Dakota daytrip, we met Royal along with another stunning stallion, purebred Arabian, Bey Shahzon.

Sax Fifth Avenue, the Arabian mare I mentioned in “Happy June” is back with us. She is confirmed bred to Sirius Trouble for an auction foal in 2008. Windy (Arabian) is bred to pinto American Saddlebred stallion Famous Echo SCA for an auction foal in 2008. Auction foals can compete in special purse-winning classes at specific shows. We also bred Khatalina Bey (Arabian) and Yukon Miss (Thoroughbred) to Renoir for foals in 2008. On Tuesday we will have these three mares confirmed in foal. The mare we’re leasing in Wisconsin, VG Elambra (see AMF Spring Update), is also in foal to Renoir, so that will be it for our breeding season. There’s only so much money in the world.

Our three-year-old geldings Cairo and Whisper will be going to nearby Rush City to be started under saddle (see “Happy June”). Our other gelding Jay is enjoying his time in Buffalo, Minnesota with his teenaged 4-H handler Darrah.

Ian set up a 60-foot round pen and we use it to work on our horses’ ground manners. Lately, it’s been blessed hot with high humidity and not a sniff of rain, so we’ve given the horses a training break. We do take the hose into the pasture to rinse them off – some like it, some are not really impressed, but it makes me feel better knowing they’ve been given a break from the heat.

Windy’s filly is growing up nicely (see “It’s a girl”). She’s got a nice personality and a lovely Arabian head and neck with a tail that stands flag straight. Kisses seems to have the finest attributes of both dam and sire. We’ll be working with her more and more and, if we have not sold her, we’ll look at showing her in the spring of 2008.

We’re (still) waiting to learn about the sale of one of our two chalets in Spain. Number 10 has been off the market since the end of May. You can imagine how frustrating it is to wait at this distance. I should know something definite next week.

Meanwhile, at least Ian will be going to Barcelona. HP has asked him to travel there and to Grenoble, France related to this latest consulting project. He’s to meet in Barcelona beginning Monday, August 13, and running through Thursday or Friday of that week.

I’ve seen the latest Harry Potter movie and this morning I finished the final book. I really enjoyed the series and I hope that J. K. Rowling doesn’t just sit back and spend her billions, but that she writes another adventure to share.

My son Richard came to visit earlier in the week. We tore off siding as high as we could reach without a ladder. Of course we did it on the two hottest days of the summer. A lot of water was drunk those days! Before residing and installing new windows and doors, we will put a house wrap on all exterior walls. The siding we’ve chosen resembles cedar shake, so with the doorways and windows trimmed in white it should look quite gingerbread-ish! LOL

We’ve also begun tearing out the living room/dining room floor. Why people want us to take up the boards carefully and try to re-use them is beyond me. They are old, dried up, warped and should go exactly where we took them – to the fire pit for a great bonfire. Once the floor is replaced, we will lay down the same ceramic tile we have on the kitchen floor. Ian’s also installing radiant heating, so with that, the house wrap and the corn stove we’ll be cozy this winter.

Meanwhile, we’ve moved into our living-quarters horse trailer. It has all the creature comforts and when we need to haul a horse, we just unplug the electricity and disconnect the water, load a horse or two, hook it up to the one-ton pick up truck and we’re off!

Yesterday, I took Mom to Pine City, Minnesota to visit her brother Bob and his wife Carol. They live just outside this small city on a 200-acre farm they’ve owned since just after WWII. Aunt Carol is a great cook and we had a simple, tasty lunch. The farm has been both a working dairy farm and a show horse business, but now its only animals are outdoor cats.

We’ve had friends and family come to visit and we are expecting more visitors in a few days.

Those are just some of the things going on since I last posted.


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