Wednesday, April 30, 2008

End of April 2008

I cannot believe it’s been so long since I’ve written an update! Springtime is trying to spring in Minnesota. We have had some nice sunny days, but things are still a bit cool and we did have a snowstorm just last week. This weekend’s weather prediction is highs in the 40s, so it’s still cold!

The winter was tough – weather-wise and financially – tough enough to consider packing it in and returning to live in Europe, where the Euro is strong and there’s no double-digit below zero temperatures! However, with some more time and reflection, kind of like the weather, we too are on an upswing. I continue to work part time at the post office and really enjoy the people and the work. Ian has been hauling horses around the country using our one-ton truck and the 3-horse, living-quarter trailer. He finds clients online and takes horses from sellers to their new homes. The longest trip to date was from the panhandle of Idaho to Illinois. He’s been hauling a lot between Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Illinois, Iowa, Indiana and Michigan. He’s driven through all four seasons of weather these last weeks – snow in the Rockies, thunderstorms in Illinois, warm sunshine in Michigan and chilly Wisconsin mornings! It keeps us afloat and Ian’s seeing some beautiful parts of this country!

The animals are all fine. We’ve got three mares that are due to deliver during May. Two are Half Arabians sired by Saddlebred stallions – one of which will be a pinto, like our two-year-old gelding, Kiss. The other, a purebred, is sired by our stallion, Legacys Renoir.

Speaking of Renoir, we’re going to bring him home from the trainer. We have learned a lot about horse care in the two years we’ve had horses at home and we’ve learned another level of care and training during the time we’ve boarded and shown horses with trainers. We’re confident we can do it ourselves now.

Ian is building a lovely stall for Renoir and we’ll finish a nice outdoor paddock too, so he should be a very happy horse. He’s never lived anywhere that has an outdoor space. Of course, we’ll be using him to breed our mares and not have to pay the hefty “collection” fee charged by the trainer. We are also going to market him as a breeding stallion ourselves. Renoir is admired in the Arabian show world and even in this tough economy, his breedings should sell. We’re also looking forward to learn the quality of the babies he sired due in the coming weeks, as that will also help to sell breedings. It will be nice to work with Renoir on a daily basis.

We sold two horses recently, Whisper, a four-year-old blue roan gelding and Nutmeg, a 10-year-old chestnut Quarter horse mare. Both are going to really special families. It’s interesting that they were sold during the same week, as we bought them two years ago together at the same horse auction. We still have six more that are actively for sale and the market is picking up. I say “actively” because every horse on the farm is technically for sale!

My show gelding, Lookin For Trouble, came home from the trainer in March. I’ve not ridden him yet, but he has been started under saddle. He’s enjoying just being a horse in the pasture right now. As soon as things dry out – the snow melt and spring rain has things quite soggy – I will saddle him up and see what he’s learned.

I’ll make an effort to keep in touch more regularly. The coming weeks should be very interesting and fruitful here on the farm.