It might be because I come from a military family –  Dad_1944my father was in the MerchantKaren_uniform Marines and all his brothers also served during World War II, my husband was in the service, my daughter retired from the Air Force, a grandson just came back from Afghanistan, and my granddaughter’s husband is still serving.

It might be because when I taught I could see how hard it was for the kids whose parents were police officers, fire fighters, first responders, not knowing if they would be safe in the job that they do.

When we read about Horses4Heroes and Operation Freedom, we knew that this was an organization that we wanted to be associated with. So, on May 18th from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm, we will be hosting Hero Appreciation Day at our horseback riding facility.

This is a day where our active and veteran service families and community service families (police officers, fire fighters, EMS, etc.) can come out and enjoy a day at the farm. There is no charge to participate in the activities that will be available – horseback riding, horse grooming, making horse treats, and other horse themed games.

We are looking forward to a fun-time with the heroes and their families in our community.

For more information and our location, please visit our Website.


The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 940 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

to our barn.

Those of you who knew Tom, are familiar with his way of welcoming everyone who entered our barn.  Sometimes I still hear him greeting the riders when they come in for their lessons, even though it’s just in my mind.   So I wanted a way to have his presence felt, even for those who never knew him.

While I was going through some stuff, I saw his boots…they’re old boots…I think he wore them every day for years.  The sides are sagging, one boot can hardly stay upright, but, they’re his boots.  Scuffed, well-used, and comfortable.  Perfect!

Fall arrangement

Christmas arrangement

I decided to put them in the corner by the entrance from the barn to the arena and fill them with flowers as the seasons change.  Look at them as you enter the arena and tell me if you don’t feel that warm welcome in your heart.

josh-on-lurain-300We had the State of the Union, the State of the State, the State of the County, and now, the State of the Farm address.

Some of you are aware that the position that I held with Mopar, that made this program possible, was eliminated last September. Like everyone else, we need to look at what we can do to keep the services that we offer without raising our rates.

We have reviewed the other therapeutic riding facilities in the area and have learned that we have the lowest rate in this area, and, quite possibly, in most of the nation. Except for those facilities that do not charge and rely heavily on donations, we are at least $5/session lower than the others. Some charge $20 for a 30 minute session.

In addition, the hay that cost us $3.50 last June, and $5.50 in October is now costing us $7.00 a bale. We know that hay costs more in the winter, but this is double our summer rate. We do not have a definitive price for this year’s hay, but are expecting $4.50 or $5.00 out of the field, with rate hikes in the fall and winter. Our farrier is also increasing his rates by $5.00 per horse trim. Our horses are trimmed every eight weeks.

In an effort to not raise our rates this year, we are looking at additional ways to increase our revenue. This includes:

  • Increasing the number of riders to 100. We are asking you to distribute our flyers to anyone you know that could benefit from our riding classes. As a bonus, anyone who recruits a rider and that rider stays for three months will receive their choice of a free riding lesson or a 2009 Pretty Pony Pastures t-shirt.
  • Increase the number of Scout troops that utilize our facility for the badge workshops. I have a brochure that explains all the workshops. Take a few and hand them out to the Scout leaders that you know.
  • Add Horse Days, clinics, and riding “camps” to our list of services. Our first is Hug-A-Horse Day that will take place on Valentine Day. We will also have Horse Fever Days during spring break, and plan to add similar activities during the summer.
  • Encourage more schools to use our facility for field trips or classes. We were very successful with the five week session that we held with Patterson Elementary School in Holly. If you know any Special Education teachers that would be interested in our program…we have a brochure.
  • We plan to hold a barn sale this spring. We will call it a barn sale because we have tack that we can sell as well as household goods. You can help or rent a table. Date and time to be announced.
  • Add advertising in our Giddy-Up Go show bill. Businesses or individuals who take out an ad will get the bonus of being listed on our Website as well as the show bill.

Thank you for your support. If you have any other suggestions, please let me know.

Getting up this morning to 12″ of snow was a thrill in itself.  That meant we had to walk to our neighbor’s place to take care of our horses.  Not that walking is bad, but, in the deep snow, carrying their breakfast, it was a rough way to start the day and the year.

Now that we are dug out, Tom and I are looking at our plans for the upcoming year.

We have one horse that needs to go through “boot-camp” before we can put her in our therapeutic riding program.  We got Poppy in November, and although she is very rideable, there are still a few things we need to make sure the horse knows before we put our kids on them.  Winter hit fast, so we still have some prep work to do.

Sherlock is learning how to drive.  We are so pleased with his progress, that we’ve decided to start all our horses in driving.  He needs to pull poles and a travois before we do some serious driving.  He can be ridden, too.  But his back has gone out on him a few times, so I’m careful how much weight he carries.

We have three more fillies that are really young mares.  They have pretty good ground manners, so that means it’s time for the harness and saddle.  I’m looking for a few good riders to help start them.  I don’t know if they will ever materialze though.  So far, I’ve started every one of our young horses myself.  I’m happy with the results, but as I grow older, I think I should also grow a little wiser and leave the colt starting for younger people.

We’re also hoping to increase the number of riders in our program.  We have 25 right now.  We think 40 would be a good number.  There is enough lesson times available to do it.  Some of our classes aren’t filled to capacity, so I think if I just fill all the existing lesson times, we’ll reach our goal.

I’m planning on carrying my camera more, so I can post pictures of our horses in training and at lesson times both here and on our farm web site.

Looks like I’ll be spending more time in the barn.  I’m sure our Haflingers won’t mind!