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I love sunrises. There seems to be so much promise in them. All the cliche things people say about opportunity and new beginnings were being sung by my heart this morning as I fed horses under a rising sun.

Maybe the weather is playing a part in my mood. Although it is still cold, and a bit windy, there is a spring-like feel to it today. Even though we really have had a mild winter, it has sure seemed like a long one. Too many hours spent indoors when the only place I want to be is outdoors with Boo, Owl, and Bunny, spending time with our horses and dogs.

I have been taking advantage of my indoor incarceration time by planning for horseshows, training/excersize routines, financials, ways to cut cost with feed and any other way I can….. And Oh I hadn’t mentioned the biggest project I’ve been pouring over……my new horse barn to be built soon! (I say horse barn conservatively, like two 12×12 row stalls with a ta k and grainery in the middle ) I am so excited to finally have a plan taking shape. No more fighting over space in the current barn!

So maybe my good mood is the weather……maybe its the idea of a new (ultra conservative) horse barn!.

2

Pigs

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(Left to right) Romeo and Katelyn

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(Left to right) Twilight, Celeste, Louise, Grace, Easter

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Jo

We have reached that time of fall that I absolutely despise. Where everything is muddy and all the horses look so unkempt unless they are stalled in the barn. And baby Flash and her babysitter, mini horse mare, Rose are in the barn now.

Oh next year things will be different! My horse barn will be able to be renovated, and I can bring in most of the horses during this period of sloppy weather.

All the horses have loafing sheds that are great shelter, but of course aren’t as dry as the barn and paddocks.

So for now I will have to be content with my pigs……errr….I mean my horses until mother nature gets her prozac figured out.

0

Eviction

Eviction.

It has finally come to that. I can’t take it anymore.

More specifically my husband and his crap are being evicted from my horse barn.

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This morning I stood staring  at this scene before me. The photo above is the disaster that I had in my focus. Tragic hey? My poor little horse barn that has been over run by my husband’s classic car and truck and other miscellaneous “projects”.  We founded the HK Bar in 2008 and my husband Kevin and I have been trying to elbow each other out of space the whole seven years now.

Our original agreement was I would get full run of the older, smaller barn you can barely see behind all hubby s crap to the far right in the picture, and he would get the newer nicer barn because it had electricity.

Well, that’s not what happened. Turns out hubby had so much farm stuff, tools, etc that it flooded me completely out of my barn. So we have been fighting for space every since.

It’s so frustrating when I am trying to prepare for a show and I can’t safely shave, wash, and work with the horses because there is just too much stuff in my way. Plus add the three little cowgirl princesses and it turns into a real nightmare. I don’t know how many times I’ve feared for damage to thier little selves because there is so much to hurt themselves on!

I have spent hours scheming how to kick Kevin out of my horse barn once and for all. And this morning I came to the solution. I am going to evict him from the newer barn.  Completely cut him out.

But first I am going to have the old barn torn down and a new building built specifically for hubby. He will have his space and I’ll have mine. And then I can complete MY horse barn to my liking without having to fight for space.

Deep cleansing breath in. I felt so much better.

I spent too much time thinking I needed a brand new barn, when really I love the old barn and its just perfect for me. I can put in three nice stalls and still have room for a small bunkhouse/ office. Once the hubby is evicted.

Oh the possibilities!!

8

My Dream Barn; and my Husband the Enabler

Tonight my three girls and I were piled on the couch watching Tangled for probably the six hundredth time. When the movie was over I realized my husband never materialized into his recliner to watch the movie with us. My husband works very long hours most days and its not unusual for him to be gone. But tonight I knew he had planned on coming in from the barn early.

I went ahead and put the girls to bed and went in search of hubby. I found him sitting at the kitchen table with sketch paper, pencils, sharpener, and a ruler. I said “Hey,what are you up to?” He smiled a very ornery smile and said “Sit down I will show you.”

*insert my GIANT eye roll and sigh*

I plopped down in the chair and thought here we go. I get to hear about the truck he is putting together……..

But to my suprise he started drawing 12×15 sections…..four of them….and four 20 foot pipe runs…..an alleyway…a hay storage area…and what’s this a tack room!?! I knew right then I liked this idea.

I instantly felt guilty for my sigh and dramatic eye roll. OK, I admit it….I am a spoiled princess lol. ….on a budget and within reason of course. Don’t t get me wrong we arent even considered middle class, upper lower class maybe!? Farmers….we are farmers….that should explain our bracket.

Truth is, the sketch my husband drew was my dream barn. He has spent years listening to my idea of a functional horse barn. He has been listening! He had every detail correct right down to the way I want the stall doors to swing.

These are the moments I know my husband truly loves me. No, not because he wants to build the horse barn of my dreams BUT because he has been listening. And truly listening!

Of course this is a plan for the future, and not going to happen overnight. But we are getting a plan. Hubby said he has a ton of lumber and tin set aside for this huge undertaking.

I am left in awe of his enthusiasm, thought, and preparation he has already put towards not his dream but MY dream.

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Our girl Jo

I was raised riding sale barn horses, off the track race horses, and  back yard breeding accidents. Aside from my very first horse, an 18 year old + thoroughbred named Cracker Jack, I hadn’t ridden a well trained horse…..until a year ago when I bought my mare Jo. It sounds strange to people I’m sure to hear me say I haven’t ridden well broke horses in my 20 + years of riding. But its completely true.

I remember like it was yesterday the day my best friend, Amber, and her grandma (my adopted grandma) Sherry and myself met Jo. I had been scouting sale ads for weeks looking for my next partner. Amber found her, I believe it was on craigslist. She sent me a text with a picture of a big grey aqha mare. Seeing her in person made me believe in love at first sight. She was beautiful! She had great confirmation, an intelligent eye, and her movements were like silk. Her previous owner whom I’ll call A rode her beautifully. I could tell they had a strong bond, and fluid communication.

A worked her from walk to trot to canter, loped circles, performed a sliding stop, and spun circles left and right. I could tell A loved this horse, she was very quiet and even. She handed me Jo’s reigns when I asked if I could ride her. A of course handed the reigns over, but I could tell it was hard for her to do. In that moment I saw longing and hurt in her eyes as she looked on with Jos reigns in my hands. She loved this horse to her core, and I couldn’t bring myself to ask her why she was selling her.

I climbed into a beautiful trail saddle and set off on a walk with the big grey mare. I knew the moment my rear hit the saddle that Jo was coming home to the HK Bar. I slowly worked up to cantering circles. Jo was a beautiful mover, and what was this? She worked off of leg pressure? She side passed? She spun? Flying lead changes? I have to admit, I was sloppy in the saddle, and Jo got a bit annoyed with me. For the first time in my life I felt the feel of a well trained horse.

How could I have ridden 20. + years and not ridden a horse as well broke as this?! I’ll tell you why, its because I was raised by a single mother whom struggled to support my horse habit. I rode whatever we could afford. And another reason was because my (adopted) Grandma Sherry was a horse visionary with a penchant and soft place in her heart for off the track thoroughbreds. I was raised riding horses that sometimes only knew how to bite the bit and run like hell.

After a short ride I offered A a few hundred dollars less than what she was asking. As I look back now I feel guilty and ashamed for even trying to get A to lower her price on Jo. I knew she was worth well more than what she was asking. I said I’d love to have Jo, and went to my truck to count out crisp hundred dollar bills.

Amber, Grandma, and I left the stable with smiles on our faces. All we could talk about over our lunch of Mexican food and margaritas was what a horse Jo was. We celebrated that day.

Amber mentioned A was going through a divorce. I don’t know if A told Amber this outright or not. Amber has a canny sense of people and her surroundings. She is very intuitive. I admire that about her. But as she made this statement I found myself doubling over with a stabbing pain in my gut. I now understood the sadness and longing look in A’s eyes when she saw me with our Jo.

Yes, even now I say “our Jo” . Even though A knows Jo as “Jalo”. She will forever be our girl because I know how much A still loves this horse. I have kept in contact with her through texts over the past year. I send pictures and updates of our girl to A.

I want A to know how much our girl is loved. I want her to know our girl is cared for, protected, and cherished.

Every horse that I have had the privilege of riding has touched my life in some way, and has taught me something. I will always remember Jo as the first well broke horse I have ever ridden. I will always remember her as my dream horse come true.

I thank A for sharing our girl with me. For allowing me to part of Jos life. I know a part of A’s heart left with Jo when I took our girl home.  I want A to know how much she has touched my life through our girl.

From the HK Bar to the world, may you one day be blessed to ride a well broke horse…..even if it takes 20 years…..

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Jo and I on the day of her homecoming to the HK Bar

5

Horse Barn or machine shop?

Kansas winters are cold, wet, windy, and generally just no good. 0500 this morning found me tripping over dozens of unidentified things strewn about the floor of my horse barn. I fumbled around in the dark groping along the wall to find the overhead lights. Silently hoping I didn’t bash my head on a beam or trip over the several items strewn about the floor.

Ah, finally found the lights. I look around at my fairly organized tack area. Nothing fancy, but all my bridles, medicines, wraps, saddles, and blankets etc are all in good order….and then I survey the damage winter has had on my barn….or more so the damage that has occurred due to my husband. One of the old feed trucks has croaked in the middle of the alley…the hood is popped open like the mouth of a hungry animal….tools are strewn about….there are trailer tie down straps tossed on the ground…..two weedeaters…..three chainsaws….the welder is out…. O2 and acetylene bottles in their carriage standing plumb in the way of everything …..everywhere I look I see chaos. I have to take a deep breath and count to ten…four times…. To keep myself from randomly picking up random stuff and throwing it. I think for Gods sake this is my horse barn NOT A MACHINE SHOP!

My husband is a wonderful person….but he has nine hundred projects going at once. And as I mentioned before Kansas winters are brutal. Needless to say no one wants to breath life back into the deceased feed truck in subzero temperatures…. No one wants to tidy up the horse barn. That now resembles a machine shop.

I’m so touchy about my horse barn I admit it. I mean really my husband throwing his stuff in my barn like yesterdays underwear is just annoying.

The rest of the barn contains stacked square bales, feed area, and one sliding door that is open. With a 10×12 area for the miniatures to get inside. Then there is quite a bit of dead space where I hope to put in two stalls. The barn isn’t anything fancy, but its getting to be more and more functional.

I am super annoyed with the cold weather…and my horse barn turned sort of machine shop.

I want the sun back…..I want winter projects to be wrapped up neatly in a finished product…..

But most of all I want to reclaim my horse barn.

Until then well wishes from the HK Bar to you.