In the fall of 2014, Allan and I decided it was time to officially strike off in the "retirement boarding" business. He retired from his long-time, frustrating job working in elder care (the management was frustrating--he LOVED his senior folks!) to hold down the fort at home. He did the majority of the feeding, mucking and general up-keep at the farm, and re-awakened his long-time love of photography, keeping a nearly daily picture log of goings-on at EvenSong Farm. Most of our boarders live somewhat far afield, so they appreciate the ability to "check-in" with their ponies.
Biggest thing to accomplish was finishing the barn. We also used some inheritance from my mother to start a structure meant to end up as a shop/garage/machine shed/run-in stall. Allan and I set the posts over several weeks, then my son Maxx stayed with us on and off over several weeks in the late fall of 2013, and built the roofs.
|Needed the BIG guns to set the BIG posts!|
|We had to reset these a couple of times, as we got pretty severe winds that knocked them akilter.|
|Ground was so tough by the barn that the holes ended up being twice the required size! That's a LOT of concrete!|
|Maxx, up the ladder, securing the shop trusses.|
|Roofing goes on the barn addition.|
|Hank loaned us the use of his hay "squeeze" and man-basket to finish the shop roof structure. Also, at times, his foreman and son for extra hands.|
|Roofing goes on the shop.|
|The barn, finished except for some additional siding, high up on the front, trim and finish work.|
|The shop would wait for its siding and electrical until 2015. But the roof I had promised my horse trailer for three years was on duty.|
After a successful novice-y 2013 season in competitive trail competitions with Kate, I had big plans for 2014. Retirement would allow me to make longer trips for clinics and competitions, so I set a schedule that I hoped would take me to the regional and national mountain trail championships at Eugene, Oregon in October/November 2014.
We started early in the spring with a three day event (during spring break) at Bonina Ranch, near the Tri-Cities, in central Washington. It was a challenging weekend in many ways: I was not feeling well, the weather was atrocious, and Kate had to work cows! She hates cows!
|Bob and Jerry took charge of building the two bridges.|
|Putting the finishing touches on the water obstacle.|
|The crew working on the tire steps.|
|Criss-Cross logs ready to be placed.|
|We started each day in the arena.|
|Then moved out to the course. It was a bit blustery.|
|Mitch coaches as we go down the "grand staircase."|
|On the first day, the water in the pond was lower than I had hoped.|
|The second day, I really "fixed" that!|
|Stepping around the "fan" with a good arc in Kate's body.|
A couple of weekends later, Allan and I hooked up the camper and trailer and headed for the "wet" side of Washington, for a one night/one day trip to Bolender's Horse Park. I had done a clinic with Mark several years ago, when Kate and I were first starting out, and I am very impressed with his trail course designs--one of which is realized at his place in Silver Lake, WA.
We got there early enough Saturday to let Kate wander around the course a bit.
|This fountain proved to be the scariest thing in Kate's eyes. But by the end of the competition, she was trotting past it with only a slight sideways glance.|
|Kate had NEVER seen a suspension bridge before, but she gave it a try, and we didn't have a problem all weekend.|
|Kate had never been successful at balance beams, tending to drift/fall off to one side or the other. We worked in hand some, and had a few shaky attempts mounted, but never managed to cross all the way on Saturday.|
|Water obstacles are not really a big deal, but there was that nasty fountain again!|
|Remember all our stumbling on the balance beams? third obstacle was this BENT! beam! She aced it!|
|Lots of jumping up and down.|
|Up past the fountain of doom.|
|We had a blast!|