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Going with Gunner

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This weekend’s trail ride was at  Sunol Regional Wilderness in Sunol, CA.  It was only about 45 minutes from the house making it my most convenient trail riding location yet.  The trail ride program is run by Western Trail Riding Services, a concessionaire of East Bay Regional Park District since 2004.

I went on the 2 hour Flagg Hill trail ride and was accompanied by a really nice couple. I was given Gunner as my Steed of the day.  He is a beautiful Quarter Horse, seemed to have good breeding back ground and a beautiful head.  When I was assigned gunner I was told by the owner (Gary I think) that he usually rides him.  But I was given him because I had the longest legs (me with the longest legs?).  The stirrups were still a little long so he turned them side ways.  (Yup learned something new, never thought of that but it is a great idea.)

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The Trail Guide or Wrangler as he was called was Chris. He did a great job.  Definitely the best one yet.  He took the time to tell us a little bit of the history and the Native American tribe, called the Ohlone, who originally inhabited the land.  More recently it became ranch land and their abandoned buildings and windmill still exist today.

The ride itself was much more engaging than the run of the mill trial rides.  Chris asked us to keep 1 horse length between the horses.  Which is a great idea for ensuring the horses know who is boss and not letting them get all bunched up.  We crossed a stream, trotted on flat areas and let the horses drink at a watering trough, still used by the cows grazing on the park land. Gunner is a true western pleasure horse he has such a smooth jog.

Then it came time to canter. Chris told us to put 2 horse lengths between each other so that we had enough space.  As you can see I was last so I held Gunner back.  Instead of cantering off he started bucking!  Three big bucks that seemed to last an eternity.  Luckily I held on and rode through it.  Only loosing my stirrup and giving him a little piece of my mind by yelling at him.  Just didn’t want him to think he could get away with that.  After we collected ourselves we cantered off with no problems.

We made it to the top of the hill to witness the beautiful view in the cool breeze.

We got back to the Equestrian rental area I told Gary about Gunner bucking.  He first question was What did you do? So I answered I held on and stayed on.  But he meant what did I do to provoke his bucking and I explained how I held him back as requested before cantering.  He said that he was used to being up front so probably got annoyed by being held back and didn’t want to be left behind.  He also said that he had never done that before.  #Onlyme.  #NeverADullMoment.

An Afternoon with Indy

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This past Saturday I had the opportunity to ride a beautiful flea bitten grey anglo arab named Indy.

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Drinkers of the Wind

He gathered his people to show them the magnificent and magical being. “It drinks the wind,” he announced, and they called it for a long time Drinker of the Wind; only later was it called a horse. Every tribe wanted horses of their own, and from that first swirl of strength and beauty came thousands of others.

From Drinkers of the Wind by Amy Friedman and Meredith Johnson

I went for a trial ride at Point Reyes Arabian Adventures.  Susan who was a gracious host, called me earlier that day to tell me unfortunately my scheduled 2 1/2 hour ride was shortened to 1 hour because her truck was in an accident.  We rode around the property and up the hill to experience the breath taking views of Tomales Bay.

The trail was lead by Susan’s assistant and we were accompanied by a nice couple from San Francisco. One of them had been riding trails there for so many year she sad she had ridden every horse in the herd of about 15 except 2.

Since one of the riders was inexperienced I was allowed to  canter ahead of the group.  Indy was great, once I remember to gather him up and hold him in an actively engaged canter.  Funny as I was in the trail riding frame of mind to just let the horse canter but when I tried to do that he was all over the place.  Once I remembered to keep contact with him he felt much more collected.

It felt good to be trusted and allowed to experience the trail as an advanced rider.

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Before the trail started I rode around a smaller pasture waiting for the other riders.  The wild life there was amazing. A massive bird flew overhead when I was at the look out point. I think it was a vulture. This is a couple of pictures I snapped of a deer in a back yard.

 

 

Garage Sale Part 2

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While we had a great turn out at the first garage sale it was a rainy day and some of you might have stayed away. So I am going to try again because the weather tomorrow is supposed to be beautiful.  The Garage Sale will take place:

Saturday April 16, 8 am – 2 pm

I still have many household, farm and DIY things left.

Furniture:

John Wanamaker Buffet and Deck. Two pieces. Colonial style. 70 in tall, 56 in length, 19 in wide. Dove tail drawers. Table cloth drawer. 2 Silverware drawers and 3 additional drawers. Two cabinets. Solid wood.  (China Cabinet or Hutch)

Wood Desk. Solid wood, no presswood. Dove tail drawer construction. 4 drawers, 2 shelves, and a hidden compartment.  Dimensions 5 foot long by 20 inches wide.

Coffee Table and Wood Side table

4 piece bedroom set. Head board. Dresser (7 drawers and a cabinet). Mirror. One bed side table.

Queen size mattress, box spring and bedframe.

Vanity Table Antique kidney bean vanity/dressing table. The arms are to hold a fabric “skirt.”

Horse related Items

Household Items and DIY items – more items available not pictured.

 

 

Visiting Casey

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Casey the Wonder Pony

Last month I received a message through Golden Spike Farm’s Facebook page from a girl who used to ride Casey apparently they called him the wonder pony.  She was glad to have found out where he ended up and how good he is doing.  Social media is a crazy world where it is so much easier to make we can make connections.

As part of my getting ready to leave PA I decided to take Casey’s new owners up and visit him and them.  Casey is doing so good and is spoiled rotten by his new family.  It was good to see him, go for a ride around the ring and say good bye to the old guy.

 

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The other purpose of the visit was to deliver to them my dining room table.  I helped them bring their old Kitchen table and chairs out to the curb for free pick up.  Then we decided to sit at the table and proceeded to pretend to eat, drink and wave at cars.

Cheers!

What’s Happening

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So it has been a while since my last post.  I am so crazy busy with trying to go from a 10 acre farm full of stuff to a 2 bedroom condo.  That is a lot of stuff to find a new home for.

I grateful for my Saturday morning rides.  At least I am getting on once or twice a week to clear my head.  I seem to be taking more pictures lately.  I think I am trying to capture memories as my next life will be quite different.

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Recently I proclaimed my personal hash tag to be #neveradullmoment.  The Farm never lets me down on that one.  So I go out to the barn to feed after work to fine George and Heather in the wrong pasture by the main barn.  IMG_1205The gate was busted open into George and heather’s pasture.

Warlock was in Heather’s stall. Strange scenario. IMG_1207Not sure how or why one of the three main barn horses broke the gate latch and opened the gate between them.IMG_1206

My Parents are in town for Easter and to help with the packing and sorting.  This past Saturday was another beautiful day for horsie selfies and my mom came out to say hi.

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Other good news… Otis found a great home!  He is going to be a spoiled rotten fur baby for a wonderful couple.

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We were telling them about Piper and how she is doing great but has basically lost her vision and hearing from old age. I had made the hard decision that it would not be fair to take her across country.  I was thinking she maybe too old to find a new home for and there are not many people willing to take on an old lady. Otis’ new family asked to meet her and said they would be willing to take her if I can’t find a local home for her.  I feel such a sense of relief.  Of all the good I have done fostering dogs this past year has come back to me 10 fold.  Karma!

What’s your story?

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story defines

More than I could hope for…

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Sunday, February the 14th, started like any other day where I have a showing over the weekend. I woke up fed the horses then started cleaning the house and preparing for the showing.  I was so busy I worked through breakfast.  I am terrible at cleaning,  I end up doing 5 things at once and take an hour to get back to the dusting where I started.

My realtor texts me saying she  has goodies for me and asking if I be there if she shows up a little bit early.   Until that point I didn’t even know she was the showing agent.  Around 11:45 she arrives with the St Joseph statue. It is a tradition in the real estate market to bury him upside down in your yard to help you sell you home.  You can read more about it here.

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My Goodies… the chocolate sauce is made by her family.

The showing arrives as noon, just prior to that I offer to leave the farm as is traditional for the owner not to be there but she says stay, thinking they may have questions for me.  After introductions we sit down at the kitchen counter for about an hour talking about the farm, the horse boarding business, the expenses and income of running the farm.  During this time we learn more about each other.  I am selling the farm to move to California and be closer to my family.  They are a married couple looking to move out of suburban life and follow her dream of owning and running a horse farm.  (Sound familiar?)   I learned that they scoured this website to learn about the farm. They even read about Bilbo and Frodo and said they wanted donkeys and goats!

After our chat they look at the house and the property.  It was a cold day, one of the coldest yet.  We tried to see as much as we could but really didn’t want to spend much time outside.  After we got back to the house they said they are very interested and want to talk about the equipment needed to run the farm.  Can that be included in the sale?  Well I was hoping to sell it separately knowing I needed to make money off of the sale of the equipment to help with my moving costs.

After some chit chat, back and forth  and a couple  side bar conversation, they wanted to know if we could come to an agreement right then and there?  All parties now sitting again at the counter?  I am overwhelmed and in shock… Is this really happening?  Now?  So after some more discussion and coming to terms.  I am offered a deal I should not refuse and I get to pick the closing date.  In return they ask for all the farm equipment to be included in the sale.   I am alone on this decision and it is decision making time.  I look up and ask “Can I call my mom?… Of course I can call my mom… OK I will be right back.”

I go down to the basement and call my childhood home in Miami.  Please pick up… Please pick up… Answering machine.  “Hi Mom… are you there?…”  My mom picks up “Jennifer, what’s wrong?”  You see I didn’t do my usual answering machine message “Hi! It’s me…” in a sing songy tone.  “Everything is fine mom… Maybe really good”  I tell her the current situation and an abbreviated version of the showing story so far.  She said “Go for it, nothing to think about. Plus leaving all the equipment on the farm will save you the headache and hassle of trying to sell it.”

I go back up stairs and say we have a deal.  BUT the story does not end there….

Now on to the paper work.  Yes we signed the selling agreement then and there. We decided on a closing date of May 2nd.  That gives me enough time to pack up, move out and figure out where I am going and when.   I am pretty sure it was my real estate agent who said we need a drink to celebrate.  So I bring out the options: wine, beer, cider, vodka.  I am literally shaking at this point, I look at the couple who is buying my house.  His is running his hand through is hard and shaking his head.  I knew what he was thinking… Same thing as me… I cant believe we are doing this.  So I reach in to the freezer and say “Fireball anyone?”  Well that did the trick. It calmed our nerves and took the edge off.

IMG_0939The new soon to be owners for the farm are great!  Everything I could hope for in the future occupants of the farm. They are keeping everything the same.  The boarders get to stay.  The Co-Op boarding will remain the same.  They will use the same hay and feed vendors.  I learned their daughter was a big part of their decision making process and helped in the search for the perfect farm.  She told me they were in tears when they read my Bio. They will be visiting the farm several times over the next 2 months to meet the boarders and the neighbors.  We are also going to set up some mentoring sessions so I can share all I have learned in this incredible journey of living my dream of owning and running a horse boarding farm.

IMG_0940That evening they invite me to meet their daughter and his boyfriend at dinner.  I said I would love to but first of all I can’t drive because I forgot to eat today and we did a lot of “celebrating” plus I still have to do all the barn work and feed the horses.  They offer to help with the evening farm chores and drive me an hour each way to dinner.

So after blitzing the barn work and freshening up we head off, stopping by their house so they can do the same.  We walk into the restaurant where we are greeted by the owner (who they know) , they tell him the exciting news “We bought a farm and this is the current owner.” He brings Campaign to the table.  I meet their daughter and her boyfriend. They didn’t know who the additional chair at the table was for, but once her mom says we bought the farm, the daughter gives me a big hug  saying I recognized you from your website.

We had a wonderful dinner and great conversation.  I enjoyed all the courses and was so hungry not a bite was left.  After dinner they drive me home, where I crawl into bed my head whirling from the day, the champagne and holy crap I sold the farm…

 

 

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