Monthly Archive for July, 2010

Comin’ Home!

It was a great exhibitor party Saturday night. There was a band that played terrific rock and roll and country rendition. There were ribs, corn, and mashed potatoes. The band and bar were set up in the pavilion, a very nice open sided wooden structure. Picnic tables were full. Our whole crowd went. Amanda, her parents, brother, cousin, her grandmother Nolli, her husband Gene; Teresa and her parents Steve and Margaret. And of course Lucas and Jess.

Lucas rode his bike around while Jess and I danced.

Sunday morning started early with our jog at 8 o’clock. I decided to do the western look since I was pretty far west. I wore my cowboy hat, jeans, silver belt, white shirt and a big green scarf around my neck.

The vet, Eric Smiley took my picture and said he would facebook it.

Simba felt good and jogged well.

At the same time I was jogging Simba, Amanda was warming up Teddy for show jumping. He had given himself a heel grab the day before on cross-country, (yes he did have bell boots on—the good kind). We were hoping we could get him through the show jumping. But after warming up, he was not himself, and Amanda decided to withdraw him.

At about 9:30, Simba warmed up well for his show jumping. Preliminary 3-day show jumping was held in the main arena. It was the most spectacular and ingenuitive course I have ever jumped! There were spruce tree designed standards, mountains, carved salmon, trains, railway crossing, sailboats,….wow! I think Simba thought they were cross-country solids, and knew he would be in trouble if he put any scuffmarks on the rails. He only knocked one rail.

That kept us in solid second. Hannah Burnett went clear and remained in first.

There were three rings for show jumping running concurrently. This event is so amazingly organized. They have a small cargo trailer at each arena with the ribbons and prizes.

The Broussard’s have wonderful volunteers—over 250. This includes all family and friends—many from their hometown in Louisiana—giving the event a southern “feel” to it.

There was one gal, Ann from Texas that would drive around in her golf cart handing out fudge and snacks.

Ready and Slewboy jumped late morning. They had some rails; I think they were a bit tired and ready to go home. Ready had competed also on Wednesday with confirmation, dressage, and a bit of cross-country for the Young event Horse.

Sunday afternoon, we spent “packing our tent”. We packed up our bags in the living, and I pulled the trailer up to the barn. The girls and I got everything packed in and on top of the trailer.

Jess and Lucas went for one last swim in beautiful Foys Lake.

Jerome and Becky invited us to the Brick House for a delicious Sunday night supper with the officials, friends, family, and the other east coast riders.

After that, Sara’s tradition is to go to the Blue Moon Saloon to sing Karaoke. So off we went! A long trail of cars following each other. Like my Dad says, “you can sleep when you get old!”

Lucas went to Sara and Drews house and stayed with their sitter.

We had a grand time. We had about twenty people there. I kicked off the singing with Montgomery Gentry’s song “Hell Yeah!” –Sara was a fantastic singer– We had a lot of fun. Jess added her childhood song, “King of the Road”—changing it to “Queen of the Road”—after a 35 hour drive. Definitely a good finish for a wonderful two weeks.

5 am came a little early on Monday morning—and we loaded the horses and are headed home!

All in all it was a fantastic trip!

Rebecca Farm/ Montana Continued

Karen and horses arrived safe and sound to the Kalispell Airport at about 1 pm. On Monday. Press was on sight, and it made the front page on Tuesday.

Our horses are just up the hill in the temporary stabling.

Amanda’s mom, Teri arrived also on Monday afternoon. Sweet, sweet lady. She stayed in the camper the girls were in.

We went to a nice dinner that Becky gave for her friends and riders at a restaurant in Whitefish. Whitefish is the name of a town that is on the lake Whitefish Lake. Becky and Jerome live on the lake there. Food and company were great!

Tuesday morning, we worked all the horses. We had set up a rafting trip for a big group that afternoon—with Montana Rafting Company. We left at 2 pm. It was great that Teri was here to go with us on our adventure.

Our boat guides name was Tyler. He was very nice. Lucas sat on the back with him, and held onto the side rope, and middle rope. Hannah Sue Burnett and Amanda claimed the front seats, Teri and Teresa were behind them, then Jess and I. Making our way through bone cruncher rapids and more. It was SO beautiful, we were right alongside the Glacier National Park on the Middle Fork of Flathead River.

The trip took about 3 hours. We watched for Grizzly bears along the river, but did not spot any. We had a few paddle slash wars with Karens raft on the way down.

That evening Jess, Lucas and I, along with Karen and Max, went to Jerome and Beckys house for a little bayou ettuffe. The deck along the back with beautiful views of the lake. We sat with Becky, Jerome, Max, Karen, and Sara, Drew, and Phillip Dutton.

Great conversation and company! I got a fantastic picture of the sunset on the lake.

I spoke with Becky, and she wanted me to enter Ready for April in the 5 year old Young Event Horse Competition that was to happen the next day, on Wednesday.

So I did, and he won! He was excellent. He is coming along so well.

So that took up a little time on Wednesday! Simba, Teddy, and Slew Boy all worked well. We got our packets, and the contigent of riders and horses have arrived!

There are over 470 entries—it is a record. It is amazing how the “West” travels to the events. The barns are spread out, so they “stake out” a space with buckets, rope, whatever is handy to “reserve” the space for their trailer or camper in front of their stalls.

I roamed around on the scooter, and saw one set up where they had brought a big inflatable pool to swim in!

Teresa’s parents arrived on Wednesday afternoon. They arrived with their black lab. The girls are getting their support crews in! Teresa went to dinner with her folks.

Teri, Amanda, Lucas and Jess went to go scout out the rodeo that was up by the raft company. They had gotten a late start, they missed the actual bull riding, but they were able to pick up the flavor of it. Some ice cream on the way back also made it worthwhile.

Amanda’s dad, Ron, her brother Alden, and cousin were on their way from California. They had been told to come up through Nevada and Idaho. They had some complication with the roof of the motorhome, and were delayed a bit. And the route included about 200 miles up and down some mountains. But they were on their way!!

Thursday, the novice horses did their dressage. That morning Simba did his barn inspection. Slewboy and Teresa put in a very good test, and so did Ready.

Later about 5 pm, I did my dressage test on Simba.

Ron and the boys arrived about 7 pm on Thursday night. They have their motor home parked right by our stabling. They have their two dogs also.

Friday was cross country for our Novice horses. Teresa gave Slewboy a fantastic ride. Ready was also good and brave. It was a lot of fun.

Friday night we did the big trailer cook-out. My bar b que chicken, Jackie Mars’ beef hamburger, some grilled tuna, grilled vegetables and salad. With the O’connor crew, and Teresa’s family, and Amanda’s family, we fed 18! Delicious. Topped off with fresh pies from Virginia, and s’mores.

Today, Saturday was a good day! Simba was a star on his first full 3-day. We did the full format three-day preliminary. He was great on his steeplechase. Cooled down well, and then was a star on the cross-country. It was a great course but truly a test as the skinny’s, corners and accuracy questions came toward the end. Fence 20, three from home was very challenging. A corner with minimal approach from a steep downhill slide. Simba looked for a half second for an easier route but then stayed straight and true.
It was fun to do the full format again and reminded me of how much better the young horses go cross-country after having done the steeplechase.

Later about 2:40, Amanda and Teddy starred in a great round in open intermediate!
It too was a true up to the standard course and Teddy and Amanda made it look easy.

Tomorrow starts with Simba’s jog at 8 am.

We will be in touch!!

Montana Adventures Continued….

We have worked the horses. They are all doing well. I had to put the muzzle back on Simba. They get a lot of grazing and turnout time in their “compound”. They are in a section close to where our campers are parked, that will be where the FEI horses will be stabled. There is a fence around that area. So the horses get to be “loose” to eat—we close all the gates going into that compound.

Today at 1 pm we are driving down to Lakeside on the Flathead Lake to do a fishing trip.
We get sandwiches before we leave. Sarah has given us some directions with a shortcut to bypass town traffic. That route takes us around Foys Lake, and past Herron Park, where the Rebecca Farm event used to take place.

We arrive at MoFisching Charters. Brach introduces us as our guide. He is 29 years old, of great humor, and much competency. Lucas has to wear a life jacket. The boat is nice, looks new, it is about a 24 foot little cabin cruiser built for fishing. Has depth finder, GPS, a cooler full of drinks, and lots of snacks.

We power over full speed to the place where he wants to start trolling. We are going to troll along a deep bank. The wind is up and the water is very choppy. He has four “down riggers”—two off the backsides, and two off the back of the boat. The downriggers pull the line deep down, as far as the fish are biting.

It was fun– it felt to be good to be out on this beautiful lake. Flathead Lake is the largest fresh water natural lake west of the Mississippi. It is 50 miles long and 18 miles wide at its widest point, and can average about 120 feet in depth.

Amanda is a water girl. Being out on the water kept a big smile on her face the whole time!

We got two big fish Amanda caught the first about a half hour into our trip. It was about 25 inch long lake trout. Teresa brought in a big 30 inch Bull Trout. We had to throw that one back because it is a Native Montana fish, they have it on an endangered list.

Back at the dock after a 4-5 hour trip, Brach fillets Amanda’s fish.

We grill it that night with lemon pepper—yum. Salad and hamburgers!

A big day planned for the next!

Rebecca Farm is transforming into the show grounds. More and more workers show up everyday. The course designer has put all the flags on the jumps. The areas are getting their final mow and weed eat. The dumpsters and port-o-potties are all placed. Tents are up for spectators and hospitality.

Sara and her husband Drew work early to late.

Saturday morning Brewster has planned a big day for us. We are going to go Zip-Lining over in Whitefish at the Big Mountain Ski Resort. I never knew of such a thing. Amanda is VERY excited! You have to be a certain height that Lucas falls just into—4 foot 6 inches.

We are supposed to be there at 8:30 am. We leave in two trucks. Later that afternoon, the girls and myself are going to take some of our horses to school over at Herron Park.

At the Big Mountain Lodge, we have two capable, assured guides. Lucas with his sweatshirt, sweatpants, comes in right at the minimum weight qualification to zip line. We are given our vests, helmets, and “rollers”. The vest/seat/jackets are the same that people wear when they parasail behind a boat. You kind of “sit” in it. There are strong carabineers that you snap onto the zip rollers.

We are off to the first, “test” zip for us. To go faster, you can hold your body in a streamline, body straight, arms close to the body, feet straight out front. To “slow” yourself you can spread out your arms and legs, like a “starfish”. When coming into the stop, you are to lean back, look up at the cable, and pull your knees up.

You come into a big long coil, kind of like the thing that’s inside a ballpoint pen so that you can click the point open and closed. This coil on the cable is about 15 feet long. It absorbs the impact as you come in at up to 40 miles an hour.

Wow! Lucas loved it. Brewster’s daughter, Cordelia who is 12 was a very good mentor for him. The kids helped all of us have courage!

We did 6 separate “zips”. They were scattered all around one section of the ski hill. We took a chair lift up, and then we would walk up the mountain to reach different zip platforms.

Please see my photos on facebook!

They varied from 1200 to 1900 feet in length, and we were “zipping” above the trees in many places!

Fun, fun. Thanks Brewster for getting that organized.

After that, the girls and myself came on back to the farm. We took Ready, Simba, and Slew boy over to Herron Park with one of Sara’s trailers.

Sara had given a call over there, we didn’t need to do much schooling, and even though there was a clinic going on, told us to go on over there.

It was disturbing for that organizer for us to be there, because even though we put our schooling fee in the box, she had rented it for the day. Anyway, we were able to get a little bit done.

Lucas, Jess, Brewster, Judy, his wife, and daughter Cordelia stayed at the Mountain to play. They took the chairlift up to the top and ate lunch at the restaurant. Then they went back down were the Alpine Slide was. They each rode down—it is a sled that you control the speed as you go down the mountain in a chute type thing that twists and curves.

They came on back, got suits, and went swimming back at Foys Lake.

That night we had a delicious dinner, my lemon pepper pork tenderloins, roasted peppers and Portabella mushrooms, macaroni and cheese, and applesauce, and salad.

Beth from Salt Lake City joined us for dinner.

We have “borrowed” a table from the farm and have it in the middle of my camper and Karen’s. Drew also loaned us a fire pit. Brewster had wood from one of his campgrounds he stopped at on the way, and they also got some wood from a county park on Saturday.

We have had campfire and S’mores every night.

Also the campfire keeps the bugs down. On Friday night when the mosquitoes were biting Teresa really bad during dinner, I said, “I will take care of this!” I got my can of bug spray and came out spraying!!

“No, No!” everyone screamed. I had my can of RAID that smelled good, I thought nothing of it.

Amanda got the can, and read the warning label. ‘If on skin wash with soap and hot water immediately, call physician. If on clothes, remove immediately…’

They wouldn’t let me finish my wine, because part of the spray landed in it.

Jess and Brewster got some proper people bug spray the next day at the grocery.

Saturday late afternoon Teresa and Amanda went to Foys Lake. They made friends with some people, and Amanda was able to ride someone’s jet ski—the kind you have to stand up on. She was very proud of her easy to learn proficiency at it. She was kind of sore the next day though. They had a blast, they really enjoyed the water. They came back just in time to eat up what was left for dinner.

On Sunday, Jess and Lucas had a play day with Sara and Drew’s two kids. Sara and Drew had a full workday and no sitter, so I volunteered Jess. Their two kids, 6-year-old girl named “Tommy” (a spitting image of Sara), and also VERY CUTE little boy “Zander” who is 4.

Jess, Lucas, Zander and Tommy took off about 9 am in Sara’s Sienna Van for a day of adventure! They went back to the Glacier National Park. They played next to McDonald Lake in the rocks on the edge of the water. They explored a rock shop. They went to the lodge, and Lucas played piano in the lobby. They had lunch and they went to the water park to do all of the water slides.

The girls and I jumped the horses, and Simba did a very excellent gallop set. Then we moved the horses up the road to the tent stabling.

Just in time. People and horses began arriving for the show.

It was nice the girls had plenty of time to get everything set up in the tack stall to their liking. The horses are all settled.

Today, Monday, will be a “rest day” for our horses. Karen and crew arrive today with horses via airplane around 12:30.

Rebecca Farm, MT continued….

The horses are settling in. They get good turnout in the fenced in compound around the barns. Wednesday—whew it felt good to just “be”—to not be behind the wheel watching the road. Waking up here in Kalispell at Rebecca Farm, getting my coffee and walking out into the crisp fresh sunshine and look at the spectacular view at Rebecca Farm.

We let the horses have the day “off” today. The girls did a little exploring out around town. Their trailer Brewster, his wife Judy, and daughter Cordelia arrived with The O’Connor Camper.

They got the camper all plugged in, unhooked, got their golf clubs out, and said, “Hey lets go play golf!” Jess and Lucas went with them, and rented some clubs. After golf they went to a little nearby lake and went for a swim in the clear cool water. Refreshing!

That night we had a wonderful dinner on Sara and Drews back deck—savory pot roast, rice, mashed potatoes and salad. Good food, great company!

The next morning, I took Simba for a hack about at 8 am. The blacksmith came to put a shoe back on Slewboy at 8:30, and at 9:00 am we had a “group ride”. Amanda on her horse Teddy, Teresa on Slewboy, I rode Ready. Jess and Lucas rode two of Sara’s horses—Stetson, and her daughters pony Tuxedo.

We rode the perimeters on the mowed routes around the wheat and canola fields. Check out my picture album on facebook.

The horses all got baths, and then we went on our next adventure—to Glacier National Park!

On the way, I pulled left into the gas station/casino, and said, “I have to put some diesel in this truck!” Amanda hopped out and said, “C’mon Teresa, lets go gamble!” Jess applauded Amanda’s serendipitous nature and followed the girls in.

I went in to check on them, and to tell them that the truck had finished filling. The room was dark, smelled of smoke, and there were Keno and Poker machines lighting the room. Jess had all ready lost her dollar. The waitress was standing next to the girls explaining how to play Keno. (She had all ready checked their driver’s license—you have to be 18.) Teresa had put $2. Into her machine, and Amanda $5. I watched for a few minutes and then said, “Okay lets go!”

We stopped for lunch by Lake McDonald. Then we drove the Logan Pass Road. Breathtaking views—we wore the battery out on the camera. Along the valley road next to the fork of the Flathead River. Then the road winded up and up. We were on the right hand side, right along the edge. It was a little scary. I had to have my left mirror pulled against the truck for oncoming traffic.

WE got up almost to the top. Then we turned around, and came back down. We pulled close to the “Weeping Wall” section of a waterfall on the side of the mountain. Amanda put her arms out and got her water fix.

When we got to the bottom again, we parked and did a half-mile walk on Cedar Trail, walking amongst huge old growth forest of cedars and hemlocks. The girls did some wading in a VERY COLD glacier stream. Beautiful!

We got back to Rebecca Farm about 5:30. Brewster and his family had done a rafting trip. When the returned, Brewster and Jess went to the store to buy dinner supplies.

Bar-B-Que chicken, corn on the cob, and salad. We borrowed a table from the storage in the barn, and sat outside. Then the kids fixed everyone S’mores; with Brewster helping with the chocolate, graham cracker assembly.

And now a fresh new cloudless day at Rebecca Farm! Mountains in the background.
Got to go get on Simba!

Heading West to Rebecca Farm

6 am on Monday morning July 12th. On our way. Left out of the driveway, 32 hours from now we will arrive in Kalispell, Montana.

Theresa says, “I am in shock! Are we really doing this?”

Amanda is in the middle in the back seat between Lucas and Theresa. She raises her arms over her head.

Jess says, “You can do that now, but not in 20 hours”.

I am speechless; I take another sip of my coffee.

The girls are laughing at the movie “Hangover”.

Lucas is watching an 8-hour recording of Harry Potter movies.

On I-64 now heading west.

Go West young man!

I recount my dream from the night before. “Apparently you weren’t my groom Amanda, because I was at a show and Simba wasn’t braided. Then my groom showed up with a big smile on her face, and said, “I’m here!”

Amanda and Theresa are laughing in the back seat .

Honk, honk, we are into our first crossover into a new state! We are in Indiana. We made it through Louisville’s spaghetti junction easily..

Driving past the Concrete Lady in New Albany, Amanda says we need to get a concrete hippo for our water jump.

Going North on I-65 to Indianapolis and then hanging a left. Taking 74 west to 39 north.

We traveled this way to be free of any Chicago traffic. We went north on up to Rockford Illinois.

Cuppa was in the back, in the living of the horse trailer. Lucas was in the middle now between Theresa and Amanda. I am driving with my Maui Jims and my reading glasses on my nose.

Good weather. It was only 82 degrees and low humidity. The horses were getting carrots and water at every gas stop.

On into Wisconsin. Honk! Theresa needs to get some cheese for her Mom, but we ate most of it!!
Honking our way into each new state. Hooray we are now in Minnesota!

At our gas stops the girls do their jobs, Theresa does water. She looks around for water spigots. If there aren’t any she gets the water from the front container on the horse trailer. The horses are good and drinking well. On Sunday before the trip Travis our vet came out and gave all the horses some fluids.

They are traveling well.

Its 8:30 EST in Minnesota and this is a good place and time for Amanda to soak Teddy’s front feat in ice. He is in the last slot and easily accessible to get to. She does it with him just staying where he is.

From here, Jess takes the wheel, into the buggy night. The girls are in the living getting some sleep. At the 1:30 stop, Amanda takes over the driving and Lucas and Jess go to the bed in the trailer.

Sleeping into the back of the moving trailer is like sleeping in a moving space vehicle. It is very comfortable, but bouncy. Lucas and Jess fall right to sleep. They wake up when the trailer slows at the next stop. They get out and go to the bathroom, and get back in.

They rock and roll on into the night. They feel the truck slow to a stop, they are about get up, and then it starts off again. I took over driving for Amanda.

The morning sunlight began to show its traces at 4:30 in the morning, and we are in beautiful Montana. Beautiful green alfalfa fields, the Missouri river, and buttes lining the valleys.

Jess takes over driving, and Theresa and Amanda go to the trailer to get some good shuteye.

We soak in and enjoy the scenery. We talk to Grandma Kitty on speakerphone.

The girls join us back in the truck. We grab some cheeseburgers from the gas station/restaurant/casino. Its pretty wild here in Montana, Jess wants to find out more about their gambling laws. She had made up in her mind there would be casinos’ but on the Indian reservations. But instead, there are “casino’s” attached to almost anything.

Moes Bar & Grill and Casino. Beth’s Croissants & Casino. Bob’s Tire and Lube & Casino. Ok I’m kind of exaggerating this a little bit, but not much.

I got in the back in the bed in the horse trailer for the last 200 miles of the trip. Amanda drove, with Theresa riding shotgun and back-up singer.

Jess and Lucas in the backseat, reading, video’s and watching scenery.

Hooray! At Missoula we turn north on Hwy 93 towards Kalispell! Sara Kelly of Rebecca Farms warned us don’t be too excited…. it is still 2 ½ hours to their farm from that junction.

There had been a conversation with Sara before the trip about a place on Hwy 93 that had AMAZING beef jerky. She had requested that we stop there for her and get a pound, if it was still open when we came through.

After several text messages, we pinpointed its exact location, on the left after a “sweeping turn”– Jess says, “hey Amanda, this seems like it might be a ‘sweeping turn’ lets keep our eyes peeled.”

M&N meats, there it is.

The 32 hours had turned into 35; Amanda has a brilliant sense of humor, and she still had it, she was going to jump out of the truck with Cathy’s cowboy hat on at the beef jerky stop.

As she pulled into the difficult driveway, not very much room for the rig, she had to pull left, then right. The ERK, the right rear of the trailer got caught on the pavement. Oops! She tries to back up, go forward, no success, They all get out, cowboy hat forgotten

By that time, I pop out of the trailer, Amanda starts to tell me about the rear end of the trailer, I interrupt—“don’t worry that’s why those rear skids are on it there in the back.”

We all go into the store, we obtain the beef jerky, go to the bathroom, get Cuppa a little piece of dog jerky.

Back outside, I get back into the truck, and have a few attempts to go forward and back, and in 4wheel drive, forward and back. No movement! Jess says, “Lets get Teddy out of the back!” I say, “we have 3 people—lets get 3 horses out”.

Teddy, Ready and Slew Boy all walk out for their first time at M & N Meats, thinking, we have made it! I successfully pull the trailer forward. The horses were awesome, they got off and got back on with no complaints.

And then we headed on for the next 20 miles into Kalispell without incident.

Sara met us at the farm and helped us get situated. The horses got turnout while the trailer was emptied and the stalls readied.

Teresa and Amanda took temperatures, went over the horses.

They got fed, and Sara took us out to dinner for some bar-b-que. The horses got nighttime turnout, and we all showered and went to bed for a good nights sleep!

Waking up this morning! The cool fresh air! The mountain vistas! This beautiful farm! The horses were all fine, and came up for their morning feed. Theresa and Amanda got to sleep in—very deservedly!

Lucas began riding his motorcycle around this beautiful place at 7 am!

It ended up being a 38 hour trip—it went easy without any problems, and we were glad we were thinking it was going to be 32!

Be sure to go to my facebook page for impromtu pictures and updates. I will be updating the blog every couple of days.