In 2020, just about every major aspect of our lives changed in some dramatic way. And that made the year feel weirdly static. Forward wasn’t really on the table. We were just trying to get back to a place of stability.
Moving our small herd to a piece of land that had never previous housed horses was a lot of work. It was good work, but it was both physically demanding and logistically complex. We wanted to make the best use of the space. This meant striking a balance between the impact horses have on their surroundings and making sure the horses themselves had what they would need to stay healthy and happy. There were adventures in buying hay, designing and building feeders, and learning how much turnout our little pasture could support. Mistakes were made. But we were actually feeling quite prepared by the time winter rolled in. The cold months were a little more quiet in terms of the horses. This was nice because we had a chance to focus on moving.
Looking forward again
But now spring has made it to Iowa. We’ve already been in our new house for as long as we lived in the basement apartment that was our temporary home for a portion of 2020. That seems crazy because those months in transition felt so slow. But we’re definitely settled in and feeling at home here now. The future on the whole also feels a little brighter than it has in a while. Which means we actually have some energy to spare for non-essentials .
The land we moved our horses to is owned by our friend K. She began as a riding student for Brian way back in 2013. After riding our various horses once a week for a year or so, she upgraded to leasing Aiden until we sold him, then bought her own horse in 2015. Her gelding is getting older now, though. She’s in situation similar to the one I’m in with Steen but even trickier as her horse has more persistent soundness issues. In one of our chats about the needs of older horses, I mentioned she might enjoy a younger project. And then an interesting horse popped up on Craigslist and what started as an idle comment turned into a serious discussion.
K does not have as much training experience as we do but she wants to learn more. So we came around to a plan that she would pick up a green horse with a good temperament and we would support her as she worked to solidify his training. But the first horse we picked came up lame during a vet check. So that was a setback.
An expedition to Minnesota
Turns out the horse market is a crazy right now and nice geldings are thin on the ground. But I found a text-only ad on Dreamhorse that caught my eye. Pretty soon we had photos and videos and were planning a road trip. It was a long day. Buying a horse is always a big decision. But early evening found us back at the farm with an occupied horse trailer.
We turned the new horse out with our three geldings (the mare who came with us in the beginning has moved on) and were happy when no drama ensued. We settled in to watch for a while and start to process the idea that the transition was complete.
That was a few weeks ago now. The weather is just barely starting to allow us to ride a little, so the new guy has had some time to settle in.
K named the new horse Roland. He’s coming four with about 100 rides on him, mostly out and about doing light work on the ranch where he was raised. So far he seems very sweet and willing. He and Fitz are already fast friends.
This weekend we had some milestones. The herd got some time out on the grass for the first time this year. And K rode her new horse.
They did really well. I’m excited to see how they get along from here.