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How "All 4 a Horse" came to be.... 

I (Connie) remarried in 2005 after my husband of 23 years passed away in a motorcycle accident in 2004.  My new hubby brought joy back in to my world and gave me something to live for after the most devastating event of my life.  We lived together in the home I shared with my late husband, on an acre in a small suburban community located on a private airpark.  We built a hanger/shop shortly after getting married, mostly for hubby to park his RV and other toys and soon become his Man-Cave.  

In 2006, after a couple of visits from my folks (Dad is a farrier and owns cutting horses) I got the itch to ride horses again, something I hadn't been able to do much of since I was a kid.  I talked to my hubby about it and he was on board for me to look at buying a horse...which would be boarded at my daughter's place about 20 minutes away.  I was SO excited about the prospect of having a horse again....it had been 30+ years since I had one to call my own. 

One day, my Mom emails me to tell me about a 10 year old Quarter Horse gelding that was for sale, owned by my Dad's shoeing partner.  He was located about 2.5 hours from me so I couldn't go see him right at that moment  but my sister volunteered to drive over to meet the horse in a day or two, took some photos of him and emailed them back to me.  He was a handsome hunk of a boy...about 15.2 hands, sorrel and stocky, just like I like.  He had been used as a ranch horse most of his life and was about as broke as they come, per my Dad.  I was as giddy as a school girl as soon as I saw the photos and couldn't think of anything else but this horse. 

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I arranged a day in October of 2006 to drive over to Central Oregon so I could meet this handsome fella.  My hubby went along for the ride, probably not realizing what he was getting himself in to.  When we arrived at my folks place,  my Dad took us over to meet his shoeing partner...and Handy...the big handsome sorrel gelding.  He was saddled up and tied to a horse trailer...just waiting for our introduction.  I shook hands with his owner...had us some small talk about the horse...and asked if I could take him for a short ride.  Mike had a bit of a startled look on his face, probably because most people want to see the owner ride the horse first just to see how they behave and respond to certain things (not to mention avoid any embarrassing mishaps)...but I knew, the moment I met Handy, that he was "the one".  As soon as I dropped into that saddle, it became obvious to me that Handy & I were going to become the best of friends.  We had a fabulous 15 - 20 minute ride, I got exactly what I needed from that short jaunt...rode him back to the trailer...unsaddled him...and thanked Mike for allowing me the pleasure of riding his horse.  I told him my hubby & I needed to talk things over and I'd get back to him pretty doggone soon. 

On the ride back to my folks place, I suspect my hubby knew we were soon to become the owners of a brand new "hay burnin', poopin' machine".  With the help of my Dad, we got a nice price worked out for Handy...and within a week, my lifelong dream of owning a horse again had come true.  Hubby & I drove back over to seal the deal a week or so later.  Dad said, "let's go for a trail ride"...so he saddled up a couple of his horses...I saddled up Handy...and Dad, hubby & I took off for a 4 hour trail ride on BLM property.  What a fantastic day it was...well, maybe not so much for my hubby because he hadn't been on a horse in many, many years.  Apparently, he had a pretty bad case of sore boy-body-parts by the time the ride was over....I think 4 hours was a bit much for his 1st time out...."sorry honey". My folks said they'd keep Handy at their place until we built his stall so we left him there after our weekend visit...all the while, I'm dreaming about all the fun we're going to have when he finally gets "home".   

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Small details to work out from that moment on...such as arranging for my Dad to haul him over to my daughter's place a few hours away....oh, and we had to build a stall for him in her pasture...and oh...I had to get a truck so that I could eventually buy a trailer to haul my new friend around to ride..and oh...I needed a saddle and tack.... 

From the moment my hubby muttered ...."ok, you can have a horse"....his world completely morphed into something he'd never expected.  I remember hearing these words...."All for a horse"....on a day we were at my daughter's place, building Handy's stall...in the cold pouring rain....because it had to get done within 4-5 days as Handy was being delivered and just had to have a place to get out of the weather...and eat his hay and grain...and be pampered and spoiled. 

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The day comes for Handy's arrival...and what a day it was!  I felt like I was 10 years old again....thank you Dad for bringing this amazing horse to me....and thank you to my hubby, for helping one of my longtime dreams to come true....even though I know you probably regret the day you said "Ok".  It wasn't long from this day in October 2006...that I convinced hubby that we really needed a truck so that I could haul hay...and "stuff"...so, he bought me a truck...all the while muttering, "All for a horse".  Several months later....I realized that riding around in a 3 acre pasture was getting pretty boring as I had no way to haul Handy to other places to ride...so I began looking for a horse trailer.  Once again...my Dad came to the rescue and found a perfect trailer at a great price from a buddy of his....all the while...hubby mutters..."All for a horse" as he keeps seeing money slipping through his fingers for his wife's new hobby. 

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So... a year goes by after acquiring my friend...and I'm getting itchy to have him closer to me...like on my own property.  We couldn't have livestock on our property at that time so I secretly began looking at properties...with 5-10 acres...which was setup to have a horse...and that had a shop so hubby could relocate his Man-Cave.  A couple months go by...not seeing anything in our price range that didn't need a whole lot of work....until this beautiful piece of ground comes to my attention....about 20 minutes from where we lived.  I talked hubby in to going to see it...that's all...."let's just look"...well, that's all it took.  I fell in love from the moment we drove down the driveway.  It was a picturesque 20 acre piece of land with an old barn...beautiful landscaping...gorgeous views all around us, HUGE pastures, 100 apple/pear tree orchard, a pond and a shop/Man-Cave...and an old double wide mobile home.  Wow...I couldn't stop dreaming about this place...and how happy we would be living here after we built a new house with a view that overlooked our pond and pastures. 

Connie took aerial photos when a friend took her flying just after purchasing the property.

View from the hills behind our farm

Our old barn

Our Pond

Our Orchard

We have 70 apple trees, assorted varieties as well as 30 assorted Pear tree varieties.

Big Green

What farm wouldn't be complete without a John Deere tractor?

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I won't go in to the details of how we made it all happen, but we did...and we bought it in 2007.  "All for a horse" is all my hubby kept telling me, especially when we kept soaking money into the place for all sorts of buildings/sheds, new fencing and ongoing maintenance stuff.  We put our other home on the market immediately.  Unfortunately, the real estate market and overall economy began to tank about that time and we sat on that house for almost 4 years before selling it....at a loss.  We have not been able to build our dream home on the 20 acres because of some unfortunate financial setbacks...but we still hang on to that dream, hoping it will happen.  In the meantime, we still love living in the country...with our two horses ...our small herd of cattle, chickens, 3 mini donkeys...2 big dogs, 1 little dog, 4 parrots and 5 barn cats who are too fat and lazy to hunt the mice that get into all the feed....what a life. 

Our raised garden beds

Our Herd

Taken in 2007

Chickens: We started with 8, had 22 at one time, now down to 20 because of Coyotes

One of the barn kitties, Willy

This was the 1st thing to get built on the property, the parrots HAD to have an outdoor aviary!

Hyacinth Macaws Goliath & Gia

Umbrella Cockatoo, Kona

Our German Shepherds, Kaen & Boone

Our mini donkeys: Niles, Peanut & Juan-Carlos

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 One of the most special times for us each year is Springtime when our mama cows have their calves.  There is nothing more adorable than a newborn calf...and spending some precious few moments with them as soon as they are born.  We also put up a huge garden every Spring and spend countless hours canning in the late Summer to early Fall just so we can share our bounty with friends and family.  We (mostly hubby...but  I still like to say "we") get up before the crack of dawn to go out and feed all of our ungrateful critters every morning and repeat at the end of the day...every single day...because we are responsible for them. I never thought ahead much, about what life on a farm/ranch would be like.  Its hard work, endless hours of stuff that has to get done, feeding, mucking stalls, repairing fences, pruning fruit trees and then picking all the fruit at harvest time, digging trenches for gynormous amounts of rain runoff (alot of this stuff done in not so pleasant weather),  little to no vacation days away from the critters and so much more....all for the sake of the life on this beautiful piece of ground, for which I am eternally thankful to God for.

One of our original Mama cows and new baby

Hubby loves those babies!

He has to hold each newborn calf...thank God we have friendly mama cows!

One of our nicest calves of 2010

Our Garden 2010

Another angle

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This is "All 4 A Horse".....that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Thanks for reading....God Bless....Connie

Here's some photos showing why I love my horses!  Click photos to view larger image

   

"See Mike...I can ride bareback!" Apparently Handy didn't care for bareback rides with his former human.

This is our first outing in the new trailer, going for a trail ride someplace new.

My Dad & Handy, shortly after we moved to the place. This is a darned handsome pair don't you think?

Connie & her Dad. Pistol came to stay the Summer with us in 2008.

Granddaughter Halie loves to ride Handy.

Connie's niece, Sister, Dad and Connie. We had a great time going for a short trail ride in the hills behind our farm one Spring day in 2010.

Annie's Cabin

Another great area to go for long trail rides. March 2010

My two buddies

Taken after a trail ride with niece Sara, Summer 2010.

My handsome boy, Handy-Dandy

Taken during Summer of 2008 when Pistol spent the Summer with us.

Hubby was coerced into going for a short trail ride and Handy did good!

Gorgeous Pistol

Sara & Handy

During one of our trail rides Summer 2010

All ready for a great trail ride.

Can't go riding without a flask of "something"...

Connie & Sara

Trail ride along the Clackamas River Spring 2010

 

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