Belle is an Arabian – about five years old.  She was a rescue.  She and her father were brought to a barn where we used to board.  In fact, it was their second time being rescued from neglect.  We’ve had her now for about two years.

This is Belle.  Isn’t she cute?


belle resting_close

belle at night

Since Belle was malnourished at least twice in her life we waited to ride her.  And frankly for any horse we believe it’s best to wait till they are five or six to start riding seriously.  It does take that long for a horse to be fully grown.  Recently, my daughter Rachael got on her.  Before she actually got on though, we spent months, walking and trotting her with only the saddle on.  We would hang on the saddle or put one foot in then out.  We got her used to the mounting block too.  Then Rachael got on, while I lead them around with a lead rope attached.



rachael on belle

She doesn’t seem to have too much trouble with a rider.  She tends to go very slow as if she’s afraid you might fall off if she goes faster.  The problem, we learned the hard way, is that she gets scared when other horses get too close to her.  She is a horse that is at the bottom of the herd hierarchy and runs away from other horses, or skips, or bucks.

Since she is a very small Arabian, and we really didn’t have any riding plans for her, but just wanted to give her a loving home, we’ve decided to try driving with her.  It’s something we’ve never done before and will require a lot of training from the ground, but we are going to give it a try.  We’ll keep you posted as we move forward.


Building a New Chute

So the thing about horse farms in Illinois is that there is always mud.  Some places there is a little mud.  Most places there is a lot of mud, especially in spring and fall when it rains frequently.  At the place where we board, there is a pathway from one pasture to another that is one big muddy mess.  It’s also filled with huge ruts from horses going back and forth through it every day, so not only is it unsafe for horses as they sink practically to their

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knees in mud or slip all over the place, but a few of them have scratches on their legs from it, which are little scabs all over their skin.

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So, we asked the owners if we could open up another passageway at the top of a hill, through some woods and then close off the muddy one for awhile.  So, my daughter and her boyfriend and I cleared a path.

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Kevin used a chain saw to remove some of the smaller trees.2015-04-05 13.14.062015-04-05 13.17.372015-04-05 13.36.202015-04-05 13.40.45

We cleared away all the branches and roots on the ground.clearing path before

We used white rope to measure off the path.

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We pounded in all these medal posts and ran electrical rope for the fencing on both sides.IMG-20150426-00320 IMG-20150426-00319

Kevin installed the solar panel to get the electric fence working.  My daughter Rachael and another border, Lisa are helping.


chute from other side

Chute from the other side.

horses in chute

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It took us about three or four days of working on it, but the horses were finally allowed in and enjoyed eating the grass they found in there.  No more mud.