Early June….

Memorial Day is over and we had great weather for riding with the group down at Jeff and Penny Burtons over the holiday weekend.  The only campers were Jaff and Penny and yours truly, but there was a nice crowd there on Saturday to ride and eat supper.  On Sunday, we only had a small group of outriders and the Burton’s wagon.  It seems everyone else had other committments they had to attend to over the holiday, but it didn’t matter to those of us that had been trapped inside by the rain all Spring, we rode anyway.

It appears that the daily rain pattern that we suffered through in April and May has finally abated.  In fact, the ground here in southeastern Indiana was dry and starting to crack until yesterday when we had two storms roll through dropping about 3.5 inches of rain.  Now we appear to be heading into a weather pattern where the days are warm and sunny with random thunderstorms popping up at different periods during the day.

Next weekend (June 17-19) we are heading down to Paris Kentucky to one of the most beautiful areas around this part of the country.  Homer Rader has invited us to camp at Columbiana Farm where he is the Farm Manager.  We will then ride on Saturday and Sunday over the back roads of Bourbon county with it’s beautiful throughbred horse farms.  Last year, everyone agreed that this ride was one of the most enjoyable rides of the year.  Great hospitatity and some of the best visual scenery we had the opportunity to experience on our many rides last year.  Hope to see you there!

Rick

 

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Getting ready for Memorial Day weekend…

Well, for the first time this Spring, the weather forecast for the weekend looks very promising with little or no rain!  We are scheduled to go to Brooksville, Ky. this weekend to Jeff and Penny Burton’s place to ride.  As of today (Tuesday) they are calling for some thunder showers on Friday during the day, but clearing overnight Friday with perfect weather for Saturday and Sunday.  I have been going through my checklist and feel that I am about ready to go.  All I need is to do is to go to the grocery store for some food, do a load of laundry, finish loading the truck and I am ready.  The cameras are packed and the batteries are charged.  That is what is important!

My plan is to go down in the late afternoon on Friday and come home Sunday night or maybe on Monday if anyone else stays over on Sunday.  Usually, everyone leaves on Sunday afternoon, but I can be flexible now that I no longer have to worry about going to work on Tuesday.  Lets hope that the weatherman is right this time!!!

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The first ride of the year…..

I guess that it is time to post another update to the blog.  Starting a blog is easy, the hard work is in finding the time (and the content) to keep it current.  Because of the record rains in April and so far in May, everything that was scheduled to occur prior to this past weekend, had been cancelled.  There hasn’t been much to be reported.  I doubt that there would have been much interest in hearing about me gazing longingly out of the window waiting for the rain to end.

We held the first wagon ride of the season around this area over the past weekend.  It was hosted by Marvin Doyle at his son Terry’s Triple DDD Stables down near Carlisle, Kentucky.  Needless to say, it was overcast and rained on both Saturday and Sunday.  This definitely affected the number of folks who came out to ride, but the usual cast of hard core riders was on hand.  They weren’t about to let a little rain shower keep them from having fun.

On the Saturday ride, we had 6 wagons and a handful of outriders.  The wagons were those of Dannie Crawford, Homer Rader, Marvin Doyle, Terry Doyle, Lee Tucker, and a new member named Josh (whose last name I don’t know) along with his family.  The ride was scheduled for about 14.5 miles, but the rain in the morning delayed our departure by a few hours, so the route was shortened to about 9 miles instead.  Just about every seat available was in use and, despite the tops on the wagons and a lot of rain gear, there were a lot of wet butts.

When we stopped to eat lunch, Beth Tucker came to me and asked if I would help her to drive their team.  Lee and Beth’s dad, Rob Stroub, were going to have to leave to run home because one of Rob’s horses had escaped from their place and was now harassing the mares of one of their neighbors.  Although Rob’s horse was a gelding, the neighbor was upset and had called the sheriff.  Terry had called the stables on his cell phone and one of the workers was coming to pick them up.  So, I moved from Homer’s wagon over to Lee’s and assumed the teamster task for Beth for the rest of the ride.  While I really enjoy driving, the problem is that I can’t take photos and drive at the same time.  Therefore, I don’t have many photos to share from the Saturday ride.

Of course, as is always the case, when we got back to the farm and unhooked the horses, the rain finally stopped, the sun came out and gave us a few hours of beautiful weather.  Mrs. Doyle and the other ladies had set up our dinner inside of Terry’s huge barn building so that we would be out of the weather.  There was plenty of great food and the desserts, as usual, were delicious.  I had to try a little of each dessert just to make sure that I didn’t offend anyone who might think that I didn’t like whatever they have brought.

I had set up my truck tent to sleep in overnight and went to sleep about 10 PM with the sky appearing to be clearing.  I had hopes that the bad weather was past and that I would wake up on Sunday morning to a beautiful day.  Boy were my hopes dashed!  About midnight it stated to rain again and it continued all night until about 6:30 in the morning.  The rain was not heavy and there was no lightening or thunder, just a constant shower.  I didn’t get wet at all and actually slept quite well as the temperatures were in the lower 50’s (F).  I woke up in the morning and moved my truck inside of Terry’s barn where I fixed myself a great breakfast and got all of my gear packed so i would be ready to leave later in the day.  By 8 AM, an intermittent rain began and it came and went throughout the rest of the day with the temperatures staying on the cold side.  In fact, on the next day (Monday), the record for this area was set with the coldest high temperature on record for the month of May.

I wasn’t sure that anyone would show back up to ride on Sunday once that cold rain returned, but by 10 AM several of the same folks who had ridden on Saturday showed up and were ready to give it another try.  We finally hit the road at a little after 11 AM with three wagons and about 8 outriders.  Marvin elected to ride with Homer instead of driving his wagon and Dannie Crawford and his crew elected to ride their saddle horses instead of their wagon.  Sam Cooper, who had not ridden on Saturday because his wife Barbara was felling sick, drove Dannie’s mules and wagon.  I rode with Sammy and was able to get a lot of photos of the Sunday ride.  We took the longer ride that had been planned for Saturday.

Things went fine most of the day until we were about one mile from camp when Terry Doyle’s Halflingers spooked and tried to run off.  Whatever was upsetting them had spooked them a couple of times earlier in the ride and Terry had gotten them calmed back down.  This time, he wasn’t able to get them stopped and they ran off the left side of the road where they got tied up in some fencing.  Although one horse suffered a pretty ugly 6-7 inch gash to his muzzle just below his eye, there were no other serious problems or injuries except to a section of fencing.  Terry’s wagon was able to be towed back to his place behind a truck and it didn’t appear to have any serious problems.  It reminded us just how quickly things can get ugly.  Thank goodness that no one was hurt.

Overall, the weekend, while wet, was still a lot of fun and I think that everybody was really glad to be out and about with their horse friends.  As we all left on Sunday, everyone was quick to remind each other that we would be together in two weeks at Jeff and Penny Burton’s place for their Spring ride.  I can’t wait!!!

Rick

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The rain has continued…..

Well, the rain has continued to fall here in southern Indiana and the surrounding states although it looks like things are slowly starting to clear up.  This area is now within 1/10th of an inch of breaking the record for the all time wettest month on record.  So far this month, we have had an official 13.52 inches of rain, just short of the record 13.62 inches set in January of 1937 when the Ohio and Mississippi rivers both reached their all-time highest flood in recorded history.  There is still a slight chance of rain before the end of the month, but it looks like we will fall short of the record. Speaking of the Ohio River, it almost reached 56 feet here which is about 4 feet over flood stage, but is now technically almost back within it’s banks today.  Almost all of the rivers and creeks in this part of the country were out of their banks over the past few weeks.

Well, I’m sure that you aren’t here to learn about the weather, so let me tell you about the effect that this rain has had on the horse activities around here.  As you might suspect, almost everything we had on our schedule during April was cancelled except the Ohio State Plowing Contest in Dayton that I had previously blogged about.  The Cynthiana Draft Horse and Mule Association had planned a plow day for April 23rd down at Mike Stroub’s Punkin’ Patch, but the field that was to be plowed was under the Licking River.  The club decided to move that event back to May 7th in the hope that the river will be down and the ground will have some time to dry out.  Then the Eastern Kentucky Draft Horse and Mule Association had planned to host the Kentucky State Plowing Contest down at Mike Down’s farm in Olympia, Ky on April 30th.  Again, the ground was way too wet to even think about holding the event on the 30th so the decision was made to reschedule that event for May 14th.

Fortunately, the rain stopped just enough for the huge Rolex 3 Day Event to be held at the Kentucky Horse Park down near Lexington, Kentucky.  If they had to cancel that, a LOT of money would have been lost and the competitors, who along with their horse fly in from all over the world, would have been terribly disappointed.  The Lexington area had been under tornado watches right up until the night prior to the start of the event, but the weather cleared a little and the dressage events are occurring right now as I write this blog.  I understand that they are pumping the water out of several of the hazards and expect to be ready for the cross country portion of the event to begin tomorrow, Saturday.  This is amazing as the sunken road hazard which is normally completely dry, was under about 5 feet of water at the beginning of the week.  Congratulations to the volunteers and staff of the event and of the Horse Park itself for working so hard to get everything ready for the hoards that will be descending on the Park over the weekend.  It is estimated that in excess of 100,000 spectators will attend the events over the weekend.  If I wasn’t so uncomfortable in crowds and hadn’t already had other plans, I probably would be there myself although I might be willing to brave the crowds to get to see the reining events.

The biggest problem with all of the schedule changes is that they start overlapping with other events on the calendar.  Marvin Doyle has the first weekend wagon ride scheduled for the weekend of May 13th-15th.  My tentative plan right now is to go to the Kentucky State Plow day on Saturday, May 14th and then to go over to Marvin’s ride on Saturday afternoon as soon as things at the plowing event wrap up.  We’ll spend Saturday evening with the wagon train (and maybe be able to participate in their pot luck dinner) and then ride with them on Sunday.  I feel bad about missing the start of Marvin’s event, but we get a lot of website hits on the plowing events, especially the one billed as the Kentucky State Contest.  The winners from that event receive automatic entries into the National Plowing Contest scheduled later in the summer over Labor Day weekend at Carriage Hill Farm in Dayton, Ohio.

Lets hope that the heavy rain is about over so that we can get on with the season.  On the other hand, we don’t want all of the rain to stop like it did last summer and the summer before once July arrived.  Hopefully, there’ll be a balance this year between rain and drought although, with global warming it might be like it was the last couple of summers every year.  Only time will tell.

Look forward to seeing everyone soon!

Rick

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The season is finally underway

It’s been quite a few weeks since I last posted.  Basically, there hasn’t been a lot going on during that time, although the temperatures are finally tending up and the grass is growing again.

I attended the 2011 Ohio State Horse Plowing Contest at Carriage Hill Farm MetroPark in Huber Heights north of Dayton, Ohio last Saturday.  I posted about 125 photos from the event out on the Draft Horse Photos website.  It was fun to see all of our friends from Ohio again although I did get to see a few of them last week when the Grooms’ held a dinner meeting to discuss their Fall show.

This event had a fairly nice turnout despite marginal weather.  I had communicated with Jim Butcher in the days leading up to the weekend and he acknowledged that the weather was going to be questionable, but it looked like there would be time to get the plowing done on Saturday morning before any rain arrived.  As it turned out, Jim was half right.  The day was overcast with a chilly breeze blowing.  The ground was easy to plow and, while damp, not so wet as to seriously affect anyone’s ability to show their abilities.  About 12:30PM, it began to sprinkle.  Fortunately, the rain was never very heavy, but those who had not gotten started with their plowing early or who had a second plot to plow in a different class, did have to work in the rain.  Since the rain was more of a shower than a downpour, the land didn’t get too hard to work until after about 1 hour of rain.  Ralph Shyorer of Botkins Ohio was one of the last to begin and his horses were slipping and the land wheel on his plow was sinking into the ground by the time he finished.

The highlight of the awards ceremony was at the end when the event organizer Jim Butcher was awarded a beautiful bench for two made to resemble a wagon seat.  The seat was provided by Mike Atkins who, no surprise, had won the award as earning the highest point total of any contestant with 283 points out of a possible 300 for his plot.  Mike said that this seat was to reward Jim for the amount of work he has done to make this state event and the National Plowing event so successful.  Without the committment that Jim has demonstrated to these events, they undoubtedly would have not been held.

As usual at an event of this type, there was a lot of good natured teasing and the camaraderie among the contestants and even the non-contestant attendees is really something to behold.  The wet weather and the obvious discomfort that all were experiencing did nothing to dampen the fun and there were a lot of smiles and a lot of laughing by everyone.

Stop by our website to see photos from this event!

Rick

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Something new….

I’m all ready to go tomorrow to the World Horseshoeing Classic. I went through my camera equipment and got things ready to go.  This will be something new for me.  I had seen a video of one of these competitions in the past so I kind of know what to expect, but haven’t actually ever been to one of these competitions.

I don’t know how your weather has been lately, but we had a terrible drought around here last summer and also the summer before.  Now we are getting ready for spring and it is supposed to rain very hard around here today and tonight.  The creeks and rivers are already all swelled and there are flash flood warnings up for tonight and tomorrow.  It might make the trip to Lexington tomorrow kind of interesting.

I will post some information about the horseshoeing event once I get back!

 

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Upcoming World Horseshoeing Classic

It is a fairly warm day here in southeastern Indiana with temperatures supposed to go up to the high 60’s today.  While things in the Middle East and in the Congress continue to be rather heated, but things have been pretty quiet around here.  I got my backup camera back from the repair shop with the bad news that they can no longer get the parts needed to complete the repairs.  Here is a camera that sold for $1,600 just a few years ago and now, the company has gone out of business and I can’t get parts.  How distressing!

I got an email from James Guthrie this week reminding me that the World Horseshoeing Classic, a 3 day farrier competition, will be held next weekend at the Kentucky Horseshoeing School near Lexington, Kentucky.  The competition run from Friday thru Sunday, February 25-27, 2011 from 9:30 AM to 5 PM daily.  James told me that my friend Mike Downs from Olympia, Kentucky was bringing a couple of his Belgians down for the competitors to use for the for the draft horse shoeing competition on Friday.  Saturday’s competition is roadster shoeing and Sunday is for hunter shoeing.  I am planning to go down there myself for the draft horse competition on Friday. The directions for anyone who would like to attend are as follows:

From Lexington, Kentucky, go south on I-75 to  Richmond (exit 97),  turn right and go about a quarter mile, you’ll see a white sign for the school on the right.  Take the paved driveway and you’ll see the school. The address is 3612 Lexington Rd.

There is a Google map link to this event on the Upcoming Events page on my website, http://www.DraftHorsePhotos.com

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A Winter adventure

I woke up yesterday morning and called Homer Rader, the Farm Manager at Columbiana Farm in Paris, Kentucky.  He confirmed that there was a couple of inches of snow on the ground down in Paris.  It was very cold (15 degrees F), but the sun was shinning and I knew that the snow would not last very long so I told him I would be down to take some photos.

Homer had suggested last month that I come down and take some photos around the farm when there was snow on the ground.  We had done 2011 calendars for Homer in December and Homer had us send them out to all of his customers along with a Christmas greeting.   Having some winter photos would be nice if he decided to have us do the same thing next year.

It was a gorgeous day outside despite the cold temperatures.  The snow was shinning and there was almost no breeze.  Homer had a few foals on the ground in paddocks near the barn.  He was out on the tractor doing some winter seeding.  That involves spreading grass seed on the snow so that it can work it’s way down to the ground as the snow melts so it can be ready to spout when the weather warms up.

I took a lot of photos and have added some of the photos to the website.  In addition to the photos of the horses boarded at the farm, I also included several shots of Homer’s two teams.  His Norwegian Fyords were just as beautiful as ever, but his team of grays looked very different in their winter coats.

Hope you enjoy the photos from this visit!

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An exciting Super Bowl…

Well, the Green Bay Packers are the champs.  It sure was an exciting game to watch.  I kept pulling for Pittsburg to catch up and even pull ahead, but they just weren’t up to the task.  The commercials were great, as usual, but the National Anthem was a huge bust.  I don’t know why these great singers all think that they have to jazz it up instead of singing it as it was written.  Then to botch up the words really has to be embarrassing.

I had lent one of my cameras to a friend over the weekend so he could take some indoor shots at a motorcycle show he was attending.  It was fun to look at his photos with him and to introduce him to some of the software that I use to edit and “tweek” photos.  I may have created a monster.

We have started to prepare for next season’s shows and events.  Over the past few days, I put together some photo books from Groom’s 2010 event that I am having printed for sale at their annual Fall show next October.  I know that I had better do that now during the off-season as I may be too busy to do it later in the year.  I am still looking for a printer that would be able to produce calendars for 2012 at a price that keeps it feasible to create the calendar and be able to sell them at a profit without making the price so high that no one can afford it.  This is always a challenge for a small operation like mine.

It looks like the weather is still going to be questionable this week, so I doubt that I will get out to do much photography.  I keep waiting for some nice sunny weather.  It can be cold, but I really need some sunlight to take photographs.  There are a few farms I would like to visit, but if conditions aren’t good for taking photos, I can’t justify burning a lot of gas.

Till next time ……..

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More of the same…..

Well, it’s now February and the weather continues to be bad.  Based on the forecasts on the TV, the snow and snow showers will continue on into next week.  At least we missed the really big stuff that hit the more northern parts of the state.

I realized last night that it is less that 60 days until the start of April.  By then, I hope we are able to at least get out and enjoy some fishing.  Camping might have to wait a little bit longer, but the horse events will be starting about then.

Getting in a lot of samples of different things that we can do with our photos.  Added a photo of a full size blanket along with several other items to the website.  They included mugs, mouse pads, canvas bags, along with the great tee shirts and sweatshirts that we have already been doing for the past few years.

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