Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Big Move, Part 2

So after making the decision to relocate Calypso Farm to Apopka, I set the move in date for August 14. A week after that decision, I was hospitalized when what I thought was a pulled muscle turned out to be a blood clot in my leg.
Overnight, I have gone from healthy and active and feeling immortal, to being put on restrictive activity...fine with me, giving the horrible heat, but I have had a hard time understanding how my healthy body could turn on me and make me feel so weak, light headed and tired all the time. I am finally coming to terms with the fact that I am dealing with a "serious" health issue here.
Thankfully, I have had the best of support from my boarder, Nikki, who has taken over feeding and mucking; Jen, who has come home from Tampa whenever she can, both their boyfriends, Shawn and Travis, who have helped with the move, and good wishes from all my friends.
Moving in the middle of summer is insane. Moving when not in the best of health...well, that is just beyond stupid. But we have been managing!
Last weekend was the "big move"..all the heavy and big items..trunks, jumps, stall mats, troughs. Shawn brought his trailer on Sunday and Jen and Travis came up for the day. We loaded everything, a barrel decided to make an early departure from the trailer halfway to the barn and was recovered with no incident to any passing vehicles, and we spent the afternoon unloading, cleaning, killing wasps and spiders and organizing. Peter stayed home and smoked ribs and chicken all day for us to feast upon for dinner. It was a great time, although I did more supervising than work!
It is amazing how much stuff one accumulates over the years! I think each of my horses has at least 2 sheets and 3 blankets, not to mention fly sheets, coolers and anti-sweat sheets. Thirty years of ribbons decorated my tack room and had to come down. Numerous photos, signs and plaques. Buckets and saddle pads multiply tenfold, just like rabbits. No, no rabbits to bring, although a few years ago there would have been a few bunnies and guinea pigs, not to mention a bird. Two fat and useless barn cats will come with us, however. I don't need a crop, but yet there is a collection of them. Two bridles for each horse, 20 bits for each horse (or so it seems, though they all go in just one!), girths, halters (their every day halter and their "good" leather show/travel halter) and many lead ropes. It goes on and on!
Once I received permission to go to the barn, I started packing all the stuff, a little at a time. Stacked in the aisleway in rubbermaid totes, I made several trips to the new barn to deposit them. The heat really gets to me right now, so I have just dumped them in the large feed room...when cooler weather prevails, most of it can be addressed.
Last Saturday, Nikki and I decided to forego bagged shavings and get it by the bulk. The stalls, having sat empty for over a year, needed alot to get started and it made more sense from an economic view anyhow, to go to Focal Point Nursery in Geneva and get it by the truck-bed load! Economically sound? At just $75 for the truckload, Yes! But what we didn't figure into this equation, was removing 3 yards of entire 8 foot bed full, out of the truck!
Filling it was an adventure! We followed Dave in his tractor into the behind the scenes of a nursery...down a dirt road, past potted plants and trees, empty plant containers and piles of rock, mulch and dirt. A sharp 180 degree turn in my F250 crew cab with extended bed was difficult up was an even sharper 90 degree turn, with a fence on one side and empty pallets on the other...I was wondering how on earth could I back up and around the 180 degree turn, when Dave hops out of his tractor and pushes the pallets out of the way...Nikki and I were laughing hysterically at this point, as a light rain drizzled. We filled the truck bed and Dave took us out a different route, past an old log cabin tucked away where no one would ever imagine it exists. We were laughing the whole time, while Dave kept apologizing for the locked gate and missing key that took us on our wayward journey!
A quick stop for some South Carolina peaches and another stop at Horstmeyers for some wormers and feed, and we arrived at the new barn. We started cleaning and then realized we had to empty the bed of its contents of shavings. Suddenly, we realized why we paid the extra expense of bagged shavings! Thankfully for me, Nikki shoveled out the entire 3 yards of shavings...we may be going back to bagged shavings in the future!
The new barn is now clean, rid (hopefully) of wasps and spiders, waiting for 4 horses, 2 useless cats and a slew of tack. Nikki's mom and dad arrive tomorrow from Tenessessee, bringing us 60 bales of freshly baled orchard hay! Saturday morning, bright and early, the horses will arrive! I cannot wait!

The Big Move, Part 1

Tucker and Tyke playing in the pasture in Chuluota

So Saturday is our big day..after nearly 6 years of leasing the current barn that I am at, I will be moving my horses, 2 barn kitties and all my "stuff" to a new barn clear across town!

It is a journey that I have been pondering for several months. Back in February, I realized I needed to make some changes. I was spending too much time (and money) on somebody else's property, too much time (and money) on rescues, and not enough time with my family and my own horses. As much as I desperately want to own my own farm, that dream is still at least a year away, until the high school graduation of my last and youngest daughter. I love having my horses in a situation where I control every ounce of their care, but somewhere along the way, I got sucked into a black hole, where I was spending so much time and energy (and money) fixing fence boards, mowing pastures and repairing stalls, that I had no time or energy to ride. With much regret, the rescue was money, no volunteers, no more energy made it an easy but sad decision. Only in existence for two and a half years, Heart Land managed to save and adopt 10 horses plus manage the adoptions of at least a dozen other horses that we were able to send straight from their old home into new, loving homes. That is over 20 horses that may not have had a happy ending had we not intervened. I feel pretty good about that.

We also found a new home for one of our own. We only had Bates for 2 years. He was Jen's new eventer after we had to retire Impulsive in 2008 unexpectedly. Unfortunately, he was a high maintenance Thoroughbred requiring a daily workout 6 days a week, and she started college as an engineering student. Time became scarcer and this past spring some hard decisions were made. He simply could not spend the next 2 years sitting around waiting for her to graduate, with no job, getting older, so he has gone to live in North Carolina at a wonderful eventing farm, where his talents will be fully utilized...horses need and like to have a job!

So down to just 3 Tucker, Jen's mare Imp and Amanda's mare Dolly, I waited for the right situation to appear..and it did. In July, I found a 6 stall barn to lease in Apopka. Northwest of Orlando, it is in the complete opposite direction of where I am used to traveling, but a new toll road right next to where I work, puts me at the barn in no time at all. Plus, it is just 20 minutes from Rocking Horse and 15 minutes to my trainers barn. In addition, my long time boarder, Tyke, a Dutch WB-TB, will come with us. He is Tucker's best friend and I am so glad his mom, Nikki, is coming with us!

Situated on 60 acres, the barn is one of 6 on the property. I think in its glorious days, it was a standardbred training facility. The property offers rolling pastures, something you only find to the north and west of Orlando, a race track, a lighted arena and more. My barn, a shedrow, has its two own private fields plus access to a larger field for turnouts. The best thing? I don't have to schlep to the barn twice a day. Starting next week, I will have the luxury of sleeping in or being able to clean house or do yard work before work, because the caretaker of the property will bring my horses in and feed them in the morning! Not only that, but I will not be responsible for mowing or repairs! In fact, a deluge this past weekend while we were moving stuff into the barn revealed a leaky nice to notify Vicki that the barn leaked and could she take care of it? So now, with only having to go to the barn once a day, and not having to do massive barn chores other than clean stalls, I will actually have time to ride! I am looking forward to cooler weather and being able to haul Tucker to Rocking impatient traveler, it will be nice to have only a 20 minute drive instead of an hour and a half!

Now we can focus on our goal, making it to a recognized event in January!