Whew! Things are going great. I've been very busy keeping our homeschool up to par, so that when spring comes I can go outside and be with the horses for two hours every day. When the weather breaks, none of us want to be inside, and the part of school that needs me can be finished by one o'clock. Then independent work can be done and reviewed later in the day.

I have some really exciting news. Our oldest son, Saul, was accepted to Norwich University and its Cadet program. Norwich is in in Northfield, VT, about an hour and forty-five minutes south of us. This school has a unique identity and mission. It is among the top two and a half percent of major universities (of which there are two thousand) in the country. Saul really wanted this, and I am so SO happy for him~!!

You may not believe this, but I hardly ever 'brag' about my kids. Children are unique individuals, and they belong to God. It's been a rough road for Saul; he suffered a lot after his beloved Aunt Dawn's homicide. God did not leave us alone in our problems. It is okay to brag in the Lord, and that is what I am trying to do.

Today he received a letter of merit scholarship based on his academic performance during his high school years and his SAT scores. It pays a full one quarter of his tuition, as long as he keeps his grade point average above a 2.25! Yippee!

My apologies to anyone who came here to read horses and got this far. However, and all of this new found faith, love, joy, and family healing has a direct trickle-down to my confidence and success with the horses. I am so anxious for Spring and ground we can work on!

There is a story below which I wrote and never had a chance to post. I also have Dreamer's story mostly finished for his birthday next week! 

Saul holding Dreamer at home 2007
I hope everyone is doing well. We have a winter storm happening right now (twelve inches), and my snow stick reads 26 inches even after days of melt. The horses are shedding, and we hear the Chickadees singing their love and nesting songs in the trees. The animals tell us that spring is on its way!

Incredulous, 1963                                   
Nearco and Hyperion


Mad Hatter

Cold weather is a wonderful time to sit around the woodstove fire and tell stories. One of my favorite stories about Dream is about when he fell in love with my youngest son, Noah. Dream and Noah share a similar sense of humor, and I think that gives them a special bond.

We had four sons, and then we had the ‘most’ boy of all our boys: Noah. Everything he does is with exuberance: talking, running, learning, exploring… he keeps all of us humble.

Noah and Dream met the same day we all met him. We went as a family to see the horses at a satellite TRF farm in Granville, VT. Dream had not had a lot of exposure to children at that point. I do know a ten year old girl cantered him around the farm’s track the previous summer.

It was now early March and the snow was still quite deep. I could only ride in a small area of the driveway where it had been plowed. I tried him out with a bareback pad and a bridle. Things went pretty well. He wanted his friends.

The piles of snow from shoveling and plowing must have been between four and five feet tall (very much like our piles at the moment). Dream and I were finished riding, and I was sitting atop him while Scott and I chatted with Daphne, the farm owner. My children had already met the horses and were milling about the property.

Suddenly I felt Dream tense up. I looked over to see what was bothering him. Running along the path in the yard about twenty feet from us was my son, Noah, at that time almost seven years old.

Noah had on a bright red knit hat. But you could not see Noah at all. All you could see was his hat, skimming along the top of the snow line of vision as he ran toward the driveway.

I could feel, and almost hear, Dream’s thoughts: “O my, what is THAT?! It’s going to get me! It’s coming this way! It’s going to EAT me!”

I knew that telling him it was Noah would do no good. I remained calm and called to Noah. However, Noah was in his own world, and headed for us in his usual break-neck speed.

He came closer and closer. All you could see was the red hat. Dreamer gathered his muscles. Scott and Daphne waited on hand…

JUMP! Out from behind the snow bank pops Noah.

Noah in front (minus hat) at a later date, for a trail ride

Have you ever heard a horse laugh? Because I felt Dreamer laugh. His insides turned into glee. I also felt him fall instantly in love with Noah.

“O, THAT'S it, one of those funny little people. I am so glad it was not a horse eating thing-a-ma-jig. Hey, that’s pretty funny. He really scared me.  hahaha”

Dreamer breathed.

Fast-forward to Dream’s life with us. When Noah is in the area, Dream is paying attention. He waits and watches and wants to know everything Noah is doing. He will hang his head over the stall door to get a better glimpse of him.

Dream came to us with the habit of making faces. I’m supposed to think it’s a problem… unless you live with a bunch of kids, with other family children visiting regularly. They all think it’s hilarious.

Noah makes faces right back at Dream: especially the tongue lolling. They get each other going. Aislinn joins in.

Noah invented a game of tag/ hide and seek to play with Dreamer. Noah hides over the half wall to Dream’s stall. Dream has to find and tap Noah on the shoulder. Sometimes Dreamer will get a treat when he finds him.

I look forward to days when Noah can take his friend out on forays together. I hope to see them head off for an adventure, canteen and cell phone in hand. It is one of many visions that dance in my head, while I work patiently and wonder about all the good things God sends to us.

Noah and Dreamer will both celebrate birthdays in March (they are one year apart, Noah being the elder). I will be posting my page about Dreamport on his birthday (March 4)~!

A Rock Sand / Fair Play horse bred by August Belmont II
Co-Champion Handicap Male in 1921 (with Exterminator) at age 5



On Fire

Ebony's bucket
Never over-ride your voltage regulator.    

I was outside doing the night feeding in the dark, when our lights should have been on…but they weren’t. We already knew from the day and night before that no cords were disconnected. My husband told me to turn off the regulator, turn it on, and plug in the lights. Whenever I did, the little button at the bottom would come out and the lights would go off again.

Well…that is supposed to happen if my regulator is speaking clearly to me. The problem is I did not know the language. My piece of equipment was telling me that there’s a short somewhere, and a very good reason to not want the lights on.

Since I did not know how my equipment actually works to keep me safe, I just held the button on until I had lights. I sent a child in to get a replacement regulator, thinking this one was on the blink. As my husband was yelling to me, from the house (80 feet away) that it could be a problem someplace else---

My 4th son Seth yells from Ebony’s stall, FIRE!


Sure enough, it was her heated bucket. The entire underside was in flames and plastic had already dripped onto the straw and ignited it. All of this happened in front of Seth’s eyes in about TWO SECONDS. I was right at the front of the barn. I yelled FIRE! to Scott and then ran to Seth.

I unplugged the bucket on my way over. He picked up the bucket and poured its water contents on the fire, which put it out. Seth is thirteen. Thank God his synthetic gloves did not catch fire. He must have grabbed the sides of the bucket.

I was yelling “Throw it in the snow!” We ran it out the front door to throw it in a snow bank. That fire was out.

All of this took less than the amount of time it took my sprinting husband to reach the barn.

There was a strong electric fire smell. Smoke filled the barn in seconds, and that barn has an extremely high, post and beam ceiling. Dream left his stall as soon as it started, but re-entered when the smoke cleared away. Ebony would not come in her stall for three days afterward, and she was not even in her stall when the fire started. Horses are smart.

In less than 5 seconds the fire in the stall was two feet high and two feet in diameter. That really taught me a lot. I could understand how the barn my first horse was in (17 box stalls) could be gone in less than ten minutes. My barn here would have been gone in less than five.

I will never have a horse locked in a barn. Period. NEVER.

We finally figured out what happened. After my panting husband looked at me and said, “You over-rode the voltage regulator, didn’t you?” ~

and my sheepish, “Yes…” ~

...we inspected Ebony’s bucket and could see that the cord was cut into. The protective plastic bottom was not on the bucket. It had cracked this past year. I had warned the kids to NOT SET THE BUCKET ON THE CORD as it could damage it. That is probably what happened: setting the bucket on the stones in front of the well pump to fill it.

Lesson learned by kids: check.
Lesson learned by Mom: check.

We doused the spot in Ebony’s stall several times with buckets of water and raked for ashes to make sure there were no embers to start up again.

We are so glad it was not worse! I can see my barn as a blackened shell. The horses would have survived, but not the pet chickens and ducks-- and probably not my emotions, for a long, long time. My oldest son was on duty to watch and feed the barn while we were away in January. The lights went out on him then. I am very glad that the barn did not burn down while my son was responsible for it. The fire occurred the second night home after our arrival.

On Fire, 2004
A.P. Indy [Seattle Slew], Secretariat, Honest Pleasure, Mr. Prospector (s)
Storm Cat [Secretariat], Key to the Mint (m)
Bred by Ogden Mills Phipps