It’s been almost a month, and I think it’s time to write a post about one of my favorite places, Shady Oaks Farm.
We bought Shady Oaks about two and a half years ago. Both our daughters were riding, and we had bought them ponies. Then I started riding, and of course then I bought a horse! Bill started adding up our expenses, and it was almost the same as purchasing a farm (or so we thought, lol). Plus we would much rather look at land, and enjoy it, than have a stock portfolio.
After a couple of months of shopping and agonizing, we happened into a wonderful little farm not too far from our house. It was already named for the beautiful alle´e of oaks that leads to the business end of the farm.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t also say that Bill and I had no clue about how to run a farm. But I loved our trainer Sandra, and asked if she and her husband would be open to moving to the farm, managing it, and being the trainer there. Thankfully they said yes! I think it’s been a blessing all around.
So Shady Oaks has grown over the years, from 25 to 55 acres, and one riding arena to two, and we have a third on the drawing board. We have two barns, one for hay and equipment and the other for horses. We’ve added fencing all over, a cross-country field, and trails all over the farm, including down by the creek. Our most recent addition are the gates that I am inordinately proud of. I think they are gorgeous!!
We’ve also grown from about 12 horses to (I think) 26 right now. We’ve got many students, and a couple of horses who are here for training. We also have a goat, Moe, and a miniature donkey, Donkey. Or, Don-keh. (Say it with a Scottish accent. Get it?)
Just like Sandra and I had hoped, this barn is our happy place. We have wonderful boarders and students who are like family to us and each other. I wasn’t raised around horses, and I am continually amazed at the lessons my girls and all the other riders learn from being around these animals. Horse life has it all–divas, hard work, grit, terrible bad luck, beautiful partnerships. And so we keep at it.
Here are a few pictures from our fall barn party this weekend, complete with horse and rider costume contest and freestyle dressage. We are so blessed to have such friends:
Our next project is a house for us!! We decided a few months ago that our lives would be greatly simplified by living at the farm. We had acquired a property that had held problematic neighbors (I’m being nice here), and they were gone. And Bill and I have always wanted a real farmhouse. So we are building a very authentic-looking Georgia Piedmont farmouse. Think full front porch, white clapboard, metal roof. The architect is in his last steps of completing the plans, and the area for the house should be graded this week. We are thrilled.
I hope you will join us over the next few months as we build this house and get ready to be farmers. I am looking forward to calling our happy place “home.”