Thursday, July 22, 2010

Meet Apache!

So, previously you met Cheetah, the livestock guard dog through this blog.  Now you will meet another long time resident of our farm, my old friend Apache, affectionately known as Patch.

As long as I can remember, I have loved horses.  As a girl growing up in the suburbs, my greatest desire was to live on a farm and have a horse.  I lived, breathed and dreamed horses.  I drew them in algebra class in 9th grade.  I drew them constantly.  I read all the requisite horse books, Black Beauty, the Black Stallion, Misty of Chincoteague and any others I could find.  My best friend in high school even gave me a horse (a poster) for my 16th birthday!  I went to horse camp.  I got on a horse any time the opportunity presented itself.  I was, in a word, horse-crazy.  

But I grew older and life came at me, along with marriage and a child and then a divorce.  Then I met Sam.  We soon married and had another child and worked and saved money and in 1991 we bought a 5+ acre piece of cornfield in central Indiana, where Sam's job in restaurant management had taken us the year before.  We had a house built, with the main floor finished and Sam spent the next winter finishing the upstairs while we lived downstairs and dealt with drywall dust and the other inconveniences of construction work.  In 1992, we were ready to start building a BARN and FENCES!  My dream of horse ownership was about to come true.

My first horse was not the best choice for a first-time horse owner and I kept her only a short while before tearfully deciding to sell her, which I did, at a local horse auction.  I then started to look for a gentle, well-mannered, well-trained horse, and Apache, an Appaloosa, came into our lives in July of 1993.  He was 8 years old, reliable, trustworthy and with a heart as big as the rest of him.  17 years later, he is still with us.   Here he is in Indiana with my two sons, shortly after he joined us.  
 And with my husband, Sam

Patch and I did a lot of trail riding together and a lot of riding on our local country roads and we even herded cattle one time at a friend's parents' farm.  THAT was fun!  Patch was one of the only horses in the group that day who did not snort and turn tail when he saw those cattle!  We also rode in a few of the local horseman's club shows, although Patch was definitely not a show horse.  Here we are in 1995 just having a good time 

We had other horses through the years, including a black Tennessee Walker and another Appaloosa, who is buried here on the farm in Ohio, but Patch has been the only constant.  I don't ride him much anymore since I don't have anyone close by to ride with.  He is pretty much a retired pasture potato and enjoys the life of a horse with about 40 acres to roam and a barn to run into when it's hot or rainy or snowy.  A couple times a year he gets saddled up for the nieces and nephews to ride and once in a while I decide I need to ride as well.  He has earned his retirement and often hangs out with his head over the fence into the alpaca pasture, probably wondering if their hay is greener than his! 

Here is the real me with Apache just this morning.  He hadn't been saddled in 6 months and I rode him bareback all over the yard with nothing but a halter and lead rope.  That's my dream horse!
 Things around the farm go on as usual.  It has been SO busy.  Last week, my mom and youngest niece arrived on Wed and stayed til Saturday so mom could leave her dog with us while she travels.  My niece is 10 and loves to visit.  She is a great kid and I look forward to her spending more time with us as she gets older.  Then my OTHER niece, who is 20 and in college arrived on Thursday and stayed til Sunday.  She needed a break form work and summer classes and social pressures and I am glad that she feels our farm is a good place for that.  This Firday, my sister-in-law and her best friend are coming with their 5 kids total to stay in the guest house until Sunday, so it has been family time this month!  

I have not been doing much knitting.  Working on a summer top in a hemp blend commercial yarn and it's not very inspiring knitting.  I hope to finish it before we go on vacation next month.  I have been spinning, though.  I have spun up 4 oz of each of the 3 alpaca rovings I hand-dyed before the weather got nice.  Here they are all spun up.  I think they are great!  Now to decide what to make with them and to find the time!!

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