In the United States
The first days
We moved to the States in August 2012. Everything was new and exciting. Those first few months were a bit overwhelming but eventually we settled in very well.
Upon arrival, our daughter didn't know a single word of English so I decided to not work in the beginning. Her English very soon became very fluent, with a distinct Midwestern accent so she was blending in and making friends easily. She didn't need me anymore. I baked a lot in those days ...
Our daughter's hobbies
In our quest to find a hobby she could be passionate about, our daughter dappled in all kinds of things. She joined swimming, she also joined the choir. She turned out to be very good at swimming and even qualified for the State Championship in the first year #proudmama.
But she also tried horseback riding. She had fun, Melissa was a sometimes brutally honest teacher, but she was also good at doing fun activities with the kids. So Aryn spent a few years doing this. No shows though, she really did not want to do that. She basically she just wanted to spend time with the horses, more than riding them. So after a while it was clear that it wasn't really her thing.
Unfortunately it was mine ...
I started taking riding lessons, I wasn't necessarily very good at it but girl, did I love it! I ended up leasing a horse for a while, his name was Ollie, a beautiful OTTB. We quickly figured out out that horses are a never ending money pit so I supported that hobby by translating horse product descriptions for a well-known equine retailer.
My first horse story
Although I loved Ollie, it wasn't enough (when is it ever??). I needed a horse to call my own to love on 24/7 so we bought Coal, a chestnut OTTB. He was a bit too much for a novice like me so after a while he went back to his previous owner. I felt incredibly bad about it but in the end, it was better for him this way. I loved him but we unfortunately never bonded because he resented my mistakes.
In comes the second horse
A little later, my trainer found Sophie, a bay appendix, sweet as they come. For a mare that is.
By then we (as in I) figured it would be so much nicer to have the horses at home. So we up and moved, spent two summers building pastures, barn and indoor arena and founded our very own horse property.
Having and riding horses is always more fun in good company so we did welcome boarders.
Our own little piece of paradise
At our farm, we had Udo, a senior Belgian draft, somewhere around 28 years young. We were grateful for every moment with him. Towards the end of our time in the USA, he started having severe problems. Then there was our darling Sophie. We had a boarder who had two horses, an OTTB with many issues and a quarter horse. And we had a young colt, who was not yet fixed when he arrived. Wow, I can tell you that was a steep learning curve for me. But I loved every moment of it all.
Other than that we had 2 dogs, 6 cats (3 house cats & 3 barn cats) and about 40 chickens. The latter were hard to keep track of because they kept multiplying. It seems to be a strange habit of them.
The camera over the years
In all those years we've updated our camera a few times, going from a point and shoot to a professional DSLR. And I think I must have taken a million pictures by now, making progress from very blurry vacation shots to professional portrait images of you and your animals.
Other than that we had 2 dogs, 6 cats (3 house cats & 3 barn cats) and about 40 chickens at the farm. I must have taken a million pictures, making progress from very blurry vacation shots to professional portrait images of you and your animals.
Missed the first part? Read it here.
On to part 3 here.