The Beauty of Developing a Farm 

Life never stops on a farm, but when you are preparing the ground from scratch for a band of broodmares to come to your property, you have a few things to finish... Would you agree?

With our starting point being an empty field we also had to go through the motions of building the full infrastructure that would provide for our beautiful Morgan horses the optimum "Paddock Paradise" environment, and at the same time make our life and work as "easy" as possible.

The work started already last summer. Since we already had two horses to take care of and "work" with - one Hungarian half-blood and a Quarter, it seemed like a good idea to create a small riding arena outside of the pasture they are grazing on. So we were looking for the most sandy terrain and put a rope-fence around it to mark the borders of the "playground". "Texas" and "Shy Guy" soon started to enjoy it!

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Having fun and enjoying our land, we lost track of time passing by so quickly, but then realized that there's work to be done: we needed a hay barn to store the hay for the coming winter... 

My husband suggested to search the internet for used wooden electric poles to hold the structure - I must say I was more than sceptical... 

Can you imagine the surprise I got when I found more than a dozen 6m poles all at one place for just "peanuts"? Though we had to haul them from quite a long distance, it was a still the best way of saving our resources. And I think it actually turned out faily pretty...

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The next thing we built was the round pen even before the winter set in, because we wanted to try out how the sand we used to fill up the 52ft area would hold in the "dreaded" wet season. Now, to appreciate that, you need to know that our soil is the weirdest mixture of sand and clay. I personally have never seen anything like that... 

It gets rock hard when dry, but slimy and slippery during rain and snow at some spots, but loose and grainy at some other... Go figure! 

But thank God, our surface did just fine, we could actually use it all throughout the winter and spring under the most critical conditions of melting snow.

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Hardly did we have a sigh of relief, we had to brace ourselves for next big thing: a tack-room! Putting together a small wooden house from timber is no kid's game, but if you have plenty of  time for playing in nice weather, it can even be fun! However, there was no time for that! I had to order the full do from a professional to be done in 3 days. And what a good decision it was: the snow was not waiting for us much longer.

Short a dark days were quickly approaching, and surely we were happy to have a cosy shelter from it all. Once your hands feel frozen no matter what you do, there is just nothing better than warming them by the stove while listening to that still crackling of fire in an old steel drum...

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After all the hassle of opening and closing our gate we first set up when we moved out here with a chain, I craved for a heavy-duty gate with a decent lock. We still had some electric poles left, so hence came the idea of a proper ranch-gate that would be welcoming our future visitors with a style...

Who then thought of the difficulty of raising such heavy poles up and stabilising them in all directions to make sure that when the wind blows - and , boy, it does sometimes -  the whole thing would not fall to the ground? Now, I know... But we had a neighbour came to our rescue with his tractor and while the giant structure went up, I was silently singing to myself: "Raise high the roof beem, carpenters!"

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The big spring project to was erecting a large enough run in shed with a paddock around it that will provide protection even for the entire herd together against the scorching sun, the unpleasant wintry showers and wind, but can also be used to separate a pregnant mare (or even 2 with a middle bar separating it into two "compartments") for foaling or any other horse, if necessary. 

The placement was our biggest concern, since we wanted to put the closed back of the building towards the prevailing wind, yet offer a wide enough panorama for the horses under the shelter to see the other herd members around the track or out on the pasture during turnout. It had to have an easy access for our quad and trailer to drive in from our road, and out onto the track to be able to collect manure and go to the feeding stations with the hay. 

The original position in our plans just did not seem to accomodate all four criteria, so we finally decided to move the shed to the Northern side of our property, and alas, everything just fell into place :)

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Before the arrival of our first Morgan mare, Justin Silk from England in the beginning of May, we had to separate the only remaining stallion, Texas (Shy Guy was gelded in still in March) from the future broodmare band, so 2 corrals were created for 2 stallions, one spot held for our future herd sire...

The beauty of it all it that the only place we could allocate for this was right next to our garden, so I can keep an eye on those boys through the game fence from our terrace...

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And when we finally thought we were finally getting closer to accomplishing the most vital tasks, we ran into an unexpected complication: our well that we had used without a problem for an entire year before one day decided to dry out... How that is possible after a fairly wet winter, we may never find out. We needed a solution and we needed it fast!  As a quick-fix we started to fill up the water tanks from the borehole that supplies water to our house (we are completely off the grid), but another borehole had to be had yesterday... However, once starting on a "watering project" I decided we needed and even more sophisticated system: I wanted an all-season tank! I could just visualize how much easier it would be when temperatures drop below freezing point. I was dreaming... then planning... then acting...

We "only" needed someone to drill a deep borehole, dig long ditches for piping and electricity (all the way from the house and hoping it would not lose too much power on the distance) through the finally recovering lawn, get a reliable, powerful enough pump, install a few filters and on the count of 1... 2...3... there it was: an automated, all-season watering system for our fledgling Paddock Paradise!

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Well, these were our "9 Wonders" of farm development prior to receiving first Justin Silk from Hamar Horses, then JMF Twist of Fate from RBD Morgans, Mossrose Windfall from Mossrose Morgans and Book's End Dulce Chocolat from Sheradin Morgans Farm... 

The 10th wonder is that we somehow have managed to accomplish all of this in just one year thanks to the patience and support of my husband, and the dedication and hard work of our farm help without whom nothing, absolutely nothing could have happened! Big, big kudos to both men! 

Let it suffice to say: if you want something important to work hard, good and long, it is important that you first work hard, good and long for it.

No exceptions!!!



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© ShannonVale Morgans 2015