Endurance Riding

Oct 16 2011


Published by under Endurance Riding

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Even before we moved into our new home, I began designing my “dream barn.” It was red, with four stalls and a tack room, automatic waterers and run-out paddocks. And it had one of those rooster wind vanes on top of the roof.

As I started getting quotes for the concrete stem wall, the electricity and plumbing, things just continued to add up. I realized I was already over budget with the cost of the production of the barn alone. I became very discouraged, wondering if I was ever going to be able to bring my horses home. After a few days of moping around the house without any direction, I finally decided to revisit the drawing board and come up with a new plan for my horses.

I called my hoof trimmer and good friend, James Youngblood, on a Thursday afternoon. I told him, in frustration, I was on my way over to his place because I wanted to see the set-up he had arranged for his horses.

One hour later, I showed up on James’ doorstep. He took me over to his paddock and I saw how he had used solar panels to power an electric fence to keep his horses contained. As we were leaving, he said if he were to re-do his paddock, he would create a “Paddock Paradise.” I immediately inquired about that “Paddock Paradise.” I ended up leaving James’ house with Jaime Jackson’s book in hand: Paddock Paradise: A Guide to Natural Horse Boarding.

That night, I spent a couple hours reading Jaime’s book. I was convinced from the first few pages that his paddock design was going to be it – I was going to build a Paddock Paradise for my horses!

After meeting with more than one contractor, I finally found someone who could do the job for me in the time I wanted it done (basically, I wanted everything to be done “yesterday”). I promised Mike Iorga, my contractor, a horseback ride when he had completed enough of the paddock that I could bring my horses home. With Mike’s help, the help of 3 college guys, myself, and my husband all working on the job, we created a Paddock Paradise in 5 days (for less than half what the barn would have cost)…

Yesterday, on the same day I celebrated 7 years of marriage to Gary, I brought my horses home. I rode Asali, Mike rode Forest, and my new friend and the tenet who is renting our guest house, Alyssa, rode Beauty. We spent most of our time on the trail, starting at Doon Grade Ranch, our former home, and then connected to Coutolenc Road. We rode past views of the canyon on the 7 or so mile ride. At 1:45 in the afternoon, we arrived at the new house and immediately let the horses discover their Paddock Paradise.

I spent a greater part of the day watching the horses in our yard. And that evening, when Gary and I were at dinner with our boys, I was thankful for the family and the life we had created together.

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