Take Two ~ Ranch Clinic Post

Blogger ate my first carefully crafted blog post, about last weekends Doug Bogart Ranch Clinic - part one {edit expletive} so, here is my second half hearted attempt. New name, for one long combination post. I apologize to Shirley & Arliene who had already read & commented my original post. I retrieved them from my email notifications, and added them to the comments. I had started the post on my laptop, and added the photos from my desk top computer. Apparently they didn't want to talk to each other. Won't make that mistake again!

Our trainers barn has undergone some transformation, and she has decided to host clinics. A ton of work went into preparing her place for this new venture. I am SO happy for her, our barn friends, & the horse community at large.

The inaugural Doug Bogart Ranch Riding Clinic was held last weekend. It was bitter cold and windy for April in WI. Unfortunately, the clinic had to be held in the indoor arena. It is much smaller then the outdoor, and as a photographer - to put it bluntly indoor florescent lighting sucks! When I originally agreed to take clinic photos I said "outdoor only". Which is my MO. However, I didn't want to miss the opportunity and not be part of the clinic. I had to do more editing then normal, and smooth out the grainy noise from ramped up camera settings. Not remotely my processing style. I'm holding tight to my mantra of not using flash around horses, and did the best I could under the circumstances. 

A group of us clinic/barn contributers went out for supper with Doug the Friday night prior to the clinic. It was a lively conversation & we enjoyed hearing his sage perspective on horses and training. It revolved around horses individuality, and the expectation some trainers have. Horses either fit their style of training, or are no good. Many push too hard, too fast for their gain. Especially in the show world. Resulting in a wrecked horse. Not this guy. It was refreshing to hear. 

There were several cancellations due to the weather. We had a good turn out regardless, and attendees came from as far as Iowa, Illinois & Michigan. There were a lot of auditors wearing winter gear, and huddling under blankets. Two groups of four horse/rider combos participated (vs 12 riders). First group were advanced riders, the second "beginners". Surprisingly, only two riders had previously showed Ranch. Doug was a skilled clinician and challenged each rider at *their* respective levels. Sprinkling in funny comments. It was really fun to watch!

Doug is a kind knowledgeable horseman, and throughout the clinic it became very clear he is an experienced instructor. Doug had riders doing different things, based on their level of riding. No clue how he kept track of it all, but he did. Everyone really learned a lot, especially the riders. 

Here are some shots & experiences from the clinic: 

Doug Bogart

Doug coaching Brad

Cierra has a lot of go in her, and Brad continues working on the finesse of consistent light effective handling. It's not easy with a powerhouse. He got a different perspective on riding her through her excess energy, as well as some different show tips. One tip that comes to mind, is to not hold reins way up high by horses ears on an extended trot. Of course, it's all a difference of opinion - and we liked his.

Peggy & Checkers
counting lope steps between poles
Doug brought genuine smiles out of everyone
Every rider counted lope steps between two poles. Doug adjusted numbers based on each horses first count. He gradually raised the count up/down, and with some riders not so gradually. The lesson was to feel your horse extend vs their normal gait. It looked like fun, and made for great photos!

Doug & his many training poles
He strategically placed his poles, and would have made some extra $ if he collected on his coaching prompts. Especially with this 4-H (youth group) girl, who he took a special interest in. She is from our barn and was the youngest clinic rider. She is extremely quiet, but really stepped up to the plate and brought her A game. She had never ridden Ranch style before. It was a ton of fun watching her (and her pleasure horse) blossom!

I also enjoyed watching this beautiful Morgan, who worked with his owner on not riding like a saddle bred. Doug had most riders neck rein, and switch them from one hand to the other, to aid with body positioning.

There were four other horse/riders. A previous long-time barn employee, who helped train Koda & Nemo, a pretty Buckskin that did well in the beginners group, and two other riders from our barn. One who was petrified. I felt so bad for her. She was way out of her league, and really struggled to the point of tears. Doug gently included and encouraged her, when she was able to set nerves aside. 

The other rider was downright dangerous. I felt so bad for her borrowed horse. She wasn't steering him and all but rammed him into walls several times. I don't give a damn what horse your riding. If you can't steer it, get off. I was in a corner, where no horse goes, when he was loped inches into me. I was not amused. I just stopped taking photos, took cover and bit my tongue. This woman is far from a beginner and an okay rider, just didn't seem to care. The beautiful horse is well trained, and was being a good boy. Poor thing. Glad no one was hurt.

Overall it was a fantastic clinic. They even served coffee & donuts, lunch and dinner. Purina had a display. Some lucky winners took home door prizes. I didn't go on Sunday. I was still thawing out & without any sunlight the photos would have been worse.

Saturdays attendee's & second group horses

completely immersed

tender moment

Everyone is looking forward to more clinics. My guess is they will eventually bring Doug back. Doubt I'll ever ride in clinics at this barn, as they are intended to revolve around showing. I would however love to take lessons from Doug, too bad he is in another State! He is a savvy instructor who reads horses, cares about their longevity, and clearly loves teaching all levels.

If you are interested in seeing more photos, they are posted 


build-a-barn ~ stalls are up

Earlier this month, I was busy cleaning the endless construction dust in the house and decided to walk over to the barn. I was surprised to find the remaining stalls up, complete with grain doors. Apparently Brad decided not to wait for our sons help, and set the rest of our stalls up himself. Except for the double stall divider, it is super heavy! 

The stalls really change the appearance of the barn!! Our barn is starting to look like a horse barn! 

March 31
Our son came up in the morning to help his dad install the heavy divider. It swings against the back wall, and will be secured. I think it will come in handy, and be put to good use. Harmony & Koda seem to be prone to injuries/bouts of lameness. It could be a roomier daytime option for Nemo, when affected with allergies. Brad also wants to eventually breed Cierra. It could even be used for temporary storage. Lot's of options.

Double stall on the left, with divider.
Looks the same as the other stalls.
The very next day, Brad cut & installed Douglas Fir tongue & grove wooden side panels on the six single stalls. I got to help with the very last top pieces. Now I can say I helped build the stalls :)

April 1

view from the back end of the barn

If you are sick of barn updates, feel free to scroll on by. I want our dream documented. To relive, and better remember what got us to where we are. 

Two weeks later, our barn still looks like the above. It's a long long process when you do the building yourself. Last weekend Brad rode in a Ranch Clinic, and I photographed it (post to come) we had zero time for anything else. I wish we could progress faster, but good things come to those that wait.


build-a-barn ~ two months later

It's been two months since my last barn update, and one day if you want to get technical ;)

It feels like we haven't made much progress lately. Looking back at my updates, I'm happy to see that we have. I love that about blogs!! 

I left off with the arrival of stall parts, and soon discovered a snaffu...the doors were suppose to alternate opening sides, so that the stalls could share one water pipe and have front waterers back-to-back. The openings were all on the right side, which doesn't work with our water plan. Crap!

With custom building, something will go wrong. It's guaranteed. Brad took a good hard look at past communications. He discovered we were charged for feed doors. They were not installed, and not on the final drawing. Unfortunately, the alternating doors were also not on the final drawing that Brad signed off on. Many communications indicated the doors alternate, with no feed doors - but shit happens. 

This is were working with a good company pays off. They want to make it right, and Brad feels partially to blame for signing off on the final drawing, so they worked out a solution... 

Brad set up the first test stall
they sent one feed door
he cut out the bars (laying lower right of photo)
and attached the feed door & used touched up paint they sent

I am not thrilled he is cutting up our expensive stalls, and has to do the work. However he is happy with the solution, and the company, and to be honest - you cannot tell when you look at the stalls. Brad assured me the stalls are just as sturdy. I hope he is right.

The good news is we have feed doors now lol! As for the waterers, the horses water will need to move towards the back, instead of the front. Still back-to-back, with piping in the middle of two stalls. Our horses won't care one way or the other. Guess what this means? More digging! 

The rest of the feed doors arrived yesterday. Brad is hoping our son can help him get the other stalls set up this weekend. Window grates have already been installed. 

There is still a lot of work left!! Human rooms need panel/trim work, bathroom stuff needs to be ordered & installed, waterers need to be ordered & hooked up, fans have to be installed, not to mention fencing pastures etc. Wish I could take some of this off Brads plate!! What can I say, we've been focusing on the house and just got our occupancy permit! Our house is not completely finished either, but it means I better start sorting & packing! 

Inside of the barn currently looks like this:

we have lights!

the saloon is nice and toasty
we found a good use for our freebie fan
Outside of barn hasn't changed much:

crates with stone for the columns waiting for our mason
& the truss/posts still need to be finished

We've come up against our fair share of building mistakes/challenges, and have learned to think outside of the box, not get all worked up and just resolve them. Some things just didn't occur to us, and others are just plain errors. In the end, everything gets worked out, many times for the better.


first outdoor 2018 ride

Hi, remember me?! I am finally finding my way back to my blog.

2018 is turning out to be a trying year for us, and not necessarily the way we expected. Among other things, sickness of one form or another has kept it's ugly grip on both Brad & I for most of the year. We aren't completely out of the woods, but *finally* feeling more like ourselves and getting some much needed energy back.

We failed miserably at our attempt to get back to riding our horses on a regular basis. Somehow a month flew by without even seeing them :( The only thing that kept my mind at ease is knowing who they live with. I've said it before, and I'll say it again - if our horses can't live with us, then we would want them to live with our trainer. 

Besides our building project and being sick, I left for a Northern Lights photography trip to Alaska for 9 days. Conditions were not favorable, we only saw the lights once briefly. I've been dreaming forever of seeing them dance overhead in color, so I'm pretty disappointed. The saving grace is all the other amazing things I saw & photographed during the day, including Dalton Highway views (featured in the TV show Ice Road Truckers), moose, caribou and the Iditarod. I've done a series of posts on my Facebook Photography page. It's open/public if interested, link on sidebar. Alaska was absolutely stunning, and I can't wait to go back someday and try again! 

I'm happy to report we started back to riding on Tuesday. Koda is a little tender on his left front, so we are keeping it at a walk. We also took advantage of a beautiful Spring day last weekend, and rode outside for the first time this year! It felt wonderful!!

Walking Koda in to tack, from their turnout pasture
I clipped his mohawk & brushed, and brushed and brushed, until I couldn't brush anymore. It's an endless job in the Spring! 

See Nemo underneath the gate at the far end of the arena?
Poor guy, he just stood there watching while we rode

Nemo was pouting, and wouldn't let Brad pet him while he was on Cierra. He is sooo jealous and wants Brad to spend all his time with him! Kinda funny tho that Koda and I were allowed to give him some love.

After riding in the outdoor, we went on a field ride
Brad has a ranch clinic coming up in a few weeks, and needs to focus on Cierra. He spent some one-on-one with Nemo after our ride, brushing his fine flyaway white hair - and that made Nemo happier.

Just when I think Koda could care less,
he does stuff like this.

Cierra & Nemo had walked off to roll and/or graze, but Koda hung by the gate. I went back into the pasture to give him more hugs, before heading back home.