Horses + Farm Life

Life at the Barn

Life at the barn isn’t always grand.  Sometimes it’s really hard work, exhausting, dusty, loud, interesting, down-right hilarious, and often just plain stinky.  However; I’m so glad God gave me the heart to love this life.  I’m so glad I don’t miss out on the prettiest sunsets, the sound of horses running to the trough at feed time, all the dogs waiting at my feet for a treat, watching the horse training progress each day, the pups chasing each other, and the crickets singing at night.

I got some new shots of Erik, Kirsten, and Dawton training for their upcoming show.  It was a beautiful, sunny, blue sky day.

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We had a lot of fun, but not as much fun as Dally and Gus.

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It’s simple days like this when I’m most thankful for life at the barn.  What are you thankful for today, friend?

Love,

Fallon

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The Wild Journey {Part 4}

We’re over halfway through this wild journey.  At this point, it’s easy to get tired, burnt out, frustrated or question the method you’re using.  These mustangs can teach you so much and certainly test your patience.  They are somewhat different than training a domesticated horse and absorb things at their own pace.  Some things will click overnight and others may take weeks.  It’s definitely crunch time and we’re trying to have both Tux and Partner more than ready for the competition.

They have really improved the past couple of weeks.  Their appearance has drastically changed.  They’re both fattening up + looking healthier every day.  They are gaining muscle and filling out.  Tux and Partner are going to be such a great asset for their future owners.  They had their first farrier experience and it went really well!  They stood still and calm the entire time.

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We’ve taken them away from the farm multiple times as it helps to “season” them to traveling.  They do so well on the road.  We recently went to visit a friend’s ranch in Gaffney, SC.  He owns Green River Farm, a beautiful working cattle and horse farm, with plenty of desensitizing tools around every corner.  The mustangs handled everything like champs.  It was a memorable, sunny weekend and we look forward to going back!

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We have one month until the Mustang Makeover Competition in Lexington, Kentucky.  If you’re close by, we would love for you to come support these duos!  You can purchase tickets to the event here!  They are putting the finishing touches on the mustangs and preparing their freestyle routines in hopes of making the Top 10 Finals!  We’re on the homestretch of this Wild Journey.  We’re going to make everyday count!

Until the next update,

Fallon

 

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The Wild Journey {Part 3}

Another month has passed with these wild mustangs that are surely becoming gentled, using horses.  Partner and Tux are being handled and rode every single day {YES, I said rode}!!  Erik and Kirsten have both ridden their horses and you bet’cha, all that ground work really paid off.  Both of the horses are gaining weight and muscle.  They are starting to fit right in with our string of work/performance horses.  Tux loves getting a bath, being groomed, and a good trail ride.  Partner is breezing through most obstacles, loves to eat, and tolerates me braiding his mane {ha}!  We are all really proud and excited to see how they will transform!

If you missed the first couple posts, just search “The Wild Journey” in the search bar on the right hand side! 

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The second time we traveled with the mustangs away from the farm was for a Bureau of Land Management  Wild Mustang and Burro Adoption, about an hour and a half from home.  It was a quick and easy weekend trip that would get them familiar with traveling before the trek to Kentucky in July.  They both did so well and kept impressing us.  We were happy to be able to promote and lend a helping hand at the mustang adoption.  Partner and Tux didn’t mind all the extra attention either.  We met some new friends and the BLM got all the horses and burros adopted out {yeehaw}!

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Just like we go to the dentist, a horse also needs dental attention.  We get our horses teeth checked regularly by a professional because it can make a big difference in the horses performance and response to a bit.  It can also contribute to the quantity of nutrients they are able to consume from their feed and hay.  We have a reliable dentist that we love!  Contact Southeastern Equine Dentistry for your horses dental needs or questions!  The mustangs first dentist appointment went great and they checked out well!  Also, can I just point out, when they are wearing the dental headset they look like they’re smiling?!  HA!

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That’s a wrap for this update, y’all!  We are still so grateful for this opportunity of learning and growing daily.  Shoutout to my husband and sister for maintaining patience and dedication through this whole experience!  Y’all are one heck of a horseman and horsewoman.  Keep it up!  It’s amazing to watch this journey unfold and be able to share these moments with you.  Hope you’re having a great week, friend!

Until the next update,

Fallon

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Southern Spring

Spring is in full bloom here in the South.  The days are getting warmer + longer, the horses are shedding like crazy, the thunderstorms are more often, and the mosquitoes are getting larger {ugh}.  However, I love this time of year.  There are wildflowers everywhere, my sister and I planted a teeny garden, and horse show season is starting up.

We recently sold our home and have moved back to the farm for awhile.  I feel more at home than I did in the housing development we lived in.  I have absolutely loved being back where my roots are planted.  The neighborhood life was getting too stuffy for me.  I love waking up to the birds singing and chirping, I feed horses before work in the peace and quiet {yes, I oddly enjoy this}, our dogs get to run free, and the views are as pretty as ever.  I always told mama growing up that God gave us the prettiest sunsets on the farm.  Turns out all these years later, I was right.

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Photo credits: Jennifer at Sweet E Photography

On top of the cotton candy sunsets, I get to see my family everyday.  Most folks turn a head or give you the “deer in headlights” look when I mention this.  They say, “How in the world can y’all stand each other?  You don’t drive one another crazy?”  Well, of course we do.  I’ve learned at the end of the day, family is really all you have.  I never take my spontaneous, loud, nonstop family for granted.  I am really looking forward to spending so much time together this spring and summer {call me crazy}.

I hope spring has been treating you kindly, friend.  How have you been enjoying this beautiful weather?  Take some time for your family this season!  You won’t regret it!

Love,

Fallon

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Gaffney, I love ya

Horse show season has kicked off to a great start!  We took on the EXCA State Championship in Gaffney, SC recently.  Last year was the first time we had been to this beautiful town.  It never disappoints with it’s rolling hills and friendly folks.  Green River Farms was hosting an Extreme Cowboy Association Race.  We love these shows and what they represent.  You’re displaying true horsemanship over a course of ranch techniques + challenging obstacles with speed.  It’s exciting to watch and cheer on my family and the other competitors.

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It made me so proud to see how much Erik + Miss Kitty and Kirsten + Mister Twister had improved from last year.  The horses and riders have matured so much.  Erik and Miss Kitty placed well in the Non-Pro and Pro Divisions.  Kirsten and Mister Twister brought home the Intermediate Champion Title and the Youth Champion Title at this show!!  Kirsten also introduced another horse, Diamond, to the show life and she impressed us with her calm, cool, collected attitude.  Dawton {Kirsten’s boyfriend}, showed for the first time on trusty Trinity.  They did so great and had a blast!  This won’t be the last you see of them.  Both of the courses tackled were tough, but all 3 of them rocked it.

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The weather was perfect, the hamburgers from Mrs. Barb’s concession stand were delicious {as always}, the people were refreshing and kind, the late night Olive Garden run was tradition, and the quality time spent with the horses was progress.  Gaffney, you never disappoint and for that, I love ya.

Until the next adventure,

Fallon

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The Wild Journey {Part 2}

I was so tired of being in the truck.  12 hours through the night to our destination, Ewing, Illinois, where the Wild Horse and Burro Holding Facility is located.  I was exhausted, hungry, and ready for a long nap.  We arrived a day before pick-up to check out the facility and get a good look at the wild mustangs.  They were all so pretty, rugged, and wild-eyed.  We tried to imagine which two we would be taking home.  We couldn’t find out the assigned mustangs until the next day.  If you’re wondering what’s going on, I can fill you in on the Wild Journey here.

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We found a nice hotel in the next town and turned in early for the night.  We knew we had a big, adventurous day ahead of us.  4:30AM came quick, y’all.  Have I mentioned how much I love dry shampoo + concealer {#lifesaver}!  We got to the facility and eagerly waited our turn.  As we went into the office, a lady handed over their papers to sign.  We all had butterflies and grins you would never be able to wipe off.  Erik’s read, 4 year old sorrel gelding and Kirsten’s read, 4 year old black gelding.  Surely didn’t narrow it down much, but we all rushed out to the pens to see if we could find the tag numbers.  Erik spotted his wild mustang immediately.  He was the smaller of the bunch, standing all alone, and had such a sweet eye.  You could tell he was probably last in the pecking order.  First priority was to fatten him up!  Kirsten was still trying to spot hers in a pen full of black and dark bay geldings.  We finally saw him at the back.  He had the most beautiful mane and tail.  He just had this majestic look about him.  The kind gentlemen got them loaded onto the trailer and we started the 12 hour trek home.

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We were surprised at how well they traveled.  They ate hay and didn’t make a peep the entire way home.  Erik and Kirsten could not wait to get to work!

Fast forward a week later…

Erik and his sorrel mustang are developing a bond.  Erik removed his neck tag on Saturday and decided to call him Partner.  The mustang will be his partner throughout this journey, so the name really fits.  Plus, he looks like he belongs in a western movie.  Well, howdy Partner!  He’s terrified of most things, but Partner is such a quick learner.  He gets over his fears fast.  Erik has been working on different exercises with Partner.  He’s gonna be a good one.

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Kirsten is moving right along with her mustang, A.K.A. Smokin’ Tux.  He is black with a white stripe down his face; resembles a tuxedo.  The name suits this fancy boy perfectly.  Tux learned quickly he loves a good rub from Kirsten.  He’s progressing and overcoming fears each day.  Kirsten even had her first ride on him this weekend.  These two are going to make a great team!  You can get daily updates on Tux at my sister’s horsemanship page, Just Believe Horsemanship.

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Kirsten + Tux photo credits: Jennifer at Sweet E Photography

It’s amazing to watch the wild mustangs slowly let a stranger into their “bubble,” as my dad calls it.  I know Partner and Tux have to be thinking we are a bunch of crazy hooligans.  One of my favorite milestones is removing the neck tag.  To me, it’s really the beginning of the journey.  It’s the first chapter of this incredible life change for them.  Little do they know, this change will be for their good.  Erik and Kirsten are learning something new everyday from this experience.  This will be a wild journey, indeed.

Until the next update,

Fallon

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The Wild Journey {Part 1}

Howdy!  This post is for the horse folks, folks who think they would like horses, folks who are interested in my rambling on about horses, and folks who like to look at pictures of horses {basically all folks}.  As you may know, my sister has competed in multiple mustang makeover competitions.  Most of my clients ask, “do they end up racing the cars?!”  {HA}!  Nope.  Totally different competition.  We are talking about wild, undomesticated mustangs that have been rounded up out of the over populated wild herds.  If you’ve never watched the documentary, Unbranded, do yourself a favor and have a movie night with a big bowl of popcorn.  It’s a film about four guys, led by Ben Masters, who are recent college graduates embarking on a journey from the Mexico border to the Canadian border on horseback to raise awareness of the plight of the American Mustangs.  It is raw, eye-opening, and proves the worth of the mustangs over and over.  You will be much more knowledgeable about the mustangs after viewing the documentary.  You will gasp……laugh…….cry…….and swell up with pride as your eyes witness something most of us will never experience in person.

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With all that said, my sister and my husband have been accepted and are competing in the Kentucky Mustang Makeover Competition this year!  Simple explanation: You are assigned a random, wild mustang that has been rounded up and hauled to a BLM holding facility.  Our pickup is scheduled in Illinois.  Things get real, very fast as you back your trailer up to the loading chute + load the mustangs you will be partnering with for the next several months and are sent on your way.  Once you arrive home, you have approximately 110 days to gentle and train the horse for competition.  That sums it up in a nut shell.

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In July, we will travel to Kentucky where they will compete in a series of preliminary classes vying for a spot in the Top 10 freestyle performance finals.  All adult mustangs will be available for adoption through public competitive bid after the finals.  Many people have asked, why do they want to do this?  I know it sounds crazy, stressful, even scary, but we believe in the mustang makeovers and their purpose.  The experience, for one, is like no other, you’re preserving public lands, helping the mustangs find good homes + live a more purposeful life, and having a ton of fun along the way.

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I plan to document this journey and keep you up-to-date as much as I can.  We are striking out this week to pick up the two mustangs.  We’ve tried to imagine what they will look like, what their personalities will be like and all their little quirks.  We are all super excited to get them and begin this unforgettable experience.  This is my husband’s first time participating in a mustang makeover and my sister’s first time competing in the adult division.  It is going to be so much fun and we will make many memories in these next 4 months.  I will have my camera ready to capture the moments for you all……the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Please be praying for safe travels and for God to guide Kirsten and Erik on this amazing journey.  We are grateful for this opportunity and can’t wait to share it with y’all!  Who knows, if you aren’t horse folk yet, you just may be by the end of this detour!

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Until the next update,

Fallon

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Adventures of 2016

As 2016 comes to an end, I can’t help but reflect on how much fun we had this year!  So many trips, adventures, meeting new people, put our home up for sale, got a new puppy, somehow got my husband on a cruise ship, celebrated a year of blogging, kissed a dolphin, and made so many memories!  I’m reminded of how thankful I am of family, friends, and all the good, little things that surround me.  I am so grateful for another year to enjoy life and make the most of the moments we’re given.

I love hearing everyone’s resolutions and plans for 2017!  We’ll be bringing in the New Year casually with a frog-more stew and family time!  I don’t have any big resolutions this year, but I’ve set some goals for myself!  I want to be healthier, happier, and Southern Detour to continue growing in the direction God has planned!  A big thank you to everyone who encouraged, supported, and loved me through 2016!  Couldn’t have done it without ya!  I pray blessings for you and your family in 2017!  Make every day count, friend.

Love,

Fallon

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God Blessed Texas…

“With His own hand

Brought down angels from the promised land

Gave’em a place where they could dance

If you wanna see heaven, brother, here’s your chance

I’ve been sent to spread the message

God blessed Texas.” {Little Texas}

Now that I’ve got you singing along, I can’t wait to share all about our recent trip to the big ol’state of Texas!  Erik and Kirsten had competed all year to qualify for the Extreme Cowboy Race World Championship in Hamilton, Texas.  After 23 hours, we pulled up to the Circle T Arena.  Erik said it was like a mirage in the dessert.  Literally, in the middle of nowhere, this horse venue was amazing.  Multiple arenas, a beautiful inn, the event arena with an attached steakhouse.  This place was so neat!  I was happy to be staying there for the next 7 days.

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We arrived a couple of days early to let the horses rest up.  We explored the little town and found the nearest Mexican restaurant.  We also ventured out to an antique shop and a really cute farmer’s market.  We found the b i g g e s t pumpkins ever at the market.

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Like they say, everything really is bigger in Texas.  Seriously, that pumpkin is HUGE.

A lot of my clients and friends have asked what cowboy racing is?  It’s an obstacle course you and your horse tackle together to showcase your speed, control, knowledge, accuracy, and horsemanship while displaying tasks a cowboy would do on a ranch.  It is so much fun to watch.  The show lasted from Wednesday-Sunday and I never got bored.  Wahoo!

After the first day showing, I talked my parents into visiting Magnolia Market in Waco {from the Fixer Upper show on HGTV}!  I’d always wanted to go and it was an hour and a half away from the arena.  It was such a unique place.  We loved it!  We bought a few souvenirs and got some cupcakes from their bakery.  Try the Cup o’Jo cupcake if you go!  Highly recommended in my book!

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After a couple of days enjoying Texas, the show started to get more intense.  There was 8 divisions.  Kirsten and Erik competed in 4 divisions total.  There was 2 rounds for each division and your scores were accumulated to decide who made it to the Top 10 for Finals!  Our goal was to make it to Sunday, when the finals were held.  After you made it to the finals, your score sheet was wiped clean and you got a fresh start.  Kirsten and Erik gave it all they had in the arena.  Not only did they make it to the top 10 in every division, but they both did a great job and definitely represented South Carolina well.

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Between the two of them they brought home 4 buckles and 3 checks!!! It definitely made the 23 hour ride back home much easier.  I cannot express enough how proud I am of them!  This was a WORLD horse show!  If you’re not of the horse world, that’s a pretty big deal folks.  There were over 200 horses and riders from parts of the United States, Canada, and Europe.  There was so much stress and pressure throughout the week, but Kirsten and Erik handled it extremely well.  Shoutout to their awesome horses too!!  All those late nights at the barn, eating dinner at 9pm, and traveling every chance we got was so worth it!

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Texas was good to us and we can’t wait to go back!  The people are friendly, the horses are beautiful, there’s a cowboy hat around every corner, they have cute farmer’s markets, gigantic gas stations called Buc-cee’s you can spend 2 hours at, perfectly cooked steaks, and now memories we will have forever!  Texas, we love ya.

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God blessed Texas,

Fallon

Categories: Horses + Farm Life, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 10 Comments

Trucks, Take Out, and Talks

I heard the awful noise and knew it wasn’t good.  Just great.  The guys shortly decided the clutch had gone out in his straight drive diesel.  My first question, “How much is this going to cost us?”

My dad has always been a handyman.  Literally, I think he can do anything.  Don’t tell him I said that.  My husband is learning to be just as handy.  The two of them are always working on something; a horse trailer, Southern Detour “junk,” a truck, a horse fence, the list goes on.  They have the bright idea to fix the truck themselves!  I’m beginning to think the two of them just love the feeling of accomplishment and getting their hands dirty.

All I’ve heard the past couple of weeks is talk about fly wheels, transmissions, wrenches, pressure plates, and lots of other things that I have no idea what they are.  There were many late nights, take out food at the barn, and O’Reilly runs.  I feel like I’ve barely seen my husband between work, cleanup after the hurricane, and fixing his truck.

The late nights began…

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I often heard grunts, life talks, and tools clanging underneath the truck.

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Literally, Laugh.Out.Loud. at Erik’s work glove giving us the peace sign below.  That was my feelings exactly.

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I even contributed when I could.

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The jack was blurry; therefore, proof I really helped!  I even have a very nice grease stain on my sweatshirt to prove it.

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At least when I helped, sometimes there was a nice view.

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Long days at work, late nights under a truck, sharing one vehicle, and it was all worth it!  Who else can say they’ve replaced the clutch system in their truck themselves?!  Pretty darn impressive I’d say!  I love the handymen in my family.  Wouldn’t trade this one right here for nothing, even with the messy hair and weird light thing on his head.  His truck is good as new, if not better!

HUGE THANK YOU to Paul, Kurt, Tyler, Shiner, Dawton, and my mom, Regina, for y’all’s help the past couple weeks!  Also, Kirsten, for feeding horses so we could get straight to work!  You’ll never know how much you’re appreciated!

Now to take the truck on a long test drive!

Love,

Fallon

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