Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Obstacle Challenge At VBF

As many of you know we have built a nice obstacle course here for our horses to train on. You have either seen it for yourself or you have seen pictures on our website. We decided to host a Obstacle Trail Challenge here this past Saturday and utilize the trail course for a fun and challenging trail class. S.T. did a great job in putting the course together and after the ACTHA ride, several riders came to walk-through the course to see what it was all about. Some of the riders had been involved in other challenges before (even the one hosted at the Equine Affair), but for most, it was a new and exciting sport to do with their horse.

Saturday was a beautiful day as far as the weather was concerned and for that we were so thankful. We have had as much "record breaking weather" as we can stand. Dad changed up the trail map to keep the riders on the highest ground possible, and sometimes that made for a "meadow ride", but it was better than sinking into mud. I know there are several of you who would love to see rain in your area, but Kentucky has turned into a jungle. WE ARE TIRED OF IT! Of course today is 97 (another record for this time of year) and we are sweltering in the humidity.

The Pony Express was the theme through out the course and each obstacle offered little tid-bits of information that went along with the theme. Taking the mail from the mail box obstacle and reaching each station successfully were the challenges. Hopefully the riders learned a little about the pony express during their ride, which in my research I found very interesting.

Several people stayed a couple of days longer and rode some of the trails in the Red River Gorge with Mom and Dad. They were able to enjoy a beautiful ride that is full of natural scenic obstacles.

I hope all of you can add these rides to your agenda. We are hoping to offer another in October. I will keep you informed of the date. If you don't have a horse, please come and cheer your favorite on to the winner's circle.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Big News!

I am lax in getting this news out to my blogger friends, it has been announced on Face Book and the ACTHA site, but I have been remiss in letting you know. Dad (H.T.) and Blue On Black were selected out of almost 1000 entries to participate in America's Favorite Trail Horse Competition, hosted by the American Competitive Trail Horse Assoc. One hundred riders will be filmed in Texas this coming week for 13 epoisodes to be aired on HRN and possibly on RFD networks. The program will air on T.V. in September. America will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite Trail Horse...much like the American Idol series. I will let you know more about the procedures as we know them. We need your vote, so please make an effort to vote when the time comes.

I was listening to the weather this morning and the weather man started out saying "For all you people that are weary of the rain".... and I thought, that is what I am..., I am weary of all this rain! I am tired of breaking records, with amounts of rain fall, amounts of tornadoes, size of hail, floods (especially) and wind. I am tired of being wet, the horses being wet and I so long to see the sunshine. True, we did get a little tease of sun Saturday, but this is Tuesday! I try not to complain, because I know as bad as we have it, there are so many people in total disaster. Then, I feel guilty and I make myself get out of bed and face the day. I know there will be a day the sun will shine and we will be in 90 degree weather sweltering in the hot sun, wishing for a little rain to cool things off.

Really, I am not that depressed, I just really look forward to beautiful Kentucky days in the Spring and when that did not come it kind of bums me out.:o(

Keep watch, we will let you know about America's Favorite Trail Horse and we will be asking for your vote.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Mexican Horse

I am sorry to tell you, but… I am in sunny Baja California, Mexico, away from the snow, ice, and cold! Larry and I left all of that behind, packed our bags and headed south. I am so thankful, to have the family that I feel comfortable leaving in charge during the coldest part of the winter. I am sorry they can’t all come with me, but maybe their day will come soon enough when they can leave all their worries behind for a little while. Even though I am a fair weather rider, I still miss seeing horses everywhere I look. I can’t believe how much I have them in my life until I leave them. The bright side is our neighbor has a horse and he is pastured right on the other side of the fence along with a big gelding and a burrow. He is the typical “Mexican Horse”, bay, with socks and a big white question mark on his forehead and down his nose. My neighbor Bobbie bought his mother, and rode her around the neighborhood and along the beach not knowing all the while she was pregnant until she started dripping milk. Low and behold a few days later a foal was standing by her side. Well, I am sure this is not unusual, because most of the horses down here run loose along with all the other farm animals. You don’t fence to keep your livestock in, but to keep everyone else’s out. Because of the big question mark and the unknown identity of the sire of course there were all kinds of suggestions for names, like Who’s Your Daddy, and Joker…but Bobbie thought she had hit the jack pot, so that is his name J.P. for short. He is just a year old but Bobbie has started working with him from the ground and he has excellent manners. I do feel sorry for the folks that have never rode a gaited horse. You just don’t know what a “comfortable ride” is. I am talking “rocking chair comfortable.” At any rate, I get my “horse fix” by seeing and hearing a horse just across the fence, it keeps my thoughts close to home.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Winter Is Here

I left a couple of post here last year reminding everyone to remember how hard cold weather is on our equine friends, but I wanted to reinterate a few of things again this year. Personally, I don't care if I ever see a snow flake or feel the wicked fingers of "Old Man Winter" again, but our horses are trusting us to take care of them through the cold winter months, so we must pile on the cloths and trudge through the snow and freezing cold to take care of them. Horses, as with all warm blooded animals, must maintain their body temperature from dropping. A high forage diet is a vital part in helping to maintain the body temperature. Hay has a higher fiber content than grain. So please buy a high quality of hay and make sure your horses have access to this hay through out the day. Remember horses need to maintain their water intake when temperatures drop and with the increase in feed consumption this can sometimes lead to a higher incidence of colic. So please don't forget the water! You will need to check the water buckets/ponds at least twice a day to remove any ice build up, or to break the ice so that your horses are encouraged to drink during the day. You will also want to discourage the horses from walking out on the frozen waters and falling through. The Mountain Horses are a hardy breed and are accustom to the harsh winters, but the old and infirm need a little extra aid and possibly shelter during extreme temperatures. Their long winter coats give them extra warmth that is essential in helping to keep them warm, but if your horses are being kept in a barn, they may not have grown the hair that is needed. For these instances you may want to protect your horse with a blanket. Mother nature generally knows what is needed, but then again Mother Nature would not have them in a barn. :o) Just a reminder to remember your best friends during the cold winter months.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Oregon Bound

The Frenchmen that came to Van Bert Farms and bought two Rocky Mountain geldings left our farm riding their horses bound for Oregon. They just called and said they are in Florence, Oregon and would like to sale their horses. So...if you know anyone that is interested in two well broke Rocky Mountain geldings, that have traveled by foot across the United States, please contact us and we will put you in touch with them. These are wonderful horses, that will be wonderful companions for any family. Please pass the word on because they will be at the end of their journey in 2 days!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

From The Hills Of Kentucky

By: Vera Patterson

An unknown author once wrote: HORSES – If God made anything more beautiful, He kept it for Himself.

When I read these words, I thought how perfectly this describes how I feel about the Mountain Horses. Whether the horse is registered Rocky Mountain, Mountain Pleasure, or Kentucky Mountain, they are the Mountain Horses.

For more than a century of traceable ancestry the Mountain Horses have been one of the best kept secrets of Kentucky. While the Mountain Horse registries/breeds were not recognized until 1986, breeders from the hills of Kentucky prized this horse and bred for their ability to adapt to the rugged, sometimes sparse terrain of the hills. They were bred for their smooth, even 4 beat gait and for their eagerness to please and be part of the family.

Seventy years ago a 5 year old boy was given a beautiful bay filly for his birthday. As the boy and the mare grew up together they became constant companions. She would carry him and his friend riding bare back to the river to fish and swim, ride the hills and meadows at a gallop and in later years carry him through the pastures to check the cattle. Some years she would be bred and produced exceptional foals, but most years she was just his friend. The boy in this story is my father. The mare is Dinah, a beloved Mountain Horse. I remember a few things about Dinah that was not told by my father. I remember her teaching my brother to ride and carrying him to his first blue at the county fair. I remember Dad saying she was more than 30 years old when she died, and then the real stories would begin.

Once, as a young boy, a man brought one of the first cars to the small town of Stanton, Kentucky. He bet Dad a “soda pop” at the general store that he could reach the store faster in his car than my dad could ride Dinah. My dad was so sure of his mare’s ability to run he took him up on the bet and off they ran… my dad and his friend riding double for 2 miles. Dinah stayed in front most of the way, but about ¼ mile from the store the car came up ahead. My dad was so worried about his mare because she was breathing so heavy he never thought about not winning the race. What a foolish endeavor of a boy learning one of life’s lessons. Then there were the stories of Dinah swimming him across the rain swollen river and him holding on to her tail, to safety. There were also stories of him spending the days playing in the forest with friends while Dinah waited and grazed patiently until the sun set and it was time to go home. However, every day was not fun and games, for they were too few and far between. Living on a farm in Eastern Kentucky, everyone and everything was expected to work or help produce food for the family. Dinah would pull a plow or wagon and many days were spent doing just that. Whatever the task, she gave her best effort willingly.

Today, Mountain Horses are prized for these same qualities. They are very appealing to the “Baby Boomer”, who is ready to enjoy their horses without all the work. They are ready to set relaxed in the saddle, cover ground, but not trot. They are ready to give their knees and back a rest and have found with the Mountain Horses, they can once again get back in the saddle and ride for hours. Their sure footed ability, their eagerness to please and learning ability makes them the all around ATV. Competitive trail riding, endurance, dressage, barrel racing and team penning are just a few of the venues riders are successfully competing in with their Mountain Horses. Their beauty is second to none and they show it in the show ring. Their main forte is riding the trails at a relaxed pace and being your companion.

While they are off of the endangered species list now, they are still closely monitored. The preservation of this breed is the main objective of the registries. Van Bert Farms, has been breeding Mountain Horses for many years and have been a training facility since 1965. A family owned and operated farm, 4 generations are currently working with the Mountain Horses. We boast of having the largest herd of Mountain Horses and pride ourselves in the quality we produce. Many World and International Champions were born and trained at Van Bert Farms. You will find the perfect mount here and we look forward to your visit and sharing the beauty of this wonderful breed with you. Give us a call or email us about your desire to own a Mountain Horse.

The boy in the picture is Conner (the great grandson of H.T.) and his favorite mare, Blue Jean. Another generation here at Van Bert Farms!
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