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!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Where Are The Frenchmen

I finally heard from Augustine and Marc (the Frenchmen that have set out on a ride across the United States from Kentucky). Guess where they are? South Dakota, close to Mount Rushmore! They are suppose to be sending me pictures of them at Mount Rushmore when they get there. They have not been in touch for awhile because they have not been close to electric in order to charge their phone. They said the horses are doing fine and Augustine and Marc are also doing good. I asked them if they were eating enough, because they packed so light. There main food was going to be rice. They decided it was a very versatile food and could be flavored any way or eaten plain. As soon as I get pictures in, I will post them.

On a different note...we have been very busy preparing for the World Show and are very eager to meet the competition and meet our friends. Many people have worked very hard to make this a grand show, celebrating the 10th anniversary of United Mountain Horse. I was at the Kentucky Equestrian Facility today. Everything is looking good and lots of work has been done mowing, cleaning and preparing for the crowd. Don't forget the Bluegrass Concert on Thursday evening after the show. Daily and Vincent is a many award winning Bluegrass group. So come by and spend the evening enjoying fine horses and good music.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

They Love You Indiana

Larry talked with Marc and Augustin last evening. Since we were at the show in Tennessee over the weekend, we did not get a chance to stop long enough to give them a call, so we were anxious to hear how they were. Augustin said they were still in Evansville, IN. It seems that one of the horses got tangled in a line they were using to tie them with and received some rope burns on his legs. They have decided to stay until he is healed enough to travel without aggravating it further. They have ridden through the rain and storms and have suffered through some grueling heat, but they are still going. They are really impressed with how "horsey" people are so eager to help them and how everyone is ready to cheer them on. Well, of course we would like to see anyone succeed if they are doing it on horses!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Evansville, IN ...they are in your area

I talked with Marcus last evening. They were close to Evansville, Indiana (by car that is close to 235 miles) and were doing fine. They had stopped in a nice field, were setting up camp while the horses grazed. He said the horses were doing well and he and Augustine were also fine. They were worried about the weather, it looked as if a storm was coming up. They do not have much for shelter, just a small tent and bed rolls, so that worries me. I know they will be facing a lot of bad weather in one place or another in the coming months, I just hope they are able to find shelter when they need it. This is a big endeavor, but they have experience of doing this sort of thing. Several years ago they rode across Mongolia on Mongolian horses. They said the strong point of the Mongolian is the extended time they can go without water. The strong point about the Mountain horse is their smooth gait and their stamina.

Keep checking the blog, I will continue to post their progress.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Looking For Two Cute Frenchmen

I knew that title would catch your eye!:o)

A few weeks ago, we received a call from Augustin Blanchard. He explained his desire to ride from here to Oregon and was searching to buy two Mountain Horses for the journey. We told him we had several geldings to choose from, so he made the trip from New York to look at them. While he was here in Kentucky he visited several farms, but returned here and bought two nice geldings that we had on our website, Amigo Midnight and Blue Midnight. He left them in training with special instructions for us to prepare them for the trip.

Augustin returned with his long time friend Marcus Von Pelier, they spent 5 days here preparing for the trip and acclimating themselves to the HOT weather. There are no pack horses, there is no one meeting them on the trails. Everything they need is packed in a saddle bag and small bed role.

They left here and traveled to the UMH show grounds to overnight there. The next day they left and rode to the Clintonville area. From there they only went about 5 miles to FairWinds farm where they were able to spend the day letting the horses rest, graze, wash their cloths, and prepare once again for the next day ride. Their next destination was in the Georgetown area and then off to the Shelbyville area. They ran into a problem trying to cross the river, since they were not able to take the ferry. It took another day but they were finally able to find someone who would take them across to the Indiana side. They hope to hit the American Discovery Trail in St. Louis, and then later the Lewis and Clark Trail. Their goal is Portland, Oregon. I will keep you updated as they check in to the travels of this duo, but in the mean time, keep your eyes open for two cute Frenchmen on two beautiful Mountain Horses.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Fun On The Trails

Are you ready to hit the trails? We have a fun filled weekend planned for the 28th, 29th, and 30th here at Van Bert Farms. We have the clinic planned for Friday and the ACTHA ride on Saturday and the just for fun ride on Sunday with a cook out sponsored by Van Bert Farms. Some really neat, fun things going on here. If you don't want to enter the competition, just come out and enjoy watching and talking with other horse enthusiast. It is open to all breeds and we look forward to seeing you right here this weekend.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Things We Learn Because Of Necessity

My office windows face the inside of our barn. Because I have to spend so much time in the office, it is nice that I can at least look out periodically and catch someone getting on a horse and making a couple of rounds in the barn before heading out to the riding ring. Today, I watched as my Dad (who is 74 years old), get on his horse. I remember the days when "the boys", (since I have three boys who seem to always be into something, they are referred to as "the boys"), would be getting on their horses and they would do this flying mount thing. I would run out of the office and tell them, "if I can't get on that horse that way, then nobody is going to buy it until you teach them to stand still when you get on." My dad would agree, but even though he was better at it....he was never as good as I would like to have seen. They were not being slack in their training, it just came so easy to them, that they didn't even think about it. Much like teaching a horse to back. Such a little thing, that takes about 15 minutes to teach properly, but I have seen many horse show classes lost because the horse didn't back or backed poorly. Foundation is a must and backing and having a horse stand quietly while mounting is a couple of those things that sometimes get overlooked. Back to my story... Dad is having a time with his knees these days. He is going to therapy a couple of times a week and is getting better, and once he gets on his horse he does fine, but getting there has been difficult lately and he has been using a mounting block. As I watched from the window, I saw him bring the mounting block out and place it in front of the horse. He then stood on the block and motioned for Blue On Black to come over to him. Blue moved his butt very easy and quietly over to him and stood while Dad mounted, got his stirrups and ask him to step off. Now, why did he just now start teaching all of his horses (and my mother's personal horse) to move over to a mounting block and stand still while mounting?....because he is just now needing the horse to do this.

If you are interested in teaching your horse some of the fundamental things such as this, come join us on May 28th. Check out the schedule of events we are having here and make plans to attend....give us a call or email us. or 606-663-9070

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Flood of 2010

Tennessee and Kentucky got their share of rain this week. We experienced one of the worst floods this area has had in many years. Not quiet what we considered the "100 year flood" , which was a few years ago, but close. However, I am sure Nashville will tell you something different. Such a terrible sight to see with the waters up over houses and cars. We are thankful for the warnings and glad we took heed. We moved all the horses to high ground before the rains came. This is a two day task and something we try not to do because we do not have very much high ground, you never know if the weather man knows what he is talking about, and we have mares that are ready to have babies. Three mares had their foals while in the small lots and of course 2 of them were in with the ones that we thought would wait a few days, but they decided to come early. The good thing is everything went well and moms and babies are fine. Now, all we have to do is get all the trash out of the fields and off the fences, repair them and get everything ready for our Clinic, ACTHA ride and Fun Trail Ride, that we are hosting on the 28th,29th, and 30th of this month. If you would like more info on the things going on here and how you can participate, be sure and check out the menu button we have for our trail rides on the front of the web page. Call us today and make plans to attend. The first 15 people to sign up for the ACTHA ride, will be given the chance to win a weekend at the Gorgeous Horse Cottage that overlooks Van Bert Farms. Check out the ACTHA site at It's easy to enter the ride and you will have fun in this competition. If you are interested in the clinic, or the Fun Trail ride that will benefit United Mountain Horse, call or email me. 606-663-9070 or or Looking forward to hearing from all of you.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Spring Premier

Great Show! Even though the weather was terrible the show was still a success. There were lots of obstacles to overcome from the tornado warning to one of the judges becoming very ill at the last minute, but we bounced back better than ever. I had a good time showing my weanling and my mare. Didn't place all that well, but we still had fun. Since I am a fair weather rider, I didn't practice very much this winter, I got my just reward so I won't complain. I had turned my mare out for the winter. Last year was the first year I did that and even though she came back looking fat, it was more of a grass gut than being heavy. Her hair was long and course and she took about 6 weeks to come back looking good and healthy again. This year...even though the winter was even more harsh, she came back as good as ever. She has only been up for about 3 weeks and is almost as good as when we turned her out. I think she is happier being able to take a break from the stall. I always feel that way too when we come back from a long trail ride. Anything to give them a break from the routine seems to keep them from souring from the show ring.

Monday, March 29, 2010

On The Road Again

I hope everyone is heading south (a little further south) to the horse show in Fletcher, North Carolina. At the end of show season, I am so looking forward to some time at home and just chillen, (not literally) but come spring I start getting that feeling of wanting to hit the road again. I look forward to seeing everyone, friends that we haven't seen for a few months, seeing all the new faces and horses. We have always followed a show circuit around since I was a small child. Our old family doctor always joked with my mom that we were just a bunch of gypsie, but I love the drives and seeing different places and people. Of course my husband says I miss so much scenery because I read the whole way. He is right on that point, but I love to read and because I stay so busy I do not have time unless I am confined to the point that I can't do anything else. :o)

Anyway, the Al Prewitt Memorial Horse show kicks off the season and this year the dates for the show are April 2nd and 3rd. This is a two day show, at the same place, but it will be treated as two triple A shows for the points. So, if you are interested in accumulating a title for your horse these shows are very important to attend. Make plans to attend, and I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Are You Ready To Hit The Trails

Have you got Spring Fever yet? Just a couple of warm days will usually start me thinking that I need to get my horse up from the field, so that she looks like something besides a muddy, woolly mammoth, (well a very small, woolly mammoth:o). Once the trees start to bud, I know the flowers and grass will be here soon. The trails are so nice during that time, because they have not had the chance to get overgrown with brush yet.

Due to the bad winter and not being able to get everything together as far as the trails, our ACTHA ride will be postponed until a later date, (which I will announce well in advance). However, there will be one held on April 17th at the Kentucky Equestrian Center, Winchester, KY. There will also be a big event at FairWinds Farm in Lexington, KY on the same date of April 17th, that is referred to as The Annual Spring Fling. This is a kick off to the show season, and will be lots of fun. There will be a big Corn Hole Tournament, a preview of stallions and 2-3 year old debut. They will host a small trail ride, and a children craft and game time, a big auction of horse related items and many other things, with concessions throughout the day. You can make it to both events, so if you want to spend a fun filled day with lots of horse enthusiast come on out. Check out our new calendar of events on the front page of our website. I hope everyone will be able to keep up with us and all the things we are doing at Van Bert Farms.

Keep your chin up, I am sure we have not seen the last of the bad weather, but it is looking brighter!

Friday, March 5, 2010

God Loves Stupid People Too

I have a friend who has a coozy for her cans of diet coke that says, "God must love stupid people because he sure made a bunch of them". She lives in Cincinnati and is constantly encountering what she refers to as "stupid people" on her commute to and from work. Knowing what little I do about the traffic and drivers in that area, I used to sympathize with her until my recent trip to Mexico.

In my last post you heard me complaining about the cold weather and how I hated enduring the long days of winter. Well, my sweet husband got tired of hearing about it and took me to our little place on the Baja. Ahhh, sunshine and warm weather. No one to pull me this way and that. I don't care if it is a small trailer, with no electric, I love it! But getting back into the country is another story. By the time I got home, I felt so stupid. Morris, who works in my office, hates for me to use the word stupid, but insist I am ignorant. Well, I suppose I am...ignorant to being able to keep up with all the changing security measures of getting back into the USA after going out of it.

Back to my stupid people story. Going through customs has to be one of the less dignified things I have had to endure, next to the gynecologist.. and he rates second because he is nicer. I know that customs has to deal with a lot of "stupid people" asking 100's of stupid questions all day long, but I hate feeling like I fall into that category. Endless mazes that are suppose to be lines, taking your shoes off, your jacket or sweater, your belt, change, hat, phone, any meds you have in carry-on, your computer out of the bag, walking through the metal detector and hoping it doesn't ring for fear of a pat-down. Then you pick your dignity and your belongings up, put everything back on, all the while someone is saying..."people if you do not push your belongings into the machine, I will not do it for you and you will just miss your flight" or the lady that is standing in the corner of the line saying" I am not standing here to see that you make it to your connecting flight...I can not answer your questions...I am only standing her to keep you in line, so don't ask me anything". Humm, how much does that job pay? Then you are told to hurry to a different point, pick up your checked bags, and recheck them, then hurry to your next connecting flight on the other side of the airport via bus. It gave me a whole new perspective on herding our horses up. I totally felt like I had been on a merry-go-round by the time, I sank into the little seat on the little plane headed for Kentucky. Whew! we made it, but our luggage did not! Does anyone care that my whole daily routine is in those bags?? No! Remember .."I am not here to answer your questions". Do they have to be so rude to get this job done?... Well, there was the guy that checked my pass port that mumbled "welcome back"...yeah right!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Get Me Through This Winter!

I may have said it before, but I will say it again. "I hate cold weather" I used to say I hate winter, but that is not a fair statement. It is the weather I can't stand. I feel so bad for the horses, but they seem to fair better than I do. We seem to spend our days, just trying to make the horses more comfortable and it turn we make ourselves more miserable. Right now the wind will cut you into and the water from the last flood is just going down.

OK, we have planned a ACTHA ride for March 27, 2010. Please go to their website and take a look at the rules and get your horse ready. This will be a simple trail ride, so don't be intimidated by it. Then we will be hosting, here at Van Bert Farms a more extreme competitive ride. This date is June 18, 19, 2010. This should give you plenty of time to have your horses ready. We will also offer a trail ride that is not judged, so everyone put this on your calendars and I will keep you updated with more info. as everything gets nailed down.

I took this picture this morning. Most of the water has drained from the fields, but you can see with a strong wind and temps in the low 30's we are coooollllda
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