Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Show Review & Farm Update

Thank you to everyone who came out to our show at Twin Towers Park on June 27th.... both riders and volunteers! Mother Nature certainly wasn't cooperating, but hope everyone who did/could show had a good time. We hated to have to cancel the last half of the jumping, but the footing just wasn't holding up. We certainly hope for good weather for the show on September 26th. On the farm front, the wet weather hasn't helped any progress on various projects. Once the weather breaks, we hope to be able to start putting in the new outdoor arena as well as siding the existing barn, putting up a new stall/storage barn, finishing the barn side paddock, seeding the parking pasture and fertilizing the hay field. Yep, lots to do but looking forward to getting project done! Shows have been minimal so far this year, but have a few scheduled for the rest of the year.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


Wow! It's February already and I'm just now putting up a new farm blog post?  Oops!!  So here's a quick rundown on where we are and where we hope to go this year -- both as individuals and well as a farm:

1) Shows - we will once again be hosting 2 shows this year so mark your calendars for Saturday, June 27 and Saturday, September 26. Both shows will offer DLSC dressage classes as well as classes available for any other regular dressage, eventing dressage or western dressage test.  In addition, we'll be doing Combined Training from ground poles through Training level (3'3"), Prix Caprilli tests, and jumper classes from 2' to 3'3". We'll also be doing a Gambler's Choice (2' to 3"3") payback class and a Six Bar class.  Also, for those who braved last October's weather with us, you'll be happy to know that our regular R&B Concessions will be at both shows!!  Please see website for details.

2) Farm Progress -- Let's see... we have 6 stalls in the existing barn that were created and look wonderful (Thank You First Class Home Solutions as well as a number of other folks who helped out!).  1 large pasture is being used and materials have been purchased to put in a 2nd pasture as soon as the weather and other obligations cooperate.  We've started getting bids for the new barn which will open up boarding opportunities as well as the indoor arena which will open up on-farm show and training/clinic opportunities. 

As our dream of this facility becomes more and more real, we're honing in on our goals of what we truly want it to be -- an Equestrian Education and Training Center. We feel there is definitely a place for this kind of facility in our area and it is truly what we hope to offer as the facility takes shape.  Goals include:
  1. Hosting fun, educational and low-stress schooling shows similar to the ones we offer now.  Personally I would love to see us be able to eventually have something like a jumper series during the summer offered under lights.
  2. Host riding and non-riding educational clinics with accomplished and knowledgeable professionals.
  3. Offer the facility for local riders, trainers or organizations (ie: Pony Club, 4H, etc.) for schooling purposes. Our plans include the indoor arena, an outdoor arena and eventually cross country jumps in the fields which could be used for simple training or even rented for specific clinics, camps or shows. 
  4. Offer a few quality boarding opportunities. We don't plan to have very many boarders but there will be stalls available as the facility takes shape.
There are a couple other ideas that we have floated amongst ourselves that we are interested in that would fit in with our core goals for the farm. As we investigate further into their feasibility and they begin to take shape, we'll be sharing more and more.

3) Personal -- on some personal notes, 2014 ended nicely with everyone - horse and human - healthy and happy.  Several DLSC Year End Awards were brought home to Serenity Valley Farm and while we are more about doing well for ourselves, it's always a bonus to earn a Year End Award.
  • Ashley & Skye = 4th place Green Horse (hunter), 4th place Green Horse EQ (hunter)
  • Ella & Bo = Reserve Champion Beginner Horse (hunter), Reserve Champion Intro Level Junior (dressage)
  • Lilly & Rambo = Champion Intermediate Horse (hunter), Reserve Champion Training Level Junior (dressage)
  • Tammy & Shirley = 4th place Training Level Senior (dressage), Reserve Champion USEF Rider Tests (dressage)
  • Ella & Thumper = 3rd place 1st Thru 4th Level (dressage)
Looking towards this year, we're not sure what we'll be doing necessarily (other than working on the farm of course), but we all really feel this is going to be a great year!  Stay tuned for the details!

Monday, November 17, 2014


One of these days I'll have a "real" weekend, right?  At the moment, weekends are a flurry of activity as the only real amounts of time to get work done at the farm.  So here's an update of where we stand as of this morning on the various projects:

  • Fencing:  The big house-side pasture is almost ready to have the electro-braid strung!  I think there are 3 or 4 posts that need to go in the ground that didn't go earlier as we didn't really realize they were in quite as bad shape as they were.  2 of those are the corner and brace posts for the corner next to the yard so that will have to be braced as well.

  • Barn: we finished cleaning out 2/3rds of the barn on Saturday!  WOW it looks so much better all cleaned out.  The concrete side is done and will eventually house 2 stalls.  The middle portion is done and nicely swept.  We even did the loft over the concrete... cleaned out all the junk, and organized what is left up there.  In the process, everyone had some fun finding the "buried treasures" -- a new in box frost proof water faucet was probably the best find, but there were others: 9' shade canopy in the box, a foosball table (in several boxes), 50 mile electric fence charger, various tools, couple foal/mini halters, some Army gear including a package of beef stew MRE!  Made the dust and cleaning fun.
Before - looking down from the loft


  •  Electric:  Attic and 2nd floor are DONE!!  It looks SO much better!  Attic is now ready for insulation, though it was funny -- due to the status of the furnace, we ran kerosene heaters this weekend and once the attic access was closed, the 2nd floor REALLY stayed warm even after the heater on that floor was off for over 30 minutes.  A couple items left on the first floor and the basement.  Then it will be out to the barn.

  • Furnace: No real smoking issues anymore but still some odor.  Had a repairman out and after removing the exhaust, turns out the chimney needs cleaned out and probably inspected before he can service the furnace.  So we're currently heating with kerosene heaters until the furnace gets fixed.

  • Flooring:  Purchased 4" unfinished utility grade red oak for the living room and den and I think it's going to look FANTASTIC when finished.  Should be installed this week (after the phone call I just had) but to finish it, I need heat.  So the rest will be on hold.  Thinking I might just put regular carpet down in the bedrooms afterall, after looking at the flooring once I finished scraping and sweeping in the master bedroom.  Need to price it out and see.

  • Walls: Have the first floor scraped and some of the spackling done.  The stairwell is done to the point that I need a ladder to finish.  The Master bedroom is also ready for spackle.  Still need to do some scraping in the 2nd bedroom and landing, mostly up high.

  • Paint:  Need to finish picking out colors.  I know what I want the kitchen to look like but not sure what colors that will entail using.  Have colors picked out for the den, living room, bathroom and stairs/landing.  I *think* I know what I want in the master, but not 100% sure.  No idea what to do in the 2nd bedroom.

In other news, I bought my first "toy" for the farm!  A 4x2 gas gator with hydrolic dump bed, extra chain tires, wench and plow blade!  I LOVE it and it's already really come in handy.

Monday, November 10, 2014

So much to do

Had a wonderful weekend.  I haven't moved in yet but we used the farm for a 16th b-day bonfire and it was a success (minus the clogged toilet... good thing there are 2 in the house!).  Made use of the still extremely hot ashes yesterday to cook a foil-wrapped dinner too.  YUMMY!!  I think more dinners like that need to be made.

Someone recently asked me if I'd made a complete list of things that need to be done for the farm.  I told them a resounding no because I'm afraid that looking at such a long (and in many cases expensive) list would make me simply go catatonic and not be able to know where to start.  Someone else suggested that I actually do start the list because then when the lovely wonderful people in my life show up unscheduled at the farm and want to help, I'll have a few choices of things to do that need to be done.  Ok, that's a good reason to have a list.  So... as long as I don't look TOO closely, here's the START of that list (in absolutely no order except how it pops into my head):

  • Get the furnace looked at
  • Get the stove/oven looked at
  • Pull up the carpet staples in the den before the flooring guys come
  • Get the wood floors redone (living room, den and landing... possibly the stairs)
  • Do something with the bedroom floors involving some amount of carpet probably
  • Scrape paint upstairs and at the tippy top of the stairwell
  • Have ceiling fans in living room and den mounted, eventually buying and installing the fans upstairs
  • Move fridge
  • Redo kitchen floor
  • Add cabinets (eventually adding a dishwasher which will entail more new cabinets and a change of countertop and backsplash)
  • Spackle EVERYWHERE
  • Gutter grout in the tub, followed by regular bath silicone
  • Prime all walls and ceilings
  • Paint all walls and ceilings (which also involved deciding on paint colors for everything)
  • Move book shelves upstairs
  • Replace shower head upstairs
  • Take shower head from upstairs and put on shower in basement
  • Put in insulation in the attic
  • Clear out Springhouse for outdoor storage
  • Have siding and trim replaced
  • Pull down almost dead tree
  • Put in t-posts
  • Put in new corner and front posts in barn paddock
  • Replace posts as needed
  • Run fence wire (buy more?)
  • Clean out barn
  • Build stalls
  • Figure out lights (with John's help) and water options
  • Get new barn area set for excavating
  • Figure out window treatments
  • CLEAN, including window sills
  • ETC!!!
Then there's the whole actually moving in thing and on top of that an open house at the Cottage place on the 23rd to get ready for (cleaning to do which includes the carpets HAVE to be done).  Some of the items are obviously wants or "laters" that I can definitely get away with not having done right away.  But when creating a list based on what is and what my vision of the place is... it gets to be quite a LONG list. Even straightforward stuff like "clean out the spring house or barn" gets into making several piles of stuff -- trash, sell/donate/recycle, save for future use.

But it's STILL a labor of love.  We cleared a bunch of brush from the fenceline around the house this weekend and it's looking much better already.  And the electric work continues which is amazing and I'm SO grateful for!  Just keep swimming, right?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The new farm!

It's been a week but the new farm is bought!!!  I'm so excited.  Been out there every day since closing doing all kinds of things to make it livable and functional.  It's going to be quite the endeavor of work and love, but in the end it will be SO worth it!

The specs:  39.85 acres, mostly tillable (over half is currently share-cropped) with some pasture, a small hay field and a creek.  2 story 1905 built 2 bedroom 1 bath farmhouse with full unfinished cinderblock basement (which also has a shower and toilet).  Fuel oil furnace with forced air heat. No AC. Approximately 9,000 gallon cistern. Jefferson Regional Water Authority water. Septic. Been vacant for about 6 years. Existing barn is approximately 60x30 and in poor to fair condition.  Some of the beams will be salvageable but it's neither big enough nor set up well enough for long term use.  Corn crib probably needs to be torn down sooner than later, but will have life through the winter as a place to park the Saturn so I don't have to scrape windows.

LONG term goals:  Along with fixing up the house of course because it needs it, we want the facility to be a small show/training/clinic place... an education facility.  We LOVE holding our current SVF shows at Twin Towers, but would love to see them move to the farm.  They'll end up being a bit smaller in scale, but we could do one/month. We're looking at putting up an 80'x150' indoor arena (to be able to have indoor space that could accommodate a small dressage ring) as well as a 12 stall barn (for training and limited boarding).  We haven't yet settled on an outdoor ring size, but ideally I'd love to see 150'x250' with lights.  One of the dreams would be to run an "under the lights" jumper series during the summer.  And of course we plan to make full use of the acreage to have plenty of schooling cross country jumps. And while our personal focus is in the english world, we are NOT opposed to hosting western or trail events in the future.

My hope here is to blog the progress as we get things accomplished.  Now that I should be getting a new phone tomorrow (with hopefully a working camera) I'll be able to do that.  In the meantime, here are the "before" pics.  By estimation these are a year old and were taken from the real estate listing.  ENJOY!!

PS. Blogger is being piggish about me reordering the pics... so you're getting them in random Blogger order.  Sorry.

The Barn. The gate has disappeared prior to me buying the place (as has the horse in the pic).  The barn needs SERIOUS work and thus has a limited lifespan -- basically long enough to get another barn built.

More of the barn and the driveway fencing.  We're fixing up the fencing here and setting up this space for a paddock.  BTW, the property line to the north is the treeline in the background!

Another of the paddock space between the barn (left) and the road (right).

Bathroom.  Needs updates and work but functional for the most part.

Bedroom 2.  Probably the worst looking of the wood floors.

Bedroom 1.  Floors are only a bit better than Bedroom 2 and as a result, contemplating carpet in both instead of redoing the wood like I plan to do downstairs.  Has a nice closet (door on the right) and a lovely built in (door on the left).

View from the back patio to the corn crib.

Corn Crib.  You can't see it but the back wall is... missing.  Yep... will be coming down but has been storing a full-size tractor for a few days so it should hold up enough to keep the frost off the windshield of the Saturn.  Property line to the west is the treeline in the background to the left of the corn crib.

Living room.  Beautiful built in and I love the big windows.  Floors should refinish nicely.

Den?  TV room?  I haven't settled on what to call this room, but I like it.  Big enough for the tv and a nice couch. LOVE LOVE LOVE the wood french door!  And yes... those marks on the walls and ceiling are where the paint has peeled off.

Another view of the den... and more peeling paint.  To the right is another doorway that leads to a VERY small hallway and the bathroom.

Front of the house, which face the driveway NOT the road (the road is across a paddock to the left).  Fenced patio is a cement slab over the cistern.  And do not ask me why they have random t-posts in the front yard.

Another of the front of the house from the driveway.  The picket fence on the left side continues along the driveway.

Another house angle.

More house.

From the driveway, looking towards the house across the front paddock.  Road is to the left.

Front paddock from the driveway at the "front" corner of the front yard, and looking towards the road.  Treeline in the background towards the right of the pic is the creek bed.

Side of the house, showing the cistern patio and the spring house.

Kitchen.  Unfortunately, the ceiling fan disappeared before I saw the house.  We're now rewiring and moving it to make it a little more centered, but there will be a ceiling fan in this room (and many others actually).

Another view of the Kitchen

More kitchen.  Currently the frig is plugged into the wall outlet on the left side of the pic.  Doesn't leave a lot of space between the front of the frig and the front of hte stove so the fridge is moving to the off pic right side of the window.

Existing kitchen counters.  Will try to salvage and maybe repaint?

Most of the kitchen and obviously taken with a fish-eye lens.  Standing at the back door/stairwell to the basement.


Almost the same shot as above.

More land with "stuff" that was left.

2nd floor "landing".  Almost a room to itself.  Closet is the door on the right.  The 2 doorways on the left of the pic lead to the bedrooms.  Check out the woodwork near the stairs!!

Another shot of the landing.

Living Room, showing the beautiful woodwork.


Cistern patio and spring house.  The spring house is ok functional, but currently full of junk!

Cistern patio, house and springhouse.

From the back corner of the "yard" toward the springhouse and house.

Friday, August 15, 2014

1 week to go!!

I can't believe it's here already - 1 week to go before opening date for all classes for the October 4th show at Twin Towers.  Here are the important things to know:

  1. NEW ADDRESS!!  Yep, we've moved and until we get settled at a new address we though a PO Box would be best put to use.  Here is the address to send ALL entries to:
    Serenity Valley Farm, P.O. Box 49374, Dayton, Ohio 45449
  2. Updated Class List: After 3 shows, we've decided to make a few changes to the class list. 
    • Dressage Changes: Of course all the DLSC Year-End Qualifying classes are still being offered. In addition, for dressage, we're offering up to 3 "Test of Choice" classes - one for regular dressage, one for Eventing dressage and one for Western dressage.  These classes are intended to be able to ride any test not already being offered, though riders may enter ANY dressage test. Classes may be combined depending on entry numbers.
    • Combined Test: Due to low numbers, we have officially dropped the Prelim level and 3-Day class offerings, but riders may enter the Test of Choice to ride their dressage. For jump practice, riders may enter the Jumper class at their level and compete for ribbons or may use the Training CT course as a "schooling round".
    • Jumpers: Since we have officially dropped Prelim level classes, we've also dropped the High Gambler's Choice and modified the remaining Gambler's choice to cover 2' to 3'3". In addition, we're adding another payback class - 6-Bar.  See the Event Details page on the website for a description of 6-Bar.  Both Gambler's Choice and 6-Bar will take place at the end of the day in the jumper ring, but moving them to the end should also improve the flow of the jumper ring.
  3. Pre-Entry Prizes: Brubaker's Feed in New Lebanon was wonderful enough to provide us with 2 door prizes at the June Show to give away in a random drawing of all pre-entries at the June Show.  We plan to do this again, so even if you're just entering jumper classes, consider pre-entering.  Not only will you save some money (on jumper classes), but you'll be entered into the drawing.  Thank You Brubaker's!!! 
If anyone has any suggestions or feedback, we'd love to hear it! We enjoy hearing the comments from our competitors and try to make this show a good experience for both horse and rider.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Show Recap and... MOVING!!

The SVF show on June 28th was fantastic!  Thank you to everyone who helped to make it a success.  Our 3rd show and we learned a ton and have a few changes, both in class offering and in management, that we're going to implement for the October 4th show.  But really, it went well.  Once again we were spared bad weather until we were cleaning up.  I'll take having to put things away in the rain over having our competitors have to deal with it any day! 

As for changes, we'll definitely be offering the Test of Choice class again.  This class is intended to allow competitors to ride any dressage test that is not already being offered - this includes regular dressage, eventing dressage or even western dressage.  If we get enough entries of one type or another we may split the class along "type" lines (ie: split between English and Western, if we get enough western entries).

We are also planning a couple changes in the CT/Jumper ring, but are still working out those details.  Keep watching for details.  As always, if you would like to see a specific class offered, please let us know.  We're always open to competitor requests and suggestions.  Our goal is always to offer a low key NICE schooling show.

By the way, our judges for October 4th are finalized: Megan Carr (KY) and Kathy McFadden (OH). We look forward to seeing everyone there!

Moving?  Did someone say moving??  YES!!  While plans for a new SVF are not finalized yet, we will be moving in the next couple weeks from our current location in New Lebanon. Please watch for an update on where to send October 4 show entries as the address WILL change! We're looking forward to getting in the new place and sharing all about it.