Sunday, March 26, 2017

Seasons of Life

 Well, it's time to give the final rose, as they say on the Bachelor show. If you have been following my blog over the past few weeks, you know about my conundrum.

I was given a choice between two amazing horses; one I've owned for the past nine years, the other a full sister to my favorite horse.

Karla (Karm's sister) gets the rose. I have to say, there was a lot that went into this decision.
 Karma and Karla relaxing in the sun.
The first time I hitched these sisters together, it was amazing! They had been a team until Karm was seven and it seemed clear to me that they are perfect for each other.

Coke is such a social creature and seems way happier at the Amish farm with a crowd of buggy horses around her. I asked my Amish friend if Coke raised a fit when she realized that Karm was gone. He said, "Not at all. But when I hitch the team and take them to the field, Coke and one of the buggy horses call back and forth to each other." She has a new best friend.

Ancient Greek philosophers concluded: Change is the only constant.
Seasons of life come and go. Many of us remember taking a new job which altered a connection with our fellow workers. Maybe that new job took us away from family or dear friends, but we knew it was best for our future. Have you ever needed to wean a baby or a colt? It seems so difficult at the time, but in the end, it is best for everyone involved. Our life is made up of seasons that are passing. Coke, Karm, and I had a season together. We learned from each other and grew to love and respect each other. Our time together was never permanent. That season is over, for now. Karla had a season with her Amish friend and other horses. His season of farming is over, and so is his time with his horse. It is time for my friends and me to embrace a new season, which also will someday pass. Wonderful memories of our times and seasons live on forever in our hearts.

When I brought Karma and Karla home a few days back, it was a difficult moment. Karm trotted through the paddock looking for Coke, much like a mare when her colt is weaned from her side. She stood at the gate, looking off in the direction of my Amish friend's farm and whinnied. I went into the house and shed a few tears myself. At that moment, I thought that I would go and get Coke as soon as possible.

A few days passed and Karma and Karla began to form their new routine together. When they seemed comfortable, I hitched them together in harness and the moment was golden. I took a video on that day, and I will share it with you. The moment seemed to declare that this was meant to be. It was time to usher in a new season. A season with Karma and Karla, sisters and friends.

(All of the photos on this post are Karma and Karla)

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Horseman Bachelor/Bachelorette

In reality, it is both wonderful and terrible to choose between a group of beautiful girls.

I get to keep all four of these dolls in my life, they're my daughters. However, over the next few days, I need to make a decision that is about as tough as anyone on the Bachelor show has had to face.

It turns our that I have to choose between four amazing Percheron mares. It may seem like a wonderful opportunity, and it is. But, it's also a terrible dilemma.

Let me give you a quick history in how I fell into such a burning ring-of-fire.

Between my home place and Kalona lay ten miles of rolling Iowa farmlands. Most of the farms are Amish owned. Yes, it is a virtual paradise for a man who loves draft horses as much as I do. So much so, that I wrote three full-length novels about my experiences in this heavenly place. If you have read my first book, you will know what a kind, gentle horseman Grandpa was. My Amish friend that I bought Karm and Coke from is about as close to Grandpa as he could be. Every time I step onto his farm I learn something new about horses.

My Amish friend is at a transition point in his life, he is going to be moving into the "grandpa house" and his son-in-law will be the main farmer. He wanted to borrow my horses back one last time before that happened. While they were at his farm, all four mares got a chance to be reunited. My friend told me that I could take home whichever two horses I want. They are all four amazing. I didn't hesitate to say, "I'll take my own two back home." There was one huge problem, though, one of the horses is a full sister to Karma, the best horse I've ever owned. My Amish friend and I had many conversations about it, and we both agree that Karm and her full sister make a better match in multiple ways than Karm and Coke. You see, Coke is a beautiful horse but she is a handful. Much like a sheepdog that needs a full-time job, Coke needs to be hitched often to keep her out of mischief. She will get that if she stays on the Amish farm.

Since all four horses were happily reunited, and I had the tough job of separating them again, I decided that I might as well give Karla a try. I brought her home on a ten-day trial basis. What I didn't see coming was that I was about to fall into the same ring-of-fire every man on the Bachelor show falls into. I fell in love with multiple girls and I can't have them all.

Over the next few days, I will have to give a rose to one of these two beautiful girls and say goodbye to the other. I am in a most wonderful and terrible predicament. Pray for me and I will let you know what happens in a week, or so.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Horse Reunion

Kallie, Karla, Karma, and Coke

Coke, Karma, Karla, and Kalley
My horses spent the past several months at a "horse reunion."

My Percheron draft horse mares, Karma and Coke, were born and raised on my Amish friend's farm.These four horses are all closely related, and they hadn't been together since I brought two of them to my place about 9 years ago.

When not squeezed together for a picture, these stalls are perfect for big teams.
 The middle two horses in these photos are full sisters. My friend (I won't mention his name for privacy sake) helped me squeeze three big girls into one stall so I could get a photo of them.

My Amish friend is an amazing horseman and one of the nicest men you could ever meet. He likes these horses every bit as much as I do. He kept Karm and Coke over the winter and was really excited to get all four mares together again. He used to drive the full-sisters as a team until I took Karm home with me years ago. He had an idea, he thought maybe we should try putting the two sisters back together and the other two horses actually match well. I decided to give it a try. We haven't traded horses, yet, but we are considering it.
Karm and her full sister Karla
So, after several months of all four horses spending time together on my friend's farm, the reunion is over. I now have Karma and her sister Karla at my place. They are so much alike! I do miss my good friend Coke and I can tell Karm does as well. It's a tough decision to make, and I will keep you updated on what we end up doing.