Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Updates for April/May 2009

Well, it's been a while since I posted to my blog as we have been so busy in the horse world over the last couple of months!

As you know, riding season is here (yeah!) and it is more and more difficult to keep any available horses in. As soon as they have officially finished training they are sold (many have even "pre-sold" before training is finished).

Apollo - our magnificent Spotted Draft gelding - has been purchased and is headed for his home in Ontario, Canada this week. He is staying at a great barn in Dexter, MI right now under the care of Tina Luick who has been incredible to work with.

Kingston and Reno sold to a family in Paducah, Kentucky and are headed to their new home tomorrow, May 27th. We just transferred them down from Minnesota last week for their "layover" at our Cincinnati barn and they have been an absolute joy. They are good buddies and have treated my ladies here with great respect :)

Ollie - our Fjord - sold before finishing training to a great gal in Elk River, Minnesota.

Chief (percheron paint cross) went to his new home in New York state and Lexie (spotted draft) headed to her home in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Finally, Skip (our buckskin AQHA gelding) went to Fayetteville, Texas where he is learning the ropes with his young rider and some herding cattle!

At the present time we have one magnificent horse finishing his training, Connor. He is a 7 year old Clydesdale cross gelding who has done a little of everything on the show circuit, light competition and pleasure riding. He is an incredible mount for just about any level rider and would make an incredible school or 4-H horse, as well. He would be a shoe in for mounted patrol, search and rescue or fox hunting, too. He is currently at our training barn in Minnesota and can be purchased now at only $5500! He will transfer to our Cincinnati barn in June and his price will go up at that time.
Check out his video on our website today!

We will update on new horses as they come and hope that everyone is enjoying the spring riding as much as we are!
Happy Trails and God Bless :)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spotted Draft (Apollo) & Kingston video uploaded - FOR SALE!!

We just sent two of the best geldings we had worked with in a while to their new homes (Chief and Dandy) and are excited to have two newer guys - Apollo and Kingston- coming through training now that are filling their void for unflappable and fun horses to work with!

We have an intro video up of Apollo and Kingston now and you can view it here:

Apollo and Kingston have both done incredibly in our training and are going to be ready for their new homes very soon.

Apollo is a 4 year old Spotted Draft gelding standing about 17hh and weighing in around 1500-1600lbs. He is the definition of gentle giant! He is smooth to ride and extremely responsive. Apollo is very brave and will try anything that is asked of him. He will make an incredible all around family horse and is certainly a great choice for any level and sized rider!

Kingston is a 4 year old Percheron/Paint cross gelding that is wrapped up in a small horse package. He currently stands about 15hh and weighs about 1200lbs.

Kingston is super laid back and even. He is also a very brave little guy and is very willing. Kingston gets along very well with everyone. He is a very unique color. I would say he is grey and white more than black and white. His black is roaning or greying around the edges and I would say that he will eventually be completely grey and white.

We will have more of these two guys as time goes on. They are available for purchase now and will stay with us until they have finished training in May or June 2009.

Thanks for taking the time to read about these two gorgeous geldings!

Headed home........

Well, Chief and Dandy just left our Minnesota ranch and our headed to their new homes in NY and NJ.

JD, with Cowboy Express (http://cowboyexpress.org/) just picked them up and is headed east.

Chief and Dandy are two exceptional horses and we know they will go on to many great years doing great things with their new owners! Chief and Dandy are two of the best minded, most calm and unflappable horses we have had through here in a long time. It was a pleasure to work with both of them for all parties involved. Both geldings will be missed....if they could only all be this easy!!

We can't wait to post their updates once they settle in to their new homes. :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

New horses finishing up training.....

We have our next "round" of trainees coming out of our program in the next few weeks. While two of them are already sold (sold prior to completing training), we do have one - and he is a GREAT one - that is still available - "Chief". He has not yet finished training, although he will in the next few weeks and be ready for his new home.

Chief is a stunning all black (small star) percheron/paint cross. He is extremely level headed, brave and easy going at his young age!
You can see all his info on his page at www.HickoryLakeRanch.com

We hope to have his full sales video up by next week and will "officially" offer him for sale (put his ads out) by the end of the month. Our trainer wants to "polish" him up before he goes to his new home.
This is a really great horse! Don't miss out on this one and your opportunity to purchase him at a slight discount and before he is available to the general public!
All the best,

ANOTHER great update!!!

I just love these updates! Here is another note I just received from Carol, who purchased one of our horses back in Dec. 08., "Ravin".
Enjoy :)

Hey “proud mom”,

Thought I’d catch you up since New Year’s. I have to take the camera out there with me sometime soon. I wanted to get you all (y’all) some pictures of her home life by now. Hope just a few words will do for now. I know you’ll like hearing this -------

We’ve had our rides on every weekend but one this month, and a few short ones on weekdays just before dark. I keep tacking her up even if the weather is miserable for days. I don’t want her to forget what she learned in Minnesota and I want her to stay ready for our riding times whenever they occur. She is one cool cucumber, standing still for mounting on the most frigid and windy of days or nights, when even I’m too cold to stay longer and ride, and she is ready, patient and probably wondering why I’m dismounting and untacking her so soon. She follows me everywhere while I’m doing chores and doesn’t even flinch an inch when I toss something as noisy as a piece of tin roof that sounded like thunder when it hit the other pieces in the stack. She cuddles close whenever I’m still and I cuddle back, knowing with a heart like her’s, that she’s missing her people in Minnesota and equine buddies too. I pinch myself when I realize she’s letting me into that heart too. I can’t believe she’s already here instead of arriving in March. I just makes me pinch myself again. The only bad news is you didn’t ask enough money for her! I knew that the first night I saw that Friesian trot in the pasture!

I’ve made arrangements with a local lumber yard to deliver some beams to start making the control pillars. Can’t wait.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Gypsy Vanner filly offered FOR SALE

Hello all!

An acquaintance of ours has contacted us to let us know that they have decided to offer "Kiara" their 3.5 year old Gypsy Vanner for sale.

She is stunning, as you can see by her pics. While she has not been through our program and we are not offering her for sale personally, we did want to help get the word out on this gorgeous girl. If you have interest in learning more about her please contact me directly @ hickorylake@yahoo.com and I can put you in contact with her owner - thanks, Jessica :)

Description of Kiara from owner:

"Kiara is a 15hh 3-1/2 year old filly and is registered with the Gypsy Horse Registry of America (GHRA), as well as the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society (GVHS). She is a perfect example of the Gypsy horse - beautiful, gentle, willing to please, and affectionate. We purchased Kiara as a weanling from Miller Stables in Tyler, Minnesota. Her sire and dam (Clononeen Shamrock x Maria) were both imported from Ireland - so Kiara is a first generation American!
Kiara has received one month of professional training under long-lines and saddle. She is not fully broke, but she is super easy to work with and completing her training will be easy. I've never had any trouble trailering Kiara; she loves to be groomed; stands still for the farrier and vet; and I usually worm her without even placing a halter on her head.
Kiara is for sale ($10,500). There are a number of reasons that go into this decision - none of them have anything to do with Kiara. She is - and always has been - in excellent physical and mental health. "

Monday, January 19, 2009

Thunder arrives at his new home!

He made his trip back from Minnesota and training last week. It was like a heat wave for him when he got back here to Ohio. Negative temps jumped up to 30's for him. It didn't last long, though as Cincinnati saw some of the coldest temps in years as the overnight lows went well below zero. Thunder weatered it all well, though.
Destined for another frigid state, Thunder was picked up on Saturday by our buddy, JD Hughes with Cowboy Express, with the intent of heading up Sunday to his new home. The weather and driving conditions took a turn for the worse, though that left Thunder waiting at JD's until today when they could safely travel.
Thunder arrived at his new home in Albany, NY today around 3pm and seems to be very happy in his new surroundings. His new owner's Bob & Jennifer are thrilled with him and are excited to have them joining their family.
We will miss this special guy....he was with us since May of 2008 and we grew very attached ;)
Blessings to Thunder and his new family!
From ALL of us at Hickory Lake Ranch

Friday, January 9, 2009

Having just picked up "Beckett"..........

Beckett is our new recruit joining our trip to MN this month to start training. He is a 3 year old Friesian/Morgan cross gelding. He Stands about 15.3hh and is jet black with a star and 2 white socks.....I will measure him for weight and height tomorrow to verify.
We just picked him up from our frequent stop in Black River Falls, WI (we have friends here that call when they have a great horse for us :).
We had not met Beckett in person prior to this evening in the Perkin's parking lot.....we had to meet there, because the roads to the farm were cover in snow and it saved us having to take the full trailer that far off the interstate under the road conditions.

When he came off the trailer and stepped onto the snow covered pavement he was immediately jazzed and looking all around. Head high, eyes bright and very confident looking, I might add! He was happy and boisterous and reminded me of a young and curious child arriving at the amusement park :)

As I took his lead and asked me to follow him across the lot to my trailer he quickly followed without hesitation. When I asked him to load he did so eagerly and inquisitively....it was like he was saying, "Hey, what's in here?!".
What a total sweetie is all I can say! I secured him into place and then rubbed his face. He eagerly pushed against my glove and watched me with his big almond eyes.

I can already tell having spent only minutes with this young horse that he is a lover. A horse made to be someone's best friend.....and he will get as much or more from the relationship as his human counterpart will!
He is tall and lanky - awkward really at this stage in his development (much like his Friesian breeding would suggest), but in the best way possible. You can see how and where he will continue to fill out and know that he is going to be a beautiful and athletic saddle horse.
Beckett would also be very well suited to driving with his Friesian and Morgan breeding. After saddle training we may add some driving to his resume.
I am so excited to get to know this guy better and look forward to updating this Blog as I do.
I hope to be able to get a short video of his movement tomorrow. It depends largely on the weather, as more snow is current in the forecast :(
Next stop, Minnesota!


The mighty "Kingston" has joined our group!

"Kingston" is a super cute (maybe not the best description as he is more dignified than "cute" would infer :) black & white (with roaning) percheron/paint cross gelding.

Currently standing about 15hh @ 4 years old. He is a very laid back boy and has an "old soul". So far he has been very unexcitable - noises, new sights, other horses, etc. He is really very laid back with everything we have presented him. He seems to have already been there done that and he hasn't even started!

Kingston will begin his training this month and we anticipate that he will be ready for his new home in April - June '09.

I have attached some pics of him taken today in the trailer while we are traveling from Cincinnati to Ogilvie, MN.

I will be sure to post new info and pics about him as soon as we have it.

Check out his additional info on our website @ http://www.hickorylakeranch.com/.

And "Apollo" is his name!

He IS a once in a lifetime horse - no doubt! "Apollo" is our 4 year old black and white Spotted Draft gelding that we have just brought into our program.
Incredible is really not a strong enough word to describe him. He literally took my breath away when I laid my eyes on him for the first time.
He has such an incredibly kind eye, curious nature and looks that no one can deny.

I am blessed to work with many gorgeous, smart and wonderful equines, but I do believe that Apollo has out done them all and I have only just met him!

I don't have any great pics of him yet, as I was so taken by him that I had not thought to take any pics for the website (maybe that is my subconscience keeping me from letting someone buy him from us!). I did take a few pics of him in the trailer just an hour ago at our last stop, though.

Of course, you can't get a real look at the incredible color, build and stance of this guy, but I think you can get an idea.

He has a beautiful face and I just couldn't wait to show him off.

IF I go through with selling this guy after he finishes his under saddle training (he already drives single & double) someone will be getting an incredible equine partner. He is a "once in a lifetime" horse and it is yet to be seen if I am willing to let this one reside in someone else's barn ;)

On the road again.......

.....today we are traveling from Cincinnati, OH to Ogilvie, MN. We currently have Apollo (WOW!! I will write about him later :) and Kingston (such a super sweet and cute smaller draft cross!) in the trailer and are on our way to pick up our third and final recruit ("Beckett" - Friesian/Morgan gelding) of the month in Black River Falls, WI.

Weather has been great, but we are anticipating some snow as we head up toward Wisconsin. We are praying for continued safe travels.

I have attached some pics taken today during our lunch stop just about an hour ago in LaSalle county, IL. Kingston and Apollo are riding great in the trailer and are being perfect gentlemen!

Kingston is not a little horse (much larger build than your standard QH, etc), but in the pictures he looks like a pony next to Apollo! Apollo is a massive horse and truly is at the limit for my 3 horse slant trailer. We will have to bring a much larger trailer if we are to haul him back to our sales barn in Ohio after training!

I will write more later (it's a nice way to pass the time in the truck :) with updates as we progress on our trip.

Hope you enjoy the pics!


Jessica, HLR

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

To blanket or not to blanket?

It is always strange to me how some people recoil when hearing me answer "no" to their question if we blanket our horses. I understand that there are many misconceptions and strong opinions when it comes to the question, "To blanket or not to blanket?".

Let me offer my two cents, as well as, opinions from other professionals in the horse industry. Ultimately the decision is up to you, but maybe this will help you understand why you should do it and if it is appropriate and necessary for your own horse...........

It's strange how the everyday practice of blanketing horses causes so much uncertainty in conscientious owners. Stranger still is the degree of passion blanketing arouses among horse caretakers.
To the question, "Must I blanket my horse?" the short answer is "no." The horse generates his own blanket--a haircoat that is long enough and thick enough to withstand the coldest days of winter. It's an adjustable covering that flattens against or elevates above the skin as the horse grows warmer or cooler.
"Hair is a great insulator, and it fluffs up to warm the horse," says Michael Foss, DVM. "Heat rising from the body warms the air, but that air doesn't go anywhere because it's trapped between the hairs."
As for the question, "Should I blanket my horse?" the answer could also be "no," but special circumstances make "maybe" or "definitely" the correct responses for certain classes of horses. Blanketing is necessary for competition horses and foxhunters who are routinely clipped during colder weather to maintain a sleek appearance, reduce sweating, shorten cooling-out time and speed drying after rigorous workouts. Aged horses whose appetites and digestion may not supply enough fuel to keep flesh on their bones and their internal "furnaces" stoked require shelter or blanketing during bad weather.
Relocated horses transported from a warm locale to a much colder climate often need additional covering for their first colder winter. Horses relocated before the autumn equinox have time to grow a woollier coat to match the colder weather, but even then they may not be sufficiently insulted for the new climate.

Added to these "must haves" are all the horses who are blanketed mostly for the owners' peace of mind and/or convenience (it's a lot easier to lift off a layer of mud caked onto a blanket than to curry it out of a winter coat).
If you choose to clothe your horse, the crucial decisions aren't the color and style of the "outfits" but your daily judgments about how much protection your horse needs and the best way to protect him from the irritations and hazards that accompany blanketing.
One really also must be careful that your blanket is not doing more harm than good for your horse. If he has a long winter hair coat and you blanket him/her with a blanket that has less insulation than his natural coat then you are actually reducing his ability to stay warm. The blanket will cause his hair to lay flat thus reducing it's ability to keep the heat in and warm his body.

A horses winter coat is the best insulation they can get by far. It was custom designed for them!

My opinion; unless your horse is older, very young or just doesn't get a good thick winter coat (because of being clipped, breed, location change, etc) DON'T waster your time and money on a blanket. Save you and your horse the aggravation and hassle.

Much more important than blanketing for the winter and really the only "protection" that 90% of horses need is a shelter that they have access to keep them dry and out of the wind. Keeping a good supply of hay in front of them 24/7 is also important. It gives them to constant fuel to keep their system running and producing the fuel needed to keep them warm.

Make sure he can play outside no matter what the weather, as a horse should be. Just keep him safe, warm and dry and he will thank you for it ;)


*Parts of this article originally appeared in the December 2001 issue of EQUUS magazine.

"Thunder" and "Dandy" have found new homes!

It's the first week of January and our year is off to a great start for sure!

We are happy to say that Thunder (5 y/o Percheron/Paint/TB gelding) has found a home and will be moving to NY in the next two weeks. Bob will really enjoy, Thunder. He is gorgeous, sweet and an excellent trail horse and companion.....congrats, Bob!

We are headed up to our training facility on Friday (Jan.9, 2008) to pick him up and bring him back to OH where he will then ship to his final destination in NY.
The weather isn't supposed to be bad - just cold.....high in the single digits and lows a few digits below zero. And we thought 20's and 30's were cold in Ohio!! ;)

Dandy (4 y/o APHA b&w Tobiano gelding) has also been purchased and will be moving to his new home in NJ by March. His new owner, Esther, will have his place all set up and ready to go by then. He is a remarkable young horse and will be cherished by Esther and her family, I am sure!

January always tends to be a very busy month for us with horse sales and what a better way to start off the year. There is nothing we enjoy better than seeing our finished boys and girls head off to start their new lives with their new family.
Sales also means time to bring new guys in to start training. That is always fun and exciting, as well.
I can't wait to see what God has in store for us going forward with 2009 and what wonderful new people we will meet in our horses future owners....maybe one of them will be YOU!! :)

Happy New Year!