Continuing on from last week, I’m hoping to help you get to know me with pictures!
This is my horse Kemerton. He is now 21 years old and retired from being ridden. Kemerton was born on a neighbors farm, Sandhill Farm Thoroughbred Horses. He raced for many years, and then retired after a long successful career.
He was turned out in their paddock for a bit to get used to being a horse again. I wasn’t exactly horse shopping when I saw Kemerton for the first time. It didn’t matter though, it was one of those love at first sight moments. One of those moments where my gut feeling told me I needed this horse.
I was with my students at a local horse club fun show across the street from my farm.
I remember my students had finished riding when I saw Mr. Phil over at his horse trailer trying to calm down the horse inside (Kemerton), he was shaking the trailer. I don’t know if he thought he was at the racetrack or what! I went over and helped Mr. Phil unload Kemerton and,
He was tall and bay and scrawny. It was the look in his eye that drew me to him. His face has the greatest expression, I can’t describe it. You just have to see it in order to understand what I mean.
Of course, being young and fearless, I asked Mr. Phil if I could ride him. He hesitated a bit but said since he knew I was a good rider, he decided it would be good for Kemerton.
So I tacked him up and climbed on. He was very well behaved for not knowing anything but running. I rode him on a loose rein, just at a walk and trot. He oafed around with his head up like a giraffe. It didn’t matter though, I was in love and determined that I was going to own this horse!
Long story short, I did get to buy him. Kemerton was the most challenging horse I have ever retrained from racing. He was a good racehorse and didn’t have much interest in learning how to do much else. It wasn’t that he didn’t have a good temperament, he does. He just enthusiastically thought he already knew what to do, and skinny me just wasn’t strong enough to ride him sometimes.
Every time I looked at him I fell more in love, but I have to admit that there were many days I got off of him thinking “what the hell have I done”. He was big and strong, and although I was fearless back then, I was just not strong enough to hold him when he wanted to go. I joked with everyone that I had bought a racing monster.
Over the years, I rode Kemerton under a few different trainers. As he improved and I competed with him, he began to develop soundness problems. Years of racing caught up with him. He developed arthritis in his hocks quite badly, and we discovered an inoperable bone spur in his left hock.
We tried everything we could to keep him sound, but he just couldn’t hold up to the hard work of being in a regular riding program. At one point I gave him a whole entire year off in hopes that it might make a difference.
He has not been a sound horse in years, so he is retired. He is the king of the farm and knows how special I think he is.
We went through hell together when he developed a fungal infection in his eye and ended up having to stay in the horse hospital at New Bolton Center for a month. He almost lost his eye. Many dollars and credit card bills later, he recovered and now you can barely tell which eye was the bad one. I was told his eye may always be more susceptible to injury or infection and that I should keep a fly mask on him year round, just in case.
So if you come to the farm, you will see a tall bay horse. Probably he will be pushing the other horses around, banging on the gate to come in, or cribbing on his water bucket.
Kemerton is my main man, he is a clown, he is a pain in the butt, and he is now an expensive field ornament. I learned invaluable lessons when I was riding him, even though our partnership under saddle didn’t last as long as I would have hoped.
He is definitely one in a million, they broke the mold when they made him! I think we would all be better off if we lived with the happy go lucky attitude that Kemerton does.
Levi Jackson Holt
Levi Jackson, otherwise known to me, his Auntie, as “Boo Boo”, is like his brother Oliver, a huge light in my life. Levi is now 5 years old and goes to Bodkin Elementary school in Kindergarten.
When Levi was a baby, I spent every day with him, I babysat him when my sister-in-law went back to work. I had never taken care of a baby before, but Levi was an easy one, and he showed me how it was done.
Levi is a big kid now not a baby. He tells me that all the time. He talks about all kinds of things. He has an amazing imagination and is always telling stories.
Levi and his brother Oliver, are farm kids. They love the farm and all animals. They love the outdoors and playing in the dirt. They are being raised as farm kids, just like my brother and I were.
I look forward to my time with Levi, I’m proud of the brave big kid he has become and I love listening to him tell stories. He has the most contageous laugh when he thinks something is really funny too. When he laughs everyone laughs with him!
My nephews have always meant the world to me, but since my TBI, I have appreciated them even more. Seeing the world through children’s eyes definitely makes everything much brighter! They get me my walker when I can’t reach it and will do art with me since I can’t run around and play with them at this point.
To know me, you have to know, that I’m a proud Auntie.
To know me, you also need to know how important my dogs are to me. My life pretty much revolves around them catering to their feeding schedules, going outside schedules, and making sure they are living the most comfortable life possible.
Banjo, a red bloodhound, is the only dog that I have ever raised from a puppy. He was the easiest puppy ever. I have gotten so many compliments on my training of him when really he trained himself. He has always just been a good dog. Banjo does not have as strong a prey drive as my other bloodhound, but when he opens his mouth he has a beautiful bay. I remember the first time that beautiful bay came out of his little puppy mouth. It was shocking and hilarious! Banjo has grown into a beautiful, sweet dog. He has hip
Raylan Givens, a black bloodhound, named after the U.S Marshall that was the star of the FX series Justified. Raylan is more of a hunting dog than Banjo. He was found running loose in the woods in Harrisonburg, Virginia. The rescue I volunteer with happened to hear that a black bloodhound had ended up in a kill shelter. I saw a picture of him and it was love at first sight (I think you are probably seeing a pattern here with me falling for things). He had just turned one when I got him. I have had him for a little over two years now. He has the strongest prey drive of all my dogs and has been known to eat a squirrel if it makes a mistake and ends up on the ground in the yard. Raylan is gorgeous, with a stately bloodhound face, and typical goofball bloodhound personality.
Zegna (pronounced ‘Zen-ya) is a Doberman. She came to live with me when my boyfriend moved in. She is a beautiful animal and I have enjoyed experiencing how different her personality is from the bloodhounds. She is more people oriented. Not that the boys don’t like people, but if they had a choice, they would stick together outside hunting all the time. Zegna is happy to be part of the hound pack and has even learned how to bay like a hound dog. We call her the “
Ziva is my little black mini mutt. I just adopted her this year after my old man Yorkie went to doggie heaven. She is named after Ziva David, the Mossad liaison on NCIS (another one of my favorite shows). Ziva has pointy ears like a rat terrier or chihuahua. Her body is small but long in the back, sort of like a miniature dachshund, and she has white spots on her front paws, like something you would see on a cattle dog or something. To me, she is perfect and adorable. She is like velcro to me and is the ultimate lap dog. She goes everywhere with me. I found Ziva on some random website that had pets needing new homes. I contacted her owner via text and two days later Ziva was mine. It was like my 6th sense for dogs kicked in when I saw Ziva too. I knew I had to have her, and that she would be my ride or die! She has not disappointed me. She is precious and we love her.