Have To Start Somewhere.
Some of you may remember that Shauna and I came up here in May for a two week vacation. Our plans were to just visit however it turned out that Irene and our now friend Cheryl had purchased rough cut lumber from the mill to complete a training and breeding corral for the stallion. Cheryl's contributions were in exchange for breeding contracts to the stallion. The posts for this corral (creosote treated railroad ties) have been set for over five years and that is as far as it's ever progressed. We've been putting pressure on Irene to get the stallion manageable so we can register and show him. As such I could not ignore the opportunity to get the ball rolling so I immediately stepped in and offered to help complete the corral. I want this stallion showing.
Now this corral is at the back of the property where there are no utilities. So... We had to rent a generator. In order to maximize our investment we decided to rent the generator for a weekend. This made Sunday a free day because the rental company isn't open. It also turned out that since nobody was working on the weekend our friends were able to lend us a hand.
We started on a Friday... What a huge effort. This is an 80 ft. diameter corral. The rails are 16 ft. 2 by 12 green Cottonwood (rough cut). Green means unbelievable water weight. After the first day we were thankful for help with the rest.
It's impossible to really see here but each rail is fastened with four 5/8 in. by 6 in. lag bolts. Because the structure is designed for livestock each bolt (and a flat washer) are counter sunk into the rails. This prevents rubbing against the lag heads for horses and riders (legs).
After the third day things were looking pretty good.
The weather looked sketchy so we decided to return the generator. That turned out to be a good thing because there were light rain showers and intermittent thunder and lightning for a few days. We rented the generator again and our friends came by and we finished the rails on the corral. Thanks again to Myles and Cheryl.
Now I was under the impression that putting up the rails was the last step to full functionality but apparently I have a lot to learn about horses. Now; The corral footing is not suitable to mount a stallion for the first time. It is bumpy (lots of high and low spots) and there are many rocks at the surface. Ok I can understand the rocks. I wouldn't want to hit my head on them even if I was wearing a helmet.
Five months later in early October...
Fortunately cousin Shane has a bobcat (actually it's a case but it's functionally the same). The day before I had gone to Shane's (and Sweater's) house to check out their band-mill (I'm trying to buy one). When I was there I asked Shane if he had any time (they were going to New Finland the next week for a vacation) to bring the bobcat over and grade the corral. He was there the following morning ready to go. Thanks Shane (and Uncle Terry).
Surprisingly... Even though we had removed a lot of surface rocks before the machine-grading, including one very large rock (boulder really).
There was a fair amount of rock tonnage remaining to remove. More then we imagined. At all levels. As Shane dug we removed the rocks that came to the surface.
There was still daylight left so Shane agreed to do a little more grading around the corral. We have a weed problem (poor maintenance) as well as some large rocks on the periphery. This inhibits our vehicle access and prevents development (we'd love to have a large riding arena). We used the remaining evening light (until the bobcat ran out of fuel) to remove weeds and break up and pile the rocks.
It was dusk by the time Shane was done however Cheryl couldn't wait to take the stallion to the newly graded training facility (ok, it's still only a corral for now but...). Anyway... Everyone seemed pleased with the progress. No more roadblocks in the way of the stallions education.
Well... Once the corral was smoothed and cleared of rocks the girls couldn't wait to lay a footing down. Both Irene and Cheryl independently (they were quite surprised when they converged) collected truckloads of Cedar chips to throw down.
For those of you that are equestrians it is important it to have a little background on our stallion. The stallion, 'Lord Selkirk', is just over five years old. He had never been haltered, had his feet picked, been saddled, had shoes, or basically been handled in any way except for the occasional butt-scratching. But... He is a one-of-a-kind luck-of-the-draw success. He is also the result of about ten years of breeding effort on Shauna's and My part. We have a thoroughbred mare (Pindrop) which we bred artificially and regularly with no success for years (at a huge vet expense). Then we bread to a local L.A. (imported German) stallion. Three times to get this horse (one foal died in infancy, one was a doofus and then Lord Selkirk). We sent him here (in vitro) to our farm in Canada and much to our disappointment... He has lived a happy life in the pasture, almost maintenance free (eating grass except for the winters) but is still a wild (not really but practically) stallion. is a real potential earner but he has been ignored. Until Cheryl showed up. She has put in a real effort into the stallion and his potential. A special thanks to Cheryl.
We Collected a Fair amount of rocks that day which we plan to haul down to pasture land and start building fences. Lets see the stallion knock those down when he learns how strong he really is. Oh yeah... We are going to build them tall in case he figures out that he can jump (he's bread for Olympic Grand Prix)