Friday, January 25, 2008

Just Dreaming

Sitting in front of the fire on these cold days, I love to imagine my dream barn. There are those who fantasize about gardening or vacationing, and I admit that I’ve let my mind wander down those roads as well. Yet, I know that if we won the lottery tomorrow, my husband and I would waste no time starting on a new barn.

When I was a little girl, I always wanted to have a horse of my own in a stall next to my bedroom. I thought it would be great to hop out of bed and open the top half of the Dutch door on my wall so I could greet my horse. I am a huge fan of the old TV show, “Mr. Ed”. The idea of Wilbur having his office attached to Mr. Ed’s stall is perfect to me. As a rational, horse-owning adult, I know that the flies and the odor would prevent me from building our dream barn so that Silk could stick her head into my kitchen or family room. At the same time, my husband and I have had perfectly serious conversations about how to make an attractive connecting indoor passage between the house and any barn we would build.

It would be so great to be able to just check on the horses without putting on all those layers of clothes and freezing our faces off on the way to the barn. We realize that it might drastically affect the re-sale value of our property, but I’ll bet other horse-owners would love it too. At the very least, my dream barn will also house my office, and a place for friends or family to come and hang out while I groom the horses and do chores. My two favorite barns are both built with areas with couches and chairs to socialize.

One is a post and beam, six-stall beauty with a wide staircase leading up to the hay loft. The horses can see each other easily and the stalls have removable partitions so they can be expanded. After having a barn with big, 15 by 12 foot stalls, I’m all for building one with that size or larger. I’d also like individual turn-out corrals off of each stall that can be opened to create one larger area. These corrals will have gates leading to the pasture so that the horses can go in or out whenever they feel like it during the day. We’ll also have a separate shower stall with hot and cold water.

The other barn that I really like is owned by my friends, Patsy and Frank, down in North Carolina. They lost their original barn in a hurricane, and when they re-built it, they designed it so that there’s a small arena and a round pen in the middle with the stalls, tack and grooming areas and wash room around it. It’s like a big warehouse building with a huge garage door on one end that can be opened in warm weather to let the light into it. I loved being able to ride when it was pouring rain outside.

They say that to create what you want in life, the first step is to imagine it clearly. So, light the fire, kick off your boots and start dreaming.

Here's my reality:

13 comments:

nootka said...

You and I dream similarly...
:)
Love your blog! Going to catch up as soon as I can.

detroit dog said...

Wonderful post. Your last lines are especially relevant to me today. (sigh) I should write a similar post - but naturally about dogs. (I tell my husband that if we win the lottery, I am buying a "ranch" on Lake Michigan and we will essentially be a greyhound/dog sanctuary.) Your vision is clear; your dream will happen. In the meantime, I get the sense that Silk and Siete are happy creatures.

billie said...

There are a lot of house/barn combinations here in NC - usually house upstairs and barn below.

I often let our guys (and girl) come in the backyard, which is fenced, and when I do that they often come right up to the deck and look into the house.

A dream of mine is to build a studio/office at the back of our property so the big picture window literally opens into the back field. Flies or no flies, I'd love my horses to come stick their heads in while I'm writing.

Keil Bay lived in one of those barns you describe where the stalls and the arena are in one building. I thought it was interesting that the horses could watch while other horses were being ridden.

Right now, our barn stalls on the back side all feed into a large paddock which has gates to the front and back fields. The stalls on this side of the barn feed into a smaller paddock that also connects to both fields. Except in very severe weather, their stall doors are always open and they can go in and out at will. I close off whichever field is off rotation, and I close the paddock gates to the fields at night to give the field a rest from grazing. With my 25-year old mare, it's been wonderful for her to move about all the time, w/o being confined in close quarters.

There are times though, when the wind is high and/or thunderstorms are fierce, that I close them up and keep them out of the elements.

If I could figure out a way to effectively connect our house to the barn, I'd do it in a minute! I have no doubts any one of the herd here would come right on in if they didn't have to navigate steps to do so!

Kimmie Kay said...

Victoria- your property is amazing! My 9 year old would love to visit and help with Silk and Siete. She has that dream too (and the one where our swimming pool becomes her personal dolphin habitat). :)

Netherfieldmom said...

We're barn dreamers too! There's an amazing book at B&N called Dream Barns, I think. I almost bought it for Christmas. I'm looking forward to getting an outdoor riding ring this year! We just electricity in our barn as a Christmas present to ourselves! Thanks for sharing.

Grey Horse Matters said...

In the 'old days' when there were a lot more working dairy farms, I have read they used to have the barns closer to the house in colder climates. There were either tunnels or something like a breezeway to the barns. I think this would be a great idea and would enhance the selling feature to a prospective horse farm buyer. No one wants to dress up like the Michelin Man and brave the cold. When the time is right , I would definitely move the barn closer to the house, build a breezeway to the barn, have a covered round pen for winter riding attached (it could look like a silo on the side), and in the corner of the round pen, maybe a spiral staircase leading up to your office which would of course have windows all around to let in the sunlight and afford you a view of the horses in the winter pasture behind the barn. Wait a minute, it seems dreams are overlapping here,aah but dreams are nice to have on a winters day....

Cassi said...

I just entered the blogging arena and saw your blog listed on the main page within notable blogs ... and none of my friends would be surprised to find that I would find your blog out of all the blogs in the world. I read your blog about your dream barn ... and (yes, I am weird) it almost brought me to tears. Unfortunately, my dream of the greatest barn has to begin with the dream of one day being a horse owner. I grew up on horseback ... and life has not worked out so that horses are part of my daily life.... but someday....

AggiePrincess said...

Your pictures put my complaints about the cold temperatures here in Texas in sharp perspective. Today I was complaining about my frozen feet and face while I was riding at work, yet the temperatures we weather here look like nothing compared to you!

Callie said...

That sound ideal. I like a barn with an area to socialize in it as well. I live in a converted barn and before we remodeled the ground floor, let me tell you, the thought crossed my mind...LOL

eva bette said...

hi,
i have horses! i do hunter jumper and your post just expressed how much all the people in the "horse world" think, and act alike! you summed it up.

Suzanne said...

We are truly Soul Mates.

Heidi the Hick said...

I like your reality too! It's a cute barn!

My reality is an old old barn on my parents place. I love that barn. But the ceilings are very low. Not ideal.

I do want an old barn for myself but it will have to meet some requirements. My ultimate dream is to find a place with a drive shed on it that I can convert to an indoor... and build an addition on the back to house our own recording studio!!! I want my man to be on the same property as my horses. That's my ultimate.

Oh wait- also a room in the house that overlooks the pastures, so that I can watch my horses graze while I write! (Or I should say, while I think with my eyes...)

Transylvanian horseman said...

I was thinking about your post as I passed some neighbours. They are farmers, and have house, stable and barn (and outhouse in the barn) all below one roof. Maybe not quite what you are thinking of, but convenient nonetheless. I'll try to post a picture over the next few days.