Another year has come and gone. It's almost time to store away the old calendar and begin a new one. That little task is always hard for me. I look back at the pages remembering triumphs and tragedies, blessings and hard times. At this time last year I was still recovering from ankle surgery and not even allowed to go to the barn. My calendar pages are full of doctor's appointments instead of farrier visits. The drug induced haze I was under makes most of that time a blur but I do remember feeling so BLESSED that I had help and knew our ladies were well taken care of. My husband, Pete stepped in for the morning chores and Pam and her wonderful family did the rest. To understand the magnitude of that task, please realize how much physical labor we are talking about. It's a forty hour a week job. Ten stalls needed cleaning daily. Water buckets needed scrubbing and water troughs needed to be kept ice free.  It didn't matter how cold it was, how icy the roads were or how much mud they had to wade through.  The ladies are accustomed to regular grooming, having their meals served properly and on time and most important of all, pampering. It's a lot of work. Who else in this world has the blessings I have. No one.

Some things never change and are marked on the calendar with stressful hands. Money was tight, it always has been. The recorded entries of phone numbers for possible hay sources, trips to the feed store, vet visits and farrier visits all mean money going out. BUT, on the upside, we survived the worst drought and hay shortage we have ever had. Oh sure, every dime we made went to feed, hay and health but we will close the year without owing anyone a single cent and most important, with well fed horses.

Some things have changed.  Our barns sport a fresh coat of paint! This maintenance would never have happened without the help of MY RACING HEART and Kate Wilt of Louisville, KY and Barry Moreland of Moreland Painting in Cynthiana, KY.  Big expenditures like that just aren't in our budget. MY RACING HEART donated the paint and Moreland painting donated the crew. The completion of the job was a long time coming. Before any painting could happen, there were MANY repairs to be done. And, as usual, no money to do it with. So we worked our butts off trying to earn a few hundred extra dollars to make the repairs. Once we had our part of the bargain completed, everything seemed to fall into place. The ladies have pretty barns now.

We had losses and new residents, too. Cruella and Blue Viking joined us as we expanded to twelve stalls for the Haven. My hoodlums gave up their barn for this to happen. Then we lost the Little Ladies, Peggy and Darla. I am still greiving. Soon after they left us, I was alerted to a mare in trouble. LOTKA, winner of over $721,000 and a stakes producer would be euthanized immediately if I could not place her in a home. I tried but no homes were available. So I took her as my own personal horse, picked up some more hours at work to support her and placed her on our ever growing waiting list.

Our personal lives have been like a roller coaster. Between the three board members we have totaled two cars, broken limbs twice, lost dear pets, Canine and feline. Lost dear horse friends, Major and Lord Rusty, and lost humans, too. Gone through the year are a mother in law, a sister in law and a dear friend.  It is hard to look back and not call 2008 a year of loss. On an incredibly sweet note, I became a grandmother. NO WORDS can describe how much I love that little girl. Sweet, sweet Kaylee.

Our ladies have had close calls, Smokie almost dying TWICE, the Princess's arthritis has become 200% worse and we almost lost Alabama Nana, too.

We have had wonderful visitors. Our Texas friends, Lora and Beth have come at least twice.  I'm still trying to figure out how these two know when the Haven is broke…they always order halters and Mare-sterpieces just in time to fill the hay room. Our Gator buddy Kathleen has become a regular visitor joining Linda, Sharon, Peter, Michael Foley and others. We have made new friends, too. The Friends of Barbaro have been a daily presence, either physically or through their prayers. In all, I think we had over 150 visitors this year.  As I look back, I wonder if all our friends know how special they are to us. Did I do a good enough job thanking them? Because I meant to.  If I didn't, please remember how much you warm my heart.

Sue Rosenbach and Barbara Livingston always coming to our aid, always giving us an incredible effort to support the ladies. There is no possible way to thank them. None. I think about them and am in awe of their dedication. They are our angels.

We also had a debut on PBS! HOW COOL IS THAT!!!!!

Ending the year we stepped in to help Turkoman support himself. Turkoman, winner of over 2.1 million dollars, son of Taba and Alydar, nephew to Our Mims and Sugar and Spice, and one of the greatest broodmare sires of all time, suddenly found himself needing help. Cheryl jumped right on it. I have NO DOUBT the great stallion will be able to earn his/our part of his board. He just needs a middleman.

So, I close this old calendar and get ready to open a new one. We will start the New Year by placing a purple blanket across Timeless Sue's shoulders, she turns thirty this year. We will look forward to our visitors and try not to look back.   Unless we are recalling the warmth of all our friends.

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