Lily-16+h 2002 Hanoverian-TB Mare

Lily is a fun, forward mare with a cuddly and loving personality!  She has a beautiful face, clean legs and great conformation.  In the short time she has been with us, Lily has made progress in basic dressage, exhibited a talent for jumping, and gained a love of trail riding.  We have only brushed the surface of Lily’s abilities and potential!


Lily is a granddaughter of the great French distance stallion, Val de l’Orne.  I was told by a pedigree expert that Val de l’Orne’s is “one of the best TB jumping lines in existence, and has been for at least 4 generations of sires.”

Lily was a beloved pleasure horse in her “past life.”  She is free from blemishes or unsoundness.  She stands quietly for the vet and farrier, for clippers, for baths, or just to be loved on in the aisle or stall.  Lily loads and unloads willingly from both a straight and slant-load trailer.  Currently asking $7500, price negotiable to a terrific home.

*Newsflash!!! March 17, 2012* Lily participated in her first foxhunt and was a superstar! She galloped like a dream on the runs, stood on a loose rein at the checks, and kept her wits when hounds and huntsmen ran past.  This mare is so much fun!

*Newsflash!!! May 27, 2012* Lily competed in her first show and captured Grand Champion in a large division!

*Newsflash!!! Nov 4, 2012* Lily stood quietly during the blessing of the hounds at the Opening Meet, then hunted like a champ.  Each time out she gets better and better!


Video on the flat and over fences, Mother’s Day 2012:

This video clip shows Lily’s first free jumping school, and first time tackling an in-and-out.  I loved watching her figure things out, experiment with the striding, and learn to use her body in new, more powerful ways.  The geldings watching from the pasture were certainly impressed 😉  She cleared each fence eagerly and effortlessly, promising a great future over fences.

Back end server updates…



Updates completed! Should run quite fast now :=) Cheers! -Mark


Heads up folks… we’re going to be doing some back end upgrades to the web site over the next week or two, expect down time! Thanks! -Mark

There she goes again… Congratulations, Kirsten!

So after a long and busy summer, Kirsten jumped back into the arena Friday on Gideon’s back and cleaned up, receiving Grand Champion for her efforts… Not be outdone, she then did so again with on Sunday, and got her second Grand Champion!

Not only is her skill and talent at guiding horses amazing to watch, but Gideon’s consistent form and impressive good looks are always a joy to watch!

So, congratulations Kirsten and Gideon, back-to-back Grand Champions, teaming up again to raise (and clear!) the bar on horsemanship!!!

Congratulations, Kirsten! Stable Management Interview

Congratulations on your interview being published as part of the cover article  in June 2010’s Stable Management about keeping lesson programs fresh and exciting! Excellent read from start to finish, lots of good advice from trainers all over; and Kirsten closing out the article with “Just having permission to dream big is all people need sometimes” very well said!

I always knew you were front page material 🙂 Now, so do a lot of other people…



Shorter days, Longer trails…

Well, the SCA heavy combat practice was a huge success for us here at Almost Heaven.

The many comings and goings of people, the noise of sword on shield, the clattering armour and the cacaphony of voices went from idle curiousity to gradual boredom on the part of the horses. Nothing out of place, nothing abnormal, just a strange human custom! Radical success!

While that was happening I managed to knock out some much needed tractor maintenance. With fall about to kick in were getting antsy to get the horses and the grove ready for winter. Lots to do, lots to do.

Nothing like the change of the seasons and faltering sunset times to give a sense of urgency! Two more pastures were cleared of unwanted growth on Monday, and the trails were largely cleared last week of overgrowth… Just in time for fall leaf rides! I cant wait!

Kirsten continues to teach and train, on the farm and off, and were currently in the process of plotting out the dates and events she’ll be riding at for the next couple months… while doing her best to dodge compliment after compliment on the quality of her training and work from the various clients, customers, students, and brokers that have worked with the horses she’s trained! Google “perfect horse trainer” some time and see who comes up 🙂

As for me, My next huge project is the clearance and rebuild of the Grove fence. Ive got a few good hours of work to get 3 more fields ready for horses, then the replacement of an 1100 foot fenceline between the first and second fields will get the 5th field hot, leaving me with the hard one, the upper perimiter fence. I’ve still got some mowing to do up there, particularly in front of the downed trees there. Anything to make the tree removal easier is welcome!

Colty has grown a sufficient amount that Ive shut off the bottom lines on his field, greatly easing access through at feeding time. Gates are great, but ducking under is priceless. We may have to call him Mack though, hes built like a truck!

Lastly, Calico has a new friend, Argent. This cute grey kitten with light rings on his tail introduced himself to almost every horse on the farm one afternoon and I managed to catch it on video! Once I get it off the camera Ill post it!

Best to all,


A midsummers farm update!

I figured it was time to sit down and update the website with the goings-on here at Almost Heaven. As with all well-intentioned efforts, sometimes the hardest part is writing it all down, Particularly when youre doing it on an iPhone!

Summer has been in full swing for some time now. Kirsten has been busily teaching horses and students, on the farm and off, with a level of effort I frankly am awestruck watching.

Weve done several off-farm shows putting as many miles on Gideon, Lucy, and others as we have on the truck and trailer, it seems! Gideon has consistently shown Grand Champion and Reserve Grand Champion every time he gets off the trailer; and Lucy.. whom we now know is Light the Stage continues to impress judge and trainer alike. The two of them have been like an incredible one-two punch and have propelled Kirstens point totals into the stratosphere whilest impressing the rest of us mere mortals with the flexibility and professionalism which she carries and instills from horse to horse to horse.

Not only has she been showing our own horses, but she has also been showing and competing some of the American Warmbloods from Steffanie Simpsons White Hall Farm down the road. The two of them are actively engaged in teaching Saddlebreds the ins and outs of the traditional disciplines; building success upon incredible success; and have together a dasboard full of ribbons to speak their own mute triumph! They silently tell the tale of the trail that horses like Ollie, Fly, and the other Saddlebred Sport Horses are blazing across the panhandle!

Whats a Saddlebred doing in the show hunter ring? you ask… Winning!

My most recent project has been fenceline cleanup and some improvments to the infrastructure. Almost all of the fence on the north side has been mown an cleared on both sides with a bushog, weedwacked, and mown underneath with a push mower.

Just yesterday I replaced 1100 feet of electric fence and added some more t-posts for stability of the line, allowing us a bit more freedom if we need to run a double line down the road.

Starting next month, Ill be doing the same thing to the grove fields where we winter some of our herd. Last spring was not kind to a couple of the fence lines up there, and itll give me a chance to do some much needed maintenance ahead of fall rotations.

The waterfall in the arena has been rebuilt by Kirsten, using a beautiful shower curtain we pulled from my old house. The plants grow, the gardens grow, and thanks to myself and Mike, the rocks are shrinking! We have some spinners now to add to the wonderful wind chimes, and have amused many a happy pony with them!

The arena has been reassembled after the last big mow and we can start preparing for fall shows in earnest, the largest of which for this author will be Siege if Glengary. Weve also almost completed a free-jump area in the front paddock for teaching and excercising jumps from the ground instead of the saddle.

Were attempting to schedule some stone dust for delivery to knock a few more major items off the project list. Ive been slowly extending the t-post line up the boys perimiter field and hopefully will have that finished by fall, and can then finish up the double fence around the entire boarder area.

Some people say Im crazy for mowing all the time. But it looks sooo nice when its done, doesnt it? Two more areas to knock out today or tomorrow and the north half is done! Hurray!

Our latest adventure was a trail ride to benefit the local NM-MVH Hunt. We headed up to Shepherdstown on Saturday with Dolly and Gideon and had a wonderful morning ride, renewing old friendships and making new ones with some great people. I cant wait to do it again! Dolly was a total rockstar and settled in just fine for my first real public ride off the farm. Of course, Gideon was a complete champ about the whole day, and as for myself, I hope I made my trainer proud!!!

Thats all the news I can bear to type with one finger on an iPhone!

Best to all!


Ollie’s First Trail Class

We entered Ollie into the Trail Class on a whim.  We haven’t had the chance to school him through obstacles at home.  We saw the class as a great opportunity to work Ollie through new challenges, and to gauge his reaction to the unusual.

Ollie blew us away! He accepted each new obstacle, and stayed attentive to his rider (me!) the entire time.

Unfortunately we beat Mark, our trusty videographer, to the Trail Course.  The first obstacle was removing a letter(a feed bill perhaps?) from the mailbox and putting it back in.  Mark was still setting up as Ollie stood still, interested but relaxed, as I fumbled with the mailbox.

The video picks up as we step across the wooden bridge and progress through the 360 turn, the sidepass over a rail, and cavaletti.  We continue through the squeaky gate, the backup into a tight cluster of trees, and the trot figure eight.

Ollie continues to prove the versatility of the American Saddlebred Sport Horse.  Way to go, Ollie!

Foal Announcement

Happy April Foals Day!  Luna the mystery mare gave birth to a strapping colt in the wee hours of the morning. Mama and baby are hale and hearty.

The colt is a Gypsy Sport Horse by Jack Flash, a registered tri-color stallion inported from the UK.  He is a beautiful chestnut tobiano color with a chanfron-shaped blaze (the chanfron is the face armor used by medieval knights on their horses).  He already needs to crouch to nurse.  He’s gonna be a tank!

We look forward to a fun future of trail riding, medieval reenacting, dressage, eventing, fox chasing and adventuring, based on a natural horsemanship foundation.

Welcome to the world, wee little colt!

newborn gypsy sport horse colt


A warm welcome to our new boarders!  Kelly and Claudio, her two-year old Dutch warmblood/ Oldenburg gelding, and Mercedes and Bing, her 3-year old QH/ Dutch warmblood gelding, have joined our farm family.  It’s great to have you with us!