My First Foaling Experience

Rainbow Bridge






Since you are here visiting us Virtually, I thought that you might like to get a look around the Ranch.  :)

We moved here around 4 years ago from a small down by the Capital of Montana, Helena.  The little town is called Townsend and it was a LITTLE town.  The entire county consisted of only 3,000 people and the counties in Montana are HUGE.

There in Townsend we owned 3 acres of the whole 10 acre place.  My Grandmother and Uncle owned the rest.  There were two houses and a barn on the place.  The barn, of course, was on our 3 acres.  

In 2009 I lost both my Uncle and my Grandmother.  At the time we had 23 horses and REALLY needed a larger place for all of them to live comfortably and happily.  Thus started an almost year long search for just the "RIGHT" place.  We finally found it here in Vaughn.

Our mailing address is "Vaughn", but we actually live 15 miles from Vaughn.  Because of the county we are in we have the Vaughn mailing address.  We actually live right above the little town of Sun River.  I know... a little confusing isn't it?

After searching for so long we finally found this place and fell right in love with it.  It was perfectly suited for our needs though it had been a cattle operation prior to us purchasing it.

The only draw back was that the house was really small.  I'm talking under 1,000 Square Feet.  After having lived in a 1,600 Square Foot Home... 936 Square Feet was SMALL.  But we didn't let that stop me because, after all, we were buying the place for the "HORSES", not us.  Our plan is to either add on to the house or tear it down and build a new one once we get the place in Townsend sold.  Then "WE" will have plenty of room too... not just the horses.

We sit back off the road about a 1/2 mile.  2 other people are along our driveway and share an easement with us for the driveway.  We are surrounded by other ranchers on all sides.  2 raise Quarter Horses, 3 raise cattle, another raises crops though the 3 cattle people raise crops as well.  It is very peaceful and quiet here without automobile noise and horns honking all the time like it is in the city.  You hear only the birds tweeting and once in a while the cows lowing or the horses whinnying.  Oh yes... I almost forgot we do hear our dogs barking at unknown things as well.  Hehehe.

There is an abundance of wild life here as well.  We have a TON of Cottontail Rabbits that used to be scared to death of us when we moved here, but have since come to trust us and will hop right next to us.  The are Richardson Ground Squirrels which are really just a small version of the Prairie Dogs we have here in Montana, a Fox that has her kit every year in a burrow that she made in the side of the irrigation ditch and once in a while you will see a Deer pass through but they never stay long.

We also have Coyotes.  Rarely do we see the same one[s] more than a handful of times as the neighbors shoot and kill them.  But they don't bother us as they have never attempted to hurt the horses or the dogs.  I enjoy them and they will pass with-in 10' of us as they know we will not hurt them.  Cody, our dog, will go out to play with them.  Though it is rather a mock play as they just jump and run at each other and never actually touch.  Once they get tired they will lay beside each separated by about 3 feet.  Eventually the Coyote[s] will move on about their way.

There is a plethora of birds here of all kinds.  We have Robins, Wrens, Meadowlarks, Red Winged Blackbirds, Barn Swallows, Pigeons, Gulls, Sand Hill Crane, Mag Pies, Crows, Owls [We hear them at night, but have never seen one], Long-Billed Curlews, Killdeer and Mourning Doves.  There is one that lives right outside the bedroom window and you can hear his mournful sound all day long.  In addition we have game birds like Ring-Necked Pheasants [a TON of them here as we don't shoot them and they know they are safe], Hungarian Partridge, Canadian Geese, Ducks of all kinds including Mallards and Canvas Backs.  We do have your usual Hawks, Eagles and Falcons.  Though White Swans are reported to come by twice a year we have only seen them one time in the pond.

Montana has many, many species of birds, but since I'm talking about our place I have only listed the ones I have seen here.  In our travels around Montana and to and from town we have seen many other types including Bald Eagles.  We have seen them many times and what a treat they are to witness since at one time they were on the endangered list.  What regal bird they are.

And we have snakes... yes... I know there are snakes everywhere.  We have 3 kinds that we have seen on the place itself.  One day there was a HUGE Garter Snake in the barn that must have been close to 5' long.  AMAZING to think that a Garter Snake could get that big.  It wasn't a fluke either as while out changing the irrigation my husband saw another huge one that was as big as the one in the barn if not bigger.  We also have Bull Snakes and when you just get a glance of one of them you think they are a Rattlesnake so it throws you for a loop until you realize that it isn't.  It is actually good to have them around as they kill the Rattlesnakes.  So there is no harming them around here.

And now that I have mentioned "Rattlesnakes"... yes, we DO have them on the place.  So far fortunately in 4 years we have only seen one and that was a Scary experience for my husband.  We have the Prairie Rattlers which are the least venomous of all the snakes in the US, but they are VERY aggressive and sometimes do NOT rattle.  My husband was out checking the irrigation and was walking along the dike.  He was NOT looking down at where he was walking as he was checking to see how the water was doing.  He just happened to look down and right in front of him was a coiled up Rattlesnake.  It had NOT rattled and he almost stepped on it.  He had nothing to kill it with so he got on of the rocks that hold the irrigation dam in place and killed it that way.  WOW!  That scared me to death and Thank Goodness I have yet to see one personally and I sure as heck hope that I never do.

Our ranch consists of 75 acres.  The driveway to the house, barns, etc is 1/2 mile long.  The front pasture which borders that driveway is 17 acres with a pond.  The pond is man made and is used for our neighbors Wheel Line Irrigation.  Our horses also drink from it while on the pasture.  The pond houses all the various water birds as well.

We have a 40 acre hay field that is in bad need of replanting.  The Alfalfa in it is just about gone  as it is 29 years old now.  It has needed replanting for a decade or more, but the cost is $15,000+ and we just don't have the money to do it.  We do irrigate it every year and get one cutting of hay off of it.  It is about 80% Grass hay and 20% Alfalfa hay.  The grass is made up of several different types of grasses that are very nutritious and good for our horses.  Along about late September, early October we put the horses out there.

Right now we Flood Irrigate.  It does OK, but not as good as a Wheel Line would do.  We have plans of putting in a Wheel Line once we get our place in Townsend sold and have the money to do it.  That will be much easier on my husband plus give us better water coverage for the field.  The dikes in the field are worn down a lot so the water doesn't stay in a steady path and thus parts of the field never get hit with the water.  We'll be able to get a much better hay crop once we get the Wheel Line in.

There are two very LARGE corrals for the stallions.  Off of each corral there is a small pasture of a few acres that the stallions are turned out on during the spring and summer.  There is another few acre pasture which extends from one of the corrals to the new barn corral.  In front of the house is about a 5 acres pasture that connects to a 3rd corral.  This corral and pasture is used for the bred mares to foal in.  The mares and foals come into the new barn once they foal for a few weeks to be worked with and then they are turned out onto the front pasture.

We have a small barn between the stud corrals for hay storage for the studs.  They each have a large area of overhang or 3 sided loafing shed in order to be able to get out of the weather during the winter.  There is an automatic heated waterer that waters the mares and one stallion.  The other corral has an automatic heated waterer for the other stud.  Thus they have plenty of fresh water all year round.

There is another sort of barn next to the new barn.  It is quite large, 80 x 60.  It is 3 sided and open in the front.  We have sectioned it off.  2/3rd's is used for storage of lumber, building materials and fencing materials as well as our Hay elevator.  The other third is for the horses to get into for shelter from the sun and the inclement weather in winter.  There is a HUGE corral in front of the barn and a slightly smaller one behind and to the side of the barn.  We also have an automatic heated waterer there as well.

Our last barn is my dream barn... the brand new one that we had built for the horses in 2010. It is huge and works perfectly for us.  The barn is 96 x 60'.  One long side is where we put the hay and straw for the stalls.  There is about a 12' aisle way when it is full between the hay and the stalls.  We have 5 stalls with a Tack Room in the middle.  Each stall and the Tack Room are 20 x 16' which gives the mares and babies plenty of room to move around.

The Tack Room is used as a Tack Room and Office.  One of the 20' sides is the Office part.  The rest is for our tack.  We have a refrigerator out there stocked with Pop for our customers, a Microwave and a Coffee Pot.  We'd be happy to brew you up a pot of coffee while we sit and chat a bit.  And yes... we do have chairs in there for you to sit down on.  :)

There is a double sliding door in the front that is large enough to accommodate bringing any size trailer into.  When we train the babies to load we back our 20' Stock Trailer right through the doors and close them against it to keep them from escaping around the sides.  On the side we have a regular house door to make it easy for us to get in and out.  Next to that we have a smaller single sliding door big enough to get the tractor and John Deere Gator in and out and the horses as well with ease.

The barn is lighted by Fluorescent lighting.  We installed Arctic Light fixtures and use the Arctic light bulbs.  The winters here get very cold... below ZERO a lot of the time.  These Arctic lights are guaranteed to light at 30 Below Zero.  They have never failed us.  We have a water hydrant right in the barn for ease of watering and drinking water for us as well.  It is right next to the Tack Room in the middle so a 50' hose works nicely to water all the stalls.

Each stall has a Dutch Door in the front and the back.  We can leave the top doors open without having to have the bottoms open.  My husband built a "Foal Safe" corral around the back of the barn, down both sides and extending out past the barn on the sides.  It is made of 2 x 6's and covered with 2" x 4" rectangle welded wire.  No babies can get hurt on barbed wire nor can they get their hooves through the holes and injure themselves.  After a few days the mares and foals are turned out into the corral to run around and get exercise.  Each stall has a grain feeder in it as well as a hay feeder and a water trough.

The stalls have the bars in the front and on the doors.  There is a feed slot in each where the Grain Feeder is for convenience in feeding.  My husband can just toss the food in without having to open the doors.  He also waters there as well.  We can close the top door over the feed slot from the stall next to the stall we are using when we are weaning the babies to prevent them from trying to jump out.

We have numerous other buildings on the place.  There is a small Guest House, a two Car Garage, a Large Shop that my husband LOVES as he has room for all his tools and such, a small Heated Exercise Room that we haven't used yet, a small heated building that the previous owners used as an Office which we don't need as we have the one in the barn so it's not used yet, a Root Cellar for food storage and another small building for storage that we are using.  We also have an Outhouse.  Hehehe.

There are 2 wells on the place.  One well serves half the place and the other one serves the other half.  They are both very low Gallons per Minute, but they have done the job so far.  There are many hydrants around the place so that is nice.  One of the wells has a old fashioned Hand Pump hooked to it as well so that we can still pump water should the electric pump stop working in a power outage.  There is a garden space and a Green House that we don't use.

Our house is surrounded by Old Growth Cottonwood Trees.  They provide a lot of shade which keeps the house pretty cool even in very hot weather.  We do have a window Air Conditioner that we use a couple weeks each year, but not a lot.  There is a very long row of Lilac Bushes behind the house and one in front of the house.  We've got a few other types of flowers around the house and in the yard as well.

The fencing on the place was absolutely deplorable when we moved here.  The fences were Barbed Wire and it was so rusty that almost a slight touch would break it.  The fences had been patched and mended numerous times.   Where the patches were there was wire sticking out and not wrapped neatly so as to prevent a horse poking it's eye out.

The first thing we did was have a contractor put in a new fence all around the front pasture. That fence was the worst of them all so we did it first.  We used Barbless Wire.  It will still cut if they get caught up in it, but not nearly as bad as if it was Barbed Wire.  Next my husband spent close to a week painstakingly going around the entire place and wrapping all the wires so that none of the horses could injure themselves on the wires sticking out.  He also tightened the wires the best he could and replaced ALL the broken posts.  They are better than they were, but they still need to be replaced as we get the money.

Well, that's about all I can think of to tell you about the place.  Below is a Drop Down Menu.  The links will take you to the various pages of the things that I talked about above so that you can actually see them.  The Menu will be placed on all the pages so that you do not have to return here in order to move on to the next page.

Rick and Pam
Regal Paints
14th Lane
Vaughn, MT 59487
[406] 788-5775

PLEASE NOTE:  I just started this page so most of the links in the menu below
are not working as the pages are not done yet.  As I get a page done I will make the link active.
Feel free to check back from time to time to check out the new pages that are done.  :)

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