Archive for the Category ◊ Trips & Activities ◊

• Saturday, November 27th, 2010

Ashton and Anna finally made it back to a Delphi Alumni Weekend together. It was great seeing all the old friends and meeting the new kids who make up the new generation of Delphi Students. It’s only been 6 years since I graduated, but there were were a couple seniors (or recent graduates) who I actually supervised/taught when they were 3 feet tall. It was amazing seeing how these little children have grown up. Here’s a picture blog of some of the great events:


The party started with Volleyball. Where Cesar and his Lady Dragons beat us 3 to 1:

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• Friday, November 19th, 2010

Although I work with Front Sight, I rarely have time to take a course. I took my first two-day defensive handgun course around 2002. Then I took my wife out for a two-day defensive handgun course in 2008. I finally made it back in 2010; this time for a (mid-week) four-day defensive handgun course!

Unfortunately, almost none of my friends made it. The only one who made it go right to come to the class with me was Emily, a friend of a friend who I hadn’t actually met in person before. It could have been much more awkward than it actually was; but turned out great. The only real awkwardness was that everyone in the class assumed we were dating or married.

We got to Front Sight ridiculously early in the morning, and stood in a surprisingly fast “sign-in” line. We got our firearms checked out and went into for our introduction speech.

Then we went off to our Ranges. We started on Range #14; which is part of the semi-new ranges at Front Sight.

Of course, the Front Sight Staff demonstrated the things we would be learning before we learned them (which they did amazingly perfect).

We shot a couple hundred rounds the first couple days, including some simulated bad guy posters:

We had wonderful weather and some fabulous sunsets at range 14.

Even though it was a mid week course (Monday-Thursday), there were around 350 students there. The parking area seemed to extend forever.

For the speed tests, we used targets that would turn away from you after the allotted time. Here’s Emily getting a round off at the last possible second (as the signs turned away):

We also learned some basic movement tactics for going through a doorway. (Side Note: If you every go to a shooting class like Front Sight don’t bring scratched glasses for eye protection. The extra blurriness is not helpful.)

At the very end of the four-day defensive handgun there is a “skills test” that tests the speed you perform all of the things you learned at Front Sight. It was much harder than I expected it would be for me. I did manage to sneak in a “Graduate Certificate” which about 5-7 of the 40 students got. We had one “Distinguished Graduate” in the class.

Here’s me getting my cert and with the Front Sight Instructors:

I have pages I’d love to write about my experience at Front Sight. The course was fun, entertaining, yet very disciplined. Lunch was taken in a room with 300 other “armed-to-the-teeth” students, and it felt like any normal lunch. The Instructors were really amazing. The drills were very repetitive, but the instructors remained enthusiastic, funny and alert.

Probably the most impressive part of the weekend was the Q&A session during one of the lunch breaks. Students were asking all sorts of questions, and Wes answered them all simply and plainly. There was no dodging of questions or any games.

I can’t wait to go back (with Anna this time)!

• Friday, December 25th, 2009

Ashton and AnnaWe have survived another year in Northern Montana!

To the right, you can see Liana (pregnant Trakehner mare), Anna, Ashton and Maple Pancake in front of our house.

Our ranch is still keeping us very occupied. We planted another 15 baby trees just in case we run out of oxygen. 😉 We added 500 feet of underground water pipes to add 4 hydrants all around our property.

The largest project we have done to date was building a new “Epic Barn!” With the help of many great neighbors and friends, we took down and rebuilt this 1000+ sq ft barn! Ashton's Barn(You can see endless details on our AshtonAnna Blog. )

Anna’s Top Priority Trakehners is doing great. Liana (above) is pregnant (due 2010). They also purchased a new Trakehner named Elbe: an imported mare from Germany. She had a small meeting with Trakhener Breeders from Idaho and Montana, plus a special guest, Dr. Maren Engelhardt, a breeder from Germany.

Anna went for a 3 week apprenticeship with a Trakhner breeding farm in Florida and started showing the first horse she bred: Ossette.

On the nerd front, Ashton found a great group of web programmers in Montana. He has done a few presentations on topics like CSS and Search Engine Optimization. He’s learned a lot and found some more great friends.

Ashton’s Websites in a Flash business is still doing great, starting out the year with a brand new website re-design and another consistent highest-ever income year. The more he learns, the more he realizes that the learning curve for web developers never really ends.

Here’s a collection of my favorite posts from 2009:

Sledding on our neighbor’s hill

ATV 306’s on Ice

First 2009 Spring Grub Club

Epic Barn Project Begins

Digging a Moat around our house

Epic Barn Completed

Ashton and Anna

• Thursday, May 07th, 2009

I recently took a very exciting trip for almost 3 weeks to Valhalla Farms in Wellborn, Florida. This was my first time to Florida and to Jean Brinkman’s 600 acre farm.

Valhalla Farms

As a lot of you know I breed a type of horse called a Trakehner which is a Warmblood horse originating from Prussia. Jean Brinkman has been breeding Trakehners since the early 70’s and helped start the American Trakehner Association (ATA), which is amazing! I met Jean in November of 2008 at the ATA annual meeting in Los Angeles which I attended with a few of my horses. I told Jean I knew I had a lot more to learn about the breed and she very kindly invited me to come to her farm to learn. After I got home from Los Angeles I figured out the best time to go down there and arranged the trip with her.

Erin Brinkman & Imminence

Erin Brinkman & Imminence

I was gone from April 3rd – 21st and had an amazing time! Flying into Florida was the only horrible part about the trip. I left Montana at 9:00 am and didn’t arrive in Jacksonville until 5:00 am the next day due to the storms over Jacksonville. I stayed in a hotel at the airport and got maybe 5-6 hours of sleep then took a shuttle to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center to meet Jean and her Dressage trainers who were competing for the weekend. It was definitely a great introduction to the trip seeing the talented horses and riders from Valhalla at their best.

Iris & Aura

Iris & Aura

Competing for the weekend was Erin Brinkman on Imminence a young newly approved stallion owned by her mother Jean. Erin was also there with two of her dressage students so I was able to watch her coach them and compete on one of the horses. She placed 1st in all of her classes for the weekend which was very impressive! Also competing for the weekend was Iris Eppinger and her working student Anna Franklin. Iris was riding Prix St George on one of Jean’s mares Aura and did very well! Iris also rode a client’s horse Etoile who was purchased from Jean and the owner kept the horse in training at Valhalla. Anna rode her horse Walden at 1st and 2nd Level and won 1st place. To say the least there were a lot of blue ribbons hanging around our stalls.

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• Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

A cool thing about our property is that half of it is pretty steep 20+ degrees, and the other half is almost completely flat. This allows for lots of different activities. Well, that melt off that I mentioned in my last post drained down our steep hill and made a small pond in the middle of our “flat pasture.” And the latest cold snap has frozen the pond into a small ice pond.

If you’re interested in more back story: The previous owners lived in our current house for 1 year. The winter that they were here, the father had this great idea of dragging his children behind his vehichle on a tarp. I bet they had a blast, and it ended up killing a lot of the grass in a long strip. So now we have a fairly flat, slightly lower strip of land going through the middle of our pasture. It was this strip that now is home to our frozen puddle.

I think that’s enough details to enjoy our video. Donald and I (Ashton) took our friend’s ATV out into the pasture and had some fun:

Ashton on the ATV

Ashton on the ATV

Here’s the video we made:

(If you don’t watch the entire video, watch Rosco (our dog) at 2:20.)

Wahoo! What a blast!