Horses Trips & Activities

My Trip to Valhalla Farms

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.

Horses Montana Ranch Snow Work

First Montana Thaw and Website Updates

After the horrible winter weather we had in December, January was pretty mild. We had a couple below zero weeks, but there wasn’t any snow or wind or anything else that would be considered “bad weather.”

I finally was getting used to all the snow. I was hoping to get 3-6 feet drifts, like we got last January… and it starts to thaw… Normally it doesn’t thaw until March or April, but our south-facing hill has been without snow for weeks already.

I saw the sun setting and decided to take a ride up our hill to see what kind of pictures I could get.

In this first one you can see the Mission Mountains and a series of sledding paths that we created in December and January. 😉

Ashton Anna Home and Montana Mountains

Here’s a shot of our house and Bo, the extremely “skiddish” Wild Mustang.

Ashton Anna Home and Montana Mountains

Here’s Jett (Carol’s other wild mustang) in his new head shot with a nice backdrop.

Animals Chickens Ducks Horses Mocha Ranch Rosco

A Winter Morning

We woke up this morning as we always do, and we went out to feed the animals. This time I brought a camera to take pictures of all of the ridiculous animals.

Because of the weather, we’ve been keeping the below three horses in the “large paddock.” Today, we let them out to run around in the field. They ran around for a good 10 minutes.
Ashton Anna's Horses

Ashton Anna's Horses
From left to right is Maple, Onora and Aspen.

While I was out in the pasture I took a picture of our house in the snow:
Ashton Anna's House


Liana Chasing Food

I put a bail of hay on the back of the four-wheeler, and drove out into the middle of our field just to be chased by Liana.

(I wasn’t going to post this as it’s really hard to keep the camera still, but it was funny so I couldn’t help it.)


Animals Ashton Anna Horses

Baby Mustange Gets Pet

Update: Our baby mustang now has a name: Maple (or pancake for short).

So as I mentioned before, babies pick up a lot from their mother, and it just so happens that Aspen is scared to death of humans. So when momma freaks out and walks away from “those two-legged creatures” the baby follows. But today, 7 days after Maple’s birth, Anna got to show Maple the goodness of scratching:
Ashton Anna's Foal
Ashton Anna's Foal

As you can tell, Maple just loves getting scratched. Near the end of the video she even tries to jump on Anna cause she loves her so much… go figure. =]

On a similar note; earlier today, Maple had a huge burst of energy and did sprints around her pen. She ran all the way over to the hay shed, and back, and around her pen. I wasn’t fast enough with the camera =(