Webmaster Dawn Lanning ©March 2013
Sharing Trail Experiences
2013 DOG SEASON
We had a great start to our season this year giving rides to family visitors over the Holidays from all over the US and even around the globe— London, Grenada, Australia, Switzerland, Germany, Guatemala & Japan! What a uniquely Minnesotan way to entertain family and friends! January was slow with yet another season with no snow here in the Twin Cities but fortunately there was snow at the Boy Scout camp for our weekend programs and they even added a seventh weekend to our schedule. The rides cancelled locally in January have been made up for by our extended season in March and we are running on some of the best trail we’ve had all season long now!
All of the dogs have done great this season and I have been especially impressed with our puppy team! This was the first season in harness for Bugsy, Hachi, Joker and Cocoa. They will be two in April and they are AWESOME! I can see why many mushers are partial to Alaskan Huskies, they can sure add some speed to a team! They ran with my Lyla and Boo in front for much of the season but Hachi & Bugsy have moved into the lead now and are doing wonderfully. Throw their dad, Zep, Angel or Snowball in there and they are FLYING!
Next year we will have another puppy team— an all white Siberian team that just turned a year this month, Samson, Smoky, Sally, Stella and Rocky, along with a couple of other R/W pups, Reba & Rudy from our December litter. We are rebuilding our teams knowing that I have a number of dogs ready to retire. I will be trying to place some of my retirees in good homes. Sammy, Avalanche, Gizmo, Yazzi and Nike all deserve to retire to a couch with lots of belly rubs. Watch our FB page for details as I will be pretty particular about where these guys go! I am hoping Donder, Blitzen and Thora go home with Heidi this year—they also deserve to retire and have always belonged to her. Kasper and Kato will most likely retire as well but would be lost outside of the kennel.
ANOTHER NEW ADDITION
Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday to me—we got a new truck or at least the closest thing I have ever had to any kind of a new vehicle. We needed a second truck this season to schedule rides and demos here locally while we were at the scout camp in Rice Lake, WI on weekends. We actually bought an older plow truck in late November for the season but two weeks into driving it we ran into tranny problems! Frustrated, I decided to bite the bullet and take on the expense of a nice truck! A 2006 4x4 diesel F450 dually with a crew cab and flat bed with only 54,000 miles on it. It drives and rides like a dream and MUCH quieter than old faithful.
OVERWHELMING SUPPORT FOR HHH
I owe a BIG THANK YOU to all of our supporters over the last few months. In August one person in the township that is not even remotely a neighbor filed a complaint stating that our day camps were in violation of township ordinances. In response, I applied to have the ordinances amended to include “agricultural related education and animal assisted therapy” be an allowed use of agricultural properties. Agritourism, educational and therapeutic programs are a viable means for families to keep their farms by diversifying their income especially in outlying urban areas and on marginal land. It supports sustainable communities by providing a variety of opportunities and services for the entire community and economic stability for the area. Support for this amendment was overwhelming filling the town hall for the public hearing on January 24th in addition to over twenty letters and emails sent prior to and after the public hearing. We had our Special Olympics families supporting us, Boy Scouts, MN Trail Riders Association, MN Horse Council, MN Stable Owners Association, even several other stable owners in the area that many would consider to be my competitors along with residents that had no particular interest except that it was the right thing to do. I was disappointed that the town board failed to approve my requested amendment but instead did their own amendment adding language for limited use permits. I would have preferred they just put in language making these services an allowed use rather than a “permitted” use. A permit can be challenged on the whim of one resident with a grudge and add a significant cost, $450 plus an unspecified escrow amount for any other expenses, to operations that are already strapped with a very low profit margin — it is a good thing we love what we do! However, this problem is not unique to HHH and the MN Stable Owners & MN Horse Council are lobbying for legislation that would add this language to state statutes to protect the horse industry in Minnesota but for now we start the Ravenna Township permit process…
The other biggest item of news for this update would be the cost of HAY because it has such a big affect on everything we do! On average a horse should be fed 20-25 lbs of hay a day or in general terms 1/2 a small square of hay per horse per day for 25-30 horses (15 small squares a day here at HHH). Last year I bought my small squares @ $3/bale, now because of the drought we are in, not only do you really have to work at FINDING hay but you now PAY for it too. The last load that went in the hay shed was $6/bale and that was a deal—locally they are going for $8/bale. That is a 100% increase in the most basic and largest portion of expense here at HHH! Other increases seen this year include meat from $.25/lb to $.30/lb (20% increase on 60 lbs fed per day), fee restructuring for insurance liabilities, dog food and feed in general and you all know what fuel prices have done. Again nothing unique to HHH but something good to know — thus an increase in our fees for the year.
2013 HORSE SEASON
While it may not look like it— we are rapidly heading for horse season and honestly I am looking forward to it. I am partial to dog season just because it is so unique and I can dress for the weather, I melt in the heat but I am getting pretty tired of all of this ice!
We already have a number of kids signed up for our day camps and are offering discounts for early online registration right now! We have also had a number of calls for trail rides and are looking forward to seeing some of the same families we met this winter. We have several new boarders, lessees, and students working on shedding horses and getting that spring fling out of their horses.
Registration for our Special Olympics Athletes is April 29th and we are hoping to expand to 16 athletes this year. Orientation for our volunteers will be on May 6th & 8th with our first sessions starting the following week. If interested in participating or volunteering contact Laura for more information.
I am hoping to work with a couple of Boy Scout troops or maybe even a Girl Scout troop on their horsemanship merit/activity badges. We will do two sessions here at HHH and then plan a weekend camping trip with the horses to complete the requirements. If interested be sure to call me to discuss.
A NEW SERVICE AVAILABLE
Steve and I got married on the farm here in August 2011 and I still get comments about the wedding which was all done on horseback and uniquely our wedding. While we can not, nor are we interested in offering up the farm as a wedding venue, I am offering a new service this season — we will bring the wedding to you. I will be getting my license as an ordained officiant. If you want to get married on horse back on your favorite trail, I will ride with you and your select guests and witnesses to that special spot and perform your ceremony the way you want it! If you have your own horses—Great! If not, I can provide the horses for a small group as well. How cool to get married at the springs at the end of the trail in Forestville State Park, the overlook at Zumbro Bottoms or Hay Creek, the prairie of Afton State Park, or maybe even on a dog sled! I think this will be fun—getting paid for a day of riding in God’s beauty and sharing in one of the happiest days in people’s lives—does it get any better than that?
Our calendar is filling up and be sure to watch our FB page for updates. I am going to try to stay up to date on some themed posts— Marvelous Monday—inspirational quotes, pictures or stories to start the week off, Retro Tuesday—dig up old photos to reminisce, Whinny Wednesday—featured horse @ HHH, Thrifty Thursday—find a good deal or post a deal here @HHH, Fido Friday—featured dog here @ HHH, Super Saturday—local event, activity or park for weekend ideas, Sunday Special—what is special to me, to you?
I am excited for our new season!