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It’s been a beautiful Spring here at the farm and there’s lots of new life everywhere. The grass and hay are thick and green, and we have dozens and dozens of new chicks, ducks, and other animals that have been born here on the farm... I’ll share more about soon. But the one new baby we’re most excited about is Liberty. She’s our brand new Palomino filly who’s just over a week old.

Our journey to Liberty started more than seven years ago on Joey’s 40th birthday when she, Indy, and I were spending a lot of time in Newnan, GA. Joey was going through multiple rounds of chemo and radiation at a Cancer hospital there and it had been a very, very hard summer... things future-wise for Joey weren’t looking good. Although she’d been battling cancer for more than a year, it had returned that past June with a vengeance. The recent difficult surgery she’d endured, along with all the other treatments didn’t seem to be helping. As Joey’s birthday approached, I felt the urgency to try to help make a long-time dream of hers come true, while there was still time. So in September 2015, at a party for her in the front yard of the farmhouse, I gave Joey a horse for her birthday - two actually - that some good friends of ours from Texas had provided for us.

Their names were Ria and Moon and although she only got to ride them once, about two weeks later, it was a thrill for her to know they were hers and a welcome addition to our little farm and lives.

For the next few years, the horses remained here at the farm and had a nice life. In time, Moon began having health issues and made her way to our friend Danny Smith’s farm to keep his horse company. The Schoolhouse got a little white pony named Casper for the kids to take rides on and be with Ria.

This past Spring, after Indy and I watched the sweet movie Dream Horse one night, I began to wonder if our mare Ria could have a foal of her own. So I called our friends Ray and Linda in Texas, and their trainer Chico, and they said of course she could. Fast forward a month or so, and we came up with a plan to have a little foal of our own here at the farm.

And one pretty day last May, we took Ria to be bred at the Tennessee Equine Clinic (where Joey used to work when I met her) with a buckskin quarter horse named Buck. This video is from when we took a school trip to pick her up and since then we’ve all been very excited about what the following Spring was going to bring. In January, we pulled Ria off our fescue grass and moved her and Casper to a dry lot on the other side of the farm. By early April we began making trips to the barn late each night and zero-dark-thirty each morning, just to keep an eye on her and her progress.

About a week ago, I had to travel to Texas for a couple of days and was worried that I might miss the birth, but the very next morning after I got back, we rode over and checked on her at 5 am and all was still fine. But at 7:30 am, I got a call from Zach who said that Ria was in labor, and within minutes we were there, watching one of the most beautiful miracles of God happen.

We’ve never had a horse foal born here before and were uneasy about the whole process, and even though it was Ria’s first time, she handled it like a champ, and within a few minutes, little Liberty was on the ground, breathing on her own, and trying to stand.

We called our dear friends Dennis and Mary Traywick who came over and helped us. Dennis helped Liberty stand up for the first time and get the hang of nursing. He and I stayed in the stall with Ria and her baby for about an hour, then toweled Libby off real good and left her to bond with her Mama.

On Saturday, we moved Ria and Liberty to our main horse paddock here by the house, and they are so happy, being there reunited with Casper our big, little white pony. They’re only a few yards from the farmhouse now and are close enough to see from almost every window, which makes us want to go out and spend time with them. Especially little Liberty who’s already learned how to run and buck and call out to her mama whenever she’s upset or hungry.

I so wish Joey were here for this moment. She would’ve so loved it. I can’t help but think of her when I see our new little foal and think of her love for horses and of her 40th birthday. Indy and I are excited to watch Liberty grow, teach, and train her.

The rest of our family here at the farm and the kids at the schoolhouse have fallen in love with her too, and we all keep saying we’ve never seen a baby so beautiful before. That is until a couple of days ago, when our mama sow had baby piglets… but I’ll save that for another story in another blog.

- rory


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