Now, October 20th we are with our son Eric & family in Hampshire, Illinois at Morning Light Stables

Hampshire, with a population of about 3,000, is located about 51 miles W by NW of Chicago. Eric & Diane's Morning Light Stables is about 7 miles south of the town of Hampshire.
Actually just a few miles away is Burlington - the closest town.

We have arrived , parked, plugged in & set up at Eric & Diane's place.
Jean learning what's new from Brandon

A view of the (from left) indoor riding arena, horse barn, and home.
Retention pond in the foreground.

Again - from the left - indoor riding arena, horse barn, hay barn & home
from the paddock area.

The outdoor riding arena ...

... and in use.

Scotch, Viking and Apple romping in a paddock...

The west row of stalls

The east row.
They now have 26 horses in residence. The operation has grown considerably since our visit last year.
To see our 2008 visit - Click here

The indoor arena viewing room - from the inside...

...and looking in from the arena.

The mechanics (some of it) for the floor (& building) heating system for the horse barn.

The indoor wash area.

One of two tack rooms

Right near the entrance - a defibrillator in case of an emergency.
Close up below.


Jean learning about the definite nutritional differences between the first, second and third
cuttings of hay from Brandon and Diane.

Throughout the barn are security camera's (see above, black box with light) so they can check all of the aisles.
They also offer individual camera's for each owner's horse, so they can log on to the
Internet from home to check on their horse anytime they wish.

The fire alert, sensor & notification drawing.

Eric, grooming the indoor arena for an event this evening.

Looking once again, at our temporary home on the hill.

Michelle's ribbon collection


This evening an instructor is on site for some jumping practice for several of the owners - and their horses.




The gates are 12' apart - the activity is called "Bounce Jumping"

This owner is jumping with arms outstretched to train her body to "go with the flow" and perfect her balance.



Come morning, and the horses are out in their paddock's grazing.

From side to side - the paddock's are occupied.


"Saddle Up" - an owner's plate.

They now have a daily "mucking" service - which lightens
 their load - now with all the horses they have to take care of.
Here a wheel barrow is dumped into a spreader.

A new horse arrives ...

The indoor arena - now has ...

... Brandon riding "Charlie"

Taking a riding lesson.


Michelle grooming her horse "Scotch" and ...

... showing Grandma some of the face markings on Scotch.

Diane assisting Eric putting together a new stall.

However, the stall manufacturer neglected to ship the wood slats for the stall.

So the company had to pay for the overnight shipping of the wood.

So - the unloading begins.

All hands assisting...

Now - to install them.

After a dinner out ...


It's back to work installing the wood for the stall sides.


Just about completed, and ready for another boarding horse.


David has the evening feeding routine down pat.

The three "mousers" on the pay roll.

Another aspect of stable life - the Ferrier visits.

After many days of rain, finally some sun - with a wind chill in the 30's - some local
hay is delivered.

The local crop has been very poor this year - poor growing weather - damp


Moving the large bale into position within the hay barn.

These large bales contain 21 "regular" sized bales.

Brandon on top of the hay pile with one of the working cats - mousers.

At 2:45 am Sunday, a semi-truck load of 520 bales of 2nd cutting Timothy Hay from Kentucky arrives.

At daybreak he is guided back down toward the hay barn.

Cut it a little close - but it was tight turn


Brandon and the driver guiding it into position.

Removing the protective tarps...

...are Brandon and the driver.

Folding them up...

Branding watching how to roll up the straps... now Brandon takes over the job.

Hauling off ...

...and folding

...the tarps

Now ready to back into the barn...

With Brandon's assistance, of course.


Unloading the 50 pound bales.
Only 519 to go.

All of the bales are off loaded....

Now its back to Kentucky.
Weather permitting, perhaps another load next weekend.

Brandon has a school project. Who would be a good choice to hit around in a Piņata at a school party?
The choice - a donkey shaped Piņata with the face of a certain former Illinois Governor.

One of the boarders took the time to donate and place a fall decorative collection by the stables front door.


Our last evening - the Morning Light Stables crew.
Front: Brandon
Then on L to R: Michelle, David, Eric, Danny & Diane

A hard working family - making a success of the stables!

As we leave the Morning Light Stables we see the moisture collection during our stay here.
Of course it was raining quite hard as we packed up - so more is on the way.

On Monday, October 26th we again head west toward Iowa, Nebraska, then down toward Texas.