It was a beautiful Spring day on California’s central coast. The horses were groomed, the pastures mowed, and all the preparations for the party were in place. The day was expertly managed by party planner, Melanie Knowlton. The turn out was even better than hoped…and at 10:00 in the morning 70-90 neighbors, friends and Morgan horse enthusiasts began arriving for the Merriewold “Open Barn” to celebrate the wonderful new horse facility.
You were first greeted by the smiling faces of Don and Diana. Beaming with pride as they welcomed you to the ranch… you knew you had arrived at a very special place.
Then after signing the guestbook, you were treated to a table all laid out with information on the day’s events and even a handsomely created Merriewold pen and notepad party gift! This was especially useful in writing down the names of all the beautiful horses you fell in love with that day, or the names and numbers of all the new friends you made!
Tables were eloquently set under shading umbrellas where guests could sit to enjoy a delicious catered lunch, a refreshing drink and great conversation. Everyone enjoyed the opportunity to discuss all matter of topics from their shared love of the Morgan horse to the new Merriewold foals, the impressive new training and horse facilities, the impeccably groomed grounds and all the events of the day. As the very talented band entertained in the background, the horses charmed all the guests passing by. Noses hung over the fence with big inquisitive eyes taking in all the new faces and activity.
Jackie Brittain, Merriewold’s Trainer, mingled with the guests and shared her vast equine knowledge. Jackie works so closely with the horses her bond with them was evident when she spoke. Her reining, jumping and training area was smoothly raked for guests to enjoy playing several games like horseshoes. As you continued down the red rock road… you passed more of the yearling pastures with carefully placed name plaques, so you felt like you were getting a proper introduction to the nose you were about to pet!
Majestic Oak trees, wild turkey and even deer added to the serenity of this place. At the end of the road you found the new barn and behind that the covered training arena.
Every item had it’s place, lined up and organized to perfection. The interior was beautifully decorated with rich woods and granite counter tops. Walking through the side into the ‘hall of stalls’ you were swept back with how tastefully done everything was!
Then a curious Morgan nose would lean in over the swooping iron neck hole to greet you. If witnessing the ‘Poop Patrol’ driving from pasture to pasture scooping away all evidence didn’t convince you of the extraordinary care these horses received…. then your tour of the new barn certainly did!
Heading back toward the sounds of music and conversation, you had one more look at the star of the day, as you passed by his ever-close-to-the-fence presence… the jet black, gorgeous and flirtatious Merriewold Hero. What a looker! Everyone fell in love with Hero.
However, Diana had a special treat lined up for the end of the day that pulled at your heart-strings more than Mr. Hero. The yearlings had grown bored with us all and moved on to nibble grass in the middle of the pasture. We needed a final thrill. At the close of the Open Barn festivities, a group of guests were given the wonderful experience of meeting the brand new foals! They were hanging out with the Mares at a neighboring ranch and what a delight that was! The mares – standing closely by watching your every move, allowed us to pet and marvel at their babies.
As you prepared to leave, one couldn’t help but wonder who was living the ‘good life’ – the owners, or the horses of Merriewold. Assuredly both, but you felt most grateful that just one day in those beautiful hills was shared with you.
Written by Bj. deCastro