Mornings at the Farm

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This summer, Chelsea and I have spent many early--very early--mornings at her barn shooting various photos for the magazine. It's a great resource with beautiful scenery and amazing light. What you don't see on the pages of Horse&Rider is the menagerie that shares the barn area with Chelsea's horses.

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First up, the geese. These geese are special. They refuse to swim in the lovely pond on the property, instead preferring to get their feet wet in a bucket of water.

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Then there's the peacocks--all females--which provide an early-morning racket that is sure to get your attention and make you wonder when prehistoric birds will swoop down and steal one of the ponies.

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And the goats. They're cute and sometimes friendly and endear us with kisses. But they also like to jump on the hoods of cars and demolish paint jobs.

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But the funniest are the chickens. Some of them look like they're wearing track suits and should be in an episode of The Sopranos, with their fluffy legs and bodies. 

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Others would make picture-perfect models for stock photos of farm chickens. 

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But my favorites are the ones with Tina Turner-esque "hairstyles." We still can't figure out where their eyes are or what function the "hair" serves, but they are hilarious. You can often find a few of the chickens wandering outside the coop, struggling to find their way back into the pen. They usually figure it out once one of the dogs "helps" (chases) them home.

The animals' antics definitely make it easier to pry open my eyes for 6:30 a.m. photo calls.

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