Visitors to our tasting room often ask me about our horses - how many do we have, do we ride them, what kind of riding we do, what their names are, etc. I really enjoy talking about the horses and introducing them to you. So I thought I'd share them individually with those of you who may not be able to make it out here to meet them in person.

We have ten horses. We use them for ranch work - riding the back of the property to check the fence line and survey the property and occasionally some cattle management. Our most athletic horses are also ridden in rodeos and gymkhanas. Our youngest is in training.

Today, I'd like to introduce you to Gift of Diamonds. "Diamond" is my first equine love. She is the first horse I purchased and learned to ride English. I met Diamond one day when we were shopping for a pony for our then 4-year old daughter, Frankie. We went to a charming little property in Kelseyville - Argonaut Farms, owned by Barbara Krobarth - to see a couple of ponies that she had for sale. Neither of the ponies was just right, but as we were talking with Barbara a dark bay mare stuck her chiseled face out from a cozy stall and purred at me. That's right, she purred at me. I couldn't resist. I asked Barbara who the mare was and she said "Oh, that's Diamond...she's for sale too.”

We weren't in the market for a horse for me and I didn't know anything about American Saddlebreds, but I could not get that beautiful mare out of my mind. I got online and researched American Saddlebred horses. I very much liked what I saw. I found a local breeder who invited us out to her ranch to learn more and meet some foals.

That visit has brought me two of the dearest friendships - that of Barbara Molland, the owner of Far Field Farm American Saddlebred ranch in Petaluma and that of my horse Diamond.

Diamond was the first horse we had purchased for the ranch since taking over running it. Having a horse on theproperty brought the entire place to life - animated, literally, the empty pastures and brought cheer each time you'd pass by that kind and lovely animal. Last year, Diamond, who is now 19 years old, gave us a beautiful baby boy whom we call "Bling." We haven't given him his registered name yet - but that will be the subject of my next posting. Stay tuned - and happy trails!

Hawk and Horse Vineyards