Fortuna Farm opened for business in 1968 and has started many young riders on a lifetime passion for riding. The farm changed ownership in October 2011, but will continue to operate as a boarding facility and school.
The facilities include a heated indoor riding arena, turn-out paddocks, an outdoor dressage ring and riding trails through the adjoining 220 acre Wolsfeld Woods
Arrangements can be made for private or group dressage lessons.
In October of 2011, hunt-seat for beginner and intermediate riders became available when Karen Hupp brought her riding program to Fortuna.
In her words; My horses and I teach my students to ride well. We follow the hunt-seat tradition which includes basic riding and jumping. They have great fun, they learn and many fall in love with horses. But in the end they have more confidence in their riding, and more importantly, in their lives.
Read more about her program at www.karenhuppriding.com
For information regarding boarding and/or lessons, contact Christie Kraabel via Email or phone 612-275-0669.
Many updates and improvements have been made around the farm the last few months. All the windows in the main barn and school barn have been replaced.
More landscaping was completed, creating a raised path from the barns to the paddocks. The necessity of this addition became misserably obvious last spring, when the record snow and following melt turned the yard into a swamp. Landscaping, new culverts and the path will prevent a reoccurance.
The indoor arena has been updated with new lights, new heater and additional footing. Parents, friends and visitors are invited to watch from the heated office area or the much colder elevated viewing area.
The school barn has had all the stalls leveled, boards replaced where needed, gates lowered to accomodate Karin's ponies, stall fronts stained, tack room cleaned and painted. See the transformation of the School Barn.
Work on the main barn has begun. Stalls on the West side of the aisle are being reconfigured from 9'X 10' to 9' X 15'. These stalls will be used for horses that require the additional room.
MEMORY LANEIf you have pictures from the farm, we would like to put them on our website. Call, email or drop them off at the office. Leave you name and I'll get the originals back to you after they have been scanned.
Fall Update, 2011
Much has happened the past several months. Helmuth and Alexandra von Blucher accepted an offer for the farm and in late October. Steve, the new owner, decided to keep everything pretty much as it has been the past year. We will continue to operate the boarding facility, Karen and Anna will continue to give lessons, and many repairs and improvements will continue to be made.
Much sadder news came to us in November. Helmuth called to tell us his sister Alexandra had passed away a her home in Germany. Alex was last here in May for her mothers memorial at Fortuna Farm. We will miss her dearly.
July Update, 2011
Cory's crew has continued clearing brush around the farm. The weather has not cooperated to allow burning. It has either been raining or too windy. Finally, on July 1st we started getting perfect weather for burning. Unfortunately, with the state budget fiasco not settled, the DNR has been shut down and no burning permits can be issued.
Fortuna Farm has been signed up with the U of M for an Equine Pasture Management Program www.regonline.com/EquinePasture. Jennifer Earing, PhD from the University of Minnesota Extension came out a couple weeks back with several graduate students and walked through all the pastures taking soil and plant samples. She will be sending a report on what they found and recommendations for improving the pastures.
Over the past several years, the contour of the land around the barn has changed causing drainage problems. When the U of M team was out, Betsy Wieland, the Agriculture Extension Educator for Hennepin County also stopped by. I showed her the wet stalls and explained that we planned on doing some landscaping to redirect water away from the barn. She offered to have Jim Kujawa, a drainage expert for Hennepin County, come out and take a look. They both came out the next day and we came up with a plan to correct the drainage.
The rain has finally given us a break so Dale Johnson from Enigma Excavating www.enigmaexcavating.com was able to bring in his backhoe and D6 cat to do some work. The electrical cable that has been laying on the surface since spring is now buried 3 ft below the surface.
The pile of rocks in front of the school barn came out of the trench he dug to bury the cable. He went around the boulders that were too big to pull out with his backhoe.
Sue would like to use some of them for a rock garden north of the house. Caroline and she will be in charge of designing that. We can use the tractor to move the rocks up there, but will be looking for volunteers to do the final positioning. If anyone else wants to own a piece of Fortuna, let me know and we will work out some way to get it over to you.
The road that goes up the hill in front of the barn (out of view just to the right in the picture above ) had become a major waterway for spring runoff. My first impulse was to remove it and rework the slope at the top of the hill to send water to the southeast. A couple of the borders that trailer asked that it be retained, since it’s difficult to turn a long horse trailer in the yard. As a compromise, Dale added some material at the top of the hill to create a hump that will stop water from flowing west. Please minimize use of this road so it does not become a watershed problem again.
A water collecting depression was carved in front of the barn at the level of the existing culvert. The area between the two barns was cut down to the level of the culvert and sloped out in to Stormy’s pasture. Please note, that is a water hose running across the road and NOT the electrical wires.
The large mound of dirt behind the hay/shaving shed was pushed out into the pasture. Starting from the southeast corner of the barn, the ground was sloped to the north, around the north side of the barn and out into the pasture.
We had to pull out some fences to complete the work. As a result, Stormy has temporarily moved to the north arena.
Future plans include adding a road and culvert to give dry access to the north pastures in the spring.
Some cleanup work with a shovel will be needed next to the barn where the Cat couldn’t get in close enough.
Tim continues to hold down the fort Sunday thru Friday. Christie and I are taking care of chores on Saturday. I became unemployed in mid-June and am taking the opportunity to spend more time out at the farm.
The riding trail around the farm has been mowed. A short section on the west side requires crossing over to the neighbor’s property. As time permits, we will move some more fences so the entire trail remains on Fortuna.
Last week the farm lost electrical power during one of the storms which highlighted the need to have a backup water source for the horses. For the summer, we will keep a water tank filled with fresh water outside the west door to the barn. In the winter, we will keep a couple plastic barrels at our house in the city and can haul water out if needed.
Now that the Monsoon season seems to have ended, I expect great progress will be made on bringing Fortuna back to what it deserves to be.
Click on any of the images below to see a larger version.
Since 1968 - Max von Bluecher founder
February News, 2011
The big item this month is the loss of our long time hired hand, Maribel. She is expecting a baby and her partner did not want her working around horses anymore. She reluctantly gave her notice. Helmuth had just hired Tim for Sundays, and he was willing take over for Maribel. So that is the situation at this time.
Maribel did say she would really miss the farm and the horses. She hopes to be able to come out in the spring and do some work around the farm. Maybe she will help fix fences and do some mowing.
Earlier this month, I had a mechanic give me an estimate on what work the BobCat needed immediately. The estimate came to over $2000.
Since that is a lot of money, and the BobCat doesn't do everything that needs to be done on the farm, I started looking at other options.
Marvin Boll is the hay supplier for Fortuna and also deals in used equipment. He was interested in trading. I explained we needed a tractor with a full hydraulic bucket for loading manure and a tractor to pull the manure spreader. One of the tractors also needs a 3-point hitch and enough power for the Woods mower (since we do plan on keeping the pastures mowed this summer).
Marvin said he had a Ford 3000 and a Farmall H that should be what we need. I went out to look at them and we made a deal to trade, with some hay thrown in on top. The equipment arrived last night so I went out this morning to check it out and teach Tim the finer points of backing a manure spreader.
It was bone chilling cold again this morning. It's only 10 degrees right now at 1:30 in the afternoon. Both tractors started without too much coaxing. I used the Ford to load the manure spreader and took a maiden voyage to the manure pile. Both tractors handled the job wonderfully. The last time I attempted this run, it took 6 hours and I managed to get every piece of equipment on the place and my truck stuck at least once.
Tim had not driven a tractor before, so I spent some time explaining all the bells and whistles. He loaded the spreader and made the next trip. He'll do fine.
I feel much better about the equipment situation now. We were able to perform a lot more work in less time using the two tractors then we were able to do with the BobCat.
Tim has been keeping an eye on the electric fences and tightening them up when needed. We are making progress on getting the fences fixed. I hope to have all the paddocks Hot within the next two weeks. Wish my day job didn't take so much time.
Tim had some appointments yesterday so Corey Schumacher took over for him. Corey is the farm manager for the place across the road (the one that is now for sale) and has done work for Helmth around Fortuna.
Tim is going to use the bucket to haul hay out to the pasture tomorrow. He wheeled it out in a cart this morning.
The bucket should work well. If not, I can rig up a platform for the 3-point hitch. Northern Equipment sells one that could be modified to add a platform.
This picture really belonged in the January report, which you may have noticed was never posted. Last January, Meribel was quick enough to grab the camera out of the office and get this great shot of a fox crossing one of the pastures. There were two of them, but the other one was already too far away to get a picture
In conclusion, we now have everything we need; if not everything we want.
Keep warm. Let your horse owning friends know we still have room for more horses.
Mark & Christie
December 24, 2010
Merry Christmas (and/or Holiday) greetings to everyone.
This is just a quick update on happenings at Fortuna Farm.
Friends and family were saddened when Karin von Bluecher passed away on December 15. If you did not see her obituary, I have a copy included below.
Christie and I have been looking through old snap shots that we have and also watched the “Tribute to Max” tape that was shown at the gathering after his death. The wedding photo to the left was grabbed from that video. If you have not seen the video, or would like to see it again, we have a VCR tape. I will try to transfer it to DVD; but I’m not guaranteeing anything.
News around the Barn.
Misty has left the barn and hopefully found a place where she will be taken care of.
It looks like we will have one more horse arriving in early January and another in February.
More repairs to the BobCat are underway. The bucket hinge pins are badly worn and need to be replaced. One actually fell out this week and we were lucky enough to find it in the snow. Maribel helped me get it lined up and pounded back into place. This is a temporary fix, since it WILL work its way out again. Maribel will keep an eye on it and hammer it back home when needed. As soon as we get a break from the snow and I round up the needed parts and tools, we will get new bushings and pins installed.
In her spare time, Maribel has been attacking the cobwebs in the barn. I think it’s a great improvement. We have cleared it with Helmuth, and Maribel will be taking Christmas day off. Leah will be filling in for the day and Christie and I will be in town if more help is needed.
We plan on keeping one of the empty stalls in the barn stocked with hay. This will make night time feeding easier (no climbing around on the hay rack in the dark) and also be good insurance in case of another snowstorm when the horses stay in.
The manure spreader should be back from D&R repair before the end of the year. I hope to have the Ford tractor radiator fixed by then so we can take some of the workload off the BobCat.
Welcome back Caroline. We want to hear stories of your trip.
We are trying to stay on top of things. If you see something you think needs to be taken care of, please let us know. We will be getting some more chairs for the office and hope it will again become a gathering place on the farm. A few people have requested a micro-wave to heat water for coffee or tea or to reheat the $5 moca they brought out and forgot about until it was cold. This is an excellent idea and we will make sure a micro-wave appears soon.
Thanks for remaining a part of the Fortuna Family.
December 15, 2010
Karin von Bluecher, a founding member of the CSDEA, passed away on December 15, 2010 at the age of 86.
A short biography is presently posted on the Central States Dressage and Eventing Association web page at http://www.csdea.org
von Bluecher, Karin 86, born January 10 1924, died December 15, 2010, Wayzata, MN.
Karin von Bluecher was born in Zirchow, Kreis Schlawe/ Hinterpommern, Germany, to Heribert and Ellen von Larisch. She grew up in Germany and attended the Veterinary School in Hannover. Karin met her husband, Max von Bluecher in 1942. They were married in 1944. After years of struggle in post war Germany, Karin, Max, and their two young children, Helmuth and Alexandra, immigrated to the United States, courtesy of the Marshall Plan and the Displaced Persons Act of 1951. They settled in Illinois, where Max and Karin worked at a variety of jobs. In 1958, Karin and Max came to Minnesota where they both operated the Wayzata Country Club Stables. Max did the training and teaching, and Karin did the scheduling, organizing and keeping the books. Karin and Max by 1968 had built their own farm and riding facilities at Fortuna Farm in Medina. Karin was the bookkeeper and organizer, and helped Max run the farm. Karin developed the CSDEA Cross Country News letter. Karin and Max held one of the first combined training events in the Midwest at Fortuna Farms, and where instrumental in starting the CSDEA. Karin was always there organizing the horse shows and events. All of Fortuna Farm students and clients knew her sternness, her good humor, organizational skills, and hard work. Above all Karin and Max had an enduring romantic love affair for over 60 years. Their life was full, from the lows of war to the great life they had on Fortuna Farm with all their friends. Husband Max preceded Karin in death. Her two children, Helmuth and Alexandra, daughter-in- law, Charlene, two grandchildren, Tescha and Eric, four step grandchild- ren, great-grandchildren and friends, especially Christy, will miss Karin. Two sisters in Germany also survive her. The von Bluecher family would prefer donations be made in Karin's name to the Central States Dressage and Eventing Association (CSDEA.) A celebration of life will be planned for a later date. David Lee Funeral Home 952-473-5577
December 12, 2010
Greeting to the Fortuna Farm community,
To recap, Christie (and, by default, I) have volunteered to help Helmuth and Karin von Bluechers with the daily operation of Fortuna Farm. Since Helmuth lives in California and works way too many hours, Christie will be serving as the local contact point for borders and such. Helmuth is and will be the final authority on all decisions and finances regarding the farm. Our role is strictly a volunteer hobby at this time.
Yesterday morning, Christie called Meribel and caught her in her car struggling through the blizzard to get to the farm to attend to her duties. Chistie told her to turn around and go back home and “we” would get out to the farm to take care of the horses. When we got there, we were plesently surprised that Sue, Carolyn, Ron and Leah also made it out and had the watering and feeding well in hand. We filled one of the empty stalls with hay to carry the horses through the rest of the storm without having to carry it in from outside.
Ron has the indoor arena heater working again so riding should be a little more pleasant.
This morning, Frank was out to clean stalls – after getting unstuck from the driveway. Sue called with a report this afternoon and said everything is under control.
A Fortuna Farm website has been launched and you may see it at Fortuna Farm.
I’m looking for some photos to put up on the page. Let me know if you have something you’d like to see on the web page. Christie and I have been away from the farm for several years and most of my snapshots are from a different time.
Planning is underway on how to handle scheduling of the arena and allow access to non-boarding horse owners. It is my understanding that at least a couple riders use the arena from time to time and we need to ensure their safety, the herd’s safety, and ensure they do not interfere with any riding lessons or indoor riding done by paying borders. To be fair to the borders, a charge will be collected for use of the arena by others.
There is room for more horses in the main barn, so pass the information along to your horse owning friends.
Mark & Christie
page maintained by Mark Kraabel - rev Jan 31, 2012
|Powered by web analytics software.|