All posts by Anna

New London County 4H Fair

This past weekend the kids participated in the NLC 4H Fair at the North Stonington Fairgounds.

Friday we arrived and checked in rabbits into the rabbit barn and exhibits into the exhibit hall. Amanda had a k’nex model and submitted her record book. Vicki submitted two pictures of King from last year. Rob stayed at the fair with the kids in the travel trailer and Anna traveled back and forth to home to take care of animals at home. Turbo stayed at the fair all weekend and showed on Sunday.

Saturday Anna brought three horses to the fair and there was a showmanship and trail clinic, followed by a costume class and some games in the arena. Then horses went home mid afternoon and rabbit showing commenced. Amanda showed as a novice (first year) and won, Alex and Vicki are both seniors this year, and got a third and fifth respectively. Amanda’s friend Olivia spent the night at the fair Saturday night.
Sunday brought dog showing in the am for Vicki and Amanda both showing Turbo, who was a good sport in the heat. They did showmanship and obedience, both earning blue ribbon scores for obedience. The kids participated in rabbit hopping and 4H Olympics and Alex did the robotics challenge and placed third.

Sunday Anna brought Huey and Duchess back for Huey to be used in the Premier Showmanship competition. Duchess was along for companionship. Huey had to do the same pattern for 8 senior 4Hers. A few competetitors held on to him a bit like a cow, pushing his head up and holding the reins too tight, which he wasn’t a fan of, but overall he behaved himself and it was pretty clear which kids were more horse savvy.

The fair ended Sunday afternoon wit awards and Amanda won a best in show award for her model.The kids and adults were exhausted. Enjoy a heap of pictures in no particular order…

4H State Horse Show

On July 14th we headed to Tolland for the CT State 4H Horse Show.

In 4H you have to do a showmanship class and that is first on the agenda. Amanda got to go FIRST of everyone. Yeah Amanda!

Vicki and Duchess were next and Duchess had a fit when she could no longer see Mojo. She was calling for him through the whole showmanship sequence. And not standing still…but she looked pretty.

Alex showed Mojo. They did fine. Which about sums up how Alex feels about doing a showmanship class.

After showmanship, there was a costume class. Both Amanda and Vicki participated.

Amanda showed Huey in walk trot. They did well showing off lead in their first ride around the ring show. She tried her hand at a trail class and they did ok, with Huey only refusing the bridge (he is not a fan on trail either).

Vicki showed in Jr WTC flat classes and 18″ hunter classes. Duchess was hot at the canter with all the other horses cantering and more of a jumper than hunter in the jump ring, so it was more of a learning experience than a success story. They did come home with ribbons though.

Alex showed in Sr English flat classes and 18″ hunter classes. Alex and Mojo looked fab together, but had some confusion in the canter lead department. We also need to discuss the difference between a road trot and working trot. LOL. They jumped all the jumps, albeit sometimes a tad fast…Did not get any pictures of Alex riding, because I was holding onto Huey at that point.

The CT State Horse Show is held for those counties in CT that do not have many participants and do not put on their own county horse show at the 4H fair. New London County is one of those counties and the top senior showmanship scorer goes on to compete in Premier Showmanship at the 4H Fair at the North Stonington Fairgrounds at the end of July. Instead of a show the fair holds a Horse Demo to still have horse presence at the fair.

Leaps and Bounds

This past Saturday Rob, Alex and Vicki took their horses to Horsepower farm for the first Crosscountry Derby of the year.

Unfortunately, Alex came off Dakota during the warm up and hurt his right foot by slamming it straight into the ground. He sprained the big toe on his right foot. Therefore he opted not to jump his course. After a trip to the Backus ER to rule out a fracture he is benched for a week with a walking boot. He has a follow up appointment on Friday of this week for a repeat xray to make sure of no broken bones. He has a mystery bruise in the middle of his foot in addition to the toe hurting so who knows.

Rob rode Mojo in the elementary and beginner novice divisions. Vicki rode Duchess in the pre-elementary division.

Rob did well and placed 2nd in elementary and third in beginner novice. As always he rode too fast…

Vicki decided not to ride with a crop and regretted her decision when Duchess didn’t want to trot away from her friends. Hm, I think someone learned a lesson…Vicki did get Duchess to go, but her time suffered. They did get over all the jumps and there were no unplanned dismounts.

Sunday the kids were all supposed to ride at the Pony Club games rally. Vicki and Alex were signed up to ride on a junior games team. Alex was unable to ride with his foot injury. Alexis stepped up and rode Duchess as fifth member of a Mystic scramble team with the White Mountain Region Team Starstruck. She was originally signed up to be the advisor for the grasshoppers, but there was a C sibling to one of the games riders that stepped up to help (Thank you Clara!). Vicki rode Devil and made the weigh in…she sure loves that pony. Devil is 12 hands and has a rider weight limit of 117 pounds(boots and helmet included). The team did well, considering they had never trained together, earning a 2nd overall, 3rd horse management. At a rally, as opposed to a show, the way you prepare and take care of your horse for the day counts as part of your score, and goes into the overall score, making your games play and horse care equally important. Vicki had some great games (bending, balloon, and mug shuffle) and a few not so great games (pyramid, toolbox) where Devil decided to run home without stopping. Switching Devil to a games legal bit really affected her whoa.We might try a mullen pelham next time(no jointed leverage bits allowed).

Amanda rode on a grasshopper pairs team and joined forces with Victoria McCallum from Oakendale on her pony Tink. They were the “Giddyup Girls”. They rode well and got first horse management, second overall. Amanda rode by herself for most of the games except when having to get on and off for corrections and for safety at handoff (since the ponies didn’t know each other).

After the games rally the girls were very excited about games and talking about possible National Intent for next year…to be continued.

Easter Weekend

This past weekend we took it easy. Relatively.

On Thursday we took 6 horses out on the trails with the help of Alexis. We rode around 5 miles.

On Friday we stripped stalls and cleaned pastures while Rob removed two dump loads of manure and got 3 yards of stall fill to level our stalls. We added stall fill to the stalls and half a dump load of sawdust.  That took most of the day.

Saturday morning Rob helped Carrie and Alexis cut and remove three downed trees from their pasture while we did chores and then the family headed off to the Kingston bike path. Vicki had added an entry to our calendar two months ago to go roller blading on the bike path and we made good on our promise. Rob and I brought our bikes and the kids brought roller blades. Rob was pulling our bike stroller, just in case we had tired kids halfway through. Turns out the stroller works well for standing behind and hitching a ride. Alex skated the whole way to the ice cream shop in Wakefield, which is 5.5 miles, while his sisters hitched a standing ride every now and then. I think Vicki underestimated the work required to skate 5 miles! After ice cream, Rob helped a fellow biker with a flat tire (cause that is what he does) and I decided to roller blade back and let Alex ride my bike. He has the same shoe size as me now, so it all worked out.  Amanda rode in the trailer on the way back, and fell asleep. Vicki skated a lot less and hung on the back of the trailer quite a bit on the way back.

On Sunday the kids had an egg hunt in the yard and then we headed off for lessons at Horsepower Farm with Ann Bowie. We brought 4 horses and rode in pairs. It went well, and everyone has some home work.

After we got back from lessons we chilled for the rest of the day, so much so that this is what we woke up to Monday morning:

National Junior Honor Society

Thursday night Vicki and I joined 34 of her class mates at Griswold Middle School for her induction into the National Junior Honor Society. The requirements to join were an average grade point of 93 or higher and a record of leadership, service, citizenship, good behavior, scholarship, and character. Griswold Middle School nominates students based on their grades from 6 quarters starting in 6th grade. They are then required to fill out an application detailing their record of achievement in order to be inducted as members in NJHS. Our family is very proud of Vicki’s hard work and we hope she keeps it up for years to come. Below is a short clip from the cermony.

Vicki looks beautiful in her new dress.
Chapter members light candles and read passages about the pillars of NJHS.
Waiting to receive her certificate.

WGHA Turkey Trot


  • This morning I loaded up 4 horses and 3 kids and headed up to Goddard Park in RI. Rob is underway on a submarine and could not join us today. The West Greenwich Horseman’s Association had their annual turkey trot and we rode a 6 mile loop. Amanda fell off in the warm up ring when Huey decided to catch up to Dakota with a canter, but otherwise it was an uneventful ride. She got back on and immediately wanted to trot so no harm there. Goddard is located on the Narragansett Bay and offers a little beach riding out of season and beautiful views of the bay. All the horses eventually went in the water at the beach. I rode Mojo today since Teddy blew out an abcess last week, and he was good, albeit a bit of a brat when he doesn’t get to lead. We will have to work on that. Lunch, turkey and trimmings, was great and we came home with raffle prizes like cookie cutters, sweat scraper, grooming block and a safety led light. Good day.

A visit to Roseland Cottage

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Roseland Cottage is a step into the Victorian era of Connecticut. Saturday September 24th was National Smithsonian Day and several museums around the area were offering free admission. The kids and I took advantage of the opportunity to go see this museum I’ve been thinking about for a while and went to visit Roseland Cottage in Woodstock, CT.  Alexis came with us as well.  Situated not quite 45 minutes from our house, this house is on the National Historic Register and proved very interesting , even to the kids. I believe Alex could count this day as a school day field trip!

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We showed up a few minutes late for the one o’clock tour, so we had some time to kill before our two o’clock tour.  Turns out the old horse stalls of the barn and carriage building have partially been turned into rest rooms, which the kids got a kick out of.

The kids enjoyed playing some Victorian games while we were waiting, such as the game of graces or french hoops, trundle hoops, ball in cone, spinning tops, and croquet.

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There was a civil war reenactment camp going on with a collection of dressed up soldiers, muskets, and a cannon. To Alex’s dismay, the cannon was not usable, but he got a lesson in how they loaded it.

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They had a kids activity set up to learn how to build a bridge for the soldiers and their wagons to cross rivers and the kids worked on this project for a while.

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At two, we started our tour. The gardens have the original boxwood gardens with 600 feet of hedge in a parterre style.

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We had to put on booties to enter the house, except Amanda who went barefoot, since the booties were so big they were a trip hazard.  Roseland Cottage was built in 1846 as a summer house for Henry and Lucy Bowen. They entertained important guests, including three presidents at this house. It is built in a gothic revival style, but later redecorated in a more Victorian style, including massive stained glass windows, fancy wall coverings and dark elaborate carpets. The house had 5 bedrooms, and we also saw the dining room, conservatory and sitting room.

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After the house we got to see the indoor bowling alley. Roseland Cottage has one of the oldest bowling alleys in the US. It is not part of the house itself, but rather a section of the barn and carriage house. Tucked into the bowling alley was an old carriage, which drew more attention from the girls than the bowling alley itself.

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After the house tour the kids returned to the now finished bridge project and got to walk over the finished bridge.

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We finished off our visit by talking to one of the soldiers and he showed Alex how the muskets worked and Alex and I were surprised to find that they were so slow to reload.

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We had a great visit, and I would definitely recommend this field trip to others, although young kids may not enjoy the house tour. Amanda was getting pretty restless at the one hour mark, but perked up when we went to the bowling alley and loved playing all the Victorian games.

If you are interested in more information about Roseland Cottage, here is a web site to get you started:  http://www.historicnewengland.org/historic-properties/homes/roseland-cottage/roseland-cottage-history

 

Amanda turns 6!

May 18 is Amanda’s birthday. This year she turned 6. She is still a petite little girl at a whopping 35 pounds, but she certainly holds her own.

Wednesday morning Amanda opened up her presents from mormor and morfar. She got a Breyer winged horse and story, some riding pants, a shirt from us, and a doll riding outfit.  Then we told her we were going on a field trip to the American Girl doll store in Boston. There she would get to pick out her own doll and an accessory from grandma and grandpa. She was very excited!

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After chores we all headed out. Amanda is not very patient in the car, too say the least, and I believe she asked every ten minutes if we were there yet. An hour and a half later we finally arrived.

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Alex sat down on a bench and started reading. He finished two books during the day!

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The girls explored the store and made plans of what to bring home. They brought McKenna and Saige and I treated the girls to hair styles for their dolls at the doll salon.

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Then we headed to the bistro for lunch. The dolls get to sit at the table in their own hang-on-the-table chairs. The dolls got their own tea cups. The food was kid-friendly.
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After lunch we picked up the doll Amanda picked out- a truly me doll with long wavy red hair and green eyes. I guess she secretly wants to be a redhead! She also used her money from grandma and grandpa and some allowance money to get a new doll horse (the girls play horse with their dolls-duh), It’s an appaloosa.

Vicki used some of her allowance money to purchase a few new things for her dolls.

I had promised Alex a trip to the LEGO store inside the Natick mall, a whopping two minute walk from The American Girl Doll store. He had been patient all day while the girls browsed and quickly set his eyes on a big LEGO Technic truck. Lucky for him, his allowance account still had enough funds in it. He was happy. He started building it the minute we got home. The instruction book has 471 pages. It might take him a day or two to complete.

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Vicki made Amanda some cupcakes and decorated them with Rarity, Amanda’s favorite My Little Pony. It was supposed to be a cake, but Amanda agreed Vicki could make the real cake for her “friend” party.

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Amanda was tired and happy at the end of the day…

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WGHA hunter pace #3

Today we rode in the last of the West Greenwich Horsemen’s Association hunter paces. It was 11 miles long and the hunter division ideal time was 1:49:50. IT WAS HOT!!! The temperature was in the upper 80s breaking 90 after lunch. These hunter paces are held at Arcadia in Rhode Island and are a convenient 20 minutes from home.
We rode in the Hilltopper division and the ideal time was 2:09:50. We rode 2:06:23 which was good for 6th place.

Alexis and Vicki rode with us and that time was good for 1st place in the junior division.

Vicki fell off in one of the fields when Devil spooked sideways at the canter, but got right back on. Rob had a hand full of horse today, but stayed on through rearing, bucking and other excitability issues. At the 5-6 mile point she settled down. Apparently i should not feed her electrolytes. Dakota was a trail rock star as always.

We had a good time and enjoyed lunch afterwards, tacos, salad and desserts.

Alex went with us to the ride and hung out reading while we rode, then had lunch.

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Sewing Breyer blankets…

After Vicki finished her home work this morning she begged me to help her make some blankets for her Breyer model horses. So we used some left over fabric from the pillow case project and some bias tape and sew on velcro to make some fabulous blankets. Vicki did ALL the sewing. I helped with some of the pinning and taught her how to make a pattern. She’s really happy with the outcome.

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