Today was a snow day on the farm. We got a good 10 inches of snow overnight. It kept snowing until around noon time. The two older kids had a traditional snow day. Griswold had decided to forego the snow day for a virtual learning day, but most of Amanda’s teachers gave short easy assignments that left room for some snow play between classes.
This morning was spent snow clearing and doing the every-day chores that seem to take twice as long on a day like this. Trudging through thick snow to get food and water to all the critters is hardly a glorious task, albeit necessary.
Rob and Alex used the tractor and snow blower to clear the drive way and around the house. We all fed and watered the horses, goats, chickens and rabbits. The rabbits have moved to the basement until the weather gets better.
Amanda spent her lunch break skiing, and convinced her brother to build a snow fort with her after school. We decided to hitch Huey his Kingston easy entry cart with sleigh runners and drive him around for a bit. He was a good sport, although it was getting cold and the sun was fading.
Sunday we went to Arcadia RI for a WGHA Cross Country Pace. Anna rode with the kids and Rob helped volunteer at the ride. Teddy is still recovering from his EPM diagnosis and is not in shape for a long ride. The loop was 8.5 miles and we rode it in an hour 39 minutes or so. The horses were feeling good and we didn’t worry about being fast, because we wanted to ride a second loop. Anna came in fifth and the kids came in second in the junior division. Their time was indeed the fastest in the open division and the closest to the average time wins…oh well.
Anna and Amanda went out on a second loop with Amanda riding Mojo. Huey got a break, he needs a clip, he got sweaty with his new fur coat on, and Amanda likes to ride the big horses. Eli just came back sound from his injury at the endurance ride, this was his first longer ride, so we are just playing it safe with him. Amanda cantered Mojo down the Midway stretch and thought it was great. Mojo really moves out with no weight on his back! But he was good.
Last week we spent time at a military campground at Great Pond in Aurora, ME. We took our travel trailer and drove up to Maine for 5 days.
The first day there, Monday, we rented a canoe, kayak and a paddleboard. We chilled out at the campground.
Tuesday we went to visit Acadia National Park. It was about an hour drive from the campground. It was very crowded and besides lots of hiking and woods, we do not really see a reason to return there. Check the box and move on. We had a really yummy lobster lunch in Bar Harbor before seeing the park and swimming at Sand Beach in the ocean. It was cold!
Wednesday was spent back at camp hanging out and doing a bit more boating on the lake. Rob and Amanda did some fishing in the evening.
Thursday started with some boating and then we went to do go karts and mini golf. Ended the day with sunset boating and s’mores.
Friday we left the campground to go home. It was a nice get away, but we were ready to get home to our farm friends. We had a quiet relaxing time and would love to go back.
Today we found out that Nike had to be put to sleep earlier this month. Everyone in our family is a little sad. Nike was a very special pony we had on lease from 2014 to 2016. He was the ultimate little hunter pony, but dabbled in hunter paces, 4H, games and eventing while he was with us. He was an awesome match for Alex at the time, because while he had the go that our family likes, he also had a “just do it” attitude. Nike certainly was no kick ride, but was able to adapt to his rider and he and Alex made a great team. Nike seemed happiest out hunter pacing, often out in front leading the way. Alex named him “the wonder pony” and it was pretty fitting.
Today I went for a trail ride with my three kids. I feel blessed to be able to, to share the experience and bond with horses with them. It’s about so much more than riding. It’s about work ethic, caring for something other than yourself, even when you don’t want to or it is 20 degrees outside. It’s about going out there in the 90 degree heat and deer flies and going anyway. We went for a pretty slow 12 miles just out the back into Pachaug. It was not perfect, it was buggy, but we managed a long stretch of canter and only a few whines from Amanda about getting peppered with rocks from Amira’s feet (Amanda and Huey are just the right height). Rusty came along and found enough water to stay cool. We rode for about 2 and a half hours and I am truly thankful I get to do this with my kids.
A few of the pics in the gallery are from yesterday. Amanda and I went for a hike to Heron Marsh and “the waterfall “(which only had a trickle). 2 miles in an hour and a half. Hills and bush whacking, climbing rocks and dogs swimming in the pond.
This past weekend we participated in the New London County 4H Fair.
The kids brought horses to the horse EXPO Saturday morning. The State 4H horse show is the actual points competition for the horse kids of New London county based on previous years lack of participation at the local fair show, so this is just for fun. There was jumping, trail obstacles, costume class and gymkhana.
Amanda also did some rabbit hopping with Pretty Paw and Winter Rose first thing Saturday morning.
We had our travel trailer on the grounds and Rob and Amanda stayed there all weekend.
Vicki and Amanda showed rabbits on Saturday afternoon, Vicki as a senior, and Amanda as a junior. They both got third place in showmanship.
Sunday was spent practicing for robotics (Alex) and actually competing in robotics. Alex got 2nd in the senior competition.
The girls helped with the ice cream social,did a pet costume class ( Vicki) and 4H Olympics on Sunday. And ate fair food.
Last weekend the kids spent some time at Barbara Kil’s house participating in the annual “Around 4th of July” Mystic pony club camp. While we decided last fall not to renew with pony club this year (for a lot of reasons-ask us if you want to know), the kids have done this camp for 6 years so we decided to send them this year as well. The each had 7 lessons, lots of pool time and sunshine over the course of 4 days.
Amanda and Huey rode all 7 lessons together and Huey was, well Huey, sometimes he is great, other times he is stubborn and difficult. I came away with the realization that Amanda is becoming quite strong in her riding and knowledge, and her ability to handle Huey’s antics has definitely improved.
Vicki took two horses to camp, Duchess and Amira. Amira came to expose her to more situations, let Vicki lesson on her and to allow Duchess a break since she had a lameness pull at the endurance ride. Vicki rode Amira on the flat and did her jumping on Duchess. It was evident that Vicki’s swim team time this winter has helped her become a stronger rider and Amira helped show Vicki how riding with softer elbows is good.
Alex took both Mojo and Teddy to camp. The horses both completed a 50 two weeks prior, so we decided Alex could use lesson time on both of them and neither would be idle or overused. Alex rode Teddy on the flat and in the field, learning about pacing and he jumped with Mojo.
Prior to coming to camp we took the kids to the Horsepower Farm derby and Vicki got a 2nd and Alex a 6th in the pre-elementary division. Alex had an unfortunate refusal when Mojo looked at the “Flag Jump”.
Thank you to the Kil’s for hosting and for keeping Amanda a few extra days.
May and early June is always a wee bit crazy…and this year was no exception. After our trip to New Hampshire for Mother’s Day weekend, there has been no shortage of events on our calendar. Here’s a quick catch up post or highlight reel if you wish.
Amanda turned 9 on May 18. We had a skating birthday with her school friends that weekend and she had a blast.
At the end of May Alex was awarded an academic excellence award for his work in AP/ECE Environmental Science this past school year. Alex took two college level classes with ECE (Early College Education) credit, two honors classes, and still stayed on the high honors list all year. In addition, he participated all year in the 4H group “Teen Ambassadors” that focuses on citizenship, community service and leadership. The group went on a week long trip to Washington DC last week, and Alex had a blast.
Our new project pony Gem has a knack for getting hurt. With no horse sense to speak of, she had to learn what being in a herd is all about. She has so far been kicked by Mojo, stepped on a nail, and been bit by one of the mares, with all injuries requiring some level pf vet care. She has had her teeth done and her feet are improving, but she is definitely still a work in progress. Gem is very defensive of her food and requires us to be careful around feeding time. Unfortunately, I was not cautious enough and got kicked by her on June 1, causing me to be unable to ride for a week. She did go on her first short trail walk under saddle this week. No pics because I was leading Amanda, who was riding Amira.
June 2, most of the family rode in the first WGHA cross country pace (no jumps). I (Anna) did not as I was hurting too much from being kicked the day before. Rob recruited a client of his to ride Amira because she needed to be worked for the upcoming endurance ride. The kids placed second in the junior division, and Rob placed third in the open division. Good day.
Vicki promoted from 8th grade and is headed to the Marine Science Magnet High School in the fall. At the Griswold Middle School awards night, she received four awards: the VFW award for dependability, a creative writing award, a departmental math award for highest average in math (3 way tie), and an award for her expo project “Horses in Therapy”. We are very proud of her. She has also remained on the high honors list all year and was a member of the National Junior Honor Society. She attended the 8th grade dance and then there was promotion night. Her individuality is starting to show for sure.
Amanda is headed to fourth grade in the fall and doing just fine. She makes friends easily and does well at school. I went to field day for half the day and here are some pics.
Rob raced the Patriot Half Ironman on June 15. I went with him to the race to cheer him on and take pics. We camped in the travel trailer the night before. He finished in 6 hours and 38 minutes. I had a relaxing day of reading while waiting for Rob to return to transition between the different events.
Last but not least, Alex had a birthday. HE TURNED 16!!! Five guys for dinner and late night cupcakes for dessert because we were packing for an endurance ride. But we squeezed it in. He will go to get his driver’s permit on July 11 and his license when he is ready and has completed all the requirements (you can not actually get your license at 16 in CT it’s more like 16 and a half, if you are lucky).
Phew, I think that was all. Maybe. Until next time.
The kids and I took Mojo and Duchess over to Ann Bowie’s Horsepower Farm to participate in her derby this afternoon. We have not done much jumping this year, maybe one or two rides over a few cross rails in the arena so we played it safe and the kids rode in the pre-elementary division. Horses were good and the rain held off. Alex was a little closer to the ideal time than Vicki, but both rode the course without any penalties.
Vicki likes art. This year my parents gave her water color supplies and books for Christmas. She has been using lessons out of one of the books and completed two projects from the subscription company Let’s Make Art. I’m impressed with her work so far and she seems to really enjoy it.