Category Archives: kids

Run and Ride

This morning I ran the Griswold Sunflower 6k road race at Buttonwoods Farm.  At only 2.5 miles from the house, it doesn’t get much more local than that.  Before I talk about the results, I want to give an update from my May post “Primal Diet and Fitness“.  If you didn’t read it, or don’t remember it, please go back and take a look.  It has been almost 3 months since that post.  I have continued to follow the Primal diet and training approach for endurance sports.  My weight loss steadied out with my new weight at 164 lbs; I lost 21 lbs.  I may still lose a little more, but I feel great and I definitely feel that I have found a sustainable eating plan.  On the training front, I have continued to limit my heart rate to 140 bpm in my marathon run training.  I am not worried about a specific speed goal.  On Thursday of this week, I did 16 miles in 3:00.  It was my longest run to date and my heart rate did creep up in the heat.  However, I wasn’t crippled from the run and recovered quickly.

With my focus on distance, I haven’t done any speed work at all.  In fact, a sprint triathlon in June is the only other time I have truly tested my speed in the past 4 months.  So today’s 6k race was a little bit of a question mark in my mind; I really didn’t know what kind of pace I could sustain.

It turns out, I was able to run the race in 26:21 for a 7:04 min/mile pace.  That was good enough for 18th out of 566 runners and 3rd (out of 30) in the men’s 40-49 age group.  I can live with that!

After I came home and had some breakfast (I don’t eat before running), we loaded up the trailer with 5 horses and headed to Arcadia in RI.  Today I rode Mojo, Anna rode Dakota, Vicki rode Duchess, Alex rode Teddy, and Amanda rode Huey.  This was a switch up ride for Alex and Anna to test out some things and the first time we have taken Duchess out for a trail ride at a different location.  All the horses behaved for the most part.  Mojo won the “Most Typical Arab” award for his spook at a butterfly flying across the trail.  We didn’t ride too hard and did 10.5 miles in 2:30.  When we got home, it was time to put some steaks on the grill and call it a day.  The weather was great and we made the most of it.

2017 New London County 4-H Fair

Last weekend was fair weekend.  Friday evening was move in night.  We took 5 rabbits (all we have remaining at this point) and items for the exhibit hall.  We also moved a full trailer load of jumps to the fairgrounds in preparation for the Horse Expo on Saturday.  Due to low participation numbers, the horse show was removed from the NLC 4-H fair a few years ago and New London combined with other counties in a state 4-H horse show.  Ever since, the horse kids haven’t had a way to participate with their animals at the fair.  Last year, I came up with the idea of a Horse Expo where the kids participate in a various classes and clinics throughout the day.  It was a non-competitive event that allowed the horse project kids to spend time with their peers similar to how the youth do in the goat and cow barn.  It was a great success and the kids had fun.  Each Club took a period of time to host a class; the classes included a showmanship clinic, jumping demo, costume class, trail clinic, and gymkhana class. Vicki and Duchess and Alex and Dakota all had a good time at the fair.

Saturday was also rabbit showing.  Alex and Vicki both participated with their Dutch bunnies.  Vicki got 1st in Jr Showmanship, Alex got 4th in Sr Showmanship, and Vicki’s Rhinelander (Winter Rose) won Best in Show Pet Division.

On Sunday, Vicki and Amanda participated in the Rabbit Hopping competition with their Rhinelanders (Winter Rose and Pretty Paw).  This is a fun activity and the girls let others use their rabbits to learn about hopping.  Winter Rose had the first and second fastest runs through the jump course.

Alex participated in the Robotics Competition.

The weather was great and the kids had a good time.  Alex won Best in Show with his Lego Technic tractor (the 3rd year in a row?).

There was one development through the weekend which was a little harder to accept.  It’s no secret, kids grow up.  On the way to the fair Sunday morning,  we played music from Vicki’s phone.  Her playlist had definite signs that she has developed her own identity, which is fine.  Vicki spent a lot of time hanging out with her “friends” which seemed to include more guys than in years past.

All-in-all, it was a good weekend.

KY Vacation Days 8, 9, & 10

On Friday morning, Vicki’s team gathered up at 0700 to verify their scores from the previous day.  The worked as a group to polish their boots prior to the final phase of competition, Barn Phase.  They entered the final day in 1st place, but with only a 3 point lead on the 2nd place team.

Polishing boots before Barn Phase

Once they were done with Barn Phase, we spent some time watching the stadium jumping for eventing in the Rolex Arena and Jr Games final round while we waited 9+ hours for awards.

We visiting the Saddlebred Museum (King is a 1/2 Saddlebred) and enjoyed the air conditioning.  Vicki hung out with her friends from her team since they all live about 3 hours away.  She spent time during the week trading pins from her Region with kids from other parts of the country.

Once it was time for awards, all the Quiz teams went into the covered arena together.

All the teams waiting for awards

Alexis is Vicki’s best friend and also in the same Club.  She was on a different team from Vicki and was the highest scorer on her team, helping them get 5th place.

Vicki’s team wasn’t able to hold on to the 3 point lead.  In the end, they got 2nd place, but were all smiles as they collected red ribbons, silver medals, and a pair of boot socks.

After team awards, individual awards were announced.  At the Regional Rally to qualify for Championships, Vicki had the highest individual score.  She again led her team and won 5th overall in her Junior D division.

2nd place team, 5th place overall individual

Now that she has done Champs in Quiz, she wants to ride next year in Games, Show Jumping, or Eventing.

We decided to just drive on home and not do any sightseeing on the way back, so days 9 and 10 don’t have any pictures.  Overall, it was a good vacation and we enjoyed visiting Lexington.  I am thankful my parents were able to come up from Alabama to join us and spend time with the kids.

KY Vacation Days 3&4

Sunday started with Breyerfest 2017.  We had never been to Breyerfest (and I’m not convinced we need to go back, but the girls disagree).  It really is a bunch of kids (and adults) getting together to buy and sell Breyer horses.  The girls found some new Breyer horses they couldn’t live without and had to spend allowance on.  Alex joined in with Vicki, Alexis, and Amanda in hand painting some Stablemates (very small Breyer horses).  Amanda got her face painted, but it only lasted an hour or so before we had to wash it off due to a reaction.

Alexis and Vicki spent almost 2 hours in a tent learning how to make bridles and lead ropes out of tiny beads and sewing thread.  While they did that, we watched some riding and driving demos. Alex and Amanda both took a try on the mechanical bull.  We also watched some “splash dogs” which were dogs jumping into a pool of water for distance.  The dogs loved it.  At one point, Alex got called up to help hold one of the dogs who was very excited about doing his jumps.

Once we had our fill of Breyerfest, we went back to the hotel for a break.  Later, we hiked almost 2 miles to Cold Stone for some ice cream.

On Monday, we had breakfast and hit the road.  We headed South to Mammoth Cave National Park.  The Visitor’s Center is very well put together and we spent almost an hour learning about the history of the park and the caves.  The 405+ miles of mapped cave make Mammoth the largest cave in the world.  There are estimates that another 600 miles remain to be mapped.  We did the “Domes and Dripstones” tour which was very interesting and included both large open areas and unique formations within the caves.

We learned a lot of interesting tidbits during the tour, although Vicki felt it would have been more interesting to just hike and look without the guide talking so much.

We ended the day with some pizza at the hotel and a study session for Alexis and Vicki.  After all, we are here for a competition.  Check-in is tomorrow!

KY Vacation Days 1&2

We are officially on vacation!  Back in the winter, we told Vicki that if she qualified for Pony Club Championships in Quiz, she could attend Champs and 1 day of Breyerfest.  Well, she did and we are now on our vacation in Lexington, KY to hold up our end of the deal.  We found a gas station with a porta-potti and managed to avoid a crisis, however, traffic was normal (read crappy) and it took a while to get through NY.  In fact, we traveled about 400 miles for the first day on the road and only averaged 41 mph on the roads  – that’s actual cranked car time, not including stops.  Obviously, we encountered a lot accidents, traffic jams, heavy rain, and in general other bad driving conditions.

Since we were not in a rush for our trip, we decided to do something fun each day to break up the driving.  The activity for Day 1 was Hershey PA.  We stopped off and did the “Factory Tour” and “Chocolate Tasting Experience”.  The kids enjoyed it and it wasn’t too bad, although we didn’t buy anything from the exorbitantly priced store.

When we made it to Maryland, we stopped at the rest area and Fireflies were out.  The kids enjoyed a few minutes of chasing them around the grass before climbing back in the car.  Here’s a video Anna took of the kids running around after the Fireflies.

We stopped for the night at almost 10pm at Holiday Inn in Hagerstown, MD. The kids were happy to hit up the pancake machine this morning before we continued on the journey.

West Virginia!

Today’s stop was at the Clay Center in Charleston, WV.  The Clay Center is part of the Blue Star Museum program which gives free entry to military and it has a science center and art museum.  The kids enjoyed exploring the science exhibits and climbing on the 3 story climbing sculpture.  The exhibits were well designed to target kids, interactive, and engaged across the age spectrum.

Vicki was looking forward to the art exhibits, which was only a small area, but satisfied her desire.  Everyone had to choose their favorite piece of art and explain to the family why they chose that one.

After our break, we continued the drive to KY!

 

Playing Catch Up

Summers are always busy and as the kids get older, that becomes an understatement.  It’s been over a month since we have posted, so I’m going to lump a lot of different happenings from the last 5+ weeks into a single post.

The kids finished up the school year and are ready to move on.  This was the first year back in public Vicki was 1 of 3 6th graders at Griswold Middle School who were tested to skip 7th grade Math.  None of them passed the test with a high enough score to actually skip 7th grade Math, but Vicki was close.  She finished the school year with all A’s.  Alex (who is now 14!) has decided to start his freshman year of high school at Griswold High School in the fall. 

We have been riding a lot. All 3 kids did Pony Club camp. Alex took Dakota, Vicki on Duchess,  and Amanda on Huey. All 3 learned a lot and had fun. Here are some videos from camp.

Amanda and Huey

Alex and Dakota

Vicki and Duchess
We did another hunter pace and in general, things have been busy with horses. Here are a few pictures. 

Proud to Du It – Youth Duathlon

This past weekend, all three kids did their first multi-sport competition.  A short while back, Alex and Vicki joined the Nutmeg Youth Triathlon Team (NYTT).  A Griswold branch of the team was started by the mom of some of the kids in our 4-H Club. They have been doing weekly practices for biking and running (it’s a little cold for open water swimming), while continuing twice a week swim lessons at the YMCA.  Amanda joins in for some biking and running as she can while doing swimming lessons once a week.  Amanda worked very hard to learn to ride without her training wheels to get ready for the first race.

For their first race, the kids participated in the New London Proud to Du It, Youth Duathlon.  Amanda was in the 5-6 yo age group and had to run 1/2 mile, bike 1 mile, run 1/2 mile.  Alex and Vicki were in the 11-13 yo age group and ran 1 mile, biked 4 miles, ran 1 mile.  The starts were staggered by age group and by gender.  All three kids finished and all three had a good time.

It’s all Run and Games

This morning I (Rob) did my 5th half marathon at the Colchester half (all 5 have been there).  In very uncharacteristic weather, it was 60F when we started at 10:00.  I completed the 13.1 miles and 881′ of elevation in 1:58 (9:00 min/mile pace).  Nothing like burning 1800 calories before lunch.

Just finished the Colchester Half Marathon

After a quick shower and bite to eat, I met Anna and the kids an hour and a half after I finished the race.   They had a trailer load of horses and it was time for Pony Club mounted games practice.  I rode Mojo, Anna rode Dakota, and Amanda rode Huey for the first session.  Then Alex rode Dakota and Vicki rode Devil.  Everyone had a great time, but if this weather continues we will need to body clip some ponies! By the time we got home and unloaded the trailer, everyone was ready for some dinner and a movie.

 

A slushy ride in the woods

It’s been a while since we posted.  Angel (aka Jellybean) didn’t end up staying with us.  She had too much anxiety and couldn’t handle being away from Devil, so we are back to our 6 gelding herd.  Of course, we finally got a bunch of snow in Feb.  We went from nothing to about 16″ on the ground in a matter of a few days.  Since then, we have been participating in mounted games practices on weekends, but no really riding much at home.

Today, it was in the mid-50s and the snow was melting away.  Anna has been a little under the weather and Alex bumped his head sledding in the woods, so I went on a short ride with the girls.  While the temperature was great, I hate riding in the slush.  It’s pretty, but I don’t like the horses sliding on ice you can’t see.  It was a short ride, but good to get out.