Yesterday we took the kids to the Ledyard Fair Horse Show. They showed in four classes, three beginner walk-trot classes and one polebending class. The kids and ponies did well, each earning a red ribbon for second place, Vicki and Devil in walk-trot pleasure and Alex and Precious for walk-trot command. They enjoyed the polebending and both cantered their horses to the finish. They got four ribbons each and had a good time. The horse show was fast and prompt for a change and we were home by 1 pm. More pictures below.
This past week Alex and Vicki spent five days at Ayer Mountain Farm participating in Shetucket Valley Pony Club’s annual camp. They are part of Mystic Pony Club, but our club had been invited to join them at camp. The ponies stayed at camp all week, but Alex and Vicki came in the morning and went home at night. They had two riding lessons per day and chores and crafts in between. I (Anna) was there every day with Amanda helping out and watching over the kids. It has been an exhausting week, but it was a very rewarding time spent with the kids.
The kids got to experience several different things during the week. Besides regular instruction twice a day they also tried fox hunting with hounds (in the walk-trot group), Alex got to jump cross-rails for the first time ever, Vicki cantered over ground poles, they both did pony club mounted games and they crossed the water on the cross country course. Alex even got to have a lesson with two other boys his age. Amanda was quite the little trooper, hangin out all week and she got lots of attention from older and younger girls.
So what are my thoughts after spending a week at pony club camp?
Well, I believe Pony Club is good for the kids. It exposes them to other kids who also ride and gives them opportunities to do things with the horses they would not get to do otherwise. Horse kids are generally good-natured, hard-working kids. I wish there were more boys involved, but such is life with horses…in a few years Alex may come to appreciate being a boy among lots of girls.
As in any organization, volunteers make a difference. There are individuals out there that sacrifice their time for YOUR children. I wish more parents appreciated this fact, not just in Pony Club, but across the board in kids’ sports and recreational activities. Salute those energizer bunnies that make things happen.
I ‘ve decided I want to ride my horse more. I need to have some sort of goal with my riding. King is 18, but to be honest he isn’t really showing any signs of slowing down. Watching other people ride all week makes me want to ride too.
Being at camp all day made me exhausted and I want to get in better shape. Who wants to be walking around in breeches and a tucked in polo shirt and not be in shape? Besides it will make me a better rider (theoretically).
All in all, we had a great week at camp. The weather was good, the kids behaved, the ponies behaved, and nobody left in an ambulance (though one girl broke her arm and another fractured a rib). Below are some more pictures.
This weekend was supposed to be filled with trail riding and overnight camping with the horses. However, the threat of severe weather yesterday caused us to cancel some plans.
The clouds were still looming, but we went out this morning anyway. We met a group from Mystic Pony Club at Stepping Stones Ranch next to Arcadia in RI. We had an extended warm up period as everyone tacked up, and then headed out for the ride.
We had 15 riders total in the group. It was the first time we had taken Calli out for a ride somewhere else. While she was a little nervous at first, I moved her to the back of the group and she calmed nicely. Amanda rode in the Buddy Saddle behind Anna on King. Alex got to try out a new pommel pack as an incentive to do more long distance riding.
We were in the saddle for 2 hrs- by far Amanda’s longest ride yet (she’s not quite 27 months old).
After we got back, we ate our picnic lunch and headed home. Now we are watching some Pentathlon and then it is back outside. We still have to get everything ready to go again because the kids have pony club riding camp all week! Maybe the weather wi cooperate with horse camping next weekend.
Previously I posted about starting my formal education as a horse hoof trimmer. Even though I have 7 years of experience, I know learning is a continuous process. The Equine Sciences Academy is the group I was most impressed with due to the diversity of the curriculum and their acknowledgement of how multiple right answers exist. I started classes in June and have enjoyed them so far.
I was recently informed that I am the 2012 recipient of the Armed Services Academy Scholarship. This will be used to pay for my tuition for the next 2 terms and help me continue with y goal of being a full time trimmer after I retire from the Navy.
Alex had his first horse show at the North Stonington Fair! He rode Precious in 3 walk-trot classes and got 2-4ths and a 3rd. His favorite part? Getting the ribbons.
Vicki had her first horse show at the North Stonington Fair! She rode King in a lead line class, with me as the lead holder. She got third and can’t wait to show more. She is actually ready to show in walk-trot, but Devil needs a little more reovery time first.
Anna had her first student enter a show! Kenzie rode Precious in the lead line class with Vicki. It was also her first show ever and she had a ton of fun!
Since King was already there, I rode him in 5 classes. I managed to get 1st in 2 of the classes and won Grand Champion in the English division.
6 of our rabbits got 1st place in the rabbit show at the North Stonington Fair, and one also got Runner Up for Open Show Champion!
After about a year of owning goats, we finally sold our first goat. That was followed about 30 minutes later with our second and third sales of goats to a different family.
Tomorrow we will have our first goat show! The main focus for tomorrow is to learn about showing and make sure Vicki and Alex have fun doing it.
It’s North Stonington Fair time! This is our first fair experience showing animals. We have been busy for the last few days making final preps. 6 rabbits are about to get delivered to their cages and will stay until Sunday night. The kids get to do unlimited rides tonight.
We will probably go tomorrow evening, but first we will be prepping horses. Saturday morning is the horse show. Vicki will be riding lead line on King since Devil is still not healed enough to show. Alex will be riding Precious, and Anna even has a student riding Precious in the lead line class. This will be Alex and Vicki’s first horse show. I may enter with King if there are other adults showing.
Then, Sunday is the goat show. We are taking 5 goats (2 for Vicki and 3 for Alex). This will be our first goat show!
Anna and I enjoy sitting down after a long day and enjoying a glass of red wine and some goat cheese. Until recently, we were buying our goat cheese at the grocery store for $5-6 for 4oz! We have finally gotten back into making our own cheese. It is very easy and we use real lemon juice to curdle the milk. After a night of draining in cheese cloth, we salt the cheese, add some fresh garlic, and roll the cheese in fresh herbs. The biggest complication is we will run out of fresh herbs!
Now to sit back and enjoy Pete Ramey teaching about hoof trimming. What else would you watch before bed?
For the past few months, Anna and I have missed the opportunity to take the horses on a trail ride without the kids. This is because we have been without two horses for us to ride. While the lower feed bill has been nice, we really missed our time to ride as a couple and as a whole family.
On Monday, Calli (Calliope) came to join us. We have her on a free lease for now as we evaluate if she is right for us. Calli is a 5 year old, 16.1hh, thoroughbred mare. She has some arena experience, but is definitely more green than horses I have worked with in the past. So far, after 2 rides, we are getting along well.
Since it was raining this morning, we rearranged some plans and Anna and I went trail riding this afternoon. To my knowledge, this was only Calli’s second trail ride. We got her to do a small water crossing and did some canter work in a nice open field. She did very well and Anna and I were able to enjoy the afternoon out.
Horses eat grass and leave weeds. Goats eat weeds and leave grass. A little rest from the horses is a perfect time to let the goats clean up the weeds! We recently purchased a large quantity of used Premier electronet fencing for just this purpose. At their initial browse rate, it looks like the weeds will be clear in about 24 hours. Luckily, we are putting up more electronet around an overgrown area of the property for the goats to move to next!
Warning: This post contains explicit details and graphic pictures of equine cancer surgery.
Last summer, we got Vicki a Paint pony named Devil in Disguise (Devil). He has been absolutely fabulous with the kids and Anna uses him for teaching lessons to new riders. In late April, we noticed an unusual lump on his sheath, so we decided to have Salem Valley Vet out to evaluate the issue. Salem Valley came and took a small cell sample for analysis, but was pretty certain it was a sarcoid tumor. In the about 3 weeks from when we first noticed the tumor until Salem Valley checked it, Anna and I both noticed a definite size increase in the tumor. The recommendation came back to book him for surgery at Tufts.
As we were moving through this, I met Dr. Kara Kneser at a 4H goat showing clinic, and she referenced me to Dr. Anne Schwartz of Tri State Equine Surgical Specialists. Based on the cost estimate from Tufts, we decided to have Dr. Schwartz give us a second opinion. Dr. Schwartz has experience working in equine hospitals in Florida and a couple of years ago moved to RI to branch out on her own. Right now she is specializing in on-farm surgery. We did a consult with her to evaluate the tumors. The advantages of doing on-farm surgery are lower stress (no trailering, familiar environment, etc), convenient, maybe better recovery, and cost. Of course, the risks are higher because there are no monitors and fewer options if things go bad. We decided to accept the risks and cost because Devil is only 9 and has many more years ahead of him. Due to some shifting schedules, the surgery got moved up to today.
Dr. Schwartz did the actual surgery and Dr. Kneser was the anesthesiologist. The surgery was actually conducted in the grassy area just outside our barn. They started by sedating Devil and then actually giving him the anesthesia. Once he was down and on his back, Dr. Schwartz got to work. It was about 2 hrs, 15 minutes from her first incision until she finished sewing him up as much as possible. Brittany Banning introduced us to Devil in the first place, and since she is a vet student, we invited her to the surgery. Dr. Schwartz let her jump in to help. The tumors were much more involved than any of us had imagined. Samples are being sent for analysis to confirm the are sarcoids. In all, 1-1.5 lbs of tumors were removed, and a number of times Dr. Schwartz commented on how in over 20 years she didn’t remember seeing any sarcoids that involved. There were a few touchy points when his heart rate dropped or his breathing got irregular, but in the end, he survived the surgery.
It took about 45 minutes for the anesthesia to wear off and for him to stand up. At first, 5 of us were helping keep him from falling back over. After a while, Vicki came up to check on him. Devil was very happy to see Vicki and actually, kept stepping forward to get closer to her. We used Vicki to lead him back to his stall.
Devil will be on stall rest for 1-2 days, and then get to go back out. He will get 4-5 chemotherapy injections throughout the summer where the tumors were located. How he does will determine how long until Vicki gets to ride him again, but probably about 2 months.
We are very pleased with the work that Dr. Schwartz and her team did, and definitely give them a “4 hooves up” endorsement.