This afternoon the kids and I (Anna) decided to try sledding behind King. After some initial testing I decided he didn’t care about the sled behind him and since the kids didn’t have the strength to hold on I tied the ropes to the sled. Probably not the safest venture but the ropes were tied on with very breakable baling twine. The kids had a blast!!! They wore their helmets as did I of course. Next we need some plastic skis and a tow rope…
The kids get a limited amount of tv each day. They have seen Anna and I use the indoor bike trainer in the basement and watch tv while riding. So, they took Anna’s bike off and negotiated for tv time while biking. We agreed.
Today at work, I ended up with an unexpected open afternoon. Cold snap last night, bad weather coming tomorrow, first week of November, and Alex was out of school! I headed home at lunch and loaded my new (off Craigslist) 2 seater ladder stand in the truck to take Alex out for a hunt, his second with me this year. Earlier in the season, I had hunted a new property and found a promising area that I was saving for this new stand. However, when we got there, I was disappointed to find another stand in the same area. Ok, we can find a different spot on the property.
However, I also found a pile of apples and a corn feeder. While I am completely supportive of baiting, I limit my baiting to legal areas only. This bait pile is illegal. I’ll let the landowner know (because I know he didn’t put the pile out), but it gave me the chance to discuss with Alex the legal and ethical aspects of hunting.
It was disappointing that I won’t be hunting there anymore, but it was an excellent teaching opportunity for my young hunter wannabe.
I’m sure he will explain it to his sisters when we get home since they were both disappointed that they didn’t get to hunt this year.
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.
A long time ago in 2001 I made a pillowcase for Rob to have on the boat. It had pictures of us at our wedding, pictures of Baron and Daisy and other couple and family pictures. Well, the kids found it in my stack of sheets and proceeded to put the pillowcase on a pillow. They got upset about the dogs being gone and decided to sleep on the floor in Vicki’s room, Alex with his head on Baron’s picture and Vicki with her head on Daisy’s picture…it made me cry.
After having been sick for a week, I felt like I was way behind on farm work. But if you always do the work, you don’t have time for the kids. So this evening, Alex and Vicki collected the worms, and we headed to the pond. It wasn’t a fabulous catch, but as the song says, they think we’re just fishin.
Today I am a stay at home Dad so Anna can chaperone a field trip with Vicki.
You know you have farm kids when the 2 year old is quite happy helping with chores in a princess dress and then finds a nice mud hole to dig in. Now she is learning how to drive her tractor. We saved it from the older kids and just got a new battery installed. I think it is going to be hard keeping Alex and Vicki off…
This week has involved a number of horse rides, but few on the normal mount pairings. On Monday, I did a trail ride with the kids – Alex on Devil, Vicki on Precious, and Amanda with me on King. Tonight, I went for a run with Amanda in the jogging stroller and came home to Vicki trotting around bareback, Alex riding King, and Anna on Precious. Amanda actually is happy riding with anyone that will let her up, and Alex thinks it is tons of fun to ride with his little sister. When they were on King together, no matter how much Alex kicked, King wouldn’t move until I let him know it was OK to walk around.
I guess it’s good to build confidence on different horses!