After weeks of frigid temperatures, this weekend was a welcome relief with highs in the upper 40s. Saturday morning, Alex took Dakota out for a short solo trail ride. Saturday afternoon Vicki rode Duchess and Amanda rode Huey at Pony Club games practice. This was Duchess’ first group practice and she did awesome.
This morning started with 4 hours of tack and tack room cleaning to kick off the ride season. After a break, we tacked up for a ride. As usual, I took Mojo and Vicki rode Duchess. Alex rode Teddy, which will be a regular occurrence this year as they will be competing together at endurance rides. Amanda elected to ride Devil, which was interesting, as Devil is a lot hotter on the trail than Huey. Finally, Anna rode Amira for their first time in the woods.
We rode for 1:15 which was just about perfect for today. The temperatures were dropping, but everyone had a good time. Amira did great – she crossed water without hesitation, took turns leading, following, and bringing up the rear of the group. Amira fits in well with the herd and had a great first outing. The sun set before our ride ended and we got to ride in at dusk with another beautiful New England sunset.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Of course we are crazy. Anna saw a listing on a pony club related email about a free horse. Of course she replied, we had a conversation with the owner, and 2 days later, we drove about 150 miles (each way) to check him out.
Here is what we knew from the owner:
9yo, 16.1hh, bay, gelding, barefoot, OTTB. Off the track 3-4 years ago and obtained for the daughter. Did some jumping, cross country, hunter riding, but was too high-strung for the daughter. Put out to pasture about 1.5 years ago with a herd of 3 geriatric horses over 30. The other horses have all since passed away and it was time for the horse to go. His name is NOT-Waylon. Supposed to be completely sound, with no track injuries.
The description seemed pretty accurate when we arrived, except he was closer to 15.3hh. Also his hooves hadn’t been trimmed in at least a year, but probably the entire time he was in pasture (1.5 years). Since he also hadn’t been saddled in 1.5 years, we decided to roll the dice and bring him home (since he was free, it’s not a terribly expensive gamble).
He is definitely high-strung, however, he seems to calm considerably when he is with other horses (or can at least see them). I trimmed his hooves, and saddled him up, only to discover bilateral lameness.
Lameness in a horse can have many causes, so I started with some of the most obvious to see how bad it was. In this case, NOT-Waylon had severe thrush infection in his hooves. So, I gave him a nice, new set of Easy Care Gloves on all 4 hooves, and bada-bing, bada-boom- a sound horse! On Friday, we went for an hour and a half trail ride. He did great (other than being a little out of shape).
Why did we get another TB? Why not? Actually, since King is almost 19, we don’t really want to over do it with him and jumping. Anna and I would like to do more hunter paces in the future, so a younger, fast paced TB, would be good. Besides, this actually gives us 2 bay TBs, 15.3-16hh, both with a white stripe down the face, and a single white sock on the back left leg. Now, we just need one of our TBs to be brave enough to lead the way.
So, what’s his name? Well, we have determined it is NOT-Waylon (which is what he was previously known by). We all thought Thunder was a good name, but since even Devil picks on him, he isn’t really Thunder material. So right now, Milo is what we think.
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.