Category Archives: horse

Christmas 2014

Christmas this year was a small affair.  No familiy visiting from out of town, and no where we had to be.  On Christmas Eve, we joined the Smith’s, owners of Cedars of Lebanon Farm, or their annual Christmas Eve brunch.  It has become a holiday event we look forward to.  The fact that their daughter Natalie is in culinary school and uses the brunch to showcase recipes doesn’t hurt.

After we got home, Vicki set to work baking the cookies for Santa, sugar cookies with a pepermint glaze are the appropriate recipe.

That evening, we headed to North Stonington Congregational Church to see some old friends at the evening service, and then back home for a traditional Swedish dinner that Anna put together.  We had meatballs with cranberry sauce (she couldn’t find lingonberry jam locally), ham, potatoes, pickled herring, pickled salmon, and pickles.  Afterwards, the kids got to open 1 present, plus their new pj’s from Grandma and Grandpa.  A fire in the fireplace seemed like a good idea, but as the evening progressed, the temperature outside climbed to almost 60F.  Turbo joined us fo the reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.

We told the kids before they went to bed, no presents would be opened on Christmas morning until the animals at had to been checked on and horses fed hay.  The rest of the chores would be deferred to later in the morning.

At 7:30, the kids came into our room to wake us up.  The horses had been fed their hay and Alex had actually completed all his morning chores.  Vicki went to make a pot of coffee for us while we got ready to join them for presents.

After opening gifts, the kids got to play with their new toys.  Since it was in the low 60s, Anna and I decided to head outside and spend 6 hours on a fencing project.  We significantly collapsed the goat paddock and gave a most of the back property to the horses.   By the time we came in well after dark, we were ready for a simple dinner of farm fresh eggs and bacon.

We were also surprised with a very nice gift from some friends and found the perfect spot for our new addition in the kitchen.

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Today was spent loading hay in the barn, loading shavings, riding horses, and time at the gun range.  Merry Christmas from our family to yours, and have a Happy New Year!

 

Pony Club Horse Trials

Every year, Mystic Pony Club and Shetucket Valley Pony Club put on a show together at Mystic Valley Hunt Club.  It is typically the end of October and one of the last outdoor shows in the area.  It was actually cancelled in 2012 due to snow falling the night before and covering the course.  This year there was no snow, but there was definitely wind.  It was in the mid 50s and windy today.

This was the first time Alex and Vicki did this type of show. The show included dressage classes, 2 phase (dressage and stadium jumping), and 3 phase (dressage, stadium jumping, and cross-country jumping).  Alex and Vicki entered in Grasshopper 2 phase which means they did a walk-trot dressage test and a stadium jump course of 10 jumps up to 18″ in height.  They both also did an extra walk-trot dressage test.  Alexis, Vicki’s friend and one of Anna’s students, rode in 2 dressage tests.

Alex and Nike got 2nd in 2 phase, and 1st in dressage.  Vicki and Devil got 4th in 2 phase and disqualified in dressage because Devil decided to exit the ring a little early.  Both of them rode a clear round in the jumping and had a blast.  Alexis and Huey got 2nd and 3rd in dressage.

 

Lyme Hunter Pace 2014

Anna, Alex,  and Vicki rode Dakota,  Nike, and Devil in the Lune Hunter Pace today.  King has been lame this week so we sat out.
It was 8.9 miles of gorgeous trails and fun jumps. The kids got to do a few jumps and everyone had fun. Vicki has been logging more time in the saddle and did much better at this one compared to the pace in June.
They didn’t place overall, but they did win the Don Siluk Memorial award that is sponsored by Mystic Pony Club.  It is an award specifically designed for pony clubbers and a parent/guardian. The kids are looking forward to a trip to The Paddock to redeem the gift certificate.

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Before the start

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After the finish

Introducing Nike!

To celebrate Labor Day, we took the kids to Mystic Valley Hunt Club for a lesson with Maureen Pach.  The second reason for our trip was to pick up Nike.  Nike is joining our farm on a long term lease.  As you can see from the pictures, he and Devil will make a great pair in pictures.  Nike is a seasoned school horse and will help Alex advance in the arena work while Dakota continues training with Anna. In the pictures,  Alex is on Devil and Vicki is on Nike (they switched for part of the lesson).  You know it’s a good pony when the owner and 2 of his previous riders come to see him off to his new home!

WGHA Hunter Pace #3

What does 12 miles in 2:35 on a gorgeous Sunday get you?  1st place in the Trailblazer division for me and 1st place in the Junior division for Alex.  Today was our 3rd hunter pace of the summer and it was a fabulous day.  King and Dakota were rock stars, as usual.

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Alex is getting into the hunter paces and decided that we needed to match (I agreed).  So, we wore our khaki breeches, blue farm shirts, matching Mystic Pony Club saddle pads, matching pommel bags, and even our protective vests match.  While we aren’t setting any record speeds, I require the protective vests to instill good habits for the future when I expect he will want to jump a lot more than now.

 

 

Alex has also started to figure out it’s not always bad that there are not a lot of boys at the horse events…

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WGHA Hunter Pace #2

Today was the second WGHA Hunter Pace.  Since we sold Calli, and Vicki didn’t handle the distance very well last time, this one was me (Rob) on King and Alex on Dakota.  We did the 10.3 miles in 2:10.  That was good enough for me to get 2nd in the Trailblazer division and Alex to get 1st in the Junior division.

Alex got to choose his prize for winning the Junior division; he chose a new chair.  Once he got home, he immediately set it up in the yard and shared the umbrella space with Amanda.

North Stonington Fair 2014

It was an exhausting weekend as we kicked off the 2014 fair season with the North Stonington Fair.

Thursday, 8 rabbits reported for show duty and spent the weekend looking pretty for the masses.

Friday, Anna and the kids spent the day washing goats, washing horses, and Anna was up past midnight braiding manes.  Saturday morning, we loaded the trailer and headed to the horse show.

Amanda rode on Huey in the lead line class.

 

Jack, one of Anna’s students, also rode lead line on Devil.  Vicki rode Devil in the walk-trot classes along with her best friend, Alexis, who was on Huey.  Alexis actually beat Vicki for the walk-trot championship (in her first show ever).  It does Vicki good to get taken down a peg every now and then.  Alex has no interest in the ride around the arena classes, however, he was keen to ride in the Gymkhana classes.  He did the mounted games at the 4-H show in May with Dakota, so we let him do it again, only this time, we let him canter Dakota.  He did come close to the fastest times, but he maintained control and had fun doing it.  He even decided to add-on a 1 walk-trot-canter class for the day.

 

After the horse show, the kids put on their new Barnyard Buddies 4-H shirts to walk around a few minutes, but needed a food and drink break.  Ruth is another one of Anna’s students who came along for the day to watch Amanda, but seemed to get bitten by the show bug and is talking about getting more serious in her plans with King.

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Sunday was the goat show.  We had 11 goats with 5 kids (Alex, Vicki, Amanda, Alexis, and Selena) our herd.  Amanda got to show Sprout in Pee-Wee showmanship and the Pet class.  Another long day, but everyone had a good time and Alex is actually starting to get more into the goats.  Sawyer Farm’s Onyx won Best Jr Lamancha and Sawyer Farm’s Sequoia won best Jr Recorded Grade.

 

Throughout the afternoon, WCTY was doing karaoke next to the goat show, and the kids were constantly on stage giving it a try.  Amanda and her friend Lily spent almost all afternoon on stage.

2 weeks until the next fair!

Our first family hunter pace

20140601_101514Today Alex, Vicki, Anna, and I (Rob) rode in our first family hunter pace.  It was put on by the West Greenwich Horseman’s Association (WGHA) at Arcadia in RI.  For those not familiar with hunter pacing, it is a long trail ride with optional jumps along the way.  This one had 3 different divisions: Hunters (fastest group with lots of cantering), Hilltoppers (walk/trot with some cantering), and Trailblazers (walk/trot).  We entered Trailblazers, but did some cantering early on with lots of walking towards the end.

The ride was 11.5 miles long and it took us 3:15.  Here are the top 10 things we learned on our first hunter pace.

10. Make sure all the bridles loaded in the trailer have reins (luckily a friend/trimming client lived across the street and we were able to borrow some).

9. Leather braided roping reins stretch a lot when Calli pulls hard.  They now reside in the trash.

8.  Dakota is a ROCK STAR!

7.  Alex is well conditioned for the time/distance.

6.  Vicki is not well conditioned for the time/distance.

5.  Vicki will get really tired and be ready to give up about 6.5 miles into the ride.

4.  Vicki doesn’t like GU gels and won’t eat them to get her some nutrition.

3.  Calli doesn’t like horses with bells trotting up behind her.

2.  Easily accessible snacks are needed for Vicki (and Anna) on a long trail ride.

1.  Despite over an hour of melting down, getting upset with her pony, and wanting to quit (in the middle of the woods), after some lunch and sugar, Vicki can start planning for the next hunter pace.

Alex and Vicki got ribbons for 5th place in the junior division.  Ribbons always make a kid happy.  The next Hunter Pace is in July.  Vicki plans to do more 2+ hour trail rides to get ready.

A Mother’s Day at the Games rally

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Sunday May 11 2014 was Mother’s Day. I spent the day at the Pony Club games rally with my kids. Well, sort of, because parents aren’t allowed in the horse management area. We arrived at 7.30 ish. That meant we left home around 6.45. The rally was at Mitchell farm in Salem, CT. We helped the kids set up the pop up tent and chairs for the day, left a cooler of food, a cooler of water, and helped get their tack room stuff and horse management kits. Their C rated pony club advisor for the day was Grace Perkins who volunteered (!!!) to head up the walk trot grasshopper games team Pony Pals. 5 kids 10 and under, and five ponies for a full day, ending with awards at 6 pm. After the briefing at 8.30 parents were banned from the horse area. The kids had jog outs to check for soundness and later a formal inspection for turn out of horse and rider. There were horse management judges asking questions and doing inspections. Then they played games against the other grasshopper team ” the runaways”. Throughout the day they killed dead time around the trailer, reading, eating and playing games ( board games). At six pm the day concluded with awards.  The Pony Pals came home with double blue ribbons, one for horse management and one for the riding portion. They were all exhausted. Rob volunteered for 4 hours on the field helping out with the games play.  I watched Amanda and spent money at the food truck,  while watching the games play and chatting with other parents. Amanda fell asleep in the afternoon.
Overall it was a good Mother’s day with great weather.

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Another good ride

Since Anna’s parents are in town, we have had some extra help around and been able to get in a little more riding this week. In fact, today was my third ride on Calli in under a week.  It was a nice mid fifties afternoon, Anna rode Precious, and I work with Calli.

I hate arena work – it’s boring.  I would be much happier if Anna would train Calli and I could just show up and ride at a show or hunter pace.  But alas, Anna feels I should have some role in training my own horse.

So, it was a circles, bending, transitions sort of day.  And it went pretty well.  Calli is showing that she can actually work.  I started some lateral work.  And then I wrapped it up with some cross rails.

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