4 days of driving totalling 38 hrs in the truck and 2245 miles. We are home safe and sound. Gamble and JJ both traveled great. They drank when they got off the trailer and are eating hay. We have been giving them a soupy mash throughout the trip. They don’t seem to know what Lamanchas are, but that will probably only be a temporary scary thing. We will let them settle in and start riding them soon.
We did check their heights and Gamble is 16.0hh while JJ is 15.1hh. Welcome home ponies.
We didn’t take many pictures today because we were all about the miles. Over 700 miles covered in 12.5 hours. We generally went 2.5-3 hours at a stretch and then stopped for 30 minutes to let the horses take break. At each stop, they got offered some wet mash and water. JJ liked the sweet water (2 gal of water with a handful of rice bran added). JJ and Gamble both did great all day.
The horses are enjoying a layover at TMR Ranch in Woodland, PA. When we arrived, they had stalls ready to go with hay, water, and bedding. The farm is less than 1.5 miles off I-80 with plenty of parking for your trailer and hotels less than 10 minutes away. If you are crossing PA and need a layover, check them out on horsemotels.com.
This morning started before sunrise as we left Ohio and headed into Indiana. As the sun came up, we saw deer everywhere. By the way, it’s REALLY flat in Indiana so you can see a long way. Illinois wins the worst road maintenance award of the 7 states we travelled through. We crossed the Mississippi and arrived at our destination of Dubuque, Iowa mid-afternoon. We checked in to the hotel and took a break before going shopping.
We found some things we liked and decided to buy.
Joining our herd are SA Jack of Hearts (barn name Gamble) and SA Jeeka’s Jessica (barn name JJ). Gamble and JJ are both originally from Sun Arab Stables in Kentucky where we bought SA Fiona from Daunna Sellers; all three share the same Shagya sire, Bayram. Gamble and JJ are out of the same dam, a Thoroughbred named Oak Island Jeeka, so they are both Anglo-Shagyas. Here are the stats: Gamble is 10yo gelding, 16.1hh (maybe 16.2 – Anna is standing uphill) and JJ is a 14yo mare, 15.1-2hh. JJ has foaled previously and both have 2 Limited Distance endurance rides under the belt, although it’s been a few years.
We went out to get some sushi to celebrate. Early tomorrow morning we will start the drive home.
After lunch, we continued down the road to another horse trailer dealer. We stopped at Leonard Truck and Trailer in Ohio. With over 60 living quarters trailers in stock, it have us a chance to compare a number of different brands. We left with the trailer we rolled in with and continued on to Toledo, OH where we stopped for the night. Dinner at BWW included trivia and wings. Another full day tomorrow…
It was dark when we started this morning. The colors are past peak in PA. Made a detour to Treas horse trailers to look at living quarters horse trailers. We stopped at Dennys for lunch and now back on the road. We are on a secret road trip mission. Any guesses where we are headed? Hint: we have a layover tonight before the final destination.
Last night when Rob got home from work, we went for a walk in the forest. Our property directly borders Pachaug State Forest, Connecticut’s largest state forest. We walk out of our horse barn and are in the state forest in 20 yards. It is my absolute favorite thing about our house. Rusty loves the forest too!
There is something special and relaxing about hiking. I find it resets my inner peace. This time of year, the earthly smells of leaves and water, ground me like nothing else really does. Maybe the Japanese are right about that forest bathing thing…Exercise and nature fill up my bucket.
We didn’t hike for very long, we walked for about 2 miles. The sun was setting and Rob is still recovering from his accident. He took a few running steps and said: “Not yet”. Yes, I agree. Not yet. Patience is a virtue.
We walked over to the “water fall”, which is a popular destination for our kids when they hike or run in the forest and we contemplated new better ways to connect to the Yellow CT Horse Council trail without having to go out to the main gravel road first. Maybe this is a good project for Rob’s recovery this winter. We had found an overgrown forest path several years ago, but never finished clearing it.
As we came down the path to the house, the kids texted that goat chores were done. The light was fading and the view of the sunset across the road was, as always, spectacular.
After 27 years of living in the USA (1 year as an au pair, 2 years in college, 24 years married), Anna became a citizen today. She actually retains her Swedish citizenship too, so basically, she can now vote and get a US Passport. And never have to deal with Immigration and Naturalization Services again. Quinn, Amanda, and I joined Anna at the ceremony (Alex was at work) in Hartford.
May rivals December in our house for busiest month of the year. There haven’t been any blog posts for about a month because we have been so busy, not because nothing was happening. So, here’s what we have been up to since our last update.
Amanda had her 6th grade band concert. She has been playing trumpet for 2 years now, but this is the first concert due to all the COVID issues.
We attended the Connecticut Dairy Goat Association show with our herd. Quinn and Amanda both had a good time, but it was a LONG day. We left home at 5:30am and didn’t get back until 7:30pm. They both agreed that fairs are better (but I think it’s because of the fair food). Amanda was 2 of 10 and Quinn was 9 of 12 in showmanship. I even got in the ring with Cinnamon. The kids did a great job getting the animals ready and managing them for the day.
Amanda turned 12 and wanted to go on a bike ride on her birthday. Specifically, she wanted to ride on the Kingston bike path where there is a convenient ice cream shop about 5.5 miles into the ride. We ended up doing 12 miles on her 12th birthday.
Quinn had junior prom. They chose to make a variant of a jacket/skirt combo. This was an original design, completely sewn by Quinn (including the buttons and button holes). This will go into their portfolio for fashion design school, which is the leading choice post-high school pursuits.
Anna and Amanda have been spending a lot of time in the garden. Amanda has her own sections of the garden for planting what she wants. They work together to map out which veggies go where.
For Memorial Day weekend, we decided not to attend the New York Adventure endurance ride. We had a few tack issues at VERDA and with the cost of fuel, we just decided it was too much. Instead, we stayed local and camped with West Greenwich Horsemen’s Association in Exeter, RI (about 9 miles from home). The weather was stormy on Friday night, so Amanda and I set up camp and Anna, Alex, and Quinn brought the horses over on Saturday morning. Only 1 mile in to the first ride on Saturday, Quinn determined Missy was lame and came back to camp. We loaded her up on the trailer and went home to get Eli instead. Eli got some hock injections earlier this season and has been slowly making a return to heavier work. Over the course of Saturday and Sunday, Amira, Mojo, and Huey got around 27 miles each and Eli got 15. Quinn and Alex elected to stay at home Saturday night and take care of the rest of the animals.
Quinn was inducted into the National Honor Society and also won an Excellence in Mathematics award at school to wrap up their junior year. Oh yeah, and they have a driver’s license now.
Today was our 23rd Anniversary! We celebrated with a ride on the horses. Amanda (on Huey) joined Anna (on Amira) and I (on Missy) for 11 miles this morning. After lunch, Alex (on Mojo) and Quinn (on Eli) went out for a ride as well. They got a little turned around and ended up doing 14 miles.
Now we are ending the week with some Princess Cake that Amanda and Anna made. Apparently we also ate it 23 years ago today.
May and early June is always a wee bit crazy…and this year was no exception. After our trip to New Hampshire for Mother’s Day weekend, there has been no shortage of events on our calendar. Here’s a quick catch up post or highlight reel if you wish.
Amanda turned 9 on May 18. We had a skating birthday with her school friends that weekend and she had a blast.
At the end of May Alex was awarded an academic excellence award for his work in AP/ECE Environmental Science this past school year. Alex took two college level classes with ECE (Early College Education) credit, two honors classes, and still stayed on the high honors list all year. In addition, he participated all year in the 4H group “Teen Ambassadors” that focuses on citizenship, community service and leadership. The group went on a week long trip to Washington DC last week, and Alex had a blast.
Our new project pony Gem has a knack for getting hurt. With no horse sense to speak of, she had to learn what being in a herd is all about. She has so far been kicked by Mojo, stepped on a nail, and been bit by one of the mares, with all injuries requiring some level pf vet care. She has had her teeth done and her feet are improving, but she is definitely still a work in progress. Gem is very defensive of her food and requires us to be careful around feeding time. Unfortunately, I was not cautious enough and got kicked by her on June 1, causing me to be unable to ride for a week. She did go on her first short trail walk under saddle this week. No pics because I was leading Amanda, who was riding Amira.
June 2, most of the family rode in the first WGHA cross country pace (no jumps). I (Anna) did not as I was hurting too much from being kicked the day before. Rob recruited a client of his to ride Amira because she needed to be worked for the upcoming endurance ride. The kids placed second in the junior division, and Rob placed third in the open division. Good day.
Vicki promoted from 8th grade and is headed to the Marine Science Magnet High School in the fall. At the Griswold Middle School awards night, she received four awards: the VFW award for dependability, a creative writing award, a departmental math award for highest average in math (3 way tie), and an award for her expo project “Horses in Therapy”. We are very proud of her. She has also remained on the high honors list all year and was a member of the National Junior Honor Society. She attended the 8th grade dance and then there was promotion night. Her individuality is starting to show for sure.
Amanda is headed to fourth grade in the fall and doing just fine. She makes friends easily and does well at school. I went to field day for half the day and here are some pics.
Rob raced the Patriot Half Ironman on June 15. I went with him to the race to cheer him on and take pics. We camped in the travel trailer the night before. He finished in 6 hours and 38 minutes. I had a relaxing day of reading while waiting for Rob to return to transition between the different events.
Last but not least, Alex had a birthday. HE TURNED 16!!! Five guys for dinner and late night cupcakes for dessert because we were packing for an endurance ride. But we squeezed it in. He will go to get his driver’s permit on July 11 and his license when he is ready and has completed all the requirements (you can not actually get your license at 16 in CT it’s more like 16 and a half, if you are lucky).
Phew, I think that was all. Maybe. Until next time.
Last night we drove up to Amarante’s Winter Wonderland in Dayville. We are new to this local attraction and just learned about it this year. In its 11th year, Amarante’s is a local house that has 160,000 lights, 43 inflatable holiday characters and 36 Christmas trees. They were nominated for “The Great Christmas Light Fight” show on ABC and won the competition. For our local friends, it’s a nice family outing (I recommend Sirius XM channel 70 as your tunes to/from the display).