Tag Archives: Horse

Thoughts On A Week At Pony Club Camp

 

Alex and Precious practicing an Intro dressage test.

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.

Alex and Vicki warming up for games.

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.

Amanda in the back of the Gator.

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.

Alex playing games
Alex and Vicki exchanging the baton while playing games

 

 

 

Just another ride

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.

Couples therapy

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.

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Musical horses?

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!

Farewell to Turbo

Today Turbo left us. While we still had longer we could keep him on trial, there were a few specific issues that led us to realize he wasn’t the right long term horse. For now, instead of seeking a new horse, we are going to ride King and focus on more lessons for Rob on advanced school horses.

Just another non-stop weekend building and improving the farm

Since the base was having a “big drill” last week, the Nautilus Museum was closed Thursday and Friday so I had the day off.  Of course, we are always behind on the list of farm projects, so it seemed like a great time to catch up (a little).  In fact, I have yet to meet a farmer who feels everything is just right and caught up on their farm…

The biggest project for the weekend was goat fencing.  I hired 2 high schoolers to work for me Thursday, Friday, and Saturday because I needed the extra hands.  My neighbor Tim has a large backhoe that he brought down to remove a couple of stumps for me.  After that, I put up 1 long stretch of fence to create a corridor between the horses and goats.  Now we can easily go back and forth across the bottom of the property.  Of course, that 12′ wide by 180′ long corridor can also be used as a grazing area for ponies, calf, etc.  Then I built a fully contained by field fence kid area inside the goat pen.  I’ll explain why.

When a doe has kids, the kids get all of momma’s milk for the first 2 weeks.  After that, we start to isolate the kids at night so we can milk the doe in the morning.  For Betty’s kids, we just locked them in the kidding stall at night.  However, since Maggie is due this week, we needed a better/larger solution.  Now, our 30’x30′ kid pen can be used as the overnight isolation area.  I’m sure it will get lots of other use too.

As I have discussed before, we like to recycle as much as possible.  I have previously posted about recycling pallets into goat shelters and chicken coops.  Last week when I went to get another load of pallets, I found out the moving company that supplies us is going out of business.  Bad news for them, but good for us because they are emptying out their warehouses.  That means I was able to get 4’x4′ wood crates and 7’x7′ shipping crates.  Add a recycled door, and what do you have?  How about a storage shed for the rabbitry.  Now all of the rabbit supplies, feed, hay, etc are conveniently located next to the cages (it just needs some paint).

Of course, we had people coming and going all weekend.  Some were here to buy chicks, while other were just here to meet us or catch up.  For example, we placed an ad in the North Stonington Bulletin Board classifieds.  Some neighbors a couple of miles away saw the ad and found our page.  It turns out they have a very similar mindset with slightly different focus.  Check out this blog to learn more about Morning Star Meadows Farms and their Icelandic Sheep!  You can also see what other blogs we like on the right side of our home page.

And there was one other little thing.  Turbo.  We were waiting to get serious about finding a new horse for me until we placed Cinder in a new home.  Well, on Wednesday Cinder went to a new home.  On Friday, I test rode Turbo.  And Sunday morning, I brought him home on a 30 day trial.  I never have been very patient.  Vicki approves.

It’s good to be crazy.