Riding Lessons and More in Central Virginia

Friday, March 29, 2013

Will Spring Ever Get Here?

It didn't seem like winter was that bad, until we got to March!  Snow snow snow...and while snowfall late in the season gets melted pretty quickly by the longer sunny days, that just means more MUD during mud season!  The horses are dodging the worst puddles as I try to throw the (hopefully final load of) hay toward drier spots in the pastures, but it's a challenge.

Fortunately, with lots of houseguests, most of March went by in a blur!  EKF hosted a 6 year old's birthday party, for which the weather briefly, but successfully, cooperated -- and took riders out to follow hounds with author and MFH Rita Mae Brown's pack in Nelson County -- and at a slightly slower pace, for a spin around the trails at Lake Anna State Park.  This month also saw riders with at least a sixty-year span between their ages enjoying the farm = that is awesome.  Thank you to all the wonderful horses.

Now I'm looking ahead to a busy couple days of lessons, and then planning April vacation week camp ideas.  Spring is such a great time for camp!  We'll check out the eggs in the vernal pool, identify different plants that are about to flower, and spy on the birds to see where they're working on their nests.

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

Check it out!

I plan to continue updating the blog with coverage of all EKF happenings . . . but for a freewheeling, interactive virtual experience of the farm, horsey life in general, and the community of horse-crazy people, click on our new facebook page.

Hope to see you there (and here) soon!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Busy As . . .

 . . . a beaver!  That describes the scene at the farm recently, when our summer camp program put on its long underwear and down vest to turn into winter pony camp.  Just behind my right shoulder, above, you can make out the top of the incredible dam built by wet brown paws down on Duckinghole Creek.  It's holding the water level several feet above the creek in a giant pond -- definitely worth the campers hiking down to check it out.

We also made horsey ornaments, prepared special New Year's treats for the critters, and built a campfire right in the riding ring to make smores.  That's a fun way to warm up on a cold winter afternoon (and how many people can say they've roasted marshmallows in their riding ring?).  Some campers are cantering now, and on bareback day, one rider even switched from Wizard to Chubbs without touching the ground in between!

The first few weeks of this year also saw three older students make their debuts in the hunt field.  Two of these have already come out a second time, and the third -- with beautiful new tall black boots -- is checking the calendar for the next opportunity.  And I am looking forward to the end of this cold, icy weather!

Here's a picture of my blog editor, Dolly Parton Chicken, reviewing today's post:

Monday, December 24, 2012

Let It Snow

Yes, today's Christmas Eve meet with the Farmington Hunt Club was quite SNOWY . . . this photograph, as we moved off near Free Union, Virginia, catches a few flakes in the air, but by the time Zender and Henry got back on the trailer, they had balls of packed snow and ice in their hooves!  We were cold by the time we were done, but the snow against the woods and mountains was beautiful and put us all in the holiday spirit!

I am doing a sun-dance now, though, hoping that the weather improves for our vacation mini-camp dates.  A few days already have four kids signed up, so there are a few more openings 12/28, 12/31, 1/2 and 1/4.  I made a special trip to the crafts store to prepare for some fun indoor warm-up activities . . . and we are definitely going to try to get that campfire going for smores this week!  Also, I'm looking up recipes online to put together some yummy holiday treats for all the horses.  So camp will be busy, no matter the weather.

Once again my wonderful neighbors dropped off a basket of fruit (purchased to support the Louisa High School FFA), and I cannot tell a lie . . . a few of the apples may end up in the horses' bellies tomorrow morning!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  Out here in rural Virginia, fall means the start of hunting season...but for Team EKF, that doesn't mean trying to bag a buck.  Instead, we clean ourselves up and head out to chase Monsieur Reynard, the fox.  Last week near Free Union, Dr. Martha and Kelly enjoyed the meet on Henry and Chubbs.  The weather was beautiful, and we had a perfect mixture of hair-raising up- and downhill gallops and creek crossings, combined with checks in lovely spots with gorgeous views of Buck Mountain.
Apres hunt, the horses were snugged up to stay comfortable, while the two-leggeds enjoyed a bountiful buffet breakfast.  Kelly noticed that her picture accurately captures each horse's personality:  Henry smiles for the camera, while Chubbs keeps his muzzle buried in the alfalfa!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Let's Get Thankful

...I'm thankful for all the amazing opportunities here in central Virginia to enjoy friendly horses and horsey friends.  Fall is such a great time of year for riding because the bugs have died down, it's not yet too cold, but it's not sweaty hot either.  Pictured above, Henry and Chubbs enjoyed the Farmington Hunter Pace near Earlysville the weekend before last.  Zender and I drove "over the mountain" last Sunday to participate with some buddies in the Rockbridge Hunter Pace in the Shenandoah Valley, and this weekend, our veterinarian Dr. Martha and another student will represent EKF in the hunt field.

The Election Day Mini-Camp was a total blast.  We admired the gigantic beaver dam on Duckinghole Creek (including the heron who was snacking in the beaver pond), rode bareback and tried but ultimately failed to start a campfire and make smores (so we just ate cold marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers, which wasn't too bad!).  The highlight of the day was the campaign between Ginger and Pungo for President of the Horses (these candidates were selected by the campers).  Ginger made a strong appeal to the geldings' vote by offering Chubbs any position he'd like in the Cabinet, but Pungo's promise of more grain and oat bars for all proved the winning platform.  Please check out the campaign posters in the top barn, they are very cute and surprisingly realistic (complete with negative comments about the opposing candidate and the statements "I am Ginger, and I approve this message").

Many asked about the next Mini-Camp dates.  Let me know your plans for the day after Thanksgiving; and December 26, 28, and January 31, 2 and 4.  Each of these is a one-day session, so you may sign up for as many or as few days as you like (though I need at least three participants to run a session).

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Anniversary!

Today isn't just Halloween -- it's the third anniversary of our arrival at Easy Keeper Farm!  Selecting these photos from the past thirty-six months makes me proud of how far the farm and our programs have come since the early days during the Snowpocalypse....I'm also thankful for wonderful customers, neighbors, friends and family who make all these happy images possible.....It's a little bittersweet, too, remembering some old companions who have left us; though it's fun to include the new ones, furry and feathered, who come along to cheer us back up...

Most of all, I am thrilled to be living in this most beautiful part of the world, and can't wait to see what we'll do together during the next three years!