Riding Lessons and More in Central Virginia

Monday, June 28, 2010

"Weeds are just wildflowers growing in the wrong place."

Friday, June 25, 2010

Mr. Wizard, the pony cantering on our current homepage, and Zender, my pinto field hunter, were the featured mounts these last few days. A favorite fan took Wiz for a spin around the new ring's jump course, successfully negotiating the brightly striped crossrails, rainbow verticals, and the . . . whatever we call the jump made from overturned multicolored buckets! Next it was time to hand the reins over to her non-horsey (but that could be changing) older sister, who enjoyed a little bit of Wizard's smooth trotting - and was even steering on her own after a couple of sessions. We also had an adventure ride with Zender leading the way across the stream, down the Burnt Tree Trail, then through the flirty mares to pop over the cedar log in the back field. We picked out a perfect place to build the cordwood cross-country jump, but that's a project for another (non-99 degree) day.

This post's photograph is a pumpkin plant, which recently sprouted behind the house and produced this beautiful blossom. We decorated the front steps with small gourds last fall, so perhaps this vine is growing from a stray seed, dropped by the little creature who ate our display for Thanksgiving dinner.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Cleaning around the wash rack revealed this attractive mobile home -
which turned out to be occupied!
What a fantastic week around the farm! Ginger, Misty, and even Pungo all had the chance to strut their stuff with some young riders. From ages 5 through 13, we had several promising junior equestrians grooming, saddling up, working on their posting . . . an excellent start to the summer. I'm certain all three horses appreciated the extra currying and of course, the treats afterwards. The 90-degree heat was an excuse to try out the new wash rack, which worked perfectly with crossties in just the right spot, shelves to hold sponges and Micro-Tek shampoo, and a nice gentle slope for drainage.

If you're a local follower, remember to support the Louisa County Relay for Life, which benefits the American Cancer Society. EKF is a Gold Business Sponsor, and we are keeping our fingers (and paws and hooves) crossed for good weather and a great turnout this weekend.

And for you horseracing fans -- nothing against 2009's Horse of the Year -- but EKF is Zenyatta country. All Hail the Queen!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Virginia 1864 or 2010? Hard to tell, and a stirring event.

Last Sunday's reenactment of the Battle of Trevilian Station was a terrific outing and really well done by all the participants and sponsors. The host location, Bracketts Farm, is a beautiful, sprawling Green Springs farm with a lovely antique home, brick and wood outbuildings, old farm roads and views that easily let you believe you were back in the mid-1800's. The reenactors, human and equine, were pressed in the heat, but they did a fantastic job from the camps to the charges to the booming artillery volleys. For the spectators, there were numerous shade and watering holes as well as a greatly appreciated shuttle ride to and from the parking area. It is definitely on the calendar for next year with an entire day committed to experience all the offerings.

Bracketts Farm is run by a nonprofit foundation, which hopefully will allow this magnificent agricultural property to remain intact and undeveloped - what a benefit for the surrounding area and visitors like us! There are a number of programs available and interesting projects underway at the farm. To learn more about it, click here.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Newly shorn cousins Vader (above) and Baboo.

As you can see from the photos, yesterday was the big day for the sheep! They look so much more comfortable today, happily out doing some weed-whacking in the fields. Ten more beautiful, lanolin-rich fleeces are stacked in the barn to be sent out for cleaning and spinning! It's supposed to really heat up over the next few days, so I'm very grateful to the shearer - Mr. Peter Duterell, who came all the way from North Garden with his wife, and did a quick and super job.

The big event this weekend here in Louisa is the recreation of the Civil War Battle of Trevilian Station. I'm planning to head over for the cavalry charge and to check out the farmhouse tour. Also, some local 4-H kids will be at the Percheron Fun Day nearby, so it will be a busy horsey day both at home (as usual) and out in the county.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Chubbs the pony meets the biggest painted turtle I've ever seen. Mrs. Turtle, probably returning from laying eggs, was moved to safety.

It was a bit of a contest to see who would catch this handsome salamander first, me or my pointer. Fortunately for him, I won and he was released behind the woodpile.

This tiny toad appeared when we moved the rabbit hutches to the other side of the house. He stayed still just long enough to snap this photo!
The workers installed all the sliding stall windows in the upper barn today, and the wiring is also finished. As soon as the office room - which I've nicknamed the Clubhouse - is insulated and done, it will really look good. The upper barn has shade all day long, so it is the place to be during the summer months. The lower barn, next to the ring, is warmer in the morning, so I'll probably use that next winter when I'm keeping a horse inside overnight to stay clean before a hunt meet.

The phoebes have a nest full of hungry hatchlings above the floodlights near the house. I've counted at least three little beaks piping up. The mother and father bird are extra busy catching insects and swooping back and forth to keep the little ones fed. And the chipmunks, which I haven't seen all winter or spring, have suddenly appeared and seem to know just the spot where I feed the sheep. They had better watch out for Peanut Butter!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Today was a busy day for our excellent farrier, David Bourke. He put shoes on four horses and trimmed four more, including the youngsters Arrow and Clio, who were the best behaved they've been for him. He had good help from Stevie Hinsley, and the animals enjoyed getting some attention from David's little son and daughter. David has a horse running at Colonial Downs, so keep your fingers crossed for a good finish.

I saw a beautiful green frog jump into the stream at the culvert on my way to catch Webster, but I was talking on my phone and wasn't able to take his picture! Next time.

Hello to my friends at the Norfolk Hunt Club - I'll miss you tomorrow night at the Annual Meeting. And of course, special thanks and recognition from down south to George Fiske, outgoing President. Well done, GFFJr.!