Riding Lessons and More in Central Virginia

Friday, April 22, 2011

Spring Things

Spring means warmer weather, and that brings lots and lots of people out to the farm! By Saturday evening, between regular lessons, Parks & Rec kids and adults, grandchild pony riders, special visitors, little siblings jumping in, and my fantastic birthday party helpers taking their "Thank You" trail ride (pictured above), around thirty folks will have enjoyed our excellent horses and ponies this week - a record! And about a half-dozen new enrollees are ready to get started after the school vacation, so the schedule is filling up, which is great. The students who have worked hard all winter are really improving too, with a couple of girls jumping through their first lines this week, one rider taking Henry around a nice flowing course, Shadow doing some superb work over the cross-country jumps in the big field (where was my camera? Doh!), and quite a few tiny riders trotting independently down the long sides.

Speaking of the big field, you may have noticed a huge puddle there from the recent rains. It's actually a vernal pool, which forms every spring and provides a place for amphibians to lay their eggs. Because the pool dries up before summer, no fish can live in it, and that's a safe spot for the eggs to hatch into tadpoles (and whatever hatchling salamanders are called), which develop in the water, grow their legs, and are ready to hop off into the woods when it dries out. I've taken some neat photos of these developments, so check them out at the nature blog.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Head, Heart, Hands, Health

Recently I had the pleasure of serving as a judge for the Louisa County Young Riders 4-H Club. Along with a couple of other (crusty old? No no no) horsewomen, I met the group down at the Extension Office in the county government building to evaluate Oral Presentations. The speakers were judged on twenty different points, from their appearance and poise, to the thoroughness and accuracy of their information. I believe the 4-Hers ranged from age 11 to 17, and their topics included breeds such as Friesians and Tennessee Walking Horses, training issues such as preparing for the State 4-H show or competing in Western Pleasure, and other areas like specific health problems and identifying poisonous plants. They did a great job - as we all know, public speaking can be very daunting, easier for some than for others - and obviously they had practiced and worked hard on their preparation.

I happily observed that the meeting began with their President leading the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the 4-H Pledge: "I pledge my Head to clearer thinking, my Heart to greater loyalty, my Hands to larger service, and my Health to better living, for my club."