Riding Lessons and More in Central Virginia

Friday, August 26, 2011

Shaken, Not Stirred

Quite a few of my friends in Massachusetts have asked, "Do you live near where the earthquake happened?" and the answer is, "Oh, yes!" The dogs and I were sitting on the front porch when the house began shaking and rattling, which I thought meant an imminent gas explosion, so we ran across the yard. Once I realized the trembling wasn't just my house (and I have a heat pump anyway), I checked all the animals, who were fine, and fortunately the only effects were a few items that fell off shelves and pictures off walls. Unfortunately, the aftershock at 8:00 pm that night struck just as the dogs and I were heading up the porch steps into the house - so now Nilla the puppy is extremely suspicious of the front porch!

The neighbor children had given me little bottles of colored sand as a birthday present, and here's how one looked after the quake:

Monday, August 8, 2011

Changing of the Guard

We had more terrific all-day activities at the farm last week, including Mr. Wizard winning over a new fan! In addition to working Chubbs and Wiz in the ring, the riders carried helmets and halters out to the far back field and enjoyed riding Pungo, Misty, and Clio bareback around (but not over) the cross-country jumps, which also made handy mounting blocks. It's not easy to get on Pungo without a stirrup or a stepstool. One of the afternoon projects was creating these excellent posters, which are on display in the upper barn. Peppermint the bunny was happy to get a little extra attention too.
The big picture at the top of the blog is special to me, because it shows our young horse, Clio, "joining the payroll" at the farm. After spending extra time this spring getting her ready to help with lessons, I am proud to see her so calmly carrying these beginners around the pasture. At the same time, Clio's entry into the workforce is bittersweet, as also this week, I officially retired the one and only Ginger Snap. Ginger, age 28, is still the first mare whinnying for a treat at the gate every morning. But she had slowed down and I promised her that she could hang up her bridle when the camp sessions ended. She definitely deserves to enjoy a little retirement out on the Virginia grass. So it has been a wistful changing of the guard -- sort of a "Sunrise, Sunset" transition at the farm this week.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

At the Fair

Easy Keeper Farm enjoyed another terrific weekend at the Louisa County Agricultural Fair. If you came by our booth and we weren't there -- hope you took a brochure and enjoyed the updated slideshow running photographs of our excellent students, friendly horses, and all the improvements around the farm. We had too much to see at the Fair to sit at the booth all day! My favorite part is the 4H Livestock Show, and the kids presenting their hogs, sheep, goats and cattle to the judges do such a great job. It is not easy to win a Showmanship class based on how you handle a free-ranging hog, I am sure! A couple of steers were quite spunky, and one gave his small handler a swing into the metal panels. The youngster bravely continued and answered the judge's questions while rubbing the bump on his head. He got a big round of applause and his mom reported the next day that he had been checked out fine. The sheepdog demonstration, the quilted projects and the vegetables in the judged exhibits rounded out the highlights. As always, the FFA Alumni Dinner Under the Stars on Friday night was a delicious treat.

Looking ahead, if you're interested in riding but haven't quite convinced Mom and Dad yet, be sure to come to the Betty Queen Center on Saturday, August 20, from 10-12 noon. It's the 30th Anniversary Party for the Louisa County Parks & Recreation Department, and Team EKF will be there giving free pony rides!