Riding Lessons and More in Central Virginia

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I'll Have Another

Wow!  I hope everyone had a chance to watch last Saturday's Preakness Stakes, when I'll Have Another just stretched out his stride in the final eighth of a mile to win by a neck at the last possible instant!  It looked like it took him a moment or two to switch leads at the top of the stretch, but once he swapped, he found a new gear and made for a thrilling finish.  I was only 8 years old when Affirmed won the Triple Crown, but I remember how exciting it was -- and I'll keep my fingers crossed that I'll Have Another will go on to win the Belmont Stakes in three weeks and become our twelfth Triple Crown winner.

Meanwhile, back at the farm, several of our good lesson horses were thinking, "I'll have another...rider, that is," as we hosted a couple of large groups last week.  The birthday party, in honor of a special 4 year old girl who arrived in pink tutu skirt and stylish white cowboy boots, was a great hit.  We even had some riders under age 2, for sure!  Fortunately, your humble correspondent planned ahead and purchased an additional child's helmet, size XS, in advance of this pre-school group.

Then last Friday, at least 20 homeschooled students and families visited the farm for their end-of-year field trip.  They contrasted giant Pungo and little Misty to learn about different breeds, helped groom a quartet of gentle schoolies, and a few of them witnessed Patsy Cline Chicken lay an egg, right in the middle of all the excitement!  After picnicking on the lawn, the kids hiked down to the vernal pool, where the last tadpoles were still working on growing those legs, while newly emerged, tiny frogs hopped around the field nearby.

Many, many thanks to all my wonderful helpers at the party and the homeschool field day!  I could NOT have done it with out you, and I saw lots of smiles on happy faces -- THANK YOU!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Louisa County 4-H Young Riders

On Sunday, EKF hosted a terrific group of 4-Hers for a Horsemanship 101 clinic. The young riders first learned how horses behave, what their basic needs are, and how to tell if your horse is healthy.
  Each girl used a stethoscope to listen for signs of life in Pungo's barrel and chest! Then we visited the hay barn to compare alfalfa and grass hay, followed by a stop in the feed room to look at oats, corn, and pellets - stored in a metal bin to keep the rodents out.
After the horsekeeping details, the 4-Hers enjoyed the best part - riding!  Despite different experience levels, everyone participated in a few games to challenge their steering and control. Then Henry, Pungo, Wizard and Misty let each rider work on her trotting skills, too!
Many thanks to my lovely assistants for helping me
share the farm with this awesome group!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Springing Out

Everyone visiting the farm can't help but notice all the new life bursting out.  The photo above is my first-ever successful effort to capture tadpoles at the four-legs-but-not-quite-frogs-yet stage!  The warm March weather gave the vernal pool activity a boost, meaning the tadpoles were already swimming around the crawdad holes back when I went looking for egg sacs.  And by last weekend, incredibly tiny toads were hopping out of the water.  So I quickly herded the horses out of that field, to give the little amphibians a chance to make it to their next homes without dodging giant hooves.

The bluebird house has already been occupied by a handsome couple, and a couple of weeks ago a little rider and I spotted Mrs. Reynard (the fox) carrying a dead squirrel back to her den.  Sorry for the squirrel, but that must mean a number of hungry mouths waiting at home.

On the domestic side, the five chicks are now 10 weeks old and beginning to explore the barnyard.  I am sorry to say that Patsy Cline and Dolly Parton Chicken seem to enjoy chasing them around.  In a couple of months, though, the younger chicks will be full-size and ready to compete for their places in the literal pecking order.