Monday, February 18, 2013

Riding at Stoneleigh

Sunday was my day for riding at Stoneleigh. Needless to say, after two weeks of being grounded, I was pretty excited. My advisor drove me and the other girl who sometimes rides with me to the barn. Our instructor put me on a horse called Bandit. He's a pretty small chestnut and seemed to be worried that the world was going to eat him, but he wasn't as jumpy as some horses I've ridden. When we started trotting round the ring I found that he's very stiff and it's hard to get him to bend. However our instructor did say that when I was warming up at the trot and the canter I did a good job keeping him quiet and relatively soft, and the jumps started off quite well.

He started getting a bit fast as we progressed through the little course. At the third fence we had to circle because it was a tight turn and I didn't get him well enough bent to get around it properly. That was the start of our woes. Then at the fourth fence, a diagonal, he got very quick and I didn't half-halt strongly enough. It should have worked out but someone on the other side of the fence accidentally kicked a standard. This horse, who thought the world wanted to eat him, wasn't having any of that so he went left and I continued forward. I wasn't hurt at all--I rolled onto my back and although the back of my head sort of cracked the ground I had a good helmet on. I got up quickly and our instructor said it was a good fall. After that we didn't have much time left in the lesson so Bandit and I just jumped the one he refused and finished the course.

Although I felt pretty ashamed about falling off, the rest of the lesson was actually pretty decent. Bandit never did want to bend to the inside but I kept him moving at a steady pace on the flat and as far as my equitation goes, it wasn't terrible. My advisor was there taking pictures; from what I could see on his camera's screen, my leg has improved a lot since I last saw photos of myself riding. If he sends them to me and gives me permission to post them here, I will.

After the lesson both my advisor and I went outside to take some pictures of the horses. It was really cold so I only got a couple of shots.

You may recognize this horse from one of my previous posts. He's probably the most photogenic horse at the barn, or at least he perks up his ears the most often.

Until next time!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Farm Chatter

Last week my school gave us Thursday off in observance of the Winter Carnival tradition. It wasn't technically Winter Carnival because there were no events, but it was nice to have a free day. It should come as no surprise that I spent the entire day at the farm. Even though not much was going on, it was fun to hang out. We have a new calf called Gustav. He was given to us for free by a dairy farm up in Vermont. He's not very healthy at the moment, having not drunk any colostrum, but Liam is treating him and he seems to be improving. Shockingly enough, I only got a snapshot of him because I was sort-of-kind-of busy doing chores. It's no big deal--I'll get more when I go down next.

In any case, I did actually get some decent shots of Ruth. She was living inside the feed room for a while because it was so cold, and Gustav is in there now. She got moved out on Thursday to live in a stall with Jess, one of our older calves.



Because Spring Family Days are coming up, this week on the farm will probably be all about making and packaging farm products like syrup, jam, ice cream, cheese, and beauty products. We have a lot of milk, as well, now that there are three cows being milked.

I also made it down to the farm on Saturday. Rachel and Liam didn't really need my help as they had plenty of work job students to do what was needed, so they seemed happy to let me bring in a horse and get rid of me. Although I don't technically have work job on the farm this spring because I'm getting credit for sugaring, I still see the horses' exercise as my responsibility... for the most part. I can't really do much with them because we're not allowed to ride off of the farm (stupid liability issues) so if I get down and can hack them around the pen for a few minutes it's been a successful day. How lame is that? But anyway, I did throw the Western saddle on Kara and trot around for a little while in the pen. These pictures of the horses are from a few days before.


Today I also got to have some horsey time. I had my first lesson of the spring semester at Stoneleigh-Burnham, riding a small chestnut Quarter Horse called Moe. He started off very pokey but was also looking around at everything, until I got him over a few fences and he perked up. He didn't listen to me very well for the first two times we went around the little course, but the third time was halfway decent and didn't involve too many breaks in stride. If we'd had a little more time to work through it I think I could have made it perfect, but we could only do so much in a half-hour. No photos from that because today was Founder's Day and I had to get back to school as fast as possible, but it was a good ride.

A few more random shots of the cows:

Jess playing in the snow

In order front to back: Eliza, Rachel, Sarah, Zuska

Hope you enjoyed those! More Antarctica photos are coming a little later--maybe this Wednesday or sometime around there.