Moose River Farm Blog

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Rolex...Remembered

    Good Morning,
    Last week I posted a video of the donkeys, Bing and Frankie bounding up and jumping off various hills around our property.  The sentiment was that they were training for one of 3-Day Eventing's most prestigious competitions.  To commemorate the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event taking place this weekend at the Kentucky Horse Park, I dug out photos from 2007 when my friend, photographer Michele deCamp and I attended.  We spent 4 days in Kentucky's bluegrass region touring the racehorse breeding facility at Three Chimneys Farm and watching Dressage, cross-country and stadium jumping at Rolex.  Michele's pictures have provided a lasting memory from the trip.  Enjoy!

Photos by Michele deCamp


A visit to Three Chimneys Farm allowed us to meet the great Smarty Jones, up close.
The next few images confirm the amazing efforts of Eventing's elite athletes. 
 


 

My idol, the gifted Mary King from Great Britain...
...competed in 2007 on Appache Sauce.







Afterward, Mary discussed her x-country round...
...while keeping an eye on the recovery of her horse.
Then she posed for a picture with her greatest fan.  In 2011, Mary won Rolex with one horse and placed 2nd with another.
It was a pleasure to watch mighty might, Theodore O'Connor, The Pony, compete at Rolex.
Sadly, a year later, he was euthanized after a tragic accident.
Photographer Michele deCamp and I wore our media credentials proudly!
Can't wait to go back!



Sunday, April 21, 2013

Bing and Frankie Train for the Rolex 3-Day Event

      Good Morning,
      It has been a long and emotional week full of unimaginable images and loss.  My heart breaks for all of those effected by the events in Boston, Texas and anywhere else in the world where humans are suffering.  I have read so many personal accounts, editorials and misinformation in the past seven days that its difficult to keep track of what the facts are.  Along with the rest of our nation, I have watched events unfold on television that can only be described as surreal.  
      Needless to say I am exhausted and emotionally weary.  To lighten the mood I hope you will click on the link below to watch our two donkeys, Bing and Friankie as they appear to be training for the cross country phase of a 3-day event.  Their exuberance and athletic agility will do its best to bring a smile to your face.  Enjoy! 


Frankie and Bing

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Mayhem; Part IV

     Good Evening,
     The horses are not the only ones who receive unwanted visits from mayhem.  From time to time, the dogs, Fiona, goats and Rosemary have all contributed a moment of despair interrupting the serenity that blankets Moose River Farm.  Although the incidents are infrequent the stress induced during the height of chaos is intense.  
     While working in the backyard one windy afternoon, a loud crack from the top of a tree alerted Rod to a most horrifying scene.  In slow motion he reacted as our terrier, Niles dashed with predatory interest toward the source that snapped.  Helpless, Rod watched in horror as the top of a tree hurtled toward Earth with Niles directly in its path of impact.  By the time Rod reached the grim scene, Niles was pinned under the trunk.
     From the barn I heard my husband frantically calling for me to come quickly.  Rod's alarmed demeanor indicated that Niles was in a bad state.  The tree had smacked the dog directly on the top of his head causing him to appear listless.  In those initial minutes we were certain he was close to death.  Fortunately, he recovered quickly and after an hour or so of mandatory rest, bounced back to his usual happy self. 
     Niles is the hero of yet another tale about the day when mayhem led baby Fiona astray.  It happened on our daily walk when the piglet was only 10 weeks old.  By that time she was following along without a leash in the procession of dogs and goats.  At one point Rod and I became distracted when the terriers Nina and Niles took off through the woods in pursuit of a squirrel.  By the time we rounded them up again, we realized that Fiona had wandered away.  Immediately, a frantic search for her began with no idea as to which direction she was headed.  Rod and I separated in search of our tiny swine to no avail.  Then we became aware that Niles had disappeared as well.  For the next 2 hours we searched near and far for both dog and pig.  That was plenty of time for my imagination to confirm that Fiona had drowned in the river and Niles had been snagged in a trap.
      These images haunted me while retracing the steps of our hike on a 6-wheeler.  Rod combed the the trail in the opposite direction on the tractor.  Eventually, we met back in the driveway, each hoping the other had good news.  With great disappointment we headed back out into the woods to search again.  While we were out searching for the last time, Michele and her granddaughter arrived at the farm.  They wondered why Niles and Fiona were lying together on the knoll in the middle of the driveway.  Perhaps we had posed them that way for a picture.  Returning this time, I was convinced that I would never see these two family members ever again.  But there they were lying right next to each other, heaving with exhaustion from their long journey.  
     I am convinced, from similar events, that when Fiona wandered off, Niles took it upon himself to stay close to her and lead the way back home.  They must have traversed the woods; off the trails that we had been scouring.  The sight of them safe and sound in the tranquility of our backyard promised me that mayhem, once again, was sent away!

Luckily, the camera only records moments of  peace...
...soulfulness 
...and joy!
Perhaps the next generation can absorb this before mayhem visits their busy adult lives.
The more time I spend with my animals such as Bing-o-licious and Frankie-precious, (in the background), the less opportunity mayhem has to visit.
Donks and goaties; my own Nativity scene.
Sharing these pleasures with the next generation ...
...provides great hope that the future of our world is in good hands.
I am thankful for any day that goes by without mayhem.
An unsuspecting red SQUIRREL may be visited frequently by mayhem today.

Nina poses next to the offensive tree that pinned Niles to the ground.
Niles, (sitting behind Fiona), Huxley and Nina safe and sound out of harms way.

  

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A Busman's Holiday, (Horseman Style)

       Good Evening,
      On the day before spring break I asked my students to write down their expectations for the free time away from school.  To help them get started I modeled the assignment on the Smartboard:
      I can't wait to have two weeks at home with my animals!  Although it would be wonderful to go away to some place warm and sunny, I prefer to be where my animals are.  Everyday I will be able to wake up without an alarm clock and take my time while feeding the horses and doing chores.  Then I will have the whole morning while the horses, donks and goats are eating hay to write, write, write...and write!
      When I need a break I will pull on my winter coat and head out to the barn with my pack of little dogs in tow.  We will round up the goats and donks for a long walk in the woods.  Along the way we will look for small signs of spring.  This year we may only find melting snow.  Next, I will put my horses out in their paddocks for the day and clean stalls in the barn.  Perhaps it will be warm enough for them to have their blankets pulled off.  Then they can soak up the sun: maybe even stretch out in the snow to sunbathe.  
      After lunch I will stretch out and take a nap myself.  Maybe I will bundle up and sleep out on the hammock in front of the roaring flames in our outdoor fireplace.  Huxley will whimper to be picked up and tucked into the blanket with me.  Fiona will settle in front of the fire on a blanket.  In the late afternoon I will tack up one of the horses.  They all have had a restful winter with very little riding.  Off we will go through the woods for an exhilarating workout in the snow.  
      Later, I will create a delicious dinner that I actually have time to plan and prepare.  Then I will curl up in my big chair with the dogs, exhausted after such a wonderful day.  When I finally go to bed I will sleep deeply in preparation for the same adventure tomorrow!  Ahh, nothing like spring break in the Adirondacks!
       
      Well, my 16 day vacation has flown by!  After this weekend my students and I will reunite in the classroom with the much anticipated new state tests looming just around the corner.  The break was a welcome rest despite the disappointing cold weather that is keeping the 'spring' in spring break from coinciding with my time off.  Aside from a peak of sunshine here and there it is difficult to detect any hint of the next season on the horizon.  
      In the last two weeks I seized the opportunity to visit friends with whom I share my passion for horses.  Away from my own barn I enjoyed helping to care for other horses.  First stop; New Jersey where Vicky, (Riding the Trails), and I spent the Easter weekend visiting with Mary Anne and Missy, (Walking with the Animals).  On Saturday morning, Mary Anne received a heartbreaking phone call.  Her 31 year old Thoroughbred gelding, Remy had passed away in the night.  After the shock of the news, Mary Anne was able to reflect on the poignancy of Remy's peaceful departure while her friends had gathered to comfort her on Easter weekend.  His death brought acceptable closure to their 27 years together in which 'until death do us part' could not be more meaningful.  When Mary Anne returned to the barn on Monday, Remy's stall was adorned with flowers; a most comforting gesture indeed. 
      The rest of the weekend was spent visiting other horsey venues including both Horseman's Outlet and Dover Saddlery.  End result of this shopping spree; our tiny donkey Bing finally has a halter that fits.  Mary Anne assembled a delicious Easter dinner to celebrate our last evening in New Jersey before heading back to the Adirondacks...and the snow.  
      Yesterday I spent the day with my friends Kristin and Dottie from Herkimer.  We met at Reindance Stables in Saquoit where Kristin keeps her horse, Sarah, a retired American Saddlebred.  In honor of my first horse, Promise, (an American Saddlebred too), I rode Ida in the classic saddleseat.  This was a new experience for me as both of my Saddlebreds, the late Promise and the current Spirit have only been ridden as hunters or Dressage horses.  The experience was a privilege that I thank both Reindance and Kristin for arranging. 
      In the dwindling hours of vacation my brain is beginning to transition from thoughts of leisure to the organized routine of my school day.  Hopefully, the endless winter weather will consider transitioning as well and point the way to my next busman's holiday; summer vacation!   


RIP Remy.  Mary Anne will never forget you! (photo by Sue K.)

Mary Anne rode Star while Remy enjoyed a much deserved retirement.

We visited a Clydesdale Farm in Califon, NJ.

Sorry Vicky...no room in the car for these two handsome boys, Fish and Ty.
Vicky and I both fell in love with William.

My friend Kristin and her Saddlebred mare, Sarah.
Sarah, Kristin and Dottie at Reindance Stables in Saquoit, NY.
Having never ridden saddleseat before, it was a treat to ride Ida under the watchful eye of trainer, Jen.
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