History of Epiphany Bay Farm 2009
Snow and Horse Care. December 26, 2009: Starting in the evening of December 18, as in most of the East Coast, snow began falling. By the time the snow stopped falling during the morning of December 20, the snow on our farm had reached a depth of 20 inches, with drifting up to four feet. The snow, if you don't have to care for livestock, is beautiful. In our case, eight of our twelve horses were indoors during the storm, which meant increased work load in cleaning stalls, feeding, watering, etc. The four horses which live outdoors year round, handled the storm quite well. They have a run-in shed, a new round bale of hay, an automatic waterer and heavy winter coats...all of which kept them in good stead.
Yesterday, Christmas Day, it started raining in the afternoon and by this morning much of the snow was gone. Visiting, again, the total rainfall to date, we are now at 4.95 inches for the month of December. This does not count the 20 inches of snow!
Rain, Rain, Snow, Rain, Rain. December 13, 2009: From August 1, 2009 through November 30, 2009 our area has had 13.32 inches of precipitation. From August 1, 2008 through November 30, 2008 our area had 4.99 inches of precipitation. December 1, 2009 through today. which has been hard rain all day, we have had 3.31 inches of precipitation and the month is not even half over!!! December 2008 had 2.48 inches of precipitation. Not counting December, we have had 8.33 inches of precipitation more than the same time last year!!! This equals MUD!!! and more MUD!!! I haven't taken many pictures lately as our camera lens has not yet arrived back from repairs and the horses are.....you guessed it!....COVERED IN MUD!!!.
Raining Cats and Dogs! December 16, 2009: Well, not really cats and dogs. Adding in the rain we received on Sunday, we are at 3.95 inches of rain, to date, for December. The weather forecast is for sunny, yet cold, until Saturday, when the forecast is for snow/rain.
On a different note, I saw the Sharp Shinned Hawk again. It was flying over our fields. Seems the hawk may be wintering here.
Uneventful Weaning and Sharp-Shin Hawk. December 3, 2009: Over the Thanksgiving Holiday we weaned all three fillies. We had been weaning them over the past month gradually increasing the amount of time they were separated from their mothers. The first 24 hours they were apart, there was the typical calling to each other along with anxiety for everyone. Yet, the mare which last year was incredibly upset by weaning, was , relatively speaking, quite calm about the process this year. She is the reason we decided to use the gradual weaning process for this year. With such a positive outcome and an uneventful weaning, we will continue using the process with future foals.
Today, for the first time, we saw a hawk which we had never seen around here. This hawk flew into our pastures and sat atop a fence post for quite some time, while we viewed it through the binoculars. Unfortunately the long lens for our camera has been sent out for repair, so I could not obtain any photos. After an online search, we identified the hawk as a Sharp-Shin Hawk. This hawk is remarkably colorful with yellow legs, rust (nearly orange) chest and a black and white banded tail. This hawk winters in Virginia. We will be curious to know whether we will see this hawk again.
Cleveland Bays Galore. November 25, 2009: This past weekend, November 2022, we attended the Cleveland Bay Horse Society of North America's Annual General Meeting (CBHSNA AGM) held in Leesburg, Virginia. On Friday afternoon, we attended the Cleveland Bay Performance Demonstration and Marketing Strategies presentation. Many lovely purebred and partbred Cleveland Bays were brought and ridden for evaluation by the panel of distinguished horse professionals. There were over 60 people in attendance for this presentation. On Saturday, the meeting portion of the weekend was held, followed by dinner and a silent auction fundraiser, all of which were well attended.
On Sunday, the New Market - Middletown Valley Hunt graciously held an invitational Cleveland Bay Hunt. There were 18 Cleveland Bays participating in a hunt field of approximately 60 horses and riders. Guests from the United Kingdom, who were attending the CBHSNA AGM, felt that this was the most Cleveland Bays they had ever seen at a single hunt, not only in North America, but also in the United Kingdom.
HEIRLOOM OLD-ROSES. November 17, 2009: November has been a particularly busy month, yet not with horse related activities. I've primarily been busy with the gardens of the farm, doing the fall labor of love preparing them for the winter and creating some new gardens. The perennials needed dividing and placing into new garden beds. The most significant change is the addition of Heirloom Old-Roses to the farm. I've always loved fragrant roses, especially the kind with the "traditional rose fragrance". A neighbor has started a rose nursery specializing in Heirloom Old-Roses. These are not the hybrids sold in commercial nurseries, which most often are not fragrant. I spent an entire afternoon wandering through her parent rose plants and fell in love with the incredible scents, wide array of colors and variety of rose types. I started by purchasing two plants, Souvenir d'Un Ami originating in 1846 and Comtesse Riza du Parc originating in 1876. These roses are now bedded down for the winter in their new location. They will be joined by more Heirloom Old-Roses in the spring.
Weaning Time. The fillies are growing, having reached four months of age. We are trying a new weaning strategy this year, which is working well to date. We began with leading each mare and foal separately when taking them in and out each day. Then in the evening, we began leaving the fillies out in the pasture by themselves until the mares have finished their evening feed. Gradually, we increased the amount of time the fillies were separated from their mothers. At first, there was much whinnying and calling between mare and foal. Within a day or two the amount of calling to each other had decreased to almost nothing. Now, the fillies are in a separate paddock during the day which is next to the field with their mothers. They eat their hay, play together and occasionally whinny for their mothers. The mares walk by the paddock every few hours to check on the fillies, otherwise they seem unconcerned about being separated from their foals. At night, the fillies are back in the stalls with their mothers. We are aiming to completely wean the fillies over the Thanksgiving holiday.
HEIRLOOM TOMATOES. November 2, 2009: I find it unusual that I am still picking tomatoes from the garden on the first day of November. Each year I try a new vegetable or a new variety of a vegetable in the garden. This year I chose to plant Heirloom Tomatoes. The plants sat outside in their little pots for weeks as I became busy with preparing Epiphanybay Celebration and Epiphanybay Hamilton for the upcoming show in Upperville; along with waiting for the garden to dry out enough from spring rains. The little tomato plants began turning yellow in their little pots. In an effort to salvage a few plants, I stuck them into several small garden areas around the barns about the first of July. At least the plants would be watered when I emptied the horse’s water buckets!
Understandably, the plants were off to a slow start. Generally speaking, tomato plants like hot weather, yet this year our summer temperatures were quite mild. Then, August into September became quite dry. The tomato plants had just started setting a small amount of fruit near the end of September and I resigned myself that there would be no tomatoes from the garden this year. In the past, my tomato plants had always stopped producing by this time. October was a rainy, cool month and I did not pay any attention to the tomato plants. I just had not taken the time to pull them from the ground. About two weeks ago, I noticed a glimpse of red from under the abundant leaves of the tomato plants. Upon closer inspection, I found not only one ripening tomato, but an abundant array of large green tomatoes, all beginning to ripen!
The flavor of these tomatoes is a bit tangier than the hybridized tomatoes, which I have always planted. They have a heavy flesh, with a good tomato flavor. Now, I am curious how well these Heirloom Tomatoes, will tolerate a light frost which is sure to arrive within the next few weeks. I will be planting Heirloom Tomatoes again next year in the small gardens around the barns, although hopefully a bit earlier in the year!
CHICKENS AND RACING, BUT NOT CHICKEN RACING. October 18, 2009: On October 3rd, we attended the Virginia Fall Races in Middleburg, Virginia. An absolutely gorgeous fall day to watch the horses run and people watch. Lavish tailgates abounded, tables set with silver, crystal, stunning centerpieces along with abundant food and spirits. Quite the social event for those intimately involved with steeple chase racing.
Following the races, we visited our good friends, Anna and Daniel along with their daughters. Dinner was a scrumptious Shepherd's Pie followed by a delectable Skillet Apple Pie. We had been considering for quite some time whether to add a few chickens to our farm. Anna and Daniel graciously offered to give us a few of their older chickens to give the chicken addition to our farm a trial run. We left their place with five hens to start our Chicken Retirement Home.
The chickens settled in fairly quickly. We allow them to roam the farm during the day in hopes that they will help with the degradation of the horse manure which is deposited daily in localized sections of the pastures by our horses. However, the chickens haven't figured out that this is their main job. They prefer instead to spend their time under the manure spreader or behind the hay barn. We'll give this project some more time. Meanwhile, the chickens have provided us with a few eggs.
BEAUTIFUL AUTUMN DAY September 29, 2009: The weather today has been absolutely perfect in every way. In the low 70's with a soft breeze and lots of sunshine. A few days ago, we received a much needed rain. It is amazing to watch the pastures turn green within a few hours of a good rain. The horses were turned out in a rested field to graze on the new growth of grass.
As I returned home from work, I found Netami performing his new duty of watching over the fillies. Two fillies were flat out on their sides sleeping in the warm sun and the third was dozing standing up. In the middle of all three stood Netami, resting his hind leg, yet maintaining a watchful eye. The three mothers were all off in a different area of the pasture, apparently with no concern over the whereabouts of their foals.
I believe that Netami, now 35 years old, is happy to have the responsibility of watching over the foals. Over the years, when I boarded him at farms with young horses, he would always be concerned with what was happening to the youngsters. In addition to being my faithful companion, he is a valuable member of the herd. I am hopeful that his health will remain good as we head into the winter season.
September 20, 2009: It seems the month of September has just flown by. So much so, that I did not realize as much time had passed since I made updates to the website. Since the Warrenton Horse Show, we have been busy with fall farm chores, getting ready for the change in seasons with plans to fertilize and over seed our pastures. I've changed quite a few areas of the website, hoping that the site will be more efficient to navigate.
September 7, 2009: Yesterday, the Cleveland Bay classes were held at the Warrenton Horse Show. The number of Cleveland Bay horses present along with their owners and riders was impressive.
We took EB Celebration and EB Hamilton as planned. With this being the third time shown this year, they seemed to be settling into the horse show environment. During their class, Cleveland Bay Part-bred In Hand, they stood still for the judge's inspection, along with walking and trotting calmly down the line while they were judged. EB Hamiltion placed 6th and EB Celebration placed 7th. Quite a successful day for all.
September 3, 2009: The weather has felt like fall for the past several days. Certainly a pleasant change from the heat and dryness from just a few weeks ago. The horses are enjoying the change spending more time grazing and less time in the run-in sheds.
On Sunday, September 6, we will be taking EB Hamilton and EB Celebration to the Cleveland Bay classes at the Warrenton Horse Show. We are looking forward to seeing our CB friends there. If anyone is interested in seeing Cleveland Bays, consider attending the show. The show will be held at the Warrenton Horse Show grounds with the Cleveland classes starting at 8:30 AM.
August 31, 2009: This evening the three broodmares with their foals were turned out into a larger field. Having my camera at hand, I started taking pictures as they romped and played. When I stopped, I had taken over 600 pictures of the mares and foals.
August 30, 2009: Abigail and Penny had their feet trimmed this week. Penny took the foot trimming in stride. Abigail did great with three feet being trimmed. When the farrier reached for the fourth foot, Abigail was out of patience. With some coaxing, she did have all four feet trimmed.
August 25, 2009: Over the past several days, we finally had enough rain to help the pastures. It is amazing how one good, soaking rain can green up the pastures within a matter of hours!
Constance had her feet trimmed on Saturday. She did great! Standing still and letting her feet be rasped, she seemed unconcerned about the entire process. Her sisters will have their feet trimmed tomorrow. Hopefully, they will be as relaxed as Constance was about feet trimming.
August 21, 2009: The weather has continued to be hot and dry. The rain is skipping around our farm and we have yet to get any of the rain showers which have been passing through. Hopefully, today we will get some rain. Without rain we will need to start feeding round bales quite soon.
August 19, 2009: We have received an excellent response to the article written about our farm in The Free Lance Star, our local newspaper. We have received numerous requests from people interested in touring our farm. If you are visiting our site after reading the article, Thank You. If you have not read the article, please copy this link into your browser to view the article: http://www.fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2009/082009/08172009/486646. Thank you Laura Moyer and Robert Martin for an excellent article.
August 5 to August 16, 2009: Wow!! What a busy ten days. The fillies have been growing by leaps and bounds. At the one month mark for EB Constance and EB Abigail, each one has put on nearly 100 pounds. EB Constance gained 136 pounds to weigh in at 268 pounds. She grew 5 inches to 11.1 hands. Her bone measurement increased from 6.0 inches to 6.75 inches. The bone measurement is taken around the cannon bone just below the knee. Purebred Cleveland Bays are known for good bone structure. This measurement is a guide related to the amount of bone.
EB Abigail gained 98 pounds to weigh in at 218 pounds. She grew 4 inches to 11.1 hands. Her bone measurement increased from 5.5 inches to 6.25 inches. EB Abigail is a Cleveland Bay/Thoroughbred Sport Horse. Her bone measurement increased the same amount as EB Constance's, which is an indication that Cleveland Bays pass on their good bone structure.
On August 4, we were interviewed by a reporter from The Free Lance Star, our local newspaper. On August 12 the photographer from The Free Lance Star was here for our photo shoot. The article will appear in the Life Section of The Free Lance Star on Monday, August 17, 2009. The article is about our farm, Cleveland Bays and will include website information for our farm, the Cleveland Bay Horse Society of North America and the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy. The website for the Cleveland Bay Horse Society in the United Kingdom, which maintains the Stud Book for Cleveland Bays, is www.clevelandbay.com.
August 10 and 11 were spent getting ready for and attending the Cleveland Bay Hunter Show at the Howard County Fair in Maryland.
The past three days have been spent clearing the weeds from the fence lines, putting conduit under the remaining four gates to run electric wire under the gates to complete the circuit for the electric fence. Now, all of our fields have active electric fencing. This allowed us to put the mares and fillies in a pasture which has not been recently grazed. Our weather has recently become dry, with a significant decrease in the amount of available grazing. We are hoping for rain, although, the weather forecast for the next week is hot and dry.
August 4, 2009: Penny is 1 month old today. I'll be measuring her growth (height, weight, bone).
I measured Penny this afternoon and found that she has gained 95 pounds since birth, now weighing 205 pounds. She grew 1 1/2 inches to stand at 10.2 1/2 hands and her bone increased by 1/2 inch to 6 1/2 inches. I'll be curious to find out how much the other fillies will have grown when they reach their one month mark.
August 3, 2009: Penny, with her independent spirit, went on adventure this evening. The mares and foals had been turned out into their pasture, with the fillies frolicking about as usual. The fillies have been trying out the "greener grass" on the other side of the fence. Penny decided that just putting her head through was not enough and pushed her way through the fence into the next pasture. Trotting about gleefully, grabbing mouthfuls of the longer grass, Penny was not concerned that she was alone. Her mom, Princess, who has become less concerned about Penny's independent spirit, did not notice at first that Penny was in another field. Penny was less than thrilled when we led her back to her pasture, while her Mom was now calling frantically for her. Suffering only a small scrape on her leg, Penny's feelings were hurt most by having her adventure curtailed.
August 1, 2009: Our farm has had quite a few visitors this week. Everyone came to meet the new fillies, who greet their visitors with curiosity expecting scratches of their itchy spots in return.
Today, the three broodmares had their beauty makeovers in anticipation of a visitor who will be here next week. After a long pregnancy, ending in the heat of summer, the three ladies deserve some special attention!
July 27, 2009: Yesterday, a group of young horse enthusiasts and their parents from the Spotsylvania County 4-H program visited our farm. With the exception of one adult, none had ever seen a purebred Cleveland Bay or a Cleveland Bay Sport Horse. The three young fillies stole the show as everyone loves foals. We shared with the group the history and the future of the Cleveland Bay, along with the focus of our breeding goals.
July 11, 2009: Announcing the Arrival of Epiphanybay Constance!!
OldDominion Epona surprised us by foaling 10 days early. Within a few hours she went from no visible signs of foaling to being waxed up. She started with contractions at 9:30 pm and her filly was delivered at 9:50 pm. This filly is a full sister to Epiphanybay Independence.
July 14, 2009: Announcing the Arrival of Epiphanybay Abigail!!
Kisses, one of our TB mares, finally showed signs of being ready to deliver after several weeks of gradual changes. Kisses delivered her filly at 2:50 am within a matter of 10 minutes.
JULY 4, 2009: Announcing the arrival of EpiphanybayIndependence!!!
Penny, as she will be known, was born at 6:30 am today. She is our first purebred Cleveland Bay born on our farm, as well as, being an embryo transfer foal. Our TB mare, Princess, is her surrogate mom. Both mare and foal are doing well. Penny is out of our mare, OldDominion Epona and by Penrhyn Bayswater.
July 1, 2009: Sully has quickly graduated from Mike's Boot Camp. Sully learns quickly and then wants to make his own game with the new task. We had out a hula-hoop, a large exercise ball and a savvy stick with a plastic bag tied on the end. Sully was not concerned in the least about any of these items. He promptly put the plastic bag in his mouth which had to be quickly retrieved. Then he picked up the hula-hoop, shaking it up and down. The hula hoop contains beads which make noise when shaken. By coincidence, I suspect, he then dropped the hula-hoop over the ball. It was comical to watch him figure out how to move the ball to retrieve the hula-hoop. Very smart boy!
June 23, 2009: I have made some changes to the website and am hopeful that the webpage will load faster when viewed.
June 22, 2009: Today, EB Celebration, aka "Sully" has started his rotation through Mike's Boot Camp. He will learn to bond with people along with learning to go through, over, and under obstacles. He will build upon skills he already knows such as standing quietly on the cross-ties.
Farm History 2009
Breeders of the Purebred Cleveland Bay Horse and the Cleveland Bay Sport Horse
The Cleveland Bay Horse is a critically endangered heritage breed of horse as determined by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy and the Rare Breeds Survial Trust