Play Days and Pasture Preservation. July 13, 2010: Sully (Celebration), Hamilton, Abigail, Epona and Mahogany have been busy playing. Delaney has been teaching them how to play the Parelli Games. Sully literally cannot wait for his turn to play with Delaney. When she arrives, Sully calls to her watching her every move until it is his turn. Yesterday, Hamilton had the first turn at playing much to Sully's disappointment. Sully was in a paddock where he could see the round pen through the barn aisle. He kept moving his position to constantly keep an eye on Delaney.
Sully has an especially high play drive which challenges Delaney to keep him focused on her. Yesterday, Sully was introduced to a sheet of plastic and the Big Green Ball.
Until three days ago, the pastures at our farm were brown and dusty. We along with the entire east coast, we had endured 100+ degree heat and no rain for several weeks. Our horses had been returned to sacrifice area turn out in order to preserve the pasture. This means we are feeding round bales and limiting them to one specific area for turn out. We've had some rain and more is expected this week. This morning the pastures look green again. It will take at least two weeks for the pastures to obtain enough growth to turn the horses back out on them.
Early Fireworks. July 2, 2010: Fourth of July fireworks started early here at Epiphany Bay Farm. Two nights ago our neighbors across the road were setting off fireworks which were quite loud and colorful above the tree tops. The horses were in a bit of a tizzy over the sights and sounds of the fireworks and it was feeding time. As I went into the paddock where the three fillies (one year old this month) stay during the day, I found only two fillies present! With panic setting in, I searched, finally finding the third filly in an adjoining field with our Thoroughbred mares. There was not even a hint that an escape had occurred! The fence, five feet high, was intact and no marks on the ground for takeoff or landing. I did finally see a few bay hairs on the fence post. Upon bringing the filly in, I found that she had a few scrapes on the inside of her hind leg, yet no major injuries. The scrapes were still bleeding when I found her, so I suspect she made her escape when the fireworks started and just before I went out to feed. It seems she jumped out over the post, which sets a few inches higher than the top rail of the fence. Quite an athletic feat for a purebred Cleveland Bay filly!!
Thankfully, the neighbors are willing not to set off any additional fireworks. We will be staying home on the fourth to keep on eye on the Bays. July 4 is Epiphanybay Independence's birthday. She will be one year old. My how time flies.
Two Weeks...Time Passes Quickly. June 26, 2010: The past two weeks have flown by, bringing with it some changes. The weather has changed from comfortable to unusually hot for June. With the heat comes drying out pastures, salvaged for short stretches by evening thunderstorms. The horses make a beeline for the run-in shed to get away from the flies, only occasionally leaving their shaded, fan cooled area to get a drink or a few bites of grass. All eleven horses share one 12 x 24 run-in. They pack themselves in together, below the fan, like sardines in a can. Most often they are in pairs, standing side by side, with their tails swishing the flies from their partner's face. Everyone gets along, cooperatively sharing the space. Even the Thoroughbreds are sharing the space with the Clevelands! In the past, the Thoroughbreds did not share well. I am continually amazed at how cooperative these Clevelanad Bays are with each other.
Despite the heat, our two young ladies have continued to work with the horses in the early morning. Kisses, our oldest Thoroughbred mare, has surprised us as she is lightly worked on the lunge line. We did not know if Kisses had ever been ridden. She knew exactly what was expected from her on the lunge line, showing lovely movement. All of her transitions, both up and down, come from her hindquarters. She readily accepted wearing the bridle and the bareback pad. At her next session, she will be fitted with a saddle to see how she accepts this change. The plan is to have a rider on her in the quite near future.
Delaney is continuing to play with Hamilton and Celebration (Sully). Hamilton is becoming more confident and curious with the items Delaney is using to capture his interest. Sully, on the other hand, has a very high play drive. He manages to keep Delaney on her toes as he learns quickly and is ready to move on to the next game.
A Day at Upperville. June 15, 2010: Saturday, June 12, turned out to be an absolutely gorgeous day. The turnout of Cleveland Bays, both purebred and partbred, was excellent including entries in the newest class, Cleveland Bay Get of Sire. Following the classes a well attended tailgate was held back at the horse trailers.
Hamilton and his new handler, Delaney O'Donnell, both did well. There were twelve horses in the Partbred In-Hand class. Hamilton received many compliments both from spectators and competitors on how well behaved he is for a two year old. Hamilton did not place in the class, which is fine. Delaney actively competes in 4-H equestrian events and showing at Upperville was a first for her. A freelance photographer, taking photos from the sidelines, took quite a few photos of Hamilton and Delaney. The photographer said she was taking candid photos for the USEF Magazine. Who knows, we might see Hamilton and Delaney in print!
As we watched the Cleveland Bay classes, Hamilton had the opportunity to become comfortable with all of the activity around the entry gate to the Main Ring and the Schooling Ring. Horses with riders and small ponies were a source of concern for him initially, yet he eventually became bored and began searching for something to munch upon.
Preparing for Upperville. June 9, 2010: My how a year flies by! It seems it wasn't so long ago we were readying the horses for the Cleveland Bay classes held at the Upperville Colt and Horse Show in June 2009. Here we are again getting ready for the Cleveland Bay classes. This year we are taking Epiphanybay Hamilton to be shown in the Cleveland Bay Partbred In-hand class. This will be Hamilton's second time being shown at Upperville. The Cleveland Bay classes at Upperville are being held Saturday, June 12 at 8:00 AM in Upperville, Virginia.
The next few days will be busy ones. First, there is the final tune up for Hamilton working in-hand. Fitting him with a bridle this year has been an eye opener. Boy, has he grown! We knew he would be in a larger size bridle with a bigger bit. Well, he went from wearing a 4 1/2 inch bit to needing a 5 1/2 inch bit this year! The clipping along with the shortening of the mane was done two weeks ago. Braiding a mane, any mane, is time consuming for me as I do not braid often enough to be efficient and end up with nicely done braids. My fingers get tired before I get done with braiding. Fortunately, Hamilton takes a nap during braiding. Last, but not least is loading everything which may or may not be needed into the trailer, ensuring we will be ready to go bright and early the day of the show. Having had an injury to my leg, which is not yet healed, Hamilton will be handled by a young lady who has been working with him using the Parelli Seven Games. She has plenty of experience riding and showing horses through the Orange County 4-H Horse Club. This will be her first hunter in-hand class. She and Hamilton work well together and we are looking forward to a fun day for all.
New Chapter. June 4, 2010: Having sustained an injury to my leg this spring, working with the horses has not been on my list of acceptable activities...according to the doctor. Through a recent visit to our farm by the Orange County 4-H Group, we have met two young horsewomen. These young ladies will begin assisting us with the training of our horses. Both are well experienced riders, along with experience in working with young horses. We look forward to bringing along our two year olds and starting several horses under saddle.
I had changed the lens on my camera to what I thought was my long distance lens, in preparation for photographing any antics created by turning the fillies back in with the rest of the herd for the first time in months. I'm waiting out in the pasture for Mike to turn each filly out, one by one. Abigail was first. As she started running and bucking across the field, I began taking pictures, only to realize that I had the short distance lens on the camera. I was in a hurry when I had changed the lens, knowing the last time I used the camera, the short lens was on it. I missed good photos of Abigail. Mike had to wait while I ran back to the house to change the camera lens yet again. On my way back out to the pasture I noticed a colorful moth hanging out on a plant. Taking photos of the moth with my long distance lens (couldn't have noticed the moth before I changed the lens) I was hoping that at least one photo would turn out. I made my way back to the pasture and was able to capture some good photos of Constance and Penny. To our surprise, there were very little "antics". Well, maybe it should not have been too much of a surprise...Cleveland Bays and a pasture of green grass...green grass wins out over play.
A Non-Event. June 2, 2010: On Sunday, May 31, we turned the three fillies out into the same field with the rest of the herd. A few months ago we had tried to reintroduce the fillies into the herd, only to have the fillies quite quickly join up with their mothers. This time the fillies entered the field, found a spot of nice green grass and began grazing. Only after they had grazed for a bit, did they even try to approach the other horses. The horses graciously accepted the fillies submissive behavior, then proceeded to continue to graze, ignoring the fillies.
Mares in Foal. May 26, 2010: We are pleased to announce our two purebred mares, Olddominion Epona and Belladonna Mahogany, have each been checked, by ultrasound at 30 days, and found to be in foal. It is so cool to see the ultrasound of the embryo, as this the first week in which the heartbeat can be seen. Everything is so tiny and seeing their tiny little hearts beating is amazing!
The mares were bred within four days of each other. From a foaling standpoint, foal watch can be done in a concentrated timeframe, which is hopefully will lead to less sleep deprivation for us. Due dates will be in late March 2011.
The breedings are:
Olddominion Epona x Rambler's Richard Lionheart - purebred Cleveland Bay foal
Belladonna Mahogany x Borderfame Prince Charming - purebred Cleveland Bay foal
Hamilton. May 18, 2010: Hamilton turned two years old on May 15, 2010. Personable and quite willing to please, along with great athleticism, he will make an awesome partner and is currently being offered for sale. Hamilton will be shown In-Hand at the Upperville Colt and Horse Show on June 12, 2010, located in Upperville, VA.
First Rose Blooms. May11, 2010: Last fall and this spring, I planted quite a number of roses, many of which have a traceable history to the seventeenth and eighteenth century. Our horses are a heritage breed, now most of our roses are heritage or old garden roses. I've always had a soft spot for roses, yet never quite had the time or place in which to grow them.
The first rose to bloom this year is Yellow Magic. This is a miniature rose which was developed in 1970. The blooms are yellow in bud. Once the bloom opens fully, it fades to nearly white with a hint of pink towards the center.
Chicken Coop or Mansion? May 2, 2010: Yesterday, Mike along with Jason, began building our Chicken Coop. Mike said that my plans were not as good as I thought with the construction of the coop becoming a "design build". The coop is larger than I had anticipated with two people calling it a Chicken Mansion. When you consider we only have four hens, who have been housed inside the hay barn in a large dog crate since last fall, this new structure does look like a Chicken Mansion!
Three Kitties. April 28, 2010: For the past two weeks, our farm has been the new home for three feral cats. We have adopted these cats from Feline Network Rescue. This rescue seeks to find farm homes for feral cats who would not do well as house cats. The cats are Feline Leukemia/Feline Immunodeficiency Virus tested Negative, altered, dewormed and vaccinated.
Faye the Grey, Marissa and Ebony have been living in a large kitty condo as they acclimate to our farm and to us. All three arrived in good weight, had clean ears and sleek hair coats attesting to the good care they had received. We placed the kitty condo in our hay barn, which provides them shelter and hopefully acquaints them with their future prey. Initially, the cats were leery of their new home and us. Now, one of the cats will allow us to pet her. The other two cats are not so enamored with human contact, yet are becoming accustomed to us. The cats will remain in their kitty condo for a week or so longer and then be released. Hopefully, they will choose to stay around.
The Feline Network Rescue is seeking farm homes for their feral cat rescues. This organization goes the extra mile to help you transition the cats to their new farm home. They provide the kitty condo, transition instruction, food (lots of food), litter pan, litter, litter scoop, and bedding are also provided. The condo, litter pan, litter scoop and bedding need to be returned to the rescue once the cats transition to the farm.
Epona. April 24, 2010: Epona was bred this week. We'll find out after the ultrasound in two weeks. It would be awesome if both Mahogany and Epona, who were both bred within the same week, would both be confirmed in foal. When in comes time for foaling, it is so much easier to have two mares due close together. At least the sleepless nights are not spread out over a long period of time!
Mahogany. April 20, 2010: Mahogany returned home yesterday from Equine Reproduction Concepts in Amissville, VA. She was bred by AI on 04/18/10. Mahogany is normally a very laid back mare, yet she was quite moody upon her return home. It is too soon to attribute this to the hormones of pregnancy, but one can hope!! Now we wait with fingers and toes crossed until her first ultrasound check at Day 14.
Netami. April 5, 2010: On April 1, we said good bye to Netami. He would have been 36 years old in May 2010. For me, Netami, was a life long friend and partner as we had been together since he was three weeks old. Words are difficult to find to express my deep loss at his passing.
April 11, 2010: As Carlene is at a loss of words for obvious reasons, I (Mike) think that some words need to be said. Carlene and Netami came together very early in both of their lives. Carlene a teen and Netami not yet weaned. No monetary support was received from Carlene's parents so she got a job to pay for Netami and all his upkeep. She went off to college for Veterinary Technician studies in SW Virginia and Netami followed. These two creations of God became inseparable. While Carlene studied medicine, Netami studied dressage. He worked hard and was willing to please this young woman as she pursued her life goals. Many years later after many boarding barns he got to enjoy his own barn for the first time. As fate would have it, they both would find themselves boarding again until we founded Epiphany Bay Farm. In-between those years Netami remained a constant companion in Carlene's life. He competed in lower level dressage, served as a riding horse for her daughters, pasture mate for countless young horses, survived two trailer roll over accidents on Interstate Highways. Despite many life changes, neither of the two would be separated. Netami would be my first horse experience. I was intimidated by him, scared and also a little jealous due to the amount of attention he received. I had no barn boots so I learned how to muck his stall in "Dockers". I remember one particular time that Netami messed with me. I went to retrieve him from the pasture and as soon as I got close with the lead rope, he ran off, stopped and looked at me then waited. I walked to him again and he did it again. I did not get angry because I realized I was being tested. We repeated this routine several times before he caught me. I swear that I heard him laughing the whole time! After arriving at Epiphany Bay Farm and being introduced to Epona, then just 10 months old, Netami was assigned a most important job, watching over our babies and young horses. He performed this task with several generations in an exemplarily fashion up to his final moments. Through failing health, loss of weight and eyesight, he never neglected his duties. April the 1st was a beautiful spring day. Both Carlene and Netami enjoyed sunshine, green grass, grooming, unparalleled companionship and love. Netami is still with us and still has his job of looking after the "girls" and babies. He will always be with us. I will now close. I too loved Netami and will miss him and all that he meant to a young woman with a dream...................
Purple Martins Arrive. March 26, 2010: On March 9th, the Purple Martin house was put back up for the spring. Each year in the late fall, we take down the Purple Martin house to clean it and store for the winter. The house sits on a telescoping pole which makes it easy to take down and put back up. In March of each year Purple Martins send out scouts looking for housing for the breeding season. This year we saw our first Purple Martins checking out the house on March 23rd. Typically, the Purple Martins return to the same location as the previous year. Our Purple Martin house has 16 apartments which were all claimed last year. We'll see how many arrive this year and may consider providing a second house.
Local Clean Water Farm Award / Bay Friendly Farm Award for the Rappahannock Watershed.
March 16, 2010: Epiphany Bay Farm has received this award based on conservation practices put into place through programs administered by the Tri-County/City Soil & Water Conservation District. These programs help to preserve our natural resources, while enhancing water quality in the Rappahannock Watershed and the Chesapeake Bay. Some of the conservation measures we have implemented on our farm include installing 4,000 feet of perimeter fence and over 1,000 feet of cross-fencing suitable for horses. In addition, installing 990 feet of pipeline and 4 automatic watering troughs so fresh clean water is available to the horses at all times. As well as establishing a rotational paddock system to move the horses so a good grass cover can be maintained and constructing a manure storage facility that allows us to wait until the ground is suitable for spreading manure. These practices have been put into place over the past four years. We are pleased and proud that our efforts have been recognized.
Amenable Horses and Crocus. March 6, 2010: The Cleveland Bay horses on our farm continually amaze me with how well they cooperate with each other. There are the occasional pinned ears or a this is my spot attitude, yet these moments pass just as quickly as they occur. During all of the snow the horses had round bales to munch upon, which were kept dry and tidy in their Big Bale Buddy Bags which are green in color. In the one field there were four adults and three fillies. They would be all be munching away around the same bale. This looked much like a pinwheel having a big green center with large and small brown bums and black tails circling the entire center. The fillies would be tucked in-between and sometimes almost under the larger horses who paid little attention to the youngsters.
Over the past week, having moved the horses to a sacrifice area, has also entailed using temporary electric fencing to create a small paddock in front of a run-in to provide four of the adult horses with shelter overnight. The field they were in had a run-in, yet the sacrifice area does not. We are utilizing a run-in near the house, yet do not want the horses out on this pasture either. The run-in measures 10 feet by 20 feet and the paddock measures about 30 feet by 40 feet. Certainly not much space even for two adult horses in close confinement. Yet, these four horses share this area overnight with quite minimal bickering. Amazingly cooperative temperaments are had by these Cleveland Bays!
A Tough Time. February 28, 2010: The month of February has contained many challenges, leaving me with no time to devote to the website. For this, I apologize. The demands of running a small breeding farm, while also working at another business are enough to keep me busy on a "normal" day. The other half of the barn staff had a planned surgery which we knew would keep him from doing "barn work" for many weeks. I was prepared to take on the additional work load while he healed. I did not anticipate the record snowfalls for our region during February adding hours to how much time was necessary to care for the horses each day. Weeks went by with little to no melting of the snow and only paths, created by the tractor, to use to get from one area of the farm to the other. The sun would cause surface melting only to ice over in the evening making walking the horses in for feeding or pushing a wheelbarrow treacherous chores. Creating paths through the snow for themselves, the horses, did not stray from these paths to go from the hay bale, to the waterer and back to the run-in. The snow did provide a layer of protection to our otherwise soggy ground resulting from the previous five months of wet weather.
In the past week, the snow has melted, yet there are still patches of snow here and there. The daytime temperatures are now above freezing causing the pastures to be a bog, with the horses easily sinking up to their fetlocks on the squishy ground. Rather than risk ruining our pastures, we have moved all of the horses to a sacrifice area. A sacrifice area is a nice way of saying a muddy, muddy piece of ground, which will need to be repaired once the ground dries out...someday.
After the storm. Blizzard 02/05/10 to 02/06/10. February 7, 2010: Two feet of snow fell on our farm during the blizzard, enough to make walking to the barn an aerobic activity for me as two feet is above my knees. The four horses who stay outside all of the time, weathered the storm well just as they have with the previous snow storms of this winter. The three weanling fillies have a large broodmare stall to share which opens into a paddock. During the storm I don't think they left their stall. The remaining five horses were stabled during the storm, which meant they were inside for 36 hours. They were turned out today once the snow had been cleared from the gates.
Four Years Old on 01/24/10...OldDominion Epona. January 26, 2010: It is amazing how quickly time goes past. It seems not so long ago when we first went to see Epona when she was three weeks old. Now, at four she is the dam of two fillies born in 2009. Interestingly, when I compared her height, weight and bone measurements as a three year old to her four year old measurements, the only change was an increase in bone, which is now 9.0 inches.
Epona has been introduced to wearing a bareback pad, which caused her absolutely no concern. I let her smell the bareback pad, which she tried to chew on. Deciding that this was not food, she lost interest. When I set the pad on her back, she only glanced back briefly to see what I was doing. Upon tightening the girth, loosely at this point, she could not have cared less. I walked and trotted her around, in hand, to give her the experience of having something on her back while she was moving. Again, zero concern. In the next week she will be introduced to ground driving, hopefully, this will start out as uneventfully as wearing the bareback pad.
Two Weeks Into the New Year. January 17, 2010: The Sharp Shinned Hawk which we have been sighting occasionally, made a surprise (well surprised me!) visit early one morning as I was turning out the horses near day break. I had gotten half of the horses turned out and was headed to open the chicken coop before turning out the fillies. The chicken coop is portable and is currently kept just inside the cover of the hay building which is open on the southern exposure. As I reached to open the chicken coop, to my left I caught sight of movement. I turned to see the hawk fly by me close enough that I could have reached out to touch it. The hawk is quite a large bird with a wing span that I estimated to be at least two feet in width. The hawk had not made a single sound in either his lift off from the hay or flying past me and out over the pastures. His movement was completely silent which is amazing considering his size. The little sparrows and finches that are year round residents make an incredible amount of noise flying and flittering around for their size. I had read and heard about birds of prey having silent flight. This was the first time I actually experienced the phenomenon. I stood there wishing that my camera had been in my hand rather than in the house and watched him fly until I could no longer see him.
I did bring my camera out with me the next several days, yet did not find the hawk in the hay building. The morning the hawk was in the hay building was particularly cold with the following mornings being much warmer. I suspect the weather may have allowed him to rest overnight in another location.
Happy New Year! January 6, 2010: We are looking forward to the new year and are busy reviewing our 2010 breeding plans.
In review of the weather for the period of August 2009 through December 2009, we had a total rain precipitation of 18.71 inches, along with 2 inches of calculated precipitation from the 20 inches of snow (10 inches of snow equals 1 inch of rain) for a grand total of 20.71 inches. Compared to the period of August 2008 through December 2008 which had a total rain precipitation of 7.47 inches and no snow. For now our ground is frozen as we are experiencing a period of cold in which the daytime temperatures might reach the low 30's.
History of Epiphany Bay Farm 2010
Cleveland Bay now in Suffolk, Virginia. December 23, 2010: December has been a busy month for us with many trips, which is why there have been so few updates on our home page this month. The biggest news is that Epiphanybay Hamilton has a new owner and is now residing in Suffolk, Virginia. I believe that I am correct in that there have not previously been any Cleveland Bays in this area. We know that Hamilton and his new owner will make a great team and look forward to hearing from them in the future.
Cleveland Bay Monday - Guests from the UK. December 10, 2010: On Monday, December 6, we had the privilege of having two guests from the UK visit our farm. Liz Worthy, current president of the Cleveland Bay Horse Society, and Heather Ketley. Each lady is a long time breeder of the Cleveland Bay Horse and an accomplished horsewoman.
With a busy Cleveland Bay Weekend, just prior to their visit and Monday being a usual work day, we were apologetic that our horses were not immaculately groomed as the horses they had had the pleasure of seeing over the Cleveland Bay Weekend. Our horses who were resplendent in their winter coats sporting the occasionally patch of dried mud, produced puffs of dust when patted. The weather remained bitterly cold and windy which often results in horses being frisky. Yet, all were quite well behaved when introduced to Liz and Heather.
Once back inside the house, warmed by the fire in the wood stove on the outside and a hot meal on the inside, we spent the evening talking "Cleveland Bay". We are quite incredibly grateful for the generosity of Liz and Heather in sharing of their knowledge and expertise about Cleveland Bays. In particular, the discussion about the horses found in our horse's pedigrees, was enlightening, educational and I found myself taking copious notes during the discussion.
Cleveland Bay Weekend. December 8, 2010: This past weekend, December 4 and 5, we spent with our Cleveland Bay friends and fellow enthusiasts. Saturday, we went to Hunter and Lauren Wilson's farm, Margaux Tip located in West Virginia. There we watched a jumping clinic taught by huntsman, Robert Taylor with the riders mounted primarily on Cleveland Bays. Next, we observed the first Cleveland Bay Premium Mare Inspection held in North America by the CBHS and CBHSNA. Following the day's activities, the Wilson's provided the guests with a sumptuous dinner, good company and good conversation.
Sunday, we attended the Second Annual Cleveland Bay Hunt Day hosted by the New Market-Middletown Valley Hounds in Middletown, Maryland. Cleveland Bays and their riders, along with members of the hunt, braved a briskly cold and windy day scattered with snow flurries to ride to the hounds. Mike and I, along with three friends joined in by "car-topping". We stayed toasty warm, yet, we didn't get to see much of the hunt as they seemed to stay in the wooded valleys. Following the hunt there was a tremendously delicious breakfast hosted the NM-MVH members along with Cleveland Bay owners and breeders of the region.
Musings. November 29, 2010: The weather here has changed dramatically over the Thanksgiving Holiday. Thanksgiving Day was quite comfortable, weather wise. Our Family Thanksgiving Day took place on a day other than Thanksgiving giving us the opportunity to spend the day at the barn "playing" with the horses. Mike and Hamilton spent some time in the round pen together. Mike played with Hamilton at liberty, which was fun to watch. Mike said that Hamilton made it look like Mike knew what he was doing. Good boy, Hamilton!
Abigail. November 25, 2010: Abigail is developing into a lovely filly with good bone and a great mind. She is quick to learn and has been started on learning the Parelli Games. The other morning was a bit foggy and overcast, yet, the temperature was comfortable.
Penny. November 18, 2010: Penny, whose registered name is Epiphanybay Independence, is a 16 month old purebred Cleveland Bay filly. She was the first purebred Cleveland Bay born at Epiphany Bay Farm. Her personality is much like OD Epona's personality. OD Epona is her mother. Penny wants to be right in the middle of what is going on around her and is food motivated.
Penny has embarked on her "playing" in the round pen. The other day she was introduced to the "big, green ball" with which she was not too concerned about being below her and not at all confident about it being above her.
New Territory. November 13, 2010: Leone and Hamilton continue to progress in their training. Delaney rode Leone in the round pen developing Leone's understanding of the rider's aids. Leone is quite smart and caught on quickly. At times, both Delaney and I thought that Leone may have been a bit bored with what was being asked of her. Yet, it is important that the horse understand the "steering" aids.
Delaney had Hamilton working at liberty within a moment of two of beginning to play with him. Hamilton was backing between rails on the ground, following Delaney around and working on the circle.
Frost Upon the Pumpkin. November 2, 2010: This morning the frost is heavy upon the ground which is fitting for a November morning. Last week we had our first light frost. I suspect this morning's frost will finally do in the last of the tomatoes in the garden possibly missing a few which are well hidden under the leaves. I have been waiting for the frost to turn all of the vegetable garden plants into plants which can be easily removed. Possibly this weekend, I will get the garden turned under for the winter.
As I sit here updating the website and looking at the frost outside, all I really want to do is go sit by the fire while having a cup of tea. But alas, the horses wait to be turned out, stalls and paddocks need cleaned and I know I will "warm up" once the daily horse chores are started. Still, the fire is inviting...
Gift of Weeding. October 26, 2010: The other day I arrived home to find two large black trash bags and one small white trash bag, filled with garden weeds. Who on earth spent time weeding several of the flower beds? Now for those of you who know Mike, you also know that he will never spend time weeding any kind of garden. Therefore, I knew the cleaned up gardens did not come from his efforts. Much to my surprise, I found that our smallest volunteer's mother, Tabitha, had come over spending time to weed several flower beds. This was an awesome surprise, which made my day. This was her way of saying thank you for allowing Courtney to volunteer here at the farm.
I love to garden. I especially love flower beds planted with perennial plants, roses and flowering bulbs. I love the way the flowers intermingle and create their own fluid beauty. Caring for the horses seems to take up all of my time and energy of late. What has suffered are the flower beds. The flower beds need to be tucked in for winter, for which I hope I find the time to tuck in the more sensitive plants.
Wouldn't You Know It! October 17, 2010: On Friday, Delaney came out to play with the horses. Delaney has taken Lady Leone under her wing as we would like to have Lady Leone started under saddle. Leone is a willing student with which Delaney has only worked with 1-2 times. I have had some opportunity to play with Leone and had been working with her standing quietly by the mounting block. I would lean on her putting weight on her back, getting her used to having the same human on both sides of her body at the same time. Well, I think that Delaney surprised all of us when she quietly slipped onto Leone's back quickly sitting astride. Leone was wearing a bareback pad and on a rope halter with lead rope. Leone accepted this as if she had done this every day of her life! After Leone was standing still for a few moments while receiving lots of neck rubbing, Delaney quietly slipped off of Leone's back. What a huge success!
Next, Delaney played with Hamilton for only a brief time on-line quickly progressing to taking him off-line and working with him at liberty for the first time. Hamilton loves to please and quickly caught on that Delaney was still asking him to do things for her. Another huge success!
Wouldn't you know it! I had not brought my camera to the barn Friday! I have no photos of these two successes.
On a different note, yesterday, Mike and I along with two other couples attended the International Gold Cup held at Great Meadow in The Plains, Virginia at the courtesy of Farm Credit of the Virginias. Everyone enjoyed an absolutely lovely day at the races with great company, delicious food and drink and beautiful fall weather.
Growth Spurts. October 7, 2010: Over the last week or so I have noticed that Epiphanybay Celebration and Epiphanybay Hamilton have both become wider across their hips. EB Celebration has also gotten deeper through his chest. The boys are not quite 2 1/2 years old yet their bodies are preparing to fill out. When Cleveland Bays are about three years old their bodies begin to muscle up and fill out for the next stage of maturation. I am glad so see that their growth will be headed towards out rather than up. Although, I'm sure they will both get taller. Next week I will be taking their monthly measurements so we'll see if there are any surprises there.
The three yearling fillies have also started growing again. It seems they just sprout up overnight. They have all gotten taller with Epiphanybay Constance seeming to also have gotten longer through her body. Their measurements will be taken next week, as well.
Since we have had much needed rain over the past week, I don't have any recent pictures to post. Delaney was out on Tuesday to work with Lady Leone, EB Celebration, EB Hamilton, who she now refers to as "Hammie" and Epiphanybay Independence. Lady Leone did very well; especially considering she had been in for a day and a half due to the heavy rains we were having. She had a some energy to expend in the beginning yet settled in quite quickly to listening to Delaney.
I have to note that EB Constance is growing in her confidence. Constance from the time she was born has been cautious about stepping onto ground that appears different from the surface that she is on. Last night there was a rain shower when I was bringing everyone in to be fed, which made the concrete aprons outside of the end doors of the barn look different than the concrete in the barn aisle. In the past, it would have taken much time and patience to encourage her to step from the wet to dry or dry to wet surface. Last night, with just a tiny bit of encouragement, she put her nose on the concrete sniffing and blowing to check out the surface, stretching her neck in without moving her feet. After a few moments she took a tentative step on her own and looked at me as if to say, "Oh, it's only the barn aisle". Then she proceeded quietly into the barn. Pat Parelli says, "Nose, neck and maybe the feet." Constance followed this true to form last night.
Our Youngest Volunteer. September 28, 2010: This past Saturday our youngest volunteer, Courtney, along with her mother spent the morning at our barn. They helped out with stall cleaning, filling water buckets and troughs along with putting out hay. Then, Courtney did her favorite part...grooming the horses. She groomed both of our purebred mares, Mahogany and Epona. Not only is Courtney our youngest volunteer, she is also our shortest. Her height is not a deterrent to her grooming ability as she moves her step stool from place to place as needed to reach the mares backs, manes and heads. Cleveland Bays have such wonderful temperaments! Mahogany and Epona were absolute angels for Courtney.
Indian Summer? September 24, 2010: The past several days have brought temperatures in the upper 90's and the outdoor thermostat in the truck said it was 101 degrees yesterday. Wow! I thought we were done with summer. We have been able to stand in our pastures and watch the grass shrivel and die. Yesterday, there was a dry hot wind blowing, which did not help. We have had our horses in our sacrifice area for the past several weeks in an effort to spare our pastures. This means feeding hay and lots of poo cleaning to keep the area as clean as possible. The horses spent much of July in the sacrifice area as July was hot and dry.
Busy Week and Weekend. September 20, 2010: This past week and weekend, we have had the pleasure of having at least one of our volunteers here each day to help. Mike and I deeply appreciate each one's assistance. For me, this has provided the opportunity to have hands on time with the horses as opposed to only having hands on time with the manure fork, shovel and wheelbarrow. There will always be plenty of "poo cleaning" to go around for everyone. This week our volunteers helped in the areas of grooming, ground driving, handling youngsters, Parelli games and "poo cleaning". Thank you.
Princess, The Next Step. September 15, 2010: Delaney was out today to work with the horses. Hamilton was first in line, taking his lesson in stride. Sully was last in line, his exuberance was at a high level today. Princess was second in line and was the star for the day. We feel that Princess has been ridden before, yet she is not comfortable with the thought of a person being above her. Delaney spent quite a bit of time getting Princess to accept a person being above her by standing on the mounting block next to Princess. By the end of the lesson, Princess has relaxed and was standing still while Delaney stood on the mounting block beside her. Princess is one step closer to allowing a rider on her back. We'll progress as Princess becomes more comfortable with what is being asked of her.
Yesterday, Epona was ground driven for the third time. She was much more comfortable with the bit and was moving forward better. My biggest struggle is working with the long lines and keeping my walk pace in sync with hers. At the end of the lesson, she stood by the mounting block and could have cared less that I was above her and putting weight on her back. Weight on her back is not new for her. As a foal, when she would be laying down, I would gently sit on her back and play the friendly game with her. She was never really concerned as a foal and has carried this lack of concern forward.
Mike has been busy bush hogging this week. The weather has been gorgeous, allowing him to make good progress on his commitments.
Important Event from Last Week. September 13, 2010: Last Tuesday, September 7, Mike and I attended, along with representatives from the Tri-County/City Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD), the Stafford County Board of Directors Meeting. At this meeting we received one plaque which was the printed Proclamation from the Stafford County Board of Supervisors, read aloud to all present by our Stafford County District Supervisor. The next was the plaque presented to us by the Commonwealth of Virginia, Department of Conservation and Recreation, naming us as the recipients of the 2009 Bay Friendly Clean Water Farm Award. This plaque along with a sign which is to be posted on our property, were presented to us by a member of the Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Directors. Mike was then asked to say a few words. He described what we had started with, the work we had done to reclaim the land for pasture, the Best Management Practices put into place in partnership with the SWCD and a brief history of the Cleveland Bay Horse along with our endeavors towards conservation of the breed. An article will be appearing in the SWCD publication about the award and our farm.
Why is it... September 12, 2010: Life has a way of changing the day's plans in a moment. I was all set to ride yesterday...yet did not get the opportunity. There is a fall festival in our area, called "Hartwood Days." This year it was widely advertised and received the largest turn out in their history. As the location of the festival is only three miles down the road, we decided to attend for a "short" while. Well, short turned into long as we met friends and neighbors who we had not seen in a while. All in all a pleasant event and good to see our friends and neighbors. We finally left as the farrier was due to be at the barn in the evening to trim feet on a few of the horses. Oh well, I thought. I'll get to ride tomorrow.
I woke up this morning to the sound of rain on the roof. Why is it that it rains on my next planned day to ride? No real complaints though as we have been 19 days without rain and the pastures were becoming crunchy. The pastures are looking a bit greener and are hopefully less crunchy.
Back in the Saddle. September 10,2010: Over the past seven weeks, I've been acquiring items which I will need to begin riding again. As a result of my ankle injury in April combined with a slower than hoped recovery, I cannot get my tall riding boots on as they have to be pulled on over my ankle...ouch! I went shopping for a pair of Ariat Paddock Boots, finding a suitable pair with sufficient ankle support, which had to be special ordered in a wider width. I also wanted a pair of half-chaps, which were ordered... I needed a wider width. Boots and half-chaps took two weeks to arrive.
When I went to pick up my paddock boots and half-chaps, I found the paddock boots were perfect and the half chaps fit around my leg but were too tall. While there, I ordered a three step mounting block as I am again limited by my ankle and don't do so well trying to mount from a fence. I'm short, which is why off the shelf half chaps don't fit me. Yes, I said short, not vertically challenged. The horses are tall. A tall horse and a short rider are not a great combination for hoisting ones self onto the back of the horse. Hence, the three step mounting block, which required a minimum order for the store to place the order with the supplier. Arrival of the mounting block was three weeks later.
I found my riding helmet which was buried in my tack trunk. As luck would have it, replacement was needed as the foam inside of the helmet was crumbling. At the same time as I ordered the mounting block, I also tried on helmets. I did find a helmet that fit well and the tack store did have my size in purple and fuchsia. For those who know me, I'm not a purple or fuchsia person. I ordered white. I thought the helmet would be in when the mounting block arrived. It was not. Two weeks later, which was today, I picked up my helmet.
All of this took a while to come together, which after all did spread the payments out a bit. The benefit of so many trips to the tack shop which is 40 minutes from my farm is that the ladies who work at the tack shop were awesome. They were friendly, knowledgeable and kept me informed as to the status of my orders. Today, when I picked up my helmet, I also bought a pair of Ariat Telluride waterproof boots for everyday wear around the barn. The original plan for the first pair of paddock boots was to wear them daily at the barn. Well, I love the way they fit, how comfortable they are, they way they look great with a pair of jeans and that I don't have to wear my ankle brace when I wear them. I've decided that this pair of boots will not be daily barn boots. Oh, as far as the half-chaps, I suppose they will need to be custom made to get them short enough for me. This is an adventure for another day.
Tomorrow, will be my back in the saddle day. I'm planning to get on Kisses, our oldest TB mare. Should be fine...two mature females starting out slow together. I'll let you know how it goes.
Warrenton Horse Show. September 5, 2010: The Cleveland Bay Exhibition was held this morning at the Warrenton Horse Show, located in Warrenton, Virginia. There were four classes: CB Purebred In-Hand, CB Partbred In-Hand, CB Under Saddle and CB Hunter Hack.
Hamilton was shown in the CB Partbred In-Hand class by Delaney. They took second place. It has been a pleasure to watch Hamilton mature and become increasingly comfortable with the whole horse show routine this summer.
This and That. August 30, 2010: My apologies for not posting for several days. I've been out of town and occupied with non-horse stuff recently. We will be attending the Warrenton Horse Show on Sunday Sept. 5, 2010 with our Cleveland Bay Sporthorse, Epiphanybay Hamilton. He will be shown in the Partbred CB In-Hand class. As well, we are planning on taking him and his brother, Epiphanybay Celebration, to a few more local shows to participate in In-Hand Trail classes. The dates will be announced later as plans evolve.
The Bush Hogging Service page was updated with before and after photos of Mike's work.
In-Hand Trail Class. August 22, 2010: Yesterday, we took Epiphanybay Hamilton and Epiphanybay Celebration to a local show entering them each into two In-Hand Trail classes. These classes required them to listen to their handler, Delaney, going through and over obstacles in a defined pattern. There was a rope gate to go through, ground poles to go over some at a walk and some at a trot, flower boxes to walk through and poles they had to back through. Hamilton and Delaney earned a second and a third place. Celebration and Delaney earned a third and a fourth place.
Abigail joins the ranks. August 18, 2010: Abigail has joined the ranks of our young stock who are learning to play the Parelli Games. She is unconcerned, almost to the point of being bored, as she is exposed to a brightly colored flag on her back and head, walking through tight spaces, learning to back through a 90 degree turn and wearing patriotic ribbons around her ears.
Howard County Fair held on August 10, 2010. August 12, 2010: Braving 100 degree heat with not a cloud in sight made for a sweaty, dusty day for the competitors at the Cleveland Bay Hunter Horse Show and the BRAHA Arabian, Partbred Arabian and Open Show which ran simultaneously in West Friendship, Maryland.
Epiphanybay Hamilton was shown in the Partbred Cleveland Bay In-Hand class. The winners in the class were all mature horses with the younger horses not placing. Alas, no ribbon for Hamilton in the Cleveland Bay Show. Hamilton was entered in two Sport Horse classes in the BRAHA Open Show which were the Open Sport Horse 2 and Under class and the Open Sport Horse Junior Handler. These classes were In-Hand on the triangle. It is here that Hamilton was a star! He willingly did everything which Delaney asked of him, even remaining calm and relaxed when asked to lengthen his stride in the trot. Hamilton took first place in each class with scores of 79.5% and 80.0%. In addition to taking two first places, Hamilton was the Reserve Champion for the Sport Horse Division.
The best part of the show was being with Hamilton outside of the ring. We stood at ringside watching horses show on the triangle. Hamilton was watching the horses intently with his ears up and eyes focused. He watched the horses stand for the judge, then as each horse walked the small triangle and then trot the large triangle, Hamilton never took his eyes off of the horse and handler. He stood stock still and only moved his head just enough to follow the horse and handler. He did this for each horse showing. It was pretty amazing to watch his intensity of concentration.
The best for last. The tailgate was winding down and Hamilton had been quietly grazing when the new CBHSNA video promoting the Cleveland Bay Horse was brought out to be shown on a laptop. The group went to the shady side of the trailer in the "Epiphany Bay Cinema" (coined by Jennifer Webster) to watch the video. In a semi-circle we all stood with Hamilton right there in line with us watching the video. Standing quite still, he fell asleep during the video as his day had been quite tiring. Even when the video was done and the group was leaving, he continued to stand there and sleep. We had to wake him up to load him on the trailer for the trip home.
Class is in Session...there has to be a class clown! August 4, 2010: The weather here has been dry which has made it necessary to put the horses in a sacrifice area with timothy round bales until the grass starts growing again. Last night it finally rained a bit, just enough to create mud. What do horses do after a rain...roll in the mud! Delaney arrived this morning to play with the horses, who arrived for classroom instruction dressed in their best muddy coats. The round pen is in the sacrifice area making the walk to class a short one.
Delaney picked Hamilton to be the first student, with the other horses lining up around the round pen to take notes. That is until the class clown distracted them! Doesn't it seem there is always at least one class clown? Celebration, aka Sully, rose to the occasion. Hamilton was politely studying his spelling lesson for today, "Happy Halloween". A bit early, but one must be ready for Halloween. As soon as Hamilton went onto his next lesson, Sully decided that he would taste the pumpkin which Pooh Bear held. All of the class stopped watching Hamilton and started watching Sully. Several came to see what the fun was about, except Constance. What a studious girl, she paid rapt attention to what Hamilton was being taught. Soon afterward, class was dismissed. Sully had to stay for after school detention and do extra work because he disrupted the class!
Tis the season to bush hog. July 31, 2010: It seems the only plants which grow during the summer heat are the weeds and tomato plants. The tomato plants won't be bush hogged unless you do not want tomatoes growing. The weeds on the other hand, which seem to explode overnight, do require bush hogging.
Play? These are my games! July 29, 2010: EB Celebration, aka "Sully" loves to play. Before we decided on his registered name, we nicknamed him Sully for the blue monster, Sully, in the movie Monsters Inc. In the movie, Sully a large blue furry monster, was a kind soul who just wanted to have fun. So it is with our Sully who is bay rather than blue!
When Delaney arrives at the farm, Sully, does his best to gain her attention to be the first to play with her. This past week Delaney played with Sully or should I say Sully played with Delaney. Sully is exceptionally smart and quick. We have 55 gallon barrels in the round pen, which end up in various locations as they are utilized. As Delaney was letting Sully blow off some energy in the circling game, Sully began going around any standing barrels, just enough that the rope would catch the top of the barrel knocking in down. Looking back at the fallen barrel, he'd buck and go faster! Next trip around you could see him planning on taking out the next barrel with the same scenario playing out. Although, Sully did get a bit of surprise. He was busy planning his next move and did not notice a barrel laying on its side directly in his path. What did he do? He could have easily avoided the barrel and gone around it. No not Sully! He sailed right over the barrel with glee in his eye! Silly boy!
Learning the Games. July 26, 2010: Hamilton is coming along quite nicely. His confidence to try new things is growing under Delaney's influence. It is interesting to note that in all the photos I took of him this day, he had one ear turned to Delaney intently observing her for direction. Hamilton is learning the circling game, the squeeze game and to stand on quietly on new surfaces.
"Old Hat" to a Matron. July 23, 2010: Delaney arrived at our farm on the 21st to "play" with the horses. Her first playmate was Kisses, one of our TB broodmares. Recently, Kisses had been going through groundwork to prepare her for being ridden. Through all of the ground work, she demonstrated that she already knew how to do all that was asked of her . Kisses is the sweetest, kindest, most patient mare on the face of this earth.
Kisses was sporting a burgundy bareback pad and a red Parelli halter with finesse reins attached. Delaney went through the preparations to mount, with Kisses looking at her as if to say, "What are you doing? Just get on." Once Delaney was up on Kisses, Kisses was amazingly calm and very responsive to the aids. Kisses easily rounded her frame when asked with the lightest of aids, showing lovely lateral movement at the walk. To Kisses being ridden is definitely "old hat."
Yearling Fillies. July 21, 2010: July has been a month for birthdays for our horses and our two-legged family. Kisses, Princess, EB Independence (Penny), EB Constance, EB Abigail (Abby) are all of our horses with July birthdays. We won't publicize the names of our two-legged family with birthdays, yet, suffice to wish them a happy day. Kisses and Princess, two of our TB mares, are matrons who prefer not to divulge their age. As Mary Kay Ash would say, " A lady never tells her age."
Now, the kids (yearling fillies) are free to celebrate their first annual birthday. Each has a unique personality. Penny loves to eat and have her bum scratched (just like her mom, Epona). Constance, remains reserved and maintains her opinion is more important than anyone else's opinions. Although, she can be bribed with treats! Abby is the socialite, nearly always nickering and walking up to us when we arrive. She also is often the instigator for play time.
Leon and Maggie...Cats and Mice. July 17, 2010: A farm has many places to hide and numerous food sources which is true for cats and mice. The challenge is maintaining the balance of cats and mice. To this end we have added two kittens with the hope that they will restore the balance...more cats, less mice.
Our farm cat, Ella, a beautiful calico, has a penchant for catching birds rather than mice. Her time spent at the barn was to follow me to the barn in the morning to be fed and brushed. Occasionally, she would also arrive in the evenings for the same. The remainder of her time was spent in farm buildings closer to our house. Of late, she has been spending all of her time in these buildings to the point that I have started feeding and brushing her there as well. We are not sure what happened to change her habit as she has been with us for several years.
Enter the two new kittens, which Ella has not met, as the kittens for now are staying in and around the barn. Leon was found by a dumpster by a friend of a friend. He went to live for a short time as an indoor cat in a multi cat household, where he did not fit in. He was returned to our office, spending several days there, which was just long enough for me to see he had the perfect personality for a barn cat. Already responding to his name, Leon, he arrived at our farm.
Leon needed a playmate. As luck would have it, our veterinarian, Dr. Anna, knew of a nearby farm which had well socialized and cared for kittens available for adoption. Maggie arrived at our farm three days after Leon. She is quite close in age and size to Leon. Maggie is just the playmate Leon needed. She puts up with his antics and when she's had enough she goes to her special place where Leon leaves her alone. Maggie is a sweetheart, loves to be held and is nearly as playful as Leon. Kittens who are this playful, generally become good hunters...hunters of mice, we hope.
Farm History 2010
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