The Fence Post - News from the Farm

Early Winter 2011

It was a cold December (which I like!) and the snow is finally beginning to melt now that we are having some warmer days. Once I acclimate to the cold, I love bundling up and heading down to the barn. When I step outside the kitchen door, the horses will often nicker and whinny when they see me up on the hill – a nice greeting and one that always surprises me given the distance of the house from the barn, but I know they are thinking “food,” though some might be thinking “here comes the head scratcher.” Either way, I enjoy my time down at the barn, and the horses clearly love having human company; they hang their heads over the fences waiting for me to make my rounds of nose nuzzling and head and neck scratching.

Once again, I find myself hungry for summer after sitting down to update the farm website and select the dates for summer’s camp sessions. This summer, we’ll be back home at Old Meadows Farm. The uncertainty about the county and city decision regarding the Ragged Mtn. Dam has made it difficult to move forward with the horse program at Camp Holiday Trails. Any work on the dam would prevent having horses there, and since the city is hoping to have construction underway in a few months, we’ll be staying close to home this summer. And since I love being at home, all is good! Camp sessions won’t start until mid July since we’re planning to head out to Wyoming late June to visit daughters Kelsey and Sydney; both will be at NOLS’ Three Peaks Ranch.

By the time camp starts, I hope to have a summer riding area in the woods ready for use when the days get hot, along with a second round pen that will also be located in the woods above the creek. When it gets hot out, we love shade! The fences are looking more gray than black, so they are in need of a fresh coat of paint.  I suspect that as the days get warmer and the sun sets later, I’ll be working my way through several gallons of paint. And there are also lots of horses to be ridden, trails to be explored, and maybe even an endurance ride or two to train for. And I can’t wait! I’m looking forward to a great year...

Mid-Winter 2010

Hard to believe, but there is still snow lingering from the mid-December blizzard. We have been hammered by an uncharacteristically long stretch of inclement weather and have had to postpone Sunday lessons since early December. We are hoping for a break in the weather soon. The horses are wondering why they aren’t being ridden and are happy to see me when I go down to check water troughs and hay. They hang their heads over the fence, waiting. Planning for our upcoming summer camps is underway, and that always makes the winter weather more tolerable. This summer, campers will have the opportunity to learn about horse therapy work since Old Meadows Farm will be running the horse therapy program at Camp Holiday Trails again this summer. Unlike last summer when the program was held in the evenings, we’ll be running Camp GooseChase from Camp Holiday Trails this summer, and campers will actively participate in offering the horse therapy sessions in the mornings, at least three times a week. I’m excited about this new opportunity to both engage with the campers at Camp Holiday Trails and for GooseChase campers to observe first-hand the therapeutic benefits of working with horses.

Mid-Winter 2009

Winter involves a lot of waiting: waiting for freezing snaps to end, for frozen hoses to thaw, and for the wind to stop blowing! Thick layers of ice on the water troughs have to be broken, and the large chunks of ice regularly removed in order to keep plenty of fresh water available for the horses. Once the ice is removed, it sits in piles beside the troughs, slowly melting. The horses love chewing on the ice, and I can hear thecrunch, crunch of their ice munching as I complete my chores. One of my favorite sounds is the sound of horses munching on hay (rather than ice), and I often pause to listen to that satisfying sound.

Updating the website for the upcoming summer always makes me eager for the warmer, fun days of camp when I can spend entire days with the horses and campers. We’ve built two sheds to provide more shade near the barn and the riding ring, and I’m hoping to create a riding area in the woods where we can escape the summer sun during the hottest part of the day and practice navigating trail obstacles.

The work is ongoing, the horses are fat and happy, and spring is on the horizon.

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