The chronicles of a Friesian mare who happened upon an owner who lives outside the show ring....

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The All New England Hunt's Joint Meet - 17 miles of pure awesome

One of the photographers that was at the Joint Meet last Saturday also happens to be a memeber of my hunt club and generously shares the photos he takes with the hunt community. :)  Below are some of lovely photos he took of Daatje and I as well as a few others showing the gorgeous territory and the Myopia hounds. :)  The rest can be seen on his website, A Hores and His Boy.  The day could not have been more perfect, and Daatje, a week back on Vitamin E supplementation (more on that later), was back on her game.
Getting ready to head out

The Myopia hounds and huntsman at the Biolabs

Crossing the bridge at the Biolabs

Daatje and her BFF Dillon at the Biolabs

Road trot!

Down the drop into Scott's Field

Making funny faces at a check.  Here the huntsman switched to a fresh horse......knew we were in for a long hunt then!

Hack down the dirt road towards Groton House Farm

Galloping through Appleton Farms

A beautiful view of the hunt through Appleton Farms

Coming home.

Hacking back to the trailers after the hunts end.  (The bay is Joshua, he's 18 hands or so!)
Such a great time had by all.  Definitely the highlight of the hunting season in New England. :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Big Cart, Little Cart

I took this photo while doing chores this morning.  Just had to share.  Daatje's cart looks so big next to Rainbow's cart!  It's killing me that I'm to busy right now to jump right into starting her back up.  Things are so hectic, getting the place ready for winter.  I have precious little time between work, half marathon training and Saturday foxhunting.  The snow is not far from flying and I haven't even tuned up my snow blower yet!  Heck, I haven't even finished mowing the lawn for the last time yet!  I'll do that job on Saturday after the hunt in Milton Mills, NH. 

Here's my crazy list - to be done hopefully before the snow flies! 

Mow lawn, put up the tractor for winter, break out the snow blower, give it an oil change, put away all things non-freezable, clean out my bird houses, dig up the Dahlia bulbs, neaten up the Iris beds, attend the Equine Affaire, run run and run some more, attend the Hunt Ball, finish stacking the wood pile, clean the barn out for the winter, buy 10 bundles of hardwood flooring and find a place in the house to store said flooring.  Oh man.  Who has time to work a job?

Big Cart, Little Cart. :)

Monday, November 10, 2014

One Crazy Weekend!

What a weekend!  I won't say never, but it's been a long time since I've been this tired and sore.  The Joint Meet was absolutely amazing.  Tons of pro photos, but I haven't bought any yet.  Here's a proof of one of my faves. :)  This will be going on my living room wall for certain!  8x10 metallic print, here we come!
Here's a still from a video my friend took with her Go-pro.  All four off the ground and I believe I'm taking pictures. :P
Appleton Farms, Hamilton, MA
Daatje was a trooper.  I was in the saddle from 12:30pm until 3:45pm and we covered 17.1 miles.  Holy foxhunt!  Thankfully I had some Banamine left from her cellulitis back in June, so she got a dose for any soreness that may have set in over night.  I think she slept all day on Sunday!

I had a busy day Sunday.  Ran 10 miles (ouch, after riding for over 3 hours on Saturday, this was tough!) and then went to go look at that easy entry cart. 

The cart was absolutely perfect.  The shafts at level were the right height, width and length for a horse of Daatje's size.  It's easy entry so will be great for quick dismount if needed.  I'm so thrilled!  As a bonus, the price included a very nice and barely used beta harness, also in horse size.  The harness is not as fancy as I would have purchased, but it will be a great training rig.  The cart was purchased used by the seller 7 years ago and the drove in it only a handful of times.  The harness they purchased new when they bought the cart and again only used the set up a few times.  (didn't get into driving like they thought they would).  I paid $800 for the cart *and* the harness!!!  New the cart would cost me $1800 shipped and the Harness would easily be $650.  I am so stoked to get back into driving with Daatje.
Oops, look what I just did! :D
It's been 9 years since we've done any work in the lines.  When we left off, Daatje had just been put-to a vehicle for the first time.  It all went well, but I'm not assuming anything and will start back up from the very beginning.  We may not spend much time visiting the basics, but I want to be sure that she is solid and remembers and is a-ok with each step before moving on to the next.  We'll first work in the lines and then get her pulling a drag.  After that I'll put her between some simulated shafts.  When we can combine the simulated shafts with pulling the drag and all is going well, then I will re-introduce her to the cart.  Will probably take until next summer, but that's ok! :D

Of course, bringing the cart home and cleaning the barn out to make a place for it cut into my wood stacking time.  I only got 1/2 of this pile put up before the sun went down.

So last weekend I rode 17 miles, ran 10, bought a cart and harness, cleaned the barn and stacked 1/2 cord of wood.  I need a nap!

I'll get better pics of the cart and harness over the Thanksgiving holiday, I'm sure.  It's so neat to see the big cart side by side with Rainbow's little cart.  :D  Can't wait to post more of our driving adventures!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Another cart

I'm going to look at another cart on Sunday.  I know I really liked the blue one, but I got to thinking about what it's like to train a horse in harness and how very nice it is to have an *easy entry* cart for those inevitable hairy moments.  The blue cart is not easy entry.  There are rear steps that you hoist yourself up and over the space between the wheels and the seat.  Once you're in, you're pretty much in.

I found this cart for sale, also locally, that doesn't have the asthetic value of the blue cart, but a quick bail out the side would be alot easier to execute, should that sort of thing become necessary. :)

It's newer and has seen less use than the blue one.  They want more money for it, but supposedly it's a package deal with a synthetic harness.  Depending on the harness, this could be very enticing.

The shafts are horse size at 81" but the wheels are only 35" in diameter.  There are no bells and whistles.  No spares box, the shafts are plain, not wrapped in patent.  This is a training vehicle, specifically made for that purpose.

Oh decisions, decisions.  Do I want to train her in a pretty cart or a cart that has a very easy form of egress?  :)

Blue Cart:  $500, 48" wheels, 83" shafts, rear entry
Oak Cart $800 (harness incl), 35" wheels, 81" shafts, side entry

Hmmm, I dunno.  I guess I'll have to see the Oak Cart in person and then decide which to get, if any!

Tomorrow is the big hunt.  The All New England Hunt's Joint Meet where all the hunts in NE are invited to hunt with Myopia at their prestigeous Hamilton, MA territory.  We'll be loading and leaving around 10:30am to arrive at 11:30am.  Hounds are cast at 1:00pm, so exciting!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Blue cart update

Well, I went to look at the blue cart yesterday.  It was a great little training cart that cosmetically has seen slightly better days, but was still sound for work, just as the sellers claimed.  I took some measurements and I just wasn't sure that it would fit Daatje, so I didn't buy it.  The mare that pulled it (was in the barn for me to see) was much smaller than Daatje.  About the same body length, but much more petite and much shorter.  I'd say she was 14.3 on a good day.  (Daatje is 15.3)

The shafts were 82" from the tip to the swingletree, which according to the American Driving Society, is long enough for a 16h horse, but the wheel diameter was only 42 1/2", which is smaller than the recommended diameter of 48" for a horse of Daatje's size.  Also, the width between the shafts at the tugs was only 23", ADS recommends 24" for 16h horses.  So, I'm conflicted as to how this would translate into fitting Daatje.  I'm afraid the wheel diameter would make the cart sit low and the shafts angle up too much.

It sure was pretty though!  And for $500, such a good price.  Light weight too.  The sellers were lovely and offered to have me bring Daatje over to put the cart behind her and see how it looks.  I thought that was fabulous of them to offer!  So, not next weekend but the weekend after (Nov 15th) on the way back from the foxhunt in Raymond, NH, I'm going to stop by with the horse and see if this would work for us.  If not, no biggie, we'll just keep looking! :D

The Halloween Hunt went well.  Daatje and I were asked to lead 2nd field again as the regular field master was unable to attend.  It was cold, windy and raining with slick footing so we took it easy.  Daatje was a good girl and led without too much fuss. :)
At stirrup cup

Do these layers make my butt look big? lol
I must have had on 4 shirts and the thickest pair of black breeches that I own, it was so cold!  I found out that my cape is water proof.  Bonus!

The folks at stirrup cup told me that to see us flying across the field, cape whipping in the wind, was a sight to behold.  :)  Wish I could have seen it!

This Saturday is the All New England Hunts Joint Meet hosted by Myopia in Hamilton, MA.  This is the hunt of all hunts.  Usually has a fabulous turn out and always attracts the professional photographers!  Let the tack cleaning commence!