It was a packed house tonight at Cricket Hill’s unmounted Centered Riding clinic! Thirteen riders – some on their annual return, others for the first time – came for the start of their Spring Tune-up! Cricket Hill’s own Jami Wallace, Level III Instructor, introduced the group to the four basic principles of Centered Riding. Everyone celebrated each person’s “aha” moment. Sign up for “Finding Your Seat II” March 11. Clinics may be scheduled with Jami at Cricket Hill throughout the year.
Saddle Clubbers took a moment this busy afternoon to recognize the achievements of three chums! Amel and Amelie were awarded certificates and patches for GoldStar I. Claire was awarded both GoldStar I and II, completed over the past few months. Congratulations! GoldStar provides a firm foundation for all types of riding, and is a great way to watch a rider’s progress.
Musical rides & games, youth grab bag, Secret Santa for adults, fabulous pot-luck lunch, traditional mulled wine, yummy desserts, renowned Farmer’s Wife horse cookies, Happy Holidays to all!
This year, Thoroughbred Buddy went East for the winter – from Thompson-Finch Farm to Cricket Hill! Marnie MacLean – Buddy’s devoted Mom – went South to Puerto Rico with husband Don to harvest their citrus crop. Buddy is perfectly happy making friends with all his neighbors; here, it’s Tate. The photographer had to be quick as Buddy is so friendly, he walks right up…. the next picture was a nose! Welcome Buddy!
Please join me in welcoming Brian and Izumi Shepard to Cricket Hill! Both are devoted riders, interested in Dressage, Jumping, Eventing, and Hunter Pacing, and looking forward to improving themselves and their wonderful horses! Brian’s Bella is a 14-year-old Oldenberg mare that’s always ready to go. Neo, an 8-year-old warmblood-Morgan cross, is smart, a wonderful gentleman, and oh so well-loved by Izumi!
“We’ve been driving by and admiring Cricket Hill for years. We’re so happy to be here now!” says Brian. Brian told us he actually started his riding career years ago at Cricket Hill. Well, we are thrilled to have both pairs join the Cricket Hill family, in training with Kira with an assist from Becca.
Please welcome Sarika, a beautiful, black, sweet and perky Andalusion-Friesian who has joined the Academy school horses! Generously donated by Bernadette Szost, Sarika is a quality, show-worthy mare available for intermediate dressage riders. She continues her training with Kira and Becca.
Just back from Rio, where she was the Alternate to the bronze medal U.S. Olympic Dressage team, Shelly was greeted by old friends and mostly good weather! A great clinic and wonderful stories!
Once again, the weather smiled on us. And now, since we put the tents up on the hill for the shade of the black walnut trees, nothing and no one melts! This year’s Drill Team was a first – beginner riders from age 5 to 8 – an introduction to figures they’ll ride on their own next time! Another musical treat, Kira and Delilah performed Intermediaire I!
The Golden Fork Award went to Lyla Andrick this year, recognizing her outstanding volunteer work for Cricket Hill! Lyla is not only quick with the ideas but hard-working and dependable on the follow through. She created and runs the Saddle Club Gazette, a monthly publication filled with imaginary and fanciful stories contributed by kids, adults, and their four-footed friends at Cricket Hill! Lyla also spearheaded the award winning Cricket Hill stall decoration at YDF this year. And with the other two Student Assistants, Lula and Lulu, was Camp Counselor for a session. The tasty horse cookies were also baked and decorated by Lyla – just another great idea shared with all of us!
Of course, the food is always an attraction and a good reason to take a few minutes at the end of the summer to enjoy a day at the farm.
While this marked our 18th trip to this wonderful show – we’ve been there since the beginning – it was the first time we went as the Cricket Hill Correctional and Training Facility!
The four hardened criminals were locked up ….. most of the time.
Let out only to ride into the sunset!
Everybody moved up a level and got a ribbon in their new division! Bravo, and thanks Kira & Jami!
Sharon and Kira had been looking for a horse for Sharon for about a year. Several super mounts were found but, as is unfortunately sometimes the case, none passed the vet check. Happily, as part of the process, they found Enna, at home with owner Bernadette, and available for lease!
Enna settled in right away and began her conditioning and schooling with Kira. A lovely, black Irish Sporthorse, Enna is experienced, kind, and is a wonderful schoolmaster for Sharon. A former eventer, Enna enjoys her refreshing trail rides with Kira, especially the jumping!
We were all thrilled when Sarah Morgan’s new 17 hand Dutch Warmblood walked off the trailer at Cricket Hill today! She and Kira had been looking for months to find the “forever” horse for Sarah to enjoy and progress with up the levels. “He’s a bit greener than we were looking for, but such a willingness and gentle accepting personality, he and Sarah are perfect together,” says Kira.
“He needs a more fitting stable name,” says Sarah. “After all, he’s tall, from Illinois, and very honest! So I’m calling him Lincoln!” Sarah was hoping Linc could hangout with her other horse, Shakespeare, in turnout, but they are both too playful! So Bandit gets the duty! We wish Sarah and Lincoln many happy returns of this wonderful day!
Congratulations to Ava on the completion of GoldStar I! Ava is the first of the Ambers – a new Saddle Club group for beginners under the guidance of Instructor Cecelia Edwards – to finish the first module. The other five Ambers are well on their way, so watch this spot for their awards coming up! Ava received her award at this week’s Saddle Club meeting, and was congratulated later by Amber chums! Thanks to the keen eye of Joe Bore.
Three new riders joined three returnees for Jami’s Centered Riding Mini-Clinic held in the spacious Gathering Room. Participants learn and practice the 5 main techniques: soft eyes, breathing, centering, balance and grounding. L to R below: Lois Russin works on breathing; Laurie combines breathing and balance in motion; Cecelia and Kristin paired up to apply the techniques to rein work; Jami helps Amy Wilson find her ‘unbendable arm’, an exercise in grounding; Claire finds her balance using building blocks.
“I’m coming to the 3-day clinic in April,” said Lois; “I wish I knew about this a long time ago!” Laurie was going to try her new unbendable arm to stop her horse from pulling. Welcome to all three who are planning on trailering their horses to Cricket Hill for lessons!
Saddle Club was an exciting day today for Lulu and Paris – first the Nutrition Seminar, then riding, capped off with the award of GoldStar certificates! Lulu achieved GoldStar IV, and Paris GoldStar III, commemorated with mom Susan’s snapshot below! The two photos under saddle appear on the girls’ certificates. Each has a copy for home, and we have one on display in the lounge. Congratulations to both! Now, it’s on to the next modules! Both have signed up for ShootingStar, too, Cricket Hill’s jumping program!
As part of our on-going effort to remain at the forefront of equine nutrition, Cricket Hill recently conducted an examination of our grain and supplement feeding practices. Joe Monroe, Nutrena nutrition expert from Indiana, who worked with us during the analysis, gave two seminars on Saturday, March 5, one for adults and one for youth. Joe is an engaging presenter and answered a range of questions. His talk was followed by a hands-on assessment of select Cricket Hill horses to learn the skills of Body Conditioning Scoring (BCS) and Topline Evaluation Scoring (TES). Eight adults attended the first session, shown below.
The second session was packed! Eight of our Saddle Clubbers, including one of our new Pine Plains riders, were joined by a group from the Lakeville Pony Club, 10 youth and 4 adults! Discussion was very lively, and refreshments were provided for all.
The genus Hamamelis, multi-stemmed native shrub Witch Hazel, grows in a range of soils at the wood’s edge and flowers in full and partial sun. Four species – japonica, mollis, vernalis, and virginiana – are available in the trade along with a raft of japonica x mollis hybrids. Cricket Hill has two H. vernalis specimens and a half dozen of these ‘intermedia’ hybrids, which are considered to be the best all-around performers in the garden. Four are shown below.
Witch Hazel is very adaptable to soil pH, has a sweet if gentle fragrance, and can have dramatic fall foliage ranging from bright yellow through orange to dark red. This was a particularly good bloom year, flowering over a 6 week period February through April. If you keep alert, you may see this very hardy shrub growing naturally around the Farm, a few at the roadside near Kira’s drive!
Filed Under Garden News
Filed Under Garden News
A dozen Saddle Clubbers travelled with Kira, Jami, Becca and Cecelia to the annual Weekend Education Program given by Dressage4Kids. It’s almost like a fair, with workshops, presentations and talks by noted equestrians, this year Laura Graves of the U.S. Olympic Dressage Team. Jami runs a centered riding workshop there, which was heavily subscribed this year and required three helpers, all Centered Riding certified instructors.
Lendon Gray, the event’s coordinator, singled out our own Lyla Andrick, asking her to come up before the group of several hundred participants. Lyla’s original artwork was selected for the cover of this year’s program, shown below!