You are currently browsing the archives for the year 2013.

Through the snow, to the 2013 HOLIDAY EXTRAVAGANZA we go!

Posted on December 15, 2013

Roads were plowed, and we were ready, with cleared drives and plenty of parking. Parents and riders arrived bearing costumes and goodies for the pot-luck luncheon. Sue and Art provided liquid refreshments and the traditional warm mulled wine to aid the Holiday cheer.Academy Aisle
On the Academy side of the barn, newly renovated and paved with rubber tiles, riders groomed and tacked up, ready for the Versatility Class. The course was a challenge:  cones to weave through, poles to trot over, a 360* turn inside a square, an “L” to trot through, a small jump, dismounting, leading and remounting. Lula Langdon on Maddie took the blue ribbon for a flawless performance, Erin Feiner was 2nd on Sunshine and Karlee Bishop took a 3rd on Beau, shown below. Karlee, Lula & Erin

Erin and Karlee were one-two in the poles class. Games were next.  First, everyone had to weave through the cones and blocks; up one side and down the other. Second was a team competition with a dash to pass off the “noodle”. Last but not least was the Christmas Present Race. Gaily wrapped gift bags were placed around the arena and the “Grinch Anna” on Bailey tried but failed to prevent anyone from getting their gift bag!



Lila & RascalRainbow Dash & ErinKarlee & BeauRicky & Lyla get ready

Musical Freestyles were next. Riders designed their pattern and chose their seasonal music. Weekly practice sessions were part of Saturday Saddle Club. Tasha Mitchell stepped in to ride with Erin Feiner; Erin’s partner and Paris Levy and her sister Lulu were stuck at home when the snowplow failed to clear her driveway. Lovely freestyle presentations were presented by Lula Langdon & her Maddie, Karlee Bishop, in costume, on Beau, Lyla Andrick riding Ricochez, Lila Fremont-Smith on the glittery “snowflake” POA Rascal, and Tasha Mitchell as a Christmas tree on Greta Garbo. Judge Laurie Inglis, Colebrook CT, was very impressed and awarded special Extravaganza rosettes to all.


The day was topped off with the Costume parade. Young Amelie Bore the Grinch rode Bridget, who was Max the Dog. Karlee Bishop was a Grinch too in a Santa suite with Beau in a lovely red drape with a snowy collar. Lila Fremont-Smith came as a snowflake and Rascal glittered with his snowflakes. Erin Feiner was a Hawaiian Santa with grass skirt and leis and Lula Langdon came as an Angel (with lit halo) on top of Maddie-the-Christmas tree complete with lights and presents. (Electrical work courtesy of Father John!)

Leah, Bridget & Amelie the GrinchLula & MaddieLyla & RickyKira, Laurie Inglis, Jami, Mary & Nell

Parents, friends and relatives watched from the boardwalk and occasionally went inside to partake of the wonderful food everyone brought. After all the horses had been untacked, groomed and fed, the riders all trooped in and had their lunch too.Thanks to Cricket Hill’s Jami Wallace for organizing a wonderful day!

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Shelly invites Kira, Delilah and Rio to a second clinic!

Posted on November 24, 2013

Flash! Shelly Francis invited Kira to bring Delilah and Rio to another clinic she was giving at the barn of Jane Hannigan in Littleton, MA. The trip was very worthwhile. Kira was able to review her work with Delilah on the pirouette canter and establishing “baby piaffe-passage”. Shelly was especially complementary of the progress Rio showed in just two weeks since the last clinic! Shelly mentioned that she is working on her show schedule and qualifiers for the U.S. Team and might do some shows in the Northeast this year. We’re hoping she’ll be back in the spring!

Rendition & Kira 10/13Delilah CH & Kira 4/13

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Shelly Francis Buffet Features Garden Delectibles!

Posted on November 11, 2013

Shelly Menu_11-9-13Cricket Hill hosted a two-day clinic with international dressage rider and trainer Shelly Francis.  Saturday night dinner at Sue and Art’s home featured 19 different dishes, from appetizers to desserts, developed from the produce of the gardens at Cricket Hill.

The Cricket Hill preparations included fruits, vegetables, herbs of all types grown organically on the farm. There were pickles, chutneys, and sauces of all types. Art contributed the pheasant for pheasant sausage! Decorations were made with flowers from the cutting garden dried in the Summer Kitchen. The food was prepared by Melanie Melius, Flowering Gardens, who also helps Sue with the plantings.

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International FEI Trainer Shelly Francis at Cricket Hill!

Posted on November 10, 2013

Shelly Francis & DoktorCricket Hill was proud to host a two-day clinic with Shelly Francis November 9 & 10, seen on the right with 10-year-old Doktor, her mount on the silver and bronze medal U.S. Team showing at the Nation’s Cup this past summer!

Riders at all levels benefitted from Shelly’s training approach – straight forward, correct, and sympathetic to both horse and rider. For the last 20 years, Shelly has been among the top 12 U.S. riders, always training the horses herself from start to finish for owner Pat Stempel. Cricket Hill’s trainer, Kira Steines, who arranged the clinic, was Shelly’s assistant a few years ago and was one of only two who actually have ridden Shelly’s competition horses.

Delilah & Kira with ShellyWhile the weather was very acceptable, half of the riders chose to ride inside the newly refurbished barn with Travelite footing! Others rode in the outside arena, like Kira on Delilah CH, Sue’s PSG/I-1 mare. This pair worked with Shelly on key collecting exercises to build strength and control, shown left doing pirouette canter on a 2-meter circle right around Shelly. All riders worked on issues important to them and their horses, learning new training techniques to improve their performance. Kira also rode Rio, at Kristin’s request, to get Shelly’s input on his new training program at Cricket Hill; he did very well both days.Shelly’s chihuahua Louie & friends At the end, everybody was talking about the next clinic!

Clinic participants took turns keeping Shelly’s tiny travelling companion, Louie the Chihuahua warm, Tasha and Lula working up this wonderful blanket wrap. Riders and their families were treated to a special “farm to table” buffet at Sue & Art’s house, featuring many delectibles grown and prepared right at Cricket Hill.

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Welcome Jami Wallace – Senior Instructor & Director of Academy Programs

Posted on October 25, 2013

We are thrilled to add Jami’s wealth of experience to our Cricket Hill Team. Over the past 30 years, Jami has been the Head Trainer and Barn Manager in three different facilities, developing lesson programs for both adults and children in each and managing horse shows. She has worked with a wide range of breeds and disciplines, including Dressage, Eventing, Hunters, some Western.

Jami Wallace, Director Academy Programs, Senior InstructorInstructor and Educator. A Senior Instructor at Cricket Hill, Jami has been teaching riding lessons, giving clinics and instructing college undergraduates for years. As faculty at Post University, Jami teaches in the Equine Business Management program; specifically, Riding Instruction, Equine Event Planning, and Equine Business Ethics, the first course of this type in the country.

Centered Riding Instructor. Jami is certified as a Level III Instructor and Clinician, one of only 33 of the 1200 instructors worldwide. Centered Riding is an organized way of teaching riding, based on body awareness, human and equine anatomy, and horsemanship. Jami’s teaching will provide a firm basis for Cricket Hill’s advanced dressage-based riding and training program under Kira’s guidance, as it uses balance, body awareness, centering and imagery to achieve classical principles, while helping to improve the communications between horse, rider, and instructor. Recently, Jami was President of Centered Riding, Inc. and a Trustee. She has given clinics in many states, including Lendon’s Weekend Education Program for Dressage4Kids, which she will repeat in February 2014.  

A Lifetime with Horses.  Early in her career, Jami was a mounted Urban Park Ranger in New York City, and taught riding at Claremont Riding Academy in Manhattan. She has been a 4-H leader, trail association board member, and local Extension Council board member for 27 years. Recently, she worked with the USEF on the training of the U.S. Endurance Team. 

We are fortunate to have someone join us whose career epitomizes what we believe at Cricket Hill: riding is a lifetime sport, we are always improving, and we learn from our great horses and instructors! In Jami’s own words, “Learning to ride takes a long time. I’ve been doing it for nearly 50 years and am still learning how to be better. My teachers have been my horses and folks like Lockie Richards, Eric Horgan, Robert Dover, Kim Walnes, Dominique Barbier, all of whom have been patient and inspiring.” Jami arrived with her dog Manfred and her retired horse, Shoeless Joe Jackson. And you might see Jami in the garden, too, her favorite spare time activity!

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Maddie Arrives: Lula’s Birthday Wish Come True!

Posted on October 19, 2013

Lula had been wishing for her own horse for a long time… she started riding at Cricket Hill at age 6, and now she was about to be 10. So after Lula’s hard work and success at this year’s Youth Dressage Festival, parents Nell & John Langdon decided it was time …. but still a secret! Kira and Sue went on a hunt, and to avoid the natural disappointments of looking for a horse, kept everything secret from Lula until the last, final trip to PA for Lula to try this beautiful, talented Oldenburg-Sport Horse, Das Feiner Maedchen. “A Fine Little Girl”, a.k.a. Maddie is the product of a special dressage breeding program and is trained through 2nd level by an FEI trainer. She was competed successfully by a youth at 1st Level with scores 65%+, and although just 6 years old, has shown herself to be a reliable partner. Maddie arrived on Lula’s birthday to an eager crowd, was led down the ramp by Kira, and taken up to the main barn by Lula to settle in. “It’s my wish come true!” said Lula. “Better than Christmas!” said Nell. John beamed.

Maddie arrival-1Maddie arrival-2Maddie arrival-3Maddie arrival-4

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Main Barn Renovation: Follow the Red Brick Road!

Posted on October 10, 2013

The summer of 2013 will go down in history as the supreme victory of planning, coordination, outstanding teamwork, and cooperative weather as Cricket Hill completed a major renovation of the main barn! By design, all the improvements help both the horses and the people, clients and staff alike. It all started with redoing the indoor arena and adding high performance “TravelLight” footing. Then came the complete power washing of the structure inside and out, stalls and all. Painting the gigantic roof proceded at the same time. The two wash stalls were refurbished and all grooming bays rematted. The finishing touch was the biggest job of all: paving the two 150-foot aisles and entrances to the arena with rubber tiles. An excavator and roller squeeked down each aisle, cement sills were poured at each end and the tiles went down, see below. Phew!

bulldozer prepares for stone basecompacting roller prepares the surfaceWest Wing red rubber brick road

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Saddle Club’s September Kick-off a great success!

Posted on September 28, 2013

Weather was balmy and spirits were high for the first meeting of the ’13-’14 season. Mounted lessons were great for the 11 Saddle Clubbers who attended September 28. But the unmounted lesson was a big hit too – how to read a horse’s vital signs! Below, Kira helps one student distinguish between a heart sound and a gut sound. The Syllabus for the year was handed out, interesting to parents too! (Click to enlarge.)

Saddle Club Group 1Kira teaching vital signsSaddle Club Group 2

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Welcome Back Rio!

Posted on September 20, 2013

Rio returns 9-20-13The day was bright and shiny - reflected in the bright and shiny van – -as Kristin McLallen’s talented 9-year Oldenburg gelding, Rendition, returned to Cricket Hill today! He was led off the truck by Leah, looked around, took a nibble of grass, and looked quite satisfied with himself. After some R&R, Rio will be in training with Kira.

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Annual Barbecue Attendees enjoy lush fall gardens

Posted on August 30, 2013

Kristin Emymeadow viewWe were actually happy to have an overcast day for the annual barbecue, riding academy entertainment and tour of the gardens – the temperature was just right! The gardens, lush from all the rain earlier in the season, still showed the summer bloomers overlapping the classic fall asters, anemones, chrysanthemums and grasses.

new vedge bed still producingIt was a terrific year for fruit production: apples, two kinds of pears, Cornus mas, quince just ripening – and some wonderful jams, jellies, chutneys and preserves were put away. And veggies were turned into pickles, barbecue and chili sauces, stewed and dried tomatoes. Garlic and shallots were already hanging in the summer kitchen along with all the flowers drying. These will see us right through until spring!

Prope DietterBrad cooks while Anna, Steven, John look onrefreshments after the tour

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Our 27th Annual BBQ features two Drill Team performances!

Posted on August 30, 2013

Drill Team 1The drizzles greeted us early Saturday morning but cleared up just as the first Drill Team entered the ring! Shown on the left in their teal and pink T’s, L to R: Sophia Emy on Bailey, Karlee Bishop & Beau, Mia Emy on Bandit, and Erin Feiner with Bridget. After their final bow and amid the cheers of other riders, family and friends, they exited and the second team Drill Team 2entered the arena, L to R, Paris Levy on Ricky, Lula Langdon on Bandit, Lulu Levy on Truffles, Cameron Kohls on Sunny. They finished up a snappy routine to another enthusiastic round of applause! Both teams worked hard the previous week in camp to prepare their routines, using published USDF tests riding to symphonic arrrangements of Disney classics. I don’t know who was happier, the riders, their coaches or the audience!


Drill Team Riders & CoachesTasha, Sue, Kira & Leahfun award ceremonyBBQ’13 gathering

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Cricket Hill opens August 17 for the Garden Conservancy Tour

Posted on August 17, 2013

dragonwing begoniaOver 250 people strolled about the farm during this year’s Open Days’ tour of the Gardens at Cricket Hill, our largest group ever. Everything looked beautiful, and visitors were filled with questions and compliments! Melanie Melius was Garden Host as Sue was away at a horse show. We had many inquiries about plants for sale, especially those in bloom or about to come into bloom. As we have continually planned for four-season interest in the garden, there is always something going on. Plant sales benefit the Academy’s schoolmaster Support and Scholarship Programs, so maybe next year, we’ll have more plants potted up!


toward arboretum 8/13flowers flow from the terrace to the fieldsview from terrace 8/13


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Cricket Hill Youth Dressage Team Makes a Strong Showing!

Posted on July 14, 2013

YDF 2013Cricket Hill came back victorious from its twelfth annual trip to Lendon’s Youth Dressage Festival held in Saugerties, NY, July 12-14, 2013. Our team placed fifth out of 57 teams! This was our youngest team ever, and among the youngest in the competition. What a great accomplishment for the team and for Kira Steines, our head trainer/instructor! “Everyone worked really hard, both students and horses!” said Kira.  “It’s great to work with such a fun group of dedicated and talented girls, and very gratifying to help them succeed by riding correctly, with solid basics that can carry them for a lifetime.”

Lula Langdon, 9, in her second trip to the show, won the equitation section with a 98% and placed fourth overall in her division. This was the first time competing at this show for Lulu Levy, 10, who got an 8th place ribbon out of nearly 20 in her division. Cameron Kohls, Stanfordville, was a Silver Medalist in her division. Cricket Hill Academy has competed at every one of Lendon’s Youth Dressage Festivals since its inception 12 years ago. Cricket Hill Youth Dressage Team, all riding Academy Schoolmasters, L to R: Tasha on Truffles, Cameron on Sunshine, Brenna Carlson, Lulu on Ray, Kira Steines, Lula on Bandit, Paris Levy. 

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It was a lovely day for the Cricket Hill Spring Show.

Posted on May 2, 2013

What a wonderful day for a show!  The sun was shining, Judge Krys Schrom was in great spirits, and head instructor Kira had planned challenging course designs for everyone.   First rider of the day, Sarah Morgan performed at a new level of harmony with her horse-partner, CHA Ricochez.  It was a perfect start to the upcoming show season for all of our adult competitors.  Lulu Levy won her Introductory Test C division and first time dressage test riders Mia Emy and Cameron Kohls were a force to be reckoned with.   The “firsts” continue with little Amelie Bore riding in her first show, dominating the lead-line class.  Erin Feiner competed in her first ever jump class, while Tabitha Davidson competed for the first time as a fully-fledged off-the-lead-line rider.  The show ended with an exciting obstacle course and games that brought out each horse’s competitive side.  Our oldest competing horse, Lil Miss Bridget, even got into the spirit of the games and put her heart into cantering over that finish line!

We need to recognize all of our volunteers and amazing parents who, without us asking, climbed over the fence to help as “jump crew”.  As usual, the highlight of any show is always the potluck. Good food makes everyone smile.  All and all The Cricket Hill Farm Spring Show was a successful day and fun, yet challenging experience for all.

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QH Evita Comes to Cricket Hill!

Posted on April 1, 2013

Linda, Evita & KiraOn a sunny day last year, Linda Goldstein lost her heart to QH Evita, one of Rae & Marshall Schwarz’ Quarry Hill bred Arabians. Linda has owned Warmbloods and Morgans, all for dressage. But she always wanted an Arab.

We welcomed 4-year-old Evita to Cricket Hill in April, green broke and ready to start her training with Kira. Kira has had experience with all breeds, including Arabs, in both dressage and jumping. This picture was taken in the summer after a few months in training: Linda standing, Kira up.

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Erin completes GoldStar II

Posted on March 13, 2013

With Sunshine’s invaluable help, Erin finished GoldStar II shortly after Kira’s arrival! Erin enjoys all the horse activities and is an active member of Saddle Club. Erin is looking forward to the summer, camp, and more time at the farm. Erin is the first to ride in her family and parents Cathy and Seth are learning about it all right along with her!

Erin-GS2-3-3-13 web

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Cricket Hill welcomes Garbo, a.k.a. Greta!

Posted on March 10, 2013

Greta & Darrah“Cricket Hill is where I want to be!” said Greta’s owner Darrah Cloud, Pine Plains. Already successful in amateur hunters, the pair was ready for a new chapter in their riding partnership. So after arriving, Kira schooled Greta a few weeks to introduce the 9-year-old mare to dressage basics. Then Darrah had a lesson. After warming up, Kira asked “what would you like toKira, Darrah & Greta take a break work on?” Darrah answered, “Whatever makes Greta feel as nice as this!” So now they are on a dressage path. Darrah’s work as a playwright and professor takes her away for weeks at a time; so in exchange for our keeping Greta fit, some Cricket Hill riders may take lessons from Kira on Greta! This summer, one very lucky working student jumped 4′ for the first time!

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Paddy’s new horse Didi joins Sienna at Cricket Hill

Posted on February 20, 2013

Didi arrivesCongratulations! Exciting to report! Paddy Rossbach’s new mare, a fabulous 13-year-old bay Thoroughbred-Welsh cross pony, just arrived! “Princess Di is too long a name for her,” says Paddy. So Didi (Die-Dee) it is! Didi will be going into training with Kira to develop more throughness, softness and length of stride, and Paddy will ride both Didi and Sienna. Bravo Paddy! Stay tuned for progress reports.

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