What has 8 arenas, 5 round pens, a water complex, and professional barn management? Our new boarding facility, Castle Rock Farms. Prepare to be jealous.
I arrived early at Windwalker last Saturday with the intent of taking one last trail ride through the orange groves before moving to CR. Hemie was feeling fresh-tastic so we had to change plans and we joined in a lesson instead. Then I loaded up my car (and my friend’s car, and the trailer…how do I have this much horse stuff??) and we made the 15 minute drive down the road.
|Bye bye, lemon groves|
We pulled in and it was a busy day at the barn. Hemie stayed in the trailer while I went to check on his stall – it had been freshly packed which was nice. I flagged down a stablehand to notify him that I was moving in and to ask for a water bucket. He kindly obliged, and I went to get Hemie from the trailer. Lo and behold, the stablehand came with me, and in an expert manner took Hemie from me and smartly led him to the new stall.
Yes. Like a groom.
Antonio, as I came to find out his name, was a confident horseman. That one motion made me feel so at ease. Especially since three-times-a-week turnout service is included in board! Score!
|Pipe barn aisle. At night. I can see!|
|Settled into the new stall.|
|Water complex with banks, ditch near light post.|
|Arena with Reagan Library in background on the hill.|
Those last 2 photos are from the facility’s website.
The dressage lesson last Saturday before moving was quite productive. My main takeaways are that we can increase the amount of time spent in a balanced canter, even when doing our difficult right lead. Also, to march him right up into contact and expect connection sooner than before – within 30 seconds, say, rather than within a minute or so. Also, he’s much more able to accept outside rein even when circling right and moving hips out (bending right – so hard for those racehorses eh?).
Later on Saturday we did a grand walking tour of the new barn, under saddle – exploring all the arenas and walking paths. Hemie was a trooper, not batting an eye at the tractors and quads zooming around with hay and such. We passed by the petting zoo with pigs, sheep, goats – Hemie gave a snort but that was all. Next we encountered the flag area; there’s a trainer specializing in desensitization and his whole boarding area is covered with flags and poles and streamers of all colors. Hemie barely noticed. Overall, I was a very proud mama.
Sunday we played around in the eventing arena, supervised by Laurie in between lessons, and focused on straightness over small jumps and playing in the water and going up and down the banks. Hemie was fabulous at the new surroundings and cross country elements – alert but not nervous.
Gosh it has been a crazy and emotional week, but at least everything with Hemie is going great. <3