Back Bay Farm Boarder Must-Haves for the 2019 Show Season

Back Bay Farm Boarder Must-Haves for the 2019 Show Season

We’ve done tack trunk lists and horse show planning lists, but it’s hard to pack or prep things that you don’t have! Here is the list of items that all Back Bay Farm boarders must have for 2019.

For your horse:

  • Irish knit or wicker
  • Shipping halter : we usually suggest a full sheepskin shipping halter but do ask us, in case your horse needs something special
  • 1 Set of Standing Wraps : ask Robin or Megan what kind they suggest for your horse
  • Fly Scrim
  • Ear net/ bonnet
  • Set of black polos
  • 1 Pair of woof wear splint boots (for riding, not turnout)
  • LOTS of ear balls!
  • Custom fleece and/or wool : we order these from Liz Cloutman at Interleather in Hamilton. They are monogrammed and have BBF on them as well
  • For winter please have a 1/4 sheet and wool for schooling

For you:

    • Rain gear: if you can find rain knickers/capris they’re great for riding in the rain
    • Boot polish
    • Name plates or name tags for your saddle, bridle, and martingale (see this previous blog post)
    • 2 Pairs of Spurs: small ones and bigger ones, with leather straps for each (see this previous blog post)
    • Pair of black leather gloves
    • 2 show pads: show pads should show 1/2 inch around your saddle on all sides
    • Black show crop/stick


If you are a Back Bay Farm boarder and you have any questions about any of these items, please talk to Megan or Robin! We’ll help you figure out the details, sizes, etc. Happy trunk-packing!


Come to Show at Back Bay : Summer, 2018

Come to Show at Back Bay : Summer, 2018

Back Bay Farm will be hosting two horse shows this year: June 3, 2018 and August 16, 2018! At all Back Bay Farm horse shows we offer MHC and NEHC equitation and hunter (rated C) classes. In 2018 we will also be offering Downeast Medal Classes! Our previous shows have been so much fun for competitors and spectators–we usually have entire families come to see the show and all the progress our students and friends have made.

Photo by Tracy Emanuel
(C) photo by Tracy Emanuel


June 3, 2018
Judge: Laurie Fairhurst
Steward: Cindy Dougherty

August 16, 2018
Judge: Kristen Chance
Steward: Paulajean O’Neill

Show Secretary:
Chris Phaneuf
Charlestown, Ma

Please download our Prize list and Entry Form. We hope to see you there! Please contact Robin or Megan with any questions.

Summer Camp 2018

Summer Camp 2018

It’s time to plan for Summer Camp 2018!

Back Bay Farm will have three weeks of summer camp in 2018:

June 24th – 29th

July 17th -20th

August 21st -24th

Our summer camp is a great experience for both the new and experienced rider. We have use of all our school horses and ponies, and up to three instructors to teach different levels of riding ability each day.

Camp Stats:

Average group size: 7 campers

Number of riding lessons: 2 per day

Day/ Time: Tuesday- Friday, 10 AM-3 PM

Ages: 7 and up (as long as the child has had some structured riding lessons. Call now to set up a lesson if needed!)

Price per session: $500

Giving well-deserved pony baths!

What will campers do each day?

Our camp focuses on horsemanship skills like grooming, hoof care, first aid, safety, nutrition, types of horses, tack, and riding. We also fit in serious fun on hot summer days with pony bathing, arts and crafts, and on-foot course jumping. We ride twice a day, have lunch and snacks in the shade, and make lifelong friends.

For every level of rider, camp is a wonderful week to spend some intensive time working on skills in the saddle as well. Almost every camper finishes the week stronger, braver, and more sure of their abilities.

This year our August camp lines up well with one of the NSHA one-day horse shows on Sunday, August 26, which is a great opportunity to show off (literally) new skills learned at camp!

Contact Robin or Megan to sign up. We can’t wait for summer!



Routine Vet Services: The What, The Why, The How

Routine Vet Services: The What, The Why, The How

One of the great benefits of a boarding facility like Back Bay Farm are the routine vet services that are arranged for your horse. Ever wondered what is included in that list? Back Bay Farm has our regular vet, Parrott Equine Services, conduct the following annual services every year.

These routine services keep our horses happy and healthy!



Lyme Bloodwork: This test checks for Bb Bacteria and or/ antibodies to that bacteria. If present, the horse needs to be treated with antibiotics.

Fecal Egg Count: This test measures the number of Strongyle eggs your horse is passing in each gram of manure. If eggs are present we deworm as recommended.

Coggins test: This checks for Equine Infections Anemia antibodies in your horses’ blood and is required for horses to travel across state lines. Most horse shows require a current negative Coggins.



Strangles Vaccine: Strangles is a bacteria that infects the lymph nodes and causes fever, discharge, and a strange coughing (where the name Strangles comes from). The vaccine is given through the nose.

Flu-Rhino Vaccine: Flu and Rhino are viruses that can be transmitted from horse to horse so we vaccinate due to showing and travel.

Rabies Vaccine: As we all know there is no cure for Rabies and as it is transmitted through bats, skunks, and raccoons, we vaccinate annually.

Potomac Horse Vaccine: This was a regional bacteria that has spread quite widely and contracted through the ingestion of mayflies and other insects. The vaccine prevents illness.

West Nile/Tetanus/Encephalitis Vaccine: This vaccine combines vaccines into one annual IM injection. Both West Nile and Encephalitis are carried by mosquitoes. Horses are very susceptible to tetanus, which is a bacteria present on many surfaces.

Fecal Egg Count: This test measures the number of Strongyle eggs your horse is passing in each gram of manure. If eggs are present we deworm as recommended.

Legend/ Adequan: All show horses are kept on a Legend and Adaquan program during the show season.



Sheath Cleaning (Geldings only): We have our horses’ sheaths cleaned twice a year by a vet in order to avoid discomfort.

CBC/ Chemistry Profile: This is an annual blood test (Complete Blood Count) that checks that all levels of vitamins, minerals, platelets, and cells are good.

Fecal Egg Count: This test measures the number of Strongyle eggs your horse is passing in each gram of manure. If eggs are present we deworm as recommended.


Flu-Rhino Vaccine: Flu and Rhino are viruses that can be transmitted from horse to horse so we vaccinate due to showing and travel.

Vitamin E Level /Selenium Level: These level checks and supplements are crucial for horses’ cellular regeneration and for preventing muscle disorders.

Fecal Egg Count: This test measures the number of Strongyle eggs your horse is passing in each gram of manure. If eggs are present we deworm as recommended.

By following this yearly schedule of vet basics we feel we can stay on top of our horses’ health and well-being. As always, feel free to reach out with any questions!

Fall Activities at Back Bay Farm

Fall Activities at Back Bay Farm

It’s a busy fall as we wrap up the 2017 show season and start our fall cross-country and beach rides! Our fall activities are listed below and we’d love to have you join us. Getting out of the ring and into the woods or on the beach is great for horses’ and riders’ confidence. Plus it’s just FUN! Sign up on the bulletin board or let Megan or Robin know.

Fall Activities

Click here for a downloadable PDF of the activities.


SCRATCHES: the What, the Why, and the How

What are Scratches?

pastern with scratches

The name Scratches is easily replaced by “mud heel” “greasy heel”, or “mud fever”. Essentially, Scratches is the inflammation of the skin on the pastern due to being wet, dirty, and exposed to all those microbes that come from being wet and dirty. There are a lot of microbes and fungi that live on your horse’s feet and legs, and when they get in the bloodstream they cause big problems.

Scratches can start out pretty innocently as scabby skin, but can travel up the cannon bone and cause severe inflammation and lameness. And because there isn’t a singular cause of scratches it’s essential that the problem is treated right away so it doesn’t become chronic and cause bigger issues. If it doesn’t get treated right away, the infection becomes worse and the skin becomes thick, crusty, and scarred, you horse may spike a fever and could be very lame.

Why do horses get scratches?

hooves in mudThe “why” is pretty simple. Horses legs and feet get wet more often than the rest of their bodies and also take longer to dry, especially when their hair is longer. The legs and feet are also more prone to getting scraped or nicked as they play and work. Sand rings, grass fields, dirty stalls (and even clean stalls) cover legs with tons of different infectious agents, and pasterns are a perfect place for bacteria to grow and fester. So then, when a horse breaks the skin with a bug bite, scrape, or nick, that bacteria has a chance to then enter the bloodstream and skin.

How are scratches treated?

Depending on the severity of the infection, there are different treatment tracks.

If your horse has a fever and swollen legs, your vet will prescribe antibiotics and topical treatments / ointments like Wound Wonder or Fungisol. You will need to treat the Scratches constantly (as described below) and monitor your horse’s fever and soundness.

With smaller cases of Scratches (IE: you’ve noticed a few scabby bumps), take action right away. Shampoo the leg, gently remove the scabs (but do not cause bleeding), and dry the legs completely with towels or a hair dryer. You may want to apply topical treatments as well.

The most important thing to remember is that these infections are persistent, so you must be persistent as well. Keep the legs as clean and dry as you can. If that means washing and drying and treating the legs every day, than do it. Scratches will come back quickly, so we recommend several weeks of preventative treatment even once the symptoms are gone.

How are scratches prevented?

With scratches, prevention is key.

  1. If it is a damp season (winter/spring), or you’re bathing your horse a lot (summer), always keep an eye out and clean and dry your horse’s legs every time you touch them.
  2. Every time you pick your horse’s hooves, take some time to make sure the pasterns are clean and dry.
  3. In the damp seasons (winter/spring), pay extra attention to grooming and drying your horse’s legs.
  4. If your horse has a wound on his leg, treat it carefully, keep it clean and dry, and change the bandages as often as possible.
  5. After a bath or hose, take extra time to dry the legs completely. Do NOT just put your horse in his stall if he is wet, especially if he is prone to Scratches.
  6. Do NOT share brushes with others and disinfect/ wash your brushes and tools as much as needed to stop re-infecting your horse.

The more you do every day to prevent Scratches the less likely you’ll end up doing the hard and long work of treating Scratches. A little goes a long way!

Back Bay Farm Summer Camp

Back Bay Farm Summer Camp

Back Bay Farm Summer Camp: A yearly tradition

There hasn’t been a summer for almost 20 years without the Back Bay Farm summer camp. Our camp is an amazing opportunity for both the newest rider or the junior show rider. We are able to tailor the experience for each camper, with up to 3 instructors, and our great range of horses and ponies.

Camp Stats:

Camp Director: Jessen Edlund, show rider, college student, and former BBF camper! Jess has been camp director for 5 years. Even as she works toward vet school, directing the Back Bay Farm camp is one of her favorite times of the year.

Average group size: 7 campers

Number of riding lessons: 1-2 per day

Day/ Time: Tuesday- Friday, 10 AM-3 PM

Weeks: July 18-21, 2017 and August 1-4 2017

Ages: 7 and up (as long as the child has had some structured riding lessons. Call now to set up a lesson if needed!)

Price per session: $500

What is a day like at Back Bay Farm’s Summer Camp?

Campers arrive a bit before 10 AM and gather in and around our little cabin near the outdoor ring. We start the day with some of our “ground” lessons; for example, learning horse anatomy, safety around horses, horse colors, types of horses, or types of riding. We assign horses to campers for the day, and then we’re off to groom and tack and get ready to ride!

Campers have countless practical lessons as they groom their ponies and horses, learn about types of brushes and horse care, and take care of their tack. When everyone is ready, instructors take their campers and lead the in-saddle portion of the day. Riders end up making huge strides (pun intended) on their own skills from the beginning of the camp week to the end.

Once the lesson is over, it is time to take care of the horses and ponies again. During the summer that usually means baths! Campers learn the importance of bathing, drying, and grazing. They also learn how to clean and preserve tack. A favorite game at Back Bay Farm summer camp is called “put the bridle back together in 3 minutes or less!”

Campers then have lunch at the picnic table in the shade, and are able to rest and have some social time. There are usually riding lessons to watch in the outdoor ring, as well, which adds some lunch time entertainment and learning!

The afternoon brings more horsemanship lessons, such as how to clean a stall, what horses eat, why horses need to wear shoes (or not!), why horses spook (or not!). We also do horse-themed arts and craft projects. Another crowd-favorite game is to create courses in the ring and challenge friends to foot-jumping.

All of this adds up to completely exhausted campers at pick up time, as they carry home lunch boxes, binders, dirty boots, and memories that last a lifetime.


How to prepare for the 2017 show season in 6 easy steps!

How to prepare for the 2017 show season in 6 easy steps!

Have you had THAT nightmare the night before a horse show? You arrive at the show grounds and realize you forgot something BIG: your breeches, your saddle, your boots, your horse?! Don’t worry, by taking these steps to prepare for the show season, that nightmare will definitely remain just a nightmare.

What can you do now to get (and stay) prepared for the show season?

  • Check/ Purchase Show Clothes:

Siri and Tutu, on board!
Siri and Tutu, on board!

Find and try on all your show clothes: breeches, blouses, hunt coats, boots, gloves, and helmet. Make sure they’re clean and ready for action by checking all the buttons and seams. Try them on and make sure they fit!

  • Check/ Purchase Horse Clothing and Grooming items:

Double check all your horse’s clothing and tack. Sheets, wools, polos, boots, tack, saddle pads, brushes, show sheen, shampoo, towels. Make sure everything is clean, dry, and ready to go in your box! If you need new show sheets or wools, please let Robin know as soon as possible.

  • Check the Packing List:

There are additional items needed if you’re going to attend away shows with BBF in 2017. There is a list on the wall near the bulletin board. Copy it down for yourself or copy it into your phone for reference!

If you need new clothes, gear, or tack, come to The Equestrian Shop on BBF night on April 20! Read more about that night, here.

  • Renew Memberships:

Make sure all your memberships are up to date. You can click here for a page with all the links you will need. This includes USEF, USHJA, MHC, NEHC, and NSHA. Once your memberships are created or renewed and you have your cards, photocopy them all on one page. Then add your name, phone number, and address, and give them to Robin and Megan.

  • Set Goals:

Schedule a meeting with Robin and Megan to sit down and discuss your personal goals for the 2017 show season. You could be working towards regional or national standings, you could be working towards qualifying for the Mass finals, or you could be attending your first shows with a new horse. Everyone has different and important goals; setting and achieving them feels awesome! And if you’re not sure what your goals should be, Robin and Megan can help you define them.

Ready to ride at MHC Finals
Ready to ride at MHC Finals
  • Groom! Groom! Groom More!

Putting in the work now will really pay off later. All the horses and ponies have their spring/summer coats coming in—which means a lot of winter coats shedding out. Use shedding blades for those stubborn spots.

Spring is muddy, which means taking care of those hooves, too! Clean off mud, sand, and dirt, check for cracks, and use hoof oil.

Carefully brush tails and apply showsheen so the next time you brush you’re not pulling out hairs with the shavings and mud.

All the horses and ponies were recently clipped and had their manes pulled and prepped for spring. But if you notice your horse needs a nose or ear trim, let Megan or Robin know!


Each horse show is an opportunity to grow, learn, and most importantly, have FUN. Preparing these things now will allow for more time to focus on that fun—and most importantly–your riding!


Join BBF at The Equestrian Shop, April 20th, 2017

Join BBF at The Equestrian Shop, April 20th, 2017

Back Bay Farm and The Equestrian Shop in Ipswich have created a special night exclusively for BBF riders and families! Come take advantage of this time to shop with Robin, Megan, and your barn friends, and receive special discounts at the Equestrian Shop on attire for the upcoming show season or new gear and tack for your 4-legged best friend.

This special event is from 5pm to 8pm on Thursday, April 20, 2017, and is an incredible opportunity for the new and old show riders to get advice from Megan and Robin on what you need for the season! Refreshments will be provided–everyone knows you can’t shop with low blood sugar!

The puppies can’t believe the discounts!

The Equestrian Shop will graciously be providing the following discounts to BBF riders during the event:

  • HUNT COATS – 10% OFF
  •  BREECHES – 10% OFF
  • HALF CHAPS – 10% OFF
  • BRIDLES – 10% OFF

We can’t wait to share this fun evening with you all. See you there!


The Equestrian Shop

40 Essex Rd. Ipswich, MA 01938


That’s a Wrap! Back Bay Farm’s 2016 Show Season Results

That’s a Wrap! Back Bay Farm’s 2016 Show Season Results

At Back Bay Farm we celebrate every achievement in the show ring, from a rider’s first round with a new horse to a Championship ribbon. Our 2016 show season brought a lot to celebrate! Here are just some of the end-of year awards and significant achievements.

New England Horsemen’s Council (NEHC):

NEHC awards points and year-end awards for hunters and equitation. BBF had great year-end awards! Congratulations to Ali, Sophia, Libby, and Megan who all placed really well—sometimes in in more than one division!

USHJA Zone 1 Horse of the Year Finals (Zone HOTY):

The Zone HOTY points are earned at premier (AA), national (A), regional I (B) and regional II (C) rated shows in Zone 1. BBF had some wonderful results in the 2016 show season. Way to go Sophia, Ali, and Lily! BBF’s amazing instructor Megan Piermarini rode Sirius B to first place in the Performance Working Hunter 3’3” division, and brought home a beautiful HOTY championship ribbon. Hooray, Meg!

USHJA Stirrup Cup:

The stirrup cup program is based points earned at regional I (B) and II (C) rated horse shows in Zone 1. Once again, our riders did great! Ali, Libby, and Sophia all placed in the top 4 of their divisions!

North Shore Horsemen’s Association (NSHA):

BBF had great attendance at the NSHA series of one-day shows in 2016, and we’re proud to be a sponsor of this great organization. Some of our BBF riders won year-end accolades with NSHA—congratulations to: Ali Kelly, Joe McMullin, Ellie Crate, Lauren Dillow, Torei Gudaitis, Sophia Carter, Lily Bertone, Ariana Licciardi, and Teddy Van Faasen!

Other awesome 2016 show season results: 

  • Libby LeStage and Radish qualified for the USEF US Junior Hunter Championship at HITS-on-the-Hudson, Saugerties, NY.
  • Libby and Radish were also Reserve Champions in the Hunter Prix Finals against 82 junior and adult riders!

Huge congratulations to all of our show riders. We all work hard throughout the year to improve our riding, and it’s great to see that hard work pay off in the show ring. We can’t wait to see what the 2017 show season has in store! The show schedule is printed out and there are copies near the daily schedule. Please take one—and contact Robin or Megan with any questions.