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
cmphaneuf2@gmail.com

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

Spring Cleaning: Nameplates!

Spring Cleaning: Nameplates!

It’s that time of year again, when the snow melts, the mud grows, the hair sheds, and the horse shows begin! This is the time of year to get all your show tack and gear in order: clean out that tack trunk, clean those spur straps, shine those boots, wash those saddle pads! And one really important thing we want to emphasize this week is: nameplates! Remember playing ringside “martingale madness” with unlabeled martingales? We do too, and it’s not going to happen again this year because everyone’s names will be on all of their tack!

We recommend putting nameplates on the headstalls of each bridle, like this one:

 

We recommend putting nameplates near the buckle of the martingale, underneath the excess strap, like this:

 

And of course, nameplates are tacked onto saddles like this:

We also would love it if you could monogram or label your saddle covers, since they all tend to look alike.

And, the most convenient news of all, is that this Thursday, March 29th, from 5pm-8pm, our friends at The Equestrian Shop in Ipswich are having a Back Bay Farm night, where riders from BBF will receive discounts throughout the store. (And they will have refreshments for us to nosh on while we shop!) That means you can order all the nameplates you need for your tack right there! And if you cannot attend, we can order them for you. Please let us know which ones you need, or we’ll assume you need them all. See you there!

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

Planning for the 2018 Show Season

Planning for the 2018 Show Season

While we have these cold evenings for another month or so, we suggest dreaming of summer days and planning for the 2018 show season! Here’s how you can start to plan and prepare:
  1. Meet with Robin and Megan to set your riding and showing goals. Coming up with reasonable, fun, and challenging goals for your year ahead will help focus your lessons and skills and make important milestones out of even the smallest achievements.
  2. Decide on your personal show schedule. Based on your goals, Robin and Megan can help you decide on the best shows for you to attend—both one-days and away shows!
  3. Make hotel reservations! It’s never too early to book a room! Our hotel suggestions are below.

Gardnertown Horse Show: Ramada Newburgh / Westpoint

Westbrook Hunt Club: Water’s Edge or Pier Blue Guest House

Fieldstone Show Park: Hotel 1620

Fairfield Hunt Club: Westport Inn

GMHA: Braeside or Woodstock Inn

HITS Saugerties: Best Western Plus (formerly Garden Plaza Hotel)

Vermont Summer Festival: The Equinox or Mountain View Inn

Zone 1 Finals: Hilton Garden Inn

Downeast Medal Finals: The Belmont

MHC Medal Finals: Hampton Inn, Hadley

Capital Challenge Horse Show: The Westin at National Harbor

We are looking forward to meeting with each and every rider at Back Bay Farm, and so excited for the season ahead! Feel free to schedule a good time to talk—and we’ll meet in the WARM and cozy office (and pretend we’re watching the Grand Prix in the summer heat)…

Winter Clothing: What to Wear!

Winter Clothing: What to Wear!
Braving the 6 degree cold!

Winter has arrived with a vengeance! What winter clothing should you wear to the barn?

How many times have you not been able to feel your fingers and toes in the last two weeks? How many times have you wondered why you don’t live in Arizona in the last two weeks?

As much as we want to wish the cold away, all we can really do is be prepared, especially with our winter clothing. Whether you’re at the barn every day in the winter or just going for a weekly lesson, here is our advice for what to wear.

The name of the game is LAYERS: you will take some off and put some back on. But the key is to have many of them.

  • First of all, make sure you have your toes and fingers as warm as possible. Smartwool socks or ski socks inside insulated boots are great. And SSG makes many options for awesomely warm, long-lasting winter gloves. You can find a ton of options at Dover.
  • Start with a base layer—top and bottom—of long underwear. There are some great thin layers that easily fit under riding pants in both synthetic and silk. REI or LL Bean carry good options.
  • Riding pants—a few brands make of insulated riding pants, or you can get breeches a size bigger to fit a few layers underneath. There are some good options at Dover Saddlery. Snow pants can also work will in frigid temps as an outer layer.
  • Insulated boots: you can find both insulated tall boots and insulated paddock boots. Ariat makes several options.
  • On top of your base layer, you’ll want a shirt, wool sweater or warm mid-layer (smartwool makes some great ones) jacket, like the Craft Back Bay Farm jackets!
  • We recommend a down or insulated vest next, as when you’re riding you may peel down to this layer. It will keep your torso warm while letting some heat out so you don’t get too sweaty (and then cold afterwards)!
  • On top of everything you’ll want a warm coat. There are coats by horse-oriented brands like Dover, or you can find great options at any outdoor store like North Face.
  • We also suggest a scarf or neck gaiter you can pull up over your mouth and nose, such as a Turtle Fur, and last but certainly not least, a warm hat or ear-warmer to put on when you are not wearing your helmet!

As always, check out The Equestrian Shop in Ipswich for all of these winter clothing recommendations. We know they carry most if not all of what we have suggested above. We hope this bitter cold ends soon but even if it doesn’t, at least we’ll be dressed to make the best of it. Happy New Year everyone!

The girls in their BBF Mid-layer Jackets!

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!

 

Winter:

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.

 

Spring:

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.

 

 Summer:

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.

Fall:

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.

 

Spurs: the What, the Why, and the How

Spurs: the What, the Why, and the How

The decision of whether or not to wear a spur while riding your horse changes on a daily basis. At Back Bay Farm we believe spurs should be used in addition to, not instead of, your natural aids: leg, seat, voice, and hands. Using your spur should not be obvious or rough, and to help achieve all of these things, we have a few suggestions.

What spur should I wear?

We suggest having a few pairs of spurs in your trunk.

Tom Thumb Spur
Tom Thumb Spur

The first should be a small spur called a Tom Thumb. The end of the Tom Thumb shank is usually a bit more rounded, although some are flat. These are usually ¼ inch long and come in both child and adult sizes. We suggest a nice black leather strap for these spurs as they are often used for showing.

Prince of Wales Spur
Prince of Wales Spur

The second spur you should own is a Prince of Wales spur. These come in a few lengths, usually ¾ inch or 1 inch. Either is fine. The ends of the POW spurs are flat and definitely have more of an effect than the Tom Thumb due to their length and edge. Again, pair these with a nice black leather strap.

How do I wear a spur?

Spurs should always, always point downward when they are on correctly. The buckle should be on the top of your foot, facing the inside of your boot so that the excess strap is secured on the outside of your foot. Some people like to position spurs below the spur rest on your boot, some people like to wear a spur above. This depends on your horse and the situation. We recommend always having Robin or Megan look at your spur before you ride.

Why do I need a spur?

Just as there are days when your horse is wild, there are also days when your horse may be more tired. It could be the final day of a week-long show, or a hot day when no one wants to be working at all! It could be that your horse is a bit lazy in general. Whatever the reason, there are days that your leg needs a bit of an extra edge, and those are the days to wear a spur.

Your spur is never a first resort—it is a reminder to your horse that they need to listen to your leg. That is why a rider without a strong leg shouldn’t wear a spur: a spur on a leg that is swinging or bouncing around will irritate your horse, and can injure a horse’s skin.

However, when used correctly, a spur is a great reminder to your horse that you mean business and impulsion is the name of the game!

*Blog post photography by Tracy Emanuel and Dover Saddlery

What’s in your tack trunk?

What’s in your tack trunk?

Ever just stood in front of an empty tack trunk, not quite sure where to start? Yep, we’ve seen you doing that. So here’s a handy-dandy list of what SHOULD be in your show box, besides your actual tack!

Barn_Aisle

At Back Bay Farm, here is what we recommend (and request) you pack in your tack trunk at home AND your away show box.

For you:

  1. Crop(s): it’s good to have a crop for showing and a crop for schooling. Nice to have different lengths, too!
  2. Spurs: it is best to have a nubby pair of spurs and a longer pair as well. Both should have straps that you can show in (black leather).
  3. Extra gloves: again, you may want to have a pair for schooling and a pair for showing. Both should be black.
  4. Extra hairnets: usually two come in a pack and we recommend having two packs! Also pack hair ties with them.
  5. Helmet: this is an obvious one, but some people have a schooling helmet and a show helmet. Pack both!
  6. Boot polish: this is great to have for shining up your boots right before you get on.
  7. Rubbers: for rainy and muddy days, use rubbers to keep those boots (and feet!) clean and dry.
  8. Rain pants: these should fit over your britches and boots!

For your Horse:

  1. Saddle and Bridle: this goes without saying but we thought we’d say it anyway.
  2. Ear balls (several pairs): ear balls are just something you always want to have around, like band aids or hair ties. Have a pair and have a spare.
  3. Saddle pads: you should have extra schooling pads and extra show pads. Show pads should be large enough to show about an inch around the edge of your saddle. Schooling pads should be white or dark colors, no rhinestones or glitter, please!
  4. Ear net/ Fly veil: in the summer there are flies! A lot of them! Help your horse be sane!
  5. Splint boots: bring boots for schooling, please.
  6. Polos: polos should be black and CLEAN. If you know you’re going to use them for schooling and showing, bring more than one pair.
  7. Wools: your horse’s wool is for warmth: after a bath, at the ring, etc.
  8. Scrim: scrims keep the flies and bugs off, both at the barn and at the ring.
  9. Irish: this will help dry your horse after a bath, especially if it’s cooler outside.
  10. Sheet: for cooler days and nights, your horse will wear this in his stall or at the ring.
  11. Standing wraps: these are used for shipping and for nighttime wrapping.
  12. Shipping halter: it’s worth investing in good shipping halters: they last forever and are much more comfortable for your horse.
  13. Every-day halter: your horse won’t wear this on the way to the show, so put it in your tack truck.
  14. Girths: you’ll need a girth for schooling and a leather one for showing.
  15. Horse treats / cookies: last but definitely NOT least—please pack some treats for your trusty steed!

Please note:

  • all tack, all horse clothing, and all saddle covers should be labeled with your name. If you have questions about what nameplates to get for your tack, ask us anytime!
  • BBF riders should have BBF monogrammed wools and sheets for their horses or ponies. Please ask us if you need one!

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!