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.

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!



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.


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