Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hello camp families!
Yesterdays’ activities earned many Boy Bands points!  Last night’s rain cancelled our planned activity, but not our fun.  We had Casino Night inside for some fun competition.
Today the girls ventured out on the Hunter Pace with their Boy Bands.  The Hunter Pace is a timed trail ride in Boy Band groups.  Staff is placed throughout the trail at checkpoints.  The team with the quickest time, best attitude, and appropriate horses temperatures wins points for their Boy Band!  The winner was The Jackson Five!!!
We celebrated Boo’s birthday after lunch.  Our wonderful kitchen staff made a home-made ice cream cake for the celebration!  It tasted even better than it looked, though I’m not sure how that was possible.  Pin the tail on the donkey was entertaining for the participants and spectators!  Rest hour was shortened due to party time (though we have received zero complaints from campers because of that!).
This afternoon we are doing catch riding, Western riding, gambler’s choice, playing with the minis, and swimming.
Battle of the Boy Bands won’t be earning anyone points this evening as the girls enjoy “Saturday Night at the Movies” here at the farm!
Have a great weekend!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Happy Birthday Boo!

Happy Birthday Boo!  Today is Boo’s…29th birthday!  Be sure to wish her a happy birthday.  We have some special treats for her, because as you all know, you only turn 29 once!
The weather continues to be A-MAZING!  Yesterday half the camp went swimming with the horses in the morning while the rest did riding lessons.  In the afternoon we flip-flopped! So if they were swimming in the morning, they had a lesson and if they had a lesson in the morning, they went swimming.  Do you see? I wish you were here to see the girls swim with the horses.  It is really a beautiful sight. It is in a lovely setting, with a large pond surrounded by a forest.  It is just plain neat!
I am sure you are all on the edge of your seats waiting for an update on Battle of the Boy Bands!  Today is an all camp Gymkana!  The Boy Bands coordinated their outfits with one another this morning.  Some of the outfits were interesting to say the least, and I saw a few mustaches and facial hair on them too!  Some of the many games for the day is Gambler’s choice, chubby bunny, dizzy bat, and bobbing for apples.  For each game campers can acquire points for their band.  The campers are really getting into the battle, which is great!  On Tuesday night Boyz 2 Men won the Fashion Show taking the lead.  Last night Backstreet Boys battled hard and won Personal Scavenger Hunt.  Competition is heating up!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

We did it!

I think we have everyone on the right mount, in the right riding group!  It is so exciting once this all comes together.  The heat has finally broke; last night I needed a down quilt to sleep.  Only in New Hampshire can you go from 105 degrees to needing a down quilt to sleep at night in a matter of days.

Battle of the Boy Bands

Battle of the Boy Bands starts tonight!  It is very exciting and I will write more as the competition heats up and the games begin.  In the mean time, I just want to tell you it is a Pony Farm favorite and a ton of fun.  We divide up the camp into different Boy Bands and they compete with their boy band in a variety of activities.   The competition will end next week with the final event being a lip-sync competition! The Battle of the Boy Bands is a great way to build friendships outside of your roommates and those in your riding groups.  Be sure to write and ask your camper about how their boy band is doing.  (Definition of a Boy Band - A boy band (or boyband) is loosely defined as a popular music act consisting of only male singers. The members are expected to dance as well as sing, usually giving highly choreographed performances. More often than not, boy band members do not play musical instruments, either in recording sessions or on stage, and only sing and dance. However, exceptions do exist….like the Pony Farm exception, where it is all GIRLS!)

Visiting Mid-Session

I know that I talked to a number of parents on Opening Day about visiting, and have received several e-mails since.  So I just want to clear it all up in one swoop.  We have done away with visiting mid-session.  What would happen is parents would think that visiting was optional, and it was, and not come, but then their camper would get upset that mom and dad didn’t come.  Then some campers would be upset that mom and dad did come!  Girls who were doing well, would get homesick after seeing mom and dad.  Then we would spend the next three days helping that child become unhomesick (is that even a word?) and having to correspond with worried moms and dads about their homesick child. 

If your camper is staying into session 5, coming on August 6th which is a Closing Day it is a great opportunity to see your camper in their riding group and then perform their specialties.  Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy it on the back lawn with your camper.  Camp will supple drinks and desserts!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Horse Show Info!

Hi Moms and Dads,
I just emailed out estimated start times for the horse show on July 23rd.  If you didn't get an e-mail please let me know at   Please keep in mind these are ESTIMATE START TIMES!  Jumping classes tend to run longer than flat classes, the more people in a class, the longer it takes to run.  If a class doesn’t fill, it will get canceled and that can affect our estimated time.
The show starts at 9:00 am and will be in the rings.  Can’t wait to see you!
                                                                   July 21st, 2011
Dearest Camp Families and Farm Friends,
          I still have a great big smile on my face and a happy heart as I reflect back on our fun Saturday together.  I cannot believe the miles some of you traveled to join us. I think Kimber Haddix takes the cake, coming all the way from Missoula, Montana…as does Dr. and Mrs. Thomas who came up from Florida….To see Dr. Rev. Haddix down from Portland, Maine, our first ever board president and incorporator of Horse Power, looking so fit and fine low these many years later was an equal treat.  The list of former campers and parents and families just goes on and on.  I was moved, honored, grateful and just plain happy.  Thank you one and all for coming.  You make the event very special not only for me, but for my own kids, and for current campers.  I only wish we saw each other more.
          I want to put together a slideshow to post on our website of this event.  Several staff people and I are working on it so do be looking to see if you are in it!  I want to preserve the fun and festivities!  We will get this made soon and post it hopefully before next Monday.
          Now, let me get down to Earth a little bit to let you know that it is equally hot, hot, hot here at the farm.  We are taking special precautions for keeping everyone safe and sunscreened, well hydrated and happily engaged out of the roaring sun.  The horse show is still going to take place on Saturday.  The staff is finalizing the entry forms for the kids so we will do our best to let you know tonight when your child is riding.
          I will also ask Sarah to let you know how the show went yesterday. I was in Boston all day undergoing a procedure about an operation which might FOREVER CURE MY BREATHING ISSUES….All signs are looking good. Please keep your fingers crossed….And, for those of you who asked so nicely about my
Dad. He is turning the corner and I believe they will take out his breathing tube today…..and my Mom trotted down the road on Annie yesterday….so my family health issues are looking up.  I cannot WAIT to rejoin camp with gusto and will surely be there on Saturday.
          The only bad thing about Saturday is that it means that a lot of the kids are leaving….WHAT sweet, wonderful, hard working, fun and pleasant children you are raising. I hope you give yourselves a huge pat on the back……What terrific parenting which is creating terrific young women.  Wow, the world is not going to the dogs!!!
          Am off to Boston, but will write again shortly when all the entries are organized and times to ride determined. We can’t wait to see you….although maybe you could just leave your kids with us and we could do a ‘do over’ for this session!  I would love that!
                   Have a great day and know that I am smiling as I think of you and your family!  Warmly, Boo

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Flash Mob!

Flash mob – that was our surprise for the 40th anniversary!  The whole camp did a flash mob to Lean on Me, which is a classic Pony Farm song.  It was really neat! ( I told you I would tell you what the surprise was.)
The 40th Anniversary was beautiful!  All the campers and the staff worked really hard on their specialty and to make the farm sparkly.  Boy did it sparkle!  I am sure Boo will write more about the 40th!  She can do it better justice than I can.
On Sunday we spent the day by the pool!  There were arts and crafts, tie dying, small animals, summer reading, and practicing for the talent show!  It was a great, restful afternoon, after such a busy Saturday.
On Monday we went swimming with the horses!  It is a real treat and not something you can do just anywhere!  Although all horses can swim; some are better swimmers and enjoy the water more than others!  Half the camp went in the morning and the other half went in the afternoon.  If campers weren’t swimming with the horses, then they were doing horse show entries, talking about the horse show and what to expect, and gathering the proper clothing.
This afternoon the activities are catch riding, vaulting, the pool, playing with the minis, a field trip to Budweiser to see their amazing barns and Clydesdale, and then one of our riding groups is going to an away horse show tomorrow, so they will be getting ready.  This will be the first time in several years we have done an away show at camp.  We want to start with a small group of campers and horses, and be successful there and then expand and offer it to more campers.  The show is 2 towns away in New Ipswich NH.  The name of the farm is Furnace Brook.  This barn comes to our show, and being in a small horse community, we want to support them and be in their show.
As you can see we are staying busy!

Friday, July 15, 2011

S'mores and Camp Fires...

Hello Camp Families,
It has been a busy week.  I can’t believe it is already Friday!  We have been doing lessons in the morning.  I think we have everyone on the right mount in the right riding group.  In the afternoon we have been to the falls, practicing specialties for the 40th celebration, bareback riding and/or western riding, slip and slide (country style) , small animals and the pool!
At night we have done personal scavenger hunt, PFNTM (also known as Pony Farm’s Next Top Model), Capture the Flag, and Bag Skits.  Tonight we are practicing something special for the 40th celebration.   If you can’t make it tomorrow; I will reveal what our surprise is in a later blog.  We are also going to have a bon fire with s’mores tonight! What is summer without a bonfire and s’mores!
The weather is beautiful again and it looks like it will stay this way through the rest of the session!
See you soon!
Blog for Thursday July 14th 2011
Dearest Touchstone, Pony Farm, Stepping Stone Lodge, and Horse Power Friends and Families,
          It is with a happy heart that I write this blog to you. With such glorious weather and so many fantastic kids, staff, horses and ponies surrounding me, I am one blessed lady.  I am smiling from head to toe about the upcoming 40th Anniversary of Pony Farm on Saturday July 16th from 2 to 6PM.  We surely hope you are planning to join us!!!!!  How is it possible that 40 whole years have gone by!?!  It just completely astounds me.
          I am once again extending a hearty invitation to attend our festivities if you if you have not yet decided to come.  We are most excited about all of the things planned.  We will have everything from a musical 8 horse drill team with all black horses, to jumping galore, a western reining pattern, dressage and vaulting demos, driving presentation, and games galore.  We have several special surprises tucked into all of that.  So, come see what we do here at the farm with Pony Farm horses and riders…..It’s sure to be a lively, interesting and fun display.
          We also want to treat you to Connolly’s soon-to-be
“world famous” Ice Cream, made right down the road…topped with seasonal delights…cakes, garden treats and all sorts of fun country kinds of drinks to ‘wet your whistle’. 
          We will also be treated to the Temple Town Band, the oldest town band in the US, for a sampling of delights, all with a farm and patriotic theme. While you listen, munch on goodies from local farms, and chat, our “Animal Ambassadors” will roam through the crowds so that you can meet our special group of animals that have such a special job for both seniors and for those with challenges.  Let their gentle and sweet manner help you to truly relax and enjoy the afternoon.
          Finally, hear about some of the people who have helped make the farm a success and kept it going for 40 years…and will keep doing so for at least 40 more years.  It has been such fun putting together the history of the farm and adding such important new parts to it all.  Join me in a walk down history, way back to 1754, when the farm was officially born.  It is quite a history of service to those in need. It gives me great pleasure to continue that tradition, as we all work together to make this farm a place of welcome and solace in today’s fast paced world.
          So, please do join us in spirit if not in person this Saturday July 16th from 2 to 6PM.  Bring a smile and a chair.  We want to have  you as part of our celebration and our ‘farm family’.
          Until then, know that we are working hard every day to make the farm better and better…. to take more thoughtful and loving care of the people placed under our charge, more educated, professional care of the animals we love so much, and the special land upon which it all happens.
          I feel blessed and privileged to be a part of this larger family.  As I prepare the materials, consider the speeches, write the rest of the History Wall, or add pictures to our Wall of Honor, I am proud to the tips of my toes.  We have such an amazing team of people who are working hard to keep this little corner of the world, strong, unchanging in mission and values, and true to its charter.  Thank YOU for your part in helping this march forth into the next 40 years.
                                                Most fondly and with glee,

                                                Isabella (Boo) Martin, Founder

Monday, July 11, 2011

Hi Everyone!
Boy was it hot today!  The first really hot day in a while, hopefully the weather will break soon.  We rode in the morning and rode in the afternoon, striving to find the right camper for the right mount.  Also making sure everyone is in the correct riding level.  At camp store, also known as snack, I passed out the snack, a Twix Bar, and checked to see how everyone was doing with their pony and their riding group.  It seems like we will have a few more re-riding tomorrow to make sure we have it right.
Tomorrow we will have lessons in the morning and swim tests and small animals in the afternoon.  The swimming will be a welcome relief.
Just to reiterate to moms and dads we have done away with visiting on the weekends. Although with the same breathe, you can always come visit your camper on Saturday, July 16th, at 2:30 and help us celebrate our 40th Anniversary Party!  It is our 40th summer of camp and your campers are able to help us celebrate it!  I handed out flyers with the Opening Day letter and there is more information located on our website.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Friday Afternoon July 8th, 2011

Dearest Pony Farm Camp Families,
          The campers, staff and my fellow camp directors all join with me to wish you an excellent “TGIF” evening.  We hope your week has been a great one, and that you are looking forward to coming to Pony Farm tomorrow to spend some fun time watching your daughters ride and chatting with us.
We are looking forward to welcoming you about 9:30AM and cannot wait for you to see the Parents’ Riding Exhibition, followed by enjoying a picnic together, either on the front lawn or in the lodge, depending on weather. We are eager to share the tales of the week and catch up.
          FYI, the kids who are leaving will have all their belongings packed on their beds so you can scoop it up. We do ask that you look for any wet shoes on the porch and also gather things from the barn. We will have the horse show bill ready for you for those who rode in the horse show.  We will also have pictures of the session available, plus your camp store purchase items, if you ordered any.  We like to try to be organized for you so that we can spend as much time just being together before you leave.
          The exhibition itself will be a combination of an instructed lesson and a specialty, meaning something that is not usually part of a typical riding lesson.  Wait until you see some of the things they learned. Such fun!  However, I do want to call your attention to the fact that they did not get to do as much practice on their specialties as usual as this was a power packed week….Between the 4th of July Games & Cook Out, followed by an All Camp Hunter Pace, and a variety of cool field trips, the kids did not get the usual time to practice specialties…but they sure had a great time.  They all wanted to sign up for everything.
          Perhaps the two total favorites were the Camping Trip on Wednesday night….and the Swimming with the horses today.  These are simply “All Camp Favorites”…..The camping trip did eventually end up at Homestead, built in 1754.  Due to torrential rains at the zero minute, the trip had to be moved inside…but, it is actually camping at its true best, due to the age and history of the house.  A great time was had by all, led by the ultimate good sport herself, Trish Twining, who ran the trip due to the iffy weather. What a great woman and fearless leader!
          Today, for the first time in four years, we were able to go swimming with the horses at a brand new site that we had never used.  We now have full permission to swim the horses…and camp overnight at a local big pond.  We are thrilled as this is a true gift to the camp. Combining camping, an evening ride and swimming with the horses in this day and age of liability is a true favor to us all.  The swimming was a huge hit and the kids, staff and horses all just loved it.  I think we got some great pictures too so you can see the action for yourself!
          So, our camp Session 2 closes sadly, but with happy smiles, pretty dirty clothes, and a ton of fun under the belt.  We hope your expectations were exceeded for your daughter…and that you continue to be glad you chose Pony Farm for one of your daughter’s summer experience.  We are always eager to hear any feedback as we continually work to improve what we have been doing for 40 years!
          Speaking of 40 years, we are eagerly looking forward to next weekend when we will be celebrating those 40 years on Saturday July 16th.  You are most eagerly invited to join us from 2 to 6PM for an afternoon of thanks, remembrance, a band concert, an Ice Cream Social, big riding and driving demonstrations, and awards for special people who have made Pony Farm what it is today.  Come join us for a fabulous time. Everyone involved with the farm is invited, free of charge!  Come help us usher in the next 40 years, as we salute the last 40 years.  Please do RSVP. All you need to bring is a smile, a chair and your good cheer.  We do hope you and your family will join us.
          We also will be hosting another horse show and hunter derby on the weekend of Saturday July 23rd.  Get your barn to bring a crew and join us again….Never a dull minute at Pony Farm.  The more, the merrier.
          We look forward to seeing you tomorrow. The show goes on, rain or shine.  Hurry up and get here, but travel safely.
                                      Most warmly and with a big smile,

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wednesday, July 6th

Hi Camp Families!
We have been busy having fun with the kids thus we haven’t had time to blog, our apologies!
Yesterday was fabulous.  The girls went on a hunter pace, which is basically a trail ride of staggered, strategically planned riding groups.  Each group had a range of riders and riding ability, they also had a group captain (who has been on the hunter pace before) who controlled the pace (which was as fast as the most in experienced person felt comfortable riding).  Staff was placed at checkpoints in their cars and asked trivia questions as the groups went by.  Group one was the fastest group and answered the most trivia questions correctly and enjoyed a prize of Connolly Brothers’ ice cream after dessert last night! Most importantly, all campers were safe and had a blast!
Yesterday’s afternoon activities were great, my favorite was the trip to the falls!  15 campers and 5 staff (one is a lifeguard) went to swim in the waterfalls in Wilton, how fun!
Last night’s activity was counselor quest, where all of the counselors hid around the property with a designated point system in place. For example, the counselor who has been staff the longest was worth 1000 point and could be caught only once while the staff here the shortest was worth 500 points and could be caught 5 times.  Campers were in their hunter pace groups for this activity because they had so much fun together yesterday am!
This morning is going well, the kids have finished their morning ride and are preparing for afternoon activities.  Tonight, we are doing a camping trip up the road with the minis and 14 campers have signed up!  The rest of the campers will do an afternoon activity here such as puissance or gambler’s choice and their evening activity will be Fashion Show!  Fashion Show is a classic PF evening activity.  The girls work with their rooms to get dressed up and role play a genre (celebrities, jocks, etc) to music while the rest of the camp guesses their genre!
I’ll be emailing information on Saturday’s festivities today.  We will also post the email to the blog on Friday.
Off to afternoon activity I go!

Saturday, July 2, 2011


Dearest Moms, Dads, Grandparents, and Friends of Touchstone,
            I sincerely hope your week has gone well and that you are kickin’ back with something cold and refreshing as you begin your July 4th weekend.  We are all here happily still preparing for the  horse show, getting those horses shining, the tack clean, the yards raked and the jumps set just right. I think everyone loves the preparation for a horse show almost as much as actually riding into that ring or getting a ribbon.  The weather is supposed to be super and it will be fun to watch everyone ride their best. The decision was made to have the show in the rings as the footing continued to be wet and uneven due to the rains on Wednesday night, so sadly it won’t be as pretty as the Outside Courses, but safety always trumps beauty!
            We wanted to assure all parents who cannot come that we will take extra special care of their ‘darlings’.  We know how far away away you live, so do not let the ‘pressure’ be put on to come. Many of the campers parents are not here….Also, please do remember that Sunday is a leisurely day for the girls, during  which time they will be sleeping in late, gathering laundry, doing arts and crafts, swimming, playing with the small farm animals, tending the flower and veggie gardens, and mostly planning their acts for the Talent Show.  This is a special camp only day, so we strongly discourage visitors and parents ‘hanging out’ with us.  We are selfish and want the girls all to ourselves!  I hope you understand.
            Next week will be quite a week.  As we worked to get all the girls on the right horses and in the correct groups this week, and prepared for the horse show….next week is the FUN and Special week!!!!!  We will be doing things that Pony Farm truly specializes in for kids and ponies!  Our holiday festivities will begin by going to
Temple’s little village sports field where we will play all the old field day games, eat yummie food prepared by the fire department, and then wash off with a big tug of war pulling on the old fire hoses.  Everyone gets wet of course!  We will then go to a band concert of patriotic music. Finally, we will all venture homework, well exercised and happy.  After a rest, we will get ready to do  a little fireworks and sparklers, along with a beautiful bonfire under the stars, with natural fireworks!

Throughout the week, we will then off an All Day Picnic Carriage Drive….an All Day Ride to the Mountain….a Camping Trip with ponies. We also think and hope and pray that we have found a new place to swim with the horses.  The picnic ride, drive and camping trips with the ponies have been yearly events forever, but we have had trouble with blue green algae which is not healthy for both people and horses.  Thus, we have not been able to offer swimming with the horses.
This has been a big disappointment for the kids as they love it so. In addition to the fun specialty day long events, we will still be doing lessons, and the many fun events we can do right here on the farm, like gymkhanas, vaulting and more jumping.  There should be nary a dull minute. I know the staff and I will be sad to give up these kids as they are so great, such hard workers and such fun!  Thanks for making such good kids!!!!
For your planning purposes we will be offering a Parents’ Riding Exhibition next Saturday July 9th for your enjoyment. Please plan to join us at about 9:30 to pack up your kiddos.  They will be tacking up and then present what they have learned in their lessons. They will also offer a specialty, which is another type of horse event which is special to Pony Farm.  The whole exhibition wraps up about noon. Please bring a picnic lunch. We will provide drinks and desserts to round out the meal.  Folks start leaving about 1 or 1:30.  We hope this helps in your family logistics.
See you soon…Thanks again and again for choosing Pony Farm for your daughters.  We love them dearly.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Horse Show Info!

Hi Moms and Dads,
I just sent e-mails to you about the estimated start time of your camper.  If you did not get an e-mail or have questions please e-mail me
Please note there is a change...the O.C is not dry enough for the show.  We received a lot of rain at the end of last week. We were hoping it would dry out in time for the show, but then received more rain Tuesday night into early Wednesday morning; making the OC too wet to show on.  The Derby will still take place in the field off of the O.C though.  The horse show will take place in the rings like they have in the past several years.  You can park at the lodge like you did for opening day and walk down to the barn and rings.  The start time of the show is 9:00 am.
Camp will supply lunch for campers.  There will be a concession stand if mom, dad, brothers or sisters get hungry.
Wish us luck tomorrow!