Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring is coming!

Dear Friends of Touchstone, Pony Farm and Horse Power,
Centered Riding Clinic with Mitzi Summers
The farm is really a happening place this spring. The warm weather last week spurred all of us into action. The chickens are all eager to sit on their eggs. The lawns and fields are turning green.  Jumps are getting painted. Ponies and horses are shedding with heaps of winter fur on the ground after a good grooming. Best of all, our students from last year, both riders and drivers, are turning up, ready to take up the reins again to enjoy their favorite horse. These horse lovers are being joined by lots of new students of all ages and abilities. Our clinics have been so inspirational in all that we learn with the excellent and knowledgeable teachers. Trails are getting cleared and carriages are being tuned up.  Everything is ready and waiting for spring to burst!

Springtime is the best time of year to get up early and hear the Peepers, those tiny little frogs who make such big noises. On my daily morning walks with the dogs, I have even seen a Woodcock take flight.  What a delight-filled time of year spring is on any farm, but at Touchstone, we are especially delighted. With the clear promise of new growth both in the fields and woods surrounding us, but also with the exciting growth in all of our programs, I cannot wait to greet each new day to see what wonderful thing is going to happen.  I hope you will come and share this springtime fun with us!  The welcome mat is always out at Touchstone Farm!

Boo teaching a jumping lesson.
Our lesson programs are growing every day.  With our terrific team of teachers, each rider from the littlest “Peanut on Ponies”, to our oldest drivers, to our folks wanting to compete  or go on trail rides, to our devotes of Centered Riding and Natural Horsemanship, we are enjoying having a wide array of offerings as we work to being “Everything Equine”, to use Neal Goldman’s words. He is one of our great TSF Board Members who led a good group of friends of the farm through an exciting weekend about how to better market the farm.  By the end of much good brainstorming, he said …Yes, we are all about “Everything Equine”!

Meeting with Sandy and Mike
To truly become “Everything Equine”, our key staff members had a fantastic meeting last week with Sandy Eneguess and Mike Crowe who are going to lead the team to replace all our riding arena fences and put in glorious new ring footing.  After much research, we have all agreed on the Triple Crown Deluxe ring fencing that comes with a 30 year guarantee and never another ring painting party!  The footing has also been carefully designed so that each ring is correctly prepared for a particular use. The Jumping Ring, which is the one we use daily for jumping and several times a year for open horse shows, will have the footing with the most give in it to help the horses by adding soft landings after every jump. For the main rings used by Horse Power riders who need side walkers for safety, we are putting in a footing that is more firm so that the sainted souls who work with our students will not get exhausted after an hour of helping!  Finally, the two main driving arenas will have the firmest footing of all to allow the horses to pull the carriages with ease.  Imagine not ever having to pick rocks again!!!

This weekend coming up we will showcase our newest instructor, Andi Oxier, who will be our clinician at our horse show clinic, followed by a critiqued horse show.  She is honing her judging skills to be able to achieve her status as a rated judge with the New England Horseman’s Counsel. She will lead the riders through their paces both on the flat and over fences on the first day of the clinic.  She will then offer her suggestions on Sunday as we run a variety of typical horse show classes.  Entries will be judged and ribbons will be given out by Kris Young as she is the mastermind of this new clinic format for TSF.  We welcome you to come to watch any part of the clinic or horse show. Together, we can lend good cheer and encouragement to our riders.

The next clinic coming up is a carriage driving clinic featuring John Greenall. He is well known as a wonderful teacher, sprinkling expertise and great stories throughout his instruction.  Drivers from all over New England will be joining us for what is turning out to be a three day clinic!!!  John was originally hired for one day, which turned into two, and is now three days of driving delight.  Again, we welcome auditors especially for the Friday night April 13th Touchstone Farm Driving Club Dinner Party and Presentation by John.  It promises to be fun and informative!!!  Take a look at our website to see more about the TSF Driving Program.

Because my health is so vastly improved, I have been able to drive every day.  My dream of hooking up a driving pair was achieved yesterday.  With Dave Bradham, Kris Retter, Liz Herrick, Don Hart and Chris Nolte, our trusty core driving “pit crew” we did indeed hook up Chunk and Charlie to our hay wagon.  They loved it and behaved perfectly even through the standing to fit the harness to the new wagon.  I can’t wait to give you a hay ride when you are next here at the farm.  It is my total delight and pleasure.  Thanks to all of you who helped!

Finally, I am so excited to welcome our Fathers and Daughters, as well as our Spring Fling Families, to the lodge and the farm this coming April and May.  We love seeing our camp families return year after year to uphold this spring tradition.  We also so enjoy getting to know new camp or lesson families who want to join us for a new experience of the farm.  The hay rides will be ready, the bonfire bright, the chicks hatched and the bunnies eager to come stay at the lodge…not to mention the trails and the horses and the rings and, and, and!  In short, we can’t wait to welcome you to our fun family weekends coming up.

I hope you are feeling the spirit of adventure, new growth, fun learning and happy times that abounds these days at Touchstone Farm, home of both Pony Farm and Horse Power.  With the transition to Touchstone Farm complete and well done, we are delighted to turn our time and talents to making the farm and all its programs even better. We hope you will look around and see the results of our good planning and hard work.  We cherish this farm almost as much as we enjoy having you share its delights with us.  Hurry up and join us.  We promise a warm welcome and lots of great things to do and enjoy.  After all, our motto is “Building foundations that last a lifetime”.  Let’s build those foundations together this spring at TSF!

Founder & Executive Director