A Girl and her Horse

High school and college football near completion, and the last of the garden harvest at Cairn Hill Farms continues (We ended up with more butternut squash than expected. Despite giving away much of it, we still have enough to dominate dinners for the next six months!!).

In addition, harvesting brussel sprouts over the past few days reminds me of my experience making pies from scratch, not worth the time! Since the garden is Chad’s “baby,” I hope he rethinks next year’s planting line-up.

MK also continues work with her Haflinger, Larken. This stout and sassy 13 year old mare was not ridden for the previous 18 months before joining our farm, so MK and her trainer, Jenn, developed a training regimen.

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While horses were an important part of my life, watching MKs journey into training, observing, and interacting with equine behavior has been a learning experience. The past year provided many positive adventures. Witnessing her passionate pursuit even inspired a bit of micro poetry:

Four legs,
Long face,
Beginning smile,
Saving grace.

As fall enters its final act, take the time to enjoy the vibrant colors, crisp days, and tastes of the harvest. Thanks for reading!

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(My elderly pony, Goldy)

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Girls and their Goats 

Another Fair week is in the books!  The girls worked hard and had a lot of fun.  The goat show provided a day of fun and learning.  My favorite part was when one of our goats first ate my daughter’s show number off her back then took another number off a competitor’s back during Showmanship! 

I appreciate how 4-H offers something for every child.  Don’t want to show animals? Pages and pages of non-livestock projects are available.  Want to show animals but have limited time?  Some 4-H clubs only meet a handful of times before Fair Week.  Want to “go for the gold” and utilize 4-H as a stepping stone to other shows?  Our county fair has several representatives who advance to the State and National level. 4-H provides a starting point for kids to explore interests, learn responsibility, and develop useful skills for the future.  Check out 4-H opportunities in your local area!

Below is a video, highlighting some of our adventures in the goat barn.

Thanks for reading!

Get Thee to the Fair!

 

girl and her goat

I’m writing this from the goat barn, my reading and relaxation spot for Fair Week. This year, I took on a new and fun challenge, serving as a 4-H Goat Leader. After the glorious chaos of the show, the girls had the rest of the week to enjoy the fair, spend time with friends, care for their animals, and make memories.

Two girls joined our group this year, my daughter and niece. We stayed in a friend’s pop-up right at the fair, a new experience for all of us. I loved how all the many cousins and friends showed up to play cards, hang out, and stay over. I loved how the local farmers drove their old tractors through the campground each night. For those who spend the week, I noticed an ebb and flow of activity. One barn might be frantically preparing for a show while another is relatively quiet with kids playing card games and raking and watering the aisles.

 

tractor parade

I’ll admit I’m one of those parents who doesn’t take competition too seriously at fair. While a bit of healthy competition builds character, I tried to teach my girls that fair week was about having fun and learning along the way. More important, the journey makes the 4-H kid.

leah winner

Students must meet on a regular basis to prepare, a notebook (or portfolio) is required for all animal classes, those portfolios must be presented to a judge for evaluation (including an interview), and animals need to be checked on at least every two hours during the day to ensure they have adequate food, clean water, and clean bedding.

fair booth

These kids learn valuable, lifelong skills: How to prepare for a large event, the art of the portfolio (By the way, you need to produce several of these in college), and how to survive an interview. Most fair entries include an interview with a judge. Part of their score includes interview performance, a skill which will serve them well as adults.

Hula Goat

Are you looking for a program that builds character and provides fun for all? Look no farther than your local 4-H! Here’s to future fairs and watching our program grow! Thank you to Allison and Sarah for your goat support and thanks for reading!