Clearly, 2020 has not turned out to be the year that any of us expected. Here at Cold Moon Farm, we have taken advantage of more time at home to complete a few long term projects, make progress on several others…and of course spend plenty of extra time with all of the horses!
Our first “pandemic project” was the completion of a round pen training area. We used fill leftover from construction of the riding arena (built by the farm’s previous owners), added some crushed gravel, rented a roller, and topped it all off with left over arena footing acquired from a local facility. Technically, the base was started pre-pandemic, but the majority of the final steps were completed this spring. The finished round pen has been a huge help as our 3 year old Morgan, Spring Hollow Or Noir (Nori), has begun more advanced ground work, introductory longeing and long lining lessons over the summer.
In July, we officially launched our Poo For You program, selling aged compost roadside and by the tractor bucket. 100% of sales have been donated in equal parts to three NH based equine nonprofits: Becky’s Gift, Hidden Pond Farm Equine Rescue and Home at Last Farm. (Home at Last has recently relocated to a new, larger facility in Wales, ME). To date, we have donated over $630 to these groups doing important work for equines at risk in the northeast. Thanks to everyone who supported the project in its inaugural year; we hope to expand further in 2021.
Another major project completed is what I have nicknamed the “Nori Habitat”. Although the horses at Cold Moon Farm live out 24/7, I do like to have the option of bringing them all in in the event of truly extreme weather. Until recently, we had five stalls– and six equine residents. Given the uncertainty around the pandemic, I have opted to keep all horses at home this winter, rather than boarding at an indoor. So creating a sixth stall was a must.
Meanwhile, Nori was having some trouble finding the right place in her herd, and increasingly frequent squabbles meant that a new zip code might be for the best. With much appreciation and gratitude to essential assistance from Jeremiah, Donna and Tim, Nori’s new condo was completed just a few weeks ago, and she has settled right in. So far, she seems to enjoy being able to survey the riding arena and supervise the other mares from a social distance.
In addition, we have installed a new Shelter Logic hay storage, straightened and replaced fencing, and added additional footing to dry lot paddocks in preparation for winter.
In terms of riding and training, this seemed like a good year to focus on non-competitive goals. Our schoolmasters Spring Hollow Marquesa (Queso) and Liatris (Lee) have divided their time between trail miles with me and arena work with devoted students Fay, Sophia and Julianna. JEF Anna Rose (Anna) and I attended two clinics with Jeremy Steinberg and split our time between arena work and trails. DRF Isabela (Izzy) has made tremendous progress in her muscling and confidence under saddle with steady work this year and participated in two virtual dressage shows this fall, with scores to 70%. Nori has continued her introduction to some of the many things young horses must learn about, including bridles, saddles and long lines, but the majority of her season has been spent going on handwalks with me both on and off farm.
All horses participated in the WARHORSE Endurance Challenges this year. These unique virtual challenges have been a perfect fit for pandemic limitations. Throughout the season, Lee travelled 100 trail miles to complete the Valkyrie 100 Mile Challenge, Anna turtled along 100 trail miles for the Ranger 100 Mile Challenge, and each mare contributed 20 trail miles (ridden miles for Lee, Queso, Anna and Izzy, and in hand miles for Nori) toward completion of the Journey 100 Mile Challenge. With all riding horses, we are also accruing miles towards the Pony Express 1900 Mile Challenge. While we still have quite a ways to go, we have made it over the 325 mile mark!
While we have enjoyed recent unseasonably warm temperatures here in New Hampshire, shortening days clearly indicate that the 2020 riding (and farm project) season is winding down. And while the ongoing pandemic certainly makes long term planning challenging, please know that we here at Cold Moon Farm remain as committed as ever to our mission: promoting the principles of sustainable living, conservation and the highest standards of horsemanship.
Principal Horseman, Cold Moon Farm