Wednesday, March 2, 2016

2015 - 2016 Off Season Farm Improvement Projects

My husband Dave always has projects going on around the farm and it's sometimes difficult to get him to work on a project that I would like done. Since it's the 'off season' and the weather has been fairly cooperative Dave was able to work on a couple of projects that will benefit the competitors who come to Stone Gate Farm.

The first project was building four stalls in the new addition off the garage barn next to the parking field right next to the wash rack.  Both horses and riders should be quite comfortable in this barn.

The next project actually morphed into three different projects and required Dave to pull out his 'big boy toys'.  This project was to enlarge the parking area around the barns.  There were two spots that we could clean up, remove trees and move dirt to make substantially more room.  The first spot was at he very end of the parking area next to the trail that goes to the pasture. This spot was relatively easy as we only had to relocate a bunch of telephone poles, remove a few trees and trim a couple of others.  The other location was quite a project as there were numerous rocks to move, some poles and lumber the removal of  a few rather large trees and some substantial grading.

Before clean up

Let the clean up begin

Phase 1 removing the rocks and timbers.  The timbers just go moved to the new 'stock pile'.  The rocks however were quite a different story which led to two different projects.  I have actually been thinking of doing this for years but was always afraid to ask as it really didn't serve any useful purpose and after all Dave was saving these rocks for something ... what that something was I'll never know!  Anyway I'm quite happy with my 'landscaping' rocks.

Rocks at the end of the dressage ring

With just a few cuts with the excavator at the Show Jumping entrance we had a perfect spot for a few big rocks.  We'll have to do a little planting in the spring.

Under Sadie's watchful eye; Dave sets some big rocks below the covered bleachers.  Again more planting to do ;)  Phase 1 was completed in November 2015.

We also added a few smaller rocks on the other side of the entrance near the lower bleachers.  The last few rocks went to the far end of the ring just east of the banks where we're going to build a small bank for the Starter Derby classes.

Phase 2: Trimming  treetops so they won't hit and damage the barn. As you can see from the pics this portion of the project took place during the winter.  Dave actually had to hire someone to do this job as there was no way he could have done that himself safely.  The clean up of the limbs took longer than cutting them.

Phase 3:  Removing the trees was next on the list.  A few of the trees were small enough that Dave could cut them down and dig out the stumps with the excavator.  However there were a few bigger ones that he couldn't do that way. There were certain steps that  Dave had to follow for everything to fall into place or for the tree to drop
  1. dig a trench around the trees to make it easier to uproot the trees root ball and all
  2. climb a ladder to attach a chain to the tree so the dozer could pull the tree in the desired direction
  3. add more chains so the dozer would be far enough away when the tree falls
  4. pull the tree over with the dozer
  5. bring the excavator over to back fill the huge hole that he root ball left so that the root ball doesn't fall back in the hole when he cuts to log off
  6. cut the log from the root ball
  7. remove chains
  8. cut limbs and move log
  9. push the root ball out of what is left of the hole with the dozer
  10. clean up the mess & REPEAT until all the desired trees have been removed

Most of these trees need to be removed.  You can see  stumps from trees already cut.

Smaller logs
Trench around the bigger trees

Pulling a tree over
Cutting log from 

Back filling the root hole

Pushing the stump out

Moving a tree top

Pushing branches 

A small portion of the firewood

This one may become a jump

Expanded parking area

Phase 4

Finish cleaning up, final grading and adding gravel.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Winona Horse Trials PHOTO CONTEST

2015 marks the 30th Anniversary of the Winona Horse Trials and we are inviting riders, friends, parents and ALL photographers to share their memories.  Not only will it be fun looking back we have some great prizes as well.  The photos will be judged in the following categories:
  • Action - dressage, show jumping or cross country
  • Candids - behind the scenes that capture the spirit of Eventing and ALL who participate
  • OOPS Moments - the close call, the good save or the actual moment of 'disaster'
  • Professional pics - can be submitted by either the photographer or the rider
  • Oldest photo
More categories may be added depending on the photos received and additional prizes become available.  There will also be a couple of special prizes.  The first is for anyone who has a picture of me setting show jumping while breastfeeding Kyle OR flying around on a 3 wheeler when I was nearly 8 months pregnant with Kevin.  If no one has any pictures of that; I'm sure you can conjure up an image in your mind, like it or not.  The next one should be a bit easier; the best picture of Dave in his infamous yellow boots!

Below is a list of prizes that we have the following prizes with more coming:
All entries must be submitted by May 1st to with PHOTO CONTEST in the subject line and include the following information:
  • Name of person submitting the photo
  • Name of the person in the photo (if you know who it is)
  • Category
  • Horse if applicable
  • Level if applicable
  • Year or approximate year
  • Photographer if taken by a professional
  • Any comments that may be of interest
Photos are currently being  posted on the Stone Gate Farm Facebook page and a collection of the photos will be put together and posted on the SGF website.

Start going through you photos and scanning the older ones taken before digital camera and cell phones.   If you don't have a scanner, take a pic of the pictures and send them that way. Let's have some fun going down memory lane!

We hope to see you at Winona in May!!


Friday, January 2, 2015

2014 - The Pictorial Year in Review - Part 2: Clinics & the horses

Lucinda Green:

Hannah getting a little 'air'

Lisa & Banks working on accuracy

Laura & Tika showing good form

Ruth Mercer & the 'faux trakehner' under Lucinda's watchful eye

Hannah dropping into the water for the first time

Kyle & Jack into the Prelim drop into water

Lisa & Banks making it look easy

Eric Dierks

Eric & Bailey riding Blue

All those spectators & riders taking it all in

Waylon Roberts

Nancy Koch & Ferris

Anthony Del Savio & Red

Marissa Abram & Margee
Bear is enjoying the clinic too!


Lessons and Schooling

Stephanie and Sandy

WRPC Members after a lesson

Colin Gaffney in a Pony Club clinic

Colin 'chillin'

Cross Country schooling day ... Kyle got on a few ;)

Gia  & Charlie

Bailey & Blue

Jeni Gaffney & Grover

A full parking lot the first xc schooling of 2014
Kyle and Lisa

Molly Tubbs
Brandi & Bailey

Jackie directing riders @ His Way Farm Winter Lesson Series

Horses of Stone Gate Farm and KSEquestrian

Jackie's Horses

Hannah moved up to Training in 2014 & was fabulous.  I hadn't ridden above Novice for the last 7 years!! The old lady can still do it

Jump Start

South Farm
Wie has developed into a steady eddy and I was finding it a little difficult to keep two horses in work so he was leased to Kelly Paterson through the summer and she enjoyed quite a bit of success with him.  When he came home I realized that he really deserved someone who would make him a priority.  I believe he has found that person.

A beautiful last ride with Wie

Shelby and Wie

Kyle's Horses:

Jack moved up to Prelim in 2014 and with 5 clean cross country rounds they have their eye on a CCI* in 2015.  Kyle really enjoyed competing at the Prelim level again and was very proud of Jack who he started from scratch as an unstarted 3 year old.

Jack's second Prelim @ South Farm

Jack making the wide narrow faced Wedge look easy

Jill had some great runs at Training level in 2014 and she really proved to be junior/amateur friendly as we used her for lessons on several occasions.  Kyle decided that it would be best for Jill to have a young girl to teach who would dote on her in return.  

Jill @ Pinetop

Jill @ Spring Bay

Jill and Clara
Margee came back to Stone Gate Farm after being out on a lease for the last year and a half.  Kyle didn't waste any time and brought her out at Training level at Winona.  When Catherine Grimes was looking for a horse who had some experience and had upper level potential.  They clicked really well and we're excited to see how they will progress in 2015

Margee's first Training @ Winona

Margee at Jump Start

Rosie is a Connemara/TB cross who is the first offspring of Blue Ridge Monroe.  She turned 4 years old in Oct. and currently pushing 15.2  Rosie began her training this spring with a lot of long reining and ground driving. When it came time to start her under saddle it was a breeze. By her 3rd ride she she went for a trail ride and led the entire ride, her 4th ride she was trail riding by herself, her 5th ride she was going through the water jump and up and down the bank.  Her 6th ride she to did the entire Intro cross country course and a few starter jumps.  She was ridden during the madness of the Mini Trials schooling day and she been on a rode trip for the sole purpose of hanging out in the trailer while the horse she came with was ridden!

Just 8 weeks after her first ride under saddle she did her first Mini Trials and won the Very Green division.  Since then she has done two more competitions at the Starter level.and a jumper show at Chagrin Valley Farms with a 12 year old. This is a level headed horse who truly wants to please and is going to develop into one of those horses that either is handed down from one sibling to another or becomes a ‘forever’ horse for a lucky junior or adult amateur!

Atti is a 4 year old OTTB mare that Kyle picked up this spring.  He has been taking his time with her but so far she's been calm and willing about anything she's been asked.  She has successfully completed a couple of events at the Beginner Novice level as well as a couple of jumper shows.  Kyle is looking forward to seeing how she develops in 2015.

Atti at South Farm

Silky is a 3 year old TB filly that Kyle has galloped for Ruberto racing.  He really thought she had a lot of potential and he let Rubertos know that he would definitely be interested in her when she was ready to retire form racing.  Right know Silky is being let down from racing and Kyle is really excited to see how she comes along in 2015. 

Silky showing her 'fancy pants' trot

KSEquestrian Horses in Training

O'Reilly is a lovely Irish Draft horse who Kyle rode and competed and ultimately sold while in Aiken over the winter.


Mary and O'Reilly enjoying a day out hunting

Paradox aka Junior, owned by Dean and Lisa Hennings came to Stone Gate last spring to broaden his horizons.  He was a good student and Lisa is now successfully competing him at the Beginner Novice level.
Kyle introducing Jr to the ditch and the water

Lisa and Jr on their way to the win at the SGF Mini Trials

Diesel, owned by Jess Vezza, comes to SGF periodically throughout the year for a little of KSE 'bootcamp' and for Kyle to competeThey have been competing at the Beginner Novice & Novice and always in the ribbons.

Diesel @ Winona


Mac is a 4 year old Connemara bred and owned by Cool Springs Farm. Mac is by the great eventing stallion Ardceltic Art. He came to KSE to get started.  Since he had just been gelded it took a little longer than usual to get him under saddle.  Kyle spent the better part of the summer hacking him out to get him physically strong and balanced without putting too much mental strain on him.  He need to learn to go forward and go where he was told and at what pace.  He has a lovely canter and a really nice jump

Mac shown with his pre - long lining gear on.

The B & B Boys aka Bullet & Bandit.  These two youngsters from Ruberto Racing came late in the fall to get started.  They both are by Ruberto's stallion Dark Kestrel who obviously throws great dispositions because these are two of the sweetest youngsters that Kyle has ever dealt with.  The both took to the long reining very will and by their first ride they were both going out on trail rides.  They generally go out with another horse mostly for moral support as neither of them have ever done anything that resembles being naughty.  They are really enjoying their work and showed off for Jen Ruberto the other day when she came over to watch them go.  They'll be going back home soon to be kicked out for awhile before they start their race training.  These two will definitely make great sport horse when they're done racing.



Part 3 coming soon ...