Rachel Kiczuk is from Amherst NH and works in Groton, MA at Scarlet Hill Farm. Her horse Africa is a 15.3 TB/Irish Sport Horse by Formula One, and they compete at the preliminary level. Rachel is looking forward to creating good memories with her co-workers down in Ocala this winter.
Next Wednesday will mark one month since I migrated down to Florida with Scarlet Hill Farm. I work for Denise Goyea as her head groom at the farm. The two-day road trip down to Ocala was uneventful for us, just driving for hours on end and stopping overnight on the South Carolina border as our layover. The last two hours of the drive were the longest two hours of my life and once we parked the trailers at the farm we immediately got to work unloading horses and putting them into their stalls, unloading grain, and tack trunks as well. Horses were turned out one at a time, each stretching their legs in a field for the first time in months. All of them rolled in the sand about ten times each.
The first two days in Florida were just spent unpacking, cleaning, and reorganizing the two barns that we utilize on the property. Florida bugs are very high up on my fear factor list now. Spiders were behind whiteboards on the walls, in folded up towels, and hiding in the corners of the stalls. Trying to get cockroaches out of the grain bins wasn’t a very fun task either. Only a few dead mice were found, which I took as a win. Though I’ll still take the bugs and dead things over all the snow and ice back at home.
After everything was situated, we got a couple calmer days until our second shipment of horses arrived; now we have thirteen. Working in the sunshine is a nice change from the twenty degrees back in New England. I do feel a bit bad when I walk outside in my winter hat and gloves and it’s only fifty degrees. Almost every day in the past three weeks has been seventy-five or warmer. We’re usually done riding and barn chores by five-thirty every day. After we all sit outside with a beer and watch the sunset.
We’ve been cross-country schooling once so far. It’s fantastic to finally ride outside. And to not even have to put on a quarter sheet! Though all the jumps now look gigantic. Having ridden preliminary, it’s a bit sad to think that a novice fence is huge. I’ve gotten used to riding outside again. All we do all day is ride horses.
There’s a plethora of properties within a half hour driving distance that offer schooling and weekly jumper shows. It’s fun catching up with other eventers around the country who have also migrated down South. Ocala has a community feeling to it, which is one of my personal favorite parts about coming down.
Ocala life isn’t too bad.