Keeping up with the SmartPakers: Weekend Update – October 30, 2012

During the week, you know our life is no mystery: we are here working hard to make you happier and your horse healthier. But what do we do on the weekend, you ask? The mystery is finally revealed! Read about what SmartPakers did this past weekend and see if any of our adventures sound similar to yours…

“The New England Equitation Finals was held two weeks ago and four SmartPak employees competed at the show: Annie (Marketing), Melissa (Merchandising), Jessica (IT) & Renee (Merchandising). We made sure to take a photo so we could include it in the weekend update!” – Renee, Merchandising


“This weekend I dog sat Clipper, Kate’s dog (from Marketing), in Cohasset. We had a pretty relaxing weekend. On Saturday, he came to the barn with me to take care of the horses. It was his first time ever seeing a horse and he wasn’t sure if he should be nervous, excited, or just sniff everything is sight. I introduced him to Frankie and he gave him kisses on the nose. As soon as we got back to the car, he found my down jacket for a pillow in the back seat and was out like a light. Sunday we went for a long walk at World’s End and watched Hurricane Sandy brewing in the distance.” – Courtney, Customer Care


“We took Penelope to her first Boo at the Zoo event! Seeing your little one dressed like a Tiger, smiling at Giraffes for the first time might just be the cutest thing on the planet!” – Kate, Merchandising


“I spent this weekend in the barn with Chandler! I took him on his first ever trail ride alone on Saturday! The weather was absolutely perfect for it and the foliage in the woods was awesome! Chandler was a champ, too! We met a bicyclist and a couple walking their dog, and he didn’t bat an eyelash—he even tried to make friends with the dog! After our ride I trace clipped him, and he was even good for that too. All in all it was a perfect day!”
- Jessica, Production


“We took a walk down to the beach and as you can see, Hurricane Sandy certainly brought some serious wind! Eddie, Angus and Murdock almost flew away!” – Lisa, Marketing


“Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to have gorgeous weather for the perfect fall festivities! I went to Keene, NH, to visit my best friend at college and experience Pumpkin Fest for the first time! People come from all over to see the tradition of thousands of carved pumpkins dispersed throughout the downtown area along with lots of food and music to enjoy. It was unreal to see this many pumpkins in person! My friends and I also went to Vermont to an apple orchard with a small petting zoo and the Vermont Country Store for lots of yummy samples. Of course I had to include this adorable picture of my dog Bentley dressed for Halloween, too!”
- Paige, Customer Care


“I broke in Becky, a brand new navigator for me, this weekend at Octoberfest, a driving trial put on by our local driving club, The HUBClub, at one of its member’s farms. Newman was first after dressage then driver error (that’s me) led to one ball down and time faults on the cones course, dropping us to third. Even though he had never gone 4.1 km before nor negotiated true hazards, he was a machine cross-country, and we held our spot for a third place finish. He made me cry during the second obstacle where I was for sure his large size (17 hands) compared to the much smaller horses, ponies and VSE’s there would force us to walk to make the sharp turns required, but he offered to shorten his frame and become handy, trotting these solid, scary obstacles and listening 100% to my rapid directions!” – Dr. Lydia Gray, Staff Veterinarian


“My mom and I borrowed my niece to pick apples and pumpkins this weekend. It was a BEAUTIFUL fall day in Connecticut, and the view from the orchard was amazing. Grace wasn’t too sure about the animals made from round bales, but she really enjoyed the wagon ride, especially the hill back up to the cashier (which almost did me in!)” – Jen, SmartPak Store


“This is a picture of the Paranormal team I’m a member of, Earthbound Phantom Paranormal. We conducted a paranormal presentation on the Colonial Theater in Keene, NH. After the presentation, we invited a small group of audience members to join the group on an investigation of the The Monadnock Inn in Jaffrey, NH.”
- Brian, Production


“I had a busy weekend. I did a lot of baking, went to a costume party in Boston, and enjoyed brunch in Harvard Square. I also managed to squeeze in a trail ride—the weather got a bit iffy towards the end, but we made it back to the barn without getting rained on, luckily.” – Emily, Accounting


“With Sandy (the Frankenstorm!) rolling in, there wasn’t much to do at the barn this weekend but batten down the hatches and load the horses up on hay, so I did a lot of city things instead. First, I went to the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival and sampled many wonderful things, including a “so-good-it’s-a-problem” coconut milk ice cream and a more bioavailable source of B12 (you can take a supplement nerd out of the office, but a supplement nerd she will remain). Then I went to the Boston Aquarium, which I’ve never been to even though I’ve lived here going on five years now, and saw so many cute things, including this amazing sea lion who I named Oscar Wilde (I am 99.75% sure that’s not his real name).” – Sarah, Marketing


“This weekend I headed up to Maine for the NEDA Fall Symposium with Judge Stephen Clarke and Olympian Ashley Holzer. It was held at beautiful Pineland Farms, and the symposium itself was a very educational event with spectacular riding. On Saturday, we stumbled across a pumpkin festival in Freeport, which was totally amazing! We then rushed home Sunday to prepare for Hurricane Sandy. She took out some trees, but we were otherwise unscathed, and the horses were happy to get out after a day indoors!” – Elizabeth, Customer Care


“This weekend I tried to spend as much time as possible outside before Hurricane Sandy came along! Saturday I spent the day at the barn, giving my horses extra-long grooming sessions, cleaning my tack, and going for a ride. Sunday my boyfriend, Jeff, and I took our dog Chloe hiking in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Chloe loves to hike, and it turned out to be a beautiful day. We climbed Mt. Kearsarge, an over 3,000-foot peak with amazing views of the surrounding mountains. As an extra bonus, she was so tired she slept through the whole hurricane on Monday!” – Kerri, Marketing


“Despite the warnings against going out in Hurricane Sandy, I took a walk around Plymouth on Monday to see the action. Plymouth Rock was completely submerged (it’s under water down in the railed area in the first pic), and the waves were crashing at Plymouth Beach (second pic). It was very exciting, but I’m grateful we didn’t get hit too hard by the storm here!” – Katie, Customer Care


“Last weekend at Congress, we attended the NYATT Ceremony. Roni, Stef and I rode around the arena in the bed of a truck with some of the other corporate sponsors and threw out SmartPak goodies into the audience! It was a blast! We also had the opportunity to meet all of the NYATT Competitors and hand them their belt buckles. Another highlight of the ceremony, was the crowning of the 2012 Congress Queen, Emily Messing from Massachusetts! We were pretty excited that the winner was there representing our home state. This weekend, I spent with great friends at Penn State (my Alma Mater). We all rode on the Penn State Equestrian Team together, and it was so fun to see and catch up with everyone!” – Kaitlyn, Marketing


“This weekend I went home to Connecticut where my parents live and got a surprise visit from Morgan, my best friend from college. I haven’t seen her in over a year, and she came all the way down from upstate New York for the weekend! The best part is that she brought her dog, Bruno, who is the full brother of my dog Olly. We got to have a Brudder’s Reunion, and it was great to see them together again and see how much they have changed. We brought them to the park where they ran around like crazy and even went for a cold swim! We were in the Halloween spirit and visited Lake Compounce and the Haunted Graveyard with my family. We ended the great weekend with a family dinner on Sunday!” – Marissa, Customer Care


“I was on vacation last week and helped build twelve in/out paddocks (12’X140’) on my property, Stargazer Hill Farm. We had lots of help and we worked like 12–16 hours a day to pull it off. But paddocks got done.”
- Jess, IT


“Wild weekend with Sandy! This weekend started off great—Saturday was definitely the “calm before the storm.” It was a beautiful day, and the ocean was smooth as glass, so we knew something big was brewing! My boyfriend and I headed to the store and stocked up on flashlights, plywood, and sandbags. Our house is on the ocean, so we had a feeling we would be in for a wild ride. We boarded up all the windows, and put sandbags down in front of our house in case of flooding. We were expecting a moon tide plus the storm surge so we weren’t sure how high the water would get at high tide. As Sandy started to creep closer on Sunday the wind started to pick up, and by Monday morning you could barely open the front door it was blowing so hard! We were very lucky we didn’t have much damage to the house, and thankfully we didn’t have any flooding! Unfortunately some of our neighbors were not so lucky. It was pretty incredible to see the water level so high. In the picture with the jersey barriers, that is a ramp leading down to the beach that the town blocked off with a barricade, and the water was so high it kept splashing over, as well as splashing over most of the concrete wall!”
- Jenifer, Customer Care


“My fiancé and I spent the whole weekend preparing for Sandy. Historically, when we lose power in our town we lose it for a long time, so we prepared for the worst. We got extra batteries in every size, made sure there was a flashlight or headlamp stationed in every room, and purchased lots of water and non-perishable food. We made sure to eat as much as we could out of our fridge and freezer, anticipating that we would lose anything that was left over. We finished clearing out the garden and our balcony to avoid things blowing away, and of course we charged all of our electronics. After all of that, the lights flickered once, but otherwise no power loss, and no damage around us. Our cats, Sukoshi and Winston, had the right idea, curling up together and sleeping through the whole storm! Listening to the news reports this morning, I know things could have been much worse, so I am thankful we were over prepared and safe.” – Claire, IT


“Picture this….your worst possible horse nightmare. It may be a barn fire, a turned over horse trailer, your horse stuck in the mud, your horse caught precariously in a fence. Anyone who has owned a horse knows anything can happen. Seeing your equine companion in any of these situations is sickening and knowing that you may have been able to prevent it or at the very least aide them may mean the difference between life and death for them and potentially for you. Last weekend Ellen and I attended a clinic to prevent and prepare for these and many other potentially tragic scenarios. It was an intense 3 day clinic that opened our eyes and broadened our knowledge of prevention and preparation.

We learned everything from how to safely rescue a horse from a dangerous situation where we only have access to their front ends, their rear ends, situations such as being cast in a stall or the horse is totally turned upside down. We even reenacted a barn fire, and learned how to best prepare our horses, and how firefighters would be likely respond and help get the horses out.

We also learned extensive trailer safety tips to prevent accidents as well as the importance of training your horse to self load as would be necessary in the event a firefighter or rescue personnel would need to load your horse. We can’t always prevent an evacuation but we can get our horses used to different smells, sounds, sights and the ability to load themselves when directed to a trailer. This simple practice could be the difference between life and death for our horses in the event of a wildfire, flood etc.

A special thanks to our hosts and trainers Kelly Signer- 3 Star Parelli Natural Horsemanship Professional, Tori miller- 4Hooves Equine Services and NC SMART Owner (Specialized Mobile Animal Rescue Team) also a 911 Supervisor and to Justin McLeod- Hooves Equine Services and NC SMART Owner /Operator/Instructor and Fire Fighter. It was an empowering experience knowing that we can prevent so many of these tragic accidents from happening with careful thought, the proper equipment and preparation. And that’s all I have to say about that.”
- Gina, Accounting


“My horse Harpur took his second trip to the beach this past weekend. The weather was beautiful, and we had a lot of fun galloping around with our friends Julie, Haley, and Sweetie! Haley had to help convince Harpur that the waves were not that scary. She got a little bit wet in the process!” – Jillian, Customer Care


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Jen and Tally
Apparently I've been obsessed with horses since I was born, and I used to beg for pony rides on a regular basis. I started showing in 4-H, progressed to equitation and jumpers in high school and rode on the IHSA team in college where I also discovered the joys...

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