Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Memorial Day Ride

On the Norman Mill Trail
Harley had a good workout on Memorial Day. We did the rider switcheroo again, changing riders a couple of times. The non-rider drove the "sag wagon" equipped with sponge, scraper, water (for humans and horse), carrots, and hay. We'd hoped to get an early start with the temperature predicted to hit the high eighties. But of course, we didn't get to the barn until nine or so. Just as we were about ready to depart, Michelle showed up. She grabbed Echoe, gave him a quick grooming, and jumped aboard. We were off with plans to reach Mountain Road over by Mt. Agamenticus.

Harley was happy to have Echoe out front, keeping any scary things at bay, especially those giant boulders at the top of the lollipop loop. We rode down to the turnoff on Emery's Bridge Rd. where Michelle turned back. Harley wasn't happy to lose his trail buddy and have to head out on his own. With some reluctance, he moved forward, but kept looking back towards Echoe's fading hoofbeats.

I missed one turn and wound up coming to a gated pasture. When I turned back, Harley thought, "Oh good, we're going home." He wasn't happy when I turned him in the other direction. As we emerged on Bennett Lot Rd., I could see the pickup parked at the Normal Trail pullout. John stripped off the saddle and bridle, and we gave Harley and nice wash down. After a little break, and once Harley dried off, we tacked back up, and John headed out towards Mountain Rd.  I drove around to meet him there at high noon where we would give Harley another break and wash down.

By now it was pretty hot, but Harley seemed to be doing fine. John said he'd meet me back at Bennett Lot for another break/wash. When I met him there, Harley, now happy to be heading home, didn't want to stop, so I met him back at Emery's Bridge where Harley, again got washed and this time ate some dampened hay and drank some water. Now it was my turn. I'd ride him back to the barn. He stepped right out, jogging up hills, still feeling strong. He was out for over 4 hours and did very well. John wants to take him on a S.M.A.R.T. Ride trail ride in a few weeks, so we're conditioning him to be ready for a ride 15 to 20 miles long. So far, so good! Good job, Harley

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