Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What great riding weather!

And I'm stuck inside doing demolition work on the house. It's time for a new roof for the old place (long overdue) and an upgrade--3 new skylights. John took Harley out for a nice long ride Monday. Then we got to work on the house. As with any work on a 100+ year old house, there's always a can of worms opened when you start a project. Turns out, we need to rip out the plaster and lathing to sister up the roof, then cover it with plywood, and lastly, put new shingles on. Oh my...will I see Harley at all this week?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

You Are Like A Hurricane...

Great--just as I get Harley re-shod, a hurricane blows into town. And since he's had the last two weeks off, he'll probably be like riding a hurricane once I get a saddle on him again. Let's just hope Hurricane Irene slows down by the time she hits New England.

Friday, August 19, 2011

A Week Without Riding

Harley threw his shoe (again) last week so I've been left without a mount. In a way, it may be a good thing. John and I are getting long-overdue chores done in the garden. But I hate missing out on these waning long summer days. I went out to see Harley last night. The gang was grazing down in the pasture, but once I appeared with his grain back, his head came up, ears perked.

Once Harley finished his grain,  he got his carrot treat. Vance sidled up, hoping I had a little something for him as well. I couldn't deny his curiosity and gave him the nub. Harley proceeded to follow me all the way back to the barn as if to say, "That's it?" His friendly nature is certainly one of his many endearing qualities.

I'm hoping I can track down the farrier and get Harley's feet done so we can get back on track with our riding. Not only do I miss our long hours together (no visit which includes riding lasts less than 3 hours), I also miss our woodland adventures! And secretly, I think Harley does too.

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Lesson for Harley

Now that Dad mowed the back field, we have a clear, flat place to school Harley. Here's John doing some flat work with him. Watch out Harley, there's a cat in the tall grass! That, of course, spooked him, but John made some progress. Unfortunately, this photo isn't the best. As he worked, Harley dropped his head into a better frame. Every bit of work is another step forward for Harley. The hot, humid weather was better for working in the open (catch every little breeze), than riding in the sticky, buggy, close woods. On days like this, I can't wait for September!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Mr. Pokey goes for a walk

Once again, I got a late start. Every Saturday, I say I'll beat the heat and bugs, get saddled up and ride early. Yeah, right! I did't get to the barn until 10 a.m. after a supposed quick stop at the feed store. But the owner started chatting about other available horses for John and I to ride, horse trailers, trucks, etc. $70 later, I got to the barn in time to catch a trip out with Michelle. We planned to do a partial Jepson Farm/Pike Quarry loop depending on how much time we had.

Mr. Pokey and his buddy, Pinto Pokey (aka Echoe), just weren't in the mood to go far. Poor Michelle sighed at Echoe, "Come on", while Harley lollygagged along, shuffling and tripping over logs, rocks, etc. "Pick your feet up, Harley", I said. Both horses needed some urging to even break into a little trot on some of the best trails for speed. We stopped by the Jepson homestead to watch a red-tailed hawk rising on the currents. Without Echoe by his side, Harley would never have stood that still for that long--a real treat in more ways than one. It wasn't until we made the magical turn for home that their pace suddenly picked up. Then every little hill called for a jog, or in Harley's case, a snorting canter, quartering Echoe. On the last hill, Echoe trotted along, snagging mouthfuls as he went. Harley passed on the inside as I called out, "He who stops to eat, gets passed!" Harley must have thought, "At last, I'm heading down the homestretch, out front." Michelle and I had a good laugh at our boys.

Yes, it was getting hot, and yes, the deerflies and mosquitoes buzzed incessantly, but our steeds were just not that into going far today. An hour and a half later, we were back at the barn, hosing the horses down. I am so looking forward to September and October, when the bugs are gone and the air is crisp. But then, I won't have the long summer daylight. Must be back at the barn by 7:30, 7:00, 6:30, each week, losing a bit more daylight until there's none at all by December. Oh quit your moaning, Lisa, skijoring season will be here soon enough!

I've avoided house work all day, thus far. Harley gives me a great excuse to not get chores done at home. No trip to the barn is less than 4 hours. I too am being pokey, but I'll at least get the equine laundry (pads, girths, flymask) done!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

It was an epic ride...

Yesterday was my longest day in the saddle since my trip counselor days at Catherine Capers! We were out for 4 hours, accompanied by John on his mountain bike for part of the ride. Harley behaved beautifully with only a few sudden stops (turkeys in the puckerbrush, a couple of low-flying broad winged hawks,  and a loose dog circling him). My brave steed even crossed the bridge with me aboard! I rode him most of the way on a loose rein, and even found the gumption to ride a little without stirrups. As you can see from some of the pictures, I could stand to spend A LOT of time without stirrups! 

I admit to being a bit cranky before the ride (bugs and heat). But my choices were trail riding, or a lesson with John--I chose the easy option. Even though it was hot and sticky, we had a great time.Well, at least I did, until the end. John and I missed our connection to switch riders (he was at one location, I at another). Twice, I turned back when I heard a vehicle coming down the road, but it wasn't John. So I rode the entire way home while John was madly cycling back up the trail, thinking Harley might have dashed off leaving me in the woods. And since we only had one phone between us (on me), there was no way of contacting each other.

John's got dibs with Harley for Wednesday and Thursday! We went shopping for a new phone for John after our ride, and as a contingency plan, John suggested we carry chalk to write messages on the road crossings if necessary. Brilliant! Especially since cell phone reception can be spotty where we ride.