Sunday, February 5, 2012

Into the woods at last!

What do you think, Harley?
Despite the cold weather, and non-melting icy snow, we finally ventured into the woods. The snow has settled enough that it's not much more than hoof-deep, except where the horses have to clamber over the roadside snowbanks. 

The fillies and Harley had a pre-ride tear around the pasture with Harley giving little bucks, and Rolex Girl slipping onto her side and sliding a good 6 feet on her blanket. She looked like she was sliding into home plate! Athletic girl that she is, she jumped right back up on her feet and kept coming. I thought, "Oh boy, this could be an interesting ride". 

Harley stepped right out, giving little shuddering spooks at salt stains on the road, stumps in the woods, on other ridiculous things--always a sign he's feeling good. Roley, brave, level-headed soul that she is, kept Harley on an even keel. Yesterday's ride....well, we won't even discuss it! Enough to say it was rather a disaster without one of our baby girls along for poor Harley.

We encountered frozen water and icy swales. Roley Girl wasn't so sure she should try and cross, but Harley, showing his brave side, crunched his way across with a little leap. Turkey and deer tracks crossed our path, but no sign of critters, or other riders.

Rolex Girl thinking, You want me to cross that?
The dirt road out to North Point was pretty icy, so we jumped off and walked the horses, letting them find their balance and footing without the hindrance of our weight. Out at North Point, Roley and Harley had a gander at the horses in the fields, but none approached the fence line. We continued walking down the dirt road past the stables, marveling at how soft the road  was--better than in the summer when in turns to hard pan. The afternoon sun hits the road just right, melting off the snow and icy and softening the road bed.  We stopped for a couple of photos before getting back on and heading back into the woods.

Equine terror--can you see the whites of his eyes?
Roley and Harley handled the frozen brook well.  We did reach a point on the trail where we had to dismount and lead them down an ice flow, hugging the crusty snow on the edge in order to maintain grip. Harley did a stellar job here, but once he realized how close to home he was, I had a hard time holding him back as he bulldozed his way into the hemlock and puckerbrush. He was thinking like a typical Yankee--shortest distance between two points is a straight line--and he didn't care how many saplings he had to crash through to get there!. I finally dragged him to a halt and we remounted. The next obstacle; a toppled tree top forming an A-shape to pass under. Harley's done this a gazillion times, but today's ride was a lot of new stuff for Roley Girl. She wasn't so sure about it. John urged her forward and she scooted under, tucking her tail. Harley thought this meant it was a race for home and surged forward as well, prancing behind Rolex, tossing his head, and hoping I'd give him enough rein for a mad dash. Not so, my boy! He was good the rest of the way home, even leading the way past the scary spot: baaahing sheep, horses in the woods, a scary boulder still by the side of the road, and a spooky neighbor who lives in the woods. 
Rolex Girl, home from the forest


  1. Oh, Roley is soooo lovely in that last photo - Wow - she is gorgeous.

    You and John are brave ones - and smart. I like that you dismount to let them figure out their balance without people on board.

    So glad you held them back - racing in ice would not be fun. Glad it was a better ride today!

    1. And even better today! It was 50 with bright sunshine--had a great ride!

  2. Lovely blog! I'm looking forward to reading more.

  3. Another great ride! Winter riding sure has its perks! Don't you think it is so cute when horses eye the ground carefully where they are about to walk? It sounds like you know your terrain really well. That certainly helps, doesn't it? I hope your adventures continue.

  4. What a fun ride. Isn't it funny how boulders look like crouching lions? LOL!! Laz too will stare at a big rock/boulder just convinced it's going to spring and eat him.


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