|Halawa Moon--my best boy!|
After our last episode with the goats, I decided that rather than start off the ride with an obstacle, we'd take the easier route and face the goats at the end, when we were nearly home and he had no option but to walk past them. So we headed out the Orris Falls trail. With the sun shining, a wind blowing, and not too much heat, it was nearly perfect. Harley stopped when a mountain biker came skidding down the mud--his first mountain biker of the season. But he moved forward easily. It wasn't until the biker turned around and came up behind him through the mud that Harley spooked. And of course, that was right at the moment when I was riding on a loose rein, listening to the birds, and singing to Harley (his favorite--Oh, Harley was a racehorse....) There's a reason he likes to watch his back trail. You never know what might sneak up on you!
With the ground soft and forgiving, we had a couple of nice trots. He was eager to go, especially when we turned left up towards Big Bump. I think he thought, Oh good, we're heading home. But rather than going down the power line, we continued on to the Savage's land where we have to pass all kinds of spooky stuff in their drive: snowmobile trailer, tractor, woods piles with blowing tarps, a canoe, and worst of all--a deer (target)! Harley's convinced it's real. At the bottom of the driveway, he pulled his stunt--pulling to the left to go home. I should have seen it coming. The only thing to do is circle him and continue on (then he's Mr. Grumpypants) until he relents and steps out.
We rode up towards North Point, but rather than heading towards civilization, I decided to keep us in the wilds, crossing brooks, watching for turkeys, etc. I rode a nice little loop which included a lovely canter and a little jump over our favorite fallen birch. Since Harley has had little schooling over fences, he sometimes heaves over things a bit awkwardly. So I reminded myself, the old mantra: Head up, heels down, look forward (not down)! He handled it nicely and then trotted through a pair of nature's cavaletti, a couple of downed birches laying over the trail--he got a big pat for all that! My good birthday boy!
|Rough & Ready--our jumper girl|
|Rolex Girl--our baby girl|
John met me out at the barn after work and I got in my second ride of the day. He rode Ruffy and I rode Roley Girl. This was the first time we'd taken the girls out without Harley along. For all his foibles, he does redeem himself by "jump-starting" the girls when they stop to look at things they are unsure about. Unless Harley's in terror (ie. goats), he will usually go forward without too much fuss. So there we were--trying to get our girls to move forward down the trail. It went something like this: stop--logs, stop--mud, stop--water, stop--??, who knows why?
Riding Rolex is SO different from Harley, both in build and way of going. For one thing, she's much narrower. Secondly, she has a cat-like quality going up and downhill. Her balance and athleticism is amazing on tricky terrain. Unlike many OTTB's she picked up quickly how to maneuver on steep, slippery footing. Watch and observe, Harley! She's not very keen about walking through water and would rather jump a ditch than mess her pretty toes. She caught me off guard as I was trying to get a dead branch out of the way--whoops, lost my stirrup as she leaped! Ruffy, on the other hand, likes to jump any obstacle in her path--brooks, ditches, logs, stone walls, etc. John has a jumper on his hands!
We had an awesome ride. Hopefully, we can sneak in another Saturday evening. Rain returns Sunday, bringing colder weather with night time temperatures back in the twenties. Mother Nature is reminding us it's barely spring. The heat wave was only a teaser!
|The whole gang|