John escaped early from work on Saturday leaving us enough time to get in a ride. That extra hour of daylight gives us the edge we working folks need to squeeze in some spring riding. We did the Lollipop Loop ride with a little side detour past Orris Falls. The rushing water reverberated against the chasm walls, making Harley and Rolex veer away from the path along the edge. When we reach the headwaters at the beaver pond, the waters rang with peepers calling. I said to John, "Do you hear that?" It's a sound that makes me smile every spring. As I was closing up the barn, I heard another sound of spring, male woodcocks giving their "bzzzzt" call and spiraling whistle. Oh, and the fillies came into heat. Yup, spring has definitely sprung here!
|Our Roley Girl|
Sunday's ride was to be our first long ride; a good training jaunt with lots of hills and water crossings. Harley and Rolex were full of themselves, raring to go, so once we got onto the Orris Falls Trail, we let them work out the kinks with some nice trotting. Everyone and their grandmother was out and about on Sunday, enjoying the fine weather. Couples with dogs, a troop of boys with a couple of men, then a troop of girls with a couple of women--Cub Scouts and Brownies? Rolex hoped they had carrots; Harley watched their walking sticks with a wary eye.
You can see a little bit of snow behind Rolex--not much left except under the hemlocks and in shady swales. Floating icebergs dotted the many vernal pools we passed. John, equipped with his hand saw (in scabbard on saddle) was prepared to trim back limbs, if necessary. And given our horses' rowdy tendencies, he humored me by deigning to wear his helmet. Brain buckets are a good thing when riding flighty horses--thank you, John!
Once out on Emery's Bridge Rd. we headed towards our link that takes us up to Bennett Lot Rd. The ride down Emery's Bridge can always prove interesting, especially on a fine spring day when the ponies are prancing. There were barking dogs, water gardens with gushing water, and fluttering balloons on a mailbox. Rolex, our curious girl, approached these with caution, but was keen to investigate. Harley, under the guise of following suit, did the same, then jumped sideways which, of course, so did Rolex. Mr. Spookypants is not always a good influence on the girls!
|Harley at Bennett Lot Rd.|
By the time we reached Bennett Lot Rd. I was beginning to regret wearing a long-sleeved flannel shirt! And full-seat, black breeches were not the right choice either. Not only was the color absorbing all the heat, but the full-seat material was making them even hotter! Thinking I might have to jump off occasionally, I'd also worn my winter boots. Sure was glad to have those fuzzy warm boots keeping my toes toasty!
Approaching Bennett Lot Rd., Rolex let out a whinny. Both horses had their ears up and kept looking off to the right. We heard voices out on the road, but not until we cleared the woods did we see them on horseback. Rolex and Harley thought this was great--friends out here! Both eagerly headed out to see who was out there. They are such herd creatures, it's fun to watch their behaviour when meeting new equine friends. The riders were from Lyman Hill Farm out for a spring ride like us. The owner, aboard a happy Appy, said they had just left and inquired about the trail conditions. Her friend, with St. Elmo's Fire, aka Elmo, made friends with Harley. I imagine their conversation that goes like this:
"Hi, how are you? Where did you come from?
"I live up the street. Where do you live?"
"Have you seen anyone else out here?"
"No. There are lots of people and dogs, but no other horses."
"Hey, what do you think of all that mud? Can you believe they want me to walk through that?"
"Have fun, but watch out for the balloons!"
|Harley and Elmo having an equine conversation|
We did a loop up around the Norman Mill Trail, saving further exploration for a later date. It was going to be a 2 hour plus ride, enough for today. Naturally, once Harley realized we were heading home, his pace picked up making the return trip a bit quicker. We passed a pond full of brrrping frogs--another indicator of Spring's arrival. Rolex, our unflappable filly, was spooked by a mourning dove flying up into the trees. This sent Harley sideways as well. What can you do but laugh--our silly guys. Rolex still doesn't care for large mucky puddles or water, so when she trotted up to a trail-wide mud hole, she put on the brakes and waited for Harley to go first. He redeems himself all the time when he "shows her" it's okay to go through muck. That's my good boy!
The weather forecast is calling for more warm weather, so tomorrow--the beige breeches, the paddock boots, and a lighter shirt!