Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Wild, windy weather for a ride

Rolex on the Lollipop Loop
May is here, but with April's showers. I can't complain--we still need the rain, and I'd rather have that than brush fires, especially given the amount of woods surrounding the place where ouir horses are boarded. So we'll probably miss out on riding this week, and due to the chilly temperatures, the horses may be inside a lot, but we will welcome the rain.

We went for a lovely 4 hour ride on Sunday while we still had perfect weather--cool, windy, and bright sun. Our plan was to head over the Mt. Agamenticus region. It was a perfect day for a walk in the woods, or so everyone thought, judging by the number of people out with their kids and dogs, enjoying the day.

Rolex has a nice walk, when she feels like going first, which is only when we're heading home. She doesn't mind leading for a bit, but then she just stops, turns her head back to Harley as if to say, "O.K., it's your turn to lead the way."
Harley then plods to the front, ears now pricked, swinging his head left and right, scoping out the woods for scary monsters, or hikers that appear out of nowhere. It's funny how they always know when we've reached the turnaround point and are headed home--their radar kicks in and the pace picks up! Rolex's race training returns too--she doesn't want Harley to pass and pins her ears at him, baring her teeth. Me first, me first!

We rode out the Lollipop Loop and through the Bennett Lot cut-off to the Norman Mill Trail. This is our closest access to Mt. Agamenticus. These out-lying trails get a lot less foot traffic than the summit-circling trails near the mountain's access road and parking area. You're more likely to encounter an ATV or mountain biker than a hiker.

Harley & Rolex at the boardwalks
Rolex had her first encounter with the "bridge". This is a fairly wide (think ATV worthy) bridge, but it does cross a rushing book and has a drop-off if you were to go over the edge (there's no railings). So I put good old Harley out front and, amazingly, he stepped right out. Bear in mind, he hasn't seen this bridge since last fall, so he got big pats from me! Rolex, showing her trust in John and Harley, bravely followed.  On the Porcupine Trail, we encountered the boardwalks, which could easily be ridden around. But it's good experience for the horses to go over these as well. Once again, Harley showed Rolex how to do it and she followed. Big pats AND carrots for all!

Up near Second Hill  we encountered our first people since leaving the Orris Falls area. Rolex and Harley both spooked when suddenly people appeared in the woods. They act like deer out there--haven't seen humans for hours, yikes, what are those 2-legged things? Often, hikers will go off the trail, into the woods allowing us to pass, but I always think that makes them seem scarier--lurking along the trail edge. These folks asked if it was okay to pass the horses, and we laughingly told them it was fine. The horses were just surprised, not scared of people.We skipped clambering up to the summit of Second Hill, but this was a good training/conditioning ride for the horses, and me! Four hours requires me to drop my stirrups a number of times, and this is good for my seat and balance.

Yesterday, everybody received their spring shots and had Coggins tests done. By the time the vet was finished, we had time for a little ride. First, we warmed up in the ring area, popping over fences John had constructed. Then we took Harley and Ruffy for a short jaunt in the woods.

Now, we just wait out the rain...


  1. One day you are going to be bopping along on Lollipop Loop and you will find a curious paint mare inspecting them! They look too good to ignore! We will sneak onto your property and surprise you! We have rain too. It makes the day feel kind of sad...even though we welcome the moisture.

  2. Ooou, neat boardwalk like bridge there. Those can be scarey sometimes...if animals suddenly fly out or if they are not maintained.

    Glad your 4 hour went so nicely!! How many miles do you make in that amount of time??Great conditioning!

    1. Not sure of the distance--mabye around 13 or 14 miles? Since it's early in the season, and all are barefoot, it's mostly walking. The boardwalk is great training, but yes, we need to be sure it's horse-worthy!


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