Monday, July 2, 2012

A ride with dogs and frogs

Harley enjoying the view
We didn't get the early start we had hoped on Sunday. But that's what happens, you sit around sipping coffee, reading a book, or other people's horse blogs. And next thing you know it's after 9 a.m. John thought about going to the tack shop first, but I said, "Let's beat the heat and get in our ride!"

Since the horses (and us) seemed low on energy, it was a good day for some trail trimming. Armed with his nippers in his scabbard, John did an awesome job cutting back many annoying limbs--you know, the ones right around eyeball level that thwack you in the face? Rolex stood remarkably well while branches rained down around her. She even decided to nibble on a few. Harley didn't seem to mind the branches either, but I think it's because he was proving to Rolex how brave he could be. Although I know otherwise! I jokingly ask John all the time, "Is it the look of eagles, or chickens?"

We rode out to Jepson Farm, an area we haven't been to in a long time. All the water from our torrential spring seems to have gone down leaving gooey black muck. Harley tried to pull his stunt at the brook crossing, wheeling around and heading for home. I needed our girl Rolex to prove to him that it wasn't a bottomless bog. The trails have some excellent footing, but Rolex had a stiff hock and we didn't want to push her. Plus it was too dang hot! The bugs were annoying and I think both horses had sweated off most of the fly dope. I need to mix up enough to put in a small container to carry with us for re-application on the trail.
Am I killing a fly, or smacking Harley? I think I was patting him.

We rode out along the quarry. Sundays are always good because there's no blasting going on. I'm not sure how Harley would react to that! When I led summer camp trips in Vermont, we had to listen for the whistle in the slate quarries we passed by. Most of them were long abandoned, filled with water which made inviting looking pools. But we'd been warned never to swim in them since that's where most of the junked equipment landed. I always think about those quarries when we ride past this one in Wells, Maine. Here, they once quarried granite, I believe. This one is now full of water--I have no idea how deep it is. The main work now is all in an adjacent quarry, fenced off and nearly out of sight except from the road.
Rolex peering up the trail to the quarry
Rolex led the way part of the time, letting Harley lollygag and not pay attention. He only noticed when she stepped out a little too far ahead and he needed to jog to catch up. But he likes it when someone else takes on the responsibility of making sure everything is safe up ahead.

When it came to wading through some scum-covered water on the flooded roadbed, Harley bravely waded on through despite the fact that he couldn't see what was under his feet. Thankfully, it's fairly rocky footing, rather than deep muck--it just looks nasty with the pollen-scummed surface. The poor,  much-maligned Harley does redeem himself at moments like these!

Cheney Woods Road has now hardened to the consistency of concrete. The summer sun has baked it dry reminding me of Vermont's hardpan dirt roads in summer. Turning for home towards North Point, we encountered a couple of loose dogs. I didn't even see them, but suddenly, Harley whirled around and headed back up the trail. I caught a glimpse of the dogs when I pulled him up. That set the pace for the rest of the ride home--he was on full alert now!

Riding along the road to North Point, I saw something green gleaming in a strange hue among the foliage along a brook. It seemed a weird shade of green--unnatural. And I soon realized why! Behold, a grinning stone frog stared back at Harley! He probably thought, "See, I'm right. Stones do come to life sometimes!"

Stone Frog

And for a closer view:

He's watching you, Harley!

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