Sunday, September 2, 2012

Long rides for a long weekend

Saturday, while most people were doing their back to school shopping, or sitting at the New Hampshire tolls, trying to get to Maine for their last summer vacation, I was out in the woods aboard my Gnarley Harley. Actually, he was pretty good. Whenever he's alone, Harley is prone to more spooks, but I'm used to it now and just go with the flow, or the sideways shudder as is more often the case.

Harley watching, ears on the alert
I decided it was such a nice day, not too hot with a good breeze blowing, we should do a long loop. So we headed out to Jepson Farm and the quarry. Their are some nice places for good trots and canters, but a I have to admit, we did a lot of walking. This time of year, acorns are plopping down, and robin flocks flit through the woods. All this makes you know who a little twitchy! Loud crashing usually means deer, and loud leaf rustling could be turkeys or oversized grey squirrels--all which can be scary to the lone horse!

As we emerged from the woods, something scurried in the underbrush, possible a rabbit, and that sent him sideways. I made him walk past the derelict scary snowmobile, slowly being eaten up by wild grapes. I think he's afraid the grapes will get him too. I wanted to take a picture of the abandoned house. It reminds me of a childhood book, The Little One by Dare Wright, author of The Lonely Doll series. This book had a different doll. A turtle finds her and leads her out of an abandoned house and she goes and lives in the woods with two bears. Anyway, long story short, I always love exploring places like this, but Harley was not so keen on the idea!

Jepson Homestead

The road past the quarry can be hot and buggy on a still day, but with the nice breeze blowing, it was nearly bug free--hurrah! I expected to run into ATVs out on such a gorgeous day, but we had the entire road and trails to ourselves.
Quarry road
I wonder if Mr. Little Ears is exhausted after keeping them alert for an hour and 45 minutes? In fact, his ears are so little, his headnet flops around his ears as you can see in the picture. I was optimistic this day and rode him in the bitless bridle and didn't bring a crop (for the occasional "I'm stuck in revers" moment). All I carried was my camera, hoof pick, carrot bites, and a maple branch fly whisk. We had a couple of nice jumps, including the one were I took a tumble back in July, and headed for home and a nice bath.

Sunday, we took the girls for a long ride and left Harley with some hay and down time alone. Our destination, the Norman Mill Trail over near Agamenticus. Ruffy and Rolex are quite the pair. When one stops, so does the other. The sorority sisters agree they should stick together no matter what. So this leads to much urging and a smack to get one moving forward. It's not always an obstacle they are spooking at, just a decision to turn around and go home instead. We headed out through the Orris Falls Trail, taking turns leading, first Rolex, then Ruffy. Today was a first--no bug spray!

Ruffy taking the lead
The weather was cool and overcast with slight sprinkles. It was enough to keep most of the deer flies away, although the mosquitoes with a bit bothersome. We ambled down Emery's Bridge Rd. to the Bennett Lot cutoff. Someone had put a rail up, but we figured they could step over it, or at least hop it. No, Rolex decided to just knock it down! Given that it's probably private property, we put it back up behind us. I imagine it's intended to keep ATV riders out (and possibly clumsy equines although it's not posted). Once we reached Bennett Lot Rd. we did a loop around the Norman Mill Tr. and returned the same way. Now that we were headed home, the pace stepped up considerably!

When we reached the top of the Lollipop Loop the gals got keyed up. John thought there might be bees, I think they were just feeding off each other's high spirits and ready to go. After all, they are ex-racehorses, and they were feelin' good!

When we neared the end of the trail, we dismounted and walked them back up the road. At this point, John had fixed Ruffy's Easyboot 3 or 4 times and it was flapping again (worn velcro). The less fancy footwork, the more likely she wouldn't step on it and tear it off. Rolex has grown enough hoof that her boots don't fit right now. We'll have to see if they will after the farrier comes, or if she needs the next size up.

Tomorrow, my last day of the long weekend, is supposed to be beautiful. Another long ride, this time with my boy Harley.

1 comment:

  1. I bet you've breathed a sigh of relief now that temperatures have dropped and the fly population has reduced.
    Hope you enjoy many lovely trail rides this fall


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