Sunday, April 7, 2013

A fine spring ride

By midday, it finally warmed up enough to counter the non-stop wind we've experienced most of the winter. Today was no exception with whirling dervishes of leaves making Harley jumpy. When he's like that, I'm glad to get off the road and into the woods.

The ride began with a challenging crossing--water with ice breaking under foot. Rolex was NOT keen to go forward, nor was Harley, but they both jumped it with room to spare. We headed out towards Jepson Farm but took a detour up through the logged woods, following skidder trails until they petered out at a swamp. The staging area road was a quagmire, not worth riding on unless you wanted to risk having the shoes sucked off! We headed back up to where I'd seen a trail leading into the woods that appeared to be clear of ancient barbed wire. It came out right where I expected--on the trail to the Jepson Farm. We rode around the quarry where the trotting was quite nice, although Harley got in a nice bit of cantering. The road is hard as concrete by summer, but nice and soft in the spring.

A wicked cool tree--and a little spooky too!
John wanted to explore the trails that lead out to Route 9, but a fallen tree forced us to turn around. Just like the children's rhyme, Going On a Lion Hunt, we "couldn't go over it, couldn't go under it, and couldn't even get around it (thick helmock growth)! We tried heading down another side trail, but it dead ended. Rolex turned around and decided to bushwhack back to the trail, but got a little stuck in small saplings. Harley found a better route, and she leaped over mud and water to catch up to him. Of course, that meant the race was on as Harley pranced and danced, especially when she passed him! Ooh boy, I thought, keep your wits about you and your butt in the saddle, Lisa!

We made it back to the quarry road and continued down the trail out to Cheney Woods Rd. This is always flooded, but right now, the puddles are more like lakes, with knee deep water. Both Harley and Rolex splashed on through without a hitch. The ice floes in the middle made it a little tricky to get around, but both managed bravely. We ambled down Cheney Woods Rd. until the dirt gave way to pavement, then we backtracked at which point, the horses knew they were headed home. By now we'd definitely taken the edge off. Harley was finally relaxed enough for me to drop my stirrups and ride on the buckle. You can see that last bit of snow on the right side of the road. It may be gone by the end of the week.

The trail back to North Point is usually good for trotting and cantering, but I didn't want to get Harley too wound up. I decided to ride him with the snaffle today. I'm not sure if he behaves any different compared to the bitless, but he does grind his teeth more. Does it make him more anxious, or is he just taking advantage of having it present? In both bridles, when he's ready to go, he sticks his nose up and evades the bit and the pressure from the bitless. Hmmmm....the good thing is, my brakes work better with the snaffle, should he get going!

On the last leg home through the woods, I got in a nice little jump over our favorite fallen birch. Harley always seems to clear it in style with a nice little canter away. Both horses had calmed after nearly 2 hours on the trail. It was a good training ride for this summer. Tomorrow....where shall we go?

Rolex looking cute with her shortened locks

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