Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Fresh hay and a new trail

This is the chore I faced on Monday afternoon--unloading and stacking 145 bales of hay into the barn loft. I wanted to get going on this project before riding, especially since it was after three o'clock.  But when I got to the barn--no John, no Rolex, no Harley, and no saddle! Hmmm...so I called John. He had the two horses down at Orris Falls and was "warming them up" so I needed to get ready to ride--the hay would have to wait. It was a perfect summer day, and we didn't want to miss out riding in such splendid weather. With low humidity, a cool breeze, and temperatures only in the 70's, my saddle beckoned and John had me convinced to ride. He didn't think unloading the hay would take too long...

Here's Harley, "worn out" from trying to keep up with Rolex. She's got a swinging step and my little guy (he's only 15.2) has to jog constantly when tagging behind Rolex.

There's nothing like arriving at the barn and having your horse brushed, tacked, warmed up, and ready to go.
And no, he wasn't worn out, just warmed up and , as it turns out, feeling good! We rode up the power line and then hooked up onto a rather new trail we just discovered (without snow cover) on Sunday. The terrain only looked familiar in some places; where a stonewall intersected the land, a familiar slope or grove of trees. But it was different enough for me to call it a new "discovery". The trail loops off the Big Bump Trail in the Orris Falls preserve, and thus far, offers excellent footing for speed!

John took Ruffy up this same trail earlier in the day and had a nice canter. She likes open trails, which this one is--not a lot of close brush clipping her hind end and making her panic. And the openness allows the breezes to penetrate the woods, thus reducing the number of bugs!

I hope this trail remains less traveled by hikers and bikers, ensuring good footing for a time. Once the traffic picks up, the trails erode and become rocky.

Harley took the lead for a time, only because Rolex wanted to rub her sweaty head against his flank. But once out there, and headed in the direction of home, he put on his brave face. This trail would be the perfect place to come across deer--a guaranteed spook in our future. We had a close encounter with a deer on Saturday's ride. Harley wheeled left, then stopped. But by the time we turned around, the deer was long gone, blending into the dappled woodland.
I didn't dally too long taking pictures since my day was far from over. 145 bales were waiting...

New woodland trail
After we bathed and turned out the horses, it was time to tackle the hay conveyor. This behemoth must have weighed 200+ pounds. With only the two of us to get it out of the 2nd story loft (yes, not the lower loft, the upper loft), it took nearly an hour to push, pull, and rig up a rope Z-drag to get it down. With John on the hay wagon and loading the conveyor, and me upstairs stacking, we finally got the whole load done and cleaned up around 8:30 p.m. We were both bushed, but happy to have the first load stacked and stored for winter.

My portion of the work--stacked bales
By the time we rolled out of the barnyard, the horses had moved down into the field, happily munching in belly-deep grass. Goodnight gang--see you in the morning.


  1. when I saw that first photo, my eyes almost popped out of my head! WOW, that is a lot of hay to handle! How exciting really to feel so rich with yummy food. And so prickly and backbreaking too--much nicer to have a groom and a tacked up horse. We have been having some beautiful riding weather. we riders must take great advantage of it. Your trails look so inviting too. Hard to resist. Sounds like John has quite the good head on his shoulders. That picture of your little Harley dragging behind! What a dear!

  2. That new trail looks lovely.
    And stacking hay is one thing I don't miss about keeping horses myself.

  3. Coolio Trail, Looks Heavenly And Inviting. Glad Its More Open For Rolex. WA Mare Is The Same...If There Is A Jig In Her, Its When The Trail Touches Her!

    Nice Looking Hay!! Do You Put It On Pallets? That Was Quite The
    Day...Can't Complain With It Having A Horse Husband Hand You A Warmed Up Horse!! John You Rock!

    1. No, the hay isn't on pallets, but wooden strips lay over the loft floor, allowing for air space.
      Yes, poor Ruffy likes open trails with NOTHING touching her hind feet, legs, tail etc. I think she's had some bad experiences, maybe in a loading gate at the track. She's got some scarring on one hind leg, poor baby girl. I'm so glad John took her home.


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