Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Wild wooly weekend riding

Three red horses.
I feel so lucky today. I got in my fourth ride in four days--a new record for November riding, I think! Granted, it was a short jaunt today. After work, we dropped off John's car for repair and dashed out to the barn as the sun was beginning to set. I whistled up the horses and began brushing the mud off Harley, sending an immense amount of dust into the air. All the horses had a layer of mud pasted on their coats, even our Miss Neatkins, Ruffy. In fact, she was the worst! John witnessed mud flying off her as she gave a post-roll shake this morning. Donning our blaze orange vests, we rode up the power line, whistling, talking loudly, and singing in hopes of scaring off any hidden deer. By the time we emerged back on the road at the Orris Falls trail head, the sun was gone. I felt like I cheated old Man November today--an afternoon ride after 4 p.m. Hah!

This past Friday was a short work day. I hustled out to the barn so I could get in a ride before dark and get the stalls done. Harley hadn't been ridden for over a week and was full of himself. Oh, it's cold and windy, and I'm feeling spooky! Yup, we'd barely made it up the road before he pulled his wheel and spin moves. I know what to expect when he's like this, so I jumped off and led him up the road until we reached the woods--it's just easier and safer. Without shoes, he's still a little touchy, so I avoided gravel and rocky trails, but I think even the acorns bothered him. I let him just walk, although he got in a springy jog here and there when we turned for home, head in the air like a giraffe, jumping at squirrels dashing through the leaves.

Saturday proved to be a better ride. Consistency is what Harley needs. I decided to tackle the same route up the road. This time he only hesitated a bit, but I kept urging him forward with seat and legs as we pranced past the scary goats. I don't think he will ever warm up to those strange bleating four-legged creatures peering at him from inside their dim barn. We did the same loop in reverse--just to keep it interesting and a little challenging for my wimpy boy. He was happy to be home where he could see his girls, and nibble on grass.

Here's Harley give Rolex love bites in the sunset...they have a funny relationship!

John and I took Rolex and Harley on another loop ride Sunday, but this time, I tried using a pair of Easyboot Trail boots on Harley's front feet. He seemed to go much better with a lot less mincing. Because he overreaches, I've ordered a test set of Easyboot Gloves to try. His way of going might damage the rear Velcro closures on the Trails, and the Gloves appear to have a snugger fit. Any fit tips or boot opinions from my fellow bloggers would be welcome.

Harley had a repeat spook, similar to last week's when the runner popped out of the woods. This time, I have no idea what he saw, or heard--a squirrel, a turkey, deer, a big rock? But suddenly, he whirled left, crashed through some saplings, causing Rolex to spin and run too. Gotta love how this always happens as you're on a loose rein with a bitless bridle! Poor John was bent over trying to adjust something when all hell broke loose. Yee-haaaa and hang on tight! Oh my, poor Harley.... Thankfully, the only injuries were a scratch on John's face a weal on my cheek. Lacrosse masks--that's what we really need.

After we got home, John still had time to tack up Ruffy and take her for a little ride too. She was a good girl, glad to not see moose, deer, turkeys, or get tangled in any brush. Her idea of perfect terrain is a nice open field where she can build up good speed on smooth footing--our turf mare!

She's such a sweet girl--I can't resist snapping shots of her lovely head, despite all the "trail tack" she's wearing.

And then we've got Buster--look at the neck on that horse! See what neck muscles a hardened cribber develops? Refined loveliness above, neck like a Belgian below. Oh Harley---get off the fence!

I'd love to know how to stop this and yet it may be something he needs to do when eating (he'd been noshing on some grass at the time). It's certainly not a vice he has from being cooped up and bored since they spend all day, and most nights (spring through fall) outdoors. Some speculate it helps buffer stomach acid, and releases endorphins. Yes, I've got a cribbing strap, but how effective is it and does it do more harm than good? Right now, it sits up in the loft, collecting dust.


  1. Love that you beat the sunset for some good, chilly rides. Sorry about your faces in the branches - those sneaky squirrels. Yes, masks - we all need them if we ride in the woods. My mom says someone at her barn used to wear a football helmet to ride back in the sixties.

    I don't have cribbers, but Pie's neck looks like that - too chubby for his own good, my Pie. I'm with you though about the need to do it. Especially if it isn't caused from boredom. My boys chomp on trees out on our rides a few times a year. I think it has to do with minerals. Anyway, I believe the endorphin reasoning - if I had cribbers I don't think I would use the strap either.

  2. Are you ready for the Nor'easter coming? I hope so! Loved your post as usual. I know about those mysterious spooks. Sure makes you feel better if you actually know what is scaring them. I think they see things so differently--their eyes are so unlike our own, that I wonder of just a hint of a sunbeam can look suspicious to them. I am going to look into Easy Boots again. What is that Glove that you mention, I wonder? I understand totally how even a wee acorn can cause trouble. Absolutely wonderful that you are getting so much riding in! Your pictures reveal love and joy.


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