January 20, 2014

Our Own Hunter Pace

I hope I never get used to beautiful 56 degree and sunny days in January. I hope you never get sick of me bragging about them :) Coming from the Arctic North where a day above 0 degrees Fahrenheit was a heat wave, every sunshine filled day here in the South is like a gift. Ask me in August if I still feel this way :)

I think I have made more adult like and mature decisions in the past 6 months than in the previous 31.5 years. Ick. But that is life and so instead of heading to the hunter pace I so desperately longed for, we headed to the local trail head instead. And saved about $250. And still had fun.

Gemmie needed a mental break badly. She has been so good on our solo trail rides, but I can tell she needed time to zone out. Pete hadn't been off the farm in over 2 months and he needed it as well, so we planned for a sitter for W for the morning and headed out together. Gem has had some issues getting on the trailer lately and I braced myself for trouble, but once she saw that Pete was onboard she marched on in happily without a second thought. Poor mare just really doesn't like going alone.

The trail head was pretty empty with only 2 other trailers when we pulled up. We hit the green (hubby says it is blue) trail in the proper direction since the hubby hadn't been that way and Pete just about tore off the hubby's arm. He took off down the field at his super trot and poor Gemmie had to canter to barely keep up. She really isn't a fast horse. We flew through the first mile and hit the woods and the hubs asked if I could go out in front to give him a break from holding Pete back. We moved in front and immediately slammed into Gem's 0.5 mph leader pace. She takes leading so seriously and has to make sure nothing could be a potential threat. It is pretty annoying. Pete hates being behind her and bites her butt the whole time to get her moving. We didn't last long in the lead.

Pete leading the way along the access road
I get to look at Pete and Hubby butt on most of our rides

It did cause Pete to chill out and get his brain back in order which was good. He was just so excited to be out and about. Gem was huffing like a freight train by the end of mile 2 (which we reached in just under 15 minutes - a real endurance pace). Pete was super sweaty and I could smell Gem sweat as well and we were early on in the ride. Time to chill for a little. It is always interesting to see when Pete asks to walk versus fly. He loves to fly through the woods especially if it is twisting and turning and usually is happy to walk the straight and open parts.

We wandered along the access road giving them a breather and then headed back into the woods again. As soon as Pete saw the twisting trail he asked to trot and off we went again. Gem got tired of trotting and picked up a nice smooth canter instead which I enjoyed. She is very good at switching her leads on trail herself to make turns.

Selfie :)
Back into the woods we go!

An already tired Gemmie
We wound our way through the woods, up and down the hills and around the turns with Pete in the lead with ears forward and having fun and Gemmie grumbling under her breath. I do love her. We made it to the track around the lake and the breeze coming off the lake coupled with the loss of the sun behind the hills made it a bit brisk. The trail was too tight and steep to trot, so we walked a got a bit chilled.

But we were soon back up out of the woods and onto an access road once more. I was having a lot of fun and didn't worry about my saddle moving at all. It was great!! At one point Gem started to really lag behind. I think she actually dozed off while walking because Pete started to trot off and she kept barely walking. Usually she picks up after him right away. He got a little ways ahead and out of site down a steep bank and she finally perked up and panicked. She took off at a canter forgetting to mind her feet and went crashing down the hill stumbling over the roots and a full out canter. I was laughing at her.

The hubs turned around and started laughing at poor Gem trying to catch up. He agreed that she must have dozed off walking down the trail! He then remarked "well if the saddle didn't move forward after all that, it never will" and you know what? It didn't budge!!!!!! I can't express how awesome that is!

Back out onto an access road under a brilliantly blue sky

Selfie #2

We enjoyed the nice wide access road and passed by a couple hikers. I had stopped paying attention to the trail marker a long time before because I was in the back enjoying my own mental break and figured the hubs was doing the job. I recognized the trail from our last time out, but we were doing it backwards this time. We came out of the access trail to a trail map and couldn't find anymore green (blue) makers. Only yellow ones (which designate either a short cut or extension but no way to differentiate from the two since both are the same). I recognized the parking lot and trail map but couldn't recall where to go, so we took the yellow trail.

It turns out that the reason I recognized this map was because I had gotten lost there on my shorter rides before and turned around to go back at that point. We had missed the trail coming off the access road at some point. This yellow trail was a short cut which took probably a mile or so off the ride, but we knew where we were and the horses were doing well so we didn't have the heart to turn them around.

By this point Pete was enjoying being off the access road and into the woods again and picked up his trot. Gem had lost interest and stopped paying attention to her feet and just went crashing down the trail tripping over every root and rock possible. I was worried she was going to hurt herself and so we plowed ahead of Pete to slow down and made it back to the trailer in one piece.

I thought for sure Gem was used up and sooo tired.

A SUPER sweaty Pete after a great ride
Super, super sweaty

Pete was caked in sweat. There is a hose at the parking lot and we debated hosing him down. 56 is warm, but not warm enough for me to feel comfortable hosing my horse off in cold water, so we loaded up to let him dry and then the hubs groomed him super well back home to get all the crusty salt off.

I untacked Gem:

Ummm...where is the sweat?
Sigh. Seriously like no sweat on her at all. Her chest was a little damp. That's it. And she was acting like she was ready to fall over. I don't push her hard enough. At all. If I wasn't against others doing my work for me, I'd look at sending her out for a month or two at a training facility to whip her in shape. Its all mental for her. And that makes it mental for me. That girl is going to start sweating!!!

1 comment:

  1. Glad your new saddle is working out for you . A.J.