Winter Ride #1

winter trail ride

I decided to get my brain in gear and get out and ride. The pull was too strong. I keep seeing ads for shows or events I want to do, and I think to myself, wow, if my horses were in shape, I could go do that. So even though I won’t be able to do the event in two weeks, I could still maybe do an event in 4 weeks. The days will be getting longer, and warmer, and I will definitely feel more motivated when that happens, but there’s no reason I shouldn’t start now.

So, with that burst of motivation pushing me forward, I hooked up my trailer and took Vintage and Berry out to meet D’Arcy for a ride.

When I first arrived, it was cold. Cold, as in, somewhere in the 30’s. I can’t remember the last time I rode below 40 degrees, so it felt cold. There was a bit of wind, and that made it uncomfortable. My first thoughts were how much I was regretting this excursion already… but when I was a teenager, I rode in all sorts of weather, and I would always tell myself, “the temperature doesn’t matter! I won’t even feel it once I’m riding!” This is mostly true, and also, I was wearing my giant hunter princess coat, which kept me super warm.

Part of the reason to ride in the cold is just for the chance to wear this coat. It doesn't get nearly enough use.
Part of the reason to ride in the cold is just for the chance to wear this coat. It doesn’t get nearly enough use.

It isn’t quite spread out enough in that shot, but when it lays flat, it rests on Berry’s back like a dress. I feel like a centaur when I wear it… a centaur that also has a horse head. And my legs are so super warm! It’s amazing.

This was the first ride of 2017, and the first time the horses have been ridden in months. We took it easy with them, and just did some w/t/c, and a few of the jumps. Vintage found the barrel jump especially appalling.

barrel jump
The stages of getting Vintage over the barrel.

My main take aways from this ride – Vintage needs to be exposed to more types of jumps, as she also reacted to a gate jump, and I need to get my fitness back. My leg was very loose.

Berry doesn’t care about barrels. She had zero reaction to it, and just went right over it. However, she’s jumping very flat, and really just lifting up her legs more than jumping. She’s not fit though, so I’m going to make that excuse for her. But overall, she was super calm and obedient about everything. With the exception of her lack of fitness, it was as though she hadn’t been out of work at all. I was very pleased with her. She even got some normal distances!

I made this video to make it easier to track our progress this year. It’ll be fun to see how Vintage and Berry (and I) are all doing after getting into shape, and getting back into lessons.

After we rode in the ring for a bit, we went on the trails. There were lots of hills to build up those muscles, and also small mud streams for Berry to get upset about.

What is this horror!?
What is this horror!?

Even though it was cold, I hardly felt it thanks to my amazing jacket. It definitely belongs in the top ten of best jackets I’ve ever purchased! Everyone needs one of these jackets. I’m not even a jacket salesman, I just really likes this jacket.

I survived one day of riding in the cold – now I just need to keep it up! After a few more exercise sessions, I think I’ll be ready to take a lesson and have enough fitness to not feel like I’m wasting my money. I really do need those lessons to keep me moving forward with my riding skills and to give me some focus – it’ll be a huge motivator to take one.

We are serious about our riding.
We are serious about our riding.
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Hunter Pace

riding in the woods

If you’re wondering why I put up posts at a snail’s pace, it’s because I have a new job. It’s a pretty awesome job, but I end up having very little free time. When I get home, I either want to fall asleep, or just become comatose.

Dave, understanding my exhaustion, has been offering to take care of the horses at night. I thought that was pretty great until he said his true purpose: I don’t post enough, and with him taking care of the horses, I should spend the time making a post. I guess that’s still great, it just means I have to use my brain (slightly) instead of going into hibernation mode. I do have some catching up to do, let’s see how fast I can get this all out.

First, we will backtrack into October. I did a hunter pace with D’Arcy. She rode Vintage, and I rode Berry.

Berry sometimes leans on Vintage for emotional support.
Berry sometimes leans on Vintage for emotional support.

My horses have not been ridden regularly in a few weeks, so I was anticipating a slow pace. When we first got there, Vintage was her normal self, but Berry decided the grass field filled with trucks and trailers was the most exciting thing she had ever seen in her life. I mounted up as quickly as I could, and while I was waiting for D’Arcy (Vintage was doing the mounting dance where she takes two steps up, and then when asked to back, goes back 5 steps) Berry actually started doing little rears and prancing. The little snot!

But the good thing about Berry is that she really doesn’t have that much juice. She was a bit hyper while we walked down, but after warming up and waiting to go, she ran out of batteries. Then she was mostly interested in eyeing up her competition (likely wondering if they could be friends), and rubbing her entire head on Vintage’s body. Surprisingly, Vintage did not seem to mind this, although D’Arcy didn’t appreciate a horse head smashing into her leg every three minutes or so.

The reason I have been waiting to post this is because I really wanted to post one of the official photographer photos. At the very start of the race, there was a small split rail fence. I think it was around 2’3″. This was the shot the photographer was going for. I wasn’t going to do the jump because I hadn’t jumped Berry in forever, and if there’s one thing I am, it’s cowardly. But D’Arcy is not, so she was going to do it.

When they called for us to go, D’Arcy aimed for it, and as she approached, Berry spooked at a truck, because that’s what Berry does. Vintage refused the jump. D’Arcy immediately got her going at it again, and Vintage decided it worked so well the first time, she was going to do it again. She refused. This time she rightfully got a spanking, and D’Arcy went at it again.

That time, she took a huuuuge leap over it. The crowd nearby gave an “Oooooo!” It was magical. And that is the picture we are hoping the photographer got. Who knows if it will surface though…

But, we continued on. The route was about 5 miles, and we probably weren’t as fast as we could have been. Like I said, out of shape horses. But we had some good galloping streaks in.

hayfield
This was a good field for speed.

There were a bunch of jumps that looked like they would have been fun, but again, coward here. I hate that I said this last year too, but maybe next year I will jump them…maybe…

We treked through onward through the woods, where we saw the group behind us was catching up. That encouraged our forward motion.

One of us anyway...the other still moved at a leisurely pace.
One of us anyway…the other still moved at a leisurely pace.

In all seriousness though, despite Berry being the world’s slowest thoroughbred, she is out slowed by Vintage at a walk. Vintage can beat her at a gallop, but Berry wins the walking race. Just stick to your strong gait, Berry.

Turns out the team that was passing us was a jumping team, so they gained a lead. But when one of their horses wouldn’t go over a stone wall we gained a small lead, for about a minute. Then they got over the jump and breezed by our couch potato animals. Somehow, I don’t think Berry and Vintage cared. They don’t have the competitive edge.

We eventually ambled our way to the finish line, and decided we really wanted a good finish photo, so we took up a gallop. The world’s slowest thoroughbred was quickly left behind, so likely our finish photo will actually be two finish photos. Maybe they can be photoshopped together so we look like a team.

Hopefully, I will have the energy to get this blog up to date, and also be able to catch up on you guy’s blogs!

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Local Explorations

My truck is still not usable to pull my trailer, so I’m still grounded at home. I don’t know how anyone can manage without having a trailer because these last two months have been very frustrating.

I really wanted to go trail riding, but since I have no trailer, and no trails, I decided to just head out on the roads. My roads are a little scary, they are paved country roads, but I was going to be brave.

My neighborhood used to have a horse trail, but the property was sold and the new owner put up lots of “No Trespassing” signs. He is well within his rights to keep people off his land, but it’s very sad for everyone who lives in the area, as it was the last local trail. Horse trails have been disappearing at a rapid pace, and there doesn’t seem to be any stopping this trend. When I was a teenager, I could ride out from my house for miles, although I did just assume permissions in many places. Then, neighborhoods and horse farms were built, and fences went up everywhere.

As I’ve only lived in my current neighborhood a few years, I didn’t get to experience any real trails here. My neighbor told me she used to ride all over, and trails were everywhere. But, the same thing happened here, and now everything is closed off.

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The end of my road.

Vintage is a good solo explorer. I don’t trust Berry not to be crazy, but Vintage I can just sit back and relax…for the most part anyway. She looked around at everything, and she kept trying to tell me she wanted to go home. At one point, I was talking on the phone, and she tried to make a walking dash for home. It was unsuccessful.

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A pond with very scary geese.

Once we were off my neighborhood roads, everything was paved. It was a little terrifying because people drive very fast down those roads. They’ve got places to be, I suppose.

"Aim for the riders!"
“Aim for the riders!”

We crossed over a portion of road that had a double striped line, and this was greatly confusing to Vintage. Is this a ground pole? Should she jump it? WHY ARE THERE TWO SO CLOSE TOGETHER!?

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She decided a slight hop with her front end was the solution.

Crossing the lines marked the furthest I’ve ridden from my farm. It was now a totally new area for me.

There was lovely barn landscaping.
There was lovely barn landscaping.

I traveled down that road for a bit, but eventually the shoulder disappeared, and the road had a blind corner. I’m not quite brave enough for that, so I turned around. Vintage was extremely glad to be heading back. I basically dropped the reins and she steered the whole way. She’s very devoted to going home.

Back up my neighborhood road.
Back up my neighborhood road.

Maybe I’ll explore around the blind corner next time… with my car. To see if its safe. Then I’ll go back with the horse. Good plan, I think.

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Cross Country Action

I met up with Shelby a few days ago for a trek through Middleburg/Piedmont hunt territory. It could possibly be the most beautiful horse country in the world (although I am biased).

This does not adequately show how beautiful Virginia is.
This does not adequately show how beautiful Virginia is, but I forgot to take picture for most of the ride.

Shelby knows the area very well, and took us on a little tour. Unfortunately, there was a storm cloud just south of us, no doubt destroying downtown Middleburg again, so we had to pick our route carefully. Although we wouldn’t have minded a little bit of rain, getting hit by lightning was very low on our bucket list, so we did end up turning back from one route. Luckily, the rain stayed away, and the clouds parted, and we had a beautiful ride.

Shelby, bad-ass eventing rider, likes to jump things out on the trail. We came across a log, and Shelby jumped it. It looked like too much fun! I’ve never jumped Berry outside of a ring, but Shelby inspires confidence, so I did it. Although I asked her to stay close because I am a huge baby. On my first attempt, I don’t think Berry realized I was heading for the log until the very last second, but she jumped it. The second time, she realized it.

For the first time on this blog, here is a video of me jumping a log.

That was a monumental moment for me.

We moved on with our trail ride, and found even more jumps! There was a bunch of coops, and sticks to jump. Shelby makes a course out of it, looping around to all the different jumps. I started with stepping on/over some sticks, and then moved on to this coop, where Berry decided to show that she actually can jump, and all those times she’s crashed through jumps/broken jumps were flukes. Or maybe this jump is a fluke, and I’ll be back to Crashin’ Berry soon.

Don’t watch it on repeat, my laugh will corrode your brain.

Continuing to leech off of Shelby’s confidence, I took on a little line, in true hunter fashion.

Shelby also took on a giant coop that was at least 2’9″, but I wasn’t quite that brave. We’ll have to have at least one more session of cross country before I’m ready for that step. Having successfully jumped some stuff, we went off on our way.

We rode over hill and dale, and at one point came to a tiny creek that was barely a trickle. Berry decided this was unacceptable and attempted to turn around and hurry off down the trail. I actually had to get off her, and prod her over the creek with a suspiciously long branch that just happened to be lying next to the creek bed. In true Berry fashion, she took a flying leap over the tiny trickle of water. But it seems like she learned her lesson, because we crossed several more creeks and she didn’t indicate any sort of issue at all. Although, she did have brave Justin to follow.

I am fairly sure that Justin and Berry were conspiring to get poop on my knee, because Justin stopped three times to poop, and Berry kept walking right into him (She was very personal with the horse she just met), and she angled my knee in exactly the right position. I’m pleased to say despite their efforts, my knee remained mostly clean, and was only soiled by general farm dirt and/or hay.

It was an amazing ride, with great company in such a beautiful area! I can’t wait to go again!

But, I have a new problem.

tire

This is my flat truck tire, minus the lug nuts. A few days after I got home, I discovered it was flat. Well, that’s annoying, I thought. But I can change a flat!

I got too cocky. We set up everything to get this tire off, but the tire has fussed itself to the other piece of metal (I don’t know cars.) It is not coming off. We even pounded it with a sledgehammer. It will not come off. It has decided it will remain on the truck for the rest of it’s life. But much like training a horse, you don’t let truck tires get away with doing what they want. We’re going to take the truck into a shop and get them to remove the tire.

Until this happens, it puts a severe damper on my trailering life. No trail rides, no shows, no putting the horse in the trailer and going for a spin through town.

I did have a show coming up…but now I don’t know if I will be able to make it. I guess we will see how fast it takes for tires to be shipped here and installed. Hopefully less than three days. Fingers crossed!

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Pony’s First Trail Ride

Pony is a coward. The times he’s gone off the property he has been fearful, and scared. When he was out at training, his trainer would purposely take him for walks around the barn, where he would spook at the same things he saw everyday in his daily life, the sawdust pile, the hay bales, the dog, definitely that goat.

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He will haunt his dreams forever.

The only solution to this is to get him out and about. It’s time for him to get out on the trails.

I asked Olivia if she wanted to do some trail riding, and she wasn’t opposed. We set out for James Long Park, where we actually met for the first time just over a year ago (our anniversary ride?!)! Except this time, poor Vintage was left behind, pumped full of tranquilizer to keep her from trying anything crazy, and we took Berry and Pony.

Even though it was the holiday weekend, we surprisingly had the park almost completely to ourselves. We set up some jumps (or more accurately, Olivia did the hard thinking of positioning, striding, and actually setting up the jump, and I just brought some jump stuff over), and hopped right on.

I really thought Pony would be super spooky, mental breakdown horrible. But he just looked, carefully avoided getting too close to anything the first trip around the arena, and bizarrely, was afraid of a man walking down the street. But I set him to work, and he quickly forgot about much of anything, except probably how horrible I was for making him move his tiny little legs.

He also thought the footing was the most amazing thing he'd ever seen.
He also thought the footing was the most amazing thing he’d ever seen.

Meanwhile, Olivia did some stuff with Berry, and it’s always a joy to see her ride, as she’s just so dang good.

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Berry does not feel the need to actually jump.
Berry does not feel the need to actually jump.
She did decide to jump this. Sorry about the too much zoom, I'm still trying to figure out how to use a camera.
She did decide to jump this. Sorry about the too much zoom, I’m still trying to figure out how to use a camera. It’s been like 20 years, but I’ll get it one of these days.

For anyone curious, Berry keeps ripping her tail out on her water buckets. It’s gotten worse since these pictures! :'(

Pony watched all this with great interest.

"Soon, my pet, we shall unleash whatever farm animal of war."
“Soon, my pet, we shall unleash whatever farm animal of war…in the form of jumping.”

Once the humidity got to us, we decided to head on out on the trails. To my surprise, Pony actually moved up to take the lead. He bravely went into the woods, but he was stumped at a ditch. Ditches are terrifying eaters of ponies, and he knows this. I ended up getting off, and pulling/pushing him until he finally made a leap over the ditch. But then Berry decided ditches eat horses, and didn’t want to go over it. We decided not to make a big deal of the ditch, so Pony and I went back over the ditch, although I just stepped over it, while he took another huge flying leap. Then, I conveniently got right back on him from the ground, because he’s so tiny and it’s super easy. No more looking around for logs and fences for me!

We headed back onto the trail with Pony leading again. Although, this basically meant that Pony’s short strides made Olivia have to stop every few steps to avoid running him over. When we came to another ditch that Pony didn’t want to cross, Olivia and Berry made their move and scooted right around him to take over the lead. They continued on, with no more stop-and-go traffic. And Pony started to drift way behind.

"Later, losers!"
“Later, losers!”

While Pony was super brave when he was leader, he was happy to now follow behind Berry on the journey. He looked around, but didn’t spook at a single thing, or hesitate about anything. He plugged along, happy with this new adventure.

We did have to continually trot to catch up.

Back together!
Back together!

Only to almost immediately fall back behind. At least once, Pony found a particularly interesting leaf or tree he wanted to examine, and Olivia had to stop and wait.

berrywoods

Eventually, we made it all through the trails, and back to the trailer. We did it, Pony survived, and he was so happy and calm about the entire experience. Although he was definitely tired, poor little guy.

We have successfully completed a small trail. Success!
We have successfully completed a small trail. Victory!

And, obviously, I cooed over how adorable my sweet little angel is.

Awwwwww, Berry loves her!
Awwwwww, Berry loves her!

And just to make sure there were no hard feelings, we visited with Vintage when we got back.

Vintage didn't seem to care. Berry found this interesting though!
Vintage didn’t seem to care. Berry found this interesting though!

I am so thrilled with how good Pony was. Underneath that scared Pony exterior lies a confident, brave Pony, ready to take on the world. He just needs to get out and see that world.

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Horse Blogging Trail Ride: The Attack of the Evergreen Tree

I still have one more New Orleans post to make, but it’s been pushed out of the line up because I have been inspired.

I went trail riding with Olivia from hellomylivia on Sunday at the Battlefield. She wrote about our adventure here. It was so fun meeting up with her again and going riding! She’s such an awesome person, and such a good rider! Her and Vintage make such a lovely team! We meandered through hill and dale, through forest and meadows and took a gallop through a field. Even though Berry is a very slow thoroughbred, she still has some speed and her and Vintage enjoyed galloping around.

At one point on our trail ride, Vintage took Olivia right into a tree. I did not witness how this happened, but I scrambled to a picture because it was the most hilarious thing. Unfortunately, I only got it when she was already making her way out of it.

The tree attempted to defend itself by spewing bits of itself all over her.
The tree attempted to defend itself by spewing bits of itself all over her.

From my perspective, she was just standing there, face planted in the tree, with Vintage standing completely comfortable underneath.

Since the hilarious image burned into my mind, I used my amazing MSPaint skills to draw it out for everyone to enjoy. I want everyone to appreciate how it looked.

Just chillin', face planted in a tree
Who wouldn’t want to spend some time face completely planted in a tree

I can only hope that everyone will be able to appreciate it in this form.

But anyway, it was a great time! I’m not sure how many miles it was, but we were out there for about three hours.

Olivia is either explaining something or fending off branches.
Olivia is either explaining something or fending off branches/unseen ghosts.

The trails at Manassas are really nice, very well maintained. There was a bit of gravel at times, but even my unshod horses seemed fine. At one point, we had to cross a creek and both the experienced Vintage, and baby Berry were like, “Neeeeeeigh! not happening!”

So I jumped off and lead Vintage though, much like this:

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(I got no photos of me on this trip, so enjoy these old photos) That is my first horse Clay I am leading through the water. I have a lot of experience leading horses/people through water. 

Although the photo is an exaggeration because the water was like three inches deep. My ariats were so waterproof, I hardly even got my feet wet!

But still, Y U do this horse!?

We spend a lot of time when we were younger standing in shallow water.
Lots of good memories standing in shallow water when we were younger.

But they both went in on the way back, so all was good. And now it will never ever be an issue again, because that’s how horses operate. (dripping with sarcasm there)

Olivia was jumping Vintage over some logs we found, and she was doing great! I don’t think the pictures on her post show it well, but one of the jumps had a really weird approach/landing depending on whatever way she was coming from. Bending line? Snapped line? Wooky line? It was kind of wooky. But she did it well! I love watching her jump Vintage, they make such a great team!

So now that we are experienced, super classy trail riders (we had champagne, obviously), perhaps the next step is doing a judged trail ride? We shall see! First we’ll have to get those saddle pads with pockets it them though, or train Pony to be our pack mule. We passed a few western riders completely loaded with bags and sacks. The battlefield is pretty big, so maybe they wanted to have enough supplies in case they got lost. And then they could be like, “I used to be lost, but not anymore, because now I live here!” as they build little stick houses.

Sadly, at some point on the trail Berry took an ouchy step, as she doesn’t know where to put her little legs (see nearly every post I’ve made on her jumping). I’m giving her a few days off to see how she’s doing. That meant no lesson Tuesday, but I offered to do Friday instead, because Friday is a holiday for us office workers. Woooooo. But since I am unable to speak horse trainer-ease, I’m not sure what this response text means “Let me check I think we hs”. I suppose I’ll have to get clarification, or maybe someone here speaks it?

Completely unrelated, my skid steer is coming tomorrow. It’s time to build my arena. I’m so excited!!

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Horse Bloggin’ Trail Ride at James Long Park

Continuing on an awesome Memorial Day weekend of horses, on Sunday, the horses, Dave and I took a field trip to James Long Park in Haymarket to meet the talented rider, super fun, amazingly awesome in every way, Olivia of hellomylivia and take her on her first official trail ride! If you don’t already follow her blog, do it now. You won’t regret it!

Berry acted like a total weirdo the whole way there, and insisted upon resting and rubbing her head on Vintage in the trailer. Vintage, every the perfect lady, tolerated it in front of people, but later immediately bit her on the neck when I turned them out. Vintage is like an elephant, she never forgets. And just like an elephant, she stampeded at Berry and the innocent Pony, snapping at them both like an alligator. But just like some other forgetful, mindless animal (a lemming?), I suspect Berry will not have learned anything.

Introductions were made, and my Dave and Olivia’s manfriend immediately set up camp and bonded over man things. They were very involved with this, to the point of not noticing (perhaps on purpose??) when I needed one or more of them. Although it did give me an excuse to shriek like a banshee to gain their attention, which is by far one of my favorite pastimes.

James Long Park is equipped with a fairly decent riding ring in addition to their trails. Fun fact – the first time I ever meet/rode Vintage 12 years ago, it was at this ring. Except on that occasion, she was the one screaming like a banshee and dancing around like she had ants in her pants. But it was love at first sight, and I bought the naughty creature.

But back to the present, as close as that can be when it was three days ago, Olivia popped right on Vintage and set off around the ring. They got on like peas and carrots, went around the ring and popped over a few jumps. They looked great!

Capture4
Eaaaaaagleeeeeeeeeeeeee!

I got all sentimental watching my little mare being ridden. Olivia was so great with her, and I loved watching Vintage jump. It is possible I am a huge dork for this, but Olivia, come jump my mare some more. She loves it so much! She needs to be jumped!

Meanwhile, over in green horse land, Berry was doing her best impression of a freight train. I hadn’t been riding Berry this year because of her hind abscesses, and then a bizarre swelling that the vet couldn’t figure out, so other than testing out a new saddle, this was her first actual ride of the year. But since Berry either does not have a mean bone in her body, or is just too lazy to show it, her green horse antics consisted of rounding up in the canter in mini-bucks, and ducking behind the bit and pretending she had no brakes. But this only lasted about 10 minutes and then she was so tired she was ready for a nap.

With Berry sufficiently worn out, it was time for the trails! I have no pictures of the trails, but they were delightful. It was a mix of terrain, forest, hills, open land, some bridges we avoided, a massive drainpipe, and streams. My horses are not shod, so we did not attempt the stream. It looked pretty rocky.

There was much cantering over the manicured lawns, and when we returned to the trailer, our men got some pictures.

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I call this “Modified fetal position.”
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Olivia and Vintage were perfectly coordinated in tones of pink, but Vintage still decided to pull this weird giraffe thing and ruin the whole look!
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Even though this looks like a bizarrely slow motion walk, it is actually a canter.
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I think Vintage was having way more fun than Berry.

It was so much fun riding with and getting to know Olivia! Hopefully we’ll be able to work out another excursion that will involve lots of cantering, and perhaps some jumping will fit in there somewhere!

Hopefully this has opened a whole new world for Olivia.

on a magic trail rideeeeeeeeeeeeeee (I hope I didn’t make this weird)
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Trail Ride – State Arboretum of Virginia

On Saturday I took a trip with my neighbor to the State Arboretum of Virginia in Boyce, Virginia. It was about an hour’s drive from my house, and since I followed my neighbor’s trailer there, I’m not even sure I could find it again. I was just zoned out, passively following the trailer, not noticing the scenery. I did notice that we did not take the main entrance in, as horse trailer parking is around the back of the property, and it took a couple of back roads to get into it. Yup, I will never be able to find this place again.

Parking was in an enclosed paddock, so if your horse is an escape artist it has one more barrier between it and freedom. But it also means you better be able to maneuver your trailer because once a few trailers have parked, it becomes a tight fit.

I had decided to bring Vintage because I didn’t feel like having to deal with green horse antics today. I just wanted to relax. And Vintage delivered the entire way. Except for the one time she spooked (stood frozen) at a rock. What a weirdo. To her credit, it was a big rock, borderline boulder, but still. The deer leaping away 10 feet from her doesn’t do it, a rock does it.

The trail went through fields, forest, and then what seemed to be an overgrown mess of shrubby weeds that was a fight to go through. Vintage was at just the right height for her to fit perfectly under the branches, and I got whacked with every single leaf. And because I was so busy fighting through the branches, I forgot to steer Vintage out of the branches, thus leading to a never ending circle of being hit by branches.

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A clear spot between the over growth. Ahead, the tunnel of darkness.

The nature part of the trail was a bit limited, and a significant amount went through the lawns by the buildings.

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Passing all these stone walls, I could pretend I was lord of the manor, out for a stroll on my estate.
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A private residence on the property. Or more specifically, the gatehouse of the private residence.
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Back in the woods.
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The pond, which seemed very very low.

Riding the whole trail system at a walk took about an hour. It was nice, but for the travel time it took to get here, I think I’d rather go to a different trail.

But, on the positive side, it was a good trail for my unshod horse. There were only a few spots I had to cross over the gravel road, the rest of the time there was an option for riding in the grass or dirt.

Back in the parking paddock, we untacked and there was even a hose. I had one moment of stupidity when I put her halter on, and assuming that the halter was already attached to the lead rope I marched purposely to the hose. Once I reached the hose, I turned and saw I had no horse, I was just dragging the lead rope on the ground. Vintage was exactly where I had left her, munching on the grass. It was a good thing she didn’t get the munchies for freedom and decide to leave.

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Vintage: “I’d be happy just eating grass, thanks.”

Sadly, the sun was took bright for me and triggered a migraine, so I was very ready to go home at that point. After a torturous drive, I got home, put Vintage out in the field and collapsed in bed to hide my face. Berry and Pony were still stalled, so Vintage got several hours of private turnout.

Ahh, this is the life.
“Ahh, out in my private turnout, no annoying children to bother me.”

When I finally did turn them out, they expressed their displeasure at being locked up, but luckily Pony forgave me quickly. Berry trotted off flapping her tail around, letting out some snorts. She was bitter for a while.

With the exception of the migraine, it was a good day!

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