Well, I had ANOTHER GREAT RIDE today. Yesterday, I discovered that there wasn't any work in the O.R. for today. I did not want to spend another day emptying bedpans and giving demented people bed baths on the Med/Surg Unit, so I requested the day off.Then I promptly called up Betsy to see if she could ride....she could.This a.m. I slept in until 7, then realized that the "goat kids" must be hungry, so I drug meeself out of bed and went and fed them.
I scarfed up some oatmeal, threw some water in a jug and put some other stuff in the truck and put the dogs outside in kennels since it was like 75 degrees. Then I went and fed Falcon and Dakota. When done, I turned Dakota out and walked Falcon up to the trailer.He was calm and loaded nicely when I led him on. He looked out of the window at Dakota who was already having a panic attack and was racing up and down the pasture fence and screaming.Falcon didnt say a word at all back to Dakota.
Then down the road 3 miles to pick up Betsy and Tristana. I asked Betsy to drive, because on the last ride she told me I was braking too hard. She was glad to drive.
We drove up to Front Royal to the 4H center-that is the actual place apparently that the US calvary would trade out horses at one time. It also used to be the Start and End point of the OD, but now the OD has moved to a completely different Mountain Range this year.
The horses unloaded nicely and Falcon had to step away when I went to saddle him. He is getting bad about doing that. I try and make him come back to where he starts, but it doesn't last long. But he IS getting LESS "cinchey"So then I tried to mount. Betsy was proud of me for putting him up against the trailer, but uh, that didnt work atall. He has learned my trick and now he just goes forward to get away from me. grrrrr. So after numerous tries, we decided to walk them a little ways until Betsy could find a rock or stump to help her self mount.
There was still fencing at that point, but Falcon still would not allow me to mount...so I placed him next to the fence and Betsy grabbed hold of him and I swung on with one foot in the stirrup as he took off at a brisk walk....true endurance horse indeed.Anyway, Betsy has friends up there and told me not to tell anyone about the trail that we were about to ride on which was on private land. I swore that I would only tell my niec Shana who lives in WA! hee hee.
She had asked her friend if the trail was open....apparently so as we went through a few briars at first, but then up a steep hill on a cleared trail.Oh, but then alas, halfway up we ran in to a HUGE downed tree across the trail and BRIARS EVERYWHERE. Ouchey Ouchey. We couldnt go OVER the tree and I poked around in the briars and thought I saw a clearing, so Betsy had me hold the horses, while she went to find a way. that probably took 20 min, and I had dismounted.You couldnt ride through the mess anyway. The branches and vines were too low and rocks galore. So we walked the horses till we got to the trail again.
Falcon tried not to let me mount again...but Tristana was in Front, with trees and vines on both sides and behind, so he didn't give me too much trouble.The trail then was uphill, but rocky. Betsy said it was ok to trot so we did and reached a Sub-Division then and walked through that...while Betsy jogged her memory as to which road to turn on, as there were a few to choose from.Falcon led the way and wasn't afraid of anything atall. He just thought he was somethin!
Thankfully the trucks and cars moved slowly in that area and were respectful of us...then we were in the National Park. The trail was smooth, but there were tons of downed trees that had been sawed to allow for the trail. At first Falcon would sorta spook a little at each one, but there must have been hundreds of them and Betsy yelled at me to give him "LEG" everytime he tried to stop trotting to look at a log. Soon he was trotting at an even pace, and Betsy said her butt was sore and that we needed to move faster than walk or trot.
So he easliy nudged in to a canter and we cantered all across the Blue Ridge.Betsy could tell when his muscles were tiring and would tell me to pull him up and trot or walk awhile. It was SOOOOOOOOO much fun.Betsy kept telling her horse to stop looking at Falcons big white butt! hee hee. She also shouted encouragements to me that I and Falcon were both doing great. That is the most cantering I have done in a lonngggggggg time.After that she told me to work with Falcon on listening better to transitioning from trot to walk etc. Well, everytime he started trotting, he then would try and canter and it was fight fight fight with him, so I made him walk, but by that time we were heading down the other side of the mountain and the trail was narrow and very rocky.
Some places on the right just dropped off and it wouldnt have been a good place for Falcon to spook at the big Rocks on the left, but the trail was too narrow for Tristana to pass, so Falcon just kept leading.When we came out of the park, we had to go down another trail to get back to the backside of the 4H center. I could have just gone down the Rocky hill, but Betsy was off and walking her horse by hand right down the steps...she said it was easier.So I rode Falcon down the steps....about 7 of them, wide gravel and logs. He did very well and didnt balk or hop at all.Then I got off, because it was all down hill and rocky. Man my knees/legs hurt for about 20 steps until I worked the kinks out.
We hand walked the horses for about a half mile I spose and then got back on....er only after Falcon tried to misbehave agayne and I snapped his reins real hard and made him back up two steps while I yelled at him then I quick hopped aboard while he stood still. grrr what a beast.
The trail ended on a dirt road with FABULOUS rock walls and 2 remodeled old farm houses. There was a long rectangular pasture-all fenced by a thick and low rock wall. 2 horses were in the pasture and trotted over to see us, but they didnt act all crazy and Falcon just took a look. Tristana knew the one arab in the pasture, so they had a quick visit and snorts.After that we were on paved road. Some lady (who looked like a man) was putting balloons on a sign, Falcon didn't even look twice at them.We came to a second creek and Falcon and Tristana took a few swallows and then we passed a herd of children on a school trip in the woods. Falcon danced sideways and forward quickly past them and then we were back at the 4H center.So we took about a 3 hour ride with 2.5 of it approx in the saddle. I think it was 9-10 miles. We just got delayed by the Briar Patch.
Back home, I gave Falcon a bath and scrubbed him with shampoo. He was so nice and clean....but you know how that goes....the min. he was in the pasture, he headed for the biggest area of dry manure and dirt and got a good roll him, so now he is a black horse....He peeed and then trotted off with Dakota to munch on some grass.
Betsy thinks that he is a great sensible horse and that after many more miles and working with a few of his "bugs" like mounting, that he will be a great steed for endurance. We haven't checked a heart rate on him, but he seemed to not breathe as hard as Tristana going up the hills.We are at "21 hours" on the AHA web site FRP. I have ridden him a little more than that, but before I joined the AHA thingy, so by next week I will earn my 25 hour pin I spose.