Friday, July 18, 2008
I had been depressed all day for some reason and just couldn't shake it but I scrambled home a tad early to get the trailer and Falcon ready for another ride. It was really supposed to be Falcons day off, but Red still doesn't have his shoes, and I didn't know what Betsy's "surprise" ride would be.
I met Betsy at 4 as planned. She and her Honey were in the barn grooming Tristana. Ed walked Tris to the trailer and loaded her. That seemed weird to me, but anyway, I tossed Betsy's saddle in the trailer and Betsy struggled to lock the door on the trailer.
Betsy clambored up in to the truck and was obviously in a very bad mood. She said she had had a HORRIBLE day and nuthin was going right. Oh wow, weren't we a PAIR, ANGRY and DEPRESSED!
Mary Ann, a friend in White Post (an hour away), was supposed to be meeting us and then after the ride would be taking Tristana to her place to be boarded and conditioned for a possible endurance ride-maybe as a ride for Shana, maybe not.
I had already decided "not" since it seemed so iffy. Anyway, MaryAnn decided she couldnt meet us after all and well, this had just upset Betsy since she had been prepared to move Tris.
Ok, so Betsy said "LETS GO" I said "uhhhh where" Betsy said "I DON'T KNOW, go somewhere, to your place or to Jeremy's Run or anywhere".
Oh and did I mention that it was 96 degrees and about heat index of 110 at 5 pm?
Well, I ride at my place all of the time, how exciting is that? So I opted for Jeremy's Run which is 15 min away or so and I had wanted to do that trail with Sinwaan, but never had a riding partner to go with.
There isn't any parking at Jeremys Run. We just had to park on the side of the road...no shoulder either, so mainly I parked IN the road.
We took turns tying the horses to the trailer and saddling up. MAN IT WAS HOT! I was exhausted just after saddling.
Then we walked into the coolness of the trees and the Creek-Jeremys Run.
Betsy had to find a place to mount. So we walked a little ways and she found a big rock to climb up on, but even with that her saddle slipped and she had to hop down and regirth.
I hopped aboard only to find that my right stirrup was completely flipped around inside out or something. So we stopped while I hopped off and realized that all I had to do was flip it around!
Ugh, were we ever gonna get started? I sucked down half a bottle of gatorade.
The path was smooth packed at first, but then turned into a big rocky creek bed which was quite technical for the horses to move along on.
Then more smooth pack, more creek bed more smooth pack. After that first half mile the trail footing was all good. We climbed a hill and came to a SHARP switch back which was another technical spot because of the embankment and I didn't want to be the "man from snowy river".
The "hill" then dropped steeply to the east. I heard Betsy behind me call out frantically, "DAMN, STOP, DAMN, I'm on her neck!" Falcon behaved and Betsy slid off of Tris and called her a BLESSED horse for not bucking her off.
Betsy, in all of the saddle readjustments had forgotten to buckle the crupper and the saddle had slid forward right up on to Tris's neck on the steep incline. Tris trusted her momma enuf to stop. Tris's saddle always slides up even with a crupper and most of the time Betsy walks down the steep hills.
Ok, that fixed, we were off at a fast trot....but MAN IT WAS HOT. I slurped up the rest of my gatorade.
Soon the trail started climbing, up up up, technical sharp switchbacks everywhere. Falcon kept looking up the embankment and his right hind foot kept slipping off of the trail and Betsy told me to make him stop before he fell off the edge...well there would have been trees to catch us I guess...but, I got after him and he did better at paying attention to my leg pressure.
It wasn't long before Tristana flat out stopped and wouldnt budge. Her sides were heaving and nostrils flaring.
We rested and poked on upward, Tris refused again. But by this time we were almost to the ridge top of Neighbor Mountain, part of the "Three Sisters". I told Betsy that so we made it to the top, rested and then turned back around.
It was just too stinkin hot for man or beast! I guzzled another half of a bottle of water.
When we got to the steep hill, this time going up, Tris took off at a 19 mph gallop. Yikes! Falcon was close behind! Sheesh, survived that un!
Ok back to the last bad switchback and then the CREEK! YEAHHHHHH Falcon plunged in and started digging, digging digging. I didnt get off since he was doing such a good job of splashing himself. But I did dump the contents of one of my water bottles on his neck.
Tris just stood there with her head drooping looking pretty puny. That last gallop had really done her in. She was really sweating. Falcon was not near as hot as she was and actually still had dry spots on him.
Betsy started dumping water on her and also some on Falcon. Betsy just really loves Falcon.
Anyway, refreshed we continued on down the trail to the trailer. Tris perked up and did a nice wet poop, so she wasn't dehydrated. We had only done 3.67 miles in an hour. But it WAS a TECHNICAL trail and the HEAT....well did I say that it was MISERABLY HOT-NOT FIT FOR MAN NOR BEAST?
Betsy shook her head, Tris has done endurance, but she hadn't been ridden since we went to Front Royal. She had done nuthin but eat grass for 3 weeks and looked like she was 9 months pregnant with her grass belly. The weight, lack of condition and heat index had really done her in.
But then Betsy said "Falcon won't have ANY problem doing 25 miles, he is in GREAT shape!" I felt tons encouraged by THAT and the depression had lifted somewhere during the ride.
We loaded our ponies and clambored into the coolness of the A.C.'d truck. Betsy thanked me over and over for dragging her out in the heat. Her mood was grrrrrreat too and she said her Honey would greatly appreciate it. Wonderful....wish I had a honey to go home to, but it is ok, I have my painted pony. And he is an alright boy.
He has come so far since spring. I am sure he will still give me some scares, but he knows how to take care of himself on the trail....even down to munching moss and lichens off of downed trees if there isn't a blade of grass in sight....silly horse!