Sunday, August 3, 2008
#1 No Excuse NOT to RIDE!
Beautiful 80 degree day and very low humidity. After the past month, this is a wonderful change. So at 11 a.m. I headed down to the barn and whistled for the boys who were out munching grass.
They came at a happy canter to the barn, wondering why I was there so early calling them for grain. I pulled Falcon out and after a quick brushing, had him saddled up and ready to go.
I turned on my GPS and we were off at a fine rate of speed of about 6.5 mph trot and a 12mph canter. Falcon kept the pace all the way to the top of the ridge, making sharp turns around fallen trees and hopping over a few others. I slowed him as we neared the fire trail, only because the footing is very rocky and I havent trimmed the trees yet.
Unfortunately, Gemma and Cola, the Maremmas had taken some short cuts through the woods and caught up with us. I didn't want them along today, because I had "plans". The dogs sensed this and refused to be caught and penned up, instead slinking off in to the high grass and pretending to be disinterested until Falcon and I were out of sight.
Ok, on the fire trail, Falcon decided to plod along and I let him since he had made record time coming up the mile long grade to the top of the ridge.
At the Radio Tower, as I have done before, I dismounted and led Falcon down the East side of Piney Mt. The road was worse than ever and was washed out in several places, causing both Falcon and I to slip and slide.
Towards the bottom, I chose a trail to the left. Earlier in the a.m. Alison and I had driven the car around to the east side of Piney Mt via paved road and found a sign that said "Lot 13" There was a dirt road, so we turned up it and followed it up and "WAH LAH" YEAHHHHH it ended on the fire trail. FINALLY, I had found road access that was not blocked by a LOCKED GATE!
So Falcon and I and the Maremmas turned right on to the paved road. A noisy truck came along and Falcon spooked slightly and Gemma dashed back up on to the dirt road.
We continued on, Gemma caught up, only to have another noisy truck zoom by....back to the woods she ran. Silly dog.
The next truck slowed for us, but just as he passed us he sped up and Falcon zoomed ahead and sideways on that move and almost knocked me over....dumb people!
Thankfully we had reached Summers Road to the right which is gravel and has little traffic. As a matter of fact we didnt see ANY traffic today...YEAH! At one corner, a little dog ran out from a house and Falcon spooked a little, but Gemma, 10 times the size of the little dog was frightened to death and ran back to the woods.
It was the last time I saw her.
#2 No excuse NOT to have brought a WATER BOTTLE!
The sun was getting warm on Summers Road, and I was getting VERY thirsty, Well, only 2.5 miles or so to home. Falcon was trotting right along at that 6.5-7 mph trot. Very nice.
We made another right hand turn up a steep gravel drive to an OLD church that is no longer in use, but is kept neatly mowed and they also have a paddock for when people used to ride their horses to church.
Through the grassy church yard we went, to a gate. The Joe Pye Weeds were taller than both me AND Falcon. I was able to open the gate enough for us to squeeze through and Cola was close on our heels.
In amongst the weeds was a ramshackle
outhouse....hhhhhmmmm....nahhhhhhhhh....probably snakes and blackwidow spiders in THERE!
After we waded through the weeds we followed the fenceline which borders my neighbors property and also mine. There USED to be a gate at the corner boundry...but alas, the fencing had been recently "fixed" and the gate did not exist...So we walked the fence line and we walked and walked for about .6 mile. I knew that there was another makeshift gate at the bottom of the steep hill, down in a meadow. But I hadn't been there in about 6 years after a mini tornado ripped up trees on our property and blocked the trail...then we sold that section of land.
(I really need to call the neighbors and make sure that is ok that I ride in their cow pasture. Most of the farmers don't care as long as I make sure the gates are closed tight)
We found the gate and passed through that without trouble. At this point Falcon balked a little because the briars were 5 feet tall. I broke down some and then mounted and he plowed on through. Also, we were now heading AWAY from home and my "2 miles to home" was now unknown distance.
We traveled north on a nice 4 wheeler trail. Several trails led west towards home, but didnt look very inviting...so I urged Falcon on and he took off trotting and cantering again, but the trail was somewhat overgrown and I have plenty of briar scratches to show for the effort.
The trail started climbing again. I had NO CLUE where I was, but I know that Piney Mt is ONLY so big and I could always turn back around. Falcon saw the HILL and started cantering, only to suddenly come to a stop, HEAVING< HEAVING< HEAVING.
We were almost vertical. YIKES. I hopped off and let him rest and then saw a slightly level place and encouraged him to stop there instead.
Man, those 4 wheelin people sure to like the "STRAIGHT DROPS".
#3 and have I said it yet? NO REASON not to have BROUGHT WATER!
Man, I was dying for some liquid. No breeze, 10 steps rest, 10 steps rest, 10 steps rest. I started getting sick, dizzy, nauseated. I found a tree and leaned on it.
Cola found a cool shady spot and plopped down, his tongue hanging out 5 feet. Poor pup.
Falcon was heaving still. Oh shoot, I couldnt close my eyes without getting all swimmy headed. So rest and rest we did. I looked up, "how much further UP" can this trail GO?!
I could see a break in the trees, we MUST be almost THERE! Sure enough, 10 more steps and we were. OH, but there was a BIG CABLE ACROSS THE TRAIL. OH SURELY NOT, NO, WE WERE NOT going to TURN AROUND and go back DOWN that rocky mountain!
Thankfully, I could see a way around the cable and we plowed through fallen logs and rocks and holes and YEAHHHHH we were on the trail to the Radio Tower again! OH YEAHHHHHH.....I could barely crawl up on to Falcons back and he took off as soon as my butt hit the saddle.
I slowed him to a walk, I was so weak, I could barely hang on...But by the time we reached OUR ridge trail I felt better and let him go trotting and cantering down....Wow I am getting brave doing THAT! We both just wanted to get home.
It was a great feeling to reach the bottom and turn onto the trail for the barn.
#4-No REASON NOT to turn the hose on and spray both of us down.
Cola had headed for the swampy pond and returned to the barn with his bottom half all black and stinky!
Falcon got a serving of soaked grain with a dose of electrolytes. The poor boy probably needed some ADVIL! But as soon as he joined up with the other two horses, he took off at a canter for the front field and some nice green grass.
#5 NO REASON NOT to have a big glass of iced TANG....I don't like tang much, but it was cold and it was GOOD! I sat and pondered what we had just done....Me, Falcon and Cola-6.4 miles in about 50 min on a highly technical trail.
I never would have dreamed a year ago, that Falcon and I would have come this far. He was sent to be trained last Aug. and he REARED everytime he was introduced to anything new. Also, after 3 months of training, he promptly bucked me off twice. I was already struggling with fear after a previous riding accident with Sinwaan, the rearing and bucking didnt help.
#6 NO REASON NOT to be THANKFUL for finding Judie Ricci of Meadow Spring Training Center and working miracles with Falcon. Now Falcon is working miracles with me, helping me to regain my trust and love of horses.
#7 No REASON NOT to END this long epistle before I get all sappy....and for a post note, Gemma arrived home several hours later and was last seen sacked out under the truck! Happy TRAILS!