Sunday, October 19, 2008

Rose River Ride

Wow what a gorgeous day! Only 48 this a.m. Quite a change from Hot and Humid Wednesday.

Betsy and Tristana were supposed to go with us on this ride, but alas, Tris had the worst case of "scratches" on her front fetlock and some on the back as well, that I had ever seen. Betsy and Ed had come over the night before to look at it and she trotted out extremely lame. So Betsy's plan for the day was to get Tristanas, sores cleaned up and bandaged.

Karen's friend Sarah met us at Red Gate Road. Sarah doesn't ride but she is going to Pit Crew for us at the Fort Valley Ride next week and she wanted to meet my horses prior to the ride.

Red refused to back off of the trailer and so Karen put a long lead line on is right side and the shorter one on his left. She used the long right line to guide his butt to the left and with that he stepped off quickly.

We were saddled up in no time flat, but then my GPS screen went gray. I handed it down to Sarah, who is a geology major and lives by GPS. She fiddled with it awhile, but it still wouldnt work. I suggested turnining it off and waiting 10 seconds. That did the trick and we took off up the trail by 10:45

We walked the horses for 15 min and then trotted/cantered for 2 miles, walked for a breather and then trotted the remaining 1.5 miles to Skyline Drive.

At Fishers Gap overlook we crossed over Skyline Drive and Picked up the Rose River Fire Trail.

There were a lot of tourists on this trail. One little girl wanted to pet the horses so Karen let her pet Red since Falcon was a little freaked out about the "little" people.

The first mile of this trail is small gravel and we made good time at the trot. Along the way is a grave yard to the right with a flag flying and many people were taking a look at that. A little further down is a waterfall and a wide metal bridge.

Many people were lined up on the bridge taking pictures. We dismounted and handwalked the horses over it. Falcon was a little freaked by the people and also by the clanking ove the bridge as his metal shoes hit the metal bridge.

But we crossed without mishap and remounted. At this point the trail sported many rocks and the going was slow as the horses picked their way through them. It just wasn't very safe to trot.

Down down down the mountain we went. Our goal was Graves Mountain Lodge and an Apple Fest, but it turned out that we would not make it due to the slowness of the trail and the distance was further than Karen had figured. She had figured another 4-5 miles from Skyline Drive....NOT, it was more like 10 miles!

The fall foliage was beautiful and the temps cool. I wore my 3 season jacket without the liner and also a flannel shirt with a t-shirt under that. Most of the ride we also wore gloves.

In a few places my nose was cold, but no complaining....IT was GORGEOUS! Part of the way we followed the Rose River that is really nothing more than a big creek.
After 8.5 miles of riding we decided we better turn around and head back towards home. (now, looking at the map, we were less than half a mile from the end of the fire road)

Anyway, we crossed another metal bridge and this time, Falcon put his head down and gingerly walked across it, again without mishap.

Here we chose a potty break/snack time before turning to head back for home.

We made better time going UP the mountain since the horses seemed to be able to trot easier going up. We passed the Man with his black Tennesse Walkers, although this day he was with his wife, but the man was walking, saying that his horse had lost a shoe. Well, we never saw a shoe, but there were so many fallen leaves...that I wish them luck in finding it.

Then I saw a good place to canter and urged Falcon on, he took off and I soon heard Karen yell....Red was bucking bucking bucking. 4 times! BAD BOY. This was the third time of the day that he had done this...hhhhmmm, I had asked Karen to change her girth from the nylon string one to a felt one since I didnt have a neoprene one for her aussie saddle....wonder if it was the girth.

Well, she can use the nylon string one for the LD I guess.
At one point, Falcon's right hind end went down as his foot got stuck in some rocks, but he kept moving and didn't show any signs of lameness.

We reached the upper waterfall and metal bridge, dismounted and walked across. Still many sightseers here. As we mounted, Falcon's head came up and he whirled around like something was scaring him.

Two men on Tennessee Walkers were seemingly racing down the trail. I managed to settle Falcon slightly and kept him in the middle of the trail hoping to force the men to slow down.

They barely slowed and raced on past, making a horrific noise as they raced over the metal bridge.

What in the WORLD, I wanted to report their bad behavior....but ya know, a horse does not sport a license plate. They should have been moving slowly through that area with all of the people/children milling about.

Soon after a group of about 10 people on TW's came through, albeit at a more moderate pace. After they passed we took off at a trot/canter for the remaing mile up to Skyline Drive. I would have taken pictures, but I needed both hands on the reins.

At Fishers Gap, Falcon freaked slightly at a big tour bus that screeched in to the overlook with two noisy motorcycles close behind. But soon both horses were munching on the lush grass.

The day was growing short, so after allowing the horses to graze for 15 min. or so we mounted back up and took off at a trot down Red Gate Road. One mile from the trailer I dismounted and started jogging down the trail with Falcon at my side.

Karen had taken off with Red to see if he would go off by himself. She said he did but he started spooking at ever rock, leaf and stump. Silly boy.

I felt warm jogging so I stripped off my swishy coat and tied it to the saddle. Falcon was not bothered by this at all and we continued onward. The horses were obviously tired at the end and their butt muscles were tight. I massaged Falcons haunches and he seemed to really enjoy it and started to doze.

When I checked his right hind heel there was a tear in it and he seemed tender to touch. Hope that heals up well before the ride. Other than that both horses had come through without other issues.

Time to load up. Falcon, for the first time ever, refused to get on the trailer. I don't know what ailed him. We tried and tried to no avail.

The sun was getting lower in the sky and temps were falling again. So we loaded Red up and then tried Falcon in the rear stall. Again, he would not load, so I passed the rope through the window to Karen, got off the trailer and behind Falcon and FINALLY he loaded up.

I guess he thought that I was going to take him for another long ride! Well, it was either load up or I would have to ride him another 8 miles home!

At home, Falcon then would not get off of the trailer. When he is in the front stall, he knows how to swing his butt over and backs right off. Being in the back stall, he was afraid and stood with his hind hooves on the edge of the trailer but would not step down.

Finally, after much coaxing and pushing, he got up his nerve and stepped off. Sheesh! Red thankfully got off without much ado.

Falcon was happy to see Tristana and both horses were happy to chow down and head out for a much needed drink of water.

A GREAT 21 mile ride....hope the weather is this perfect at the FVLD next week!

1 comment:

Shana said...

Such beautiful scenery and sounds like a fabulous ride. Do you know your total time spent riding? I am glad you are out there riding since I can't be :) Good luck next weekend - I'll be thinking of ya!