It was another beautiful day....is this really the end of January? Last year at this time we were battling a blizzard!
Brian said he needed to head to town to get diesel fuel for the tractor, and the truck was hooked up to the trailer so I asked him to drop Tripp and I off at the wildlife area, then pick us up on his way back. I knew that would give me a good 1 1/2 hrs...
Brian decided to take Hemi with him...Brian loves that dog, and Hemi loves to go for rides, so it sounded good to me. I ran back to the house to grab something, and guess who jumped into my seat? :-)
HEMI: "Must not make eye contact with the girl..."
HEMI: "Okay, she is awful quiet back there...she is up to something. A quick peek that direction to see what she is doing..."
HEMI: "Helllooooo.....you sure do look good sitting back there!" :-)
That is his version of sucking up.
The parking area is only 2 to 2 1/2 miles from the house. We are very lucky to have a nice area to ride so close. Brian took Hemi for a walk while I was saddling up.
I got saddled up and hit the trail. I have not been out here to ride since I got pitched off Boom. That isn't the reason I have not been out there...I really don't have a reason. I was a little nervous because I still have my scaredly cat moments, but I was also very excited because there is nothing like being in the middle of nowhere with your horse. There is only one thing that would have made this ride perfect - if Brian was riding with me. Other than that, almost pure perfection! :-)
Us and our shadow....
Tripp seemed happy to be out gallivanting around the woods too. At this point I was looking for some bushes to hide behind....if you click on the picture and make it bigger you can see the trail wrap around the other hillside....and how many bushes do you see to hide behind? NONE! Ha ha!
What I did find at the bottom of the hill was a creek bed area that had washed out, so I took advantage of Mother Nature and her skills at making hiding places. Tripp thought I needed help...so he came down there to check on me. Since there was not much room I was feeling a little crowded....I wiggled his lead to back him up, but him being the agile athletic dude he is, could not get his feet over the forked log backwards. Dang! After taking care of business I helped him escape the forked log, found a big log to remount (I try not to mount from the ground unless I have to...easier on them that way) and away we went.
Oh....why did I feel the need to 'hide' in the middle of the woods with not a soul in sight? Because I have seen game cams attached to trees out there...and I don't want to give them a moon shot! :-)
We followed the road a little ways...not one car came by...
The shell of a log off to the right was one of the many scary things we encountered. SNORT - STEP - STOP! SNORT - STEP - STOP!
I would love to see these things from their point of view. I know it isn't scary, and he knows that logs are not scary, but in his mind he is not seeing a log. Fascinating...
The lake sure was looking pretty today. There was a thin layer of ice with open spots on the water, the sun was kissing the tops of the trees, and nobody was around except nature at its finest. We stood there a while and just watched and listened to the woods around us. Did you know the woods talk? Yep, they sure do....
I love this picture! The reflection of the trees thru the opening in the ice...
It was a beautiful ride! We did have several 'ACK!' moments when he spooked at something, but he is incredible! He jumps and moves a little, but does not try to take off (most of the time). So I got those crazy moments I needed to help me work thru things, and he got the exposure that he has missed out on for a while.
First big spooks - we were trotting down the trail (I was riding my imaginary endurance ride) and he jigged to the right then jigged to the left real quick. Scary logs.
Second set of big spooks - a small pile of 2 ft long cut logs.
Third set of big spooks - this one was funny and made me laugh out loud...I do that after I freak out. I was trying to get a better seat, so I was half turned around adjusting my right thigh (chubby thighs - a friend showed me how to adjust them to sit better - it works!) then I heard this crash in the dead leaves not too far from us, I am off balance, Tripp hops in the air and I grip on with my legs. He snorts, moves to the left a few inches and hops again but still focuses on the direction of the crash in the leaves. Me? I am still focusing on my thigh while saying "OH CRAP? WHAT THE...???". This probably happened in about 2 seconds...but it felt longer. I look up and a squirrel - yes, a SQUIRREL, running away from us with its tail straight up in the air!
That is when I burst out laughing....laughing because those darn squirrels thru that whole ride were a challenge, laughing because I about had a heart attack and survived it, laughed because I am so lucky to have a horse like Tripp, because if it was not for him and his great mind it might not have turned out that way. After laughing, I leaned over and hugged him, and told him out loud that I loved him!!! Let the game cams catch that! :-)
After all this came the big shell of a log, the 'something' in the woods that only he could see (that was a big one for him), then more cut logs and squirrels.
It was getting dark so shadows were making things look more scary...plus he is lazy. When he is done having fun, he is ready to quit. Now. Not in 15 minutes....but now! We have never ventured off the trails out there - I have very strong feelings about that. But he seemed to know which direction was a shortcut to home, so he thought fighting me was better than just taking the 15 minutes to get back to the parking lot. He really tried hard to head down into the woods - which would have been great back in the old days before they made nice trails out there - but those days are gone. We eventually made it, and Brian only had to wait about 20 minutes for me to get there. I could not wipe the grin off my face! I HAD SO MUCH FUN!
Now, here is my rant about trails. I don't go off the trails because I don't want to take a chance on horses losing their trail privileges. I have heard people talk about getting 'lost' then laughing about it...well, who is going to have the last laugh when we are banned from those trails? It is happening all over the country. So, be courteous and stick to the trails, and volunteer with local groups on trail maintenance. I am not talking about the stepping off the trail stuff...I am talking about the obvious blazing of an old or new trail. There, that is my rant in short version.
Here is my piece of advice for the day...always OVER PREPARE for your ride! You hear stories about the hikers that planned a day hike, then something happened and they were not prepared for the unexpected overnight stay? And we all sit back and say "Yeah, that was not smart!" I was warm...I dressed for the afternoon. I did not dress for the sun going down then got to thinking what mistakes I made, and what to do to make sure they don't happen again. So next time I am going to OVER PREPARE. :-)
Until later...Karen and Tripp who is still mumbling about knowing a shortcut because he has a better sense of direction that me! ;-)