I am really enjoying everyone's photos and stories! I can't seem to keep up myself! I've been riding quite a bit but I am usually so tired afterwards that I go straight to bed, lol (I work 3rd shift and typically care for my daughter during the day and ride in the afternoons so my schedule is kind of wacky).
Leyna - congrats on your 1st place finish! That is awesome! And Phantomhorse, as always, I am enjoying your videos!
In the past week I've been on a couple of short rides, as well as some longer ones. A week ago we went on a 9.2 mile ride in attempt to find a way down to a nearby "river" (which we did). Coincidentally we also ran into the Ringling Bros & Barnum and Bailey Circus Train, which was stopped on the train tracks. Apparently they had been sitting there a while as there were people hanging out in the doorways of the cars. I hung about for about 10 minutes before realizing that they weren't going anywhere anytime soon. I found the end of the train and went around, lol.
I was very proud of my pony...even at a standstill those train engines are NOISY! At one point it "whooshed" and I jumped! I swear Thunder looked back and laughed at me! He didn't even flinch:)
I am actually having a pit bull problem too. In my case though, I am worried about the dog. He is not emaciated but definitely on the skinny side. He barks ferociously at us whenever we ride past, but I can tell he is just scared. He is chained in the front yard and his water bucket is usually filthy (the last time we went up there he had no water at all). I am not sure that animal control could/would do anything to help him...maybe I should contact a rescue? I just don't know :(
Anyway, moving on....here is another random image from one of our shorter rides.
On Wednesday my neighbor called me and asked if I wanted to go riding with her at a nearby park with bridle trails. Of course I said yes! This lady is 72 yrs old and still riding - inspiring! At any rate we had a great time. Thunder made me proud (as always!) I wasn't sure how he would do as this was my first time taking him away from home, but he couldn't have been better. He loaded like a dream, traveled quietly, got along with the other horse and actually was the horse of reason in a couple of cases. The other horse was leery of the bridges and petrified of this yellow caution tape at the side of the trail. We had to practically pony him past the latter!
No photos from this ride, but I did get a video:) It's pretty boring...the trails aren't that scenic but it was nice to get out and go somewhere new (and ride with someone else for a change as I ride alone 90% of the time!)
I also rode today!
It had rained all night and it was actually still misting when we set out so it was a bit muddy. I decided to check out a trail I'd spotted off the main road that I drive everyday. It is kind of rough and I wasn't sure what we would find. To start out we had to cross a stream and Thunder was not thrilled. Something about the incline, along with the dark dead leaves that had built up on the bank made him uncertain and he balked. I'm not sure what he was afraid of but he really was scared because when I continued to urge him forward he started shaking. I decided at that point that I needed to step up and be the leader so I dismounted, removed my socks and boots, rolled up my pants and led him across the the stream. Eeeeek! It was cold!
I led him down the trail for a while - that portion had obviously not been used in a while and the only clue was the faint indentation of atv tracks in the leaves. Before long it opened up however and then I spotted orange blazes. Someone obviously visits this trail often enough to maintain it. Awesome!
SO many trails! We stuck to the main, obviously most traveled one but there were others that kept forking off all over the place. Some of them looked used, others were pretty rough. I intend to go back with pruning shears and try to tame the wilder ones at some point:)
The best part of the day, by far, was our Man From Snowy River moment! The trails were pretty hilly and at one point we came across a 4-5 ft drop-off...so steep it was almost vertical! I started to gather the reins, intending to dismount. I didn't signal Thunder to halt because I figured he would do it on his own as soon as he took in the situation. So imagine my surprise when he never even hesitated, but approached, sat back on his haunches and literally slid down the hill! I automatically gave him his head and leaned so far back could feel the saddle cantle digging into my back! As soon as we "landed" he continued on at a walk as if nothing had happened. I was ecstatic!
We crossed several more streams (without incident, my guess is that the leaves were messing with his depth of field at that first crossing). At one point he waded in, drank (yay - it was the first time I've seen him drink on a ride!), and then started playing! He pawed and pawed...he probably would've liked to lay down but I wasn't about to let that happen, lol! He then surprised me by turning and playing in the white froth that had gathered upstream where the water was flowing over a log. He stuck his nose in and blew bubbles. I swear he was playing with the froth, watching it move as he blew at it!
We also came across another abandoned house! It looks very mysterious...I can't WAIT to explore it. However it was on the other side of the big creek and the way down was rather steep (another drop-off similar to the last). Thunder was getting tired at this point...he had been going up and down and up and down in the slippery mud for a while so I decided that we would come back and check out the house another day.
The trail I was on actually ended up running into another network of trails that I was already somewhat familiar with so we were able to do a loop and head on out. On the way home I got off and jogged beside him for a while. He is so funny when we run together. He makes a funny face and almost grimaces as he cocks his head and looks at me sideways. Such a clown! (Can you tell I love that horse? ;)
TOTAL MILES FOR 2013 (more or less): 56.8