This past weekend, DH and I went south to Virginia for the Old Dominion ride. That ride is notorious for heat, humidity, and rocks - it's called the Beast of the East. This year did not disappoint!
We got there Thursday afternoon and I grazed the horses while DH set up the pens. After putting George and Phin into them, I was heading to fill the water buckets while DH was getting the eletric hooked up, when I heard a weird cracking noise in the woods just behind the pens. I swung around to look, saying something to DH. Both horses were on their toes. More cracking noises and the horses are both acting like they would like to leave the premises as I am looking for the creature making the noises. The next instant, a TREE comes crashing down, landing inches from the pens.
The poor horses were less than happy, but neither so much as tested the fence!
Nothing else out of the ordinary happened before the ride. The horses vetted in without issue. Phin is still a bit squirmy with strangers touching him, but nothing too bad. And the vets are all sympathetic, so make it a good experience instead of being angry about it.
Saturday morning was fairly comfortable in terms of temps and it wasn't foggy! We were happy to take whatever break we could, knowing the temp was forecast to climb into the 90Fs and get more humid as the day went on. DH and I were riding the same distance but planned to do so separately, as George is generally much faster than Phin. After tacking up, we mounted up and then went our separate ways.
The start was a bit exciting for me, as Phin had never done so before without George or Sultan along. There were also 71 horses starting the ride, so it was quite the crowd! I hung back and let the front runners and most of the pack go before heading out myself. The first loop was 16 miles. Here we are just as we passed the start:
Phin was quite forward and decided that if he couldn't ride with grey horses he knew, then strange grey horses were better than nothing. I was not real pleased with the people we wound up behind, as they tend to ride a yo-yo pace (cantering one moment, walking the next), so I had a heck of a time keeping Phin at the steady trot I wanted. Once we hit the first big climb though, everyone was walking!
After the climb, the people on the greys vanished into the distance, cantering off downhill. Phin really wanted to follow, but I was able to keep him to a trot. The person who had been following us up the climb (a friend), tried to get him to buddy up with her horse, but apparently Phin is color-biased! All the way to the first hold, he just looked for more greys.
When we got to the hold, I had expected to find DH there with George about ready to go back out. Instead, they hadn't even vetted yet! George was being a bit of a pill and had taken some time to calm down and pulse down. Once he saw Phin, he was hollering like a fool so DH had to wait for me to untack before trying to pulse George. Phin was down by the time I had the tack off, so we went and vetted together uneventfully.
Phin did a super job of eating during the hold. After how fussy Dream was about eating, I still can't believe it. Phin will eat basically anything and everything you put in front of him!
to be continued..