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Poor Coalie, what a scare! :( Glad they made it out, & I definitely don't blame her for getting those boots - that's happened to me before, you bet I got off and got them, they're expensive! :lol:

Fizz is such a good girl! It is funny how she was scared of the cows at first, but then when you guys saw them again, she didn't seem to mind! Maybe they looked like big scary monsters in the other direction. :lol: How cute hubby met up with you guys!
 

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When you weigh a thousand pounds and walk on four bony sticks, any boggy wet place can be fatal. I know two people who almost lost their horses out on the trail during a wet season -- as in hours of professional intervention needed to save them. And I once had a very close call as a teenager out riding alone. When my horse says nope, I take her seriously.
 

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Yesterday was just too nice not to ride, so I went out first thing in the morning with Fizz. I knew she'd get sweaty because the temps are still so far above normal, but figured I'd just go at her pace if she got too hot. We headed out for the Newhall Farm loop, starting down the hill of despair. We hadn't gone that way in awhile, and she was a bit lackluster about it but didn't stall out at all. We crossed over the paved road, and as we approached the mini donk's house, we heard the most ridiculous sound: loud, insistent BRAYING trumpeting out from their field. Fizz froze in her tracks and said oh hell no. 😆😆 But to be honest, I can't really blame her. It was loud, and they've never made noise before when we passed them. I hopped off and she did follow me by them, with one very suspicious eye on them the whole way. We got to the bottom of the hill, I got back on, and off we went at a good trot.
When we turned off the road for the short trail through the woods, it was notably cooler with a little breeze, but I could see Fizz was starting to get really sweaty.



We kept our trot through the woods, and then dropped back down to a walk when we came out on the road. At that point, we encountered an armada of trucks, excavators, and backhoes working on the town's broadband project. Do you think she even looked twice at the backhoe working or the trucks with their backup alarm going? Nope. Donkeys braying, yes. Heavy machinery, no.

Luckily the aggressive cows with the big horns were nowhere to be seen on the farm, so we just walked along on a loose rein cooling off a little.
Just making sure the cows weren't hiding out in their pasture...

We crossed back over the paved road into the home stretch, down a big hill and then straight back up the next one. Fizz really likes to canter there and really asked to go, so I let her even though sweat was flinging off her head when she shook it in annoyance at a fly. But when we got to the top of the hill, I kept her walking the rest of the way.

We were heading towards our neighbor S's farm, and saw something we've never seen there before: from about 1/4 mile away, we saw someone riding a dark brown horse down the driveaway, and then turn down the road away from us. S's horses are flaxen chestnuts, so I knew it wasn't her, but didn't recognize the horse. The rider had a man on the ground walking with them and a couple of dogs, so I wasn't sure if she was maybe a little hesitant about riding out of the arena, and asked Fizz to stay back and not rush up to them.

It was actually a really interesting moment for Fizz, to see another horse suddenly appear and then ride away from her. She's used to seeing Coalie up ahead when we meet up, but he always stands and waits. This horse was leaving her. I wasn't totally sure what she'd do, but thought it would be a good training moment for future endurance rides! She did get very high headed and I could feel her tense, but she stayed at the pace I asked her to and didn't do anything silly. The rider ahead didn't seem to notice us, and the road was sort of twisty so she'd disappear around a curve and then reappear as we followed. A minute later, the mailman drove by, and the rider moved to the side of the road and stopped. That allowed us to get close enough that I could yell out hello. I asked Fizz to wait while I asked if her horse would be ok with us coming up, and she said that was fine. Once we got up alongside them, Fizz was interested but stayed nice and calm- she was more interested in the two dogs running around than the horse. We rode along together for a short way, and I learned that the rider is a new boarder at S's farm who is taking a year off from college and helping S with driving. Her horse was a cute Morgan gelding, and they were eventers until he had kissing spine surgery about a year ago, when they switched to dressage. She had done one of the pleasure rides at GMHA this fall and said it made her realize dressage was really boring and that distance riding might be what she wants to do next. So I gave her all my contact info and told her that I'd love to show her the trails and would be happy to do conditioning rides together if she was interested. At that point, she turned around to go back to the barn and Fizz and I continued on towards home (was pleased that Fizz was fine with splitting off from a new horse so easily- she never minds with Coalie, but good to confirm it was just as easy with a new horse that had randomly appeared out of nowhere). Hopefully I will hear from this rider in the future, it would be nice to have someone else close by that's interested in seeing the trails.

We walked the last couple miles home, and Fizz did start to cool down, but she was still quite sweaty when we got home. I pulled all her tack in the yard, since the hose was out and I figured I'd just spray her down a bit. We didn't make it as far as the hose though before she dropped down to roll. I know it's not great to let them roll in the bridle, but she was pretty insistent!
We added 6.5 miles to our yearly total, bringing us up to 495 miles. Should pass the 500 mile mark by the end of the week!
 

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Good point @carshon- though a young former eventer may prove too speedy for me 😉 We'll see if I hear from her at all. We probably have a few more good weeks of riding here before the snow comes.

Funny story- yesterday afternoon I got an email from our local tack/feed store congratulating me on winning 5 free bags of Nutrena ProElite food! I had forgotten that I entered a contest through their FB page last month, where they asked people to post pictures of fall riding. You never really know if someone wins those "contents," but apparently this one was for real. 💖 I don't feed that kind of food, and given everything going on with Maggie's Cushings/IR, I am not going to risk switching since we're doing ok with our current strategy, but it's still thrilling to win something. I reached out to the local (reputable) horse rescue, and they were thrilled to have it, so it all ended well.
 

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Just making sure the cows weren't hiding out in their pasture...

Just had a mental image of cows in camouflage, lying on their sides in a dip of terrain, muttering, "Just one more step, you stupid horse, and we've got you!"
 

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We had an unexpectedly sad night last night-we had to put our cat Newton down :cry: He was nearly 20 years old and had kidney disease, and had been going downhill for the past few months, so we knew he was essentially in kitty hospice and this day was coming. But around dinner time, he threw up a lot of blood and was struggling to walk, until he just sort of laid down on the kitchen floor and didn’t want to move. I thought he might just take his last breath there, but then he started to try to get up and move around, and we were not going to let him struggle through the night and do something traumatic. Fortunately his vet is a 24-hr emergency practice, so we were able to bring him in. He laid quietly in my lap the whole car ride, and passed quickly and peacefully. The vet that helped him was the same one who saved his life with emergency surgery a couple of years ago when he had a complete urinary tract blockage, and she was very kind, telling stories about how he had entertained them when he was in the hospital with them for a few days of recovery.

It’s devastating that he’s gone-He was my roommate for nearly 20 years, he was there for all the highs and lows of my adult life. He lived with me in 7 states, and over the years, he taught 5 different dogs that cats were in charge. He used up more than his fair share of 9 lives, surviving various medical emergencies and self-inflicted pickles, like lighting his tail on fire in a candle.

But last night, he was very clear that he was ready and I am glad it was quiet and easy for him. I miss him so much already. Give all the animals you love an extra hug today!

1105006
 

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So very sad about Newton.
😢😢😿😿

20 years though! That makes me hope my 12 year old kitties will live that long.

How wonderful to have a great friend for so long. That will be a big hole in your life. Good thing you have others to love. 🐶🐎🐎🐎🐔🐔🐔🐔🐔🐔🐔🐔
 

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I was thinking the same thing as @carshon about the new rider. You’ve been preparing for so long, maybe she will help you to step up your game a bit. Don’t be intimidated by her. You are a perfectly good companion. :)

I am sorry about your cat. I lost Skittles at the beginning of the year. Once a bit of time passed I realized it had been a blessing for her to go. She hadn’t been able to be herself for quite a bit of time.
 

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So sorry, @egrogan. Twenty years is certainly a long time! My first cat also lived 20 years, from when I was 12 until I was 32, all through the teens year, college, and even meeting my first-born son. I know you'll be seeing his shadow everywhere in coming weeks. Sending hugs! (do we still have an emoji for that?)
 

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Thank you for your kind thoughts @Knave, @Spanish Rider , @carshon. It definitely feels empty in the house. I am laughing at how instinctually I look down at the floor as I walk between rooms to make sure I'm not stepping on a kitty sprawled out napping, or how I make sure the door to the garage is shut so he doesn't sneak outside. Geez, I really miss him!
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Keep looking for him.. I have no doubt he will be around to check in on you from time to time. Not the same as before of course, but hopefully something you can take comfort in. 💜
 

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He looks just like Skittles! After Skittles died one of the outside cats grew up big all the sudden, and he looked just the same as a younger Skittles. It would blow my mind to see him walking up or while I did chores.
 

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Dear @egrogan, I'm sorry to hear your cat died. :cry: After 20 years, that's going to be a big wrench. Thinking of you. There doesn't seem to be a hug emoji, so the closest I could find was: 🐙

PS: Very late to everything as the new software is so hard on the eyes etc and still finding my way around... 😝
 

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Big weekend for Fizz and I- we hit our 500 mile goal for the year! Fittingly, we rode mile 500 with M and Coalie yesterday. Unfortunately yesterday was the first day of rifle deer hunting season, so we were a little limited in where we were able to go. Poor Coalie had a tough start to his morning when his neighbor's horses broke out of their pen and charged into his yard, upsetting him and his pasture mate tremendously. He was still a little edgy when we met up, so we kept the ride very quiet. It's so nice that if he's upset, Fizz can be the calm one, and vice versa- they don't seem to feed off each other, which is really good. So we stuck to the quieter dirt roads to avoid tangling with any hunters out in the woods. The horses were pretty watchful of the woods on either side of the road, so you definitely got the sense people were "out there" somewhere.

And, we had not one, but two, huge deer come flying out of the woods and across the road in front of us. Occasionally we'll see a deer cross the road off in the distance, but each one of these was clearly on a mission and closer than they usually get. Guess they were getting pushed pretty hard out there. I wasn't sure what the horses would do if someone passed us with a deer in their truck, but we didn't have to find out since no one seemed to be having much luck. Has anyone else ever dealt with that? Does it upset the horses?


Almost home, having just ridden our 500th mile of the year!


Yesterday's dreary weather stuck with us today, but even though the forecast initially called for rain all day, it wasn't raining yet in the morning so we went out solo. It was the best ride we've had in quite awhile. Fizz, for whatever reason, was just really into it. She was happy and forward and eager to go.

We went out to the overlook and down the Cavendish hill, and we actually rode down the hill the whole way! I was so happy with her. She definitely felt like a ping pong ball under me, but she never stopped on me so that made it so much easier to just keep her between my legs and keep pushing her forward even though she was wiggly. The cows were way off in the distance, so not concerning, and we managed to catch the hill with no traffic at all. I think that's what made the difference in me just being able to ride confidently forward. It was so nice to not have to get off and walk down that big hill! 😉 Here's the view from the bottom of the hill, looking up on the way back home.


You can just barely see the ski trails have snow on them at our local mountain, Okemo (follow the tip of her right ear off to the distance, where the mountain is)


Incidentally, here's the view from the top of the mountain about a month ago, looking back across the valley towards the spot where I was riding today. The road to the top of the mountain is still open to car traffic (it closes during the winter as the skiers cross right over it!)



We moved along at a pretty good trot on the way out to the turnaround spot, but I tried to take it easy on the way home since she's not clipped and even in the blustery weather she's still getting really sweaty and hard to cool out when we get home.


Stopped back at the top of the overlook to have a snack and cool down a little before continuing on our way.



It sure looked like it wanted to snow, but we ended up with cold drizzle later in the afternoon. Poor puppy had a wet walk this evening, but he's no dummy- this is his current state!


 
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