The perk of arriving late was that Amanda, one of the barn trainers, was at the barn finishing up with one of the baby Arabs and ready to pull another from the field. We had all met briefly last weekend. BO was helping with the little gray that Amanda had just untacked and she told the trainer how we'd been exploring up the road. It turns out that the actual trails are in the opposite directions, and Amanda was more than game to take us on a tour!
|Gracie is queen of the hill.|
|The creek. I believe it is a tributary of Catoctin Creek.|
|I think you can see the very faintest haze of green starting to show. There really are some green blades of grass cropping up.|
Gracie and Lily ate their grain while tacking up. I'm going to guess Lily is starting to go into her first big heat of spring because she wasn't particularly interested in her grain today, though she was happy to eat hay and alfalfa.
This guy's antics had me snorting with laughter:
|"I heard there was some grain around here?"|
(Note Lily's completely unpreoccupied demeanor!)
|"Give me grain please! I will lick the air until you do!"|
My phone died after this photo so Charles would end up being the official ride photographer, but it was worth this shot!
We tacked up and met Amanda at the barn entrance. She was riding one of the BO's younger baby Arabs, a bay 5 year old named Tony. He was only broken to saddle last year and he was as solid as they come: one of the calmest Arabians I've seen in a while!
I had been on the right track the day I rode Lily by herself up this section of the road. There is a field with a mule and an ancient horse next to a very cool house that sort of looks like a military bunker.
|Access to neighbor's fields.|
|Whippets, like the majority of sighthounds, can fly!|
Charles's and my jaws dropped:
1. Gracie normally won't cross water for the first time while leading.
2. Gracie sometimes won't even cross familiar water while leading.
This was awesome.
|Double track trail after the small creek crossing.|
Beyond that tree line is the Catoctin Creek, which was flowing as big as a river.
She even munched on some of the wet grass. Good endurance pony!
|Walking across the field.|
|Big goofy grin :)|
|The trails were double-track, hugging the side of the mountain, with cliff soaring above us on the left and dropping below us on the right, towards the river.|
The trail led to a bridge but the gate that would have given access was padlocked. We backtracked and took another fork in the trail.
|I think you can kind of appreciate the drop towards the river in this photo.|
We were back in the field with the yellow grass. The field that was basically a huge hill, with us riding along the top. We explored the perimeters, looking for more trail access but found none, so we rode back towards the big drop at the end of the hill, the one that we had cantered initially.
Charles and Gracie took the lead, gaiting and then breaking into an effortless canter, Gracie's blonde mane flying. They looked like they were having a blast and it was an evident communion of minds.
Amanda and I continued walking; neither Tony nor Lily showed an inclination to canter after Gracie. Amanda said, "Those two really get along." I laughed. "Yes they do. They have the same personality."
Charles and Gracie circled around then came back towards us, breaking to a trot and then back down to a walk as they approached. Which is when he took these pics:
|This was the top of the hill. You can see how the land dips towards the trees.|
|The way back down the hill was over by the tree line straight ahead of me.|
|The marshy field was the only flat section of this entire route. The horses got quite the workout.|
Temps were in the 50s but despite mostly walking Lily was still quite hot on the walk home. She finally started shedding this week but I think she's going to need to be clipped sooner rather than later to keep her comfortable as the temps continue to rise.
It was a really great ride. We had such an awesome time and now we know where to go if we want to do real trail miles!
And then...we went to this place, which is very dangerous for us:
|This store only sells used books. They will buy them from you, too. Most of the books are $1.99.|
I was in full sensory overload.
|I may have had to pick my jaw off of the ground.|
These photos are just a few aisles of a very large store!
|The movie/music side. They have old vinyl records at the end! Mom and the aunts had a record player older than me on which they'd play original music from the '60s and '70s on the weekends.|
If you buy 3 movies, you get 3 movies free.