"And, when you want something, the entire Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." -The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo



Wednesday, March 2, 2016

OUT!

Basically ALL WINTER we have been talking about hauling out. Between the holidays, the general weather (it's been a wet winter, which = mud. In MD, it is preferred that you don't ride on public trails when they are sopping wet as it destroys them...and can lead to complaints from other trail users that will ban their use by trail riders), the huge amounts of snow that are finally just about gone 3 weeks later, and our own crazy work schedules, we basically hadn't been able to take the girls out in the trailer since...October?

This past weekend we finally succeeded!

On Friday night Charles and I had gone out dancing with my Surgery peeps, which was probably an insane thing to do considering that I wanted to get up early on Saturday regardless...and we didn't get home until after 3:00 am! I still woke up at 8:30 am like clockwork, though I let Charles sleep in. We were both exhausted (we had both had rough, long weeks at our jobs on top of the lack of sleep + sore bodies from dancing for 4 hours nonstop) but I was determined to just take the trailer out. The worst thing you can do to a horse trailer is let it sit unused for extended periods of time.

We didn't get to the barn until 1:00 pm. We hitched up the trailer and found everything to be in working order after a thorough check-up. We got the girls from the field and I removed the caked-on mud from both of them while Charles loaded up our tack. The girls were happy and relaxed to find themselves tied to the trailer for the first time in 4 months. I had been expecting to need to review trailer loading with G-Mare but she hopped on willingly behind me and as soon as the partition was in place, Lily was already peering around the trailer door wanting to go in! Laughing, I unclipped her lead rope and she hopped on completely of her own accord then waited for me to tie her up.

It is in moments like this that I seriously adore that mare: I couldn't ask for a companion that loves her job more!

We chose Little Bennett as our destination because of its close proximity and quiet, varied trails. Both horses are familiar with the park and there is plenty of water access for drinking and cooling down. I wanted to trial them at a slower race pace over a longer distance (my goal was 10 miles) and was counting on that water access: they both still have full winter coats and Lily's is especially long.

It was chilly when we arrived at the park. The girls received mashes while we quickly tacked them up. Both mares were "up" upon our mounting up, but not in a nervous way, nooooo: they were all "LET'S DO THIS!!" The second we were on the trail, we let them move up into a trot.

Gracie led in the beginning.





And then Lily and I took the lead. We leap-frogged throughout this ride: when one mare seemed to start lagging in energy, the other would pass and go in front. It was a smooth and seamless process with them: Gracie used to hate letting others take turns leading but she did not mind it on this ride.




First river crossing. Both mares drank!
Lily found this deeper pool of water and stood there for a while, cooling off. I have to watch her carefully in the winter if she has not had any sort of clip: at 45+ degrees, she can overheat much easier if she has her full winter coat. I let her take as much time as she wanted in here.

 We continued on, adding a couple of gallop sets.


We let the horses hang out at the second water crossing as well.


Lily played A LOT with the water!
Gracie decided to imitate her.

Trotting down one of the gravel roads that connects the different trails.

Charles had so much fun on this ride.




Another canter.

Lily and I took the lead.



It was an absolutely wonderful ride.
We returned to the trailer after exactly 10 miles ridden.

Not bad at all for our first off-property outing of the year!
We walked the last additional half mile and by the time we arrived at our rig, both mares were down. We fed them mashes while we untacked and loaded them up.

Old pros at this, both of them.
It was a short, uneventful ride back to the barn.

I was so impressed with them. They had not been ridden in nearly two weeks and hadn't hauled out in almost 4 months, but here we just randomly had them hop on the trailer and took them out for a spin and neither one of them batted an eyelash at anything.

This sport, guys. I love what this sport does for horses!!

A spectacular sunset on the way home.




8 comments:

  1. Having horses that enjoy getting on the trailer and being away from home really is a luxury! <3

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  2. awww good ponies! looks like a beautiful ride too!

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  3. Love this post. I'm very jealous. I feel like I've been cooped up all winter. I'm dying to get out.

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  4. So glad you guys got out and had so much fun! Beautiful pics as always:)

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  5. Love seeing the rest of the pictures from this outing! I envy the fact that you and Charles have each other to ride with; I think having a consistent friend riding leapfrog-style would immensely help Quest get over being "left behind" on the trail. And side note, go Charles! I've only got 2.5 years under my belt and very new to it all so it's fantastic to see another new rider trying endurance.

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  6. Looks like a beautiful ride! Sounds like it was a fun one too :)

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  7. What a great ride! And how good does Lily look in that last photo at the trailer? :) So different to how she looked during her box rest!

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