This moment was a long time coming!! And I apologize for the long, long lag between blog posts! But I have a great story and I think it was worth waiting for. :)
|This photo was taken at an endurance ride. Bear with me for a minute! :)|
Photo by Mike Turner.
|Her response is, always, "As you wish."|
|This was on one of his first rides on her. His face of absolute wonder is priceless. |
It is still among my favorite photos of them.
|Sitting on G-Mare like he was born on a horse, only a year after that first ride on her!|
|Unruly, obese monster|
Dom talking about Rabbit Run in NJ, which is held in March. I found the ride website and mapped out the directions, and it was only three hours away! Not only that, the trails are flat and sandy, which meant that no hoof protection was required. (A HUGE plus after all of my hoof boot drama the last two years.)
I put it on the list as the first ride, checked with Charles to make sure he was off of work...and he was off both days already, as it was supposed to be his weekend on at work: this ride takes place on a Friday, which was perfect! I requested the days off at my job and, as usual, sent in my entry on the last day before the early entry cut-off date. And then proceeded to tell NO ONE that we were going to this ride up until about 48 hours before it.
The girls got clipped the week of the ride:
|Lily's. Piece of cake, as always. She doesn't give a hoot about clippers or standing still for them.|
|"Clippers...Whaaa? Hmmmm..." *snore*|
|"I luff my drugs." *snore*|
Both girls got worked the Monday before the ride, and I also put an additional ride on Lily the Tuesday prior: on Monday I was going to take her for a trail ride but she decided to be an absolute spaz and spook about nothing at all, which resulted in us working on transitions in the arena instead. On Tuesday I re-attempted the trail ride because I NEEDED to know Mareface could still go out by herself.
She stepped right up to the plate and gave me glorious ride.
|It ended with a moonrise + sunset combo, something that I had not witnessed in a long time!|
|Trailers always look so tidy BEFORE an event...|
The girls had electrolyte mashes at the trailer while we finished loading up their hay and grain.
|60 lb bale of hay? No big.|
|Gear for two horses and two people.|
|The girls happily loaded up and we were off!|
|The only other horse rig we saw during the entire drive.|
|The girls crossed the Delaware Memorial Bridge!!|
|The walls on this section of highway vividly reminded us of some of the Metro area Puerto Rico highways: they have very, very similar walls on both sides.|
It was a relief when we finally arrived in the pine barrens. At this point we stopped paying attention to the GPS and went off of ride management's directions, which were spot-on.
|Pine barrens. It reminded me of SC!|
|Driving through the cranberry bogs.|
|Dirt road to ride camp. There were entire neighborhoods back here, to our surprise!|
Once in camp, we parked in the small rig area (there was a separate area for the larger rigs), right next to a wooden gazebo. There was rain in the forecast for that night and the following morning and we figured it would be great to have the option of tacking up under the cover of the roof if necessary. We unloaded the horses, tied them to the trailer, and set them up with haynets before walking over to the BBB Hunt clubhouse to check in: we didn't unload anything else in case it turned out we needed to move the truck and trailer after all.
The clubhouse was AWESOME and probably the best-kept secret of this ride: it was HEATED, with a full-sized kitchen, a BATHROOM with running water (including HOT WATER) and a SHOWER. Ride management, crews and riders would all have access to these luxuries during the ride.
|This was next to the kitchen.|
We checked in uneventfully and cleared that it was okay to stay where we'd parked. The girls received mashes while we started unpacking, and then we went down to the vet check.
Someone walked by with clanging corral panels when it was Lily's turn. She was already excited and that frightened her nearly out of her skin. I could SEE her pulse racing right above her pecs! Dr. K was examining her and he chose to do Gracie first instead when he heard her bounding heart rate. Gracie acted like an old pro, passing with flying colors and a heart rate of 36! Lily looked good on all counts, except her heart rate was still a very nervous 76, which wasn't helped by the Arab that was being
Dr. K passed her, making a note of "Excited" next to Lily's heart rate, and asked me if this was her first ride. I said no, it was her fourth, but it's been a year since her last ride. He was very surprised. I prayed she would be calmer the next day!
We tied the girls to the trailer again while we finished setting up camp. I also set up our crew area with a large bucket with water, sponges and sweat scrapers, since we would be doing our own crewing the next day.
|Our setup. We did move the tent and canopy a little further away from the horses and the girls ended up with one muck bucket each of water.|
Steel!! The gray Arab that Dom rode last season! We were right next to Dodie Sable. Something I never would have known if it hadn't been for blogging.
I shook my head: the equine blog world is something else, I'm telling you.
After we were all set, I changed into fleece riding tights (I'd been in shorts up until now!) and we tacked up so we could go for a quick ride before dinner at 7:00 pm.
|I was pointing out the area where I had set up our crewing stuff.|
I didn't even bother with half chaps for this ride: we only had 45 minutes for exploring before we had to get back to camp for dinner and the ride meeting.
As we're riding down a stretch of wide sandy trail, I see a couple in the distance with two large dogs: one white and one black.
I shortened my reins...and then realized that I actually knew the foursome coming down the trail.
"It's Dom and Mike!" I exclaimed to Charles at the same time as they recognized us and Dom waved!
We all slowly approached one another, us being careful with the dogs and Dom and Mike being careful with the horses. After realizing Herbie and Julio were just dogs, both Gracie and Lily relaxed (they had been a little tense initially) and we were all briefly able to catch up. Dom handed the dogs to Mike so she could give me a hug! It was so good to see them!
We continued on down the trail, finding the powerlines where we would be starting the ride the following day, though we rode them in the opposite direction. The sand here was quite deep but I wasn't terribly concerned. I had heard through the grapevine that the drawback of this ride is the sand, but it was supposed to rain in the evening and early morning which would help pack it down somewhat. Also, as part of their cross training, both horses have been consistently worked in arenas with sand as deep (if not deeper) than what we were riding through on the powerlines. Lily, in fact, is a sand veteran: in South FL everything was sand. Her walkout attached to her stall had 6" deep sand, the arena we rode in was sand, the trails we conditioned on were sand. This was nothing to her.
|The powerlines would end up having some of the deepest sand on our course the next day.|
We continued on down the powerlines past ride camp and took a right-hand turn at an arrow towards what would end up being one of our loops the next day. I was secretly relieved to see that it was all dirt road with a dusting of fine gravel. Not an issue at all for the horses. We let them move out at a big trot and canter, and both girls, who had been a little high-headed up until then, finally relaxed into their work.
Sand here was quite hard-packed. Hoof prints were more smudges than concavities in the ground.
I had been very pleased with them so far, but I was even more pleased now: Lily and Gracie still had their brains in place!
|I snagged this one while trotting!|
|I pointed out the arrow to Charles: he had never been on trail at an endurance ride! I explained about markers being on the right-hand side of the trail, with either arrows, pie plates or double ribbons to indicate turns.|
|He totally had a perma-grin the entire time we were riding.|
He's never competed on a horse at all before! So many firsts for him at this event!
Dinner was amazing.
|Salad, spaghetti with marinara sauce, and a delicious chicken and potato stew. And cake and brownies for dessert!!|
We hung out with Dom and Mike after dinner catching up. Temps were continuing to drop though and the girls were hard tied to the trailer so they couldn't really move around to stay warm: they each got a cooler and a sheet to keep them comfortable and dry overnight. Dom and Mike headed back to Skip's trailer to meet Angela and we stayed behind to finish packing up saddle bags and laying our stuff out for the next day.
There was a 65% chance of rain in the forecast from 2:00 am to noon on Friday. I had only continued looking at Accuweather because it had the lowest rain % forecast of them all, and that's the one I wanted to believe! The hourly forecast wasn't awful but it did have the worst of the rain falling between 8:00 and 9:00 am, when we would be starting on trail. I was not looking forward to spending the entire first loop sopping wet but I was thrilled that I now have contact lenses again: my biggest reason for hating riding in the rain was the fact that with glasses I couldn't see! So at least there was that?
Karen wrote a wonderful blog post last year about cold weather camping and I had taken ALL of her advice to heart:
- Egg-crate foam-type mattress cover over our air mattress
- Two reflective blankets, one over the mattress with reflective side facing down (to reflect chill back into the mattress) and one on top of that with reflective side up (to reflect our warmth back at us). We bought the exact same one she mentions in her post.
- Back on Track back pad and mini blanket: the back pad is larger and went at our feet to keep them warm, and the mini blanket went over my head. I tend to sleep like an ostrich with my head buried under pillows and blankets: I am a very light sleeper and any changes in light or sound will wake me up. The BoT both kept my head warm and provided darkness. Charles wore a fleece cap.
- Regular sheets, flannel sheets, a fleece blanket, polar fleece blanket, and two real comforters. I had brought enough bedding so that we could sleep separately if we needed to (in the past I've usually ended up sleeping in the truck because I'm so sensitive to movement and noise), so ALL OF IT got spread neatly on top of us. We wrapped the edges of all of the bedding around us. I ended up removing one comforter and the fleece blanket, since temps actually crept up towards morning.
- We slept in wool and fleece clothing: Charles in fleece pants and a microfiber-type long sleeve top (not cotton) and me in my fleece tights with a Smartwool top. We both wore heavy wool socks. Clothing-wise this was not new to us (it's what we have worn camping since moving to this region), but dialing in what to put over the air mattress to retain warmth made all the difference!
It was the best rest we have gotten overnight while camping in this region. Thank you again, Karen!
I fell asleep to the sound of the girls munching on their haynets (I had re-filled them before we hit the sack) but was woken up when the wind started blowing and I heard a loud snort from Lily, who was spooking at the canopy being shaken by the wind. Charles went out to check on them and they were fine (not trying to break free from the trailer in terror!) but later throughout the night I would be startled awake every time the wind shook the canopy. I couldn't hear the horses munching and I finally got out of the tent myself to check on them.
They were calm and relaxed despite the wind, eating quietly. They had also been drinking water. There was a full moon and it was shining so brilliantly I didn't need my headlamp to see. Relieved, I crawled back into the tent and fell asleep. I didn't wake up again until 5:00 am, when a horse trailer rattled into the campgrounds hauling a horse that seemed bent on kicking its way out of the trailer. I poked my head out of the tent again to check on our two, but they were completely unperturbed by the racket. I checked the forecast for the day: I had left Accuweather up on my phone (it was so so so SO awesome to have phone signal at this ride!!!) and the hourly forecast said 0% chance of rain all day. I shook my head and put my glasses on. What????! I reloaded the page. Still 0% chance of rain. I looked at the date. It was for Saturday. I started laughing. That made more sense: Saturday had been declared gorgeous from the get-go. I checked Friday. It looked better. Considering that according to the forecast it was supposed to be raining right at that moment and it in fact was not, I took that as a good omen and stayed awake after that.
I went down to the clubhouse to change into my riding clothes for the day, put in my contacts (thank you running water and real soap!) and scope out breakfast, which had already been laid out for the riders. We always bring our own breakfast items but I always end up eating whatever ride management offers. When I saw the whole wheat bagels, I knew this time around would be no different! ;)
Back at the trailer, the girls nickered at me as I prepared their electrolyte mashes. Dawn was coming and I was relieved to still be able to see patches of clear sky above us. Once Lily and Gracie were squared away eating, I woke up Charles and we went down to the clubhouse to eat.
|They had hot coffee, hot water for tea, and hot chocolate; orange juice; cinnamon rolls; bagels and a toaster to toast them in; cream cheese and jam for the bagels. You always feel loved at these rides.|
We went to check on Dom, who would be starting the 50 miler at 7:30 am, wish her luck, and snag some photos of her and Moniet.
|Charles took this one of the two of us!|
She looked as relaxed and happy as I felt. :) Moniet is a very experienced endurance horse and she was already in love with him. You can read about how her ride went here.
We walked back to our trailer to tack up.
|Our neighbors walking back towards their campsite through a very quiet ride camp, despite the 50s being only 30 minutes from starting when this photo was taken.|
Note the sky: it was just starting to get cloudy.
We tacked up and each horse had an additional dose of electrolytes via syringe followed by a dose of Pro CMC. I then made a point of giving them both cookies to get the flavor of the products out of their mouths so that they would still eat and drink on trail. Lily is especially bad about this: if you syringe her something she doesn't like, it will take her a while to get around to eating something else because everything will taste like what you syringed her.
They remained relaxed.
|Old pro, this one.|
|Gracie's annoyed look of "When are we leaving already?" belies the cocked hind leg...lol|
We walked the girls back to the ride start, with G-Mare making a monumental effort at obeying Charles's requests to control her desire to take off so they could stay next to Lily and me. Lily looked at Gracie like, "Dude. You should calm down. You have no idea what you're in for!"
Since there was a pocket between groups of riders, we decided to start. I knew we were either right behind the front runners or right with mid-pack and was fine with this.
|Lily doing her daintiest twinkle toes trot as we headed for the start.|
|Gracie was sort of a barely contained hurricane. Note the swirling mane!|
The second time Charles spun Gracie around, she stopped entirely, facing Lily and me as we trotted quietly to catch up. Gracie blasted a huge snort and whirled around again at Charles's request when we caught up. She settled into a lovely gait next to us, arching her neck, her eye softening, as we moved out the power lines side-by-side.
This was when we saw Mike over by the treeline to our left, taking photos of the ride start! There was no ride photographer at Rabbit Run, which had had me quite bummed, since this was Charles's first ride and our first ride together, so here was our chance for me to get the much-coveted photo of us competing together!
Mike outdid himself...as did Charles.
|We looked so purty! Happy riders on happy horses!|
|And then, without warning, Charles did this...|
Because the start of an endurance ride is the perfect moment to decide to impersonate Alec and The Black...
Note Lily's and my matching expressions of, "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU GUYS DOING???!!!"
|Gracie went, "OH HELL YEAH I GET TO GALLOP!!!!"|
|Charles quickly put his hands back on the reins.|
|Here Gracie goes, "But...but...I thought we were charging down the power lines!"|
|Charles's face! Note that Gracie came right back down to him.|
Note also the correct technique for shortening the reins. I did not teach him that: he figured that out on his own.
|The most badass photo of them together ever. They basically have matching grins.|
Those two. Seriously. <3
I was using my Garmin to track the miles initially but about 2 miles in, I realized that it wasn't working. I wasn't going to trouble shoot while flying down the trail at Lily's biggest trot to date so I decided to switch to Endomondo on my phone.
We stopped at a huge lake where riders were pausing to give their horses a chance to drink. I was burning up: it was getting quite hot and Dom had been 100% correct about the pines retaining heat. I decided at this point I preferred to get wet if it rained again (the mist had stopped right before we hit the trail) to overheating in the combo of safety vest + rain jacket.
|Getting ready to dismount. You can see the lake in the background.|
The trail took us right through the middle of the lake. It was gorgeous!
Nothing like those views to put a grin on my face!
We were only 20 minutes into the ride when I had guesstimated us to be about 2 miles in and turned on the phone app. My guesstimation would end up being spot-on. The girls flew over the sandy trails effortlessly: all of the arena work paid off (this is why I'm so big on cross training!) and the hill work made this flat ride a breeze for them. We maintained a big trot throughout with occasional short canters thrown in to mix it up. We made sure to alternate leads on the horses as well when cantering. There were maybe one or two patches in this loop with truly deep sand (comparable to the power lines) that we walked.
I will point out that we did this entire ride barefoot. Both horses without hoof protection. They did not need it.
|A stretch of deeper sand that we walked. The riders up ahead were also walking. We would end up leap frogging with them throughout this loop.|
|Same section, with Gracie looking annoyed at being made to walk. Lol|
|I kept trying to snag a photo of these two...Gracie was having the time of her life flying down trail (look at her ears!!) and Charles still had a perma-grin. They looked like they had been doing this their entire lives.|
|Rest stop. :)|
The horses spooked at the bins the first time but soon realized these were simply containers with water.
I put Lily's bit back in her mouth and mounted back up.
|We stopped at the lake on the way back to see if the girls would drink better here. They did! Lily also splashed a lot in the water. -_-|
In no time we found ourselves on the power lines to return to camp. We dismounted right after the finish line, removed bits and loosened girths, and hand-walked the girls the last trek. Lily peed right after I dismounted. Good girl! We finished that first loop in about 2 hours and 10 minutes, to my utter surprise.
|Screen capture of the first loop summary. Remember the first two miles are missing.|
We cooled the girls off at our crew station. Both horses pulsed down surprisingly quickly. We took them in to be vetted. Lily's CRI was 60/54 (she got a little excited while waiting) and Gracie's was an astounding 48/48. They both passed with A's across the board.
We then went to get our out time to leave the hold. Except we never got our in-time: we were supposed to have stopped by the pulse takers to get our in-time (the time at which the horses' heart rates dropped below 64, which was the pulse parameter for this hold). This was very confusing: I thought the in-time was determined by the vet check; I hadn't realized it was an additional stop. I feel like it is different at the OD rides but I could totally be remembering wrong...it's been a year after all!
We ultimately lost a good 20-30 minutes from going to the vets early and then running around trying to get our in-time. Once we had that, we got our out-time and THEN our 45 minute hold started! So yeah: we were now a good 30 minutes behind our original time and I might have panicked a little because I'm really done with turtling at rides. There's nothing wrong with turtling but by this point I personally hate that feeling of being last of the pack and having to race against the clock! Especially when the horses were doing so well pace-wise.
Charles relaxed a little too much: I had to force him to eat because he wanted to continue packing up while I tried to eat myself, refilled our saddle bags with snacks and water, and took care of the horses. (Yes, this hold was ultimately quite stressful for me.)
We were back in the saddle and out on trail for our second loop almost a full 10 minutes late because Charles decided at the last minute that he needed to go to the restroom while I tried to tack up two horses at once. He was not getting my sense of urgency at all.
I removed bits on both bridles and brought out the hackamores: Lily's English hack and Gracie's flower hack.
|Lily's hackamore is like this one, except with a padded noseband and curb chain in biothane.|
She loves it. Some of her best dressage work has been in this hackamore.
|Flower hackamore. Zilco makes it; I snagged it used at half price on Facebook's English Tack Trader.|
I played around with an S-hack on both horses last year and it did NOT work for either of their faces. It would climb up, slide around and be completely ineffective no matter how high or low or snugly I adjusted it on either mare.
Note: I had only used the flower hack once before on Gracie!
All of my hold stress was forgotten once we were back on the power lines. The girls moved out and while Gracie was enthused to be back on trail, Lily was having a mild case of the afternoon doldrums so we stayed at an easy trot to let her get back into the groove with occasional walk breaks. Temps were continuing to rise fast. I had changed into a tank top with a short sleeve shirt on over it and less than a mile into the second loop I had to dismount to remove my safety vest and the short sleeve shirt. The safety vest did go back on, but I was wishing I had left it at the hold as I was very, very hot in it with the humidity. Removing the short sleeve shirt helped.
The second loop soon became our favorite of the two loops by far, as we spent a lot of time riding around and through the cranberry bogs. The landscape was unlike anything we had seen before. It looks creepy in photos but it was GORGEOUS in person!
|He was opening a Fuel For Fire pouch. Mid trot...|
|This was around the time that Lily finally woke up. Her trot became big and effortless.|
|This was my favorite section of trail. The footing was actually quite firm: not muddy.|
|Gracie pouting because she was following.|
|See the bottom of the channels on each side of the trail? The water was crystal-clear and pastern-deep.|
|He was taking a picture...|
|...of me getting his picture. :)|
Lily was all, "Can you guys just stop with the photos already so we can get going???"
|She got her wish.|
|When we hit this section, I looked down at Endomondo to see what pace we were keeping...and almost fell off when I saw that Lily was clocking an 11 mph trot. 11 mph!!!! Her average trot used to be 6 mph! Not only has her speed nearly doubled, it felt effortless.|
|Back through the pines we went.|
|Remember those two riders we leap-frogged with on the first loop?|
|We caught up to them. Despite our additional 30 minute delay at our hold. |
It was completely unintentional: we were letting the horses move out at whatever pace they felt most comfortable trot-wise. They still weren't asking for breaks on their own: we had to tell them when to walk and I was going off of Gracie's expressions more than anything because she was pretending to be the Energizer Bunny and Lily was feeling the best she has ever felt at a competition...
|Walk break. Charles got hot here too.|
|Looking like pros. He has an incredible talent for making faces or putting his hand on his face when I'm trying to get spontaneous photos of him. Here he was pushing up his glasses. But whatever. I still love this pic! |
I had commented that his stirrups were too long and he did complain about it at the end. Only takes 30 miles of being bull-headed to realize maybe you should listen to the more experienced rider. ;) Lol
A different part of the bogs, also beautiful.
My assumption about the hackamores allowing the horses to eat and drink better ended up being 100% spot-on. We will be doing this swap a LOT more often!
|Drinking at a rest stop.|
|Gracie tried blowing past this rest stop to head back towards the trail but Charles stopped her, made her back up, and once she realized what was going on, she dug into both the hay and water!|
|Drinking from a puddle!|
|Drinking at another rest stop.|
It was a godsend. The water was blissfully cold on my hot skin. The horses had been going great up until then but I did notice both of them get an additional pep in their step as they also welcomed the cool rain.
My one concern during this loop cropped up during the last 4 miles: Gracie. She was moving out with huge strides but whether put in front or behind, I was noticing that she looked a bit tired. Charles couldn't tell because he was on her but I could see it in her eyes and the posture of her ears. If you didn't know her like I do, you wouldn't have noticed. She was eating and drinking well but not quite the way I would have expected from her. Lily was flying down the trail and every so often Charles would let Gracie break into a canter, since G-Mare can do an easy canter at the speed of Lily's fastest trot. I told him to stop that: cantering uses a lot more muscles than trotting and will wear even a fit horse out a lot more than just trotting. I explained I didn't want her more tired. He said it was her asking to canter. I told him that Gracie is the kind of horse that loves to work so much, she will run herself into the ground if you let her.
For the last 3 miles, he kept her at a trot and I added longer walk breaks the closer we got to the finish line. It also helped that the two other ladies we were riding with again were also taking long walk breaks. We simply kept up with them, not passing.
|The Fuck Sluts Meow bridge.|
I have no idea.
Long break at the last rest stop. Both horses ate and drank. The rain had stopped here and steam was rising from both the horses and the ground.
We broke to a walk right after and dismounted further up ahead on the power lines.
I was really proud of both horses.
We had 30 minutes to pulse down before the final vet check. We untacked and started sponging and scraping. Lily came down astoundingly fast, but Gracie was taking longer. Lily got passed right at 60 bpm (parameter for the finish) within 5 minutes of arriving in the hold. It took Gracie a full 25 minutes to come down. The problem we were having was that she would come down to the upper 50s while we were sponging and scraping and the moment we took her over to the pulse taker, her heart rate would go up again.
I knew what the issue was: electrolytes. Since she normally takes really good care of herself, even more so than Lily, I had not been quite as aggressive with hers as with Lily's for this ride. During the ride she had had two doses less than Lily. Otherwise, everything else had been exactly the same for both horses.
Time was running out. Again I got Gracie's heart rate at the crewing area and I got 54. Her respiratory rate was normal and her chest was finally cool. We walked over to the pulse taker for the THIRD TIME...and I asked Charles to switch horses with me. I took G-Mare's lead and he took Lily's (she was brought over each time as well so she could keep Gracie company.)
Gracie was at 64. Just above what she needed to be able to pass. The pulse taker said she would give us one more minute.
I rubbed Gracie's forehead and asked her to lower her neck with gentle pressure on the lead rope, leaning in close to her face and giving her kisses on her nose. "I love you, baby girl," I thought at her. "You're such a good girl," I whispered to her. She closed her eyes and her ears flopped sideways as she lowered her head to meet mine. Because that's what this mare does in response to love.
|Taken on a different day. But you get the idea.|
It is amazing what this sport does for your relationship with your horse(s).
Breathing a sigh of relief at having our in-time, we walked over to the vet check. Lily went first, nickering the entire way during her trot-out at Gracie, and even doing a Dixie (airs above ground!) on our way back to the vet! Of course she got A's across the board! Hahaha...Her CRI 52/56.
|Lily's ride card, with pre-ride stats on the left (note the "76-excited" note!) and post-ride stats on the left.|
|Gracie's ride card.|
|Two mares being good endurance ponehs.|
Oh well. Maybe some day. :)
Gracie took some convincing to load up, which wasn't surprising: after long rides she is achey and it is harder for her to jump up on the trailer. Lily self-loaded as always and they both dug into their hay.
The drive home was blissfully uneventful and much shorter than our drive to Rabbit Run, despite making the return drive during rush hour.
|View over the Delaware Memorial Bridge.|
|Sunset as we arrived back in Maryland.|
Both horses looked like nothing had happened the next day. Neither lost any weight during this ride, which was awesome to see. My calves were sore from not elyting myself enough (story of my life) but Charles was exhausted: he really hadn't had enough water to drink during the ride, something which I had nagged him about during the event. I have some ideas for getting him to drink more...nothing like managing two horses and two people at once. ;) It was so awesome to get to share this with him, though. It was one hell of a wild dream that I had never expected to come true...and it did. Despite being tired afterwards, he talked about the ride and Gracie for days afterwards! :D
Each day after our return home, the girls came up to me in the field with expectant looks of, "What are we doing today???" You know you're doing something right when after spending hours and hours in the saddle, your horses still want to hang out with you. <3
|Love this face.|
|And this one.|
Because she is the one that has made all of this possible.