Monday, November 30, 2009

The 4 Rides Since Vacation

We have had four great rides since coming back from our vacation. All of the leaves are down now, and things look so different. We were lucky to have some cool, dry weather. It rained the entire time we were in Mexico, so it is a mud pit around our barn and the water trough, but the trails were nice.

First Ride -- Dunes at Dusk -- We went out to the Dunes for our first ride back and met our friend Dee Dee. Karen wasn't with her this time (we missed you, Karen) so it was just the three of us (6 of us counting the horses). We had a nice ride out there, but it was too short because we were late getting there. We were late getting there because we had a flat tire on our horse trailer. This is the 2nd time that tire has gone flat, and both times it was a leak around the air stem. But John got it changed pretty quickly with help from our neighbor, Roy, who happened to come by. After the ride we stood around Dee Dee's trailer, and her horse kept sticking his head out the window....he was so cute. I think he was trying to get in on the conversation. Here he is.....

Second Ride -- Our Otis Trails -- The next day we went on the trails around where we live. Divna started having water and mud issues again, which really surprised me since I thought the water issues had been resolved. She will go thru a flooded area up to her chest, but when it comes to a small (and I do mean small) stream she freezes up with fear. She did just that on this particular ride, and also tensed up at a muddy spot.... Zora handled it all perfectly, so naturally John took this opportunity to talk about how "superior" his horse is to mine.....

Third Ride -- Knee vs. Tree - Tree Wins -- Thanksgiving was really hectic and rushed for us. For some reason this year it just seemed like a blur. We had the dinner at our house, and it was over way too soon -- leaving us with a real disaster in the kitchen. So on Friday we decided to take a ride on our trails again. There is a pretty good sized hill on the trail, and usually we take the hill going down. This time we decided to take that part of the trail on the way home, so we took the hill going up. At the bottom of the hill is a pretty serious muddy spot. It takes up the whole trail, and the trees are close around the perimeter. I could feel Divna hesitating, and looking into the woods for an alternate path around that mud. I kept urging her on -- I didn't want her to be making the decision at that point. Finally she starts moving forward, but then I detected something....I have had this horse for 9 years, and I just know what she is thinking sometimes. I knew she was going to head for the edge of the mud pit. I was trying like crazy to keep her in the center, but she was determined not to get too much mud on her dainty hooves, and kept bearing to the right. My right ankle is the one injured at the moment, and all I could think of was protecting it from the trees at the edge of the mud -- I knew Divna was headed there. So I lifted my leg up and behind me, and sure enough, she got too close to a tree and my knee hit it pretty hard. But at least I protected my ankle!!! Here is the damage.....

Fourth Ride -- The Horseshoe Is On the Other Hoof -- On Saturday we were going to take care of things around the house that need to be done, run some errands, and stuff like that. But after breakfast we decided "to heck with it" and hitched up the trailer and headed for the Dunes. It was about 50 degrees outside and sunny. We saw a fellow member from the Midwestern Saddle Club, which was pretty cool. I also got my revenge on this ride.....the Dunes has wooden bridges here and there on the trail that go over streams and marshy areas. It was on one of these bridges where John learned "what goes around, comes around." There was a large muddy spot at the end of one of the bridges. Divna and I were in front, she crossed the bridge and went thru the muddy spot with no hesitation. However, she did do it with a lot of flair -- mud was flying. Zora saw this and decided she wanted no part of crossing through that mud. It took John quite a few minutes to coax her through that mud. I was up ahead on the trail laughing and talking about how "superior" my horse is to his!!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Too Many Rides to Write About

We have been back from our mini-vacation to Cancun for one week and two days now, and have had 3 rides. But also during this time we have had a dinner party with overnight friends, hosted Thanksgiving, and I have been buried at work from being gone for a week. Not to mention the ton of laundry to do, large pile of mail to go thru, and who knows how many pounds of horse and chicken manuer (spelling???) to clean up. Our neighbors took very good care of our animals while we were gone, but we do not ask them to clean the pasture and coop....that is a bit beyond "good neighbor" tasks. As a result, I have not had time to blog -- to read or to post. I really miss reading everyone's blogs. I feel like I am out of touch.....

So we are off to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore today for a long ride, and our "last fling" of what has basically been two weeks of vacation. Tomorrow is going to be reserved for getting ready for the first full work-week in 2 weeks and catching up on things (like my blog). (Above photo is the moon rising over the Indiana Dunes -- I took that on our 2nd ride after the vacation -- we were at the park riding with our friend DeeDee)

I will be reading everyone's posts and putting up some of my own soon..................

Happy trails to all out there. Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving holiday. We all have so much to be thankful for. See you soon..........

Sunday, November 22, 2009

We Are Back!

I have been out of the blog world for a while because we have been on vacation. We got home on Thursday, and since then have managed to get in two trail rides. I will post on those soon!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Short but Sweet

Busy weekend -- too many social events planned, so we only had time for a short ride on Sunday. But what a perfect day for it! It was so beautiful outside -- warm and clear.

We had to fix a broken spot on the fence while we had daylight. We think a deer must have gone thru it -- that happens sometimes. Once that was done, we only had about an hour for riding, due to the really early nightfall since we moved the clocks back, so we decied to stick to the trails through the woods around our house. We hadn't ridden them in a while, so it was nice to be out there again.

Zora (John's horse) was way too charged up, so we put Divna in the lead. When we got to the spot where the little stream sometimes trickles (and I do mean "trickles") across the trail, I was surprised that Divna was afraid to cross! I thought we had gotten past her water is a horse who goes in water up to her chest when the Dunes are flooded in the spring. Now she is having a problem with a little, teeny, tiny stream of water! Well, she had to learn that I was not going to ask her to do anything that would hurt her....I just kept urging her to move forward. She finally got brave and went across, and I just kept petting her neck and telling her what a good girl she was....

The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful, except for having to backtrack around a fallen tree (another project for John and his chainsaw). We got to a harvested cornfield, and let The Girls stretch their legs and run a bit. When we got to the other side we could hear voices -- we had ended up on the backside of this really cool spot someone made. It is a place called "Dave's Pond." There is a little pond (hence the name) and they have a fire pit set up, a bunch of benches, a small trailer, and another small box-car looking thing that I suspect is a kitchen of some type. This place is just set up too cute -- there is a group of friends/family who use it for parties at warm weather holidays and birthdays, etc. We are always ingrigued by this place and the ingenuity that went into it. Well, they were all gathered there for some reason on Sunday. They heard the horses, and the next thing we knew, our Girls were getting loads of attention. It was pretty neat.

We got home just at dark, and The Girls got well deserved treats of carrots, and then of course their grain and dinner. Another really nice ride!
Divna Zora

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Eventful Ride

This time of year we wear orange -- too many hunters out there!

We actually rode twice last weekend -- a short ride (about an hour) on Saturday, and then a longer one on Sunday. I really should have waited another week or so to let this ankle heal up a bit more, but it was just too nice outside, and it has been too long.

The Saturday ride was pretty uneventful, outside of the pain. On Sunday it was much more interesting. We had seven riders in the group. We haven't ridden with that many people in a long time. The ride started at our place. Our friends Tom and Dolly came with their Quarter Horses, Dee with her Rocky Mountain horse and her friend Juliette with her Tennessee Walking Horse. We were to meet Karen on her Tennessee Walker at the park. I got photos of everyone except Karen....
(From top left --Dee with Shawney, Juliette with Beauty, Tom with Hawk, and Dolly with Duke)

The Quarter Horse riders decided to ride the trails thru the woods around our place -- not necessary to go on any roads or cross any railroad tracks. They were into a more leisurely ride. The gaited horse crew took the abandoned railroad line, across the toll road, then back on the line all the way to the park so we could meet Karen. We did not have to do much street riding thanks to John -- he cleared a trail around the big washout area on the first leg of the railroad line. I will have to get a photo of that.....

We were quite the sight with three black Tennessee Walking Horse mares!!

We should have known it was going to be an eventful ride. I rode with my injured ankle out of the stirrup most of the time. Thank goodness for the saddle horn...We were only on the trail for a little while when we thought we saw two deer on the trail up ahead. John and Zora were in the lead, and he yells out, "Those aren't deer! They are coyotes!!" Sure enough, the two coyotes ran down the ravine and disappeared into the woods...thankfully none of the horses spooked.

Dee and Juliette cross the Indiana Toll Road!

We made it down to the park in really good time, and as soon as we got to the park grounds we ran into Karen. She had just become a grandma for the first time, and was just really glowing. Karen and Dolly decided to head back up to our place. The three black mares wanted to stretch their legs, so we turned them loose a bit on the deserted wide grassy area near a bean field. It was pretty neat.....Then when we were slowing down and coming around the corner of the field, the horses spotted a "horse killer." It was one of those strange bicycles where the rider sits low to the ground with their legs straight out in front of them. To make matters worse, the bike had a long pole attached to the back of it with an orange flag -- most likely a safety feature. Well, Juliette's mare saw that and made a really fast move to the right. Juliette had too much momentum going, and ended up falling -- actually more like sliding out of the saddle. She hung onto the reins, and everything was OK. No one hurt, no big deal.

Then as she was getting back on, down the path comes a group of "horse killers." It was a miniature horse pulling a cart being driven by a woman, a teenager on a bicycle with a dog on a leash, a young girl walking with a dog on a leash. Well, this group was more than our mares were ready to deal with. Zora starts acting up -- she can't handle all these strange looking critters. Everyone was very gracious and knew what to do. We all worked together to handle the situation. We turned the horses around, and the group passed us. All was calm until we overtook them.....when we got close to the group again, the miniature horse (who had blinders on) could sense something was going on behind him/her, and started getting really agitated. So again, our two groups had to work together to get thru the situation. We stopped our horses, the woman driving the cart turned it around so the little horse could see us and calm down. The guy on the bike with the dog on the leash rode way up ahead and out of the way. It all worked out once more.

When we got back to our house, the Quarter Horse friends met back up with us. Dolly lost her cell phone somewhere along the trail.

What a day! What a ride! Uusally we come back to our place nad John throws something on the grill for a meal, but this time Dolly brought meatloaf and bread, Dee brought shrimp cocktail, and we all had beer. It was so nice of them -- Dolly even brought the cutest fall-themed paper plates and napkins. So we gathered in our dining room and had a great meal and talked about our adventures. It is fantastic to ride with friends!