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!