Sunday, November 13, 2011

Short Dunes Ride

We got a phone call from our equestrian friends on Friday evening about meeting at Deep River County Park for a Saturday ride. Sounded great -- we had only been there once (see my previous post), and I really like the trails. I've been sick for two weeks with bronchitis, and have been anxious to go riding again.
But this was one of those days when nothing went as planned. The problem with Deep River is that when it rains a lot, the parking area becomes too muddy for horse trailers to negotiate. And that was the case on Saturday -- we got a call from one of our fellow riders saying that the gates were closed. Some of the others we were going to meet were able to park at a nearby horse stable, and rode to the trails from there. John and I do not have a connection for that type of parking arrangement, so we knew Deep River wasn't going to happen for us. So we decided to go to The Dunes instead.
As usual, it was beautiful. The parks department has wisely added boardwalk beyond the ends of the bridges. The situation was becoming unsafe -- the ground at the end of the bridges would become mud pits at certain times of the year. Horses would be freaked out by all the mud, and I know of one woman who ended up with a broken arm when her horse spooked trying to negotiate the mud. You can see the extension to the bridge in this picture....
Unfortunately, I was not yet back up to speed from the bronchitis. After only riding a third of the trail, I realized I was not up to it. We turned back too early....
But when we got back to the parking lot, we met these two guys on absolutely gorgeous Paso Fino are the "Paso Fino Dudes"
The man in the first picture raises, trains and sells Paso Fino horses. If anyone is interested, I have his contact info.
We were too soon back at our barn, and I rested while John unloaded the trailer....
I hope to be able to hit the trails next weekend, and get in a full ride.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Clearing Trails - New Trails- Winter Hay

Clearing Trails
As I recover from a particularly nasty bout of bronchitis, with a sinus infection thrown in for good measure, I thought I would update my blog on our recent horse-related activities.
About 2-3 weeks ago we had some really strong winds here in Northwest Indiana. We knew that meant the trails in our area and the abandonded railroad line where we ride would be in need of grooming. We were correct.
This is what greeted us at the entrance to the railroad line.......
We had our work cut out for us. We could not decide if it would be better to get thru this mess, or try to blaze a new trail around it. A new trail would require going up an embankment and around. Here is John, checking it out.
It was pretty steep, but we felt our horses could handle it. But with all the rain lately, it was pretty slippery, and since we wanted to ride later that day, we opted for going thru the tangle of trees on the railroad line.
In the end, we cleared enough to get under and around the tree trunks. What's a trail ride without a bit of a challenge on the way? Without that, you have nothing to talk about later around the campfire.
This is negotiable -- we rode this trail later in the day. You can pick your way around and under all this stuff on a good trail horse.
New Trails
Our riding buddy, Dee Dee, has been telling us for ages about some trails in a county park near here. So finally we got it together enough to get out there to ride, and boy was it worth it! I wish we had listened to her a long time ago.
Deep River County Park in Lake County (Hobart/Merrillville) Indiana has some very nice trails. Most people think of Indiana as flat land -- corn country. But the glacier that formed Lake Michigan cut through Northwest Indiana, leaving some irregular terraine (the "Valparaiso Moraine," I believe it is called).
The trails at this park have hills, some ponds, and the river snaking though which provides some fantastic views.
My photographic skills are non-existent, so these pictures do not do it justice.....
It was a great ride, but on this day my bronchitis was becoming full-blown. This is a ride I should not have taken. I paid dearly for it.
And then, we hBoldad to get the last load of our hay for the winter. There was no avoiding this chore....
Winter Hay
It had to be done. The last 70 bales had to be loaded into the loft. So with John doing 90% of the work, we got to it.....
Here is the face of misery.......
My only job was to sit there and hook the bales to the electric hoist. Note the small glass of "medicine" a/k/a rakija.
We got it done. I am hopeful that I will be recovered enough to ride this weekend.
Happy Trails to all.....Enjoy the ride!