Friday, November 30, 2007

Another ride recap

Well, since everyone loved my ride recap of East fork stables I thought I would share another one from this summer. Good buddy Susan and I took this one with our families to Land between the Lakes in Cadiz , Ky.

We had never been before so we were anxious to check it out. It was in July and boy was it hot! The group we met from Georgia at East fork actually made this trip up to ride with us, talk about dedication. It was my turn for bad luck on the horse trailer this time, a flat on the way and a blow out while it was parked at camp! Thankfully I had hubby along to deal with that, which meant a trip into the nearest town to get another tire which was a three hour ordeal. Anyhoo, back to the trip. The camp was huge, lots of sites to choose from and even a group camping area.

Not to much shade, which we could have used some more of. The sites consist of a gravel pad, fire ring and picnic table. There is a place to picket your horse but you must provide the line. I choose to stall my horses for an additional fee. When I haul Tank, my 27 yr old QH , I stall him because he loves to lie down and rest and I think that is only fair for him. I found the stalls in horrid condition, people are supposed to clean them upon leaving but mine had a foot of muck in them. Good friend Susan rode Tank and I rode Harley. Our first ride was to the old homestead and was eight hours long. We packed a lunch and headed out, the riding was more rocky than I anticipated and I only had shoes on the front of my horses. We rode next to the lake and enjoyed some beautiful views, we were able to ride in the lake at one point. Here is a picture of Susan and Eliza on my good boy Tank. The next day we did an easy hour long trip through the woods on a not so rocky path. The camp was nice although the staff was not to accommodating and the patrols through the camp were a bit annoying. The kids enjoyed the playground area and we even brought a small blow up pool for them to play in. Here they are enjoying some summer fun.
I slept in a tent with my one boy since my trailer is not big enough for all four of us, something I do not want to do anytime soon again. The skunks were out in full force in the evening which made things interesting with the dogs along. On Saturday evening my hubby presented us all with a roasted turkey dinner, he cooked it over the fire all day and it was delicious.

All in all I had a good time but......

being that it was a seven hour trip for me there are several other camps I would rather visit. Happy trails......

Monday, November 26, 2007

Rainy day memories

Since today it is teeming rain and cold and windy to boot, I was sitting here going through the year in review. I thought about the trips I was fortunate enough to take this past year with my horsey friends. I think I will share the first trip I took this year, it was to East Fork Stables in Jamestown, Tennessee to ride the Big South Fork. I was accompanied on the trip by three other horsewomen , two I have traveled with before and one a relatively newcomer that I had done only day trips with. We decided on the May organized ride called the spring fling, a four day ride.

Since I lived the farthest away we arranged to meet up in route to the park, soon our caravan was intact and we all managed to arrive safely after some trailer tire problems on one of the other girl's rig. We were met at the office by very friendly and helpful staff. Because we had never been there before we were a little leery of our sites and what they would look like, our fears were soon put to rest. We had three sites in a row that had a gravel pad, picnic table , fire ring and panel corrals for the horses.

We had opted ahead of time for stalls for the horses not knowing what the pens looked like. We managed to set up camp before being deluged by a wicked thunderstorm that lasted an hour. We jumped in my truck with our cocktails of choice and caught up on some girl talk. The trip included three meals a day and we were pleasantly surprised at the quality of the food each time we dined. They had live music every night that we were there and for the most part we enjoyed the bands. We rode out the next morning on an organized ride, mostly to appease one of my com padres and had a lunch served on a beautiful bluff. We decided at lunch that we were going to escape the organized ride and venture out on our own. I was riding Harley and he was relieved to leave the presence of so many inexperienced riders and horses. My friend Tiffany was riding my trustee old man Tank and English to boot! We found the maps easy to read and enjoyed a day of gentle paths through woods and marshes. The next morning we were greeted again by raging thunderstorms and were unable to ride. Fortunately we had met a nice group of people from Georgia the evening before and they knew of a Mennonite store with leather goods and homemade candies not far from camp. We spent the morning shopping and socializing with that group. After lunch the weather cleared and we rode to another beautiful bluff with the Georgia crew. They were riding gait ed horses but we all managed to keep up and have a wonderful ride across streams and past an original cabin on the property. The bluff was amazing and we managed a picture of the four of us.

I am second from the left in case you were wondering. That was the end of our riding unfortunately, but we did enjoy our short trip and we decided we will add it to next year's trips again.

We found the camp very clean and friendly and the riding ranged from easy to very challenging but was well marked so you could avoid those areas if you chose. Being that Tank is 27 years young we avoided the steep trails and stuck to the easy to moderate trails. I would rate this facility a 8 on a scale of 10 .

Hope you enjoyed this recap as always happy trails.......................

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Teaching an old girl new tricks

Today was a test for me for a change. I took a lesson with my trainer on Harley today. We introduced the mechanical cow. Harley was great, me not so much. It seems my little horse was made to cut cows and he loves it! I am about as uncoordinated as they come trying to sit and move with Harley. I felt like a raggedy ann doll up there. My trainer of course made it look so easy and made Harley look great doing it. I have lots of work ahead if I intend to show in cattle classes this year and I can't imagine when I will be able to do my ultimate dream of working cow horse. Still, I am forging onward in my pursuit of this dream. So, my homework for this week from the trainer is to ride Harley sans bridle and saddle and work on getting the feel of his movements. Sounds easy right, NOT! My job is to just keep him in the gait of my choice (trot or lope) and not steer or direct him in any way. I am starting out in my pasture of three acres and it is quite the adventure. I tried this today just in the indoor arena and it was quite funny, first of all I do not ride bareback anymore so that in itself was a challenge much less trying not to steer .
Harley is small and quick and very adept at changes directions in a hurry, all a big plus for cow classes but hard to adjust to since my other steed Tank is a 16 hand bruiser of a boy. I wish i could video this adventure for all of you so you could belly laugh along with me. My only hope is that I do not come flying off and injure myself. My non horsey hubby suggested padding all around. Wish me luck~

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Things to be thankful for

Tis the season to be reflecting on things we are thankful for. My list is quite long and I won't bore you with all of them but my top ten are as follows:
1. My family, including husband,two boys, dog, cat and three horses.
2. My little farm here that I refer to as a work in progress as I am still
remodeling three years later.
3. The never ending patience of my non horsey husband as I add to the
herd and try new adventures in showing.
4. The patience of my new horse "Harley" as I try and figure out how to
ride him with confidence.
5. The good Lord for blessing me with all the things material and non
material that I have.
6. Good friends that stick by me through thick and thin (you know who
7. All the wonderful places I got to visit this year with my horse and the
people I met along the way.
8. The chance to live in a country where I am free to pursue my wildest
dreams regardless of my race or gender.
9. All the soldiers fighting for our country all over the world , even if I
don't agree in war.
10. All the wonderful people who read and encourage me to blog and
share my adventures.
These are just a few of the things I am thankful for and the list could go on and on. As I walked my property tonight with my family it occurred to me just how lucky I am , even if I do not feel like it every day. I watched my horses contently munching the hay I paid double for this year and I realized that not every one gets this luxury. My kids were playing in the fallen leaves and laughing happily and my dog "Betty" was eagerly chasing squirrels about, this is happiness. I wish all of you the same this Thanksgiving with your families.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Deam Lake horse trip

Ok, I am late at getting you details on the weekend camping trip. Such is the way when you have little ones and they give you the cold crud. I am back in the land of the living and ready to dish the scoop on Deam Lake.
Harley and I headed out on Friday morning, it was a two hour drive from my house. Very easy to find the park and no problems on the way. The campground is beautiful, full of trees and lake views. Susan arrived only thirty minutes after me so we had good timing. The camp has 68 horse sites and numerous regular camp sites. There are four shower houses within the horse camp and although they need renovation we found them clean. There are hitching rails for the horses which you can attach a picket line to. They are in the process of building barns so there will be stalls by spring. The camp is open April through November 14. We didn't waste much time before riding, just long enough to plug in the electric and set up the picket for the horses. Our first ride was about an hour long and took us uphill to an outcropping of rocks with an awesome view. We found the riding ranging from easy with wide trails to challenging with single dirt trails. The trails were well marked and easy to follow. The trees were in the peak color, the only hitch was both Susan and I forgot our cameras. We had our camera phones , but they just don't do color justice. We enjoyed our campfires each night and we needed them with the temps in the 30's at night. We met some great people and shared some riding spots and found some new ones from them. All in all a great weekend getaway! Sorry that it will be the last of 2007 but at least we went out on a great note.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Camping with my horse

Hooray! I get to take a trip with my horse this weekend to go camping.
What is it about getting out in the woods that makes everything so much better. I mean food taste better, life looks better and my horse always seems better. I think Harley enjoys the great outdoors as much as me.
This will be the last trip of the year for us, so I am really looking forward to it. I am trying a new place that I have never been before so that is always exciting. My friend and fellow brave soul, Susan from Kentucky is meeting me at Deam Lake. It is a state recreation area about 19 miles north of Louisville. This recreation area just added the horseman's campsites earlier this year. Susan and I are old pros at the traveling to camp thing, we have hauled as far away as Missouri and rode together in Fl as well. Nothing makes me happier than to share some great horse moments with a fellow horse lover. I will give you the recap on the weekend in the next post. I am off to pack my gear.....

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Of ponies and such.....

Earlier this summer, in one of my lapses of better judgement I decided I needed to buy a pony for my two boys ages 2 and 4. The search was on, three states and numerous ponies later we found the "one" in Lexington, Ky. Thankfully we have a good friend who lives there and she was able to take her little girl and test drive the pony for us. He seemed great and so the deal was made and we brought "Wilson" home a week later. Having owned horses for over 30 years I thought , how different can a pony be.
Let me tell you the story so far. First, ponies are inherently smart, he can figure out knots and latches like a pro. Second, he is just as strong as a horse and gets pushed around by no one. His appetite is just as big as my 16 hand quarter horse. Yesterday while making cookies for my son's preschool class I look out the window to my pasture and see my horses going crazy . It didn't take me long to figure out the pony was loose.
After his tour of the hog farm across the street, and his foray around the 40 acre empty bean field next door he decided maybe he would come home. Luckily for me his appetite for grain lured him to me awaiting with the bucket of grain. Now to figure how he got out. A check of the fence turned up nothing all four strands of electric rope were in order and working. I checked the run in shed where I have 3 board fencing across the back to see if Harley may have knocked down a board with his scratching, but no all is good there. A true puzzle, until this morning.
After turning them out for the day I went to retrieve my paper, there was
Wilson on his knees and belly slithering (if you can imagine a 11 hand pony) under the fence where there is a dip in the landscape. Ha! what a clever fella. Guess you all know what I am up to today, yep fixing that low spot somehow...........

Monday, November 5, 2007

Winds of Change

Today a rather blustery day here kept me from riding and instead got me thinking. Like the seasons outside it seems the winds of change are blowing through my life as well. I am after five or so years considering going back to a full time job again. That is other than the full time job of being a mom to two young boys and the restoring of a 135 year old farmhouse and the ten acres that go along with it. I am wondering how I will fit all my chores and my passion of riding in with working a 40 hour work week. I am also considering sending my aged gelding Tank, to a retirement home or as a pasture mate for another family. As I write that I can't imagine it, how selfish is it to send him to another family after 12+ with me. I am stretched in all ways it seems these days and I really would like for him to get more attention than I am giving him. I am struggling to come to a happy median with my allotted horse time and trying to make the best decision for all involved. Have any of you been faced with this predicament?

Friday, November 2, 2007

Change of seasons

It is that time of year again, the preparations for winter begin. Not sure about your neck of the woods , but here we have had the first frosts and that can only mean winter is on its way. I guess you know what I am doing this weekend, dragging out the heated buckets, emptying the stock tank to install the heating element. Time to drag out the blankets for my aging buddy "Tank" who at 27 deserves a warm blankie at night. I dread the coming months, limited riding , snow covered ground or worse the dreaded mud. Last year I kept Harley at a friend's house all winter, she has an indoor and I rode him faithfully 4 days a week. I must say it took some kind of commitment to be out there in below 0 temps riding a horse. I think I am taking this winter off. Actually I hope to have Harley at the trainers by the first of the year and he can ride in that weather.
I was hoping to get a last camping trip in next weekend with Harley and some friends but, looks like the weather is coming on fast and with highs of 30 not sure camping sounds so good. Perhaps we will just visit and plan our horsey escapes for next year that always makes me smile.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Choosing your dreamhorse

I was reading a blog of another horse person yesterday and it got me to thinking on the subject of choosing a horse. What exactly consitutes a dreamhorse? I know everyone's opinion on what a horse should be would differ, but it got me to consider what my dreamhorse would be. The world is full of beautiful well trained animals in every price range imaginable, but if price was no object what would you choose?

Me personally , I would stick with a Quarter horse . It would be between 14.1 and 15 hands athletically built and pretty headed of course. Color would not matter much to me as long as it was put together nice. I would want it to be well rounded in it's training, be cowy and sensible all at once. The horse would be able to do many jobs from show ring to trail to ranch work without a hitch. Mostly it would have to have a personality that made me laugh and challenged me sometimes.

Most of these things "Harley" has and hopefully with more riding and training he will learn the rest. What would your dream horse be???