We have a gorgeous, sprawling park that's super horse friendly just thirty minutes from the barn. Most of our trail adventures happen there as it goes on forever and you can choose a new trail pretty much every time you're there. I average about two hours on our usual loop, but I can squeeze in a fun ride in an hour or meander for three or four.
But it gets a little boring when you go there every month--sometimes more than once a month--and I wanted to expand our trail riding horizons. I'd taken my puppers to a new park just down the road from the barn's vet office which is about forty minutes away. The trails are really well maintained and I knew horses were allowed. Farrier, who is my go-to for adventure advice as she rides everywhere, said it was a pretty park to ride in and she'd definitely recommend it.
|it is indeed really pretty|
So last Tuesday BM and I loaded up our horses and hit the road to do some exploring. Everything was going fine until I went to merge onto the interstate and my steering wheel felt stuck. I was like, "Uhh...that's weird? And also probably not okay?"
I kept driving as it turned to the left fine, it just felt tight to the right. Better safe than sorry though, I pulled off at the first exit with a gas station I knew could fit my trailer to check things over. As I made the turn into the parking lot, the steering wheel locked and I had to use all my bodily strength to wrench that bitch out of the way. Needless to say, the power steering was kaput. I popped the hood and there was fluid sprayed everywhere.
|patient ponies wondering what sort of adventure this is|
Fortunately, BM knew someone who lived just down the road who was promptly able to come and take BM back to the barn to get her truck. I called AAA to tow my truck to the garage down the road from my house, and BM was back just before the tow truck pulled in. We had the trailer dropped, trucks switched out, and both of us back on the road to our respective destinations in about an hour. Obviously it sucked not to be able to go for our ride, but talk about best case scenario!
Plus BM reported that both boys backed out of the trailer like complete gentleman even though she was by herself. And that's why we train our horses to have perfect manners at all times, people.
|yeah, you. even if you have to spend an entire winter pulling|
your hair out to ensure proper death box etiquette.
The weather was looking like shit for the foreseeable future--so, like, for the next eight months--but I saw this morning there was a small glimmer of no rain or snow or gale force winds. I'd had a shitty day yesterday, an even shittier night, and I woke up in a foul mood. I figured a good trail ride was just what I needed.
I got the barn done and then spent a good ten minutes going back and forth about a thousand times trying to inch my hitch to my trailer straight. Because that was just how life was going at that point. Finally, well and truly pissed at that point, I got the fucker lined up and connected. I tromped down the aisle, got my horse, loaded him with ease, and then told myself I was going to have fucking fun.
On the drive down, my check engine light suddenly came on and started flashing. I said many curse words, but the truck felt fine and all the gauges looked okay. About ten seconds later it went off and never came back on again. Fuck you, truck.
|doesn't care where we go as long as he gets to eat|
I (finally!) managed to make it there without further issue and got Opie unloaded and tacked up. I stopped at the second parking lot to take a picture of the trail map on the off chance I got turned around somewhere, but Opie wanted no part of that. He was ready for adventure time and kept dragging me towards the trail head. Once we got on the trail in the woods he put cruise control on and marched along taking in the sights. Not bad for having three days off on a 45* day.
|the fall leaves have been getting blown off the second they change|
color so the foliage this year has been pretty weak.
I had to get off twice. Once when we reached a bunch of exposed, elevated tree roots on a super narrow section that led downhill to a giant boulder face. Opie attempted it, but halfway down thought about aborting. Since we were about two feet from falling off the face of a cliff, I shimmied off and slid down it with him. It was a tricky spot for even a seasoned trail horse so no harm there.
The second spot was heading down a Man from Snowy River type trail that was borderline ridiculous. I half hopped, half sledded down it while Opie plodded along behind me. He's such a good boy about staying out of my space whenever I end up leading him on trails which has happened a few times now as I end up exploring some sketchy places because who needs maps. I ended up staying on foot for awhile because I wasn't sure how the trail would progress, but it certainly looked to be higher on the sketchy scale.
|fortunately i was appropriately dressed for hiking since my|
new boots don't get here until this afternoon. also i'm pretty
sure that's lichen growing on my right half chap.
It ended up being not too bad and I got on and rode him back up it on our way back after I got done trying to convince him to play in the creek.
|"worst swimming hole ever. hard pass."|
We put in a couple of canters, lots of trotting, and even more meandering. Before I knew it, we'd explored literally the entire park.
In an hour.
|this just calls for a good canter|
After all that, I probably won't be coming back to this park to trail ride. I spent almost as much time driving down there as I did riding. It's pretty, and I'm glad I got to see all of it, but it's better suited for walking doggos than ponies.