Sunday morning I finally got back out to Fair Hill with the Batthorse. The heatwave broke on Saturday (I, however, was dealing with another migraine rather than riding Ranger) and the weather was gorgeous.
I rode out from the Gallaher lot for the first time. And while the trails in this area were LOVELY, parking was AWFUL. I arrived to find NO PARKING AT ALL (and first thought I was going to have to back in to the one possible parking spot) and then finally noticed people parking on the grass across the street. Thankfully a nice person moved her trailer up to make room for me and I was able to park. Later on the grass area filled up too. But, Gallerher lot = no parking. Just saying.
I had arranged to meet a couple of random people via the Fair Hill trail riding group on Facebook. When I arrived, there was an empty red stock trailer that I thought belonged to the people I was meeting (also red) so the person I parked next to invited me along to join her group. Once I was tacked up, my real group arrived, but I ended up going out with the new group as the original group was only planning a 40 minute ride. Now, I don’t need long, but 40 minutes is a little too short. So I ditched group 1 and went out with group 2… Since I didn’t know any of these people… Plus the originally group was running late and I was all tacked up and ready to go.
This brings me to my question: How do you meet people to ride with? Especially when you keep your horses at home? Now, I ride at hunter barn, but primarily with kids on ponies. Most of them are ring kids and they venture out on trail rides 1x per year and beyond that, trails are loops around the fields with their ponies. I like kids enough, but I’m not big on trail rides with 10 year olds… especially on 50k ponies… ha! exaggerating. Maybe.
Beyond that, most of my horse friends don’t have trailers or horses. I’m no longer willing to ride at Marsh Creek after past “incidents” related to teaching, at least not yet. Wounds are still too fresh. My farrier suggested just showing up at Fair Hill and seeing who I can meet. As long as people are there, that’s not a bad plan. Facebook worked pretty well even though I rode with different people than planned.
Anyway, the ride was pretty nice. Went out with 4 MARES. My poor gelding didn’t care at all. He parked himself mid pack and only coughed when we stood to take a poll if we were continuing on or turning back.
We did try and take off our bridle once… Any suggestions for a bridle with a WIDE crown piece? I tightened his bit when I hopped off to adjust his boot which twisted, but I’d rather not have him ride with a tighter (than necessary) bit, but idiot Batthorse knows how to take off his bridle (and fly masks — except for the Rambo). Anyway, Batts starts shaking his head and next thing you know, one ear is free of the bridle (or would be if I didn’t catch it). Michele saw this happen last trail ride… I’m thinking a wide crown piece would make this more difficult? This hasn’t been a one time incident and has happened multiple times over the past year or so? With and without fly bonnets. Suggestions welcome!
Anyway, all and all we were out for about 2+ hours. We went over multiple bridges without incident (all following fearless leaders) with much praise. We crossed tiny creeks and went through woods. Batt was his usually calm self. Love this boy so much on the trail.
I exchanged contact info with our leader so I might have at least one person to go out with again.
Fun! I found my trail friends online. The big thing I learned is to be very clear on what you want. It’s just as awful to go slower than you want as it is too fast. Since I hate walking on trail I found it took a while to find others who wanted to trot/canter the entire time. Sounds like you found a good person in the group leader and maybe they can help you network for others too.
See I like walking with some trotting/cantering but I’m fine walking the whole time too. I’m not fine trotting/cantering the entire time 😃
Don’t take this as gospel or anything, but Connor has always had a habit of shaking his head HARD every ride at the end of our warmup, and his PS of Sweden has never come off. Even with the throatlatch off the bridle. So maybe there is something to that theory.
Ugh that’s what I was afraid of… anyone have a small loan? Or less $$$$$ options?
Love that you can ride there, though. It’s soooo gorgeous.
I have the Lund snaffle bridle and it has a wide crownpiece and does NOT come off my horse’s petite head.
awesome you were able to meet up with some cool riders, even if they weren’t the group you originally planned to meet!! i have some friends who live up by fair hill and love riding out there, and another friend who works as a ranger in the park and rides his horses there a lot. that’s definitely helped when it comes to trying to meet up with folks!
Have you tried Meetup? My area has a few trail riding Meetups that I have joined and gone on rides with.
Sounds like a super fun trail ride!! Glad you were able to go with that group! I wish I had more trails around here that didn’t have so many rocks….
Also I’ve found something interesting – Amber could shake her PS of Sweden bridle right off when she wore a bonnet – even when the throatlatch was tight. Like I sat there on her for 5 seconds shocked as she calmly spit out the bit like “oh this is cool.” OMG lol. Without a bonnet it stays well. I have the same Lund bridle as KC (just the eventer one) and that one has yet to MOVE on her poll. I haven’t tried it with a bonnet though because the one I have doesn’t fit Amber’s head/ears well, and I think she was shaking so hard initially in the PS bridle because she doesn’t like bonnets sooo….horse logic? haha! Lund is definitely cheaper than PS, but equal in quality in my opinion. Batty is just a SPESHUL man, isn’t he? LOLOLOL
It sounds like a lot of fun. I love the polka dot bonnet!
Get a Eponia (or Lund) mine is perfect on Remus and he scratches his leg with his head during rides. Hasnt come off yet. And I am not sure how much Lund runs but my Eponia was cheaper than the PS Sweden (ahem if Amanda is with you you will just end up buying a bridle in five minutes with her no matter the cost) HA! Glad you didnt get lost 🙂 I assume they didn’t let Batt lead the way! HA!