Trail rides and Paper Chases

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

Instead of shopping (or eating too much) Thanksgiving this year was spent enjoying our new found freedom thanks to having a horse that actually loads on a trailer. It’s amazing all the fun things we can do!

Technically I had to work Monday through Wednesday but that didn’t stop me from taking some time off for more fun things like riding lessons and trail rides. Tuesday was still super windy around here so I had my lesson indoors and it just sort of..sucked. It tuned out it was only Ranger’s second time in the indoor (since the first time I’d ridden him in there), and while there wasn’t anything inherently wrong with the lesson, I just kept sucking and he took full advantage. Basically we were doing an inside line and ducking out of the second jump. First time my fault, second time over and perfect. Third time, fine, 4th time, haha look at me caught you completely off guard! Then it was just a fight and I lost my confidence. We ended up just trotting a few times and Ranger got the “oh shit” look but the whole thing… especially considering we’re supposedly showing next weekend… yeah. Spatially I’m bad with indoors anyway. We’ll see how this week goes… I originally agreed to a barn schooling show but now it appears it’s a schooling show elsewhere an hour away…

So Wednesday I took a half day to take a trail ride with my friend Sandra who was visiting for Thanksgiving. So Batty and I headed to Marsh Creek for the afternoon. After 3 days of wind, it was finally a nice day. Sunny and warm(ish). We got to borrow Batts’s buddy Ben and had a great time and managed not to get lost while taking a trail I’ve only been on once before! Success! Anyway, the footing was great and we managed a decent amount of trotting and cantering too. Good prep for Friday’s paperchase!

Of course by Wednesday night I had some debilitating head cold (that I’m still dealing with now) so Friday morning I was still flip flopping on attending said paperchase but I ended up going. It was hosted by Fair Hill Stables and when I arrived around 9:30, my normally sane horse was a nervous nelly. Horses were screaming and he was just feeding off their energy. I eventually got tacked up and managed to get on and then asked for directions to registration. A nice pair asked if I had a team (the organizer was going to add me to one of the groups renting her horses), and invited he to join them. So Batty and I made our way down to the stable amid chaos and barking dogs, somehow registered while spinning, calmed down when a group of horses left, got reworked up, and then calmed down again once our team headed out. Once we were out on the trail, he was his normal happy self. Go figure?

5 minutes into the ride we suffered equipment failure when the wire in his one hoof boot snapped and Batts freaked out. Well, he was pissed that he went from cushy boot to harsh gravel… thankfully the girl I was with jumped off her pony (yay for vaulters) grabbed his half boot), jumped back on, and  the other lady stuck it in her saddle bag. We were approaching grass so I just walked to that point and luckily Batts was ok without a boot. But I wasn’t exactly happy. But grass brought us to out first canter stretch which left me with a very happy horse so his hoof boot was quickly forgotten.


The first half to two thirds of the ride went really well. Batty’s not great with bridges but he was happy to follow over them and through tunnels. He doesn’t actually care where he is in line so while we mostly stayed in the back he did get his chance to lead at times. He was also the brave horse through water (usually the leader) so all my fights at Marsh Creek have finally paid off! The trail was really well marked as well which was great. That said, it was crazy long. We did a massive amount of trotting and cantering in the beginning but ended up walking the lasted 1/3 as one of the horses we were with came up lame (stone bruise). We were out probably 3+ hours. They said it was 10 miles but it had to have been longer… it felt longer. By the end the horses were just over it. We did have one bridge where Batts just wouldn’t cross. Leader didn’t help. I ended up getting off and forcing him across. He eventually walked over a few times willingly and I got back on and we moved on, but something a boy that one stupid bridge…

Overall it was a fabulous event, just wish it was a tiny bit shorter. The footing was great, the trail was super well marked, but it was just crazy long. Nonetheless everyone had a lot of fun. Met a good pair who loved Batty too and we plan to do more chases together in the spring. Professional pictures

Must. Eat. All. The. Hay.

After my long ride Friday, the last thing I expected to hear was “trail ride” on Saturday but sure enough… so after lessons and armed with a killer cold, I took a nice couple out. Nothing like riding when you are so frickin’ sore. Saturday was back to being colder and miserabler. And windy. Not bad wind, but enough. But I did get to ride the Heidi-Mare, the only mare I actually enjoy riding right now. Of course, thanks to the wind and downed branches, we were looking and spooking at things left and right so it wasn’t exactly a relaxing or enjoyable ride, but at least she’s cute?