Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Weekend of Bitlessness

So, I'm happy to report that Prophet's bout with Ulcers seems to have turned a corner in a very good way - weight is back up and he's spending his rides being cheeky and feeling like a million bucks (and throws a couple in for good measure!).  If all goes as planned, he has a pretty busy Fall, so I thought it might be fun for a weekend of downtime with friends.  Plus, i don't get to take many days off, so with many clients out of town for the 4th, I figured now was a good of time as any!

On Friday July 1st, my barn owner, Kim and I packed up the trailer (and I didn't even pack a bit - hackmore for us all weekend!) and horses, met friends, Trish and Rebecca, and on the road we headed to the mountains of Virginia for some good old trail riding. Now, I was picturing manicured trails of leisure riding, where one might enjoy a cold beverage while sauntering around.  Well, at our final stop, about 10 miles from our destination, I was informed that there were several "train trestle crossing".  Being afraid of heights as I am, I immediately picture a few shaky planks, perched precariously above a gorge with sharp rocks and river rapids below. I spend the next 10 miles of driving trying to talk myself into being brave in front of these trail riders - after all, I am the crazy eventer, right?

Arriving at camp, we were greeted by lovely lush paddocks, separated only by a few strands of un-electric wire.  Luckily, P behaved himself, and didn't cause trouble with the neighbors, and was the only one standing quietly when the neighbors shot off fireworks on Sunday night, but I digress....

We went on a lovely short hack on Friday, where we were introduced to the dreaded trestle, which wasn't so bad afterall (and by the end of the weekend, I even RODE over them instead of dismounting and walking. :)  The trail was leisurely, and I was worried that I might be slightly bored after 3 days of multi-hour rides on groomed trails, but I need not have worried.  Saturday and Sunday we branched off the 'beaten path' and up the mountains we went, through rocks, creeks, banks, and even by one seriously TERRIFYING  (random) stove the Prophet was sure wasn't supposed to be in the middle of woods -- sure glad his new girlfriend (and longtime pasture neighbor), Casey was there to catch us as we leaped away from the evil stove.

Even though Prophet and I were token 'eventers' (that's how I got introduced all weekend), I think we held our own pretty well with the trail riders -- although I'm pretty sure all four of us girls looked pretty out of place at the Ivanhoe, VA Dance (at, where else? -- the fairgrounds!).

We have better pics, that I will hopefully post here or the Facebook page shortly (including one of me and my hands-free beverage holder!).  Plus, I took a pretty awful video of the ground while capturing the voice of the most interesting character we met the whole weekend - a Tennessee Peach Farmer who was pretty much awesome.

Kim with the peach farmers hound dog, Mabeline (sorry, tilt your head so the sun's on top and you'll see it!)

groomed trails

Prophet - not thrilled with me about making him stand in the creek water for a picture

P in his paddock, which was right beside our camp site... he ate dinner with us! 

My engineering skills using baling twine - making it so Kim's sandals didn't fall off in the water

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