Trail Report: Graves Mill – Wolfsville Entrance

February 16, 2019

Friday afternoon I met up with Jenny at Graves Mill Trail at the Wolfsville access point. It was an unseasonably warm day, making it into the low 60’s, and perfect for a ride.

This is my first mountain trail ride on Possum. I went into it with low expectations and figured he would lack in sure-footedness. I was completely impressed.

We parked at a pull over at the end of the road. It was a short ride along a back road to the dead end and car parking area at the head of the trail.

This was my first time on this trail and I really enjoyed it. It starts out mostly flat and smooth, running along a creek.

We had three creek crossing going out and the same three going back. Possum proved to be surprisingly agile and brave for the crossings.

The trail did get a bit rockier and appeared to be beginning to have some elevation changes starting in the area we turned around.

We had limited time before dark and managed to turn around at just the right point. We made it back to the trailers at the end of dusk with just enough time to untack and load up before full dark.

Jenny rode Bitey. He trooped along like an experienced trail horse. He had to circle and wait for Possum a few times. Other times Possum had to trot along every so often to catch up.

I really like this trail and am interested in investigating it more. Not too much further ahead it meets up with other trails and roads. Lots of exploring to do.

Possum had a nice workout. He showed his experience and comfort on trails. He picked his path and marched along with experience. He did not think twice at the creek crossings, which were rather deep and fast moving. I’m proud of him.

Games Training Possum

February 15, 2019

There is not that much exciting going on right now. I am training Possum to be an excellent games pony. But I am not really managing explorative trail rides, games competitions, equestrian travels, or JPRs.

Spring is coming.

At practice last weekend Possum was not keen on balloon and it’s going to take some work. When we got home I put the balloon board out next to the hay shelter for the night. I don’t expect this to instantly change his mind about balloons. It’s a different environment. I think it’s going to take a few good sessions of training at home. But I like the reinforcement after a training session.

One of the other things I need to work on with Possum is his right hand. He is horribly unbalanced to the right and it is ridiculous to get him to pick up his right

In my training session on Thursday I started out lunging Possum. I started to the right, then the left, and ended on the right. He was very stiff to the right, noticeably more so than to the left. I plan to try and do this more at home when training. His games training with tight turns to the right should also help strengthen him in that direction as well.

After lunging I attempted some hill work, which Possum very much needs. It was quite slippery and I was ripping up the ground so I cut that short and finished with a hack around the farm. Possum really enjoyed himself.

I have also been working on Possum standing quietly tied. Most days when I trailer him and always when I ride him I make a point to leave him tied while I do some verbal barn type of work. Today he was noticeably more relaxed than usual.

I think these are three good things to be working on with Possum. Balloon, his right side and patience when tied. It was too slippery to properly work on balloon and I also didn’t want to rip up that part of my riding field. Lunging in it was bad enough.

Training continues.

Three solid rides in a row!

February 11, 2019

About time I was able to get in three days of riding back to back. This winter has just been killing my rides. Even with indoors twice a week I sadly am not getting in nearly enough rides.

Friday evening I took Possum and met Jenny with her new pony for his first ride at Willow Spring’s indoor in Edinburg.

Possum was super pleased to be riding. He’s always in a good mood and willing to ride but Friday he was sort of excited about it. I spent a little time working on his right side. He is very unbalanced in that direction and he has difficulty picking up and maintaining his right lead. This will be a major priority as I am able to get in some flat work at home.

Saturday morning I took Simon on an early trail ride starting out from Massanutten Visitor Center. We took the Wildflower trail down to the closed picnic area and then out the back along the fire road, orange to pink blaze.

Simon is the most out of shape he has been since I have owned him. We went out about 2- 2 1/2 miles or so and turned around where the trail was blocked by downed trees and returned the 2 – 2 1/2 miles. The down trees were on the trail along the side of the mountain and I was unable to move any of it enough to get through. The trail has been recently cleared for the first half but I suppose no one has made it that far out to do clearing. But it was very pleasant. And a light easy ride for Simon to start getting better conditioned on.

Sunday Possum and I were off to Almeda Farm’s indoor for another winter games practice. We had a particularly good turn out for this session, especially considering how cold it was. The usuals, Val, Carly, Jenny, and myself were there and we were joined by Linda, Karen, and another new friend.

Jenny’s new pony was a real super star. He took right to the job. Everyone else was their usual awesome selves. Possum was amazing. I think some things came together for him at the Popsicle Pairs. He seemed to connect what we had been practicing to the actual format of games. And again, like Friday, he was really happy about riding and was really enjoying himself.

It is staying light out till close to 6pm now. So maybe I can manage in a few more rides at home if the weather cooperates.

Winter Games Practice with the Possum

January 29, 2018

We had a two week break from group practices (one week due to weather) in which I schooled at a more local indoor. The footing is still too rough to ride at home. Last week it was all ice, then mud and now we are expecting more rain and snow.

I also managed to get the trailer pretty stuck on the ice which turned to mud. A week later I managed to get the trailer out but then got the truck totally stuck. It was sheer joy and lots of mud. (Note sarcasm)

This past Sunday we returned to our schedule of Sunday group practices. We had a good crew, Val, Carly, Jenny on a trial pony and Jessie dropped in for a quick spin too.

Jenny’s trial pony took to games like he’s always been playing, game face on and ready to roll. Being a former high school rodeo pony I am sure this was right in line for him. He was a bit too tall for Jenny, but would make a nice rocket 🚀 for someone taller. He sort of reminded me of Genevieve’s appy Rubin but in a Hildogo color.

Val rode the pony she has in for training and that little mare looked great. Val has done a great job with her.

My little Possum was a complete joy to ride and I am so pleased with his progress. This week I put some work into leading away from the sick/tool/hoopla pile and around the mounting block. This was a two stepper. One was to lead away which he was a bit confused about. Per Jenny’s advice I carried a crop and gave him a little tap tap which seemed to help click the skill into place for him. Then there is the part where he needs to auto go around the block while I run up it, then stop and stand for a mount before moving off. He wanted me to lead him around and wasn’t flowing in his own. But by the end of practice he seemed to get that. Huge improvement from the pony who wouldn’t go to the mounting block a month ago.

I am also feeling. Super good about my leans in stuff like hi low and hoopla. Giving myself a pat on the back here.

Next Sunday is the Popsicle Pairs so let’s hope the weather holds out so we can get Possum to his first mini competition.

A little video montage.

Thorwin’ it back

February 9, 2019

Check out this throw back that popped up on my Facebook newsfeed this morning.

Simon 7 years ago in a flashy new Distance Depot bridle. (My team and I still sport their tack on our ponies.

I love the colors.

My K-12 school, my Pony Club, and my old games team (Old School) we’re blue and yellow.

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