Trail Report: 240E Kritchie Mountain with Poe 3/11/18

March 11, 2018

I took Mr Poe out Little Dry River Rd and up the Vepco fire road 240 today. We parked at the first side fire road on the right, 240e Kretchie/Kritchie Mountain (I see it spelled differently on signs and maps). Poe is currently barefoot and I know this short ride to be soft and not rocky for his sensitive naked feet.

I am sure a lot of you would consider Poe a decent little trail pony, and years ago I would have agreed with you. I used to consider all my ponies great for trails. But now that I have had the privilege of riding Simon now for years on trails I realize what crap all of my past ponies have been on trail. What I mean by this is I can jump on Simon and go spend the day all alone galavanting around in National Forest, where I am I very unlikely to see another person, out of cell range, climbing up and down mountains, navigating questionable footing, and feel reasonably safe. If Simon does spook, he generally slows down of stops, or tends to get a tense and alert. He is extremely cautious and has a high level of personal self preservation. There is always the chance of getting hurt but I feel like I am stacking the odds as much in my favor as I can when I take my bulldozer-pony-Simon out.

Poe is lovely in a group, and not so bad on his own. He is rather surefooted, and not spooky. But he is not Simon. He is also shorter on attention span, and even in a group, after about two hours he starts to jig instead of walk. And I do not consider jigging an acceptable trail riding gate.

So, that said, Poe is not a bad trail pony, he is just not my ideal trail ride. And as you read above, I tend to be a bit picky about what I ride when I go solo on a trail.

Lately I haven’t been trying to get Poe legged back up for the games season. I let him get more out of condition this past winter than in the past so it’s a bit more work than past years. He is pretty easy to leg up though. And he is also easy to keep in condition once there. So really not a hard task.

Poe and I both hate conditioning work. We have been hacking around the farm. Up and down the hill, around the field. Up and down the hill, around the field. Boring. We hate it. So we moved to the riding field and I set up a weird course of cones to signal gate changes and turns with a big tractor tire to walk through. Just something to help occupy our minds on days of decent footing. Ok so this is helping but it’s still boring. So when I rode this trail the other day on Simon and realized it was not rocky I decided to bring Poe out.

it’s a decent day. Sunny but chilly. We are expecting a possible snow storm tonight. But it’s been decent for about a month so it’s somewhat green too. We headed out. Poe was rather pleasant but a bit skeptical. He was tense, and did a funny move when he noticed a piece of bark directly under him. He leaped directly up like a cat, landing right back where he started with a snort like “well that was silly”. And went back to marching along like nothing happened. I laughed and was thankful it was up and not to the side. He also froze sharply into the ride, looking off into the woods intently and we watched a whole flock of turkeys. I tried to get a video but you couldn’t see them in it with the trees. It was pretty neat though.

(This is just a little video of us after we started the ride back)

he relaxed after the turkeys and enjoyed himself. It was a short ride, we did a lot of walking and some trotting. I mostly let him select his pace. It would have been nice to go a bit longer and farther if the trail had allowed but it did not. And Poe was quite content with what we did do. So we finished up and headed home.

He was quite pleased with himself and seemed to be rather happy to be the chosen pony of the day. I’ll have to come up with a couple more rides with footing appropriate for him. It’s a good mental work out and mental break for him. And sure beats ring work.

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