Trail Report: Laurel Run left hand loop 6/14/2020

June 18, 2020

Last Sunday Carol Ann and I headed back over to Laurel Run and we tried a new loop.

Using the map in the image below (this is the map that is posted frequently throughout the trail network) we parked at the P on 691 toward center right in the image. From the parking we rode down and then left onto Laurel Run Rd (yellow) to the next P. From there we made a hard left onto North Mountain Trail (orange). We followed this to Stack Rock Trail (purple), to a left on Laurel Run Spur (blue) and then right back onto Laurel Run Rd.

Laurel run was gorgeous. The Laurel was in bloom and we both kept commenting how amazing it was.

North Mountain Trail was also gorgeous and boasted lots of amazing overlook views. But it did start out very bouldery. Not rocky, but boulders to navigate through. It was also covered in lush green grass so the boulders were somewhat hidden. This was a lot of work for the ponies to navigate. I spent this whole several mile section constantly yanking Simon’s head up, every, stride. I repeat, every stride.

Stack Rock Trail was a very well put in trail with cleared areas through bouldery areas, but it was a grade downhill, switching back and forth, and quite narrow in some places. We also ran into two downed trees that were quite a chore to navigate around (unmounted).

The whole ride ended up being a bit long for my taste. Much of it required a slow pace and work navigating boulders and narrow passes. My butt was a bit tired by the end. I attempted to lead Simon for a portion of the climb down but he was a bit of a challenge with all the things to eat and scratch on and the obnoxiousness was too much. Carol Ann got in a nice hike with her puppy dog style Puck marching along like a well mannered beast.

All in all a good day but probably not a return path we would be eager to take again.

Trail Report: Laurel Run

June 11, 2020

A few weeks ago Carol Ann and I hit up Laurel Run. It’s been a while since I have been there so I checked in with some STRHA friends for some info. Very handy and helpful.

We parked at the nice round parking loop, and headed out to the right, making another right over the creek and up the road. We both really enjoyed this part of the ride. It continues past a closed gate with a bit of an incline.

This area is well marked with maps posted frequently.

Eventually we turned and headed up a trail up and up. It was a humid day and Simon was feeling it. After some time it pops out onto the fire road, making a right onto it, and heads back down to the parking area. This part pretty much sucks.

It was a fun ride but I would like to try other directions. I really disliked all the road back. But luckily there is plenty to explore up there still.

Trail Report – too many!

June 10, 2020

I have been on quite a few trail rides lately, mostly with Carol Ann. And I have not been efficient at recording them here. You might wonder why I do record them here, and I do have a reason. I use them later when I can’t remember something about a trail, and I can look back and find be reminded. Stuff like “where was that loop?” Or “what was the footing like” or “was the parking efficient for two rigs?” I actually look back a lot.

Most of these rides have been at Slate Lick so I’m not as worried about recording them. But there was a fun Sunday ride at Laurel Run, which I could not remember well as it was. Luckily I reached out to some amazing STRHA friends and they helped me out. I do need to try to record that ride in its own post.

There was also a STRHA ride at Uncle Tom’s. Again it was a pretty basic loop that be documented on here previously so we will leave that I t his mash up as well.

Otherwise, this post commemorates quite a few lovely rides at Slate Lick over the recent weeks.

Day One – getting to know the new pony

June 9, 2020

I got home with Dex on Saturday and woke up excited to play with him on Sunday. I brought him in from the big field to the yard paddock. Rich brought Simon in as well. Rich also had a “work area” set up in the driveway we needed to work our way through to get to the gate, and Dex did not care. He stood under the canopy and navigated all the equipment and tools. Rich even held him for me while I ran to grab something.

Next I have him a bath. I got his mane scrubbed out and conditioned but ran out of supplies after that and just hand washed his tail and hind quarters with no soap. I am going to need to restock myself with some bathing supplies.

He stood quietly while I took my time. He did play a bit in the hose but was a true gentleman and not concerned about any of it. Rich joked that he was probably hot and happy to be getting hosed after living in NY and moving to hot humid Virginia.

Next I brushed him out and groomed him up. He politely picked up his hooves and stood quietly while I sprayed him with detangler and fly spray.

I finished his work for the day with a long walk around the farm. He had chickens running around him, the dogs and cats, the neighbor on his four wheeler and lots of weird farm things to look at. We stopped and stood frequently and Dex was easy going and polite for all of it. He looked at some of the stuff and did some lip licking and chewing, not continued to be level headed and laid back as he took it all in.

Picking up the New Pony

June 8, 2020

A few weeks ago I started putting more effort into the search for a new pony. One of my friends, Stacey, kindly posted on my behalf in a draft group and she sent me a few ponies that fit my interest. One of them really caught my eye and just sounded perfect. He was a little younger than my usual prospect but that youth also would give me a new adventure into horses. So I bit.

I spoke to the owner, Bryttany, and everything just sounded more and more fitting. Her pony Dex, turned 2 in February, and is a Gypsy Varner Haflinger cross. He fit my very specific height requirements, and my preference for a gelding. And, his photos showed a colorful paint.

I’ve wanted a Gypsy cross but always thought of them as my dream pony. Generally ones under saddle and ready to roll are out of my budget. And I specifically wanted a Gypsy cross vs a full Gypsy, so I would get some of the hair, but not all of the hair.

Bryttany has started Dex in harness, and doing ground work exercises. She sent me plenty of videos and photos and told me about his level head and agreeable personality.

This is a pony I could not pass up. So I made signed a contract, put down a deposit and made arrangements to go get him the following weekend. I was also super lucky that my good friend Jenny offered to make the trip with me to Warsaw, New York, which is pretty close to Buffalo and about 7 hours each way.

We headed out Friday at lunch time and stayed in a hotel in Bath, about an hour shy of our destination. We had a good drive up and enjoyed each other’s company. Traveling during Covid is a little interesting and NY totally let you know that they are taking it seriously. I think we passed close to twenty digital signs in the first twenty miles in the state telling us to cover our faces, stay gone stay safe, and NY strong. We were also the only people in the hotel which boasted comfy clean beds and a friendly staff who recommended pizza delivery as the only option outside of fast food drive through.

Saturday morning we were up and made the final stretch to Bryttany’s lovely farm. There was a cool horse made out of horse shoes right where we parked and a variety of lovely horses. Bryttany showed us to Dex who was sharing a stall with his younger, and matching brother, who was laying down for a rest. Dex appeared exactly as she described and walked directly on the trailer like a professional.

When Jenny and I made our first stop we realized we had not even gotten a photo of him so we attempted to catch one through the trailer. Dex was chillin, munching, and not bothered at all. On we went and he was calm and quiet the whole ride home.

When I did make it back home he backed off the trailer perfectly and I put him out in my big field and let him wonder around and relax a little. Simon was in the wooded paddock have a melt down, and after a while I brought Simon over for them to get aquatinted.

It was a mostly uneventful meeting and Simon seems very enamored with him. Dex took it all in strider and let Simon boss him around. Later that night after dark a neighbor shot off fireworks so I went back out to make sure they were ok. Simon generally is not bothered by fireworks and Dex did not appear to be either.

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