Spring – Let’s get fit!

March 30, 2019

This is the first winter that Simon has not been kept in shape. With such poor riding conditions preventing me from riding at home because it was either too wet or it was actively raining, and a new pony to get trained up, Simon sat out.

This week I managed to hit up some trails for a quick two hour ride after work. I went up to the VEPCO 240 fire road off Little Dry River Rd and parked at Kritchie Mountain trail and road back that way. I was about 10 minutes in when I heard a car horn from the direction I parked. I kept going but it wouldn’t leave my mind so I turned around and went back. Nothing was out of the ordinary and my mind eased.

I decided to head along the fire road instead, popping out into the electric tower trails and just enjoying the views and nice weather.

This was Daisy’s first ride out in a while as well. I kept it short and slower for her as much as I did for Simon and myself. We are all out of condition.

It was a nice ride.

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.

Xmas Eve Ride 2018

December 28, 2018

Kerri and I went solo for our ride this year on the C&O.

Simon was a bit of a twit but Kerri had fun with his antics.

This was my third ride on Possum and he was fantastic.

He was brave, marched through puddles and was happy to lead or follow.

Fun was had by all!

Trail Report: Turner Run 9/21/18

September 26, 2018

On Friday I got out of work a little early and I had just enough time to fit in a quick trail ride before dark. Score!

I drove up to Turner Run which was a bit sketchy driving in. It was slippery and a bit muddy for going up hill pulling a trailer so I used 4WD and made sure I kept going.

The fire road gate is open but I parked at the circle. Annoyingly the circle was overgrown and trashed making it hard to turn around.

I would not have been able to continue driving up the road passed the gate with the trailer this time. There were some wash outs and rather rough spots from all the rain. The truck would have been fine but not pulling a trailer.

Off we went enjoying the gorgeous afternoon. We got in some nice trotting and some leisurely walking.

And then it started to rain.

(Do bears poop in the woods? I am not sure about the woods but they do poop on the fire road)

And then the sky opened up and it poured.

It rained for a good half hour. Completely soaking us.

And then the sun came back out.

And the day became gorgeous again.

There were tons of old mushrooms along the way.

And some Berries.

And some amazing views.

We got in a few nice gallops and then enjoyed our time riding back to the truck.

It was an excellent start to the weekend.

Trail Report: Elizabeth’s Furnace – Short Loop, Strasburg, VA

July 31, 2018

Sunday I went out with my local trail club, the Shenandoah Trail Riders and Horseman’s Association (woe that’s a mouthful) STHA, for a sweet four hour ride.  I really enjoy getting out with the club but this is sadly the first time I have made a ride this year!

Excitingly this was a brand new location for me, over in the Strasburg area.  I have never driven through this area non the less been here to ride, so it was quite exciting.  It was easy to get to, not far off I81.  I goggle mapped to Elizabeth Furnace Camp Ground, and then drove just past it to the next parking area on the right hand side.

The parking area has a loop drive and plenty of parking.  We had quite a few rigs and all fit just fine with plenty of room to spare.  I did note that the parking lot was in terrible shape and untended.  I thought I was parked beyond the actual parking area and when I was messing around getting ready I noticed parking blocks lost in the depths of overgrowth, dangerously hidden from view as I nearly tripped over them on multiple occasions (glad my truck and trailer didn’t “trip” over them).  I should have gotten a photo of the parking area, but as per my usual when I am riding with other people, I really sucked at getting photos.

 

We left the parking area via a trail situated at the back of the parking area.  If you were facing the parking area from the road the trail would be in the top left hand corner.  This wrapped up through some woods and popped out on a fire road.  I am not going to mince words at this point, and am going to be very to the point, I followed along and had a lovely ride but I paid zero attention to our trail.  We were on and off of fire roads and trails and I saw some blue and orange (maybe) blazes and several signs telling us which way what trails were but I have no idea which trails we rode on.  There were plenty of them though, and lots of options, and plenty of directions to go in.  I did notice that one we were on and left crossed back over to another one we were on later.  Two of our group broke off not too far into the ride and went a different way and met back up at the end.  And when we got back someone else was parked with us and popped back out of the woods just behind us who was also out for a ride.  Point being, I could not retrace this exact loop very easily, but there are a bunch of trails out there and with a map it would be an awesome place to spend some days exploring.

 

There were a couple creek crossings and lots of lovely scenery.  It was a really pretty ride.  There was a large log down at one point and Sharon, Mark and a few others quickly cut us a path around it.

In the photo above, that Mule is named Daisy.  Very cute.

At one point the trail led through an old unused camp grounds.  It was originally a workers camp, which I am already fuzzy on the details that were so kindly told to me.  Please excuse anything inaccurate I relay, but I believe it was built in the depression era, by the ECW/CCC Roosevelt initiative to get labor forces working again, as housing for the workers.  It was later used by the 4H, and I am told that Ellie can tell me all about that era of its use.  Which I would love to know more about.

You can see several of the cabins still standing.  It is so sad that it is all gone to disuse.  I am sure it was a really neat little camp at one time.

and even a pool!

There is also a pavilion still there with the neatest roof inner structure.

Anyway, these type of over grown structures always make me think of all the – end of the world – books and movies.  This area totally had that feel and would make for a good set for the Walking Dead or some such type of film.

We passed through this on the way out and the way back in, and over two little bridges.  After a while we stopped for a nice little lunch break.

It was a lovely ride and a really good time.  It clocked in at 13 miles on the nose and my tracker trimmed out the stopped time so we were moving for a total of 3 1/2 hours.

Simon was a little full of himself, which is quite out of character for him.  I am attributing it to him being a only-pony these past two weeks and him being particularly excited to be with other horses. Normally this doesn’t excite him all that much but on this ride he was all full of it.  Keeping up with all those gaited ponies he rolled into his little jog for some of the ride home.  Not fast enough to do a posting trot and not slow enough to walk.  For a non gaited pony he is pretty smooth, but he is not gaited.  Note, I had on a really good bra.

I am hoping to make more club rides this fall.  I really do enjoy them.  Hopefully my games schedule will start to line up a little better with the STRHA schedule!

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