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!

Trail Report: Woodstock Equestrian Park, Beallsville, MD

July 29, 2018

Saturday Val hosted a birthday bash competition in celebration of my 40th, and Sunday she met me back at the facility for a morning hack out.

We both rocked our Birthday Bash commemorative t-shirts she had made for everyone (FYI these are so comfortable).

This park has a ton of trails, and we hardly touched them.  we mostly rode around the edges of fields.  Lots of soybeans growing.  We saw a ton of other riders out in small groups too.  This is a very popular park.  If I lived near a park like this I would certainly frequent it too.

The Woodstock Equestrian Park is in Beallsville, Maryland on Darnestown Road in Montgomery County making it a county park.  It has a beginner-novice cross country course set up on six acres, a large 230×350 all weather arena, a gravel parking lot (actually two different ones) and 16 miles of trails through fields and woods and over bridges.  This is all set up on 872 acres.  People can use the park free of charge, and can also opt to rent out parts of it for exclusive use, like Val rented the ring for our use on Saturday.

The photo below cracks me up.  We tried to get both of us and both ponies in the same shot.  Our three faces make me laugh.

Val and I had a nice leisurely ride.  We discussed the need for more one day games events with a competition setting.  Lots of deep games talk.

It was a nice ride.

Trail Report: North River Gorge 538

May 12, 2018

Today I teamed up with some mounted games friends, Carol Ann and Natalie and we headed south into Augusta County. I admittedly have not been into this area since I moved to northern Rockingham about four years ago. It used to be my regular trail riding grounds, Bear Trap was my hands down favorite loop ever.

Note to self – go ride Bear Trap soon!

I have not ridden the Gorge in probably ten years. It is one of the most popular rides in the area. Particularly on hot days because the usual loop has eleven or twelve creek crossings. It’s about a 12 mile loop, with some super nice, move along footing down the bottom loop, a nice big climb on a closed fire road, and then some rocky navigation through the mountains with some nice views. The first half of the ride makes it easy to get some good moving pace and speed, and the second half is slower.

It does go through a more populated area than I usually hit up. There are people fishing and camping. We saw two guys hiking out with quite a few trout today. These are stocked waters so good fishing and eating. And we saw quite a few campers.

Parking: There is a pull over on the side of the road, long enough for three long rigs, probably more, just before the entrance we used. We started in from the road, not at the camp grounds, which is also a starting point with a pull over spot.

There is a small pull off the road camp space where we parked right next to the entrance. This is not to be confused with the actual camp grounds. We entered at 538 North River Gorge, closed gate, go over a creek crossing almost immediately.

There are a couple ways to do this ride, the loops can be done in the opposite order, or started from different points, including approached from the other side of the mountain.

I forgot to start the tracker for about .2 so adding that to our total. You can see the blue dot is our supposed start vs the red where we actually started/stopped. This also added about 5 minutes. We were moving out in the start.

This photo is of the entrance. I am sitting on Simon and he is standing on the road for it. So nice smooth, clear, obvious entrance in. You can see the closed gate in the background, which is marked on the map. There is a creek just beyond it.

The first one is shallow but the second one was moving quite quickly and pushed Daisy a bit. Daisy had to swim at that one and a few others. This was also Daisy’s first ride out since her knee surgery back in January. It was probably not the best ride for her to go out on but I could not leave her home again. It’s been breaking my heart to leave her all winter.

Daisy has always gone with me and has maintained an extreme level of fitness due to all her riding with me. She was actually deemed by the vet last fall as being too active when I took her in for a check up worried about her being off her food a little. But four months off and Daisy is not conditioned. Poor girl.

Carol Ann and Natalie were so kind and understanding. We had to wait for her to catch up a few times and let her have a moments rest a few times. The swimming and racing up hill really kicked her butt.

The creeks were refreshing. Back and forth over them. Trot and canter in between. A nice quick first half of the ride.

We eventually popped out by the North River Camp Ground, made a left behind it and then turned left onto the fire road, closed gate, 425 Hankey Mountain.

This is a rather long winding fire road up the mountain. I don’t remember it being so long. It was a nice trot canter up. After a point we pulled up to wait for Daisy. It’s a good move out point so I decided to keep it slower for her and just met Carol Ann and Natalie at the top. Simon was happy to walk and trot on up with Daisy but hilariously whinnied to his horse friends a few times. Silly boy.

So left we go onto 425A Overlook Mountain.

And then left at 716. There are several trails that branch off as you can see on the map.

Around here is where the trail starts to get a bit rockier and narrower and slower.

It’s more of a slower ride at this point. Lots of nice views. The trail mostly wraps along the top and side of the mountain. I attempted to video some of the rockier parts but they never really show it all that well. Nor can the views really be captured all that well either.

Eventually the trail starts to wrap back down. Some more rocks. At some points it makes me feel like someone did a terrible job of trying to put in over sized cobblestones.

Finally at the bottom, the trail literally drops out, onto a flat trail. Make a left.

Back on a nice wide flat trail, well maintained and smooth, zip a little ways till the first right hand turn over the creek and then along to the final crossing and back to parking.

It was a really fun ride. Good company and an excellent pony.

Simon was on a pretty good diet late this winter and lost about 4 girth holes which seems to have made a huge difference in his energy level. He was a ball of energy for the first couple miles and bucked along for the first mile or so. He still had plenty of pep at the end.

A quick video of some of the ride.

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