Games Practice 02/25/2018

February 25, 2018

Another good practice. What can I say, they are always awesome. This practice turned out to be small, just Val, Zoe, and myself. But that made it possible for us to whip through a bunch of races.

Today we realized why I kick butt at litter in practice but flick it on occasion in competition. Val noticed it. I do not lean as well as I used to so I do a stop and pick. In practice I let Poe coast up to the litter, lean, stick the litter, lean a bit more, lift, and go. Slow and easy. In competition Poe and I both ride harder and we stop short right at the litter, putting me right on top of it. So it’s harder to get the litter out in front of me. And I get one lean, not two. Which is just unnecessary anyway.

Solution, push up to the litter in practice, and just one lean. Be serious.

In competition, pull up a half stride earlier so the litter is out in front of me and not directly below me.

It’s these little things.

Val’s pony, Babyface is really getting some wicked turns. Adding that to his natural speed and he is getting to be crazy amazing. His hi low turns today were so on. Really impressive. And Val was vaulting that tall drink of bay steed like she was still some 18 year old kid. Crazy. Crazy.

Zoe’s new pony, Dice is coming along so fast. He was at his first practice two weeks ago, and I believe it was only her second ride on him. She has clearly gotten in quite a few more rides because he is toning up already. She also managed a few practices since then and the pony is a natural. Zoe took him through balloon for the first time and the pony didn’t flick an ear or anything. Zoe found a good one I think.

Today was also Daisy’s first trip back out since her surgery. She gets to run around while we set up and again during break down and then chills in the truck while we ride. She was so pleased to get to go out again. It’s been breaking my heart to leave her home while she’s been recovering and weird driving without her.

I didn’t get many photos and only one video clip today.

One group “crazy eye” shot!

Trail Report: 240E Kretchie Mountain

February 24, 2018

Note: in some places I find the mountain Krechie and some Krichie. I or E?

Parking: I show the parking in the video part one. There is a small loop to park on but it’s small with a big pothole and a bit of an incline on one end. But would work well for backing and turning.

I back off of the main road – 240, and park on the side of the side road. A larger rig could certainly do this. I have also parked on the side of the main road just before this side road and there are more places to park and turn around just a bit further along.

Access: This trailhead is at the end of Little Dry River Road. It eventually turns to gravel, and you go a bit further, past a house on the right, and it’s the turn on the left. There is a simple metal sign that says “210” by the entrance. Just after it is a red metal gate, which I think is to a gun club or a hunting club or some such private land.

Turn left, I believe it is technically Vepco Rd (it’s labeled this on the Map My Tracks app). It’s has a nice creek ford, concrete, not too deep, and heads on up, through an open fire road gate and continue up. I include some of this on the part 1 video. The trail head I road from in this post is the first side road on the right, it’s well marked, gravel like the main road, and has the “240E Krechie Mountain” forest service brown wooden sign.

It’s been a few years since I have been to this trail head. I did not go out and check it out in advance to make sure it was still passable and gates were still open in advance like I should have. I rolled some dice and it went ok.

I am turning these written blogs into more of a video blog experience lately. So if you really intend on checking out this trail I recommend you review the videos. This ride has a three videos. I hope they are helpful.

I recommend the main bit of this ride if you want a short easy ride with some nice views and easy footing. For this area the footing was actually really nice. Thinking back I would even take my more tender footed, barefoot pony back on this ride as a light conditioning ride. (And now I am thinking). The main part of the ride is about 4.3 miles in and back out. It’s wide, clear and well marked fire road the whole way.

From parking, go through the closed gate and on back along the fire road, it splits a little ways on. There was a tree down for the right hand/straight ahead fork. I seem to remember from years ago, this meandered along a ways, got super over grown and I gave up. I have a fuzzy memory that I later noted on a map that if I had just gone a tiny bit farther it would have popped out on a fire road or something. But my memory of it is not so good.

On this ride we took the left fork, which was clear, and headed down.

the trail rolls along, some coverts over creeks, rolling up and down but nothing harsh.

after awhile there is another split. Go right, up. It’s not too terribly long, and it’s a bit rockier compared to the rest of the ride. It eventually trickles down to a foot trail, which appears to have kept going but I decided to call it. It’s a decent trail till my turn around point. This is covered in the videos pretty clearly.

I also went back to the split and took the left hand one. It was a bit thick at first and then cleared. I will note here that there were a lot of tiny thorn trees. So ones you couldn’t easily snap back branches on and might not want hitting you with bare arms.

This split was short lived and ended at a circle. There were two branches off. The one to the right at the start of the circle was super short. The one directly across the circle appeared to probably have been nice at one time but was too over grown so I called it.

That is the main part of this ride.

On my way back I decided to check out a side trail. On the way back it was on my left, going up hill, just about at a right hand curve in the fire road.

It initially went up, bubbles left and then short off to the right. It had a few branches off of it but I stuck to the most dominant trail. It started up pretty steep after a bit and I noted the trees were marked blue blaze. It was a solid trail and only slightly over grown, but still very passable. I looked at map my tracks app and it appeared the path was about to run into another trail or just had connected. But when I got home and looked I did not see this. I was a bit short on time so I cut my exploring at this time and headed back out. But I would like to go back out and see where it goes.

I also saw a lot of freshly scratched up trees and what I think might have been bear scat. I am not any type of scar professional, so I could be totally wrong, and I realize it’s winter, but with it being extremely warm, 60-80s recently I believe I have read bears might get up for a snack. Again, no professional, so I am not so sure. But it was fresh poo and scratching.

Something else of note – there were fresh tree tubes in one area. Tons of them. I assume they have trees in them. I came galloping around a corner and it was just covered in them. Sort of spooky.

So back to the parking area. You can see in the photo above, there is a trail just to the right and above the fire road. I remember it from before but not much more than it was there. I rode up it just a tiny bit to see if it was still there and it is. I’ll have to check it out in the future. Again.

Check out the three videos for a v-log of the ride.

Video part 1 of 3

Video part 2 of 3

Video part 3 of 3

Trail Report: Blue hole – Grove Hollow 02/15/18

February 15, 2018

Trail: 302 Grove Hollow at Blue Hole in Bergton, Virginia. Drive all the way back, over four cattle guards.

Parking: Not a very big area. Small turn around. Space for two or possibly three small rigs. There is a second spot to park just past the main spot but it is often flooded or extremely muddy.

Todays Ride: I got a very late start and didn’t reach the trail head until nearly 3pm so I decided to do the quick loop with the big down hill finish. It has amazing views, lots of room to move out and the big down hill adds another level to the work out. It does slow down the over all pace quite a bit but it’s a fun challenge. Certainly not for every ride.

The ride starts out through the closed fire road gate, and on we go. Past lots of logged areas, up and up, on a slow incline for about the first two miles or so. This makes this area a bit of an annoyance for me to do a ride in and back out since the last two miles is a down hill ride. I dislike that level of down hill on Simon. He is so slow and not as surefooted as I would like and let’s his laziness peak. It takes some constant work to keep him moving at a decent pace. Which is not how I like to spend the last two miles of any ride.

After a bit there is a road that beaches to the left, 302b Grove Hollow – with a closed fire gate, or proceed ahead onto 302 Rocky Spur.

I really had no idea what I was going to do at this point. But I was working with limited daylight. I debated for a bit too long then opted to head left on 302b grove hollow.

It’s a nice hack along until you come to a an opening with three split offs in front of you. Choosing left makes for this loop. None of these have road markers or any designations displayed.

So off to the left, which is a quick down, around and up and then this trail shows its beauty. Since they logged this area a few years ago, there are absolutely amazing views. And this section of the trail is all amazing. The trail rolls up, down and around, and it’s perfect for a nice rolling canter, popping up on each new crest with a “king of the world” feel!

As expected photo and video just does not show these views.

Alas the views end and the main trail runs out and becomes a much narrower trail. And on we go.

Here is where the real challenge comes. The downhill. The trail sort of narrows down and becomes less clear. There are pink marker tags here to assist with the hill, I recommend following them. It starts off not bad, going straight ahead and then curving to the left and beginning to slope down. It’s gradual but quickly gets steep. I have gone all the way down mounted, but I usually dismount once it gets super steep. Although I have mentioned previously I really am uncomfortable going steeply downhill on Simon so I am not sure how much of that plays into it, but I assure you, it is steep. The trail is visible, although the markers make it easier to follow, especially once on the ground.

Today I was climbing down on foot with Simon and I slipped and rolled a little ways. I popped up from the roll and I swear Simon was was laughing at me *oh come on human, really?* It was comical. Once to the bottom, it’s an easy slip to the right into a more dominant trail, and just a few yards ahead across a creek and turn right. This trail has some downed trees, but nothing impassable. It dumps you out at a rocky creek type of bed, bare a bit right and across a creek, there is a clear crossing (this area is a bit messy since it floods on occasion and not so clear. After the rocky bed area bare right to the running creek, closer to the fence). After crossing the creek there is a path, sort of tough to see, it is parallel to the creek, forcing you to make a hard left to enter it. It takes up along the creek, then bares up and dumps you into the road, just a short shot left to the parking.

Video clips of the ride.

oh did I mention it was in the 70s!!!

Trail Report: 1117 Old Man Run 2/14/18

January 14, 2018

Track: left hand track -8 miles total in and out.

Parking – turn around is tight. I comment in the end of the video clip about it. I pull in then back into the first turn on the right (1117b Elizabeth ridge) to turn around. There is parking on the right as you go to pull back out. Room for two smaller rigs, maybe three small rigs squeezed in.

Today’s ride: It’s been a while since I have been back here and I forgot how much I like this trail. It’s a nice 8 mile out and back, fire road to trail, nice views, various footing, some hills but no rough climbs or tough footing. Note, the sign at the road is gone.

I headed up 1117 Old Man Run, through the open gate, along the creek, and heading straight/left at the main split.

It is such a pretty ride. At the first “top” of the road it sort of opens into a camp area and there is a trail to the left that goes off to the power lines for a pretty view.

Then continue on ahead on the road to the closed fire gate and around it. To this point there were some rather fresh tire tracks and a few boot prints.

I absolutely love this trail after the closed gate. It stays clear and passable, rolling, it’s easy to keep moving at a decent pace, lots of room to trot and canter. There are also plenty of nice views.

I tried something out during the ride. I started taking these little video clips along the ride. At first I was trying to give you an idea of the views but then I though I could show some of the trail. It’s such a nice trail and varys as you go. So let’s see how this works out.

Well, to my dismay, after lots of effort, I am not able to put the little clips throughout the blog successfully. So I compiled them into one video and loaded it into YouTube and included it above this paragraph.

The trail ends under the power lines, it’s the second time you actually go under them.

Games Practice 02/11/18

February, 11, 2018

Two days ago we had a practice and it was freezing. Today we had a practice and it was nice and warm! Both were fun, but I got to say the warmer temperatures were nicer to the joints.

Today’s practice included three of us from Team Gone Rogue; myself, Val, And Jon, and our friend Zoe on her brand new pony Dice. This was Zoe’s second ride on Dice, and his first time playing games. I think Zoe picked a good one. He hardly batted an eye at anything and he seemed pleased to trot on through everything. I believe I caught his very first race, Twitter, and his second, mug shuffle in the compilation video.

We rocked through quite a few races, trying to hit ones today we didn’t get to on Friday. And since it was warm, we ran through quoits a few times. For me I worked on my leaning in quoits, more for my leaning in general than to actually get the ring out of the bucket in competition. I am very happy with myself for touching the top of the bucket, go me! Val of course was whipping around, grabbing a hoop and in most runs (except the one in the video) slapping that ring over the cone. And Jon, his stirrup is so fast. He certainly challenges a vaulter with this skill.

About half way through practice one of the long horns came running into the indoor and started to toss a trash can around. Jon ran over and closed the gates to our section just before another one ran in. Turns out the cows had gotten loose. We called up to the house and they had them rounded us and back in the field quickly but there was a lot of mooing going on for a while. It made for a rather exciting mid practice break.

Video compilation from practice!

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