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.

Trail Report:Turner Run/Gauley Ridge to Slate Lick and back 3/10/18

March 10, 2018

Today Carol Ann and I went for a ride. We did a lot of walking and talking and it was a dang good time.

we parked up at Turner Run and headed on past the closed gate, about three miles in and made a left onto the ride top trail. It’s the one that pops out at the parking space facing slightly back. It was amazingly clear after that crazy wind storm last week. I expected a lot more downed trees and was pleasantly surprised at the lack of destruction. The trail winds down and around for a good ways. There are some old red, blue and yellow marks painted on trees that are often hard to see. And sometimes a faded out marker tag. But in nearly all spots the trail can be seen pretty clearly.

There are two places there the trail makes a hard right turn. The first time the trail also continues ahead so it’s easy to miss. But the tree there is heavily marked with arrows and the trees to the right are also heavily marked. The second time the large tee on your left has two large arrows on it and the trees to the right are sparse and hard to find. From this point on the marks are a bit harder to find and some of the trail is a bit blown over but with a moment of looking you won’t get lost.

The trail eventually dumps out at Slate Lick. Carol Ann spotted a raccoon down by the creek at this point. Pretty neat. We let the ponies get a drink and then worked out way up to the lake where we saw some geese. We took a few snap shots then headed back up the fire break trail.

I was not good at taking photos on this ride. We were too busy chatting it up and having a good time to think of such things like documenting the ride. (But my gosh look how big Simons head is in that photo of him!)

Just as we got back to the parking area, Carol Ann’s mare smashed her knee on the fire gate. I think it’s going to be nice and purple by morning, it was a rough smashing. To be clear, the mare smashed Carol Ann’s knee, or her own pony knee. Naughty pony.

I hope Carol Ann still had a good time. And I hope she can walk tomorrow. It’s one of the best, although slowest rides I have been on in a while. And with competition season coming us, trail riding is going to become less frequent soon.

Trail Report – Turner Run to Slate Lick Lake 

March 24, 2015

For this ride I started off on fire road 423 at Turner Run.  I rode out, and just past the second fire road turn on the left.  Just up a small incline in the road from that turn is a turn off for parking/camping with a bit of fresh gravel at the entrance.  In the back of this parking area is a small berm that starts off a well marked and heavily used trail.  There were a lot of hoof prints and pony poo and it was more heavily marked with different colored paint and marking tape as the trail continued.


I rode down and back, making it a 15 mile ride in about 2 1/2 hours.




There were often arrows marking harder turns in the trail.





Eventually the trail popped out below Slate Lick Lake.

On the same side of the lake, if turning to the right and proceeding over the stone wall and up the large hill, several other markers could be seen showing the start of other trails.  I was at my “point of no return” and did not want to risk checking these trails out but I suspect one will lead back to the fire road I started from.  It is also quite possible that these markers and what appears to be more than one trail head all converge into one trail.  Ill have to explore more in the near future.


We saw some geese down at the lake and a red tailed hawk on on the fire road.








Trail Report – 2/14/15 – Turner Run 423

February 20, 2015


My phone (and tracker) cut off at the turn around point.  (straight line did not happen) total ride was about 12 miles in a little over 2 hours.


Last Saturday I hit up Turner Run. We were expecting snow in the afternoon and the road into Turner Run is not one I would want to drive on if there was any snow so I figured it was a good time to hit that location.


Tacked up and ready to load up and head on out.


Ash was particularly excited to get his trail ride on!

I parked at the top, and trotted on in the fire road, past the closed gate.  I checked out one of the turns to the left, and a few side trails, but only briefly.  The one on the left, which is marked on the map as a fire road shows it winding much further than it actually goes.  the road ends and there is an unkempt trail that continued on along the path marked on the map.  I saw some horse poo, but it was a bit of a pain to ride since it was so over grown, so I quickly turned around.

I really wanted to check out the side fire road that I had turned around at the last time I was up there.  This side fire road is marked as being very short on the map, although it is quite a bit longer in reality.  It starts with a closed gate and it provids some amazing views.  There was a log freshly down across the road that required Simon to do a little climbing, but otherwise it was a well kept fire road.  It ends in a tall yellow grass field, and a trail continues, turning up the mountain face.  Again I saw pony poo along this trail.

I checked my tracker at this point, which read 6.27, and then my phone promptly turned off.  AHH, this phone shutting off is getting old.  I will be investing in an upgrade soon.  Here I was in the middle of no where, with no person likely to be in this area for a while, days in the least, and my phone shuts off.  Now that I have become accustomed to having a phone on me when I ride alone I have begun to look at it like a safety blanket.

I called the day at that point and headed back the way I had come.  There were some light flurries and I enjoyed the views.  I also managed to drop and break my point and shoot camera, which I take on these rides.  I had stuffed it into my hoodie pouch after snapping off a pic of the amazing view and then proceeded at a solid canter when it flipped on out and crashed to the ground.  My fault.  I never put my camera in my hoodie pocket for just this reason, and I even have a little camera saddle bag attached to Simon’s breast plate just for its storage.  I climbed off to collect the pieces and took the opportunity to water the dogs.

I did manage to get a few good photos on the ride before my phone and camera died.

The whole ride ended at about the 12 mile mark and took a little over two hours.  this ride felt considerably easier than the one the previous week at Marshall Run.  I am sure part of it was the significant difference in the temperature.  Last week it was around 50 degrees and this week it was around the 30 degree mark.  This week was also almost all fire roads and Simon and I could make really good time.  There were also no big climbs or descents.  Last week there was a good portion of ice roads to slow us down and winding hilly trails.

We did get that snow during the week, and excessively low temperatures to prevent it from melting.  And we are expecting anther storm on Saturday, so it looks like there will be no trail riding this coming weekend.  I guess training for the spring LD Endurance ride, Fox Catcher in Maryland will have to wait a week.


giant bird tracks.  I should have laid something down for size perspective.


Simon at the end of the ride.  Ready to head back home.


















Conditioning Ride #2 – 3/27/14

March 29, 2014

On Thursday Beth and I headed back to Browns gap for our second conditioning ride of the year.

I took note that Poe is already getting in better condition. He trotted strongly and kept an upbeat pace for the entire two hour ride.

The most spectacular part, Poe seemed to actually enjoy himself! He even trotted along with his ears forward for portions of the ride. Most importantly, he did not try to throw me off, kick Simon or pull any if his “stunts”. He was happy to move out ahead of Simon, stay along side him, or fall behind him at any point. He was a happy pony.

Poe is an easily bored pony. And I think trail riding does not hold his attention. The last few rides we had were games rides, so maybe he had enough stimulation accumulated that a chill trot in the woods for this ride was tolerable. Or maybe he has “lost” the battle and has accepted that he is going to do these rides, so he has chosen to enjoy them. It’s probably a combination of both!

I am going to try and get in two conditioning rides next week, and I hope he continues to enjoy them.

We are one month out from the first big competition of the games season.






%d bloggers like this: