Saturday, October 4, 2008

October Trail Ride in Nemadji Forest

At dark o'clock this morning I did not want to go on this ride. I had nightmares all night, the aggravating kind where there is some job to do (pack a suitcase, organize a lecture) and I can't make any progress and time is running out.

Bad sleep, tired wake-up, but it was a frosty night and the morning sunbeams set everything to sparkling. So we rolled out at about 7:40 a.m. for a haul to the Nemadji State Forest, an organized trail ride with the Minnesota Walking Horse Association -- all-gaited, alla time! Woot. This is a thrill for gaited horse riders as they do go at a different speed.

An additional aspect of this ride was that my barn owner and friend/trail partner is recovering from cancer and had chemo all summer, so this was her first ride out and only second ride total since the diagnosis and brutal treatments. We had a complete blast. Here's her TWH Missy showing her advance winter coat. Missy gets a fuzzy-bunny coat that is irresistible to touch.

It was a rare day, the kind of fall day where the air is like wine and the sunlight like a shower of blessings.
Here's Rose and Missy stepping along:

We did encounter 4-wheelers all day long, but as soon as they saw us they would pull over and even shut down their engines, which we found impressive.

There was a Parelli married couple - I mean a couple who were deeply indoctrinated into Parelli teachings. They had young horses in rope halters and they did well, except for the occasional gallop off episode which did cause a few problems among the other horses. Here's Parelli dude Kevin:

He tried to ride entirely without reins for most of the day: he would just park the reins around the horn and have his 'hands-free' trail ride for as long as he could. He and his wife were both good and confident riders, but it was a little nerve-racking when things went south abruptly. At one point Kevin decided his horse needed to gallop it out, and off he took, raking along the entire string of us at a hard flatout gallop with no warning - goodbye! We had a bit of repercussions amongst the ranks.

But it was a beautiful day, with golden light, trees showing color, sandy paths, and a tragic jolliness that can only be found among people whose winter is about to close down around their heads like an ice dome.

John decided he had better eat while the eating is good, for tomorrow we may all freeze or starve. He is quite an existentialist.

I thought these three pretty TWH heads needed a photo:

Hope you are having a good ride or two this weekend, stealing a march on the relentless encroachment of winter!


Grey Horse Matters said...

What a great ride you all seem to have had. I would have been slightly annoyed at the gallop off through the ranks, but that's just me. I'm impressed the 4 wheelers were so thoughtful. John and Missy are adorable, I love that he needs to have his snack before it's too late. Cute picture too of the horse heads out the trailer windows.

cdncowgirl said...

Those TWHs with heads out the window have WAY nicer heads than Kimfer's dad's TWH geldings.

I too am very impressed with the common sense and good manners of the quad people.

And I also agree that I would have found the gallop through the ranks without warning annoying, and just plain poor trail manners.

Flying Lily said...

GreyHorse and CdnCowgirl: It was amazing that these large groups of 4-wheelers were all tuned to each other and stopped one by one, and shut down one by one. On the other hand they had massacred these nice state forest trails: they were all banked 2 feet and had 2 foot canals in them. The horses had to choose tightrope walking on the bank or hock-knocking in the canals. I still don't love 4-wheelers. :(