Monday, May 25, 2009

Johnny Goes Camping!

Three days of riding and taking care of Johnny's every need! Minnesota Trail Riders Association sponsors these group camping trips and you can count on group rides plus individual rides as you wish. We arrived at Foothills Horse Camp near Backus MN on Friday at around 1 p.m. and I got John settled with some hay and water on his tie line, got the dogs watered and bedded down in the trailer,

and went in search of someone to ride with. Right away I found a new friend Linda, and her cute young Quarterhorse Peanut. We agreed to tack up and ride out together in 1/2 hour. Neither of us knew the trails and both of us are directionally challenged but there was a map and it turned out fine.

Paul our camp host had created an obstacle course for us to warm up our horses - he had observed that some horses have trouble with unfamiliar things on the trail. So John and I, and Linda and Peanut tried it out:

It involves walking your horse across a tarp covered with beer cans, closely placed barrels to pass through, a platform to cross with step down onto a black tarp, and a platform teeter-totter. John got a big thrill out of smashing the beer cans; he kept wanting to go back through. I am sure he is the kind of guy who would pop packing material all night long.

At night I was able to lie in my sleeping place over the gooseneck of the trailer and observe John in his various sleeping postures: standing, down with chin resting on ground, down flat out with all legs sticking straight out, etc. I woke up about every hour to observe him until about 5 a.m. the first night when I opened my loving eyes to observe: no horse!

Panic, heart pounding, I clamber down out of my sleeping loft and by "clamber" I mean crash down into the dogs' water bowl and various other objects, scramble for clothes, project myself out the door, only to see a calm horse in the dawn light 5 feet from me. John looked up like, Oh, are you awake too?

He had somehow slipped out of his halter, which was hanging by the leadrope from the tie line. So it wasn't my knot coming undone, which I always expect.

later that day I was telling someone about it and I said, "There was John, standing naked eating, just as calm as you please." And someone who had overheard this said, "Which guy is John?" Thinking I was describing a man who was perhaps inebriated, which would be entirely plausible because some people interpret horse camping as PARTAAY!! Which is fine; they are usually sooo tired from riding that they can only drink and holler until about 10 p.m. and then everyone staggers off.

One young couple got engaged on this trip, and they were sort of cute but sort of odd too. They talked a lot about having sex while out on a trail ride, in fact the very ride where they got engaged. They pointed out deer stands where they had 'done it', and these were flimsy platforms up in trees with no sides to them. The groom-to-be was very quiet, and looked dumbstruck, like a dump truck of sex had backed up beeping into his life and begun unloading, and it is impairing his judgement. The bride-to-be was a YEEHAW rider, a type I have met before on these trips.

YEEHAW riders like to run their horses down steep embankments while shouting Yeehaw; they like to gallop off and gallop back doing the same; they believe their horses require stern discipline, whupping and cursing. Can you tell how much I love these people?!

But the most fun thing about these MTRA trips is all the diverse horse people. and all the beautiful horses. Here's a picture of two cute Appy butts for PonyGirl:

And here are some more fellow riders:

These two matching Tennessee Walker mares were so cute; their owners were wife and husband and had matching pommel bags, boots, saddles, everything. Here's the head of one of their mares so you can see the prettiness:

It was quite a time! John did his rushing downhill and close following tricks, showing me we have some things to work on, but he refused nothing: deep water crossings, heavy brush crossings, down trees, deep mud, ATV's, nothing fazes him. I feel so lucky to have him in my life, and so humbled by his generous heart. I'm not worthy.

But after 3 days of this I was so ready to come home and take a shower!! The buildup of bug spray, sunscreen and dust is aggravating after awhile. And Johnny was thrilled to get back to his green pasture - he left me holding my treat at the gate - he was so done! - and pranced out into the evening sun looking like King Horse, shaking his mane.

Happy Memorial Day! Hope everyone has a chance to relax and think and enjoy their horses too.


Once Upon an Equine said...

What a wonderful camping trip! So glad you and John enjoyed yourself. Sounds like an interesting group. Maybe the newly engaged couple found some poison ok during their escapades.

Flying Lily said...

OnceUpon: They were verrryy quiet on the last morning. Either he was tapped out, or they were both hungover. They did mention getting a few ticks in odd places. ick.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

The Odd Couple story is hilarious. I don't know if I could withstand listening to someone talk about their sex life without hurling. Whenever someone tries to push their religion on me, I respond by saying, "Religion is a lot like sex. You don't talk about what goes on in your bedroom with strangers."

AareneX said...

It sounds like a wonderful trip, and it sounds like John had a great time too!

Anonymous said...

You are indeed fortunate to have such a wonderful horse! Glad you had fun on your trip - despite some of the human nuisances!

Karen McLain said...

What a fun adventure. It sounds like Joe is my kind of horse! He sure looks happy. (BTW, we call YeeHaw riders those that "Go riding bareback through the desert with the wind in their hair" all the while thinking they are poseing for a singles ad)

Pony Girl said...

Oh what fun, I'm so envious! I was laughing out loud at the description of you scrambling out of the trailer! I would have freaked out, too! Without a halter, I probably wouldn't have caught my horse...he'd be long gone, living with the Mustangs or something.
Aw, those yee-haw riders, they have to run everywhere. Sometimes they are on our trails and can come up behind you and upset a calm horse!
The gaited horses on our trails always ask nicely if they can pass us, because they obviously move at a faster clip than us.
Thanks for showing the Appy rumps, always love to see me some spots! :)

3pennyjane said...

If a hot shower after several days out in the woods isn't the sort of spiritual experience that leads people to find religion, I've been doing it wrong all these years. What Stella Gibbons referred to as "dabblings and chilliness" just ain't the same. Still and all, you have a good trip and then come home to indulge in hot's a bonus feature.

(As for the ticks in odd places, they should count their blessings.)

Flying Lily said...

NM: I completely agree. There was a dead silence along the line of riders as the bride-to-be hooted about their sex in the deerstands.

AareneX; I think John had fun; on the second day I got a distinct vibe from him of "This is cool!" He liked going through water the most. He drags his muzzle in it.

Kate: I do feel lucky!

Karen: That's hilarious; posing for a singles ad indeed! Perfect.

PonyGirl: Yeehaw riders running up behind -- what are they thinking?? as the horses ahead spook and scatter...

3PennyJane: You said it about the hot shower. At the moment that hot water hits my grimy sunburned face, I could ask nothing more of life.

Grey Horse Matters said...

Your boy is a wonderful horse and I'm sure he had a good time too. But it is always nice to get home to some nice grass. Glad you had a good experience, it sounds like fun.

Molly said...

Johnnie knew where his Mama was. That's so cute.

One can only wish a nice bladder infection on this YEEHAW honeymooner.

What a happy weekend with your solid horse!

allhorsestuff said...

FUN!!1 Oh I wouild love to horse camp that way..we camp with the corrals and come back to a picnic table and tent all set up by the horsestrailers.
What a great trip!! Jonh is such a good boy for staying around!!! My mare would have gotten herself in someone face and squeeling would ensue!

Well, the nose to butt syndrome is her normal MO..but if I have the lucik to get behind someone like her..she won;'t tolerate it either..then she keeps her distance...Iv'e always told my mare to ttreat others like she wishes to be treated..she is a hypocrite!

Amy said...

Yeehaw rider is perfect. i also went horse camping over memorial weekend to shawnee national forest in southern illinois. and this type was EVERYWHERE. galloping horses up and down the gravel roads at the camp ground til 1 AM. poor horses.

ezra_pandora said...

Ahhhh, my ultimate dream, camping with the horses. We've decided not to try a show horse, but to get horses that can handle camping instead. Fun for the whole family and not just me :) How awesome.

And the popping the plastic bubbles, you have an early christmas present idea. that's funny. I'm glad you found your perfect horsey match to have so much fun on. I'm SO jealous :)

Anonymous said...

wow as an endurance rider... this looks like a blast... a true day in paradise!!

happy trails

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horse shows said...

Wow, i really love the pictures specially the two dogs. They are so cute. What breed of horses are those in the picture? I kinda like there physic.