Looking west at sunrise.
It is unusual to have such a gorgeous, warm day in the middle of winter (especially after the snow in my last post lol), so we knew we had to take advantage of it! I woke up really early and drove the hour to my friend's house where we got her trailer and then went to her workplace (racing stable) to pick up two of her horses. Then we hauled another hour to meet up with seven other people for our trail ride.
The sunrise behind me in my side mirror.
It was so much FUN!!!! The day was absolutely perfect...
How gorgeous is this in the winter??
We rode ten and a half miles in around four hours (we kept having to stop and wait on the slowpokes lol). Most of the ride was alongside a gorgeous creek that was a beautiful teal blue color. Seriously a beautiful, vivid color that made me want to paint the scene. Unfortunately the color didn't pick up very well on camera, but that's okay. I loved it! Part of the ride was even through the creek. That was fun! There were multiple crossings as well. One crossing had a drop off that I wasn't aware of (my first time to this particular trail) and I squealed when my mare dropped off into it lol. It was so funny.
I rode my best friend's Paint mare Pretty. She's so rock solid and such a good girl. It's so funny because in pictures you can always tell when we are out front because her ears are forward. She HATES being behind other horses and keeps her ears pinned, but as soon as she is out front they go forward. She is a fast walker too. I think she would make a fantastic endurance horse, because she is eager to see what is around each new bend in the trail. The only thing that sucked is that I forgot to bring gloves and the reins were so stiff they rubbed my hands raw from her pulling and rooting... there was also no chin strap on her bridle so she was pulling hard. I can't really blame her though because she was injured in October I think and hasn't been ridden since then. This was her first ride back from the injury and she was excited. She did great in regards to the injury so we were super happy to see she is fully healed up.
I can't believe how much energy she had for being so out of shape, but she's on twenty acres so she doesn't get as out of shape as my fatties on five acres. Having a big pasture to move around in helps so much with base fitness. She was never out of breath, even after our gallops. She never acted sore or tired. She was eager and forward the whole way. She sweated because it was unusually warm for a winter coat, but she didn't sweat as much as some of the others. I'll admit I was a bit concerned about taking her on such a strenuous ride after so long off, but I shouldn't have worried. She did great.
Wow a picture with her ears forward while behind other horses. She must have been looking at something lol. We had to follow this road a ways before we got to the trail. We only passed one car.
Pip wanted to go right lol.
One lady I met for the first time was riding her mom's mare... a Friesian cross!!!! I was so excited! Pip is a six year old Friesian/Quarter horse cross and she is gorgeous!
In front with happy ears.
This gray was really cute too and his bridle was so pretty... except for that bit... eek!
There were two mules too! Here is one of them.
Here he is again.... he got loose LOL!!!
There was no traffic and he was safely caught. He did not throw his rider. His rider had dismounted to get something out of his truck and accidentally dropped the reins. The mule wanted to go back to his pasture buddy being ridden by the guy's wife. It was funny. Sorry for the black circles... I don't feel right posting pictures of people without their permission.
I apparently didn't get a picture of the other one which is too bad because he was seal brown with four white socks. So pretty!
Gorgeous, gorgeous place!
Here the mules and riders were crashing around in the trees at the top of the hill and all the horses were raising their heads as high as they would go to watch them lol. Amazingly nobody spooked. :)
The creek alongside the road.
Pip giving my best friend's young gelding Tornado her best mare face lol.
Lots of fun crossings. You could see to the bottom.
Oh wait, that's the other mule with the breeching on. :)
Oh wait, that's the other mule with the breeching on. :)
Such a gorgeous place! I feel fortunate to live here. :)
We rode off trail up the creek several times.
No clue why I looked down, but it shows Pretty's gorgeous coloring.
I forgot to mention most of these photos are from my GoPro!! I was the only person wearing a helmet, but everyone thought the GoPro was really cool, so I didn't feel weird or out of place lol.
Pretty didn't want to wait for the slow riders hehe.
I was afraid my battery would die so I didn't get pictures of the end of the ride. Oops! Oh well.
There is one thing I wanted to mention. I was a little nervous about riding in a group of nine people (nine including myself) because so many people are disrespectful and rude about galloping off or being stupid. Luckily I had nothing to worry about since my best friend let me borrow her mare, who is a total rock star. People were galloping up behind us, going right by us so close you could touch them, taking off with no warning, etc. but it wasn't a problem because she wouldn't go unless I wanted her to go.... can I say... I miss that! I forgot what it was like to ride a horse that isn't green.
Before this ride I hadn't galloped in a very long time... I was beginning to think I was too chicken to gallop a horse ever again and that I would just have wistful memories of my teenage years galloping all the time. When I got ready to gallop Pretty for the first time I was terrified! I will admit it. I almost chickened out, but I didn't. I took a deep breath and reminded myself that I trust Pretty. I have ridden her a lot and she's never tried to hurt me. Heck I've even cantered her bareback across an open field she had never been in several years ago. So I just let go. She is FAST!! I loved every second of it! It was just as amazing as I remembered. I felt like we could fly.
At the end of the ride I was a little sad that I wasn't riding Chrome (even if I'd had a way to haul him up there he would have died on that trail because he is so out of shape), but to be perfectly honest I don't think I would have had the guts to take him. :( It's not that I don't trust him... I'm just scared of the unknown. I have no idea what he is capable of. I have no idea how he would react in a group of galloping horses. I have no idea how he would react to galloping with a rider!!
As much as I wanted to do all of his training myself, at this point I really wish I could afford to have someone put some rides on him, working on cantering and galloping. Then I could see someone else ride him and know for a fact how he would react. Obviously I know anything can happen with horses, but it would still give me the confidence to have the kind of faith in him that I have in Pretty. Sadly I can't afford it. I would obviously have to get him in shape first. His stifles aren't up to a lot of strenuous trails, hills, galloping, etc. Maybe once I get him in shape (I am going to start riding again now that I'm away from that awful job) I'll have the money to pay someone to put some rides on him.
Anyway sorry for the loooooooong, wordy end to this post. Just wanted to share some thoughts in my head.
So on that note here is a video of my galloping Pretty. This wasn't our fastest gallop because of the uneven ground. I wish we had gotten video of one of the smoother ones. Sorry it's so bumpy. My friend got this on her cell phone and anyone who has tried it knows how hard that is lol.
Also I almost forgot to share the pictures my friend took that I'm actually in lol.
Doing what I always do. Taking pictures with GoPro and cell phone haha.
My husband actually braided my hair. He did a great job!
Pretty is pissed about having to stand in the creek, but still a fun picture. :)
It was so much fun!
A gorgeous sunset to finish off a perfect day. :D