Monday, April 11, 2011

one last canal ride

A perfect Spring day. A good riding buddy. And a final ride on the canal trail for the season.

For some stupid reason (to be explained momentarily) we decided to go through the forest down to the canal. Not the trail I did the day before, but just to avoid walking up the road. Muddy but passable, until we got to Barking Dog Hill. The trail didn't look too bad, muddy with a creek running down the middle, so we slogged forward. Major in front..and we just sunk. He started to scramble a bit, but was good and just jumped to the firmer ground (and into the really pokey dead tree branches). I thought a bit but jumped off, thinking that leading was better. The ground ahead looked better. Unfortunately the ground was still really bad, and we had to scrape our way through the tree branches and mud. It was that or go back, and we would have encountered that big pit again. We got through it ok, a few scrapes on the saddle, and completely indebted to our good horses. I promised Major that we wouldn't do anything like that again, and the rest of the ride was much more fun!

Once we got down to the canal it was amazing how close the lake is to the trail. In some spots it was lapping the rocks right next to the trail, and there were islands that were once high points. Major was fine with most of the waves, but the other horse Friday kept giving them the stink eye, and was traveling down the trail slightly crooked: or a nice shoulder-in from a different perspective!

The trail was still so nice though, sand under our feet, beautiful views, and about 2.5 miles of access. Then the trail disappeared below the water. We could see where it went, so we did walk through some water-filled spots, and kept going until it looked like we needed to start swimming. It was really fun to wade in the water, and good practice for the horses. This water is a good challenge, it has lots of floating sticks, and they had to step over a floating log, into the foot-deep water, which gets a bit deeper before we could get out.

Major just loves standing in the water, and pretending he is a puppy and not a pony: picking up sticks from the water, lifting and playing with it, dropping it, submerging his face. The kayaker about 10 feet away was a bit unnerving and totally new to both horses, and there were many fisherman out, casting whizzing flies almost at our feet (which scared Friday, and the rude fisherman saw him reacting and didn't stop casting).

We got some really nice trotting in, and it is nice to put anther horse in front and have Major work in that situation. Major and Friday are good together. We ran into lots of other riders and friends, all enjoying the canal for the last time this season. At the staging area Major even drank from the scary tub (no idea why this particular tub is scary). We came home a much safer route, so I kept my promise.

well deserved tall grass snack
I was very proud of Major for dealing with all the different events of the trail, but still hope for some less eventful rides in the future!

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