Sunday, March 4, 2012


A gorgeous day. Gone were the clouds and cold from earlier in the week. Maybe we should have known it was too perfect and would spell trouble.

Major was heading out with his nemesis, Ziggy (though I quite like his owner B!) I think Ziggy really doesn't care, but Major remembers putting up with all his sh*t when Ziggy was learning, and just doesn't like him. Too bad, deal with it, right? So the trip started with a lot of crabby ears.

They were raring to go. We headed out, deciding which way to go, and chose towards Avery Pond. In the first couple miles Ziggy tried to double-barrel Major going down a small incline! We were too far back to worry much, though I still hate seeing those feet come flying in the air, head high (of course many feet away but they look closer!)

Go-Go-GO went the horses. Try to slow-slow-slow went the humans. And the battle continued. We also kept meeting runners and hikers, many of whom mentioned a tree down. We thought we'd assess that situation when we got to it. A pair of riders said the tree was down and couldn't be gone around, again, we'd deal with it when we got there. Then we got there. It looked like a pretty big tree, but some hikers were trying to roll it off the trail. The tree was swinging and swaying, people were talking and yelling, and then it just crashed over the edge of the cliff! Ziggy was having no part of that, and turned to run the other direction. Only problem was Major was in the way, so Major thought that must be a good idea too (though he hadn't reacted at first). Only a couple strides, got them both stopped, and calmed enough to walk past. Well, Major did the leading now. Past the scary big backpacks of the great scout troop that cleared the trail, we thanked them profusely and continued on,

Eventually we got nice controlled trots out of everyone, but and then slowed to a sedate walk to cross a bridge. And DOWN went Ziggy! It happened so fast I didn't even see it all. Major and I hadn't started onto the bridge yet, but Ziggy went down on his side, B hanging on to the railing, then lurched himself back up, B still on! We all stood in shock. I crossed the bridge, looked them both over, couldn't see anything, and tried to figure it out.

The bridge is in the shade, maybe it was slippery? Didn't seem wet though. Ziggy had been walking nicely, not jigging, boots in front and bare behind. After B composed herself, we walked on, Ziggy seemed ok, but we were all a bit shaken. What could we have done differently? Nothing. That is hard, because we always analyze everything that happens, but this time? Nothing we could think of.

We continued on to the pond, Ziggy very wary of all the bridges now. We got to the trough right before the pond, and neither horse wanted to drink. And Ziggy also decided he wanted nothing to do with continuing on, and decided to throw a fit. It wasn't about the next bridge, he just did not appreciate B telling him what to do. So after a bit of nice riding and correction, we finally got to Avery Pond.

Oh, but not before I fell in the trough! OK, that part was funny at least. Using the rock trough edge is a great way to get back on your tall horse, unless you are paying attention to the other rider's issues and step directly into the trough. Squishy wet sneaker, sock, pants and chap, at least it wasn't cold out!

At the pond, we were tired. We'd only gone 7 miles, but all the events were just a lot. Major calms right down and doesn't hold onto anxiety, whereas Ziggy was a sweaty mess. Ziggy also had a cut on his stifle (from his hind hoof, the bridge? not sure), so we rested a bit, the horses ate some grass, and we decided to call it a day and head back.

a calmer moment at Avery Pond

The horses were up for that! But we were careful going home. B realized she was holding her breath across all the bridges, which doesn't help calm your horse, and I had a challenge holding back Major, who wanted to canter (I don't think so) but we mostly trotted (though Ziggy in his anxiety thought he had to canter to keep up.) Major finally got his nice power-walk going home, and did drink well at the final trough. I just breathed a sigh of relief when we made it to the home stretch, got off the horses, loosened the girth, took out his bit, and let Major eat some grass.

Back home, Ziggy's injury looked superficial, thank goodness. It was warm enough for a quick bath and when I turned Major out he ran off, dropped and rolled (in the grass, but on the poop, of course) and then proceeded to gallop about the pasture a bit. Not tired!

I was! What a ride. I'll take uneventful any day. My old riding instructor used to say something like horses were "hours of riding punctuated by moments of sheer terror." Redheaded Endurance also had a scary ride experience this week. Everyone be careful out there!


  1. Haaayyy--thanks for the shout out! And glad you all made it home safe

  2. I'm newly minted Facebook friends with Becca Stone and just saw her post a status about treating Ziggy's wounds from the bridge fall and was soooo confused after reading this--and then made the (DUH) connection, Lol!

  3. Yes and she wants to come up here with you and ride! You can both stay the night with ponies if needed :)