Despite the heat, it’s been a great weekend. On Saturday, I was up bright and early to volunteer as XC warmup for the Maryland Horse Trials. I try to volunteer there once or twice a year, because I have a good time getting to see all the horses go around, and especially enjoy warmup, because I actually get a chance to say hello to everyone, from Phillip Dutton down to kids on cute ponies. It was unearthly hot, but I had a table with a big water cooler and an umbrella for shade, so I got a lot of people coming to say hello, catch some shade, and have a bit of water. I think I worked as hard getting water for riders as I did getting people out to the Start Box! But when its 95 and humid, that’s almost more important. Warmup was right next to one of the galloping lanes, which made it a great place to see a bit of the course, too. Prelim and Novice went on Saturday, and it seemed like the courses rode really well–I believe we had a few folks get lost, but only one rider fall on XC. From what I could see of the Novice course, it looked really straightforward, and like something Cally and I could totally tackle one day.
For Sunday, I’d vaguely had plans to try going up to Lehigh Riding Club and doing a couple of hunter rounds, just for some milage jumping around. But given how hot it was, and how little I desired to put on a wool jacket and jump around in the heat, I decided to pass on what would probably have been my one hunter show this year, and just go out for a trail ride instead. Raspberries have been coming in, and there are a lot of bushes out in the treelines around the trails. So I rigged up an empty Nalgene bottle, a carabiner clip, and my breastplate, and off we went. It really ended up being more me leading the horse around as I picked berries, but Cally seemed to be fine with that.
I’m pretty sure I actually rode less than half a mile total distance, all walking, but I ended up with a 2/3 full Nalgene with fresh delicious wild raspberries. I may have eaten more than a couple straight off the bushes. Cally seemed less than impressed with prickly shrubs, but was happy enough to do some grazing while I was collecting my bounty. Sometimes you just need to take a day and enjoy the simple things, and what could be better than going berry picking with the best horse ever?