This weekend a group of us from the barn got together and headed down to Rosaryville State Park to go trail riding. I’ve done a lot of things with Cally over the years I’ve had her, and goodness knows she’s no stranger to being hauled different places, but we’ve never hauled anywhere just to trail ride. So this would be a new and fun experience for us!
The haul was an easy one, as it’s just past the PG Equestrian Center, maybe half an hour from the barn, and has a nice trailer parking area. Cally was a bit suspicious, though, because there were mountain bikers back in the woods, which she could hear but not really see. But we tacked up and mounted up, and headed out across the lovely fields to one of the other trails.
The other barnmates had been to Rosaryville before, and knew just where we were going. We passed a big group of cyclists over by one of the picnic areas, doing some kind of drill, far enough away that the horses didn’t even look at them. We passed a few XC fences–the site is where Marlborough Horse Trials take place–but they hadn’t been mowed or trimmed around and I didn’t feel safe trying to jump something that didn’t have a clear approach on footing I could see. So we headed around through the park, past the big mansion that’s there, and onto one of the trails.
We wound our way through the woods, staying at a walk, which was a nice pace to enjoy the day and let the horses get a little workout going up and down hills without having to carry much (any!) pace. We passed a few bikers, who were obviously aware of the park rules to pull to the side and yield to horses, and while the first couple got the hairy eyeball from Cally, eventually she seemed to be cool with them, since most folks were friendly, wishing everyone a nice day and often exclaiming over our lovely horses.
The biggest terrain challenge we had was a dry creekbed, with a bit of a drop down, and a pretty big climb up on the far side, though it wasn’t that wide. One member of our party dismounted and walked through, another then rode carefully through it without much trouble. So I opted to sit back, and give Cally her head, figuring she does really well with drops and banks, she’d figure it out on her own. And boy did she–she treated it like a one-stride sunken road, dropped down, one stride across, and hopped right up the other side! I wish we’d had someone videoing, because she made it easy!
Then as we continued on our way back to the trailers, we encountered our biggest challenge–a biker who neither knew nor cared about the rules of the trail, or of civility in general. I was third back in our line of four, and despite our first two riders asking, then telling, him to stop and yield to the horses on the trail, he plowed right past, close enough to touch, and Cally was NOT happy about this deathtrap rolling her way, and tried to spin out of the way into the trees, which she didn’t have room to do. The guy was apparently only inches away from her as he blew past us, and the barnmate behind us was sorely tempted to whack him one with her crop as I was trying to soothe Cally and reassure her that things weren’t coming to kill her. Barnmate instead settled for yelling that she wished he had a license plate so she could report him, and indeed, if there was a way to do it, I think all four of us would have filed complaints. So stupid, and so dangerous! And of course, poor Cally was justifiably suspicious of the next bikes we encountered, though fortunately it was with much more responsible bikers.
Eventually we came out of the woods (after guess what, yielding and letting some bikers come past us from behind, because we’re good trail users!) into a nice wide grassy area where power lines ran through. Um, great, so which way is it to the trailers? Everyone pulls out phones and starts looking at GPS maps and ride mapper apps, and eventually we come to the conclusion that we should be going right, rather than the intuitive left. Turns out that as we get to the top of the hill, we can see the XC fences we passed coming in, and knew we were on the right trail.
The last bit of excitement was in dismounting. We’d been chatting about the distance and duration of the ride, as everyone had some kind of phone app or FitBit or whatnot tracking the ride. I’d looked at my FitBit on my belt, and we’d done well. Really well, for a couple hours of riding! But I must have done something funky while dismounting, because it popped out of the little casing. Into two foot high grass. One of them took Cally as I fumbled around trying to find it, but a black one inch square in the dirt under tall grass is near impossible to spot. Turns out all four of us scrambling around on our hands and knees, once the horses were put away, couldn’t find it! I was able to sync it to my phone, so I knew it was there somewhere, and at least I got credit for the trail riding, but went home FitBit-less. And really wishing it had some kind of beepy finer mechanism. But alas, it did not, so it’s abandoned somewhere by the horse trailer parking in Rosaryville.
But all was not lost. WBBF, being the world’s best, used his magic (Amazon Prime) to order me a new one yesterday, as well as one for himself, since he’d been on the fence about getting one and figured this was the push he needed. Mine is now bright pink, to be easier to find when I surely, eventually, drop it again. They arrived last night (hurrah for same day delivery) and it is ON between the two of us for most steps. I have a feeling Cally may be working just a little bit harder from now on!