Tag Archives: pachaug

Save Pachaug!

Pachaug State Forest is being considered to become home to a new State Police gun range.  While I am a big fan of guns, I am not a fan of the negative impact this new training range would have on the largest piece of forest left in the state.  This morning, NEATO held a trail ride to help fund-raise in opposition to the gun range.  Anna was feeling a little under the weather and opted out of the saddle time.  So I took Mojo, Alex on Dakota, Vicki on Duchess, and Amanda on Huey and we did a 14 mile loop through the woods.  I was a great fall morning with temps at 40F when we were loading the horses on the trailer.  We met up with friends and Jennifer Broome joined our clan for the ride on her Nakota, Tex.  This was also Amanda’s longest ride ever (by mileage, not time).  She and Huey may be ready for a limited distance endurance ride (25 miles) next year.


Training Calli – Breakthrough!

Calli and I have been having a tough time lately.  I have been busy working on projects and just wasn’t making progress (read – wasn’t riding).  I finally broke down and hired a friend to do some training with her.  The first ride went well and the trainer agreed that Calli has potential and is willing to learn.  The second ride – Calli was lame.  This was a lameness in her back/SI joint area.  I saw the exact same lameness in her last fall after a few days of harder work.

In frustration, I actually listed her for sale on a Facebook group.  Of course, when I read my own ad, there is no way I would buy her.  I guess that’s why no one was interested.

So, I had some massage work done on her, which helped some.  Then a Chiropractor came to visit.   I hope she appreciates her spa treatments…

Tonight, I took her out for a ride.  My instructions from the Chiropractor were to take it VERY easy.  That was my plan.

About 7, I left for a trail ride.  Alone.  Just before dark.  Without my trail pack/saddle bags.  Without a trail map.  Calli. Ok, it doesn’t sound so smart when I write it down.  I did wear my helmet, protective vest, and did let some friends know I was going with a return by time.

So, with Calli’s Easy Boot Gloves on front and back, we headed out and decided to scout a different trail that we hadn’t ridden before.  Did I mention this was the first time I had ever ridden Calli on the trail by herself?  It turns out, turning right, instead of left is not a good plan.  We ended up on what is probably the most technical trail I have ever ridden on.  I know it was the hardest trail Calli had ever been on.  We definitely couldn’t go faster than a walk, because it was extremely rocky.

Calli was AWESOME.  She got nervous a couple of times, but trusted me and kept going.  There was one point we when she was clearly too nervous about crossing some large rocks, so I hopped off and she followed right behind me.  Then we started climbing a hill.  This is when it got interesting.  We had been riding for about 30 minutes.  I was pretty sure I knew that we could keep going and connect to trails that would bring us home.  Or go back through all the rocks.  The problem was, if I was wrong, we were going to be out in Pachaug after dark without all the things I mentioned earlier.  So, on we went.

Once we got to the peak, the trail became more open and only average rocky instead of crazy rocky.  I gave Calli some rein and she picked up a trot!  That was a very good sign because I was worried the rock work might have been too much for her to handle.  As it was starting to get dark, I discovered Calli was unsure about going down rocky hills in the shadows of dusk.  Not wanting to push things too far, I just jumped down and we jogged down the trail.  It was actually good for me to stretch my legs.  Eventually, I recognized the trails and we connected back to the gravel road leading towards home.  Based on Calli’s nervousness in the quickly fading light, I decided to just ride the road home.  We had enough success for the day.  Calli was feeling very good and kept trotting down the road.

Overall, I was thrilled with the ride.  First, Calli was completely sound.  I guess the chiropractor visit did some good.  Additionally, she was a champ on some very challenging conditions.  I did learn a few lessons and I don’t think I will be trail riding without my pack again. I also plan to add a few things to the pack just in case something happens and I get stuck out after dark – headlamp, reflective vest, snack food, etc.  I’m looking forward to another ride this weekend!

On the trails again. Finally.

Moving has a way of taking up all the free time.  As a result, the horses were not getting used much and we certainly we not doing any trail riding.  However, since our 14th anniversary was Wednesday and we didn’t really do anything special, I decided Anna and I would go trail riding today.  We arranged for a babysitter to give us a block of kid-free time.

Saturday evening, we took Mack and all the kids hiking in the woods behind the house to scout the horse trails.  Pachaug State Forest is the entire rear of the property line.  The first direction we went, we encountered a creek.  So, we reserved course and headed off through the woods.  30 minutes later, we arrived at the gravel road into Pachaug, but there was no horse path to get there.  Clearing the trail of enough branches to not be constantly hit in the face would take a lot of work.

This afternoon, once the babysitter arrived, Anna and I headed back into the woods on foot to cross the creek.  The path to that point had clearly been used as a riding trail, so it was much more promising.  We took a couple of hand tools to clean up the trail as we went.  30 minutes later, we had found the horse trails we were looking for and cleared a sufficient trail to get there.  We scooted back to the barn and saddled up King and Calli for a ride.

Off we went.  Until we got to the water (which is only about 2 minutes down the trail from our barn.  10 minutes later, we still had not gotten Calli to cross the water, so we went back to the barn.  We put on her halter under the bridle and went back with a lunge line.  This time Anna rode King across (for probably the 15th time) and held on to the line to Calli.  It took some encouragement, but success!  We left the line there and continued on the ride.  It turns out, Pachaug has a lot of water right now.  The good news is, Calli didn’t refuse any more water crossings.  In fact, as we returned home an hour later, she didn’t even hesitate where we started out.  That was actually surprising, because it was the largest of the water crossings at about 12′ across.  Our little loop was just under 3 miles.

I went back out after we untacked and spent some more time improving the trails.  I believe it was actually a driving path in the past based on the size.  So, overall, it was a very successful day.  Calli got comfortable with water crossings and Anna and I got a trail ride in.  We are planning to take all the kids out on Tuesday.  It’s time to start logging some serious mileage if we are going to be ready for Alex and Vicki to ride a hunter pace this fall.