Yesterday brought the first snow storm of the season and we got about 6″, which was perfect for some fun with the horses. This morning while working on chores, Vicki and Alexis disappeared. We discovered them riding bareback on their ponies in the front pasture.
Alex and Amanda finished their chores and spent some time trying to build a snow fort. Mack was helping.
After lunch, we saddled up all 7 horses for a short 4 mile trail ride.
We had a nice relaxing day on the farm with just the right amount of snow! The day ended with a pretty sunset as we did the evening chores.
I took a few days off work this week to get some projects done around the farm and have some relaxing time too. Since all the kids were at school/preschool on Tuesday, Anna and I planned a nice long trail ride to explore more of our access to Pachaug State Forest. I have been studying the trail maps and we had plenty of options for our ride. So we saddled up King and Calli and went out for what was planned to be about 2 hrs. In the end, we covered 8.5 miles in 2:40. While galloping up a hill, King managed to overreach and lose one of his hoof boots. Post accident analysis indicates his hooves are probably about half a size smaller than in the spring. Good thing we have more boots in inventory.
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.
For the past few months, Anna and I have missed the opportunity to take the horses on a trail ride without the kids. This is because we have been without two horses for us to ride. While the lower feed bill has been nice, we really missed our time to ride as a couple and as a whole family.
On Monday, Calli (Calliope) came to join us. We have her on a free lease for now as we evaluate if she is right for us. Calli is a 5 year old, 16.1hh, thoroughbred mare. She has some arena experience, but is definitely more green than horses I have worked with in the past. So far, after 2 rides, we are getting along well.
Since it was raining this morning, we rearranged some plans and Anna and I went trail riding this afternoon. To my knowledge, this was only Calli’s second trail ride. We got her to do a small water crossing and did some canter work in a nice open field. She did very well and Anna and I were able to enjoy the afternoon out.