Archives for July 2015

Tuesday, July 21, 2015 – Laundry and Recovery Day

Spent the day catching up on laundry and recovering from our long ride yesterday. Hubby is very pleased that his back was pain-free, and didn’t even need to take any pain-killers, which is a great step forward health-wise. It’s been a long recovery since he got the flu back in February, with lots of setbacks in between, but he’s finally on the road to full recovery, yeah! At horse meal time, the gray gelding that was now only one stall away from my horses started making a fuss, kicking and squealing at my horses. I switched the mare for the gelding, thinking that might quiet him down, but no luck, the gray gelding kept misbehaving. Finally, I walked down to the owner of the two horses that are on the other side (the ones I had to move away from because there was no stall in between), and asked if they would mind moving over one, because of this ornery gelding, and they happily agreed. That made it a much quieter evening, thank goodness, and we had a calm evening.

Monday, July 20, 2015 – Fabulous, Fabulous Ride to Trailside Restaurant

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Got up a littler earlier today, hoping that Hubby feels up to making the long ride to Trailside today, and was very happy when he said he felt good enough to go! The humidity and temps were down a bit, making the weather utterly perfect for a long day's ride! Everybody had their breakfast, and by 11:30 we were on the trail! We headed out on Twin Ponds down to Hiawatha, then south on Confusion Flats to Erie Canal to Pitcher Pond going east. Mark had told me that the second renegade trail on the right was the one to take to get to an alternative creek crossing and a more direct route to Trailside, though I wasn't sure how far apart the first and second trail was. Turned out they were only about 10 or 20 yards apart, but the second one clearly went downhill, a must to reach the river, so we headed down. The trail was much less used, obviously, and there were a few trees across the trail that made it challenging, but we made it without any trouble. The crossing was quite wide, and the rocks were large and jumbled, and I couldn't remember if Mark said stay to the left or the right, so I just let Apollo find his own way, once I got him going, of course. He took his time, was very careful, and made it across with no problem, with Hubby following a bit behind, and Lola bounding her way across. When we all reached the other side, we saw little Billy still standing on a rock on the other side. I had hoped he would follow, and had brought a leash with a harness in case he needed help, but after a few moments of urging, he bravely ventured forth into the water, swimming when he had to, resting on rocks when he could, getting pushed a little downstream, but shortly, he made his way across to the shore, then came trudging up the bank to meet us. He looked tired and wet, but no worse for the wear. A few minutes up the trail, he caught scent of something and went bounding off into the woods, barking like a puppy! Then he took point, jumping and leaping as if to say, "I did it, I did it! I'm the Man!" He was evidently very proud of himself! He's proven to be quite the creek-crossing trail dog, even with his short stubby legs! We'll never underestimate his abilities or desire again! Once we hooked up with Blueberry trail, it was easy to follow the signs south to the restaurant, where we tied everyone up and headed up the hill for lunch. They've done a lot of work since the last time we were here, adding a deck and extending the 2nd story, with plans to add even more, we learned from the crew. We rested about an hour over lunch, including a nice draft IPA called Southern Tier, before tightening our cinches and heading back out up to Blueberry, and continuing east, picking up Crooked Creek, which had two more puny water crossings that didn't cause any concerns at all, carrying on to Florence Pond, then Confusion Flats, straight north, then took the woods trail which parallels Blue Jog but is much more interesting, before arriving back at camp by about 5:00 or so. What a great ride! Hubby wore his back brace, so his back wasn't hurting at all until about the last half hour. Billy was still keeping up like a trooper, and Lola found a tennis ball and started throwing it at me to play almost the minute we got back to camp! When we arrived, however, the work wasn't done, as several more campers had come in, and someone had actually put their horses immediately next to our stalls, despite the fact there were two empty stall on the other side! For those of you who may not know this, as long as a place isn't overly packed, it is always protocol to leave a stall between you and someone else's horse, to avoid any potential personality problems. The last thing you want to do is for someone to get kicked or bitten by a strange horse in such a confined space. Anyway, that meant I had to move all of Clio's stuff from one side of Apollo to the other, re-hanging her hay bag and so on. Not to mention, now I will have THREE stalls I'll have to re-sand and clean before we leave. Gee, thanks a lot. Making work for your neighbors is not the best "hello" you can devise. In any event, we got that done, then I had to fill up with water because I have some more laundry to do, and that meant getting out the sump pump, an electrical cord, and several hoses which I then had to string through Clio's former stall, hook up to the generator, fill a large water tub and start running until the tank was full, about a half hour job. I was ready for a cocktail by this time, I can tell you! At last got a drink, visited with some other neighbors for a while (who were equally perturbed by the stall incident), then came home for popcorn and a movie for the evening, with a break to hang up a load of laundry (if you can call that a break!) Nevertheless it was a wonderful, fabulous ride, and a great day!!

Sunday, July 19, 2015 – Otter Creek Ride Day with Roy and Apollo

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After breakfast, and saying our goodbyes to Marsha and Nate, we decided to take a short ride today. Upon careful examination of Apollo the last few days, his back seems to be in very good shape, no flinching at all. He has a thin scab that's already starting to pull off, but I decided that it would be worthwhile doing a short ride just to check him out. He was fine when I put the saddle on, and equally fine when I climbed aboard, so off we went down Twin Ponds to Confusion Flats, south to Hiawatha, west again back to the camp, just under 4 miles, and a little over an hour. We even tried some trotting and cantering, all the while paying close attention to Apollo's behavior, and he passed all tests with flying colors! Whew! That could have been so much worse! Meanwhile, it was another beautiful day, once again refuting the forecast which had about a 40% chance of rain, but the sky was clear, though it was a bit hotter and more humid today than it has been since we've been here. It was a great ride, very happy to be in my saddle on my own horse (though he did seem a lot slower than Brandy :-), especially with Hubby and super slow Clio behind. Back to normal, anyway! After we got back, I chatted with the neighbors, a Scotsman named John and his wife and another friend. Then the only other two neighbors left in the camp came along, and we were talking maps for a while, until the new neighbor declared she had the best map of all, and after a quick trip to her trailer, came back with a T-shirt with a complete map on both sides! Upside down on the front, for the wearer's benefit! First map I'd seen that had most of the renegade trails, signs for waterfalls, swimming, restaurants, and every other attraction you could think of! I asked it I could try to scan it so I could make a map for us, and she agreed. I spent the next hour or two accomplishing that goal, until I finally had a one-page map that was quite legible. I kept a copy for myself and gave one to John's group, which they seemed to appreciate. I asked a bit more about the route to Trailside restaurant, and Mark, another regular, told me about another renegade trail (which wasn't even on the new map!) that would save us 45 minutes, but would add another creek crossing. I ended up going back after dinner and spending the evening chatting with them, though I couldn't persuade Hubby to join me. Weather seems to be dictating that tomorrow will be the best day to ride to Trailside, fingers crossed!

Saturday, July 18, 2015 – Otter Creek Ride with Marsha and Brandy

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Marsha and Nate went out buggying again this morning, but came back after 90 minutes on a rim. Evidently they got a flat again, and the new tube they bought yesterday was destroyed, which finished any more attempts at using the buggy for the weekend. Marsha again asked me to ride with her, as she wanted to do at least one "drama free" ride before heading home, so we saddled up and were on the trail by just after 11:00. She decided we'd go to Streamside trail, which was quite a ways down on the south end of the forest, and she showed me a couple of the renegade (unmarked) trails that would bypass the bad section of Icicle Trail, which I had planned on going down when (if) Hubby and I ride down to Trailside Restaurant, so I was glad to learn about it (and to get it programmed into my GPS for future use!) Once we reached a picnic area along Streamside, I remembered that we had been there before, overlooking a bend in Otter Creek, a really nice spot. Then we read a sign about how the upcoming trail was washed out and not suitable for all horses, but we pressed on, and though a couple of spots were quite a drop, we managed with no problem, and it was only for one small section, so we were soon back on good trails. She then led me out to Mohawk Trace, a private road where her friend Karen lives (though she evidently wasn't there when we passed by), and back up to the camp, arriving around 2:00. Though it seemed like we walked slower today, we still made good time, so maybe I just got used to the faster pace : -). Anyway, it was a fabulous ride, albeit it still is a little bumpy on a pace, but we did manage to canter a few times, Brandy truly does have a nice canter. After putting the horses away, I helped Marsha do some packing, including getting the sulky strapped onto the back of their trailers, with help from a series of winches and pullies that Nate had cleverly had installed. Eventually work was done, cocktail hour began, and Hubby even came by for a drink, extolling us with his theory of Shakespeare and performing a couple of monologues, which were much appreciated by both of them. It was a very nice evening, and soon we were back home doing our usual dinner and a movie evening routine.

Friday, July 17, 2015 – Shopping Day

Had to run into town today to pick up a few groceries, liquor, mail a letter, drop off trash, and run a few errands. We stopped at a dairy store (hiding behind a very large plastic cow), thinking we could get some frozen custard (a summertime favorite in the area), but it was mostly cheese and some other local farmers fare. We tested everything they had on their sample stands, and ended up buying some smoked Gouda and Coghlan’s ring Bologna, just couldn’t resist! Got back to camp in the afternoon, chatted with Marsha again for awhile, it seems they went into town and bought a couple more tubes for his sulky tires in the hopes that might solve the problem. Otherwise relaxed for the rest of the evening.

Thursday, July 16, 2015 – Otter Creek Ride with Marsha and Brandy


Marsha and Nate went out in the buggy for a while today, evidently he was able to make some repairs on his tires, but by the time they got back it was flat again. Not to be deterred, Marsha still asked if I wanted to go for a ride, and even though it was almost 4:00, I said Yes! After testing Nate's Turner saddle, I decided it was too slippery and uncomfortable, despite the gel seat, and put my saddle on instead. Although Brandy had a hugely narrower barrel, it seemed to fit fine, I just had to wrap the cinch strap around a couple of extra times, and off we went! Brandy is a retired pacer, so her walk isn't too bad, and she was able to keep up with his gaited buddy Willy pretty well, and occasionally we got into a "pace" which was a bit rough, but after awhile I was able to get him to slow down enough to make it about the same as my Apollo's slow jog. A couple of times going uphill, we even cantered, and his canter was really beautiful, nice and smooth and easy. I decided that we needed to do more often if we get a chance to ride again. We just went around Shady Trail, so it was barely an hour that we were out, but it was very nice, a lot quicker pace than what I usually get with Hubby, and through some of the narrow trees it seemed like we were going at a dangerously quick pace, but I'm sure that was just because I'm not used to the gaiters. Anyway, we had a nice ride, it was good to get experience on another horse, and after helping Marsha put the horses away and having a drink with her, I came back and settled back down for the evening with Hubby.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015 – More Writing and Water

Spent most of the day doing some writing, though I also cut Roy’s hair, which was LONG overdue, then with the help of our neighbor Marsha, put some water in our tank and hers, while several more trailers, two from Canada and one from Florida, joined us on our loop. Had conversations with everyone throughout the day. Marsha’s husband’s sulky blew out a wheel yesterday, and I helped her look for a replacement, to no avail, but she suggested that since the buggy was in operable, that maybe we could go for a ride on her two horses, since they are as inseparable as our two, and since Apollo’s back is hurt (he flinched a lot less when I touched it today, so he’s definitely getting better, but still needs to rest it, though I think it’s only bruised), I thought that was a great idea. Sat in our loungechairs and watched the world go by during cocktail hour, before settling down for the evening.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015 – Writing, with a Strange Start to the Day

As soon as I got up this morning and looked outside, something was wrong. Apollo was standing on the opposite side of the tie rail, on the outside of the stall. Upon closer examination, it became clear that somehow he got underneath the rail. He had a long scratch along the top of his back, and tufts of his hair were stuck on the bottom of the rail. I can only think he either laid down and then got up wrong, or was reaching so far for grass that is a yard or more away, that he jammed himself underneath. I cleaned the wound and sprayed it well with Vetericyn, and hoped for the best. He didn’t seem to have any other injuries, so I’ve got my fingers crossed. Meanwhile, we had a slow day, though I got a lot of essential writing done, thank goodness. When we fed the horses in the evening, when I touched Apollo’s back and he flinched badly. I examined him a bit more, and he only flinched on one particular point, though it wasn’t from the abrasion, it seemed more along the spine. I’m hoping it’s just a bruise, but we’ll look at it more closely over the next few days. Don’t think we’ll be doing any riding until he shows remarkable improvement. I sure don’t want to slap a saddle on a sore back! Settled down for the evening, with hopes for his improvement tomorrow!

Monday, July 13, 2015 – Runaround Day

After having a nice restful day yesterday, after breakfast today, we took a ride into Glenville to pick up my mail that had been forwarded, then Lowville for shopping at Tractor Supply, Walmart, and a quick lunch at a Chinese restaurant, mediocre but it did the job, got gas for the generator, and threw out an old vacuum cleaner that died on us and which we replaced today.

Saturday, July 11, 2015 – Another Great Ride along Independence River

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After a nice slow start to the day, we saddled up again, and also put on boots, since my previous notes described our planned route as having some stony sections, before heading out at around 1:00. We headed out past the bathhouse to the aptly named Shady Trail, which was absolutely beautiful, then on to Independence River Trail, where eventually it did get rocky, then down Hiawatha trail till we finally reached Confusion Flats and the Blue Jog Road home. The dogs were brilliant again, with Lola even waiting for us at a road crossing, and Billy doing a fine job of keeping up, though we did have to slow down a bit after our several canters to allow him to catch up. Absolutely gorgeous day, temps in upper 70's, so a little cooler in the shade, just PERFECT! These are definitely perfect days, we couldn't ask for anything more. Despite all the rain in the area this spring and summer, there were only a few muddy spots, and the mud here is so different than down in Watkins Glen, the sand base makes it crumble under the horses' feet, rather than suck it in and hold onto it. Didn't lose any boots, thank goodness, and truly enjoyed the day. Could not have asked for more! Perfect trails, perfect weather, perfect horses, perfect companions, everything just perfect! I love this place! Definitely in my top 10, maybe even my top 5! Love it! Got back about 3:30, then settled down to watch a couple of movies for the afternoon and evening. Life is good!