Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019 – Short Ride on Reluctant Apollo

After a fairly lazy morning, and checking out Apollo's legs for any gimpiness, it seems that he just might be a bit stiff from standing around so long, I decided to saddle him up and just take him for a short ride. He was reluctant, but I think that was partly because it was so late in the day (as if he was going to miss dinner!), and maybe partly because of his stiffness, but with some gentle persuasion I managed to get him moving. He improved someone once we got out of camp, and I didn't really see any signs of limping, so I think it's just stiffness from standing on a highline for so many days in a row. We stayed within the park today, picking up a couple of trails I had missed previously, like along the utility easement and a short one that's not even on the map (go figure!), for just about an hour before we made it back to camp. Just as we were passing a pile of dirt and a building next to the camp, two deer suddenly bolted in front of us, which, naturally, made Apollo jump, but I managed to hand on, so damage done! Got our adrenaline going, though! Got back to camp and settled down for the evening. Several regulars here showed up tonight, early for the weekend, so we had several chats during the afternoon and evening. Another beautiful day reminiscent of my childhood days at the cottage!

Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019 – Long Ride on Flash to Malabar Farms

Woke up to another gorgeous day, and since I had a day off from caregiving, I went on a long ride on Flash. The only con to this place is the lack of trails. The ones they have are nice, but there is only about an hour or so of riding if you take every trail in the park. You have to get off the property to get to more trails, and even that's pretty boring. I've noticed some people will take the trail toward Malabar, then make a big loop around a crop field a few miles out and come back again on the same trail. But Flash and I were both ready for a long ride today, so we headed out on the same linear trail to Malabar and kept going. I found one alternative trail to take that added a new trail experience, then later found the trail up to the Jeez overlook, which is the highest point around. Hubby and I had already driven out there, but I wanted to make it on horseback and we had no problem getting up to it. Passed a couple of bikers going in, but it was quiet at the summit when we got there. Beautiful view of the surrounding area, including the lake in the distance. Flash was in the mood to go, go, go today, and we did over 16 miles in less than 3.5 hours, averaging 4.7 miles per hour according to my mapping program. We did quite a bit of cantering along the fields as well as gaiting through the forest. He loves to move, this horse! And yet when we got back, the only sweat was under the saddle pad, just as it should be! Good horse! Great ride! Settled down for the afternoon reading and napping, a really fantastic day!

Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019 – Ride Day with Hubby, Curious Deer

Hubby felt strong enough for a ride this morning, so I saddled up the horses and headed out on the trail. We did all the same trails we had done before, plus I added a loop on the white trail that wasn't too rough for him, and we ended up going over 3 miles, taking just over an hour. He was a bit tired by the end, but he did great, considering this was the longest ride he's been on in a while! On one section of the trail, there were a couple of young deer that just stood there watching us, and when we stopped to watch them, one actually stepped bravely toward us, giving us a great view! Got back to camp and started his dialysis afterward, had a bit of trouble with his access today, sorry to say it seems to be closing up again already, the venous clogged and we had to stop early, only getting about half the session in. Sigh. Looks like we'll have to schedule a de-clogging procedure before long, sorry to say. Oh, well, comes with the territory! Had a relaxing evening, expecting it to be a busy weekend, so we're enjoying the quiet while we can!

Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019 – Ride Day with Hubby

We both got another excellent night sleep, now that the heat wave was pushed out by yesterday's storms, and the temps and humidity are way down. Hubby woke up ready to go on a ride, so after a glass of juice, I saddled up the horses and got going. We essentially did the same trail as before only backward, with the addition of a section of purple trail I hadn't found before, but discovered when I took Lola for her walk this morning. We cut out a small section of the white trail, so the ride was only 2.8 miles and under an hour, but it suited him just fine. If he rides more often it will make up for it. I'm hoping he'll be able to go every morning before he dialyzes, which will make it every other day, so that should strengthen him up. Again, he was able to climb on Apollo from the bench of the picnic table, and I only had to give him the smallest bit of help getting his leg back over when he was getting off, so he keeps improving, yay! It was a lovely ride, perfect weather, fabulous day! Got back, put the horses away and got him dialyzing pretty early, so we should have a nice quiet night tonight. Folks have been pulling out all day and by suppertime, it was empty again, thank goodness. Not that we don't like people, mind you, we just like being on our own a little better. No need to compromise or make the effort to be tolerant of other's odd ways. Looking forward to a quiet week!

Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019 – Long Ride on Flash

I had an excellent night sleep last night, following a rainstorm and a serious drop in temperature, so I'm feeling better all around, so today's the day I want to explore Malabar Farms. I have a poor map of both Pleasant Hill Lake and Malabar Farms, and no map of the trails in between, but I had already reconnoitered which trail would head me in the right direction, so I saddled up Flash and away we went! I passed several folks along the way, including a friendly couple I met yesterday, Jim and Ruth, who were one of the many folks who piled in yesterday for the weekend. Flash was full of energy since he had only gone on one short ride this week, so I let him go whatever speed he wanted, which, as always, was about as fast as the trails allowed. I had no trouble following the trail markers, crossing the road in the right place, then reaching the first intersection where I had to make a choice of which way to go. When I realized I had traveled about four miles to get the Malabar, and that the Malabar perimeter trail was about 7 miles, meaning if I took that we'd have a 15+ mile day, I decided that was plenty do-able, as we had left camp a little after 11:00 a.m. So I turned left/west which did take me out the perimeter trail on the west side. I had to stop one and clear the trail, a fairly small limb had fallen over it, but had dragged a huge amount of vines with it, so it was impassable, but didn't take much to clear it. It wasn't long before we came to the campground area. I had been told that our unit wouldn't fit in there, and it was true that some of the sites were fairly short, but I saw at least two that would have suited us just fine. Food for thought the next time we come through this area! I went to the kiosk there hoping they had some better trail maps, but no such luck, so we got back on the trail and continued around. Not sure if I missed something after that, because I ended up going right out to the big house and the main farm area, where they have a big parking lot and lots of activities going on. Some kids started yelling "horses, horses" like they so often do when they see a horse and rider, even though there were horses in a field on the other side of the road! Flash was too hyped up to stop and socialize, so we kept going, largo-ing across the edge of the yard and out to another section of the farm. I missed one turn, but then I accidentally found the Farm's restaurant, so now I can figure out the quickest way there. Hubby and I want to eat there one day, thinking I might ride out and have him meet me with the truck. Or we'll just drive, whatever. Anyway, I took a nice canter across their newly shorn hay field, then picked up the turn I missed, which pretty much brought me back to the trail back to Pleasant Hill. It did end up being about 15.4 miles, but we did it in about 3:45, pretty good time. GPS app said we were averaging about 4.6 miles an hour. Man, this horse likes to run! But it is a workout for me, too! Got back and relaxed with what remained of the day, trying to avoid the people that moved in next door to us, as they have a lab that wanted to play with Lola so bad, and even though I asked them for a play date, they wouldn't agree, and the poor dog was left to leap and jump at the end of his cable. I thought he'd just about break his neck! And they also had a little yippy dog that barked at every darn thing that moved. Rather irritating, but what can you do? Lola has had to stay on a leash with all the people here, looking forward to tomorrow when we figure everyone will go home and we'll be on our own again. Lake has been busy today, too, lots of boats running around, so we've had something to look at as well. Did some reading and napping later in the day before settling in to our nightly routine.

Friday, Sept. 13, 2019 – Ride Day with Hubby

Slept a bit better last night, and we both wanted to take a short ride today, so I got the horses saddled up and followed what I knew to be fairly easy trails, just over three miles and an hour long, the perfect length for him. He was very happy that he was able to get up on Apollo on his own, though I did have to pull his leg over the top of his saddle when it was time to get off. Used to be I had to help him get on, too, so progress is made! His legs are definitely getting stronger. Relaxed a bit before dialysis, I did a few chores, just another regular day on the horsecamping circuit!

Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2019 – Exploratory Ride on Apollo

The attraction of this park isn't all its trails (there aren't very many), that attraction is the lake and all it's activities, and it's proximity to both Malabar Farms trails and the Mohican State Forest trails, though evidently you can't get to the latter by trail, you have to trailer down to it, so they say. There are only a few miles of trails in the park, and I set off today with the intention of riding just about every one of them. Once again, it was a case of what is on the map is not what is out there. The trails are all color-coded, but the colors are not shown on the map. There was one trail that was completely missing, apparently they were eliminated when the park started building cabins in the forest and just clear cut a whole area, so that made it even less trails than I thought. The yellow trail around the primitive area proved to be under-maintained, with quite a few areas that had trees down, as well as some steeper grades, not too much for me, but it will be too much for Hubby. The rest of the park was very easy, and altogether I only went about 4.5 miles, so carving out an hour of riding on easy terrain for him will be no problem. Spent a nice relaxing afternoon in the screen room and by the picnic table playing with Lola, who's been getting a lot of swimming in today!

Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019 – Last Ride at Jefferson Lake

Decided to finish off the few trails I had missed while we were here, so got out fairly early, since I have a lot of work to do getting ready to travel tomorrow. I saddled up Flash and away we went, taking the park road straight out to the yellow Oak Grove Trail, which I had taken before but my GPS didn't work right so I didn't get to map it. I didn't do the worst part of it (couldn't actually find the bad part coming in the other direction!), so that made it easier. Went left on Lakeside until we got around to the entrance to the White loop, which turned out to be a much more challenging trail than I had anticipated. Several downed trees made for some difficult detours, but not for long and not too bad. I had the impression that the White trail would go up to the top of the hill on the other side of the lake, but the loop went one way about halfway up the hill, then when up about another 100 feet and came back the same way. Passed what I guess is an old homestead before coming back down to the Lakeside trail. Picked up the purple trail from there, and took that pretty much all the way back to camp. A nice ride, and a great way to finish our stay here. I've actually ridden more here than at any other place, and enjoyed every minute of it! Spent the rest of the day putting stuff away, including the screen room, put the horses back on their highline and took down their portable corral (I'd been sort of letting them graze all around the camp for the last few days when no one else is around, so the grass could recover in the paddock I had made), and finally settled down for the evening, looking forward to a new back yard tomorrow!

Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019 – Ride Day with Hubby at Jefferson Lake

Hubby felt good today, so I saddled up both horses and we headed out down the Hillside trail to Lakeside. I figured that one was probably the only one that wasn't too much for him to handle, even though it was a bit longer than he had previously managed. I hoped that the flatter grade wouldn't overtax him, and he did very well! He was still in good shape by the time we got back to camp, and his dialysis went great, so once again, it was an overall fabulous day!

Wednesday, September 4, 2019 – Longish Ride on Flash, Then Shopping

Another beautiful day here, and with no dialysis today, I planned a nice ride on Flash on the Logan trail. It had been closed down last week apparently, and the local Horse Council Club came out over the weekend and cleared it of a lot of fallen trees, as also did some mowing in areas that were way overgrown. So Flash and I headed down Hillside Trail to Trillium, which was a very nice trail. Then I decided to knock off a small red trail that turned out to be quite rugged, with some steep climbs and drop-offs, quite narrow and a little treacherous in places, but nothing an experienced horse and rider couldn't handle. It was a fairly short loop and soon brought us back to the Trillium trail, which then led us into the former horse camp area, which is now a very nice pavilion (with a good cell phone signal!) I did a couple of texts while I was there, then we headed out on the Logan Trail on the other end of the picnic area. It was clear that this trail did need a lot of maintenance, there were a lot of trees that had come down, many a long time ago and a good number more recent. Some parts of the trail had really been torn up by the four-wheeler (or tractor, not sure what they had, but it looked like it might have gotten stuck a few times), so there was some deep mud in a few spots. By now, Flash was good and warmed up, and as his wont, he started trying to go faster and faster. I let him go whenever the terrain allowed, and I'm happy to say he's starting to make better trail decisions, choosing to slow down on downhill grades and muddy sections, speeding up on uphill grades and flat ground, though there were a few knee-knockers that almost caught me once in awhile. We made short work of it, doing 8.15 miles in barely two hours, no hanging about with this one! This Flash horse really does love to go! He's making me a better horsewoman, that's for sure. We're starting to jump over logs and holes and such, which certainly is making every ride interesting! Got back by 1:00, and once everyone was put away, we got ready to go out shopping. Just after I left this morning, two trailers came in and parked next to us, so now we have neighbors again. One of them asked me to pick up something at the store, which I was happy to do, and we headed out of camp for Steubenville, stopping at the Post Office to see if my final package had come. It hadn't. Our first stop was a nice little hole-in-the-wall restaurant in the mall called LeVille, where Hubby was delighted to have a big fish and chips dinner and I had a nice shrimp and vegetable pasta dish, with lots of leftovers of both. Lola came in with us and immediately lay down under the booth, her usual place when it's too hot to leave her in the truck. Of course, she has her Therapy Dog Please Pet Me vest on, so no one ever minds. Then we went into Walmart and did our shopping, and a quick stop at Rural King where I found another tire inflator that claims to go to 150 psi (we'll see!), then back to camp. Another quiet evening after that! Loving it!