Archives for 2013

Saturday, Dec. 28, 2013 – Ride Around the Neighborhood

Having had a busy week with family, and the horses just hanging around in the yard during mostly weather too cold to ride, we finally had a day nice enough to do a little exploring. One of my brother’s next door neighbors was kind enough to drop by and leave a note on our truck inviting us to use their round pen and ride on their property, as well as to use their access to roads behind them, a very generous offer we took them up on today. My brother Jeff is here visiting from Florida, and he’s been wanting to ride, so we saddled up and headed out to the neighbors. Not an exciting ride, we kept to walking and it was mostly just going around their cow pasture, but it got the horses to stretch their legs and satisfied my brother that he got a ride in. We ran into another neighbor with another 70 acres who invited us to ride on his property as well, so that expands our horizons a bit. Folks in Texas sure are friendly! Hopefully we’ll have another chance to go before he leaves, weather permitting!

Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013 – Travel Day to Brother Glenn’s

With just another relatively short drive today, we let ourselves sleep to about our usual time, then packed up and headed out, with the usual stops at the dump, for fuel, and a grocery stop at H.E.B. And CVS before arriving just after 2:00. Didn’t take long to get settled in, with the horses on their anchors, happily munching away on the large yard. The final brother from Florida arrived by 7:30, and we had dinner and spent the evening with the family.

Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013 – Rainy Day

As promised in the forecast, more rain moved in today, so we just battened down and let it rain!

Friday, Dec. 20, 2013 – Long Ride Day at Willis Creek

Had a much better and safer ride today, doing our best to ride as many trails as possible today, since bad weather is supposed to be coming in and we may not have another chance. Under partly cloudy skies and much lighter winds, we headed east, following the lakeshore trail most of the way. We missed a trail somewhere, so we didn’t get quite as close to the lake shore as the map suggested, but that was fine, as all the terrain is pretty much the same out here, wide open with the just a few copses of trees. Hubby and I resumed a riding strategy that we used to do down in Florida, I would jog and he would trot past me about 15 feet before stopping, I’d keep jogging until I reached him, at which point Clio would start trotting ahead of us, until Hubby stopped her again. That way I can work the jitters out of Apollo and let Hubby do his own speed, he hates to hold Clio back. Apollo was much better today, he seemed to have gotten used to the smells, and with a lighter wind he was almost back to sanity. I went back to the snaffle rather than the hackamore today, just to be safer, and it helped. Once we got settled down using this strategy for a while, I eventually got brave enough to try some canter, and once when Apollo started to put his head down, I was quick to pull up and throw him off balance, and the settled back down to his canter. MUCH relieved that I was able to control him today! Took a nice long ride, and stopped at a little picnic area that had hitching rails and a picnic table where we ate our snack and rested a bit. Headed back to camp on the southeastern trail, so by the time we got back to camp, we had covered almost every trail except one, just as we had hoped. A much nicer and more relaxed day, great to have a ride with a more cooperative horse!

Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013 – Work Day

Though we had originally planned on riding today, it was so windy, we decided to wait until tomorrow to take a long ride. Spent the day reading and working on my new website, release date TBA soon!

Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013 – First Short Ride Day at Willis Creek

After breakfast, we saddled up for a short exploratory ride. Hubby attempted to try out the modified bareback saddle that I bought some time ago, but we couldn’t get it to work well with the cinch he had, so rather than mess with it, he went back to his regular saddle, with plans to check it out again when we get to my brother’s for Christmas. We decided on the yellow trail, which basically was mostly a perimeter around a wide open field. There was a pretty blustery wind, and lots of wildlife smells around, so Apollo was up on his toes for almost the entire ride. Shortly into the ride, he shied dramatically, and I ended of falling out of the saddle, fortunately in slow motion, so I was able to protect myself from a hard fall, or from screwing up my already screwed up knee. No real damage, so I hopped back up again and we kept going. He remained on high alert, which made it a rather tense ride. We diverted onto the green trail, a very short trail of which we only took about half of it anyway, passed a couple of other riders, and then got back on the yellow trail. About the last half mile, Apollo finally seemed to settle down a bit, so I let Hubby take the lead, and we trotted nicely, then broke into a canter. All went well for about 8 or 10 strides, I thought everything would be fine, then suddenly Apollo put his head down and popped up for no apparent reason! Usually I can hang on, but perhaps because of my weak knee, I wasn’t able to stay straight, and ended up falling uncharacteristically on the off-side. This one wasn’t in slow motion, but somehow I managed to break my fall enough to not land too hard, thank goodness. I can’t understand why he’s doing this. I had taken off the heavy saddle bags, because Hubby thought maybe they might be slapping his rump too hard, so that wasn’t it. I was using the bitless bridle, and had completely given him his head, so that wasn’t it. I had put the extra pad under his saddle, so that wasn’t it. Either it’s something completely unrelated and I haven’t figured it out yet, or he just plain thinks it fun or funny for some reason. Not sure how to resolve it now, it’s getting unnerving that I can’t seem to find out what the problem is. If I felt a little more secure, I’d just take him out and run him for as long as I could make him run, but unfortunately, since he won’t leave mama Clio, we have to deal with that dynamic, which is hard because Clio walks slower than Apollo, but trots faster. Trotting is hard with my bad knee at the moment, though a jog would work, but Clio won’t stay in a slow jog, and once she passes us, all bets on Apollo’s behavior are off. Well, we’ll just have to keep trying until we figure it out! I thought by now, at age (almost) 18, he’d start to settle down, but as a mama’s boy, I guess he’ll never truly grow up! Got back to camp in just over an hour, and settled down for the rest of the day.

Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2013 – Travel Day to Willis Creek

Another short drive today, so we got up at our usual time, but then something weird happened. When I stepped out of bed, I twisted my knee, and I ended up in pain and limping the whole day. Not sure what caused that, but it feels like something shifted, and it keeps locking, so I slathered it with Biofreeze, wrapped an ice pad around it, and hoped for the best. We stopped at the dump, then stopped at the gate looking for a place to pay. The office had been closed when we came in, and we expected someone to come by sometime during the week to collect, but no one ever did. The office was still closed, so I went knocking on the camp host’s trailer door, but he told me that they didn’t take money, that we were supposed to make reservations through the reservation system! Well, without an iron ranger or mailbox, or any other way of paying, we scratched our heads and drove off. What else could we do? Anyway, we made a quick stop at Walmart, and Hubby picked up gas, and then we headed out to Willis Creek. Here they had an open office, and for the first time in memory, the clerk even asked to see the horses’ Coggins! That hasn’t happened in a long time, but I consider it a good thing. There was one other non-equestrian camped at the horse camp, which was just a wide open area with a half a dozen gravel pads. The corrals here are open and grouped together on one side, with just a few small trees, not enough to provide any shade. It didn’t take long to get set up, and we settled down to our new back yard.

Monday, Dec. 16, 2013 – Gorgeous Day and Another Great Short Ride

After a morning of getting caught up on business, we decided to knock out a bunch of the little meandering trails they have “inside” the Paradise Loop. Their maps are not very clear, even though they’re posted at every intersection, and we ended up missing one of them, but it was still a fabulous ride. Mostly it was through those lovely, crowded cedar tree tunnels (very spooky, but fun), with a couple of clear areas where we got in a few canters. Apollo on his best behaviour today, no leaping or jumping. I don’t know if it was because he got it all out of his system yesterday, or if it was because I didn’t put the saddle bags on him today, or because I added back one small extra cushion pad under his saddle, but I liked it! Think I’ll have to try out each thing one at a time to see if it makes a difference, and try to narrow down the cause of his rodeo-ing. Anyway, it was a great ride, and the weather finally warmed up to the upper sixties, with a nice warm southerly breeze, just what we had expected for Texas at this time of year, but haven’t really seen yet. Hopefully we’ve seen all the winter we’re going to get! (fingers crossed!) Did a little prep work for tomorrow’s departure, supposed to stay pretty warm all week, thank goodness. Next place will be a bit more primitive, but it’s only for 5 nights. Getting rather spoiled with water and electric so close. Love the Army Corp of Engineers here! They’ve done great job! No pix today, my video camera battery died!

Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013 – Nice Long Ride and Reynolds Creek

Plotted a route that will essentially take us along the lake perimeter around most of the park, though what the map said and what my GPS plotted looked nothing like each other at the end of the day. After our usual Sunday breakfast of blueberry pancakes, we were headed out just after noon. What a great place this is for riding! Even though the “campground” is simply utilitarian, the trails are really super. The first half of the ride was more of winding through huge old trees, with an occasional short stretch of field, then along the western shore of the lake there are some wide open fields, perfect for trotting and cantering (and kicking up as well, which Apollo did more than his usual share of today!). Saw quite a few deer as well, several with quite a nice rack, as well as countless birds and other field critters. We took a break at the boat ramp, which has a nice floating dock where we had a snack, before heading back along the “Dusty Road,” which was tarmac about 30 years ago, but has mostly been reclaimed by nature, so it’s a pretty nice and straightforward run home. One last stretch of the beautiful and aptly named Paradise Trail before getting back to camp about 4:00. We passed a couple of bikers, and a jogger, and one couple just leaving on horseback near the bridge, and when we got back to camp, there were three other horse trailers just leaving. We certainly didn’t see them on the trail, but since we took the long trail, we evidently missed them all completely, not surprising considering how convoluted the trail system is here. A thoroughly enjoyable day! We got back before Hubby’s back started bothering him, so mission accomplished!

Saturday, Dec. 14, 2013 – Too Cold and Damp to Ride

Woke up to more rainy, cloudy weather, and chilly temps that weren’t going to go much above 40, so we tucked in for the day, working on my soon to be released Equicamping website with the Army/Navy game in the background. Settled in for the evening as usual.