Friday, April 30, 2021 – Wonderful Long Ride with Friend

Hi Babe!
Had a good night sleep, though it took awhile for the room to cool down, quite a hot one today with not a lot of breeze in the evening. I was still reading when I suddenly felt a cold, clammy presence on my leg, which I instinctively flicked away, then I turned the light on to see what it was. Didn’t see anything for a minute, then suddenly it landed on me again, and then jumped off and went to the wall, where I saw it was a tree frog! Eeewww! I put a sock on my hand and managed to catch it, got up and threw it outside. Obviously I’m going to have to be more careful about Lola leaving the door open! After I got up and did chores and had breakfast, I decided I had time to run to the feed store for some hay (which was kind of dusty, but I didn’t have much choice), another stop at Tractor Supply for propane and Nutrena, and a quick stop at the gas station to fuel up the truck, and I still made it back before 10:30. Maggie and I had agreed to meet between 10 and 10:30, and she had arrived only a few minutes before me, so it all worked out. I put the hay and propane away, then we got busy saddling the horses. I had trimmed Apollo’s front feet yesterday, and decided to trim Flash’s today, so that took a little bit of time (though not much, he was quite still for me, thank goodness!), and we left shortly after that. There’s a small civil airport nearby, and we had a lot of planes going over us in the Preserve, and then we saw a whole bunch of skydivers appear out of seemingly nowhere! Very colorful chutes! Later we saw the biggest flock of buzzards I’ve ever seen, and though I could smell some carrion, never did see what it was, but it was in a cow pasture, so that’s what we figured it was. We took the long loop in the opposite direction, with a couple of variations, and Maggie did a brilliant job of getting Apollo to resume his nice little jog that I love so much, which is just the right pace to keep up with Flash. He’s been ridden by so many newbies lately that he hasn’t done it in awhile, but she got him right up to snuff. Flash also managed to do a nice little fino, just a half gear up from his walk, which is very smooth, so we made decent time, but it still took more that 2.5 hours to make the trip, and it was quite hot (over 90 again today), so we were both worn out by the time we got back to camp. Maggie went straight over to the trough hose and ran cold water over herself, but she soon recovered. I untacked the horses and ran the hose over them before putting them on their anchors, where the spent the rest of the afternoon. Maggie and I crashed into the loungers and stayed THERE the rest of the afternoon as well! We had more lively discussions today, until she had to leave to have dinner with her roommate Nancy, who has been gone for a couple of weeks and just got back last night. I had dinner on my own (sausage on the grill!), and settled down for the evening. SLIGHTLY cooler tonight, and I’ve been running the fan in my bedroom for a few hours, so hopefully it will be easier to get to sleep tonight. Going to bed early, though, definitely need to make up for my tiredness! Still kind of coming down from all the stress of the past few months, but starting to get back in the swing of things! Shower soon, then bed, so good night, sweetie! Love you!

Thursday, April 29, 2021 – A Second Ride at St. Sebastian Preserve and Visit with Friend

Hi Sweetheart!
Starting to feel like things are getting back to my normal! Slept well with earplugs in, then just after breakfast I took Apollo out for a short loop, just over 5 miles. He was a bit skittish today, lots of smells and a whole new landscape, so I kept my hands near the horn just in case he did something silly. After all, I’m under doctor’s orders not to fall off my horse onto my new knee (if that’s even possible!), so I was being extra careful. We mostly walked, but I did manage to jog for a bit, which I suspect is all good for my knee-strengthening. We got back to camp a bit after noon, another hot one today, so I rinsed him down and put them out on their anchors. Not long afterwards, my friend Maggie arrived, and we chatted away until the vet arrived at around 2:45. When the other vet in Jupiter did all the vaccinations, he wasn’t able to float their teeth because he had recently had back surgery, so I found another vet locally (recommended by Maggie) who was able to come out today to do that for me. She did a great job, using electric tools, and was done in good time for a reasonable price. Afterward, I cooked some burgers on the grill and Maggie and I had a great dinner, chatted some more, made plans for tomorrow, then she and her crazy dog Sedona headed out. By the way, I put a mousetrap out in the back of the trailer last night, and sure enough, there was a mouse trapped in it this morning! Wonderful! Lola’s been hearing them in the middle of the night, sometimes trying to scare them off with a fury of barking (which is hard to sleep through!), so I’m hoping I can stop an infestation and get rid of some more, if there are any. Settled down for the evening, washed my hair using the hose by the water trough in order to save water in the trailer (I do not want to go through the hassle of trying to fill up the tank again, so I’m being VERY stingy), but will take a quick shower before heading to bed, just to get off the sweat of the day. I might have done that at the horse trough hose, too, but two women, three horses and a mini showed up to do a photo shoot around sunset, so I decided not to. Anyway, time to go now, another hot one tonight, stayed in Florida a week or two too long! Oh, by the way, got my lab results back and my cholesterol took a significant plunge since my last test. Don’t know if it’s my change in eating habits or the chaney root tea, but the doctor seems happy with my progress, so hopefully I won’t have to start taking any pills. I’ll just keep doing both and see how it goes! Good night, darlin’! Love you!

Tuesday, April 27, 2021 – FIRST RIDE BACK ON THE ROAD!!

Hi Babe!
Had a pretty good night sleep, though I was awakened by the sound of a vehicle after the gates opened, then the sound of one of the horses trumpeting at something, but still, it was a good time to get up. There was a beautiful full moon just about setting when I looked out the bedroom window, so lovely! For some reason the clock on my phone jumped ahead an hour for awhile, don’t know what that was about! I was going to go riding first thing, but I’ve been trying to find a new wastebasket (my duct tape fix didn’t last, and I really like this small size), and I had ordered one from a Walmart in Vero, but then got an email that it was canceled because they didn’t have it after all, so I went searching again (obviously it’s an item that’s about to be discontinued), but I finally found one in West Melbourne about 25 miles away, so I figured I better go get it before it was gone, and they were nice enough to put it aside for me. I ran up there, got that and a few other groceries, then when I got back I saddled up Flash to go for a ride. It was FANTASTIC! Well, the trails are mostly just typical Florida savanna, with one nice section on the west side that’s wooded and shady, but it didn’t matter. Flash was in the mood to go, go, go and we averaged between six and seven miles an hour for the most part. He was a little flighty just because he hasn’t been on a new trail in awhile, but he soon settled down. Lola had a job keeping up with us! In any event, it was a great ride. We saw lots of deer including two baby spotted fawns and a big box turtle crossing the trail in front of us. There were some patches of water along the way, too, apparently they had a lot of rain last week. It was perfect, a nice breeze kept it from getting too hot, and a great time was had by all! After we got back, I rinsed Flash down, then got Apollo out on his anchor and let them graze around the field for a few hours. Meanwhile, the left rear window of my truck has suddenly dropped down overnight and won’t come back up, so I did some research and discovered the repair I need to make, a new power window regulator assembly, which I was able to get at an Advance Auto less than a mile away on the main road, with a good discount for ordering online. I also picked up some Chinese food for dinner, in the mood for something a little different, bourbon chicken, which wasn’t bad. I love sitting outside having dinner! I put up the front panel of my screen room just to block out some of the sun since I’m facing mostly west and it really made a big difference. Still got a nice breeze, but cut down on the direct sunlight big-time. A nurse and her kid stopped by to ask if they could say hello to the horses, and they played with Lola for a bit, too. It was sunset when they left, time for me to come inside and settle down, watched a movie, now it’s time for shower and bed! Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Sunday, April 25, 2021 – First Ride Post Surgery!

Hi Darlin’,
FINALLY took a ride today! Jeff had asked me last night if we could go today, and considering we haven’t ridden together once since I’ve been here, and it’s (hopefully) my last day here before I take off tomorrow, I said yes, as long as it could be fairly early, since the forecast was for temps to be 90 degrees today. I started to get ready around 10:00, Jeff came out around 10:30, and we were almost ready to go when he got a call from his friend Jeff, and asked him if he’s like to come along, so I had another horse to get ready, so it was nearly noon by the time we actually got underway. Fortunately, though, there was enough of a breeze that once we got into the shade, it really wasn’t too bad, surprisingly. Most of the water stretches were dry except on, and we didn’t seen any gators at all, though we did see a lot of birds and a couple of deer, which is more rare. Of course, we stopped at the pagoda for a break, which both Jeffs needed, and frankly, my bum was a bit more sore because normally I put more weight in the stirrups, but didn’t want to stress out my knee so I had more weight in the saddle than usual. But it wasn’t bad, my knee felt okay by the time we got home. A nice ride, thankfully it was uneventful, no drama, just the way I like it. Hosed my two horses down and let them run free again, then I got in my bathing suit and took a swim to cool off myself, hung around the pool for a bit, then deflated my river raft to take with me, since I’ll need that this summer. Took a ride into Walmart to pick up a few things, plus I wanted to take another test drive. I seem to be having a problem with the brake pedal kicking back once it’s warmed up, and after doing some research, I believe it’s just that I didn’t completely bleed the power steering system after I changed the brake booster, so tomorrow morning I’m going to lift it and do the whole process, which could take some time to do it right, but I only have about 80 miles to go, so I’ll have time. I hope that’s all it is, but brakes is one thing I don’t want to take any chances with! We’ll see. I did several loads of laundry so I’ll have a fresh start next week, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the forecast of where I’m going is right, and we’ll have 60’s at night and only low 80’s during the day, since I won’t have electric to run my AC. I can use the generator, of course, but I’m hoping I’ll only need it sparingly, and will be able to mostly charge my batteries with my solar panel. Looking forward to getting back on the road, but it will certainly take some time getting back into the swing of things again! Finally settled down for the evening, getting down to the last season of this great BBC series I’ve been watching, New Tricks. You would have loved this show, and I would certainly have been pestering you for the definitions of the slang the writers are very fond of, since it’s based in London. Anyway, the time has come for shower and bed, so off I go! Good night, babe! Love you!

Tuesday, March 2, 2021 – Nice Ride on Flash

Hi Sweetie,
Well, I decided that I had better get at least one more ride in on Flash before my knee surgery on Thursday, and I was hoping to start at Riverbend and ride home, with a little trailering help from Jeff, but he had a full day planned, so I decided to just go park at Riverbend and do some sort of loop. Of course, that meant I had a lot of prep work to do to get the little trailer ready. First I had to pull it out of the rather tight space it was in, then I had to blow up the tires (of course I had trouble finding the right end fitting for the compressor), then I realized the stall divider was in the wrong place, and was stuck, so I had to get out my 2 lb. sledge and knock it into place. Then I had to move the feed bins and the hay up into the front stall, then I noticed Flash was starting to get a split in one of his front hooves again because I had let them get too long, so I trimmed both of those nice and short, then I saddled him up before loading him into the trailer. It took about two hours just to get everything ready. That’s the penalty you pay when you let things go for too long, they just all add up to a bunch of problems that all need solving at once instead of being spread out over time. Anyway, I finally got on the road to Riverbend, thank goodness it’s less than ten minutes away, parked and unloaded Flash, though he gave me a little trouble backing out, he’s gotten so used to coming out face first in the big trailer. FINALLY got in the saddle, well after 12:30. I switched the right stirrup around, ever since I changed it out a few months back it’s felt like it’s been twisting too much, and I was hoping it would be better if I flipped it, and it turned out to be MUCH better, a lot less strain on my knee. I decided to do the regular trail loop there, but instead of coming back through the park, I went under the underpass and over to the Cypress Creek parking lot, then crossed at the traffic light (always an eye-catcher!), then instead of going down Jupiter Farms road like I usually do, I followed the trail that paralleled Indiantown Road on the south side, which I don’t think I’ve ever done before, at least not the whole thing. That’s the road that comes out along the Sunoco, which we did once before to that point, just not beyond. Anyway, it was a lovely ride, Flash was super well-behaved, we had a beautiful canter all along the golf course side, except for quick moment when three out of four deer that were practically on the trail suddenly decided to leap away and he shied a tiny bit, understandably, and lots of largo-ing along the way. No trouble crossing the road, no trouble anywhere at all, it was just perfect! Got back to the trailer a bit after 2:00, packed him up and got him back home in no time. Apollo was waiting at the gate for us, and when I opened the gate he walked out and down the driveway a bit, but then Flash whinnied in the trailer and he came running back into the yard, fortunately! Got the little trailer parked next to the big trailer again, though not quite as tight as it was before, unsaddled and washed him down before letting him run free. Got everything put away, took a little break, then got into my bathing suit and took a quick swim and sat by the pool reading and throwing the ball for Lola, since she couldn’t come with us today and needed exercise. Did my PT exercises, and not long after, Jeff and James got home. We all chatted for a bit, then fed the critters, then I finally got to settle in again for the evening. A very nice day, though it was very hot again, mid-80’s, and it’s supposed to be even hotter tomorrow! But rain is forecast overnight, so maybe it won’t be so bad. Can’t believe it’s barely March and it’s already getting too hot to ride. I hate to see what it’s going to be like by April, when I trust I’ll finally be able to get back on the road again! Probably going to have to make a beeline pretty straight northward to get back into the 70’s, which is always what we’ve been chasing over the years! Anyway, enough said, heading to shower and bed. Good night, baby. Love you!

Monday, Feb. 22, 2021 – Finally A Busy Day, Even Got A Ride In!

Hey Darlin’,
Went to sleep last night with visions of having a busy day today, and fortunately, woke up in just the right mood to get it done! Did some housekeeping, a couple of loads of laundry, took a ride on Flash around the loop through Hungryland, installed my new license plate holder (the old one was plastic and broke when I was trying to change my old TN plate for my new FL plate), and FINALLY got the results of the latest covid test from CVS at 10:00 this evening. I was getting worried, because I needed it before my procedure tomorrow, and was very relieved when it finally arrived. The ride on Flash was nice, though last time I took that route there was a lot of undergrowth in the way, this time, someone had chewed up the trail with a tiller of some kind, so the undergrowth was gone but the trail was really chopped up. A couple of sections where there’s usually a lot of water were practically dry, it has been awhile since we’ve had any decent rain. So I feel like I’ve had a productive day, and am ready for bed, having already taken my shower. Last night I had to replace the screw in the shower drain, it completely rusted out and disintegrated, and when I started cleaning it out, I got gobs of slimy hair and rust out of it. I’ve never understood why they put regular screws in drain screen, don’t they know it’s going to get wet? Or maybe it’s stainless but even that can’t take the strain. Anyway, it’s fixed now, and the water is running down just fine. So now I’m off to bed, early morning drive tomorrow! Was relieved that I don’t have to be there until 10:15, was afraid it was going to be 6:00 or some ungodly hour, but still need to get out of here early, so here I go! Love you, babe! Good night!

Friday, Feb. 5, 2021 – Nice Ride on Flash

Hey Babe,
Had to get up once during the night, and it took me awhile to get back to sleep, but I ended up sleeping a bit late to make up for it. After breakfast I saddled up Flash and took a nice 11.5 mile ride on him, down Cypress Creek then up to the OTL, then along the canal for awhile. Unfortunately, there’s one crazy couple that’s actually fenced off the canal in front of their place, which prevents anyone from riding the length of the canal, so instead of taking a nice quiet ride along the edge of Hungryland, I had to ride the traffic-ridden, narrow swales and dangerous Mack Dairy Road down to Old Indiantown. Not a lot of fun on that stretch! Then we saw the skeleton of a pig in the canal, looks like it got picked clean by buzzards or piranha, though the head seemed mostly intact, along with the hide, everything else was gone. But it was a nice ride, good to be back in the saddle, figured I should get as much riding in as I can before my knee surgery. My knee is actually feeling a lot better, that loose bit is obviously in a relatively stable area at the moment, though it still takes me a couple of steps to get it going without pain. Anyway, the family sat around by the pool for a bit until the mosquitoes came out, then I came back for dinner and to settle in for the evening. Played fetch with Lola for awhile, since she couldn’t go with me today, hoping she got enough exercise to sleep through the night. Hoping I get a good night sleep, too, since I got some exercise today as well. So I’m off! Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Wednesday, Jan 27, 2021 – FINALLY Took a Ride on Flash

Hey Darlin’,
Well, I finally decided I simply HAD to ride Flash today. It was an unusually warm day, in the mid-80’s, but there’s a cool front coming in tonight, so I figured I better not wait. Got him saddled up, put Lola’s orange vest on, and headed out the back to Hungryland. We took the Indiantown grade all the way to Pratt-Whitney Rd., then came back to the crossover to the loop, where we waded in a few inches of water several times. Finally came down the main canal, doing a bit more than nine miles by the time we were finished, in less than two hours. He was calmer than I expected, actually, considering how long it’s been since we went for a ride, though his pace picked up considerably once we turned around at PW (split speed 9.0 mph for that mile!), but he had a nice steady pace most of the way. Lola thoroughly enjoyed herself as well, she’s sleeping quietly at the moment, for which I’m grateful. She’s been restless the last couple of nights, no doubt because she hasn’t gotten much exercise since we got back from the beach weekend. My knee has been feeling really good the last few days, naturally, since if it always felt like this I probably wouldn’t bother to get surgery on it, but it’s probably best that I get it now before I get any older. It was a lovely ride, and we all really enjoyed it. I spent some time communicating with the various parties trying to resolve the Trailrider title issue, still not too much further ahead, the previous owner has stopped returning my emails, but the manufacturer is going to give me some paperwork so that I can hopefully move this forward with the Montana DMV, who it seems is ultimately responsible for the mistakes on the title, unless the previous owner submitted it wrong, in which case I don’t know what I’ll do! After going as far as I could with that, I made progress on finding out exactly which slide unit we have and got a parts list for it, still need to talk to the repair shop about it, though. Discovered I had a water leak under the refrigerator and when I went looking I found that the other end of the pipe that that trailer place in TN had fixed a few months ago snapped, so now my kitchen drain is leaking. I had told them that I thought the tank straps might have broken, but they didn’t bother to take the bottom off to check it, although they did cut a hole in the bottom for some unknown reason, so now that area looks terrible. I’m going to have to get under there and take down the bottom, there are so many things I want to check under there, but that’s a job and a half. Finally ran out to get some hay at the feed store to finish off my afternoon. James and I fed the horses on schedule, as Jeff was going to be out late tonight. Brother Glenn is coming over from Texas in a couple of days, so Jeff had to rewire my unit so that the extension cord I’ve been using can go to him, so now I’m down to 30 amps, which is fine, I never use that much anyway. Only problem is, now my inverter is reading reverse polarity and the batteries aren’t charging up, so I’ll have to get him to fix that tomorrow. Other than that, just another day at the ranchette! Ready for my shower since I definitely sweated a lot today, and off to bed! Love you sweetie! Good night!

Monday, Dec. 21, 2020 – Ride to Collect Markers

Hi Sweetie,
Had a good night sleep, though I woke up a bit early, which gave me a good chance to do all my chores, have breakfast, and still get out on the trail to collect the markers we put out for the ride on Saturday. I took Apollo, since he’s been lazing around for quite awhile, and because he’s much calmer on the trail at slow speeds. Flash hates all the stop/starting necessary to do the markers, but Apollo’s quite happy to stop at any given moment. Thankfully, nothing startled him so much that he spun on me, though there were a couple of instances when he suddenly planted his feet for some unknown reason. We were out by 10:00 and got back just after 2:30, which I thought was pretty good time for him. I did manage to get him to jog occasionally, which took some time off, but so much of my body was aching, I really couldn’t take too much of it. At one point, we had a whole parade of buggies go by us, and both Apollo and Lola were brilliant, just standing off to one side quietly and letting them pass. When we got back to camp, I rinsed him down and put him on the highline, then went about the business of getting all the markers organized. I figured if I did this again next year (or anyone else did), that it would be a lot easier if it were better organized, and I think I accomplished that. I thought I might have to stay an extra day to take down the pink markers (which someone else put up), but after contacting Jo, she said it was taken care of, that she would come by and pick up the markers in a bit. I took that as my cue to start packing up for a departure in the morning, and was able to put pretty much everything away, got the awning in, and even hooked up the truck, since I’m on pretty level ground here. She and her husband stopped and got the markers, and played with Lola for a bit before heading off. I got the horses fed and blanketed just as the sun when down, and settled down for the evening, with the plan to once again get to bed early. It’s going to be a long, five-hour drive tomorrow, so I don’t want to leave it too late getting started in the morning, so early to bed, early to rise, hopefully! So, off I go! Love you, babe! Good night!

Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020 – YooHoo! Sixth Place!!

Hi Darlin!
What a day! Up before dawn, got my chores and breakfast done, saddled up Flash and was heading over to the official start at 7:45, arriving in plenty of time to get off at the start. Only problem was, though he was calm during the lead up to the start, as soon as we crossed the start line, he started to behave like a real numskull! Jumping and jiving and cantering in place, spinning around wanting to be let loose, but it was so crowded I couldn’t just do that, for the safety of all around me, so I pulled him out of the lineup and made him stand quietly for a bit. I had decided to try to stay with the front group, since that had worked so well last year, but by the time he settled down, the horses in front were quite strung out and we were quite a bit behind. When there was finally a long enough gap I moved him back in line, and he kept jumping and jiving for another quarter mile or more, until finally there was a wide open space for him to run, and I let him go. We passed several other riders, but we never caught up with the front group, which was my goal. Turns out that was a fluke that worked in my favor, they missed some markings and got off track and ended up way behind us! Flash and I arrived at the halfway check in point one minute behind the actual leader! I had slowed him a bit to get his heart rate down, but it still took me too much time to cool him off, but we finally did it. I left for the second half one minute behind the same person, and never caught up for some reason, but Flash ran that part of the race pretty well, though he really slowed down on the far corners of the orange trail furthest from home. When we had about six miles to the finish, the group that was first but had gotten lost finally caught up to me (turns out one of the women was part of the same group I ran with during the first half last year!), and Flash immediately picked up his pace. He got so competitive, he was like a different horse! He did NOT want that long-legged critter passing him, and for the next six entire miles he ran, cantered and largoed just to keep up, evening insisting on going first a few times! Well, the end result was that we came in 6th, shaving five minutes off our time from last year, when we came in 12th. Not bad for an amateur, eh? Most, if not all, of the folks in front of me were practically professionals at this, so I was THRILLED that we kept up! If it hadn’t been for Tiffany passing me and setting the pace, though, it probably wouldn’t have happened (not to mention all the extra miles they had to put in because they got lost on the pink trail), so I’m grateful for that. Once again, we really enjoyed ourselves! My knee held up fine until about miles 18, then I put my knee brace on with about five miles to go, and that helped quite a bit. He was still a bit hesitant on all his impulsion exercises, darn it, but only a B, which wasn’t too bad. In addition to top 10 prized, Jo was kind enough to give me a gift certificate for all the volunteer work I’ve been doing, which I really appreciated, then after the awards ceremony, asked me to become the finish line timer for the 50 milers, since the finish line was right at the trailhead where I was parked. Linda trained me up in a few minutes, so after I got everybody settled, I took over that job. All the riders managed to get in before dark, which had been a concern, so I was done just after five, perfect timing to feed the horses and settle down for the evening. Very tired, but very satisfied at the outcome of the day! Sixth in only my third endurance ride is a pretty impressive achievement, if I may say so myself! Anyway, I watched a little TV, but I’m starting to yawn like crazy, so I’m off to a much needed shower and bed! Good night, sweetie! Love you!