Sunday, January 23, 2011 – Ride Day at WG Jones State Forest

Set the alarm for 8:00, then after breakfast we got the horses loaded up in the new trailer and headed for a short 15 minute ride to nearby WG Jones State Forest in Magnolia, TX. Had no trouble finding the horse trailer parking area from the map I downloaded from the internet, where we joined half a dozen other horse trailers in the dirt parking lot. Saddling up was so easy, with everything right there in the dressing room. One thing I learned, I have to have a lead rope ready before I open the back door, my gelding tried to come out on his own and got a bit scared when the tie-in rope stopped him halfway out. I quickly calmed him, got his lead rope on and backed him out, sort of sideways, as he’s so used to backing out straight he wasn’t quite sure what to do, and neither did I. Hubby’s mare came out easy, and after a quick brushing, hoof picking and rasping on my guy’s front hooves (his hooves grow SO fast!), we were soon on our way. The beginning of the trail was like a tunnel, with wild privet on both sides. That led shortly to a dirt/sand road, which is the predominant type of trail here. It almost looks like someone had the idea of making it a planned housing development, as the roads are on a grid, but it never got even far enough for gravel roads, it’s all pretty much soft footing, thank goodness. We headed down Cochran Trail to the south, then turn west on Middle Lake Trail, because I wanted to see the “lake.” It was more of a pond, actually. We ran into several other riders and hikers, but it never seemed crowded. They bill this as an Urban Wilderness, which is an apt description. The park is surrounded by busy roads, and you can hear traffic noises whenever you get near the edges, but once you get more in the middle, you don’t hear them so much. After we got out fill of roads and got a lay of the land, we broke off to follow some real trails that came off the roads. That was pleasant as well, with signs of a well managed forest, mostly white pine I guess, along with the undergrowth. One area had been bulldozed, but I suppose it’s because they can’t exactly do a prescribed burn with so many houses so close by. We were out for a little more than two hours (it’s only 1700 acres), but it was the perfect length considering how long the horses have been stuck in a stall. They seemed very happy to be out riding, with Hubby’s mare walking faster than she usually does. They didn’t get crazy or too frisky, but they definitely seemed to enjoy themselves just as much as we did. When we got back to the trailer it was so easy unsaddling and putting everything away, it was like a dream! We stopped at Walmart on the way back to pick up a portable vacuum cleaner to keep the carpet in the dressing room clean, as well as the interior of the vehicles (especially my truck), and a couple of other items. Had no troubles getting the horses put away, but during the trip, one of the windows dropped unexpectedly, and for some strange reason, the door to the dressing room opened up when we turned down the driveway, even though I had locked it before we left the park. We spent a couple of minutes fixing that (just needed a little more of a bend in the catch), and I put up the windows screens with some new hooks I bought yesterday at Tractor Supply. Still need a few more to finish the job. Fixed one screen that had a broken loop as well. Spend some time organizing my office (I bought a shoe rack that hangs over a door, which I put inside the laundry door to be able to keep my office paperwork sorted out, it just seems to keep piling up!), then settled down for the evening. Oh, and I forgot to mention, at last, one of the mares in the pasture had her baby this morning, it was frolicking around chasing mama already! Still have two more we’re watching and waiting to see born, one more in the pasture and one in the barn. Enough for today, off to bed!

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