Thursday, Mar. 27, 2014 – Ride Day at Guadalupe River State Park

Set the alarm so that we could get a jump on the day, and woke up to foggy conditions. Apparently it had rained a tad during the night, but not enough to puddle, just misty and damp. Had a quick breakfast before we got the horses loaded up and headed south the Guadalupe River State Park, about 1:15 hour drive away. Stopped once for gas down in Blanco (the best prices, thanks to Gas Buddy!), and arrived at the park around 11:30. At first, they said the trails were closed due to the rain, but no one had actually checked on the trails, it was just assumed. After some persuasion, whining and common sense (like the fact they've been suffering from a years-long drought, so chances are that tiny little bit of rain just soaked in), they finally relented, making us promise that if the trails were so muddy that we would damage them going through it, we would turn around. Of course we promised, confident the trails would be just fine, and in fact, they were. Not one hoof slipped one time in the mud through the entire ride, all 5 1/2 miles of it. Not a single mud puddle or even boggy spot. In fact, with our Cavallo boots on, they barely even left a hoof print! Anyway, we left the horse trailer area and traversed across an area that had been heavily forested, either to avoid future fires, or possibly to eliminate an invasive species, so at first it was a pretty ugly ride. Once we went through that area, though, there were lots of nice places. We took every little loop they had in an effort to extend the ride, and most were really nice. Nothing extraordinary, just nice. Once we crossed the road and headed in the direction of the campground, there were a couple of fabulous open fields where we were able to get quite a number of nice canters in, both coming and going. By the campground, which is about halfway around, there was a hitching post and a watering trough where we stopped for a brief break. As we headed back south, the trail went along the ridge above the river, which was quite a drop below us. While the trail didn't get too close to the edge, there were several footpaths where you can get down and walk yourself out to a rock with a nice overview of the river and the view spreading northward. A very pretty diversion. Mounting again, we headed back on the western side of the loop, cantering again along the other side of the field (which only a head shake or two from Apollo, which I managed to check before it became a full rodeo), and thoroughly enjoying ourselves. Back across the road to the clear cut area (well, not quite clear cut, they saved some of the larger trees, but certainly most were down), until we reached the parking lot. On the last home stretch, we noticed fresh horse shoe prints, so obviously they decided to open the trails after all. Sure enough, there was another horse trailer in the parking lot. We loaded the horses back up and trailered home, stopping at the gate to let them know the trails were in perfect condition, they needn't worry about them, and headed out. A lovely day, one of the most enjoyable in a while, especially with Hubby back to 100 percent.

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