Wacky Weekend Weather: From Shirt Sleeves to Eight Inches of Snow in Three Days
After several weeks of lousy weather and mud, Saiph and I had a two-day window of decent weather so we decided to log some miles. On Friday, we rode through the 1,000-acre Tusc Farm behind our barn. It was a beautiful, but chilly afternoon with temperatures in the 40s. I was wearing three shirts and a hoodie under my safety vest.
|Photo by Saiph of Tusc fields in January|
We set out about 3 pm and so were grateful for the extra hour of Daylight Savings Time. The late afternoon is one of my favorite times to ride at Tusc Farm because the sun low in the sky casts a magical glow over the expansive fields.
We walked and trotted for much of the ride, but the hills were just too tempting. With the simple word “up,” Queenie and Lily broke into an easy canter.
Now, I have to say at this point that when I adopted Queenie, I didn’t mind that she was an older (17) horse because as I stated repeatedly, “I’m too old to do anything more than walk, trot.” Truthfully, I think I was too scared to go faster than a trot.
Every time I was thrown from a horse as a young rider, it was while cantering. The first few times I cantered on Queenie, I swear my stomach dropped to my shoes. No way that I wanted to be that scared.
Well, after a few times cantering and hanging on desperately to the saddle horn, I found my seat. After I cantered once without holding on to the horn, I was hooked. I was Annie Oakley (minus the guns) cantering through the Old West.
So with my new-found confidence and a huge grin on my face, we cantered up any hill we could find. We explored new trails and areas for a total of 10 miles. Six months ago, I never dreamed that I would be going on such lengthy—and fast--rides! Queenie and I are working up to participating in a 25-mile endurance ride in June.
Over the Bridge and Through the Tunnel to the Porta-John We Go!
On Saturday, it felt like Spring arrived with temperatures in the 60s. Finally, I could ride in short sleeves rather than multiple layers! We loaded the girls in the trailer and drove the five miles to the Agricultural History Farm Park.
The park has over 20 miles of trails. I had ridden one section a number of times when Queenie was at Millhaven Farm but Saiph was somewhat familiar with a different part of the park. I always admire Saiph’s sense of direction and am glad that Lily likes to take the lead. I’m pretty sure that I would end up riding in circles!
The trails had several interesting obstacles but our girls were up to the challenge. First, we rode across a wooden bridge. Farther down the trail, we arrived at a tunnel that goes under a major highway. Lily was a bit hesitant to enter the dark hole but with some gentle prodding, she bravely stepped in. Queenie had no problem following her. In fact, Queenie hates being separated from Lily on the trail (but doesn’t hesitate to bite her best buddy if Lily should pass too close to Queenie’s stall).
We had crossed streams but when Queenie seemed to look longingly at the water flowing through the tunnel, we searched for an area where the horses could drink. It wasn’t easy because the banks of the stream were fairly steep but the formerly water-resistant Lily again said, “I’ll go first” and Queenie followed her.
As we came out of the woods, we gave the “up” command and the girls cantered happily up the hill. That would turn out to cause a few moments of panic later in the ride.
We were on the edge of a large cornfield and Saiph said that she had always wanted to ride around the entire cornfield. Sounded like a great idea to me! Before we started that portion of the ride, however, I suggested we go up to the barn area of the park where I knew they had necessary facilities (i.e., porta-johns). We rode up and Saiph remarked that because everything was closed, it felt like riding into an Old West ghost town (if you pretended that all the huge John Deere equipment wasn’t parked near the barn, that is).
We took turns holding the horses and then walked over to a nearby picnic table to use as a mounting block. Even on a three-step mounting block, I sometimes have trouble getting my foot into the stirrup. Picnic-table height is perfect for a just-south-of-60 rider. I immediately started thinking about building a taller mounting block for the farm!
As we started around the cornfield, I realized I didn’t have my cellphone. I had put it in one of my saddlebags and I knew immediately that the last canter up the hill must have sent the phone sailing! We rode back to the “ghost town” and quickly realized it wasn’t there. As we were headed back to the field, two riders (cavalry to the rescue!) came toward us and when I asked if they had seen a cell phone, they said they had put it in my trailer. Whew! I could stop worrying about lost contacts and photos!
Thankfully, the rest of our ride was uneventful and by the end of the weekend, we had logged another 17 miles.
And this was what Monday morning looked like: