Last week was my birthday. Due to work demands and T's running schedule, I knew I would be traveling to Ohio and Delaware from Weds thru Saturday. I decided to treat myself and take Tuesday off. Since I had Tuesday off, and that was the day the saddle fitter could look at my saddle, it seemed like a great plan. K took Tuesday off to check her saddle as well (The Eds has a couple of friction spots on his back from the Tucker Saddle she was sold a year ago - let me tell you those saddles have real issues. They narrow over the kidneys and pinch. All of them. And Tucker won't warranty them, so once you buy one you are stuck.) Luckily for K, she has an Abetta saddle she was riding in before she was convinced by clinicians and her trainer that she should get a real western saddle, which was sold to her by her trainer.
Anyway, I hauled Ashke over to TMR for the fitting so K and I could split the travel costs. The good news for K is that the Abetta fits Eddy really well. The bad news is she has a saddle for sale. I will detail my saddle fitting/flocking issues in my next post. After we got the saddle stuff squared away, we loaded the boys into the trailer and headed out to ride. K talked me into doing the Marshall lake loop off of Flatiron Vista.
Both boys were really up for the ride. Eddy was tied to the side of the trailer while Ashke was being looked at and he kept rearing, nice little levade, just by the side of the trailer. Made me laugh. K not so much. So, they were both rearing to go (hahahaha. I'm so funny.) when we got to the trailhead.
The first three miles were slow. There has been so much washed away top soil that the trail was really rocky, with fist sized rocks. We ended up going up the Greenland plateau first and turning east on the trail, since running the horses up that mile long climb seemed like a great way to settle them down. And that worked really well. They were both ready to listen and walk nicely when we reached the top.
And we had to walk a lot. The rocks were miserable. So we hit five miles at 1:19, which included about fifteen minutes at the trailer, so even though we cantered a good bit to start, our time was not great. After that first five miles, however, we reached some single track that was mostly sand and were able to pick up our pace. We stopped at six miles in to eat a snack. Ashke heard me take the apples out of my pack and stopped to swing his head around to snatch one out of my hand. We stopped under a couple of trees (the only trees on our route mind you) and although the horses grazed a bit, neither of them was real interested in eating anything other than our apples.
We assessed at lunch. K thought it was a 12 to 13 mile loop and from looking at the map we thought it looked like we were half done. I needed to be back to the trailer before three to ensure I could be at the school at the right time to pick up T, after parking the trailer by myself for the first time. We needed to the last six or seven miles a lot faster than we had done the first six.
Two things: first, we were able to travel much faster after lunch than before and the trail, for the most part, cooperated by offering fewer rocks; and second, it was a fifteen mile loop not twelve. The other thing that was kind of a downer, but good to know for the future, is that if the canal is empty, there is no water until about mile 13 on this loop. It was only 75 degrees (F) for the duration of our ride, but the horses were hairy and there were no trees. It felt hot and they were both pretty sweaty.
I did remember the stock tank we had watered them at the first time we had ridden out that way with J. I located the stock tank visibly and we rode cross country to reach it or the ride might have been sixteen miles. Ashke and Eddy both drank well at the stock tank and we made it back to the trailer by 2:36.
It was so much fun. It was great to spend my day with K and Ashke and Eddy. It was great to ride a loop that's been on our list. It would have been better if I could have set my anxiety aside about getting T, about parking the trailer, about work, about traveling, etc. But, overall, it was a pretty perfect day and a great ride.
I dropped Eddy and K off, took Ashke home and rinsed him off, then talked a trainer at SQA into parking my trailer. I made it to the school to get T right at 4:30. Then we went home, showered and headed out for dinner at the Melting Pot.
It was a great birthday.