Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Quest of our Holy Grail- Wyman's Falls

For some time now, I have wanted to see Wyman's Falls. I heard about the falls in a passing conversation years ago--- seen the sign for Wyman's Falls Road... no idea where they actually were located, or what kind of waterfall they might be. Zoe and I have several times tried to find a trail from the farm to Wyman's Falls Road- no luck so far... so when we discussed our destination for our Monday ride.. I suggested we try again. Only this this time we'll ride on the roads to Chester and look from there. Zoe remembers a trail from long ago that MIGHT indeed take us to where we want to be.


This turns out to be a very long arduous ride - fraught with doubt and suspense :) We feel like the original crusaders.. on a quest for what might be reality-- could be myth.



I have posted lots of photo's and the full trip on my farm blog-- but here I will just post photo's of the falls. They are real-- and they are beautiful.


















Someday I will hike in here and get photo's from standing in the brook... each cascade of water is higher, with caves underneath- and deep pools eroded out of ledge. It was difficult to get pictures from horseback, the edge was slippery rock and moss... and scarey :) well worth the trip in. In studying maps when I returned home-- I believe there may be a better way to approach the falls- safer and possibly shorter. Perhaps we'll try that on another day.
enjoy ~ and be sure to visit the farm blog for an in depth view of our Crusade.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Acadia

The Rockefeller Carriage Roads of Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island, Maine are so beautiful that I could have taken a photo just about every five feet. Rockefeller crafted architectural beauty out of God’s creation, hiring 300 men from 1913- 1940 to create over 45 miles of roads and bridges through the 11,000 acres of land he gifted to the park.
AhD and I spent five spectacular days camping out with two of my friends and three of his. Ah-D-Da’s was a wonderful ambassador for the Curly breed. I did my share by wearing my RAC and Dream on Curls t-shirts whenever it was warm enough, and I posted a sign on AhD’s stall explaining the breed.
We picked a different direction to head in each day, and we had spectacular weather to ride in. We meandered, trotted and cantered down packed gravel roads, across arched stone bridges, along grassy trails and across a field or two. When not riding, we cooked our meals on a Coleman stove, toasted marshmallows around a campwide firepit, and slept in tents and stock trailers. I thought I was going to freeze to death Friday night and awoke to the sight of my breath when I peaked out of my sleeping bag.
I can’t even begin to tell you all how rejuvenating this trip was to my soul. My bond with AhD grew even deeper on this trip. Here he is nuzzling my helmet while we relax and I enjoy the view across Little Long Lake and down to the ocean.
I hope you fellow RACers enjoyed photos of a few of the highlights, and I look forward to hearing more of YOUR stories and adventures! (hint, hint)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Rainy Sunday- last show day of the season

OYY Elektra and Zoe have lots to be proud of -- working hard all summer preparing for their dressage tests and setting goals to beat their personal scores each time. They ended the show season very well- despite the very sloppy clay dressage rings and water, umbrellas and plastic coverings. Elektra and Zoe received first place ribbons and very nice scores in both their tests - missing the high point ribbon for the day by only 2 points !


The judges had many compliments for our beautiful young girl !
In addition to commenting on her lovely movement and good mind-- they could not believe she was only 4 years old.

I put together pieces of the two tests here -
You can read more, see more photo's on my farm blog.. plus read a bit about this mischievous little pink thing here to the right - :)

Today, no more rain - we are planning a pleasure ride out.. not sure where are headed.. but it will be fun.
Enjoy ~

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Ocean!







Yep, we finally did it! What a blast!
The Maine ocean ride must be on my adult Ten Year To-Do List. Even though I am old (according to my teenage children) I have only ridden the beach twice, but the ride I took this year was truly memorable enough to last me until the next decade. We left at the crack of dawn to hit the low tide schedule. This was actually a huge advantage, because not only was there very little traffic on the turnpike, but the beach was very un-populated at that time of day. That being said, I bet we had our picture taken at least 200 times during our ride down the beach and back. 99.9 percent of the beach walkers were thrilled to see the horses and at least half of them had either their camera or their cell phone ready. We even had people volunteer to take a picture of us all together! By the way, that is a mini on the far left, not a dog. The children on the beach absolutely adored the horses. This picture was taken by a woman walking along the beach. She didn’t know how to use my camera, and my friends ended up being WAY ahead. AhD was very antsy to get back to his friends. Everything was new to him, this was NOT woods, not road, not a lake, and on the way back there were tons of people walking the beach. AhD did an excellent job of listening to me as we trotted to catch up to my friends. What a good boy!
This picture is of Ulla and her Morgan galloping through the surf. AhD watched, and then he was able to do it himself. What a thrill!
The sun sparkled on the water and the day was absolutely beautiful. There were several fishing boats in the harbor and many fishermen and women on the beach itself. We had to be sure to circle up on to the beach to avoid getting tangled in the fishing lines!
AhD had never been to the ocean before. Wow, he sure knew the difference between fresh water and the ocean! He never once tried to drink it, and he did NOT like that white line that edges each wave as it arrives on the beach. His eyeballs just about popped out of his head as he eyed the waves, and he did a super side pass to avoid. Waves would be an excellent training tool for dressage! After watching my friends’ horses walk in, he did get the idea. With his eye on the "white line" of course. :)
Old Orchard Beach/Pine Point is NOT typical craggy, rocky Maine coast, but seven miles of sand. It is a tourist trap and is lined with pricey cottages, hotels and motels.
In the background, see the famous Old Orchard Beach pier. AhD was a bit nervous passing through the pilings each way. This pier burned down once and was completely rebuilt.
We went all the way to these rocks which mark the end of Pine Point. Ooops, we went further than we were supposed to…but who could stop??? Apparently, the horse poop police were not out.
To leave the beach, we had to trot through Ocean Park, a suburbia of cottages. Guess what Zoe and Betsy! We “trotted sidewalks” just like you two! AhD was SUPER! I hope you all enjoyed this trip to the Maine coast as much as I enjoyed following the Vermont River Ride.

Our Vermont Beach Ride :)

With the last post by Susan- and she announced her beach ride I have been overcome with jealous envy !! I have always wanted to ride along the sandy beach and trot in and out of the salty waves... what fun.

Zoe and I had the opportunity Monday (yesterday) to somewhat duplicate a beach ride -- the kind one would have in hills of Vermont. I took SO many photo's - if you want to see more of that ride.. you can read on my farm blog.

It was not our intention to get anywhere near a river when we set out in the morning... but one thing led to another -- we ended up trotting down the Williams Road- where we were going to cross the Worrall Covered Bridge and head home after trekking over the mountain. We saw two signs (very small signs) announcing that the bridge was closed for repairs-- but we did not want to turn back... so we thought, either we can still cross the bridge on horseback or we can find a way to cross the river. "We'll cross that bridge when we get to it" was our thinking :)


This was quite a bigger repair than I imagined.. no crossing the bridge - I asked one of the workmen if we could get down the side, but he said- no way.. there is silt fence on both sides for quite a distance. Not to be thwarted.. we turned into some very thick woods and brush.. searching for a spot to cross.





We ended up having to slide down the bank on our haunches, through a barrier of weed type trees which completely curtained off any view of the river... sliding down that bank was a kind of slide of faith.. not sure where we were going to end up. But-- beautiful-- we are in the river ! No way to get out on the other side though- banks are too steep so Zoe had the idea to walk and trot upstream to the Bartonsville Covered Bridge - and probably we can get up out of the river and trot home on that road.



Here's our stony 'beach'












we walk upstream back and forth through the deep water and the shallow... No waves here, but we do have cornfields ! :)







The water was clear and COLD !
The rocks were a bit slippery and the horses did really well.





Several miles in the river and we finally spot the bridge up ahead !



You can just about see that white line spanning the river. This bridge was built by the same man who built the one being repaired. The Bartonsville covered bridge is longer- 151 feet.







There is a nice grassy slope- we can get back up onto the road. We've trotted through this bridge-- but never under it :)




Once on firm ground- the horses canter nearly all the way back home !
We completed a huge loop.. and had loads of fun. I have been wanting to walk in the Williams River with my horse for years-- Also, this ride has inspired our next one... can't wait !!


Now- Susan-- post your ocean ride photo's !! We can compare Maine coastline with Vermont coastline :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Susan's fancy dancer

Hey Susan! I don't think he is of that persuasion...lol His mom was out of a BLM mare who had a beautiful floating movement that would have put many a dressage horse to shame...she passed it to Audi D and she passed it to Ah d Da. If he hadn't been stunted he would have been a big floaty mover...he was when little....but I don't ever think I seen him do a cabrio/pirouette thingy. I am so glad you are overcoming your fears and Ah D is taking care of you. He was young and green when you started with him and you and he will just keep getting better and better.....I just wish I lived up there by you so I could go with you on your rides...no body around here wants to go...... Jackie

Monday, September 14, 2009

You've Come a Long Way, Baby

Does this fat Curly horsie look like a Lipizzaner? I didn’t think so either, but I am going to have to talk to his breeder Jackie Richardson about this because AhD can do a capriole with me on board. Yes, it’s true, when he is feeling joie de vivre upon seeing an open field (or perhaps brattiness brought on by having an aged QH ahead of him), he can do airs above ground. It was awesome, by the way, in case you have never experienced one. The very, very best part of it all is that I did not turn into a quaking pile of jello but rather enjoyed the sensation of pony-power held in check. It surely does feel good to be able to chill and enjoy my Curly without the mind and body crippling fear that has been my unwelcome companion for the last few years. It’s been a hard row to hoe; sometimes one step forward and two steps back, but I have had so many good experiences this summer that I know I am making headway. A little silliness does wonders for the soul.
AhD and I had two small milestones during our Sunday ride. One was the afore-mentioned capriole followed by an easy trot up the open field ~ at my request ~ to which AhD willingly complied, with no (more) leaps or bucks or snorting or bad behavior of any sort. The other milestone occurred when we met the Nubian goats. AhD spied the goats nibbling away in a wooded piece as we were trotting along the side of a tar road. The other two horses had apparently met goats before, but AhD was instantly on Full Alert. Now, if this had been a couple of years ago, his Full Alert demeanor would have sent panic rising into my throat like a tide, as I imagined all the things that could go terribly wrong. My fear would have been transmitted to my mount, who of course would have responded with his own fear, because his herd leader was telling him, yes, those goats are SCARY! Instead, I said in a cheery voice, “Oh, you see those goats, look at those cute goats, blah ditty blah blah,” as I put my reins in one hand, settled into my seat and stroked his neck each time he stopped to take a gander. We have chickens, turkeys, pigs, steers, lambs, a donkey, a litter of crying puppies and a herd of beef cattle checked off under Things That We Ain’t Scared Of. Pretty soon we will be able to add goats to the list. We are still working on deer and moose. Maybe someday we will even feel confident enough to trot sidewalks like Betsy and Zoe!
Fall colors are emerging overnight in our neck of the woods.There are even a few areas that are bright orange already. The Maine beach season has ended, and I have been invited to trailor AhD down to ride the ocean beach next weekend. PSYCHED! :)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Beautiful late summer ride








I had an incredible ride on AhD over the Labor Day weekend. A crisp late summer day, AhD was wonderful and full of personality as usual, the company was superb...just about as close to perfection as possible. We rode in Poland for three hours and were on trails for all but, oh, ten minutes or so. The scenery in the Maine woods was splendid, but not enough light for me to take good pictures. Plenty of light for viewing old stone walls, dirt and grass trails, winding trails around tall trees, etc. Jumped three trees on one trail! Our first time together jumping! I loved it! Small hops great for beginners. Two hours out, we decided to head for Upper Range Pond. The family who was swimming came out of the water so we could take our horses into the roped off kiddie section. AhD splashed about just like a little kid. He loved it and wanted more. The beach mom took some pictures of us, and then we gave pony rides to the kids and made their day. AhD laid down in the beach sand ~ twice. You have to sand both sides, you know! I wasn't quick enough with the camera because I was too worried about him rolling over and breaking my saddle. He tried, but I lifted up on the reins and held them tight. Whew! Could this horse have any more personality? And, I must say, AhD was WONDERFUL on the trails. I couldn't ask for a better behaved mount. (yes, fellow Curly lovers, I am taking about AhD)
We headed to the next photo op spot, Estes Bog. Here is Mr. Personality, being a good boy. The photo at the beginning of this post is also from Estes Bog, which looked like a lake to me, until, believe me, I learned it wasn't. We took one step into the water, and AhD went up halfway to his knee in muck. One step.
The humans must have taken too long standing here enjoying the late day sun, because then....Here is Mr. Personality being a Bad Boy. He put my foot right in his mouth ~ twice. I guess he does things twice when he wants to make a point. I must admit, the beach rolling and the boot "biting" both made me laugh out loud and added to the fun day.
We left the bog and crossed a small dam. Kind of hairy, I thought, if AhD didn't stay on the 10' wide strip it was about 10' down to the ground on either side...but we crossed it with no problems. Got in a nice gallop on the way back to Ulla's house, too, because we were running out of daylight. This was a ride to hold in my memory banks for a long, long time.

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