Monday, November 18, 2013

Harold Takes Another Trip to the Maine Coast


...and AhD and I and our buddies Terry and Allie joined him as well, and WOWZA, did we ALL ever have fun!!! The weather was iffy, and I almost called it off before we even left - and I am so, so glad I didn't.  I have had such good rides at Popham that sometimes I hesitate to go back... I feel like any subsequent ride has to be a tad disappointing; this whisper of a hard act to follow sneaks into my awareness.  Yes, it was different than last year's rides, but every bit as fun and just so incredible!

Terry and I had a lot to catch up on and gabbed all the way up.  The parking lot was virtually empty when we arrived and there was no State attendant to take our $4 each for Maine residents or monitor the poop production of our horses (new rule - ALL manure - even that below high tide line - must be picked up and removed from the state park). We set to work tacking up and a nice couple stopped by to chat and admire our absolutely stunningly gorgeous horses and took a picture of us.


Entering the beach, we found LOTS of room to ride, even though low tide was over four hours away.  We turned right instead of left, because we could see that about a mile down the left beach, the ocean was still up to the rocky storm break cliff.




AhD was feeling spunky and made moves to kick Allie twice.  The second time I smacked him upside the head like an errant child, and he didn't try it again.  We rode all the way to the salt-water river, and since the tide was still too high to cross it on 13.3 hand Allie, we turned and made our way back to The Island.  There were seagulls and little sand plovers perusing the sand for tidbits.
 
 
I admired the driftwood and picked a few shells for mementos.  A horse who shall remain nameless made an unauthorized poop, and I pretended not to notice. It was below the high tide line. There were a couple of other horses on the beach and a few lonely manure piles discretely far away from the beach entry points.

At The Island, AhD and I attempted to find a way up onto the rocks because it is really cool up there, but just as I was turning him around and giving up on finding a safe way up (slippery rocks and rock crevasses), Terry asked if we could not risk it.  I was in total agreement.  Later that day after we had left the park, a couple of Mainely Gaiter riders took the risk.   One TWH got two feet stuck in a rock crevasse and the following is what happened (with names represented by letters):

"C and W rode out to the island and up the rocks. C's horse, Lady Bug, got both hind feet stuck in a crevice and managed to lay down, fall over and squish people trying to help her. The Phippsburg Fire Dept. came and were instrumental in getting the rock chipped out enough for Bug to be able to get her feet out of the hole. W kept calm and focused. K took care of our other horses and guided the rescue to our position. Other beach goers came to offer support. Ending to this is no people were hurt. Horse has the usual dings, scrapes and swellings that one would expect from such an escapade but walked off the rocks under her own power. Moral to the story is if a horse can get hurt or in trouble, they will. A learning curve about safety and rescue for the persons involved."

Thank God all involved are ok.

As I mentioned, that dangerous incident happened long after we had left the beach for the day.

Next we headed for the left side of the beach, as we could see that there was enough room for us to pass without playing a Parelli Squeeze Game with the tide.  Just before that though, the tide had made a temporary fast moving stream with some steep banks that blocked our forward path.  AhD let me know in no uncertain terms that he was not keen on traveling across.  As I walked him along the edge looking for the best place to ford and letting him think on this a while, a big chunk of sand fell down into the tide stream with a big whoosh, and AhD did his best to imitate that whoosh by ducking and spooking to one side.  Whoosh! My heart was still back along the edge of the stream but luckily my butt was still in the saddle several feet away. :)  Terry defended my pony, because, yep, that sand giving way was pretty scary. Very true.  I guided AhD towards the stream for the second time and found what I thought was the easiest place to cross.  One sharp word from me and my pony scampered across without question.  What a good boy!

Other riders on the beach.  Everyone was so friendly!


 
On we went, soaking in the experience until it was time to turn and head for the trailer.  Due to electrical issues with my truck, we had to be back to my house before dark, and the afternoon was waning.  As we turned down the beach, Allie broke into a trot, and Terry and I exchanged a meaningful glance.  Ready to try a canter?  It would be Terry's first canter ever on a beach, and sure enough, she was game.  I scooted ahead on AhD, and  then glanced back to see a beaming smile on Terry's face.  Yes, we had lift-off! A few canter strides.  We gave it a bit of a rest and tried again.  This time, I had to keep my eyes on the beach ahead because, unlike Allie, my pony definitely has more go than whoa when there is nothing but beach between him and the trailer, but I still kept one ear focused behind me.  I could hear the hooves hitting the sand behind us in the right cadence, and sure enough, when I pulled AhD up, I turned to see a beaming Terry, who exclaimed, "Twenty-five!  Twenty-five strides!!!"  We couldn't get over it.  Terry was thrilled, and so was I, and even Allie looked mighty proud of himself.  AhD was the only one who was unimpressed.  He had wanted to charge down the beach, no holds barred. Oh well, such is life.  We walked down the beach, reliving the moment, and then I said, "How about another go?" "Sure!" This time Allie was a running fool!  Terry told me afterwards that she lost count at seventy strides.  I could hear the hoof beats behind, and my wonderful Curly was listening to me and in a nice, controlled (albeit, somewhat "airy" - haha) canter.  What an experience!  How fun for me to share that thrill with my good friend Terry! It was the icing on a cake of a day.

We have lift off!!!!!!

Mainely Gaiters, with AhD to the far right
Nearing the "off ramp" of the beach, AhD and I spied some of my Mainely Gaiter friends, and with the ok from Terry (um...never ever gallop away from your friend on the beach without permission...I've had this lesson engraved in me the hard way by being the "victim" of this experience several times), AhD and I speeded off to meet and greet.  Lo and behold, guess who enjoyed another canter? :)

We chatted for a bit, made introductions and admired each others' horses, and then left the beach.  On the way out, I pointed out the Rolling Spot to Terry and explained to her that we definitely needed to come back and let the horses enjoy.  Thankfully, there had been no unscheduled rolling that day. :)

Ahhh...the horses loved it! And we enjoyed watching them.



Thank you all for reading, and I hope you all get to experience such a wonderful ride as this on your treasured horses.

Harold, did you enjoy this ride?  You didn't get any sand in your britches this time.
 

16 comments:

  1. This looks like so much fun! How I wish I could have been along for the ride. Some great pictures too! Thanks for sharing your adventure.

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    1. It is a blast to ride the beach, Liz. You and Traveler would love it.

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  2. As always, a beautiful ride Susan! Did AhD get a new bridle? It's nice! Is it one of those halter/bridle combos? So cool for Terry having her first beach canter! Very good idea to turn back in that squeeze spot, so glad it wasn't your horse(s) that got stuck but very glad to hear that Bug was OK!

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    1. Yes, it is a halter/bridle combo. It is very handsome and convenient, but I think I am going to go back to my Mylar combination because AhD goes best in that. I just need to find a beautiful headstall to compliment it. When did you say you are coming to the states to ride?

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  3. Sounds and looks wonderful! Glad the weather was decent for you! I don't know if you noticed, but your post is typing line over line? Maybe the blogger is acting up, but it's hard to follow in spots.

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  4. I can view/read the post fine Janeen. Sometimes I find blogger moody - must be male!
    Susan I am going to get down there (over there) for a ride! So tell All to keep up the cantering!! I don't know when yet! But its on my list and I'm burning through that list pretty quick these days!
    I just spent what felt like ages looking for a headstall that matches my saddle. I finally found one! One of my favourite US tack sites is www.chicksaddlery.com. I also recently found www.greenrivertack.com which had awesome prices. I'm not sure what US shipping would be but my favorite CDN site is www.pleasantridge.ca. very good prices there too! We don't have much choice locally for tack!

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    1. This morning I can read it fine too. You must be right about its moodiness!

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    2. Thanks for the tip; yes, one can never have enough tack!

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  5. What an amazing ride Susan!! The beach has GOT to be one the best rides ever! Hard to beat it especially with good friends and great horses! I have one of those halter/ bridle combos and love it too but what are you mentioning about Mylar? What is that? Seriously eh - so much tack stuff to be had!! LOL There's never enough! hehehhehe
    Also, AhD has more go than whoa, I see that you use a 'full cheek' snaffle? How do you get him stopped and cooled off? What is your technique? Because I'm amazed that you can have a canter towards the trailer, stop and then go again and don't have a crazy horse! I LOVE IT! I have an Arab that does some pretty impressive moves (they would be 'highschool' moves IF I was asking for them! LOL) if he gets HOT.

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  6. Boy, Cyndi, good questions...my Mylar combination bit is really a non-metal hackamore combined with a relaxed, multi-jointed bit for feel on the lips and in the mouth. I love it because it allows really for light hands, yet if/when you need it, the hackamore action gives strength for weaklings like me. It has two different hitch points for the reins, with one offering a bit of curb (like a kimberwick does). It definitely won AhD's respect, and it fits him very comfortably. I moved back to the snaffle bit because my new headstall (that halter/bridle combo is sturdy and a safety asset) interfered with the hackamore. He minds the snaffle because he listens to me (now) even when he is worked up. He is a very complicated horse. And, Cyndi, he has also given me a piaffe on occasion, even though I don't have a clue about how to ask for one. ;)

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  7. Okay, first Donna, what do you mean male thing, huh ??? Now Susan thanks for the great ride, what an experience going along the ocean , I wasn't even afraid to fall into the sand, Terry must have had an enjoyable ride also, getting kinda brave don't ya think ??? You guys sure have a great place to ride, still think kinda spoiled, Thanks for the ride Susan, and what great pictures, you can read the whole post here without problem, must be the state which Janeen lives in, HEHEHE

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    1. I was hoping you would really enjoy coming along, Harold! Yes, Terry is gaining confidence by leaps and bounds, and we have so much fun together. I do really have tons of beautiful places to ride; it is amazing. I still like seeing other people's posts because I get to travel in my mind.

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  8. You both look amazing Susan...AHD in his handsome curls and you with your bold happy pink jacket and smiling face! What a TEAM! Sounds like a ride for the scrap books! I am so glad you had so much fun and that canter sounds incredible! Glad you are able to get out right now......cause nothing is happening on this size of the country...COLD and those darn hunters have invaded. I wish we had sundays to ride like you! Keep up the great stories...we are living vicariously through you all!

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  9. Harold, what do you mean it has to be the state I live in? Humph! You know, Denise lives in that state too!

    And Susan, I forgot to mention that I just love AhD's curls! It looks like a wooly bear!

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    1. That's all true about Denise, but she knows where I live so I have to be careful, after all she is the one that made the map of the ranches so I can't pick on her, Did you have your glasses on Janeen ??? giggle giggle

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    2. Harold, Harold, Harold. What ever am I going to do with you? I didn't have my glasses on BECAUSE I don't need them to read the computer screen! Haha! And, no, I wasn't drinking either! Haha!

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