View Full Version : Hard Labor Creek State Park Ride 11/14/09 - Recap

Nov. 17, 2009, 09:33 AM
I met up with SpotnNotFarm and her 2 friends, Sally & Danette, this past Saturday at Hard Labor Creek State park in Rutledge GA (http://www.gastateparks.org/info/hardlabor/ (http://www.gastateparks.org/info/hardlabor/)) It was my first long haul out and I'd been looking forward to it for weeks!

I was on my Clyde-X, Penny, as always. Spot was on her good boy, Grover, with Danette on Lily & Sally on Bailey, her Arabian. Since Lily hadn't seen much ride time lately, we didn't want to go out too far, so chose an 8-mile trail around Lake Brantley.

The trail was quite challenging: very hilly, steep, rocky and rutty. Also quite muddy in spots due to last week's heavy rains. Got to jump a few small trees and even over a ditch (not my choice...P just did it on her own! :D)

Sally informed us at once piont that Bailey didn't "do" water.... wellllll with Penny leading the way, Bailey quickly realized that since it didn't swallow her or Grover or Lily, maybe it wouldn't swallow him either. He did it and by the end of 8 miles, went thru water like he'd been doing it forever. :cool: Such a brave boy!

Funny thing was, here is fat me on my Porkchop of a Draft-cross trekking up, down, around & through so fast that the other three were having to trot much more often to keep up with us! :winkgrin:. Penny doesn't just walk: She motors!

When we arrived back at the trailer after 2+ hours of enjoying the GAWJUS day and scenery, Penny probably could have gone another 8-10 miles I'm sure (not me tho!). She recovered suprisingly quickly (helped that I had a friend give her a bib clip the night before tho since she is in 1/2 yak mode already) and was as fresh as when we went out.

Grover was the UBER good boy as always. Since Spot and I are going to ride again next Monday and thought about sharing my trailer, we tried loading Grover into my 2-horse straight GN with a ramp. Wellll, good boy that he is, he'd never loaded into a trailer like that and was quite unsure. He tried his very best, with watermelon luring him in, but 3 hooves on the ramp was all we could get, so didn't push it. Besides, a total stranger thought he just HAD to "help" us get Grover in. :rolleyes: Geez.

Lily mare, that lovely gray of Danette's, was quite tired when we got back. She just fell asleep tied to the trailer while we enjoyed our lunch. Hehehehe, Grover took that opportunity to steal Lily's hay! :lol:

Lunch was Deviled Egg Salad in Pita, Christina's Chicken Pasta Salad, veggies, chips and Double Fudge Brownies :D We just set up our lawn chairs right in the parking lot, between our trailers, while the horses munched their hay.

Alas, Spot's camera battery died after only two pictures and I forgot mine (again!), so I only have two.

Me and Penny: http://pets.webshots.com/photo/2854798420015305252nMtsve (I'm down 24 pounds....only 56 more go to!)

Sally and Bailey:

Nov. 17, 2009, 03:35 PM
So, was it crowded?

I am an additional 50-60 some miles on east and south of HLC and have no trailer, alas. What was your strategy for getting over, under, around or thru Atlanta? Back in the day I would trailer 100 miles one way to ride in Tar Hollow State Forest in OH, but the only city to contend with was Dayton, small potatoes compared to hotlanta.....

ChocoMare: just let me know when you are ready to come to the sandhills and swamps of my part of GA. No park, no bridle paths, just dirt roads and powerlines and a few select hunting tracts, but some of the scenery is right purty and there's NEVER any other riders.

Nov. 17, 2009, 03:38 PM
Well, there were plenty of other rigs/horses there, but the trails are so extensive and the park so big, that we only met up with two other horses/riders the whole time we were out!

For me it was a straight shot west to east on I-20. I just stayed in the right lane :D

We will certainly plan a jaunt down your way next year Jeano! :yes:

Nov. 17, 2009, 05:12 PM
I'm glad you guys had a great time, the weather was beautiful. That mare of yours is a chunk o' burning love isn't she? I like her (doesn't hurt that two of my best horses were name Penny;)

Nov. 17, 2009, 06:57 PM
We really had a great time! I loved how Grover started making his own trails because he was so tired of the mud:lol:.

Hopefully more people can join us on our next adventure! The food and company are always wonderful!

Nov. 17, 2009, 07:02 PM
Glad you all had a great time. I do like Hard Labor, it's easy in and out and so well laid out and spacious. We've camped there once, last Fall.

I tell you what though, this is a really good illustration of how hard it is to describe trails to someone. While it is certainly not the flatland of N FL, I would not describe HL as 'quite challenging'. While I wouldn't take my now 4 YO to Pigeon Mtn (where I took other horses last weekend), HL is easy peasy by comparison, and something I'm bad to say really isn't bad at all! First time riders, no. But someone who's ridden a year or so, sure. Anyway I surely mean no disrespect in saying anything, just realizing one' person's tough doesn't always translate. But it most certainly is beautiful!

Nov. 18, 2009, 05:54 PM
Although the terrain is not all that challenging the footing on some of the trails can be quite rough. I've ridden there several times and highly recommend shoes or hoof boots.

I had reservations at Watson Mill Bridge State Park for Thanksgiving weekend but we had to postpone our trip :( Both the trails and terrain there are perfect for newbies or green horses.

Nov. 18, 2009, 06:37 PM
It was VERY slick the day we rode. The trails are wonderful and I cannot wait to go when it is dry.

PRS I hope you can go to Watson Bridge another time. I want to go there soon as well.

Katharine I have heard of Pigeon Mtn. Where is it and what is it like?

Nov. 19, 2009, 12:09 AM
Not to highjack the thread, but I remember my very 1st ride at HLC. I had recently come from South Florida, no change in elevation mostly riding in the avacado groves.

Myself, hubby & two friends went. We took a 2 yr old AQHA under saddle about 1 week, a 3 year old Arab on her 3rd ride, an App with 2 months saddle time, and a cranky 15 year old app mare that DID NOT want to lead.

We tried the 9 mile trail & missed the cut off, 15 miles later ALL our horses were trail broke. They crossed water, jumped logs, climbed hills.

That place was my first truly challenging & interesting place to ride. I'll always LOVE Hard Labor!

Nov. 19, 2009, 07:42 AM
Although the terrain is not all that challenging the footing on some of the trails can be quite rough. I've ridden there several times and highly recommend shoes or hoof boots.

Hehehehe.... Penny and Grover are both barefoot :winkgrin:

Nov. 19, 2009, 11:04 AM
Hehehehe.... Penny and Grover are both barefoot :winkgrin:

Yeah, not ALL the trails are bad but unless you are familiar with which trails to go on you can run into some pretty rocky footing for quite a considerable distance. But then again, my horse is somewhat of a sis when it comes to his feet ;) I'm glad ya'll had a good time...I'm jealous. I wish I lived closer where making a day trip to ride there makes more sense.

Nov. 19, 2009, 11:04 AM
Further evidence that each of us have different definitions of good/bad/tough/easy/fun/scary/challenging/walk in the park :) there is NOTHING wrong with that, I'm not judging anyone- only saying each of us have to take everything we here that assesses a trail, and add four lbs of salt, unless we mutually share some common experience and can say, it's steeper than _____, but the footing is more like ____, so it sorta evens out.

I had a total stranger ask me before an organized ride recently, what the footing was like. I TOLD her I didn't know, never been here, but I'm GUESSING we're in South AL so I BET it's not bad, mostly sandy, some rocks here and there. She choose to skip the hoof boots. I passed her later on the trail and heard her complaining on her horse's behalf about how rocky it was (a stretch of chert rocky trail with nowhere to get that was soft). Hells bells bring the fruitbatting boots or use them all the time somewhere strange. Taking the advise of a stranger who told you, basically, I don't KNOW, but I guess?? WTH?

Nov. 19, 2009, 05:28 PM
Hells bells bring the fruitbatting boots or use them all the time somewhere strange. Taking the advise of a stranger who told you, basically, I don't KNOW, but I guess?? WTH?

LOL! I absolutely boot my horse if I've never seen the trails for myself. I wouldn't take anybody's word on the terrain. The ONLY place I've ever ridden where I can ride my sissy horse without his boots is at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park at Live Oak, FL. Sand for miles and miles nothing but sand....even so he wore his boots until I knew that for sure.:yes: