Another Ho-Hum Trail Ride....New Year's update
Riding buddy and I went out yesterday on the network of dirt roads a few miles from my place--the roads are in a very rural, very poor county that has a lot of scenery and not much else. Lots of topography, hunting leases, miles and miles of miles and miles.
Buddy's horse has health issues that make taking him out in warm weather very problematic, and since we are in the Deep South he hasnt been out much for the past few months--we rode a little last weekend but it was really too warm for him. Yesteday was "cold" by our lights (upper 40s and a stiff breeze) so we trailered out to the wilds. We parked on the "frontier" at the county line where the pavement stops.
First hazard of the day--the small herd of ancient horses directly across the road. Due to the weather there was much snorting, farting, flagging of tails and other equine conversation. Across the very noisy concrete bridge over a noisy, rushing creek. No problems there. Up a mile long hill; the road grader had been out and all the deer carcasses dumped in the road by slob hunters had been shoved in the ditch, a Good Thing. The road grader had however uncovered barbed wire, telephone wire, and countless broken beer bottles, a Bad Thing.
Next there was a disappearing ATV that crossed the road and vanished into a locked gated driveway a hundred yards in front of us. When I say vanished I mean that literally. When we got to the gate there was no sign of it. There is no way we could figure that a human being couldve gotten off the ATV and wrapped the chain and secured the lock around the gate and gotten back on the ATV and gotten out of earshot and sight in the amount of time it took us to ride up to the gate. Horses saw it, we saw it, and we were all spooked.
The next couple of miles featured the occasional motor vehicle, barking dogs, squirrels, deer, cats, and so on. Then we got to the huge pasture belonging to a collector of various oddities--scads of miniature horse, donkeys, cattle, and some half starved but full sized horses. We had been by just a week earlier and were elated then to find the herd had been greatly reduced to fewer than a dozen minis. Buddy shook her head and said "He mustve been to the sale." More squealing and bucking and farting and heehawing. A tiny stud donkey and the King Of the Wild Minis told my mare that she was the purtiest little filly they'd ever seen and did she want to perhaps join their herd? Sadie decided she was in fact possibly interested, so we moved on down life's highway only to encounter the family of alpacas further down the field. Horses were horrified but remained calm.
It was getting colder and gloomy when we finally turned around to head back to the trailer--the original plan had been to press on to the Crazy Chicken Lady's place but it was just going to be too far, too cold, and not enough daylight so we gave her a miss until the days start getting longer again (she is very sweet, and collects crippled dogs as well as many kinds of chickens, all very friendly, vocal, and running loose). If we had gone to her place we could've gone around the block, so to speak, and not had to go past the minis etc all over again.
Sadie was duly admired and called to again and we pressed on, dodging a pig carcass that we finally got close enough to identify as sure enough, a dead pig and back down the big hill to our home county and the trailer. The fact that we had also spotted pig tracks in the road made us a little anxious with dusk approaching. Wild hogs are very bad mojo and while the dead pig hadnt bothered the horses we know they are terrifed of live domestic ones.
Last road hazard--a big buzzard on the ground working on a ditch deer. Buddy's horse is especially troubled by buzzards but a car came along in the nick of time and flushed it up into the trees and we were able to tiptoe past without it flapping back to the ground and spooking Buddy's horse. By this time my feet were numb up to my hips practically so I asked Buddy to kindly hold Sadie's head up for my graceless Old Lady Dismount so I wouldnt go slithering straight down her neck and land on my keester. The old legs didnt fail me so all was well. We rode maybe 10-11 miles altogether.
It was my 58th birthday and I cant think of a better way to celebrate!