Lord Stirling Park Drive - our first outing of the year
Didnt get to report to you all on this yet because we got involved in the running of Gladstone immediately after this drive
It was a fantastic spring day, actually almost too warm as the horses still have on their winter woolies. So even without driving at full-out speed, everyone was coming home happy but dripping sweat.
Lord Stirling is a local County Park with Riding stable. It was converted from the stables of JJ Astor ( who went down with the Titanic)
It covers many acres in The Great Swamp - a wildlife Preserve
but for drivers it is paradise
you can easily get 8 or more miles of groomed 20 foot wide grassy trails through meadows and wooded areas - and groomed dirt trails through treed areas of the swamp (yes the trail is dry but off to the sides is another story)
We took our Cooper for one of his few "off the property" outings. Vey happy that he trailered to the park well and wasnt a nervous sweaty mess just from the trailer ride - he is learning
We started off on our drive staying well behind the Arab and Morgan competition horses is front of us (Cooper is a Picnic "Pony" DraftX)
Had a good warm-up rolling along the trails. But we got to see up close and personal the afterwards of Superstorm Sandy's devastation in more than the shore in NJ. One large grove of Pine trees (easily 60 ft tall) that had a marathon obstacle is now a flattened mess of downed trees
All along the trail we passed "in the air" rootballs of fallen trees and piles of tree trunks. Cooper took great exception to those tree trunks, but after passing so many he was getting used to it.
His next challenge was the Turkey vulture on the trail, that waited til we were right up on him before flying off under Coopers nose. But we did good here too.
I was so proud of Cooper when they took us down a slope bordered by fencelines - only carriage wide. Then dropped into a stream crossing where the posts and small trees were protected by black corrugated pipe coverings. He took this all in stride
But we were really sweating by this point so we decided to cut short the trail and go back by a route we knew - rather than go an extra few miles through the woods (Cooper doent have a lot of woods experience)
We were rolling along just fine til suddenly Cooper was ALERT - DANGER WILL ROBINSON!!! there was a 2 story pile of yellow gravel they have been using to repair the trails - and He was just NOT going to go bby this !!!. So he stepped on the brakes and stopped with ears pointed quivering forward!! I thought we had him but next move was a spin to the side where he jumped into a very large bramble bush. I managed to get him out of that and back on the trail - only to realize that we had the bush With Us - stuck between him and the shaft
But Cooper came through here and stood long enough for Tricia to get out and extract the bush. Then she walked us past the terrible rock pile and got back in to finish the drive
Back at the trailers, Cooper relaxed to get unhitched and washed down
Then he feasted on the baby carrots the Friends of LS provided and we all gathered for a picnic before heading home
Lord Stirling is a GREAT place to drive - except in the summer when the bugs rule the earth
Felt like I was right with you! What a terrific day and place to go driving. Cooper did a lot of good stuff, just ONE little thing was "not his best". Bet him looking so hard at stuff kept you on your toes though!
Our young horse is missing his half-cup blinkers, because he is getting used with regular blinkers to match the other horse. He does jump every now and then at silly stuff. Was a butterfly that passed him and "appeared" in his vision suddenly!
Glad to hear Cooper is getting you ladies out and about, enjoy it. The bugs WERE becoming visible here today. We are hoping to attend a Poker Run with the boys next weekend, if the weather cooperates. They are fairly fit, so we should get 2 go-rounds on those dirt roads and trails by one of the big Forests.