Yesterday I hauled 6+ hours in the rain to The Heart of Dixie Trails, in Troy, AL. I left my GA camp at 8:30 am (my earliest departure so far!), had no real trouble with the rain but drove slowly anyway. I stopped at a truck stop to fill my tires, they were a little low when I checked them at the start. The pressure is supposed to be adjusted cold but how can I do that? I have to drive to a compressor that is high enough capacity so they are warm by then. I couldn’t get the rig to where the pump was so I just drove on. I wish I had an on board compressor to do this, the big rigs do.
This place is really beautiful, even with all the rain. The mares are in a 40×40 paddock under tulip trees. Unfortunately the rain continued all night very hard and all the flowers fell off the trees. There was a tornado watch in the middle of the night but all it did was pour, over 6” I heard. I sprung 2 leaks in the living quarters when it was coming down really hard. There is a lot of mud and most of the water crossings on the trails are impassable. There is a competitive trail ride here this weekend but I don’t know where they are going to ride. People come tomorrow to set the course. I went over the trail map with the owner and he x’d off most of the trails for me. I will ride the next two days, but it will be light.
Today is a rest day anyway which is good since it rained most of it. Most of the horse campers have left. I saw 3 horses in the barn and only 2 horse trailers. I haven’t met anyone yet, in fact I haven’t even seen anyone. They must of all gone to town or something. I intended to paint but got caught up in confirming reservations and directions for the month. It would be so cool to have a person doing this for me. It is a big source of anxiety when I think about it. All the arranging of camp sites, overnights, directions, where I can get hay, feed, truck stops along the way for fuel and air..its a huge project. I’m worried that I have forgotten something…I hate this feeling but its probably cuz I didn’t get much sleep last night, the rain was so loud on the trailer roof.
I asked around and it seems there is no timothy hay in this area. I have 2-1/2 bales left. My next stop, an overnight, has some alfalfa and they have some grass hay here but its mostly bermuda. I started feeding Nutrena twice a day to cut down on my hay use but I am going to have to face the fact that I will have to use other hays. This is frustrating.
4/9/14 before sunrise
I am starting to see a pattern in my mood. My rest day is not productive, its depressing. I don’t know if its because I’m tired from the haul the day prior or if its because I don’t ride. This time it was made worse because it was raining and I know if I don’t see the sun I can get depressed. I got worried about the horses feeding issues, about their feet in the muddy paddock, about my campsite reservations for the future, about the craziness of doing this trip…
But the next day the sun was out, I rode and I felt wonderful. Everything went by easily. I did make a change to MY feeding plan. I haven’t been getting enough protein. I do eat a lot of cheese, cottage cheese and yogurt, but not enough. I probably haven’t been getting enough food period. I’m not a very hungry person so I have to make myself finish my food. I went to the Piggly Wiggly and got chicken, eggs, bacon, ground beef, spam and my regular stuff. Yesterday I had eggs in the morning, spam at lunch and chicken for dinner. I think I am on to something. I had much more energy.
The trails are muddy and there are many areas that were totally underwater and we had to turn around but we still were out for 2 hours and what we saw was really beautiful. I ponied Dreamy and let them stop to eat a couple of times since the grass looked so good even I wanted to eat it. At one point we were along a pasture of horses that was enormous. The field we were in was dotted with flowers. It was so lovely. I have to wonder what my mares think when they see horses living so freely like this. They must be jealous.
Back at camp I talked a bit with my new neighbor. A couple from Tallahassee moved in but I haven’t seen the wife yet. Turns out she is quite ill and has been for 2-1/2 years. They are here for the competitive trail ride (these are 3 day events, 18 miles a day I think) this weekend. The guy is doing all the horsey work so far but she may ride one of the days. She has won several of these races in the past. It was so sad to hear his story, he is slowly loosing his wife whom he obviously loves very much. I know everyone must die but it is so hard to understand for me still. Why God does this to the happy couples. To the ones left behind? What is death? Why do we fight so hard to stay alive if the afterlife is glorious? Why are we so afraid to die? Why do we have to suffer in pain before we go?
I set up a picket line for the first time, following how my neighbor had done it. I was pretty proud of myself. I had tried it once in CA. I am not too good with different kinds of knots but it worked. My FB friends (including Marci who started Wildflower and whom I have great respect for and am flattered that she comments on my posts, thank you!) suggested making it tighter and I figured out how to do that by running the rope ends back thru the eye hooks again, making cinching it up tight easy, kind of like a western girth works. I kind of remember that from packing school but forgot how). They used old string girths around the trees to be less damaging to the bark so I should try that out today. This camp has big poles set in the ground with eye hooks but I’d like to be able to do this with trees if I need to. I left the mares on the picket line for about an hour. Wildflower was afraid of it and I think she thought the white rope I used was hot. She was definately afraid of it. I showed her that Dreamy could touch it but Dreamy acted like it was uncomfortable when I touched it to her nose, she didn’t jump back but flipped her head up. So that didn’t help any. Neither one could be coaxed to walk under it. Oh well. I’ll do it again today.
They have a washer and dryer here and I got my laundry done last night, so nice that I don’t have to go to a coin op now. Altho I have met some pretty interesting people at them. You get a flavor of the area’s people doing your laundry (and grocery shopping) that you don’t really get at the campgrounds. When I went to the Piggly Wiggly my shirt was inside out. One child kept saying something to his mom and looking at me. Eventually the woman came over to me and very politely told me about my shirt. It was kind of sweet.
I introduced myself to another group of campers on my walk to the washer. They live about an hour from here, super friendly folks. One was from Mississippi and asked where I was going there. I forgot so I had to check my list and tell them when I came back to play with the laundry. I’m going to Natchez Trace, Trace Trail Campground. I’ll be leaving tomorrow and have an overnight on the way in Alabama so I’ll get there Friday.
Its another beautiful day here 48 degrees at quarter to 8, high of 70 today. Plenty of manure in the paddock, day 2 of using half timothy and half local grass hay so all is good in the mares’ tummies for now. I added salt to their list of supplements to keep them drinking which is a little light since I got here. They do have a salt block too. I have been using the nose bags to feed the Nutrena and they do just fine. Wildflower has a habit of tipping over her feed bowl and is such a bossy pig when they are in a paddock together. Its funny to see her try to do that with a nose bag on.
I haven’t had a wi-fi op since I left FL so this next post may be a long one. I have no way of transferring my laptop text to my phone to post so I have to have wi-fi to do it, sorry.
Trailer is all packed back up, got hay, feed and dog food from the campground feed store. Ate eggs for breakfast and chicken for supper (protein!). Today I rode Dreamy and ponied WF for 2-1/2 hours on different trails than yesterday. They were both pretty good with a lot of crazy water to deal with, some crossings up to their bellies. At one crossing I wasn’t sure how deep it was and I got off to test it with a branch. I tied up WF to a tree and headed to the stream. WF got loose and crossed it to eat the grass on the other side. I had a good laugh at that. She is an awesome trail horse. She showed us which way to go! It was up to her belly.
Had a good gallop up a hill, they both felt good, I’m so glad. Also I’m glad I put boots on today, there were some rocky parts. I have used them on their front feet only here and that seems to work fine. I’m amazed that I haven’t lost a single boot here, there is so much mud and trails under water and deep crossings. Come to think of it I didn’t loose any in GA either and there was some serious Georgia clay mud, deep too, up to their knees. I think if I keep their feet touched up at all times the Easy Boot gloves fit perfectly so they stay on. Finally, a solution! It takes just a few extra minutes in getting ready so the wire brush and rasp are part of my daily grooming bucket now.
And altho I do enjoy riding with company, most of the people at these camps are riding faster and longer (18+ miles) on gaited horses that walk at my trotting speed, so I go out alone most of the time now. And I enjoy it. I am not doing this to prove anything to anyone. I am not an endurance rider, why should I train like one? My horses are too worried about keeping up with the other horses and I get bounced around alot. So solo it is. And posting for 3-4 hours is exhausting, I have nothing left to paint or write or even cook or walk my puppy. And Dreamy gets lame with that many miles and it breaks my heart to see her resting her left front leg so much. And I’m turning 60, what am I trying to prove? So that’s that. I’m not going to even think about it any more.
Tommy’s training is coming along pretty good. He comes to COME or a whistle now really good (except when he found the pile of dead fish in the tall grass, lol). He even is starting to understand STAY, for a few seconds anyway. He just has so much energy and need so much exercise. We play a lot of fetch. It will be great when he can ride with me again.
Time to do the dang dishes, work on a painting, shower and hit the bed. It was a great day!