It only took me 4 hours to get to camp. I thought about my mom a lot while driving but I had an odd sense of peace about it. God has given me peace recently and I am so grateful. The old me would be a basket case right now.
I missed my exit but there was a Walmart at the next one so I parked the rig and went grocery shopping (got more underwear, 2 books and a bark collar and tick stuff for Tommy too). Prior to this trip I had never entered a Walmart. Now it is my favorite store, God how I have changed…I got all my town errands done en route this time, how cool is that? When I pulled in a hot dinner buffet was all ready out which was really tasty and so nice after hauling. They are having their annual spring ride, which is a big party tonight with a live band. I set up the portable corral and the girls are happy on tall grass, they really hate the batch of hay I have now. I got pretty much settled in and went over to the pavilion to see the band. A guy that I had met earlier when I walked Tommy asked me to dance. I was not expecting that, but I said yes and it was really fun. I really love to dance. (And he was a handsome guy too.) And probably my age. Another first in a long time. I hung around a campfire (there were a ton of them roaring all over) and chatted with a few different sets of people. There are a ton of people here. Most are leaving tomorrow tho. I’ve met a really nice woman here who has a disabled 34 year old daughter. Another who lost her husband, her 30 something daughter moved back in with her, had a baby and then she remarried and moved out of the house. Its amazing the stuff that people tell me. They all probably think the same about me too. I came back to the trailer for another beer but decided to go to bed instead. I lost an hour coming east and its past my bedtime now.
I took a long walk on the trails with Tommy. Its heavily forested. Pretty muddy, some rocks. I think the mares could do what I saw without boots. They are getting a little long and could use some wear. Hmmm…We came upon a large dry river bed with big boulders lining it. It must of been a nice sized river at one time. I heard it has been fairly dry here lately tho. I called my mom while walking. I couldn’t understand her at all and said I’d call back later. I assume she is sedated. (no she wasn’t) They did her bone biopsy this morning. It is being done to diagnose her, they think it is a blood cancer called multiple myeloma. It is a very serious diagnosis. She said the biopsy was very painful. She has constant pain all over her body lately. I will hit NJ in about 3 weeks. I may decide to stay there a while.
I was planning on taking a nap when I got back to camp. Sitting at the table I was watching a young guy on a horse chatting with the couple across the way when his horse went nuts, he reared up then bucked then did it again for about 100’. They guy finally came off very close to a tie rail. Luckily he didn’t hit it but he hit the ground hard and laid there for a while. I ran out and headed off the horse and someone else caught his rein. The poor guy eventually got up. He wasn’t visibly mad at his horse at all. He calmly stood there with him a while and then headed up to the round pen to get back on. I know you have to get back on but I don’t think I could of. Later the camp owner told me that he only rides that horse twice a year, the rest of the time it is in a pasture. No wonder.
One by one everyone is leaving. But oddly, and this is another first, I do not feel depressed or abandoned like I usually do when this happens at camps. I feel quite peaceful. Many made a point of saying good bye to me. They all seem to know who I am and what I am doing. The guy I met and danced with came over to say good bye while I was mucking and again invited me to his place in Kentucky. He gave me his number last night. His name is Glenn. I have already been to Kentucky.
I am having a hard time coming up with a photo to use for the Illinois painting. Tommy is quietly (really!) laying outside chewing on a bone. I should get a case of these. The mares are pretty quiet too (my neighbor said the paint didn’t stop running circles all night, chasing Dreamy away from every blade of grass I suppose, its pretty bare now). Since they ate all the grass in their corral and won’t eat this hay, I let them loose in the camp. I started off with them both hobbled but after an hour saw that Dreamy had sores where the hobbles were. I’m not sure if they are old tick sores that broke open or if they rubbed today. So I took hers off. They were out about 6 hours and never got into any trouble or left camp and stayed together the whole time. They came back for water so I opened up the electric corral for them. Later they came over to the truck and I thought they were wanting bug repellant so I wiped them down. Dreamy has a lot of bumps all over her. Later I realized they came over to the truck because there is a bale of alfalfa in it, lol.
I painted and checked on them every once in a while. The super nice camp owner said this was ok and asked if they could eat all the tall grass areas so he doesn’t have to hog brush or bush hog or something like that. I think it means mow the tall grass? He asked me what I thought about his camp. I immediately thought of the comments those guys had made about not enough trails. I think this camp is really nice. Its very pretty in camp with a lot of shade trees everywhere. He is building a shower house and I asked him why. He thought that he looses campers to the state park camp because they have a shower house. I told him I’d rather have a dump station than a shower house. I am not here just for the trails and it seems I have a completely different idea of what is enough trails than most do. I don’t mind riding a trail twice in a visit. You always see something new, and I like getting to know it. I just love being out in the woods (or whatever is there) on my horse, and now with my dog too. Its not about seeing something grand or special or doing a gazillion miles. And its about the people I meet at camp too. Horse people are different and I love meeting new ones. And I like the small intimate feeling I have here.
I chose to do the Illinois painting of a shot I took of the couple I rode with under a cave overhang next to a waterfall. I knew it was a good shot when I took it on our Rice Hollow ride, but the photo was awful, highlights were totally blown out and shadows were black. Luckily I had a series of shots from there and was able to figure out what it looked like. It is completely different than the others state paintings, there is NO sky whatsoever and NO grass. But I enjoyed doing it and am satisfied with it.
There is a fly buzzing around the trailer as I am eating dinner, it is very annoying. And I have pulled off several ticks today, the ones here really hurt when they bite, but at least you know they are on you then. I hope I don’t get Lyme Disease.
I had the most amazing day today. But I am too exhausted (that’s what happens when I have 2 beers!) to write about it and am thinking about going to bed now, at 6pm.
OK, a few days later but I’ll try to remember everything.
I rode WF and ponied Dreamy loose. I have tried this once before and since its deserted I thought this would be a good chance to do it again. She was perfect. Or they are just so buddy sour they won’t separate for anything. Probably a little bit of both. We did the interstate loop which was beautiful, heavily treed, single track, lots of hills, and pretty good footing for barefoot horses, (I only booted WF’s front). Tommy brought up the rear most of the time. It was a gorgeous day. A 3-1/2 hour ride which is perfect for us.
I met Dan & Brenda in camp. Turns our he works for Flint Group (Flint Ink back in my days in the printing business). We knew some of the same people, what a small world. I hardly ever meet anyone that is in the printing industry any more. He has a farm nearby and when I told him my horses didn’t like the batch of hay I had he offered for me to try his (cut off his field). Well they like it and he took the old hay and will feed it to his cows. He wouldn’t take any money, so nice.
I heard from one of my kids today, some very good new, they are in love. What an amazing feeling this gave me. What more could I ever ask for than they get to experience love. It made my day. And still thrills me days later.
I contacted the manufacturer of my Ezee Corral, the tape is definitely not hot and I can’t figure out why. They were supposed to call me back but didn’t. Nor my email. The mares didn’t seem to notice so I didn’t worry about it.
When I went to feed this morning I saw the remains of my Ezee Corral on the ground. They were loose, not far away, still in camp, eating grass. But the corral tape is ripped from the clips and it is trash now. Later the manufacturer called me but too late. And they emailed me back. I emailed them about what happened and that I’d like a refund. I tied the girls to the hitching rail with hay nets and water and went to Tractor Supply to buy a better system. Norm had said to me “you don’t like to tie your horses up much?” and later “its the bar of patience” (I think that’s what he said). So I decided to tie them up more, he is right. I was gone about 3-4 hours and they were quite relaxed when I returned. I had also found a GMC dealer to due the maintenance service that the truck needed so it took a while. Then I set up the new corral and put them in it. I touched it to test it and wow, it is a much stronger jolt than the old one.
Then I rode Dreamy and ponied WF. I got so annoyed with her that I unclipped her and she followed just as well as Dreamy has done. We went to the spring and lake. It was another gorgeous day and perfect ride. I am finally getting hang of using my inReach for trail guidance. Its about time. I used it these last 2 rides and it actually helped me this time. (Its a satellite communicator, gps thing that pairs to my iPhone).
Dan’s grandson, 18 years old, came by to pick up my old hay and talked with me a while about his life. He just started at Cracker Barrel washing dishes and loves his job. He is still in high school and adores his grandpa. So sweet. Ah to be so young, strong and healthy…
My mom has been diagnosed with multiple myaloma (blood cancer), and will be starting chemo. Her very confused mental state may be caused by this and if treatment helps she could improve that way which would be wonderful. She definitely can not go back to her home now. I will most likely stay in NJ when I get there in June, for an extended time to help out with this situation. My sister seems a bit overwhelmed with all that need to be done now.
When I put the horses back in the corral for the night it was dark. Tommy got tangled up in the wires by the solar charger and yelped loudly. He got himself undone thank God. So that’s why its supposed to be up on a post and not on the ground. Lesson learned, sorry pup.
I loved Come Again Horse Camp in Indiana! Its a beautiful spot and the trails are beautiful and just enough for me. Being here alone offered me the freedom to let my horses roam which was something I have always wanted to do. And I didn’t mind being alone this time, its been many years since I can say that I actually felt peace with being alone. The owners here are so accommodating and nice to let me have the run of the place. They are newlywed and so in love, its heartwarming to see.
We hauled 6 hours to Ohio, almost all interstate but the last hour or two would of freaked me out a few months ago. At our rest break I realized that I had forgotten to tie up Wildflower’s hay bag and it was at her feet. She was fit to be tied. I crawled in under Dreamy and got it and tried to scoop up all her precious alfalfa. I put a flake of alfalfa in the trailer nets as an incentive to get her to load and it has been working well. As I was driving again I couldn’t help but chuckle at what must of been going on back there, Dreamy eating contently and her fuming.
I am all settled in at Elkins Creek Camp. We are having a huge thunder and lightening storm. Mares are getting a good bath, good, I hope the ticks drown, but I think they actually thrive in wet weather. The road getting in here was a little narrow and one huge pothole, actually like the road is caved in. I made 2 wrong turns and had to do 2 U turns, one easy, one not so. But I got here safe and sound. Rick the owner greeted me and told me everything. He let me run a wire across part of the arena so they don’t have to be stuck in a stall. I really appreciate this, I didn’t ask him, he offered it up. They are booked this weekend for Memorial Day. He said they are ranked #4 on the traildirectory.com website and plans on being #1 next year! He also put a bee in my bonnet about being a wrangler in Bryce canyon or the grand canyon. He has done this and can help me. This camp was wiped out by a tornado 3 years ago and he rebuilt it. He has over 100 stalls, shower houses, tack shop, arena, wi-fi and you can get a massage from Jill his wife too! I am definitely doing that.
I walked Tommy to the end of the road where there is the most picturesque old barn. Need to go back with my camera tomorrow.
Do you have a list of absolute must-haves when camping with horses (I don’t have a live-in trailer)?
I don’t have a written list, my must haves has evolved over the course of the trip tho. I brought more than I needed and have dumped stuff along the way to make room and be more organized tho. For the horses (since you don’t need the LQ part) I have 3 saddles and their tack with a spare for everything since stuff breaks and gets lost. In the tack area I keep 200′ of hoses, 2 forks, shovel. In the manger storage I have hoof stand, the solar fencing, picket line rope, chairs, 3 tarps, wheel chocks, jack, bucket of string and bungees, and a bunch of other stuff at the bottom that I haven’t seen in a while, lol. I have 8 tupperware boxes that I keep in the 3rd stall with their feed bags,and buckets and my tool box and step ladder (2 large water, 2 small feed, 2 ground feed, 3 muck) that contain their things. Here is the list of those numbered boxes contents (this list is posted on the wall in the 3rd stall):
all alternative hoof boots & parts
saddle soap & oil
3. FIRST AID
for cuts & hoof soaking
all Rx meds & bute
5. LEG WRAPS
anything for legs
frog wash & med
sponge & scraper
curries & brushes
7. EXTRA TACK
horse hair rope
8. MISC. GROOMING
hoof measure & misc
1 leg hobble
vitamin E oil