'Cool Running Creek'

'Cool Running Creek'

Monday, August 20, 2007

On The Road Again

Its better than a week since the last update so lets give it a loop! The weather here has been super hot...More days over 100 than under with nighttime only dippin' down to the middle 70's. That has really put a damper on ridin' horses.
Last Saturday we got in another mustang yearling to work with for my niece so that did occupy a couple of days in gentlin' down so we could get our hands on him. This took the most part of Sunday to halter him without a lot of stress on me and him considering the heat. By Wednesday we had made great strides and sent him back home for her to continue to the project. When he left you could walk up and halter with little effort, lead from both sides off the shoulder, pick up his feet, and brush him down. He really was shy with new folks but that will change with time.
Medicine Man had a few days off during this but we did get in a couple of late night(after dark) rides in before the big trip to Mt Rogers, VA. We left out on Friday morning, Chapin and Emily both on their QTR horses, Jeff M. on his mule, Cody on a App/Draft cross and me on the Mustang. A lot of talk going up on who had the mountain horse but time was sure to tell. All traveled well (3 hrs) and we took the first ride early afternoon. We arrived at Rocky Hollow Horse Camp in Troutdale, VA after lunch. The weather was low 80's, starting elevation was 3500 ft. We started out on our first ride around 2 with a goal of a 4-5 hr ride. Medicine Man wasn't really interested in setting the pace up the mountain but held his on in the steep climb up to 4500 ft. We've got to remember all horses on this trip were without shoes and boy, was it rocky. I will say he and the molly were the only 2 that really didn't sweat much in the climb. Our only excitement was a golf cart the camp owner, Wade used to get around in. It had the wind/rain covers on and they really drew Doc's attention. After a couple of minutes of investigation this was old hat. The ride was uneventful other than Cody loosing his GPS and the group having to split up to find it. (They did find it). This trip up and back, 7.5 miles. We high lined the horses that night after a good feeding and made plans for day 2.
Day 2 started for Emily and I around 11:30. (Emily had obligations at school, Her college is only 40 minutess away). The others left out about 10:00 with plans to meet at 2 at the top by the scales. Both quarter horses had on Easy boots for this trip. Emily and I made it on time and met a lot of good folks. One group of 5 was up from the Piedmont Saddle Club out of Greensboro, NC. Nice people with lots of trail ridin' experience. This is kinda a meeting place as its a large grass area of several hundred acres on top of the mountain where in the old days farmers would drive there cattle up in the spring for the good grass. Scales were brought up and the buyers would purchase the cattle right off the mountain. There are also a band of wild ponies here and we did get a chance to see a mare/foal before we left out. This was a short trip up in distance, 3 miles but took 2 hours because of the terrain and hard climb. Medicine Man was showing some tenderness by now so we just relaxed and enjoyed the view. 2 hours later the others arrived with plans to ride on to Grayson Highlands, another 2 hrs and we passed and started back down around 5. Another different route down and this brought us through a large area of Blue Berries. Time to stock up for dressing on our morning pancakes. Pick for an hour and on we went arriving back to camp around 8 with some really tired horses and sore feet on 1 mustang. His feet showed very little wear, no chips just tenderness on the small rocks. I guess the time in captivity gave his feet time to soften up. Our riding here in central NC is mostly grass/dirt with little rocks except for creeks and washouts. The boots on Emily's horse really made the difference. I do have a pair for my Reba but forgot to bring them. Good feed, hay and rest til morning. The others didn't get in until after 10 and road down the entire mountain in the dark. Boy, I'm glad we made the decision to start back early. The stories they told of the trip down in the dark just makes your skin tingle. The only horse in good repair was Chapin's Scooter. (He had on boots).
After checking out the horses on Sunday morning we decided to pass on riding due to sore feet.
Load up, back down the mountain and home by 5:00.
This will most likely be Doc's last long ride til Ft Worth. Now, on to phase 3 of training. Refine those ques in early morning training before work. I'm really getting concerned after reading some of the blogs from other professional trainers. They've even requested cattle for part of their demo's. Well, if nothing else we will have the most trail savvy horse there anyway. Keep your fingers crossed in this last 30 days of training to round out this fine horse to become a strong competitor!
Headin' up the mountain

Chapin, Emily and I on top of the mountain

What a view!

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