Monday, September 20, 2010

San Felasco Hammock Preserve State Park

Parking lot of trailers...and two had just pulled out
Four hour ride yesterday. Seriously the longest and most strenuous Jackson and I have done in awhile, we were both beat by the end, but WOW this State Park is to die for! Pretty much attached to Sawhorse Farm it is 7,000 acres of well marked horse and bike trails. And the horse trails are JUST for the horses! Nice. People trailer in to ride here, but we have our own personal gate, how awesome is that? When my friend who I came to stay with here in Florida heard that the farm borders this park, her mouth dropped open, and her comment was just, "Wow, that's incredible." Now I know what all the hoopla is about. It really is! We ambled about, trotting alot, and the footing is great on most of the trails. You can pretty much find sand or grass with packed sand beneath it. We did find probably one of the crappiest trails in the park at one point, and it was loaded with tree roots, but MAN, there is NO rock. My barefoot horse says, "YES!" On most of the trails you can ride side by side. It was kind of funny at one point. Jackson was just doing his ground covering trot, and Bugs the Morgan was cantering beside us at the same speed. I have officially decided that I hate my Australian saddle, and will trail ride in my flat jumping saddle from now on. I can't handle the way the Aussie throws me out of position. It may be my particular saddle, or the fact that I just am an English rider and can't handle the loss of contact either. Anyhow, next ride will be back in my Bates Caprilli. Enjoy the pics, not many great ones, I only took a few. I was quite absorbed in the forest!
Off-roadin' it on horseback! :)

                                             Can you spot the bridge?

I am looking forward to getting myself in better shape, and I'm actually very surprised that I am not more sore today! I guess riding four days a week is already working on me. The sand and the hills are excellent conditioning for the horses. There are areas of grass with sand underneath, and areas where its ankle deep and white like at the beach. Yeah. Can you tell I'm super excited about the footing? Sorry. Texas rock was harsh! There are going to be many rides in this park, I can't wait!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Walking the walk...

So, I mentioned in my previous post that Florida is going to be more riding, less talk, and I suppose this is applying to my blog too. But really, I'm having so much fun in my little horsey world, I haven't had the time to blog, haven't been taking pictures, nada. Riding? OH YES! Jackson and I are jumping, practicing in the arena, and conditioning for endurance rides on lots of lovely trailrides in some of God's country, no joke. It is so darn beautiful and the footing is to die for! Lots of new cantering, which is our big  deal, (or mine) he will still occasionally stop on the forehand and lean on his bit, he isn't sure what's up yet. That is on the flat when we are out with another horse. When we jump, he comes out of the jumps with a beautiful canter that I can ride all the way around the jumping arena with a smile plastered on my face. I figure the bit leaning and the ultra stops on the forehand are due to, (no not me) but the fact that we are riding with a fast (let's race!) Morgan, and they are feeding off of each other. Jackson was bred for speed and gets really mad at me sometimes when I won't let him GOOO! As in racing on the way home, go. Then I have to remind him that he is not the Black Stallion, and I am not his boy! ;) As long as I know what's up, I'm good, but I'm not ready to gallop yet! :) Especially home!  Lots of things to do in this area, ACTHA competetive trail ride in the first part of October and in November, little jumping schooling show in October, hunter derbies (which I really am amped about), and at some point, a nice 25 mile endurance ride to enjoy with Jackson's Morgan buddy, perhaps further later on, but we gotta get everyone in condition, including the humans! Kathy, my BO also has lots of obstacles that we've been working at here and there. Yesterday was a big piece of rubber on the ground. The black contrast against the grass was NOT OK. So I got down and led him across it, and it was if he said, "Oh! That's all this is? OK!" Honestly, he is usually like this with most things except for dogs. He had a bad experience in Texas with some dogs attacking him, and the other night did a nice crow hop when the BO's poodle ran right at him. I stayed on, he regained his composure, and all was well. I can't say that I will ever blame him for not totally holding it together with a dog running straight at him, I don't know that I would! I'm still feeding the 28 horses three nights a week-- I truly enjoy it. Too bad real life steps in or I'd never leave the barn! :) The feedings, mucking, and watering has gotten my upper arms pretty ripped really fast! I have definition in my upper body that hasn't (ahem) been there in longer than I will admit. Even the chicken fat under my arms is gone. Downside: the pain in my left shoulder never really goes away, (broke it 3 years ago--cantering my green thing) but I just keep moving, doing, and popping Ibuprofen and an excellent herbal remedy my friend turned me onto. So update. I'M WALKING THE WALK in the riding realm! Next: finding the proper jumping instructor. Interview time! Yesterday one came out who is recommended by an Olympic medalist in the area. She looked to be twelve. But looks can be deceiving. Still. I like older instructors. I just feel like they've been there, done that. By older, I mean my age-ish or greater. But hey. She may work out just fine. I'd rather take the Olympic medalist, but probably couldn't afford her, and where we are now, she would be stupid or desperate to take us on...  :O) Happy fall riding everyone! It's going to be SUPERB! Various pics I stole from Kathy my BO cause I've been too focused on feeding, mucking, and riding! Lots of pics of the obstacles she has available, and these are only a few. She has this contraption that you use to teach horses how to push which prepares police horses to become comfortable with pushing through crowds that is really interesting!

 This is the people mover. (I forget the real name!) This is Kasi and Cash at a State Hwy. Patrol event learning how to effectively push through a crowd! We have one at Sawhorse Farm, I call it the ZAMBONI!
Bugs, Jackson's trail buddy
My jumping buddies Katie and Sonny