Nov 16, 2014

First Snow

I looked back on last year's blog to see if I posted when we had our first snow and I didn't.  I do know at this time last year, we were trailer shopping.  We just returned from Oklahoma City and took possession of our new to us trailer and the pictures I posted then showed sunny weather without any evidence of the white stuff.  Not true today.  Although the picture above is from my archives, it looks very much like this right now.  What makes it worse is the temperature is a brisk 7 degrees; up from 5 degrees when I woke up today.  It is blamed on some polar vortex due to a hurricane in some far away land.  I just know its darn cold.

What's missing today from the picture above is our Baby.

This picture was taken in 2004.  That is Case (who is now a Senior) standing on the skid.
Baby was 4 years old in this picture.  

After fourteen years, Baby Dutch went to school. Years ago, John built Baby a skid to pull and she did.  Then he built her a wagon to pull.  But he never could get the courage to hook her up to it.  So he sent her to a professional.  Today's report says she is now pulling a four wheel wagon down the highway.

I took some video a couple weeks ago when we went to visit her, but I think I will wait until after she completes her schooling to post them here.  The picture above was taken that day with her trainer, Dave Arrington.

If you are wondering, the answer is No.  I have no interest in driving although it might be a quick way to get some Derby miles on a cold winter day.  This is John's hobby.  That, along with his new-to-him Harley, he has sitting in the basement, will hopefully satisfy his middle age craziness as much as horses has done for me.  I prefer my butt in a saddle.  The horse type, not the Harley.

Oct 26, 2014

The Best Fall Riding

Mary Hanson

This is my third year competing in the Distance Derby, an online riding competition for mileage.  The first year, I pushed pretty hard - riding all the way to the end of December - to hit just over 1,200 miles and placing in the top ten.  Last year I was tired.  I logged just under 700 miles and finished 25th out of 81 riders.  For those who think they ride a thousand miles every year, start GPSing your miles.  You will be surprised how much time it really takes in the saddle to reach 1,000 hours, especially when you work full time!

This year I have managed to pass what I rode last year.  October has been so nice that it is hard not to be in the saddle.  I can see 1,000 miles in site, but it will take quite an effort to reach it by the end of the  year.  But I'm going to give it my best shot.  There are more riders this year, so I hope to still finish in the top 25.

Tanya Lynch

Last weekend I did a quick 15 miles on Friday on Windy with Juanita, another Derby rider.  Then on Saturday, I took Fancy out to Pawnee Lake, northwest of Lincoln, and rode with Derby riders Mary and Diane.

I'm riding Fancy

Pawnee has never been my favorite ride and it has nothing to do with the trails but more to do with having bad rides on fussy horses.  But I have to say, this past year I have grown to enjoy it.  Not a lot of trails - about 8 miles around the lake is all, it is perfect for a quick ride or longer if you go around twice!

Mary coming thru the trees.  Yes, there is a person and horse in there!

What surprised me last week was the color at Pawnee!  While there are some wooded areas through the wildlife area, I never thought I would see such brilliant colors!  What a treat.

The campground at Pawnee

I told John when I bought this trailer and the new truck, it wasn't going to sit at home; I planned to use it.  He had things he wanted to do that didn't include riding so I spent the night at Pawnee.  Just Fancy, Nahla (my son's dog) and me.  It was a lovely evening temperature wise, but without having a heavy frost yet (for which I am grateful), the mosquitos drove me into the trailer earlier than I would have liked.

Nahla was like a dog with ADD.  She loved being out!

The next morning, Fancy, Nahla and I did a quick ride just after the sun came up and then I loaded up and headed over to Branched Oak to ride with the NECTRA group before their scheduled meeting.

Me on Zuni with Tanya

After reporting to my friends how pretty Pawnee Lake was, Kathy and Tanya met me out there Monday after work.  Time prevented me from hauling my own horses so Kathy brought me her fox trotter, Zuni, to ride for the evening.  Spots and gaited!  Something you don't see me on too often!

Kathy on Bugs

These pictures were all taken at Pawnee Lake over the course of three days and in no particular order.  I just wanted to show you the beauty that my eyes saw but believe me, it was hard to capture in the pictures.  I hope you are having a happy fall!


Oct 13, 2014

Rock Creek Station Revisited

When we first started trail riding, one of our first camping trips was to Rock Creek Station in Jefferson County near Fairbury.  We pulled in with our stock trailer, tack room filled to the hilt with what I thought we would need for camping, including a tent.  

I'd like to say that those were the good ol' days, but there was nothing good about it.  Case fell in the fire, burned his hands, then burned them again on a lightbulb in the truck trying to see the burn, then every time he would fall asleep, the ice bag would fall off his hands and he would start to cry.  Then the ice melted, the sleeping bags got wet...  well, you get the idea.  Frankly, I am surprised I ever wanted to camp again after that first weekend, but it was all about the horses.  The riding.  The scenery.

Rock Creek Station was a stagecoach and pony express station in the mid 1800's.  It was also the scene of where Wild Bill Hickok killed a man.  The locals reenact that at Rock Creek Days each year.    From the horse camp, the trails take you to Rock Creek Station and from their you can see the ruts of the Oregon Trail.   To the south of Rock Creek Station is Rock Glen Wildlife Management Area.  Riding is also allowed on that land from May to October.  Riders are not allowed in the Wildlife area during major hunting seasons.  Rock Creek Station proper is open year around.

John begged off from going, claiming he had too much work to do, so Pip, Windy and I headed down there early Saturday morning to meet up with my riding buddies.  We were saddled and riding by noon.  Although some of the area is wooded, a lot is prairie.  The fall colors were captivating.  I enjoyed taking pictures as much as I did riding.

It was fun to reminisce about riding here when the boys were younger.  The big burr oak tree that they would look for to find the gate back to the park.  The red rock canyon, the rail road canyon and hedge apples lining the trails.  So many memories.

Years ago, they held competitive trail rides at Rock Creek.  I have been interested in resurrecting the event and after spending the weekend there, I am even more excited.

It appeals to those who enjoy a piece of history and like the ruggedness of the plaines.  It won't be without work to get the miles, but I think it could be done.

I snapped close to four hundred pictures while riding those two days.  There is not enough room on this post to show you all of the beauty.

And there was a little goofiness, too.