Apr 19, 2009

Riding with a Purpose

The weekend forecast promised much needed rain and the fields were wet before we even got up. So I was pleasantly surprised when the sun peeked out yesterday afternoon. Although the pastures and arena would be too wet for riding, the miles and miles of country roads surrounding us are perfect for such a damp day. I am planning to ride at a Competitive Trail Ride (CTR) next month. John and a friend are also planning their own version of a distance ride over Memorial Day weekend. So we both have reasons to get some time on our horses. Surprisingly, the horses weren’t too muddy. We chipped off the big stuff and saddled them in the light weight saddles as we planned to do some faster gaits.

We started out down our driveway and headed west at a good trot – about 8.5 – 9.0 mph according to the GPS. We would slow down and walk a bit and then pick up the trot once again. The video is NOT at the 9.0 mph pace. There was no way, no how I could have shot a video, checked GPS speed & stayed in the center of my horse! I had my helmet on, but I ain't no contortionist! This speed was probably around 5.0 mph.

Once, while climbing a hill, John kissed Ginger into a lope and we followed. John then increased his speed and started to gallop. I heard Windy’s three-beat lope turn to a four-beat as she increased her speed. I didn’t pull her in, but quietly said “easy” and she steadied at that speed. Quick glance at my GPS had us at 15.9 mph. It seemed so much faster than that! We headed three miles west and then turned south on a road which I have not traveled before. John was maybe 50 yards ahead of me when we noticed some cows out in a pasture. As we got closer to them, Windy started to snort. These weren’t ordinary cows! I pulled my camera from my pommel bag to get some shots. About this time, Ginger saw them and did a quick spin to look closer. The cows heard her and took off on a run, their long hair bouncing. I found out later they are called “Highlanders”. We took three five-minute breaks along our route and gave the horses time to graze in the green grass along the roads. We haven’t let them out to pasture yet so this was a treat for their hard work. We finished our ride in just 2 hours, covering 8 miles.

This church, Saints Cyril & Methodious Catholic Church, is located in Plasi, Nebraska. The little mission church is the only thing in Plasi! The church rectory is to the right of the church. There is also a small church cemetery. Located just 3 miles from us, as the crow flies, this view can be seen along one of routes I frequently ride.


  1. Good for you, riding all those miles! I've been so wrapped up with school and finals coming that I haven't had any time to ride. Also, the weather has not been cooperating. We've had snow 5 times in the last week. I think New Mexico has decided to skip spring this year after all.

  2. I loved trotting with you!!!
    And at the end I gasped with the fantastic view of the Country Church..nice!

  3. Great post! Love the video & pictures!! I don't really know how long you've been conditioning for your CTR- but all looks/sounds great! We have the same goals, would be awesome to get together & do a conditioning ride sometime... (?) Keep in touch!

  4. I loved the country church pic! We need to get together so you can show me how to get these great shots so clear! I'm having fun conditioning for the CTR I have this weekend! I am looking forward to riding the same CTR next month!

  5. Tammy,
    First off I want to say I follow and love your blog. I too had horses as a child, then went without for about 12 years. I just purchased my first horse as an adult 2 years ago. And what a learning curve it has been!! I am writing because I need help. We purchased a mare(Lady) a year ago in may. We did not know she was bred. About 4 weeks ago she gave birth to a ....mule. Imagine our suprise....She was a wonderful horse. Very much loved by my family, and especially my 12 year old son. Anyway, sadly, we lost Lady this past weekend. We have this adorable (never thought I would say that about a mule) baby who has been orphaned. We have had a really hard time getting him to take a bottle, we have to force the nipple into his mouth, and I am not sure he is getting enough milk replacer. Our vet has not had much experience with orphan foals...let alone mules. We are also new to this area (northeast Nebraska), and the 'horse' people we do know also have not experience with this situtaion. I CANNOT let anything happen to this baby. My family has been through enough. I am just wondering if anyone out there can point me in the direction of good information on the care of orphan mules. Any suggestions or help would be greatly appreciated.

  6. Oooh, what a lovely ride! And that sky...so BLUE!!! Makes me want to ditch work for the rest of the day and go home to ride...it's not raining and the sun is out. Too nice to be sitting at a computer withering away when I could be out enjoying my ponies.

  7. Wow, that's a lot of miles in one day but good for conditioning you and the horses for your competitive ride. Love the highland cows, we have some around here(they're sort of orange), my daughter used to see them all the time in Scotland. Her horse actually sort of fell over he got so spooked when he first saw them.
    Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog,I appreciate it.

  8. Ohhh, what a lovely ride! Thanks for sharing it with us.


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