The day after Thanksgiving, I planned a ride with my Horsetales friends. It wasn’t one of those rain, snow, sleet or hail type rides; long-term forecast promised temps in the high fifties, so that was good enough for us. The sky remained overcast and there was a chill to the wind, but most of the ride was in the trees so really, we didn’t freeze our buns off – it was quite pleasant.
I planned to take both Windy and Fancy as a friend was borrowing a horse from me. I had told her she could ride either, but after a brief ride on Windy Thanksgiving morning, I was pretty sure no one but me should ride her on Friday. She was naughty! We spent more time lunging in a bean field than actually going down the roads! Days like that are few and far between, but it does make me appreciate those good days. And on Friday, for the most part, I seemed to have my good mare back.
I was the first to arrive at Branched Oak Lake. I was anxious to get there early to 1) take the P & V out of Windy if need be and 2) to see the new equestrian campground that was being constructed. I was thrilled to find it was about done. What was once a primitive campground now has 14 or 15 electrical hook-ups, corrals and an out house. Before I pulled in, I stopped to take some pictures from the Durango window so I could share with those on the Nebraska Horse Trails Committee who is responsible for some of the funding for this campsite improvement.
I had both mares saddled when Sara pulled in and she adjusted the stirrups on Fancy’s saddle while I dug though the Durango trying to find my GPS which I had seen in the truck just minutes before. Wasting no more time in that search, we rode off to warm up and see what kind of horses we had under us. It was all good.
There were fifteen of us riding, including our friend Dionne and her team of percherons. Windy has had issues with carts and wagons in the past, so I gave her plenty of time to observe before we rode off and she found her happy spot behind them.
The trails at Branched Oak are pretty wide and we were happy that Dionne could get her team on most all of them sans a few of the single tracks. I am pretty sure she worked harder at driving than those of us riding. I have not had an interest in driving but do have great respect for those who do and frankly, I’m in awe at how easily a small woman handles a team, a cart and all that goes with it. My hats off to Dionne.
There was a fair share of young horses on the trail on Friday but they all did superb for each of their levels of training. We rode just under 8 miles and I don’t think we stopped talking At. All. It’s always good to get together with friends.
As we rode back toward the horse camp, I remembered taking the pictures of the area when I drove in. I made a loop down the road thinking perhaps my GPS fell out of the truck when I took those shots. Sure enough, another rider found it on the road and unfortunately, it couldn’t be saved.
To those of you in Nebraska who read this blog, this new campsite is really quite exciting and I can’t wait to use it next spring. A funding contribution for this campground was provided by the Nebraska Horse Trails Committee though game days, trail challenges and other fund raising activities which many of you have participated in or donated items for the event. Thank you for that! This is what we get in return. Pretty incredible, huh?