Sunday, March 30, 2008

The invisible floods - part one, Friday and Saturday

It's been a long time since I updated, but I had a hell of a week last week...

Anyway, last weekend I rode like mad. On Friday, Stephen had to go to Arkansas for that silly artist lady, so I had the day off work. I wanted to take Quinn - of course she was a beast about standing still. I asked James to help and he spent about 15 minutes working with her (doing the exact same thing I'd been doing!) and somehow she learned that we want her to stand still for the clumsy human to climb on. That man's a horse whisperer. Robert Redford has nothing on him. Anyway, after he got her to stand, I was able to get her to stand and climb on and off we went! We just rode around the bean field. The path by the little lake is entirely too flooded, and I was scared to ride her across the highway on a Friday afternoon. Then we went back and swapped horses.

I took Champ and James took Handyman, and we crossed the highway and rode down Millington Road. There's a little gravel road that leads, in a roundabout way, from Millington back to the trails, but it's usually blocked off by a gate at Millington. (And they're serious about it too - it's a gate with a fence on either side, not just the usual "gate with some posts on either side to stop 4-wheelers") The gate was open! We rode past it, to our usual turn-in, and went exploring. The water was higher than the week before, but still quite passable in the big fields. We ended up on some little trail-loops that we don't usually go down because they don't go very far.

Last Saturday I took Quinn out. She stood for me to get on! Pretty well! I did get off and back on once at the beginning of the ride, and about five times after we got back. Anyway, it was Saturday morning and not much traffic on the highway, so we headed across the street. Quinn did not bolt or back into traffic, and we did not die, which was a huge relief. The gate I mentioned before was still open! We went past it to our usual entrance.

The usual entrance is at a sharp bend in the road. I think it's where Millington stops and Overton Crossing begins. There's a pretty obvious old road bed running north - back when Millington Road would take you to Millington - but the paved road turns 90 degrees and heads back east. The 4-wheelers also use the old road bed to access the trails, so somebody sank a bunch of those steel-and-concrete posts to stop them. Posts stop 4-wheelers, but they only slow down horses. We have to dismount and lead the horses through the gap (it's just wide enough for a horse, not a horse plus a pair of legs) but we can still get through.

I'm usually pretty observant, but I didn't notice the fresh 4-wheeler tracks. James did, and he was the one who realized that there had to be another way in or out. Turns out an intrepid four wheeler guy had carved a new path through the dormant kudzu about 50 feet to the north of the usual path. Yay, no more dismounting!

Anyway, the 4-wheeler guy didn't get very far. The water was halfway up the first field. We had a nice slow long ride anyway, slogging through water that didn't get much deeper than 2 feet. Honestly, I can't remember exactly where we went, because it's been a week and it must not have been that memorable. Unlike Sunday!

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