Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Great Distance Derby of 2012

Some of you already know about this, heck you are logging miles as I type! For the rest, TGDD is the brainchild of a couple of friends of mine who stole it from I am not sure where. I am sitting here, fresh from logging a day’s miles, still wearing my dusty chaps and boots because I am too excited to take them off before I write this all down.

The Derby itself is a year long endeavor to log our miles and see who comes out at the end with the most. One of those friends broke her 100 mile mark TODAY and we only got started on the first! Prolly not gonna catch her . . . LOL!

Christine and Bling

Here’s what’s developing so far. We are getting inspired to ride on days when most normal people would stay put at home.  Two of my buddies came out with me last Saturday and we bundled so thick it’s a wonder we could even mount our horses.


Thank goodness Corie  brought her mounting block or I might still be hopping around out there! 


We logged 10 miles in some biting January wind, and I would have kept going through Jess’s bitter “whatever, Terri’s” when I suggested we ride “just one more leg up the road, see what’s there . . .” except she turned her horse around and threatened to leave me to ride on home. That would have been a smidge more miles than I was up for and I couldn’t really feel my cheeks anymore, so home we went.

That really is Jess in there somewhere!

Royal and I had a what I would call a strong “medium” ride that day.  His normal big free swinging walk was missing in action, and we lagged behind, often trotting to catch up to the others. I was scowling, thinking of Ginger’s 4.5 walk stride and grumpy at Royal’s pushing for 3.5. . .


Corie on her heart horse, Zip and me on mine.

We made up for that, today, let me tell you.  He met cattle, was terrified. Okay, that kind of strong reaction often morphs into “lemme at ‘em” once a horse figures out they can chase the woolly boogers . . . Didn’t have time to get all the way through his concern but was pleased they only drew a hard look on the way back instead of a hard bound! Royal is like that . . . he freaks out, gets over it, doesn’t look back.


Today, I started out saddling Junebug, the Quarter Pony. I have been meaning to get some good time and miles on her, ever since I moved my horses down there and I have been on her a few times. taught her a couple things and really, not done much at all. She’s strong  jawed and it’s going to take a little to get her softened up the way I like them, and as with all of them. I am unfond of riding them in the beginning. The Derby inspired me today to take her off down the road and see what we could see.

Royal has made zero solo journeys in his entire life, except maybe once at the ranch, that first year. I wanted to explore the roads and fields and was none too sure my ride with him would not be me arguing to get him 30 feet past the drive way.  Turned out completely opposite of that, but who would know?

Junie gets ridden sporadically, not just by me. but NO ONE asks her to leave the yard or at best, the pasture. We headed up and headed out and the battle was on, the first three miles. By then, I had found the bean field across the road provides some wonderful riding and takes me up to town where I want to cross the busy highway without having to step foot on the equally busy and far to fast county road.

Five miles into the ride, I liked her. She looked askance here and there,  and she expressed her concern over how far she was getting from home by stepping slower and . . . slower . . . and slower. I brought a crop for just in case and it patted a little rhythm on her chubby pony butt till she saw the error of her ways.

Junebug,  our first solo ride out!

We made 7.03 miles! Not bad for her maiden voyage!

So fat, she is that I had to be very careful to stay dead in the middle of her or the saddle would tilt and roll! A few more days like this and we will see a different Junebug!

Now, it’s Royal’s turn. I had carried some anxiety about taking him out by ourselves, but Junebug beat the worry out of me and I was relaxed in spite of myself.  A little groundwork (no buck today as he first picked up his canter . . . good sign!) and I step on from the mounting block (knee WAY too stiff by now to bend that high!) and we head off down the drive.

I am prepared for spooks. balks and resistance as he realizes no one is coming with us. What I get are beautiful curly ears pricked forward as he eagerly scans the horizon. Where we goin’ Ter?Do we have to go so SLOW?

Well, no Royal, we don’t! Once into the bean field, we pick up a rising trot. I am still on guard for those sudden darts and spooks, but really there was not so much of that.

I rode this willing, forward lovely horse today. He is the dream horse I gave Ginger a new zip code in order to own. This ride, all by itself, was worth the trade. We played foxhunter up the terraces, extending his baby doll lope just to the edge of his excitement level, and held it there. We encountered a herd of strange  horses that ran, bucked, jumped and played a field away from us. If that were not enough, they are accompanied by a mini pony, a donkey and LLAMAS.  Big ears, big eyes, what the heck are those and we are back on our way.

Royal,  our first solo ride out, was fantastic

6.73 miles for Royal. We will do more tomorrow!

We ride by town but I leave crossing the highway for another day. The sun was threatening to set and vehicles were turning on their headlights. We toured the field three different times and routes, I was mostly looking to get the 3 miles I needed to complete my goal of 10 for the day. On the last round, we were just having too much fun, so we headed up the county road, south, this time, to see what might lie that way . . .

A barking dog, not worth much energy, a log beside the road that was, and I put him into the heavy soil of the nearby cornfield to let some of that exuberance wear itself out a little. Different colored piles of dirt were pretty scary and worth some starts and stops, a few jolting enough to make me grateful for how easy he is to pull up at the end of them. On the way back, he traveled over the top of them. 

I also just acquired knowledge of Royal’s real name and breeding. Heavily Crabbet bred, I could not ask for better than that.


Bey Shazhon is Royal’s sire!!

His momma though . . . A National Show horse. Yes, my Royal is 1/4 American Saddlebred, making him a NSH as well. Not my favorite cross, I know of a couple I like and well . . . he is still him, the love of my equine life, and rides like this one . .. cresting the top of a rise on a horse that wants nothing more than to eat more miles with me  . . . well, it does not get much better than this, except wait, it will and in a large part, thanks to the inspiration of the Great Distance Derby of 2012! Ride on, my friends, ride on!


Shoofly said...

Wonderful ride on your favorite horse!! You did a lot with him in just one ride.

Good Hands said...

The cow encounter actually happened last week. I wrote this fast and didn't realize how it sounded til later. Still, I was just amazed at Royal's confidence and courage, our first ride out together! Some of that foundation work coming home with good results! Yay!