Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Foggy New Ride

We're all settled into the new barn - now its time to start getting familiar with our new riding routes.  It is drastically different from our miles of deserted woods trails we've had access to for the past few months up north.  This is farm country, sprinkled with neighborhoods of commuters.  Corn fields, dairy cows, and grass lawns are our new scenery, at least what we could see of it through the dense fog and perpetual mist.  All these roads are paved, which has got me thinking about conditioning miles.  While the boys are super road safe, so the traffic aspect isn't so much of a concern on the secondary roads, the ongoing concussion from being on a paved surface is worrying.  There is a bit of gravel shoulder in many places, but not all.  Rhio is usually shod, but with so much asphalt, I will be hesitant to shoe him.  One of these evenings, I must sit down and go through my boot bucket - matching up usable pairs, replacing a few gaiters, assessing my stock.  I think boots will be the name of the game for rides out from the barn, anyway - good traction on the asphalt, and hopefully some absorption of the concussive forces.  I know from being a runner, that the pounding my own legs take running on paved surfaces is very different from when I run trails, or natural surfaces.  A little bit of road work is good - the even, firm surface feels good and uses muscles differently (its easier,actually!), and it can help build bone in horses.  But too much will lead to soreness, and, I believe, eventual deleterious joint effects.  So, we'll see how it goes...

Given Red's accident the other day, I opted to pony him along today.  The paddocks and barn area are treacherous with a layer of water over ice (it was almost 45 degrees today!), and I certainly didn't want him running about being upset with Rhio leaving.  Good thing we've been practicing our ponying all fall!  It is second nature now. 

We are able to ride off the property at the back side, and follow the edge of a cornfield out to a secondary road, thereby avoiding riding on the busier county road.  We then followed that road about 2 miles to an intersection, then retraced our steps.  Bits of the road were cornfield on both sides and felt very "country," while others felt very suburban, with houses, garages, driveways, and lawns on both sides.  I met a lady who stopped her car to chat; she also has horses along the road - she was very pleased to see horses out and about.  The few other cars and trucks that passed us were very polite, slowing down and moving over.  I think we won't have any trouble navigating the typical hazards of road riding.  Rhio did have to pass some dairy cows, which are much more terrifying than even scary beef cows (I have no idea why!), and despite Red's complete nonchalance, I had a giraffe-necked, snorting, prancing pony.  Silly boy.  Is it too much to hope that living in dairy country might help him conquer his fear of Holsteins? 

Riding along the edge of the cornfield.
Despite the dismal weather (but at least it was warm!), we all enjoyed seeing the new sights and getting out and about.  The boys even found a few blades of green grass to munch and were in heaven for it!  

The view of the farm, from the back (coming home).

Rhio releases some tension after being turned back out.  Must have been those Holsteins!

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