Yesterday, it was gorgeous. So gorgeous that I couldn't stay home and do the usual (clean sheds and stalls, work with the young horses). I loaded up Galen and off we went. As I had a limited amount of time, we went to Lord Hill Park, which is only about a 20 minute drive away. Lord Hill can give a really good workout in a short time, because, as the name says, it's all hills. Even walking can leg up your horse pretty quickly. My yardstick of his fitness is how far up a hill he will trot before he drops back to a walk. When we trot all the way to the top, we're ready to do an LD.
When I got to the parking lot, there were two other ladies in the parking lot, both on QHs, with one extra being ponied. Nice ladies, we all exchanged good mornings and off Galen and I went.
The light was very beautiful and it made me think of cathedrals of trees. I'm sure there is a poem somewhere with that, but as I'm not much of a poetry buff, none came to mind.
We continued along, greeting the occasional dog walker. This time, none of the dogs had ever seen a horse and you could almost read their minds: "That is the BIGGEST dog I've ever seen". Galen ignored them.
We went down the Quarry trail to the river and were trotting through the trees down by the river when a dog rushed up behind us, either nipped Galen's legs or just crashed into him and then took off at a dead run. We were both a bit startled, although I think I was more than Galen. As I had no idea where the dog was, I headed back to the road. I met the person who had the dog - now, Lord Hill is pet friendly, but all dogs are supposed to be on leash. Not everyone does this, although most people catch their dogs and at least hold them when they see a horse. I told him (I did say please) to keep his dog contained and what the dog had just done. He didn't believe me, saying "THIS dog did that?". Like, the dog is gone for 5 minutes and he couldn't imagine it was doing anything remotely naughty. I told him "Yes, YOUR dog did that". Then, I continued on. We went up the first loop of the Competitive Trail ride we did back in January - no idea what the trail is called. It has some very steep climbs, some rather iffy trail (sides are falling away), but it's sure challenging. There was a log down across the trail, no biggie. Galen went to step over it, saw that it was much too wide and so hopped it. I heard a crack, but figured it was him hitting the log with a hoof. We continued on, meeting some more well behaved dogs and their excellent owners, until we got back to the parking lot, where there was...a flock of sheep. Galen was looking at them, indicating to me that this was NOT where sheep belonged. I agreed, but couldn't do anything about it. I untacked him and put him in the trailer and then went to see if I could find the break in the fence to shoo them back. Didn't find the break and I'm obviously not a sheep whisperer, as they all headed away from me. I also looked at my saddle as I was taking it off Galen - the pommel was cracked in two! That crack I heard on the trail was my saddle tree breaking! Now we'll see how to fix THAT! I gave up on the sheep and headed home.
The big thing (besides all the adventures) is that I rode for over 2 hours and had forgotten to take any pain meds. I finished reasonably sound, although I walked in the last 1/4 mile. Met a very concerned dog walker who asked me if I was ok, as I was walking my horse. I assured her I was just walking in for my benefit and all was well. Good people! My ankle was sore, but not screaming, so maybe, just maybe, there is a possibility that I'll be able to ride longer and longer.
So I got home and posted a short version of this on Facebook and had someone ask "This is an April Fool's joke, isn't it?". I reread it and could see why they though that, but nope, all true. Wish the saddle tree breaking wasn't! Galen took everything in stride, I assume he just figures that humans are weird and whatever I say, goes. Yeah!