Ride 35: A Perfect Evening Ride

Today was a lovely day, clear, cooler than it has been (though quite warm in the sun in the afternoon until about 4pm, not stifling) and with just enough breeze.   Yesterday, I’d gotten a new pair of riding tights, summer-weight, ordered last week.  They’re a style recommended by one of the staff at the Dover Saddlery store, even though that store doesn’t carry that model.  They’re a rich chocolate brown.   I followed their size guide, and feel that these re a touch large, but they are comfortable, they have a cellphone pocket, and two other small pockets…one about driver’s license/credit card size, and one big enough for maybe a small tube of sunscreen (it’s on the back at the waist).   Nothing that will hold Mrs. Pasture’s Horse Cookies in the quantity I need for the two horses.  So I carried an odd thing I saw online, bought, and have modified some, which is working well.

R- was trying to get in some mowing while it was relatively safe (from fire danger, wind, etc.) so I didn’t ride until late afternoon/evening and it was beautiful.   I wore my new riding tights, and a denim shirt over a T-shirt because of the coolth (and the bright sun.)   We started at quarter to six, and finished about six-thirty.   After a very short walkover of the pole pattern, we went into the Near Meadow and west to exit at the grass crossing of the old ditch–then west again to the creek woods.  Rags spotted some cows right up next to the south fence, and stopped to stare at them.  They stared back, as cows do.  After a brief time of mutual staring, I insisted we needed to move on and after a couple more stops (why WERE the cows up by that fence…had they come there to gawk at us?) we turned north on the creek woods outside trail. Somewhat to my surprise, no deer popped out to startle Rags.  We took that trail all the way up to the place several trails meet, just shy of the fencerow trees on the north fence, and then turned to approach the dry creek and cross it.  Rags was quite willing to do that, and then to continue up the trail near the north fence.   We turned south into the very shady trail that runs mostly out of sight of the west fence, but not far from it.  When we got to the West Woods, Rags turned toward the little horse trail, and once again stepped carefully over the fallen osage orange tree.  Then a short bit down to the creek bed, and a quick heave up the slope, turn, turn again, and climb the rest of the way to the Southwest Meadow and Owl Pavilion.

This time Rags did not balk at the mysterious gravel-filled bowl–ignored it in fact, as he did the previously scary solar panel that runs the pump in the wildlife waterer.  “I’m not scared of any of this,” he announced, stopping neatly right next to the pavilion and turning to look at me and see if a cookie was forthcoming.  When he had the cookie, I turned him back east, to circle the young grove that’s come up in this meadow (we aren’t short of meadow and I had wanted this one to contribute to the woods acreage if possible.  It’s mostly cedar elm, one live oak, and some bumelias and thicketing plums.   They’re all still smallish, but they’re there, and bird nests are in some of them.  We rode back west to find the entrance to the trail we’d come in by, and then down the bank, across the dry creek, up and over the fallen tree, out of the West Woods and onto the Fort Cedar/Gully Trail.  We came back into the late sunlight there, riding north alongside the gully system, then right to angle back to the north fence just shy of the Tractor Ford crossing of the main, alas dry, creek.

Once out of that low area, we were in and out of the light going back south to Center Walk.  Off to the left was the open West Grass, with the line of trees and elbow bush of the Dry Woods showing some fresh leafage.   It was beautiful…the green beginning to show in teh grass, the stubble from mowing, and the clear blue evening sky above.  Rags wanted to go into the Entrance Meadow, so we went in and around it twice, and then came back out…and had a brief Argument.  He wanted to go straight south; I wanted to go upslope on Center Walk.  So we did that, and he wanted to jog part of it, and I let him, but didn’t try to post, just tried to sit is quietly.  (But mostly bumped instead.)  We turned back SW to Cloud Pavilion when we got to the alternate trail, and he had other moments of fascination with the neighbor’s cows, especially a brown one (most are black) that came to the fence to stare at Rags.   We did some more leg yields, and then…he wanted to rush to the ditch crossing and get into the Near Meadow, and I insisted that we needed to stop briefly and stand still.

Stand STILL?!  Rags was NOT willing.  He sidled around and switched his tail, and I kept on keeping him on the spot until he relaxed a moment…when I said “OK, NOW you can go.”   We finished with a final walk over the raised poles.  A good and pleasant ride,

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