Thursday, January 27, 2011
The Turkey Parade
Well about noon i was layered up and on my way to the barn..anticipating another great ride..There's just something about a bunch a girls, headin out on horseback, and the conversations there in..I put Bubba in the cross ties. I brushed him then tacked him up. Judy slid open the barns roll door and all 3 of us walked out of the barn in single file. We headed up the mountain side that leads to some great trails and our favorite set of cornfields.
Bubba was leading the ride...this is just as new to me as it is to Bubba as he was always a follower "just like myself" but with each ride i get the honor of seeing his confidence grow and mine as well..
All us ladies were busy chatting and laughing as we started out ..all the horses walking briskly up the long hill towards the treeline. Listening to the sound of hoof beats breaking through the top slightly frozen layer of snow. I was just sorta daydreaming about how lovely it all was..and BOOM..just that quick Bubba's right front leg slid right into a hole about 2 ft deep..i never knew it was there..Both Bubba and I almost took a face dive into the snow..and WHY its so important to pay attention and not just sit there like a lump..Sorta wakes you up right away..and got me thinking about how hidden dangers can lie beneath what appears to be safe ground just beautifully blanketed with snow.
Not that i could of avoided a 2foot hole covered over by snow..but I could of however (had i been paying attention)supported my horse with the reins so he didnt trip or drop to his knees. Instead it was like we both dropped and fell forward.
anyhow..thank God he wasnt hurt and that I learned a lesson..we continued on..and we both were paying attention. lol
The air was cold and damp, yet much warmer at 35 degrees then the ride we just took the other day in 8 degree weather..almost like a summer day compared too those temps..but it just felt like rain was on the air or another cold pennsylvania snow was about to move in..Bundled up,we headed off to the woods where we would hardly feel the cold wind. We were all happy to be trail riding on our day off..what a way to spend the day. Judy now lead the pack, Christy was in the middle and Bubba and I were taking up the rear because we took a second to gather ourselves after stepping in that hole..
Bubba's usually always a little anxious in the back, sorta looking over his shoulder for that boogie man to jump out from a behind a tree somewhere lol that's that predator prey instinct kicking in..fight or flight
I realized at that very moment i too was anxious..and that was probably the reason Bubba was looking over his shoulder.I was still thinking about that big hole he'd just slid in. I needed to let it go...So i took some BIG Deep breaths..and with each exhale I could feel myself sinking deeper and deeper into the saddle. I could also feel Bubba relaxing and taking slower more sure footed steps. Amazing how a horse can read you before you even realize you've been read.
We finally reached the top of mountain..and the view from up there is really something. You just have to stop a second and take in the view..I promise the next time i will take a picture of that view just so you can see how beautiful & high up we actually are..
I have to say my favorite thing about climbing that mountain is the view..How you can see Pennsylvania's now snow covered rolling hills and valleys..how Interstate 79 runs in between the Hills and how the tractor trailers look like little tonka trucks & the cars like toy match box cars.
Today was probably one of the most challenging rides I have had in a while..I'm sure Bubba would agree..the snow covered so much of the footing and the trails we blazed today had many hidden surprises. Bubba and i were prepared though,we all ready had our wake up call about 2 seconds into the ride sliding in that hole. I was glad to be in the back, as it allowed me to see what the other riders had to encounter first so i could choose to follow or make my own path..
There were big snow covered rocks that the horses had to be very careful not too step on or slide off but rather step over, a few being half the width of the path. Then in two spots we had to walk over thick coated wire about 3-4 inches off the ground. It reminded me of trip wire & I would not recommend anyone doing this. There were Thorn Bushes making some crossings ouchy and Many low hanging branches that required I actually stop my horse in front of so that i could lift the branch up to get under,there was room for Bubba, just not room for me lol. And did i mention the trees we had to walk in between that were just a bit to close for comfort??? You know, Knee knockers..ever heard of'em? lol.
With unscathed knees, it was then that I spoke up. Bubba and I were taking a different path to the top..the last thing i would EVER want to do is risk getting my horse hurt by purposely riding in incredibly rough, unsafe and unknown snow covered terrain. When that little voice inside me began saying.."for bubbas safety get out"..it was a red flag and I felt it..and im glad i spoke up because both ladies were more then eager to follow Bubba and me out of there and so we cut back...
I am adventurous. I love a challenge and I prefer to make trails then follow them, but I too felt Bubba getting a touch uncomfortable as if to say "okay I've had enough Mom". and since i was really asking him to pay attention for quite some time and since he so willingly waited for my every cue on when to step and where to step, what obstacle to maneuver, and the pace, I decided some fun would be a great reward for his effort. Its times like these that Bubba will place his trust in me and let me direct his every step. He waits..patiently. I am that much more careful..i don't want to cause him to second guess me as a result of him getting hurt. I want both of us too come through it more confident
I have grown to appreciate a challenge..its a chance to push ourselves, problem solve all the while placing our trust in each other..But when i began to feel Bubba stress a little.. i knew enough was enough so i chose a different path too the top of the second mountain and we both breathed a sigh of relief when we hit the top..I praised him up.What a trooper..Bubba was so proud of himself i could feel it in his strut.
Finally we made it too our favorite cornfield. Nice open fields, so picturesque. A treeline that boarders each of the 3 huge cornfields & visiting my favorite deserted barn was just the cherry on top. We all began trotting in the snow across the field towards the barn.We always see something up there..hawks soaring or perched..red tailed foxes, deer but lately Wild Turkey..
As the 3 of us trotted our horses forward...Bubba was the first to come to a dead stop as he turned his head to the left and froze still, each horse followed suit. We were all in awe and silent as we watched the first pack of wild turkeys run for their lives not but 80 feet from us.
It was comical to hear the sound the turkeys made like they were telling each other to run for their lives.So after the turkeys got into the woods and out of sight we continued trotting on..
The Judy yells "look in the second cornfield over there" and sure enough the turkeys that had just run off, were now going through the tree line into the next field and they alerted the next herd of wild turkeys..We were all now watching this giant parade of turkeys running. There was well over a hundred wild turkeys running and squawking.
They never slowed down, skipped a beat or stopped for a second until they all made it into the furthest cornfield. The marathon of turkeys stirred up one last group. It all got Dead Quiet.
And what must of been at least 200 wild turkeys... all took to the sky..
Like a black storm cloud..there were just so many..a gift too take in such a sight..The Grand Finally.
We headed back home after riding nearly 2 and a half hours.and Bubba lead the pack home..I was so proud of him..