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July 5, 2012: The Long and Winding Mucky Trail System

This morning I said to Pete that I would forego riding for a day, and give him a hand with the garden. Shortly thereafter, Vicki called and said she’d be riding over to our place and back. I immediately said that I’d ride back to her place with her. So much for weeding. So off Vicki and I went, on a lengthy ride that took us into the early evening.

It was challenging, in part because we elected to ride the Grizzly Camp Loop. This area, which is partial wetland, has been well traversed and is now because of mud bogs, near impassable.

One of five bridges that Bonnie and Dale installed

I have noticed that when I talk to people about this, that they will say “oh, the problem is the swamp buggies.” I have since come to the conclusion that this is not just one group’s doing, but rather, the doing of several groups. Swamp buggy riders, ATVers, horseback riders, we all leave a print, and over time said trails deteriorate.

The problem here in our riding area is that many continue to encourage trail use by putting up signage, rebuilding small portions of the trail, and constructing bridges. This just makes it easier for us to all get around. Ideally, the answer would be to have a concerted effort to repair and restore the trails, on an ongoing basis. This, I imagine, would be like painting the Golden Gate Bridge, which is a never-ending project.

What’s the answer? I finally concluded that those of us on horseback must make our own trails, which are one’s that wind through the woods and are on firmer ground.

The first half of the ride was in our area, which I know pretty well. The second half of the ride was in Vicki’s area, which she knows pretty well. In both instances we rode on the side trails. What a joy it was, to trot and canter on stable ground. Raudi, who has grown tired of the same old, same old, came alive when we ventured into new areas.

This ride definitely tested my mettle – I was at times worried that Raudi would either trip or fall into a bog. But like Hunar, she exhibited common sense, and after figuring out what places were safe and unsafe, continued on in a calm and steady fashion.

I was reminded on the end part of our ride that horses are not predictable animals. When finally, we got onto off the trail, and into a residential area, the wind sprung up. Raudi then became very animated. My guess is that the wind carried the smell of a nearby stallion in our direction, and this triggered something hormonally. Anyhow, she invited all comers, including both Hunar and Tinni, who greeted us at the end of our ride.

I was glad this ride ended when it did. But once back home, I took Signy and Hrimmi out for a jaunt. I’m not hard core, but rather middle core.

Next: 210. 07/6/12: Dear Readers . . .