Sunday, March 11, 2007

ATV'd Again

Now They've Made A Muddy Mess

I thought the day would be a nice one for trail rides. Granted, it had rained again last night, but the ground has thawed enough to start draining, so I had hopes the footing would be OK.

Tucker wanted nothing of being caught, nor did Toby, so Chance was first up. I saddled him and then took him out to lunge to take the edge off. He was, as always, a good boy. I heard some engines in the woods, but when they stopped, I figured the ATV riders had loaded up and gone home.

Out we went. The ground was a little slippy on the trail out, but not too bad.

Then, I was in the woods proper. These are trails created years ago wide enough for a car. They may even be old Native American roads or pathways made by the old settlers. Regardless, they are lovely tracks to ride on with leaves covering the ground.

However over the years, the ATV riders have rutted them up so that in several places there are good sized mud puddles where the water collects. Today, it was way beyond a few places.

All along the way there were deep tire tracks and exposed, deep mud. The footing was terrible. This went the entire length of the primary trail, with deep ruts all over the place. Poor Chance had a hard time trying to find a good place to put his feet it was such a mess.

To say I am disgusted is an understatement. There is no way this will be fixed as the season wears on unless these guys stay out of there. The ruts will keep getting worse and when things finally dry out, there will be uneven rutted footing everywhere. I used to mountain bike through there before my knees got bad. I couldn't do that for sure and I would think even hiking through there is going to be tricky.

Chance was a star about it, keeping a level head and being very careful, but I opted out of taking either Tucker or Toby out after that mess.

Instead I lunged and set up a little jump. Toby was first and was quite enthusiastic about jumping. I have worked him over fences and he is the kind of horse who pops you a big out of the saddle as he really uses his back. I put the fence up to about 3 feet just for fun and he took a couple lovely big leaps over it, quite pleased with himself. Were he not so spooky, he would have been an amazing eventer. I suppose had I wanted to, over time, I could have cured his "Gee I have to look at that before I jump it" attitude, but dressage is much safer.

Once I got Tucker going on the line, he was pretty forward and gave me some super canter. Then I headed him for the little fence and he was quite bold about it. His jump is much more like Russell R.'s was. Smooth and the kind you could sit to all day. Even over the biggest jumps, Russell was easy to sit. I don't know if it's purely conformational or jumping style, but I see the same thing in Tucker. When I put the fence up to just a bit less than 3 feet, he was as smooth as glass over it and made it look as easy a pie. I have a feeling he would be more courageous, but again, I think most of my jumping days are over. I pop over a few now and then, but competing? Nah.

I do think I'll add some jumping schooling to my program as it is good for getting the horses to use their backs and hocks.

But Chance will just have to wait. He is still three until the summer--I don't judge their ages by the calendar year, but their real birth month--and I never jump a horse that young. I must say, he was very interested watching, and his dad is quite a picture over a fence. I will be curious to see if he inherited that form.

The pile of shedding horse hair is getting deeper in the barn aisle every grooming. Spring is surely on the way!


  1. We have the same problem with off-roaders ruining paths in the UK Jean. It's very annoying isn't it?

    I thought you didn't jump at all and now I catch you doing 3 foot fences. That's not small!


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  3. Let's try that again...I was lunging the horses over 3 foot fences, not riding this time.

    I have been known to occasionally do a bit of jumping. I really don't think of 3 feet as that big since I used to show over 3'6" as a matter of course.

    Tobester and I did some clinics with Steven Bradley who is an event rider. He had us over 3'6" then. (Like maybe 10 years ago?) *G* Haven't jumped more than about 2'6" lately. Just for play, mind you.