Sunny and Beautiful
It really is a lovely day. The sun is bright, the temperature is hovering just a bit above freezing, and the sky is blue. Hard to believe the dire weather forecast ahead....12-18 inches of snow and near blizzard conditions.
My car is in the shop. The auto body repairman said it was "undrivable" because the hatchback has a big gap in it. Rain, snow, and exhaust fumes would get in the car. That meant I could get money for a rental from my insurance company. But, I already have the SUV Durango that I use to pull the trailer, so why bother? It does use more gas, but it has a bit over 6000 miles on it and is a 2003, so it can use the exercise.
Speaking of exercise, C. called as planned this morning and since it was such a beautiful day, we arranged to go out for a trail ride together. There was a little miscommunication, but soon my phone rang and she was out by my pasture fence after riding along the woods, so I hurriedly mounted up Chance--already saddled and waiting-- and managed to get him out of the arena before Toby and Tucker mauled us too badly. I'd tried to keep them out of the arena, but when Toby saw C. and her horse JJ, there was no stopping him and he plowed through the gate before I could close it. That forced me to mount up in the woods, so I carted my mounting block out there and clambered aboard. (I call it "clamber" as my mounting is somewhat awkward as I struggle with my very bad knees.)
Chance was delighted to have a friend to go out with. JJ is a 10 year old Arabian and C. rides him in endurance. She has a first place in a 100 miler, and in a 50 miler, and has done numerous other rides. But that does not mean JJ is super quiet. The funny thing was that Chance fed off him and he fed off Chance, so for the first part of the ride, at least, we had quite a bit of jogging off.
It was a great ride, though! This was the first time I rode Chance along the field by the NJ Turnpike with big tractor trailers racing by. While they are a couple hundred feet away, and separated from us by both trees, bushes and a chain link fence, their noise and looming presence can still be intimidating. But with the more experienced JJ as his partner, Chance settled in nicely.
We road around the first field and then decided to ride all the way around the Van Dyke Farms 200 acre field as well. Then, we threaded our way through the wooded trails back to my house where C. left me to go back to her farm across the way.
What a pleasure to have someone to ride with! Out two horses seemed well matched pacewise, and even appearance wise. Like Chance, JJ is a chestnut. Like Chance, he has a wide blaze in a similar shape, and even white under his chin like Chance. He does have four white stockings while Chance only has two hind ones, but the could easily go in a pairs class. JJ is around 15h, I think so Chance has a few inches on him--both in height and around the middle--and they seemed quite happy with each other.
C and I chatted the whole way, and I'm sure we'll find lots to talk about if we keep riding together. All in all, we were out for about an hour and a half which was a lot for Chance. He didn't seem the least bit tired, and we did walk the whole way, so that was nice and relaxing. I'll have to admit I was kind of stiff when I dismounted, but since I haven't been in the saddle that long in ages, I'm not surprised. I'll probably have a few more aches and pains than usual tomorrow as I sit, homebound, watching the snow fall, but it was worth it.
It was a grand ride and a beautiful day.