Monday, January 13, 2014

We Ride the Barrens

The Arab Tag Team Out Again

If you've ever seen a professional wrestling match where two or more guys form a team to compete against another team, then you'll get the picture of our ride yesterday. In a tag team match, the various team members take turns in the ring wrestling an opponent. Sometimes, they cheat and it becomes a free for all. The three Arabians on a trail ride are a bit like that, without the total mayhem of a free for all, however.

You never quite know who's going to be "in the ring"--which on trail ride terms means up front, leading the herd. This time, for whatever reason, JJ, my boy, decided he'd like a few turns in the lead--when he wasn't trying to snatch every errant tree branch, weed, or blade of grass along the trail side.

Now, the cool thing about this was that he is wonderfully controllable about it all. While he was certainly trotting out, I could rate him to nearly any speed. In short, I had a blast., since, as a "control freak" when I ride--according to one of my instructors--such behavior on the part of my mount is perfect. At any rate, each horse, Juan with Larry aboard, Nordisk with Chris in the saddle, and JJ with me, had a time leading, and once in a while we were actually side by side.

All this was afforded by the lovely, sandy trails of the Wharton State Park, in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey.

For those of you unfamiliar with our State's unique geography, we have some of the most diverse lands in the US. We have wide sandy ocean beaches, rocky, rugged mountains, and in between, acres of farmlands, and the Pine Barrens. The State Park consists of some 115,000 preserved acres of sandy, mostly flatlands, crisscrossed by various streams and filled with pine trees. I've never actually ridden down there before, but I've walked through and visited some of the historic villages in the immediate area including Batso--an old iron forge.

The footing is really wonderful for riding the the sand roads are wide and inviting. The terrain is flat, so it's not too challenging, and in our case, it offered plenty of opportunity for some nice long trotting stretches. The horses' enthusiasm was probably fueled by the fact that around home here, we've had so much freezing, thawing, snowing, and raining, that we've developed mud almost everywhere. While our trails will dry out quickly if we don't have rain for a few days, it's just not the same as the solid sand at Wharton.

We rode for just under two hours. I had to go to church in the morning so we got a later start and, of course, since it's still winter, it does get dark fairly early. The weather was chilly, in the 40'sF, I guess, but the pine trees effectively block the winds and with all the trotting, I was nice and comfortable.

Nordisk, on his first outing to the Park, was a golden boy again. He was a bit "looky," but didn't seem at all spooky and he was the instigator of a number of trotting sessions. Juan was his usual "let's go" fellow and JJ was positively enthusiastic, in a nice way.

It was super Sunday out on three good horses.

What more could anyone want?


  1. Sounds very nice - no trail riding in these parts yet . . .

  2. The Pine Barrens sound like a wonderful place to ride. What a nice day you all had even if it was a little cold.

  3. Wow!!! That sounds like great fun - good for body AND spirit!

  4. Anonymous11:25 AM

    Love the way you portray our rides

  5. It was fun! I will have you doing Limited Distance yet would have fun on would also like the people you would meet..