Fall is the perfect time of year for horseback riding and I recently had one of those great weekends that every horse lover lives for. Two of my brothers who live about 2 hours south of me had planned a “horse” weekend for them to come up, go trail riding, and camp out at my house for the weekend.
I am very lucky in that most of my family is horse crazy also. Growing up on a dairy farm, we always had ponies or horses. My big brother Tim has always been a cowboy…I have been trying to ride like him since I was five! Then there is my brother Tom who never got into horses until after his wife Lisa started riding with me about 10 years ago. Then it got to be a family passion for all of them. My youngest brother and his fiancé also own a couple horses, but they weren’t able to join us for the weekend. Okay I better not leave my sister out…she does not have the horse passion but she will ride occasionally if someone has an extra horse to lend. We all try to get together to go riding when we can…but you know how life gets busy, our weekend’s get filled up so fast with “stuff to do” and there’s just never enough play time!
We all met at “Underdown” on a Saturday morning which is a horse trail about 45 minutes south of my home. My riding buddies, Monica, Sue, & Vicky, also joined us. My family included my brother Tim and his daughter Ashley (14), my brother Tom and his wife Lisa, and their daughters Lindsey (16) and Mickenzie (14) and another friend and classmate of ours, Rich. So with my husband Ron, we had a group of 12 riders. It was a beautiful fall day, about 70 degrees and no bugs! Every horseback rider’s dream! Some of us did a lot of cantering thanks to my carefree teenage nieces who were leading the pack. The others were fine with just taking it easy at their own pace behind us. Our horses were all pretty good considering some of them have never met before. Even my horse Zoe was well behaved that day (she’s usually the winner of the most naughty horse award!)
After we rode for 2 hours, we all loaded up our horses & headed up to my house. We first had to get the horses all situated. Conveniently, I have four separate pasture/paddocks so we could put their horses in them without having to set up temporary paddocks. Then we enjoyed the afternoon and evening by having dinner and drinks sitting around our fire-pit. My riding friends Sue and Vicky and their husbands also joined us again. We all had a great time talking and laughing around the campfire.
Sunday morning, we all had breakfast and then saddled up for another ride out on our trails on & off our property. There were some rain clouds heading in so we figured we should get going so we could get some riding in. We headed out and crossed our creek, which brings us to our back 40 where my pilot husband has a 1330 foot grass landing strip. I don’t know what it is about horses when they see a long field of grass that they just want to run, but that is usually what happens. So some of us just let our horses run up and down the strip a couple of times, which helped burn the fresh off them and then we headed out to the trail. (Guess they weren’t as tired from Saturday’s ride as we thought!) We just got off our land onto the trails on the public land and it started to thunder and rain lightly. We continued on, with my husband Ron who clears those trails and knows them better than anyone, leading us, but he took us on a shortened route to avoid being too far out in case it either started to downpour or lightning. We actually did not get very wet as the storm headed north of us quickly so by the time we got back on our own property, the sun was shining again.
We all lounged around our back forty a bit with the horses and let them graze on the grass awhile while we talked and enjoyed the day. Then we headed back to the house, unsaddled and hosed off our sweaty horses.
After the horses were all settled in, we had lunch and then my brothers and families all packed up to head home. Of course we all decided we had way too much fun not do this again before the snow flies, so we planned our next weekend we could all get together which will be in late October (weather permitting).
It wasn’t a half hour after they left that it just started to downpour…how fantastic is that! We needed the rain here in the northwoods so badly but I was really hoping it would hold off until our “horse” weekend was complete and it did. How cool is that? God must love horses too!
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