Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Summer Hacking

Stunningly gorgeous day -- arguably the nicest so far, and Ker and I had plans to make the most of it by hauling the horses out to hack in Dundas Valley Conservation Area. I go off and teach for the morning and get back w/ just enough time to pull the pony in from the field and get her ready to go. The world is good. Kerri pulls in all upset and tells me she can't tow the horses cause the truck is being disturbingly temperamental. While no fun for her, this is an easy situation to resolve -- hook the Beast up to Murray and we're good to go. Iroc got off her trailer and on to mine no problem; Sienna was entirely happy to load w/ her buddy already on, and we were off. Definitely took the scenic route getting there, sheesh, but once we were there the world was good. Empty parking lot to turn around in (yeah!). Both horses a little high but neither stupidly so.

So where to go? Well here's a trail, let's follow it. hahaha yeah that trail was a very short loop around a pond. Iroc was thrilled -- "we're back at the trailer, we must be done!" hahaha Sienna knows better. So we walk up the road a ways and find another trail -- not having any idea where we're going, may as well follow it too. Well this one was waaaayyyy more fun and involved some up and down hills and lots of side-branches (which we saved for next time). Also very well signed so highly unlikely to get lost. hahaha

Come around a turn on this trail, barely paying any attention whatsoever, and there, still in the middle of the path, was the biggest deer I've ever seen (and I've seen more than my fair share of deer! :) Absolutely magnificent animal. Well Si grew and started bouncing -- out of excitement more than fear I'd say since she seemed to want to go *with* the deer rather than away from him. Kerri froze, not quite believing what she was seeing. Only Iroc knew enough to just calmly keep walking. hahaha Got reasonably close before the deer bounded off into the woods. Si tried to follow, but eventually agreed to stay w/ Iroc. hahaha Although later when we met the fawns Sienna couldn't care less -- she only wants to play w/ the big kids!

Eventually found ourselves in a parking lot (hmmmm maybe that's why our lot was so empty!) and from there the trails we followed had more people on them. Did a fair amount of walk/trot conditioning type work and a few short canters, always ended abruptly when we came upon people. hahaha Went exploring on a random side trail that clearly wasn't really part of the system -- there I was sort of amused, a tree was blocking the path; on one side there were multiple branches but very low, on the other side was a single thicker branch but higher off the ground. I took one look at it, deemed the branches too dangerous to pick through and jumped the higher log (which Miss Sienna did beautifully!). Kerri took one look at that, deemed the log too high to jump and carefully picked through the branches. hahaha classic case of it all depends where your comfort zone is!

More exploring lead to ruins of an old (18?0s) house which was thoroughly impressive in itself -- at least to me :)

We went over several wooden bridges -- fortunately the first was very inviting, AND Sienna went first. Not at all sure, but she did it! I was thrilled. She did need a lead over the scariest one (yeah Iroc!) but other than that she was great about all of them :) I was pretty thrilled. She also lead the way into the water once I found a non-muddy entrance point (funny how my horse who will come in literally coated head to tail in mud, hates stepping in it!). Water was significantly deeper than it appeared though so we didn't stay there very long -- both horses did have a nice long drink while we were there though.

Continuing our adventures led to finding wild raspberries which of course I felt the need to stop and eat. Sienna doesn't like raspberries so much but she was happy to graze beside me while I picked :) hahaha Kerri just rolled her eyes at me -- patient as ever :) hahaha good thing I have such tolerant friends. We did meet all sorts of people while we were out hacking; I've come to the conclusion that the horses are the outdoors-person's version of the Ferrari. Everybody stops to look, whether actually interested or not. They attract all kinds of attention, questions and comments. By far the most interesting though... We were on a trail that was intersected by another (the other trail Td @ this one). Our trail was flat and the one that intersected it was a reasonably steep hill. Well just before we got there we hear this skidding and Sienna was gone. That was the end of what I got to see - by the time I had her stopped all the adventures were over! hahaha but Kerri's horse chose to bounce in place instead of running away, so at this point he's on one side of the intersection and Sienna's on the other and in the middle is a cyclist who'd been flying down the hill and I guess hit the breaks a *little* too hard. Whether it was over-reaction to seeing the horses, or whether he was going to lose it anyways (as it seems he was out of control before he saw us) we're not sure, but he definitely met the gravel. He was a little scraped up but said he was fine -- after all this his cycling parter came down the hill at a much calmer rate (still moving but not nearly as insane) and given how much of a lag there was between the two cyclists he must've been really flying. But the funniest was the two random people walking who were right behind Kerri and I and the "well that's more exciting than anything I expected to see today" comment. hahaha I'm not sure if he meant the horses, the falling cyclist, or the combination of both (I'm betting the later) but it still amused me :)

Anyways after riding for just under 2.5h we took the horses back and let them graze for quite a while. They introduced themselves to the adorable german shepherd puppy who clearly missed the whole predator/prey memo. hahaha poor guy was terrified of them, but since both horses are very dog broke they just kept grazing while puppy tried to find his courage to come see the GIANT MONSTERS. hahaha poor thing nearly lost it when Si snorted at him. Spent most of his time trying to hide behind a person -- any person!

Great day though. One of those days where life just can't get any better.


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