The last days that we were in Pennsylvania I squeezed in rides on my sweet Pie and Sovey. Both days were windy and cold, yet the boys were good for me. Of course they were - making the parting all the more sweet and all the more sorrowful. They are getting wonderful care from my mom and from our new farm helper, Melanie. Melanie dropped out of the heavens to take amazing care of our horses for us.
Now we are in Florida and I joined up with my friends locally to ride. You can barely see me in this photo, above, taken on Thursday. I am riding the sweet Appy mare, Lakota, across the lake with Chelsea and her adorable Velvet mare. My friend, Alisha, owns Lakota and took this photo of us. I met my Florida horse friends in 2008 on an online Horse Forum. Back then I rode a sweet Thoroughbred mare, Red, at their old stable. They have moved to a new facility with fabulous trails and access to a nearby horse-friendly community park. Red did not move to this barn so I have been riding Lakota and another Appy, a gelding named Mac.
This facility is pretty amazing given our location. We vacation in an area of St. Petersburg that really isn't "horse country". We are practically on the beach and proper pastures and horsekeeping is more suited to Ocala, 100 miles north of us. This new barn is 6 miles from our condo and is located on a street with many other horse facilities. They all share a network of trails. Above is a photo of their enormous ring. I feel terrible because I am not interested in the ring one straw and I know that it is nice and everyone else is very into it. I am just not a ring person.
I stayed in the ring as long as I could stand it and then asked if I could head out around the lake. Chelsea and Velvet joined us. I didn't take my camera, so I retraced our steps later and shot these photos. This is the lake from the other side.
Here is the bridge we took to more trails. My little Lakota had only crossed the bridge one time before, while being led, no less, but on this day she crossed over with zero problems like the good girl that she is.
As soon as we reached the other side of the bridge we were in this long tunnel of palms and pines and Palmetto bushes. Chelsea warned me that there were crazy squirrels that boldly jump around on the Palmettos and scare the horses. Then, she mentioned that there was a dog kennel on one side of us and other horses in a pasture on the left AND A ZEBRA IN THAT PASTURE TOO!!!!!!!!!! A ZEBRA!!!!!!!! Well, of course, I was very excited to see the zebra and could not focus on riding very well. I knew Lakota was a little nervous because her ears were pricked way up and stiff and her eyes were bugging out at all the new sights, but she followed Velvet's calm lead. We circled around onto a street and there was the ZEBRA (!) peeking her/his little head out of a stall window in a boarding barn. Lakota's heart was beating so loud, but she wasn't scared of the zebra at all. In fact, she was looking in the opposite direction at a field full of llamas! When I returned later to take a photo of the zebra and the llamas, I found these cutie pies, below, in the llama field!!!!! Where did everyone go?
I never did find the zebra again, but here in the shade, were the sleeping, spitting llamas. They did not like my picture-taking!
Today, I rode Mac and got drenched in a rain storm. Our weather hasn't been too warm yet. In fact, after the rain I was on the phone with my mom and she said that it was 57 degrees in PA and raining and I realized that it was 57 degrees here and raining! We are all getting a cold front tomorrow, so I don't think I will get any riding in.
I brought my bitless bridle down with me and Alisha welcomed me using it on her horses. Lakota was an angel in it, but Mac ran off with me!!!!! Yes, it is true, however, I wasn't on him yet!!! He ran off while I was leading him out to the ring to ride! Alisha uses him for lessons and he has picked up quite a few naughty lesson-horse habits. He took off this morning and I did catch him, but not without giving a nearby rider a scare. I felt awful and embarrassed. When I finally got on him he did shy and try to pull a few stunts, but ultimately calmed down perfectly. I think he was testing me, but I was nervous on the ground when I was leading him back to the barn in the downpour! I am so much better on a horse than on the ground.
I am very excited to tell about the promise of upcoming riding adventures, but I will wait for my next post!