Sunday, July 19, 2009

We went camping!!!

Taking the horse camping has been one my biggest goals since I got him. Since we got the trailer in April, training, weather and the move have all kept us from getting out there! Friday afternoon I found out that the Clinton Lake horse trails were going to be open this weekend! I called John and he surprised me by getting off a half day early to help pack! We were packed up, hitched up, and headed out by 4pm. We got to the camp grounds and there were only a handful of other people there and most of them were just regular campers, no horses. There are about 50 camp sites in a big circle with a huge (3-4 acres?) grassy area in the middle. We picked a site, unpacked and set up Boomer's corral.

He settled in quickly and we spent all of Friday evening just hanging out. John went for his run, we grilled out, made a camp fire, and went to bed in the nose of the trailer.

That was the worst night of sleep of my life. I had a headache, my eyes burned from the fire, I was sleeping on steel, it was freaking cold (52 degrees in July???), and I was hypersensitive to every noise. I may have slept from 3:30-5:30, but not much. Boomer was pacing a little, but I just couldn't let myself sleep! What is he got himself so worked up that he crashed through the corral? What if another camper tries to bother him? What if? What if? It was awful. So, I woke John up around 6 am and made him babysit the horse, whom I had tied to the trailer to stop his pacing, while I tried to sleep. No dice. After a while I just got up and started the day. Boomer did really well tied to the trailer for about 4 hours, but as soon as I put the saddle on him, he pulled back, came untied, and flipped over backwards. Of course, he flipped into a metal post with gravel around it and scratched himself and my new saddle. But hey, that was the worst thing that happened the whole trip, so... no harm, no foul?

I had brought along my lunge line and put it to good use. After he flipped over, I lunged him pretty good. It seemed to help him.

After that ordeal, we headed out for our first of three ride/hikes. There are actually three trails all connected at various placed by small intersecting trails. There is supposed to be about 50 miles total. The three trails are Blue, Yellow, and Red, with White connecting. Blue is hardest, then Yellow, then Red. We wanted to get to red, but to get there, you had to go down this...

We led down the first two rides and I rode him on the third ride. He was nervous the first time, but better the second time, and the third time he was great! He followed John the third time while I was riding him and that seemed to give him confidence on there to step. We were the first riders out on Saturday morning, which was a mistake. Spider web city. John was in front, trying to get them with a stick but we were both still getting a lot of web and arachnid in our faces. Not so fun. The horse was good though! On the second ride on Saturday, we went out after many riders had come back in. Boomer was MUCH better and really did great! We had a ton of fun exploring and Boomer was on a loose rein pretty much the whole time. He really seems to enjoy exploring and I also think he enjoys being at the front of the pack. Charley also had a blast. After that ride we met and hung out with some of our neighbors for a few beers and burgers. By Saturday afternoon the camp had filled up and there were at least 15 trailers. It was pretty cool! A number of people had mules.

Saturday night, I had learned my lesson and slept in the back seat of the truck, it was really comfortable and I slept very well. John and Charley cuddled in the nose of the trailer, which Charley LOVED! Boomer seems to do really well in his pen and progressively calmed down as the weekend wore on. His main issue was at the crack of dawn he started pacing, bumping his chest against the corral, and calling to the other horses. So, I got up before the sun hit the horizon to lunge the jitters out of him. It actually worked! He went right back to eating hay and I was able to sleep for another few hours! After that, even when other horses started calling, he didn't call back! We had a leisurely morning, making s'mores for breakfast and waiting for others to head out and clear the cobwebs for us!

The sunday ride was awesome. Boomer started out jittery and I had to have John lead for a while to help us keep a reasonable pace. After about 30 minutes or so, I was able to take the lead and put Boomer on a loose rein! We really had a blast! There were a number of water crossings, a few big hills up and down, a little rock, and a few areas that were out in the open. It was a fun ride that wasn't too challenging. Boomer seemed to have fun, but he really got upset if we stopped on the trail. He was a little prancy and just didn't want to stand still. We worked on that a little, but I think he just wanted a job to do.

I think we all had a really good time and I hope we make a habit of going out there! I know John was bummed because we had hoped the trails would be runnable, but they were too muddy. Maybe if we go after a full week of no rain, it would be better.

Now for the random Pictures:

Nature in our camp ground!

His tail touches the ground!!!!

Nice, thank you.

Tricky stuff!

At the top of the 'super rocky and steep hill'. The power climb to the top and the resulting adrenaline rush was not exactly what Boomer needed as we headed back into the camp! He calmed down quickly though!

Good boy, out on the trail Saturday morning!


Shanster said...

Cool! I hate it when the what if's get going in my head...I can't sleep then either! Sounds like an overall good first camping trip!

Oh - hey, meant to tell you... the aussie trainer dude used this thing called the blocker tie ring and a long long rope. The rope is put thru the blocker, there is tension but the rope can feed thru (not easily but without breaking should the horse pull back).

The rope is long so the horse doesn't come to the end, they aren't met with resistance like with a lead where they can break the rope... Rosso spent days litteraly tied with that thing and hasn't pulled back since.... stands quietly and calmly.

Sally said...

Where did you horse-camp? I was also wondering where you did your rides around Copan Lake. Beautiful pics!

Sally said...

Never mind, I CAN read-Clinton lake.

Heather said...

Sally- Call the park ranger at Copan for the best directions, but pretty much you take 75 north thru Dewey. Once you see signs for HWY 10 West, slow down. When you see the sign for HWY 10 EAST, turn west (left). Follow that over the train tracks to the dead end, turn left. After a while you will see the 'parking area' on your left. It is little more than an unmarked, roped off area. Don't pass it, you can't turn around anywhere close. From there, you just ride along the road, and through the drainage ditch until you hit the trail, can't miss it! It is actually pretty challenging trail! I liked that trail!