Monday, May 27, 2013

Trail Ride - Manassas Battlefield

I celebrated Memorial Day weekend by going on two trail rides.  On Saturday, I took Nimo to the Manassas Battlefield National Park for a trail ride organized by the Battlefield Equestrian Society.  We had a cold front blow in the day before, so the temperature was in the 40s, which is unusually cold for this time of year.  It was also ridiculously windy.  Luckily, there were coffee and donuts, so that eased my pain a bit.  Also, I had to get up before 5 am, so I could be ready to ride by 9, and I was feeling the effects of my early morning.  Nimo, on the other hand, was excited to be there and ready to get going.

One of the great things about this ride is that it was lead by the Black Horse Cavalry, a Civil War reenactment group.  They routinely perform in reenactments and know both Civil War battles that took place in the Battlefield quite well.  The riders were divided into three groups, based on the speed at which they wanted to ride.  I was in the walk-only group because I was planning to do another ride the next day, and didn't want to wear my horse out too much.  One of the Cavalry members in my group was a retired West Point history professor, so he was a wealth of information about military strategy and the Civil War.

The ride started out with a demonstration by the Cavalry.  We didn't get to see a lot of it because Nimo decided that so many horses and riders all riding around the field with sabers seemed like a bad idea.  So, I spent a lot of time walking my horse around and trying to convince him that we were unlikely to be attacked.

Black Horse Cavalry Demonstration
We ended up riding almost three hours.  I'm not sure of the distance because I forgot to turn on my GPS tracking device (apparently it can do everything but remember to turn itself on...), but I'm guessing we rode about 8 miles.  The ride went through quite a bit of the Battlefield and included a few steep hills, some mud, and the requisite stream crossing.

At one point, we stopped for water, and my horse decided that while he didn't want any water to drink, it was a lovely time for a little dip.  The water was literally only a few inches deep, but my horse absolutely lay down in it.  Everyone in my group was a little horrified and anxious about my well-being.  However, I've been through this experience before, so it wasn't unexpected.  I didn't even have to get off.  Nimo got right back up while I stayed in the saddle and we went on our merry way.  I'm thinking that this is a habit I'll have to break, though, because getting routinely dunked in a stream is sort of irritating.

Anyway, after a (mostly) uneventful ride, we got back to the trailers and had a lovely lunch, and I loaded up and headed home.  And I discovered that the great thing about planning to go on a trail ride the next day was that I didn't have to unload all my tack when I got back to the barn.

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