Anyway, we returned to work via the Blue Ridge Center for Therapeutic Horsemanship Benefit Ride. It was held at the scenic Blandy Experimental Farm, which hosts an arboretum and about 7.5 miles of bridle paths. I rode at the farm back in June and really loved the trails, so I was excited to get another chance to see them and maybe explore a bit more.
|View of the arboretum from the horse trailer parking lot|
So, against my better judgment, I did the interview and I'm sure whoever edits the footage will be swearing my name because he/she will have to figure out a way to somehow get across that therapeutic riding is a wonderful cause to support using my barely intelligible phrases. And I should mention that the news guy also filmed me unloading my horse and then frantically brushing him because, of course, his hygiene has suffered too, and he was filthy when I unloaded him. I think a few other people were filmed too, and I can only hope that they provided more worthy film than I did.
I did get a chance to ride, and one of the ladies I rode with was quite familiar with the trails, so she showed us around, and I got to know a section of the park I hadn't seen the last time. There are definitely some great trails for trot/canter sets, and I will absolutely come back when there is no chance of being on camera to see if I can come up with a good work out for Nimo.
Here's another picture from the trailer parking area:
You can see the mountains in the distance (I think the Blue Ridge Mountains, but I'm not positive about that - all the mountain ranges look the same to me). I think the farm probably looked like that at one time, but after all the trees were taken down for agriculture, the farm looks more like the rolling hills from North Dakota, but with trees, green grass, and tolerable weather. It ended up being a gorgeous day with all sun and a temperature of about 60 degrees.
My 15 minutes notwithstanding, it ended up being an awesome day for riding and while I didn't ride with a watch or GPS (both are banned for the month of November to give me a break from my obsession with constantly tracking mileage and speed), I estimate that we probably rode a couple of hours. We mostly walked, but did a little trotting, and when we were done, Nimo felt like he could do the same ride again and again. He clearly felt good (not stiff or sore) and was very ready to get back to work, which is great. I had worried that with so much time off, he would need a few rides to get back up to speed, but that doesn't appear to be the case. Next week, we're going to be brave and try a Hunter Pace, something I've always wanted to do. And don't ask me what a Hunter Pace is or how it works because I have only the slimmest of ideas. I'm hopeful that someone will explain it to me when I sign in at the ride!:)