If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you'll know that I occasionally get together with a fellow endurance blogger, Saiph, for conditioning rides. We always have fun, so I was excited that after Saiph moved her horses to a new barn recently, she invited me to come up to ride with her because she has access to quite a few miles of trails from her barn. Even though the drive is a bit farther than I like to go on a regular basis, I didn't want to pass up an opportunity to ride with a friend and to get some decent conditioning in. I knew I could count on Saiph to help motivate me, and I knew Nimo would do better with a buddy too, so Saiph and I made plans to get together on July 12. As you may know, her horse, Lily, had a terrible accident the week before that, so our plans were up in the air for a few days. But it did work out that Lily was home by the day we planned to ride and Saiph could still ride her other horse, Gracie.
I got up bright and early that morning in hopes that we could finish our ride before the heat of the day. I had the usual adventure of trying to find my way through the Maryland countryside with a truck and trailer. For those of you who don't live in this area, let me explain that it is common for roads to randomly change names or even to come to an end and then start back up somewhere else. Road signs are often not visible because they are hidden by trees, and sometimes they are twisted so that the signs show the wrong name. Other times the signs are just missing. Or, as happened on the day I went to Saiph's barn, my GPS just gave up near the end of the trip. Luckily, I am used to these things by now, so with only one u-turn, I was able to arrive safely at Saiph's barn within about 5 minutes of my planned arrival time.
We got the horses ready, and we were out on the trail by around 10:20, I think. And we spent the next 2 and a half hours roaming the fields and woods of the property where Saiph boards. I think she said there were over 200 acres, and the whole property was accessible to us. It was an interesting ride because of the variety of terrain and obstacles: some shorter, steep hills; railroad tracks to cross (our first!); gravel roads; a river; an airplane runway; a giant construction debris pile; cross-country jumps; and lots of fields. At one point, we went down a road Saiph hadn't been on yet, and we discovered a way to cross the river. Our first option ended up not working out so well. Neither Gracie nor Nimo were too excited about the 3 foot drop off with rocks, but Saiph did some exploring and found a much nicer way to go.
|Nimo and I waiting while Saiph explored the river bank (photo by Saiph)|
|Nimo checking out a cross-country jump (photo by Saiph)|
It's interesting because last year, I really did prefer to ride by myself. I wanted the solitude and I also wanted to be able to set my own pace and distance. But this year, I've noticed that riding by myself doesn't have the same appeal that it once did. Now, I really do want the company, even if it isn't an endurance rider. Just having someone to ride with seems to make the miles go by faster and the chance to talk to an adult is nice too!:)