Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Trail Challenge that 7 & I Were Not Ready for!

Saturday came along some how very quickly! Seven was not ready or even tuned up, too fat even for the event! I was tired from the last trip but we wanted to support the Halifax Trail Challenge. So off we went, not expecting anything but to have fun!

The course was great and some new things too! I was very proud of Seven as he conquered the Pool Noodle Gate like a Brave Boy! No launching in the air this time!
The Scare crow still upset him but he carried the injured animal very well! (Stuffed Animal)
Thanks Casey Armstrong for taking some great photos for me!
Seven placed second and we got a nice plaque and won our entry fee back! I was not expecting anything as we were unprepared but we can in right behind Danny! A tough competitor!

Gift Delivered Safe and Sound!

Jazzy (see post called The Gift of Jazzy) was delivered to Katie this Sunday the 26th of April.
I got up early and gave Jazzy a very thorough bath, combed out his mane and tail and sprayed him with show sheen so he would look dazzling for Katie!

We arrived after a long drive and I think the whole neighborhood showed up to greet him!
Of course the first thing Jazzy did when we let him loose in his new paddock was to ROLL!

The barn is mostly finished with a nice stall and a shady place for him to hang out! He has a nice pasture with plans for lots more acreage in with works.

Katie said she knew she would be spending all of her free time out at the barn now!

Katie will not be able to ride for a while yet as she still has some healing to do but I could see visions of trail rides through the beautiful peach orchards dancing in her eyes!

I hope that Jazzy will be her best medicine yet!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Meet Navarre - Poitou Donkey

Welcome Navarre! He is a Poitou(pronouced Pwatoo), a rare breed of Draft Donkey originally from France. He is 12.1 Hands tall and 18 months old. Just a darling!
Poitou donkeys have a long coat and their hair is very soft!
I say that Navarre is my Cubic Zircona Poitou because he doesn't have any papers. If he was a Diamond Poitou I would not have been able to get him!
I left Fire's Creek Sunday AM and drove to Linden, TN to get him. It poured rain the whole way! He loaded in the trailer and cuddled with Sadie the whole way home! A surprise was that I did not know until I got there to get him was that he was Born on my Birthday! At this point we are just getting to know each other!

Fire's Creek, the most beautiful place in North Carolina!

It was well worth the long drive! A long gravel road transported us into a place so beautiful that I wanted to forget the rest of the world! Bristol Horse Camp is well planned out, easy to park, tie lines for the mules, big rushing creek to water them with and to listen to at night!
We rode a total of 47 miles that weekend. I had one tired mule by Sunday morning. Thursday a few of us rode down the road a ways, exploring!
Friday started at 35 degrees but did not seem cold as the high was to be 70 later that day. We set off at 9AM with Blue in the lead for the Rim Trail!
Not a cloud in the sky as we were climbing and climbing, the earth below opened up a breath taking view for us all. None of the leaves on the trees had opened so nothing obstructed the view!
Lunc was at a cleared area that allowed for one of the best views of the day. The mules got to eat grass while we visited and had lunch! That afternoon the trail continued along the ridge and opened up to a full view on both sides!
A pretty butterfly, one of the first I have seen for this season, flew along with the mule riders for about five minutes. It danced across the trail and then into the woods, only to come out again and seem to follow long with us again!
That night Barry, Bob and I had a great community dinner and Blue built one of his super hot camp fires!

We were told that Saturday would be a shorter ride. That did not turn out to be the case! As we climbed again, my mule dragged in the back and I did not push her hard as she was still tired from yesterday! Bob rode along with me and the group was kind enough to wait for us! Back up on the Rim trail it was once again pretty! We could again see the large lake that is part in Georgia and part in North Carolina. Some of the trail was a little tighter as it winded between Rhododendron bushes that are ready to bloom! At lunch we stopped at some logs that had been cut down a while back. The mules tied all around.

Wayne's pack mule laid down and we stared talking about carrying eggs on pack trips. Just before we got up Barry noticed a nest of eggs right below one of the logs we had been sitting around. It was nine Grouse eggs in a nest built into the ground! We covered them again after taking photos and headed off for the Rim trail again. About 3pm Blue stopped at a short cut trail home. Barry, Bob, two horse riders and I decided to take that home. We where told it would get us home around 5Pm. It was a long winding trail that followed the big creek and then the road and creek back to camp. 21 Miles and 6pm, we were finally back at camp! The rest of the group came in about 2 1/2 hours later than that! What a ride!
My friend Ester from Hayesville came to visit. She is the one to introduced me to Fire's Creek. It was very nice to see her and she brought some vegetables and dip for everyone. The group devoured it!
Sunday I regrettably left for my next adventure!

Monday, April 6, 2009

H. Cooper Black Ride

April 4 and 5th was the CMA ride at H. Cooper Black! We had a great ride on Saturday, led by Marty Sims. We had over twenty riders and three mule pulled wagons. Lunch was held by a beautiful lake!
We shared the facility with the Palmeto Retriver Club. This ment guns going off the whole time and people driving around with dog boxes behind their trucks. It is always fun to see people who are as excited about what they do as we are!
Stacey Sims has a super dinner ready for us! It was so good everyone was talking about it into the next day. Bob showed up for dinner in his Frounters Man Coustum. Bob used to ride in parades and give talks in this out fit! He has a lot of custom articles to go with the outfit. Like Bob it is truely one of a kind! A great camp fire finished out the evening!
Sunday we headed out with a smaller group for a shorter ride but the light wind and blue sky was so nice. I took Sadie for this trip as well to elp get her in shape for the Fire's Creek Ride!
Photos Coming~~

Book Signing for Sadie Mae

On March 29th I took Sadie Mae for her 2nd book Signing Appearance! This was held at Triangle Horse Sports in North Raleigh, North Carolina.
Sadie stood out side on the side walk and greeted guests next to the table with Donna Campbell Smith's " The Book Of Mules" out on the table. Sadie gave a few pony rides and was fed quite a few cookies! She tried to catch a nap in the sunlight but kept getting woken up by customers!
Donna sold some ofthe mule books but also some of her children's books too!
Sadie was such a good girl!
Thanks Samatha for the photo!

Happy Easter from Shiloh & Linda

Happy Easter From Shiloh and Linda!

Linda took Shiloh to visit the customers and kids!
She dressed Shiloh in her Sunday best with an Easter Bonnet and even a Bunny Tail!
I know Shiloh enjoyed it!

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Gift of Jazzy

Some times things just come together and happen all in the right order for a reason!

Over Christmas I was riding with my friends Bob and Holly. I noticed that Jazzy his 17 year old Spotted Saddle horse was having a little problem with his hocks. Bob got him checked by the vet and sure enough he has some arthritis. Bob had owned Jazzy for over 14 years and has ridden him on pack trips out West and all over the country. He is a sturdy, great minded horse and beautiful too. After much painful thought and consideration. Bob decided that he wanted to sell or find Jazzy a new home since he did not want to hurt him anymore by riding him all day in the mountains. So Bob started looking into donating him to a Therapeutic Riding group. All the groups were filled up at the time.
About that same time Linda, Dr. Mansmann's wife was telling me about a 14 year old girl she met while working at her job as an RN. Katie had been in a terrible accident with some farm machinery. She has lost and ear, been scalped, lost three fingers on her right hand and broken both arms. She was in the hospital for about a month. Linda learned that Katie dreams of being a vet some day so she asked me to get together some things for her to read from the Vet school. While talking to Linda she told me that Katie has always wanted a horse and the family had even just put up a four acre pasture. Someone had offered to give her a horse, which later we found out was a 5 month old, pony. What is an injured girl who is not experianced with horses going to do with a 5 month old pony? I considered it a challenge! I told Linda that I was sure we could find her a better horse.

I thought and thought about it and then asked if Jazzy had found a home yet. I told Bob the story about Katie. He gave it much thought and then decided that this would be a noble thing for Jazzy to do!
Katie is 5'10" and growing so she need a big horse but also needs a quite well trained horse too!
Jazzy is all this and then some!
Bob decided to sell Jazzy to Katie for $1.00!
I brought Jazzy to my house after the Sandhills ride in Wagram. He is staying with me until Katie's family has a small barn built and is ready for the horse. One of Bob's friends Dot donated a nice saddle and all the tack and the maker of the saddle is going to go to their house and help fit the saddle and tack when they are ready to ride. The Mansmann's gave some money to go and buy Jazzy and Katie a nice grooming kit. My mom bought Jazzy a nice new dark green halter! Julie is going to trim Jazzy for me, donate some boots and a special grooming packet. My friend Donna who wrote The Book Of Mules, gave a neat children's book.
In about a month, I am going to get Jazzy all cleaned up and bring him down to their farm!

All of this came about with out my hardly even asking anything, it was all offered!
It is amazing how somethings just work out and come together like this!
I know what a great horse like Jazzy can do for a young girl.
As I have witnessed it with my horse Jake and Elizabeth!

Thank you Bob for giving Katie your special horse Jazzy!

Sandhill Ride - 1st of the CMA Season

March 20, 21, 22, 2009 -
This weekend was so good it will be hard to beat it!

Jane came with me and we arrived Friday night about 8pm. Our host Lexie had some of the best warm stew waiting for us. A group of the guys had gone over to the local Blue Grass gathering so only a few people remained. We parked and put Jane's horse Val and Sadie Mae in stalls.
That night we were cold! Turns out the electric heater I had was not really working that well!
After getting warmed up and tacking up our rides, the group took off with about 20 riders and two wagons. The day warmed up, pretty blue skies and all the mules where behaving nicely!
Through out the day we found all kinds of things in the woods. Ammo boxes, old army stuff, even what looked like an unexploded bomb on the side of the road. I could not believe it but the CMA Men where smart enough not to touch that, not even with a stick!
I found a two foot long string of machine gun bullets just hanging on a branch, they were live but blanks!
We came across a tractor trailer on this back country road, we all jumped into the woods for it to go by. We also past an Army troop getting ready to go into the field for maneuvers. They were firing machine guns but stopped when they saw us. The mules defiantly took a look at them!
We rode through Camp McCall, a military drop zone for parachute jumpers. They have an old tan there. Barry and Teddy joined the kids playing on it like it was a jungle gym!
That night Lexie and Janie Smith had a pick picking with all the fixings, cake and other deserts. We sat and enjoyed a Bluegrass band that came to play for us personally. Ended the night with a huge bomb fire!
That night we were warm! I brought out the propane heater and Jane said "I'm Hot" in a whinny voice! I took that as a compliment.
Sunday we had another nice ride. It started out cold with frost on some of the mules backs but the sun came out and I soon had my jacket off. Today was even more hunting in the woods. Someone pointed out that is was like an Easter Egg Hunt for MEN! They found more ammo boxes and who knows what else!
Can't wait for the next ride!!