Wednesday, December 2, 2020

between a rock and an Oakie tree

So let it be known: my absolute favorite socially distant activity is officially trail riding. Preferably on a pleasantly sunny day with temps in the mid 60s, on trails crisscrossing the Gunpowder State Park.

Oakie is a very handsome stately gentleman
And more specifically, with a big ol' group of good friends and great OTTBs!

cute bridle rack!
In other words, the trails at Isabel's old farm were jusssssst the ticket for a covid-safe Friendsgiving activity. 

ready for adventures
Originally we had planned to haul out to a different area of Gunpowder -- the Sweet Air park. But.... light overnight rain meant those trails would be closed to horses. 

So, eh, we improvised. And, given the last-minute nature and some logistical considerations, it made more sense for me to borrow one of the privately-owned lesson ponies rather than haul Charlie down. 

that feeling when your horse is finally sound again!
Which.... Turned out to be an absolute treat, since the handsome black stallion gelding Oakie happened to draw the short straw. 

gosh i love these paths!
You might recognize this horse as formerly pinch-hitting as a stand-in for other big group rides, like a paper chase at Fair Hill years ago... He was also present for our surprise-bridal-shower themed hunter pace at Tranquility. 

kinda love the bleak austerity of bare woods!
Bc this horse has been around for a couple years now, and is massively cool. He's tall, dark, and handsome. And is educated as fuck, having formerly done some of the big eq stuff before being purchased by a young rider at Izzy's farm.

our old stomping grounds - the blue trails
These days he mostly just does lessons, tho. And, while he's quite good at his job, it definitely felt like he enjoyed the opportunity to let loose a little in the woods.

emerging from the woods
Which was fitting since there were a couple ottb mares also out with us who were.... absolutely full of beans lol. Many interpretative dance moves were to be seen, much jigging, and snorts galore ringing through the trees haha. 

"pretty sure my friends are out there - let's go!" - oakie, probably
At first, Oakie definitely thought maybe he'd breathe fire too... But... Well, he's kinda an old man now (somewhere around 21 or 22, I think?) and so instead he was just jigging in his heart and spirit, but otherwise simply walking a big walk to keep up with those silly mares lol...

cutting back to the barn -- see the arena through the trees?
And damn it was so nice to be out on those trails again! Back in the day with Isabel we used to crawl all up and down all of those hills, across all those streams, wandering and looping around all over the place. 

"this is definitely not what i ordered" - oakie, definitely
Those trails are definitely a bit more rugged than what we have at Charlie's barn. And a few spots are slightly more eroded than I remember. But they're still super horse-friendly, albeit on the technical side. And just so so so beautiful -- even if it's hard to catch on camera. Probably my favorite pictures of the trails can be found here

who remembers this ring from the isabel days??
Before long, tho, we were back at the barn -- and actually back into the arena, where some riders wanted to do a little trotting and cantering and obvi I couldn't resist the opportunity with Oakie too <3

fun with friends <3
Toward the end of my time with Isabel at this barn, the arena base had started to deteriorate and disintegrate, with lots of deep holes forming. They've done a great job rebuilding it, tho, and it looks better than ever. Definitely felt like a nice little bit of nostalgia to ride in there again haha. 

So all in all, it was a really nice way to spend a holiday during these strange covid times. I'm super grateful that, with all the upheaval and unknowns, horse activities have somehow fit more or less cleanly onto the relatively safer end of the spectrum. Go figure, lol.


  1. Trail riding in 2020 has been a complete life saver. Also, Oakie and Grif are bridle twins!

    1. oooh nice! i actually really liked the braided noseband, esp on Oakie's elegant understated expression

  2. Niiiice. How fun to revisit those trails, and I agree, I love the bare woods, too.

    1. those trails are really so epic -- idk why we don't go more often since it's really not particularly far away....

  3. So fun! And great that you got to borrow a nice steady steed!

    1. for sure! i was a little sad not to get to enjoy it with charlie, but honestly it was prettttty nice to sit on a different horse again!

  4. Sounds like so much fun! I'm totally jealous! In a good way! :-)

    1. ha definitely -- we're super lucky to have access to these horses to borrow too!


Thanks for leaving a comment! If you have trouble with this form, please email: fraidycat.eventing at gmail.