Monday, April 23, 2018

finally, fair hill - with friends!

It's not an exaggeration to say that I've been musing about a blogger meet up / Fair Hill trail ride extravaganza for actual years now. There are so many bloggers up around this area, and the trails are so beautiful and accessible, it seemed like destiny.

i foisted charlie off on michele almost immediately lol
For whatever reason tho, it was also seemingly impossible to get on the calendar. Everybody agreed that we absolutely needed to make it happen... But it also turns out that everybody has a life too. And carving out time in increasingly busy weekends was just... challenging.

wasn't long before Sarah pulled in too!
But then Michele announced that she'd be leaving us for Tennessee and suddenly, shit got real. There was no way on earth I was letting this opportunity slip past unfulfilled!

punky proved to be an excellent buddy to have along on the trail!
So finally we settled on a date that worked for everyone, including Sarah too. Tho being realistic, Sarah really had no choice haha. She was gonna get dragged out kicking and screaming if needed. Fortunately no cajoling or convincing or arm twisting was necessary - everyone was on board and ready to go!

charlie was having a lot of feelings tho
And we were absolutely blessed with gorgeous weather. Strong sunshine with temps in the low 60s, but also a steady pleasant breeze. Perfection!

it's the batt horse!!
All my normal riding buddies were unfortunately booked for the weekend, but it seemed like such a waste to haul out to such a fun ride with an empty spot in my trailer. So I asked around the barn and one of my lesson mates turned out to be really eager for her OTTB Punky's first off property outing since getting him about a year and a half ago.

pretty sure remus won the award for cutest tho
Punky certainly lives up to his name sometimes, but he's a good boy. And I figured that since he and Charlie are pasture mates, they'd enjoy having each other for company on the ride up. Turns out tho, any reservations I had about bringing a young green OTTB along for the ride were entirely misplaced. Punky was a freakin superstar haha!

batty and remus were ready to go in short order!
And really, everything worked out so well. Michele and I pulled in to the lot around the same time, with Sarah just a few minutes later. Parking was easy, and all the horses were pretty chill hanging out at the trailer. Plus Michele was super helpful in keeping the OTTBs wrangled since Remus was happy to stay on the trailer until go time.

the wild mane, swirling ears, and periscope-up head fully describes charlie's first 15-20min on trail haha
But then it was go time and we were all off! Sarah had a pretty good idea of where we were situated in the park in terms of the best trails and directions and what not (it's a GIANT park haha) and quickly got us cruising down the orange trail.

punky happily strode out to the front to blaze our way across the orange trail
Charlie felt exactly the way you would expect an OTTB who hadn't been ridden in two weeks to feel: sliiiightly emotional haha. He was being good, but also maybe wasn't really sure what exactly was about to happen to him. And was maybe expecting to emerge on a cross country course at any moment. Like he expected he'd be asked to run.

blurry sarah and michele!
The trail began as a pleasant, twisty, hilly wooded section tho, and after about 15-20min, Charlie sorta settled in and relaxed a bit, and began looking around and enjoying himself. Punky meanwhile maintained a strong lead over whatever the trail brought - whether small stream or wooden bridge or, god forbid, passing by dastardly culverts or guard rails.

so many pretty sights to see. there was a goose ahead here and ... charlie had more feelings lol
And Sarah and Michele kept up a pretty reasonable pace too - so that the horses never really got much farther than conversational distance. Convenient, obviously, bc there was much chatting to be had!

MANY FEELINGS about the covered bridge. no hesitation tho!
Especially when we crossed out of the wooded section, through the covered bridge and onto the broad lanes that crisscross the entire park. Perfect for a leisurely stroll among friends! As was evidenced by the many other folks out in the park too haha, esp bike riders. Again tho, all the horses proved pretty solid.

what a good group of horses tho <3 oh and the company wasn't half bad either ;)
I'm just so glad we finally found time for this. As fun as it is to see other bloggers at horse shows and whatnot, it's possibly more fun to be able to really enjoy each other's company during more low key outings. Like when we all got to hang out at Fair Hill's 3* last fall. Except this time was made even better by having all the horses there too!!

these broad bluestone lanes were quite pleasant, even if those guard rails were spooooky lol
It's always so fun to meet blogger horses in person too. Like I've met Remus a few times now, and this little buckskin is a BIG character haha, omg. Batty too - such a good boy, but also omg so many opinions about all of the things lol. I loved it!

batty looked like he was having a blast!
I'm pretty sure we could have kept going for hours, but as it was I estimate we logged somewhere around 7-8 miles in about an hour and a half, maybe two hours.
 
charlie really relaxed into the hack too, swinging and marching
After cruisin along the lanes for a while, we backtracked through the covered bridge again (where Charlie was again pretty freakin hilarious in tap dancing through on his tippy-toes. the sound reverberations inside the covered bridge are admittedly kinda funny to the horses haha, but he was very good) then followed the road back to the end of the orange trail.

cute donkey we passed!
This park is just so freakin pretty tho - and we barely even scratched the surface of what the trails have to offer. Actually, now that I think about it, I regret not running my new hiking app to trace our path and collect meta data on the ride, like distance and elevation. Oh well, guess we'll just have to go back!

everyone got a chance to lead too, like when remus was eager to show us the way back to the trailer lol
Except I'm still so sad Michele is leaving us. It's been so cool to get to meet so many amazing people through this blogging community - especially so many people so local to me! And I love that it's been the motivation to get out and do new and fun things with our horses together too!

such majestic creatures tho haha
Hopefully Michele will come back to visit every now and then (maybe FHI next year??). And hopefully Sarah and I (and any other local bloggers) will find more opportunities for a repeat of this adventure in the future.

there we go, that's better. so glad we found time for this!
Because Fair Hill is awesome, but Fair Hill with friends is infinitely better. Thanks guys for making time to ride with me! So glad I finally had a sound horse to drag out there too lol - and even more glad that all the horses seemed to enjoy themselves just as thoroughly as we did. :)

31 comments:

  1. LOL that first photo of Batt and Remus. Too funny. They were so well suited to each other. Funny we had two quarter horses and two thoroughbreds on that trail ride....and Punky WAS amazing. And consider Charlie hadnt been ridden in two weeks he was so chill. What a good boy. It was a great time. thanks for hauling up to it!!

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    1. Lol the horses were definitely well paired ! Thanks so much for making time to go ride - I’m so glad we finally finally did this!! What a perfect day!

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  2. Awww good ponies! Love the grouping of OTTBs too. I need to get a group together to hit the trail this spring

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    1. it as definitely fun! two OTTBs and two QHs

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  3. Ohemgee that looked like such a blast! If the 4* is at FH next year, I'm definitely going to try to make it out.

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    1. the 4* isn't planned until 2019 at the earliest, i believe, but the 3* is still pretty freakin awesome!

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  4. What a great outing! Remus looks so majestic in that final photo.

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    1. ha omg i have a whole series of photos and they all have amazing incredible Remus and Batt expressions, it was almost impossible to just pick two for posting lol!

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    2. he was looking at the ten bikes coming up the road. Brave he is NOT :) Majestic either HA HA HAHA

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    3. awww Remus was such a star ;) and he was super brave!! except for that weird black thing stuck in the ground in the middle of the path haha....

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    4. he only spooked at the black thing when Batt snorted and shifted sideways... If Remus didn't have his head up Batty's butt (literally)... haha

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    5. lolol i'm pretty sure all the horses gave that thing some serious side eye!

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    6. Remus really was up Batty's butt. That was so funny. Grumpy ponies separated at birth :) HA HA

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  5. I'm so sad I missed out! When I was leaving fairhill for xc schooling I drove past the parking lot and waved at your trailers:) Hopefully next time I'll be able to make it!

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  6. Looks like it was a blast! I can't wait till the trails near my barn dry up and Luna's Auntie comes home so we can get out there!

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    1. this is the best time of year for trail rides imo, hope you get out soon!

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    1. this park is incredible, and there's so much more to it that we didn't even get to! just miles and miles and miles of trails of every type imaginable

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  8. So much fun!! It looks like you guys had the perfect day. I wish I lived in a more horsey area and had friends close by! I am in the middle of the woods haha.

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    1. yea we are super lucky in this area. fair hill is used for so many horsey events - racing and steeplchase, international fei events, big endurance races, carriage driving, plus all the local fun stuff like starter trials, paper chases, and trail riding. it's a huge asset!

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  9. So much fun! I'm so glad we finally got to do this! Everyone was so well behaved. Even if there were...feelings.

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    1. i'm so glad we got to do it too!! and i think the horses really enjoyed themselves, and were all more brave for being in each others' company!

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  10. Fun!!! Rides with friends is where it is all at. The weather looks gorgeous too.

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    1. this whole week looks like perfect weather. finally! we get a spring season!!

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  11. Awww so much fun! Looks like an absolute blast.

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  12. What an awesome ride! So glad you’re out and about on Charlie!

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  13. That sounded like a fantastic day! So awesome that you can get together with bloggers in such pretty places. And, give me new people to follow! ;)

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  14. That's awesome. Sounds like a super fun ride with the added bonus of bloggers!

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  15. Yay so awesome! I wish we could get all the bloggers in North America on an epic ride! In my dreams...

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