Tuesday, July 2, 2024

first hill hack!

A byproduct of moving both my horses to new farms last month is that it gave me the opportunity to think more seriously about what I really want in a boarding facility. 

doozy + lacey continue to do quite nicely as new pasture buddies!
It's all fun and games to hypothetically consider "must haves" vs "would be nice," but things get real when it comes to actually evaluating available options.

kitties are good too, clearly eager to be frens with whoever will feed them LOL
Every farm is unique, with its own way of doing things, own community ethos, and combination of resources (land, water, shelter, riding facilities, etc). 

for today's post: our first solo hack about adventure! there are trails in the woods too, but i'll get a guide for that
Personally, I've always preferred spacious barns with lots of room to roam and plenty of options for riders, on top of good turnout. It's nice to have a little variety, ya know?

explored a few little pasture lanes, tho!
When I first toured Doozy's farm (over a year ago, bc good lord, this change has been a long time coming!), access to open fields, hills, and trails was a major point of interest.  

there are nice little dog leg trails so you don't have to hack the gravel utv roads
Doozy and I have honestly done very little hacking. There were a few field jaunts during her cellulitis recovery last year, sure, but I can probably count on one hand the number of times we properly hacked out or did trails since she's been in regular work. And even then, it was always with a friend or group. 

eventually we reached the back field --- only direction is UP!
also, peep those fun little jompies!
Tho obviously Doozy has come a long way over the months. She's traveled to all sorts of new places for lessons and schooling trips and competitions. Not even mentioning all the little wanders around the last farm getting to and from the riding arenas. It might not have been "proper hacking," but maybe it had the same effect on the horse. 

poor dooz was NOT expecting the huge climb, 30m vertical gain! felt like we were on top of the world, looking back over the low spots toward the big blue indoor in the distance
So when I determined that we'd worked hard enough in the rings lately, and it was time for a little low-key wandering, Doozy was game!! 

previous pic taken from the first peak high point, blue indoor sits on the second, slightly lower peak. there's a stream crossing the property (apparently the trails cross it!) that accounts for the lowest point
Eventually the timing will work out to ride along with some of our new boarder friends, many of whom seem to love trail riding and hacking. Until then, tho, I felt brave enough to go exploring along the various laneways and back fields.
more little jompies!! kinda narrow and small, more like hunter pace jumps than proper schooling fences, but still fun!
There are little gravel lanes all over the property for UTVs and tractors and what have you... Tho I was pleased to find that most were also crisscrossed by grassy and wooded paths for horses and riders who maybe preferred the scenic (and less steep) routes around the farm. 

the hillside ahead of us is where i opted to turn back toward home. it is SO STEEP i'm not even sure we could safely walk down it in such dry hard ground conditions! 
And the back fields are wide open for hacking. Tho, I'll say, the hills around here are no joke. It's going to take a little time figuring out the best ways for traversing the ground without constantly going straight up and down the fall lines!

turning back toward home base
Doozy was hilarious about the first big march up the hill --- I just got up off her back and gave her her head, and for the briefest second she thought about bursting into trot up the hill. Which, like, fine haha -- if that's what you want! But she thought better of it and pushed onward at a walk. And was quite happy to pause at the top for a deep breath lol!

there are little laneways everywhere!
We really don't have a lot of experience riding together on hills yet, and conditions right now aren't super forgiving --- hard slick dry ground isn't great for traction, ya know?

doozy was so so SO good for this solo hack -- honestly really her first ever solo hack into the unknown
I'll eventually map out all the laneways on my elevation app to try to figure out where the best conditioning spots might be for longer, less steep climbs and descents. Ideally there will be some sort of loop we can put together for trotting over the more gradual inclines. 

really really smitten with this critter <3 <3
And I'm really interested in seeing what the woods are like too -- supposedly there's a nice big creek crossing in there somewhere! Not sure how Doozy will cope with that, to be honest, but we'll find out eventually!

just generally a big fan of all the critters too haha --- behold my future frens!
One thing's for sure, tho --- we're both definitely going to get a lot of passive conditioning just from constantly navigating the hills haha. All that terrain makes for a nice counterpoint to the typical schooling on flat surfaces we do in the ring. 

just another day in paradise <3
Plus it's just nice to get a break from the ring sometimes. Thankfully so far Doozy seems pretty game about it all!


  1. Replies
    1. basically the only time it feels even slightly less than perfect is when i'm huffing and puffing my outta shape self up the hill in 95*F weather to bring doozy in from the field LOL. but otherwise, yep, perfect :D

  2. Oh, wow! Loved the all the photos and your descriptions of your hacking out alone with Doozy. Wish Shiloh and I could join you!

  3. That is so pretty! Too funny Doozy had to re-evaluate her hill strategy, smart mare!

  4. Farms like this are what I sooo miss about the Northeast. Finding space to hack down here isn't easy, I got lucky with my last barn and where I'm at now. Enjoy those rolling fields, Doozy is a lucky girl!

  5. Oh wow, it's beautiful there! The hills will seem less steep eventually.... Haha! Hopefully anyway. She's going to be one fit lady!

  6. What a beautiful place to hack out!


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