Sunday, November 20, 2011
Jersey Devil Part 2
For those of you in New England or the Northeast, I think it is important for met to note that the dates of the Jersey Devil were October 29th and 30th. The weekend of the snowstorm. The picture of Meg's truck was taken after we had finished riding Saturday.
The rain started on Friday night/Saturday morning between 2 and 4 AM. When I got out of bed at 6 Saturday morning, the horses were both wet, but seemed okay. I fed them and watered them and they seemed perky. I checked John’s blanket and it had soaked through, but his hair was dry. I decided to take it off, figuring he would be okay.
I came back awhile later and he was shivering! I felt awful. I quickly layered him up in the anti-sweat sheet (to let the wet hair breathe) and then a waterproof winter blanket on top of that. I wondered whether I should pull him from the ride – he was really shivering and we needed to ride out in awhile. I threw more hay at him, trying to get him warm and kept a really close eye on him. My level of guilt was pretty high. Why did I sign us up for this again?
I left all of his blankets on while I tacked up, just rummaging underneath them trying to get all of his tack on. I was so cold that I couldn’t even do the girth – now my hands were shaking as I had also soaked through. One of the riders in the 50 stopped to girth him up for me. John was still cold (as was I), but Meg said he would warm up when we started moving, so I hoped for the best and headed to the start line with her.
It had taken me so long to saddle up and get John to a level that I was okay with, that we actually left ride camp 5 minutes after our official start time. However, no one caught us and we didn’t catch any other riders (and there were around 25 of us riding that day), so apparently everyone was having trouble getting out of camp in the cold, pouring rain.
The trails were great – sand and dirt based and even in the rain the footing was decent. We made good time and since it was cold and wet, didn’t really want to linger too long anyway. The other huge accomplishment for us was that Megan and I had not ridden together in a year and a half. The last time we had tried riding together, John and Minnie had been so competitive with one another; that both Meg and I worried for our safety. I had ridden alone a lot, and with others when possible. Meg had ridden with her sons. Both horses have matured a lot and come a long way in their training and we were pleased that they happily went down the trail together. The weird thing is, that even when we couldn’t ride together, these two loved being stabled next to one another at rides – and Minnie is the Thompson horse that gets along with John best. It was only out on the trail that we had problems.
In the saddle, things were not so happy. I was soaked through and cold. While John trotted down the trail with his ears up, I was doing my best to keep a positive outlook. He did have a waterproof rump rug on, so the majority of his body was dry.