Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Turkey Trot

Twenty-two riders gathered at Bluff Point State Park in Groton on Sunday for Connecticut Morgan Horse Association’s 3rd Annual Turkey Trot. The registration funds benefit the Sue Brander Sport Horse Scholarship, and I’m pleased to say that we raised $390 for the scholarship fund on Sunday.

Will and Bill volunteered to take care of food (coffee and donuts in the morning and lunch after the ride) and stay with the horse trailers. That meant I got to ride, so I was very appreciative of their continued support!

After checking in the horses and riders, filling out NEHT paperwork and getting Will set up to handle the prizes, Tim and I tacked up Scout and Secret. Debbie and her daughter had hung around the parking lot waiting for me to be ready, and the four of us rode out together. Libby was riding Angie, a horse I’ve known since she was two (she’s nine now), who has transformed from a rearing, high maintenance two-year old to a kid-safe mount. I hadn’t seen her in a year and a half, so it was really excited when they pulled her off the trailer in the morning. Debbie brought a miniature stallion that she recently acquired from someone getting out of horses. Zulu is adorable, and looks like a miniature Morgan, but packs the attitude of a full-size stallion. He kept us laughing!

Tim, Libby and I set out down the trail, with Debbie bringing up the rear. Angie was happiest in the lead (she wouldn’t walk unless she was first) and Secret was happiest really close to Scout’s tail – when she was trying to chase Angie down for the lead. Fortunately Scout is happy doing whatever, most of the time he was serving as a buffer between the two competitive mares!

When we got to the beach, we rode the horses out through the sand and to the shore. Secret wasn’t overly fond of the sand – it was deep. When she saw the waves crashing into the shore, she knew there was definitely something wrong here – water that chases you, ack! I kept her back from the waves and just made her stand and watch, I’ve learned that it is easier with Secret not to argue, but build on positive experiences.

Debbie got out of the cart and led Zulu into the water. She was in up to her knees and he was in up to his belly. When she took him back out he looked thoroughly unimpressed with her. Angie wanted nothing to do with the water, but Libby eventually coaxed her in, after Scout went in. Scout is a pretty dependable horse, and walked right into the water. Two seconds later when a wave hit him, he simultaneously reared and jumped back three feet. It was one of the funniest things I’ve seen in awhile. Unfortunately I had my hands full with Secret, otherwise that would have been a great moment to have on video. Tim and Scout repeated this performance several times until Scout was calmly walking through the waves.
We continued our ride and had a great time. When we got back to the fork in the trail, and Libby knew where we were, she took off at a trot. Tim and I laughed – the kid who kept telling us she didn’t want to go fast all day was gone. So we picked up a trot to catch up to her. We all forgot about Zulu, until we got back to the parking lot and turned around and waited. After a couple of minutes, he came trotting up as fast as his little legs would go, whinnying the whole time, with Deb laughing in the cart.

I wanted Secret to go into the water, so there is a place in the parking lot where you can access the water, but there are no waves. I rode her over there, and after she thought about it for a few minutes, she walked into the water, drank some of it (yes, its salt water), and then ate some of the marsh grass growing in the water. After that I was happy with her, so took her back to the trailer.
Before Libby untacked Angie, I hopped on for a spin around the parking lot. It had been three or four years since I rode her, and it was fun to take her for a spin. We had lunch with the rest of the crew, people I knew from CMHA, NEATO, and others, and then everyone headed home. Debbie called later and said, “Libby wants to come next year too, so you better keep organizing it.” No worries Libby, I want to ride next year too.





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