Friday, December 16, 2011

Team 23: Reilly


I will be riding my 19-year-old Quarter Horse gelding named Gus, and my 4-year-old Morgan filly named Windy.  I have been riding horses for as long as I can remember.  Gus is the second equine I have owned (before him came my childhood pony, and before that my dad would just put me in the saddle with him on his thoroughbred mares).  I have had Gus since he was almost two and I can give him much credit for teaching me many things through the years.  Windy is the third horse I have owned and I got her when she was a yearling.  She is the first horse I have trained myself from the ground up.  I enjoy trail riding as much as I can and when I can't make it to any trails, I ride the pastures, cropland, and backroads of Southwest Iowa.  Gus and I have also been known give local kids horse rides, make appearances in the local parades, and chase the occasional cow if needed.


hreilly said...

4.04 miles

hreilly said...

3.87 miles

hreilly said...

3.66 miles

hreilly said...

4.32 miles

hreilly said...

3.05 miles

hreilly said...

2.94 miles

hreilly said...

I wonder what my horses are trying to tell me....

Today for the 2nd day in a row, when I showed up to ride they went to the farthest corner of the pasture possible and calmly waited and required me to retrieve them from all the way down there.

Is it their form of protest to say "I think you missed the memo, this is WINTER and we aren't supposed to ride this much"?

Are they really trying to avoid me?

Or are they telling me that I need some exercise too?

hreilly said...

0.32 miles

8.07 miles

hreilly said...
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hreilly said...

Rode Windy by herself out in the cornfield and had the best ride on her I have had so far. She was calm, walked a straight path instead of zig-zagging constantly, wasn't spookish, and didn't throw any tantrums. Huge progress! She even kept calm when we crossed a waterway and got into mud that was a little boggier and deeper than expected. 40 degree temps, sunny, and not one bit of wind made for a perfect afternoon!

hreilly said...

When we got back from riding at Hacklebarney, I wasn't ready to be done riding for the day, so we rode Windy and Gus into town and back.

hreilly said...

Rode with a group of friends today (including Team #51 Dream) at Hacklebarney. I rode Windy and my boyfriend rode Gus, so both horses got some riding time. Beautiful weather for January. 45 degrees, sunny, and little breeze made a good ride through the timber.

hreilly said...

Rode Gus down dirt road and back, bareback. (This time of year I don't like to waste any daylight after work by taking the time to saddle up!) Today was an unseasonably mild 50 degrees, light breeze, and sunny.

hreilly said...

Rode Gus around the cornfield, bareback again. Record setting temps of low 60s and very light breeze made for a pleasant ride. No gloves and no hat in January--unbelievable!

hreilly said...

Saddled up Windy and took her for a ride around the cornfield. She hadn't been out in a couple weeks and was full of energy. Actually had a pheasant fly up out of the grass, which is a rare sighting these days.

hreilly said...

4.71 miles

One benefit of riding bareback: WARMTH! Weather started out not too bad but then the wind picked up and it got rather chilly out there! I was glad to be bareback and wearing my long Outback duster--it covers my legs and holds all of the horse's heat in to keep me warm! I rode Gus bareback after work today. Down the dirt road some and out into a couple of the neighbor's pastures that don't have cattle in right now. Met the neighbor out on the road and reported some downed electric fence to him on my dad's land where he is keeping cattle now. That is the 4th time I have reported downed fence to him in the past couple months. One of those times was a hole cut in the good woven wire by the MidAmerican Wind Turbine Project surveyors (a hole that the neighbors didn't know was there when they went to fix the other stretch Mid-American had cut out to lay wires in the ground). The other three times are downed electric wire caused by deer. I guess I see a lot of fence when I'm out there on the horse. Makes me feel like an old-time cowboy "out ridin' fences"!

hreilly said...

1.98 miles

Finally had to break out the insulated bib overalls, big puffy winter coat, and rabbit-fur lined "Fargo" style hat. Rode Gus bareback for a brief tour around the cornfield. Highs in the 20s today with a windchill of, well, colder than that! By the time of day I went out riding the wind had slowed down and the sun came out, but my face still stung! Had to laugh when Gus and I hopped the little narrow washed-out waterway we always hop across when we ride out there. He must have lost traction with his back end as he jumped because I suddenly found myself sitting on his rump with my legs dangling in his flanks, his front end on the bank and his rear end down in the small ravine. All was well. He stood there calmly as I pulled myself back up where I belonged and he plodded right out of there. Where was my camera-man when I needed one?

hreilly said...

10.0 miles

Rode Gus to Bridgewater and back on Saturday. Took awhile to get there even though we had the wind at our backs. He didn't want to leave home today. When I got there I tied up out front of KC's and went in and had something to eat and drink and sat awhile. Despite the headwind, the ride home was much faster!

hreilly said...

3.14 miles

Rode Windy around the cornfield. No hat/gloves in January earlier this month-that is old news. Record setting highs in the 60s today meant I went riding with no jacket either!

hreilly said...

3.32 miles

Took Windy on another ride around the cornfield. Again, a day of no hat/gloves/jacket! Second day out in a row...she definitely rode better today than yesterday. Not the best two days of riding I have had on her but not the worst either. She has come along way for me to finally be able to ride her out by herself (thanks to an intervention last fall by Team Dream) but still needs many miles of alone time to become comfortable out there with no horse buddies.

hreilly said...

2.96 miles

Rode Windy around neighbor's pasture. Another no hat/glove/coat ride! Had a nice relaxing ride, as Windy was much quieter and calmer today than the past two days of riding. Still very vigilant, but much better than past two days. Not sure how calm old Gus is when we are gone because today I noticed he has a well beaten path around the perimeter of the box stall. (Fences aren't so good in their pastures so I lock on horse in the barn if I take the other off the place.)

hreilly said...

Total Mileage To Date: 56.38

hreilly said...

0.63 miles

Rode Windy in the round pen tonight. Weather is changing as a snowstorm is predicted to move in sometime in the night. She was jumpy and spookish, so I opted against taking her out in the fields. When the wind picked up strong and she started to get silly even in the round pen, I opted to not even head out into the horse's pasture. So I stayed in the round pen and worked on flexing, neck-reining, and leg cues with her. Eventually she calmed down and rode well. I wish she would do as well out on rides (where her focus is usually anywhere except me) as she does in the confines of the round pen. In the round pen she gives her head so softly, stops on a dime with my body/voice cues, turns by neck-reining or foot cues so well. But all seems to go out the window when I take her off the place. Didn't put much for distance on her but she has been needing a tune-up.

Total Mileage To Date: 57.01

hreilly said...

6.92 miles

Had a quiet ride through the snow on Windy today. The air was still and the sky was foggy. Rode our usual route around the cornfield, then out in the neighbor's pasture, then down the dirt road some. Went past the point where they had quit plowing the road, so Windy and I had some fun breaking through the snowdrifts. My seat-bones and knees and ankle joints are a little sore after this ride though. I usually ride in a Bob Marshall treeless, but the seat on it is too small to accommodate my bulky insulated coveralls, so I had to drag out the heavy old roping saddle today. My body has been spoiled by that treeless saddle! I wonder if Windy is feeling the same way after today's ride?

Total Mileage To Date: 63.93

hreilly said...

2.19 miles

Rode Gus....ouch...bareback....ouch....on my....ouch....sore butt-bones....ouch. My rear is still feeling yesterday's ride on my heavy, hard-seated roping saddle (when I have been used to the soft luxurious cushion of my "new-to-me" treeless saddle for the past several months). I also ran a few miles this afternoon (trying to get myself in shape for a race this summer, as well as getting some students of mine in shape for track season). So sore seat-bones, plus a bareback ride, plus a running work-out of my own. Will I be sore tomorrow? I didn't have much time to get much mileage in on Gus tonight because I took time to run, and also because I had to keep stopping to take pictures. The scenery was beautiful tonight. Such a crystal blue sky with purples low to the horizon...golden sunlight casting long blue shadows. Layers of frost and snow stuck to the trees glistening in the sun. Good thing I took Gus tonight to ride...I don't think Windy would have stood still enough for all the pictures I was snapping!

Total Mileage To Date: 66.12

Tammy said...

Running and riding bareback? You wear me out! Are you a teacher? What grades?

Thanks for sharing your Windy story. She sounds pretty special, too. My Blue feels like a couch to sit on him but when he moves he is SOOO uncomfortable.

hreilly said...

You are welcome for the Windy story--thanks for yours! I am a K-8 Art Teacher. Your Blue sounds like my Gus. He is a workout in himself to ride (bareback or saddle) because he is so rough-gaited. It takes a lot of effort to ride him smoothly. But I am used to him and his gaits--I have been riding him for 17 years!

hreilly said...

3.05 miles

"....Back in the Saddle Again...." For the past 10 days a head cold, a migraine, a sinus infection, winter weather, a chest cold, and work obligations have kept me out of the saddle (in that specific order). Both horses were sweethearts today. Windy was affectionate and seemed to be begging to be chosen, batting her eyes at me. But I chose Gus. Snow/mud mix makes sloppy footing and Gus in his old age is smarter on his feet in stuff like that. Gus was very well behaved tonight, and definitely wasn't in the mood to move out, and truthfully, I wasn't either. So I had a mostly slow ride around the cornfield with a couple canters and a few trots.

Total Mileage To Date: 69.17

hreilly said...

7.7 miles

Despite the mud and the muck, I couldn't resist riding Windy today. And despite this head/chest cold I thought I had fought off that has come back with a vengeance, I couldn't resist making use of my afternoon off and nice weather to ride! Windy did ok today. Could have been better, could have been worse. She wouldn't walk a straight line to save herself today, and was very jumpy and spookish out there. But we made it through the ride unscathed, and she did pretty well in the mud.

Total Mileage To Date: 76.87

hreilly said...

9.28 miles

Awesome ride on Windy today! She was a little skittish out there but much less than yesterday. She had most (note I say most) of her wits about her today. I set out down the dirt road, and when she was riding so well I turned and headed down the highway and decided to tackle town. That was her first time out on the highway and through town without Gus by her side! Then out on the old railroad tracks, where I found a good spot to tie her up and sit on a log in the sun and drink some tea (yes, tea, from my thermos that I packed). Then out on the highway again to stop by and say hello to Gus's parents (the friends who raised him) and then back through town and home.

Total Mileage To Date: 86.15

hreilly said...

4.87 miles

Rode Windy tonight just around the pasture and can't believe I put on this many miles just going around and around there and there! I felt like riding her bareback, which I haven't done very often, and for good reason! She really tests my balance and riding skills bareback. No withers + no visible spine + broad back as flat as a table + her tendency to turn quickly and tendency to shy to the side + plenty of excess fat (on her part) = feeling like I am trying to stay aboard a big, round, wobbly barrel. I have ridden my old horse Gus many miles and many years bareback but tonight I must have been a sight, floundering around on top of Windy, trotting and cantering around and trying to stay on when she was shying away from this and that in her youthful silliness. But it was a good ride nonetheless and we had fun!

Total Mileage To Date: 91.02

hreilly said...

5.75 miles

Alas, the batteries died in my GPS and I didn't get to log my entire ride! I rode Gus to Bridgewater and back today (which I know is ten miles). My purpose was to launch myself into the "100 mile club." But to be fair to the rules of the game, since I didn't GPS it all I didn't make it in today. Perhaps tomorrow I can put on a few miles and get over that 100-mile mark!

Totale Mileage To Date: 96.77

hreilly said...

4.05 miles

Finally! 100 miles! Took Gus for a bareback ride around the fields yesterday. Found that the neighbors had taken their cows off our ground so rode out there and then in their open pasture too. Wildlife was very active. I saw several deer in each pasture. Also several Canadian geese. And a very suspiciously active raccoon from far away. A pair of geese near the river took off and swooped real low right over Gus and me. It was so cool to hear the swish of their wings pass over us! And I forgot to mention that on Sunday's ride, I saw 10 bald eagles swooping and landing and taking off just west of Bridgewater.

Total Mileage To Date: 101.27

hreilly said...

7.07 miles

Took Windy for a ride around the fields this mid-day before the strong winds picked up. Mid-American sure knew what they were doing when they put up the wind turbines in the area--that wind just blows so much and so hard anymore. I have been forcing myself to ride on windy days to get myself and my horses more comfortable with it, but still am not interested in riding when there are 45 mph or so gusts out there!

Total Mileage To Date: 108.34

hreilly said...

Correcting my math...

Total Mileage To Date: 107.89

hreilly said...
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hreilly said...

3.54 miles

Horses are such good therapy. Had a rotten day yesterday and all I could think about was getting in the saddle and out in the fresh air and sunshine. Rode Windy around the cornfield. Stopped awhile on a nice hillside in among the cedar trees to think. Though I didn't cover many miles on the ground, I covered many miles in my mind. Windy brought me home with a clearer and calmer mind.

Total Mileage To Date: 111.43

hreilly said...
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hreilly said...

1.05 miles

Yesterday I squeezed in a few quick loops around the pasture on Gus before I had to move on to other obligations for the night. Surprised how easily I could rack up a mile just messing around in the pasture.

Total Mileage To Date: 112.48

hreilly said...


Rode with a group of friends (including Team Dream) on some private land (mostly timber) we like to ride by Griswold. I rode Gus. I have begun to notice that putting on all these miles (enabled by a good winter and encouraged by this distance derby) has really improved my relationship with my horse and improved his behavior. He has become more consistent and dependable (like he used to be long ago when I was younger with more time to ride all the time). Usually on the first ride out of the season with other horses he has to put on all sorts of funny business, but he didn't today! I thoroughly enjoyed my ride. Thank you Tammy for the Distance Derby to motivate me to ride a lot more!

Total Mileage to Date: 118.16

hreilly said...

7.52 miles

Had a great ride on Gus tonight. Temps in the 70s--feels like summer! Gus had some spring in his step tonight and was feeling good and on his best behavior. Rode out to the end of the abandoned railroad tracks and back and through town.

Total Mileage To Date: 125.68

hreilly said...

7.22 miles

Rode Windy today through town and out on the old railroad tracks and back through town. This was her second time in town by herself (without Gus at her side) and she didn't quite handle it as well today as last time. I will blame it on a certain chihuahua that I call "the boss," for she always comes out on the road to direct my horses. Windy and I came up out of the ditch from the field and entered town to find a car coming towards us on the left, a scary culvert in the ditch on the right, but the chihuahua coming at us head on was just too much. Windy didn't know whether to spin, shy, or freeze up. Finally she chose freeze up. We let the car pass, the chihuahua pass, and were able to continue.

Total Mileage To Date: 132.90

hreilly said...

3.7 miles

Had an hour to spare this afternoon so I hopped on Gus bareback and took him for a spin around the muddy cornfield. Realized now that as we are exiting coat weather, I need to come up with a good way to carry my GPS on me when I ride bareback. Tried tying it to my belt loop but that was too floppy and annoyed me. Luckily I had worn a pocket t-shirt, so I was able to stick it in the pocket for the rest of the ride. The grass is up and it is green and Gus was feeling good tonight! I am fortunate to have plenty of pasture for them, but fresh spring grass must be like drugs for horses. Gus was all go tonight, and not even the sloppy mud could slow him down.

Total Mileage To Date: 136.60

hreilly said...

10.11 miles

Took Windy on the Bridgewater route today. She was skittish and spookish on the way there, but rode much quieter coming home. Was a beautiful day, and I think this is the first time I can say I've had a sunburn in March!

Total Mileage To Date: 146.71

hreilly said...

11.95 miles

We took Gus and Windy on the first Rawhiders Saddle Club ride of the year. It was another great day in the sun in March. Everyone had a good ride and there were no major wrecks. At least 50 riders turned out and one horse and wagon.

Total Mileage To Date


hreilly said...

0.98 miles

On Thursday I rode Windy around the pasture a little bit while waiting for the vet to arrive for annual vaccinations and a check-up of Gus's lungs (he has COPD but I have been able to successfully manage it over the past several months). Gus's lungs=excellent. Windy on the other hand has doctor's orders: she is to diet and get more exercise. A LOT more exercise (she is a very hefty gal).

Total Mileage To Date: 159.64

hreilly said...

9.6 miles happened again. Forgot to turn Garmin on until about 1/2 mile down the road on my return trip home AND the batteries died! Looks like the batteries must have died just before I arrived home, because I was able to log the majority of the 10 mile ride! Friday evening I rode Windy to Bridgewater and back. Didn't intend to ride there...just started riding and halfway down the dirt road, I thought, I could make Bridgewater tonight for something cold to drink. Didn't even pack a halter to tie up, but she stood nice for me tied to the tree with her mecate rein anyway. I ended up staying longer than I should have, and it was dark by the time I was halfway home. SO peaceful though, out there alone on the dirt road in the dark. I am so proud of Windy...she was very responsible getting us home in the dark. She didn't spook at a single thing--I think she's better behaved in the dark than in the daytime! I learned I need to pack a few things somewhere deep in a corner of my saddle bags for times like this--some money, an extra halter/leadrope, and a flashlight!

Total Mileage To Date: 169.24

hreilly said...
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hreilly said...

0.54 miles

On Tuesday, I rode Gus around the pasture just a little bit while waiting for the farrier to arrive.

Total Mileage To Date: 169.78

hreilly said...

12.15 miles

Had a great ride on Gus today. Rode him out our our land a little bit and then down the dirt road. Found that one of the neighbor's pasture's gate was open and the cows moved out (finally--I have been waiting for this for months!). So I rode out in that pasture and enjoyed some new scenery. Saw a bald eagle's nest high in a tree. Despite being such a beautiful sunny day, the breeze was a little chilly. So halfway through the ride I stopped back home to grab a coat just in case, and headed out west through town and on the old railroad tracks. Didn't see any wild mushrooms but I did see some rare native wildflowers--yellow violets!

Total Mileage To Date: 181.93

hreilly said...

7.74 miles

We rode Gus and Windy both this afternoon through the fields. Very pretty day but with a chilly breeze. Confirmed that the nest I saw yesterday was not an eagle nest, but an owl's nest. Saw the "easter bunny" also! A cottontail let the horses get unusually close to it. Saw several pheasants and deer. Red-winged blackbirds and meadowlarks too. Spring is buzzing!

Total Mileage To Date: 189.67

hreilly said...


Took Gus for a ride down the dirt road and out in the neighbor's pasture. Pretty day but a chilly wind.

Total Mileage To Date: 195.94

hreilly said...

5.02 miles

200 MILE MARK! Rode Windy over the 200 mile mark tonight. Had a good ride on her through the field, down the dirt road, and out in the "owl nest" pasture. Windy was less spookish than usual tonight which was nice! She was still a little jumpy, but didn't try that spinning running trick she has been doing lately. Am hoping that spinning and running bit was just a phase and she is over it now. Time will tell.

Total Mileage To Date: 200.96

hreilly said...

6.23 miles

We rode Gus and Windy tonight out to the end of the old railroad tracks and back. Went off the path and had some fun making our own trails through the brush. Windy was a very good horse tonight (well it helps that Gus is there for moral support). She pushed through brush for me and blazed trails. On our short leg through town (going and returning) she encountered (and handled) the bossy chihuahua, a girl following us on her bicycle, a kid stacking and dragging garbage bins, and kids swinging from the branches of a weeping willow tree.

Total Mileage To Date: 207.19 miles

hreilly said...

8.32 miles

We rode Gus and Windy today at Hacklebarney with friends, including Team Dream. Weather was chilly but at least in the timber we were out of the wind. I had fun with my camera taking pictures of some wildflowers to identify later. We rode out before noon, then came back and had some lunch, then went on another ride after lunch. A friends son is training a spunky little pony, so that gave us some entertainment for the ride.

Total Mileage To Date: 215.51 miles

hreilly said...

7.36 miles

Rode Gus out on the old railroad tracks and then around town. Temps in the upper 80s and breezy. Gus was in the mood to go so we did a lot of fast trotting and a little cantering. For some reason he always has liked going faster when we get in the trees on the narrow trails. So being familiar with the trails out on the old railroad tracks, and feeling a little dare-devilish today, I decided to let him do his fastest trot through the trails and see if I could duck and dodge all the branches in time (while posting his jolting trot the whole way). And I did! Gus sure seemed to be having a good time as I steered him this way and that to through the branches at medium-high speed. He didn't have any breathing issues today in the heat, even with all that trotting. I am hopeful that his recovery from COPD is here to stay, and am looking forward to a summer full of many miles. I am hoping to get him in shape for a Ride and Tie event in September. If his good breathing holds out even into the summer heat and humidity, the vet gave me the go ahead to train him for it!

Total Mileage To Date: 222.87

hreilly said...

7.62 miles

.99 miles

Well Gus sure is popular. Riding through town this evening, I saw a good friend of mine (that used to ride with me "back in the day") putting her daughter in the car at the ball field, so I decided to ride over and say hi. She didn't see me and pulled out and down the gravel drive, so I trotted up behind her car and she still didn't see me, so I sped up and galloped along next to her car on grassy shoulder until she finally saw me. So she stopped to say hi, and when I turned Gus around to talk to her, I was met with the vision of about 10 kids, aged 5 to 10, running and bicycling down the gravel lane after us, yelling, "GUS! GUS! GUS!" So my friend and I didn't get to visit much as old Gus was swarmed by all the town kids that love him and know him by name. After parents finally managed to pull their kids away, Gus and I continued our ride and went out on the old railroad tracks and did another fast ride down the trails and back.

Then when I got home I rode new team member, Whiskey, around the pasture a little bit and worked flexing some. She is a little rusty from not being ridden for awhile. Then rode Windy a few rounds out of sympathy--she looked left out. Whiskey (Windy's older sister) belongs to a good friend of mine who can't ride much anymore due to health. So Whiskey comes to stay with my horses in the summer and my boyfriend and novice riding friends enjoy her. She will probably be making more appearances on the Distance Derby as the year goes on!

Total Mileage To Date: 231.48

hreilly said...

7.82 miles

Went for a ride on Windy and ended up going over to Francis' place (her birthplace) to see how the hay was growing (will be helping cut that hay this summer) and say hello. Had one of the best solo rides on Windy yet. She was so nice and quiet riding tonight. She was wary of things, but not real spookish like she usually is. Had a lot of fun on the ride home letting her trot out fast and smooth to make it back before dark.

Total Mileage To Date: 239.30

hreilly said...

10.19 Miles

Rode Windy to Bridgewater and back. Not the most enjoyable ride ever on her. She was skittish and kept wanting to stop and kept wanting to freeze up and gawk at everything. Seemed like it took forever to get there, and forever to get home! Apparently she missed the memo that horses are supposed to want to get home quickly. Silly thing, she kept trying to turn around and go back to Bridgewater.

Total Mileage To Date: 249.49

hreilly said...

4.91 miles

Rode Gus at Harlan's with a couple friends last weekend. Enjoyed watching my friend of Team Dream train! Was her young stud's first time on the trails!

Total Mileage To Date: 254.4

hreilly said...

3.75 miles

Took Gus on a ride around town. Was a relaxing and uneventful ride!

Total Mileage To Date: 258.15

hreilly said...

4.64 miles

Rode Gus and ponied Windy along with us. I have been telling myself I need to do this more so they both get more exercise, and to try to work some lard off of Windy. She adds a whole new dimension to "easy keeper." The only thing is I don't like riding my treed saddle anymore! I went treeless last summer and am not going back! But I don't feel like it would be safe to pony off of the treeless saddle, as I fear dallying the leadrope around its horn could potentially roll my saddle over or tear it up. So I will probably be sore tomorrow from that heavy ol' saddle. I rode out to the "owl nest" pasture but I think the babies have fledged (at least I hope so) as the nest looks like part of it has fallen away.

Total Mileage To Date: 262.79

Kimberly said...

Calvin was a 2x er. Went out with him last weekend and he went through everything instead of jumping. (by the way I am still trying to sneak up a little faster now.

hreilly said...

8.09 miles

Saturday I rode Windy on a trail ride hosted by our local saddle club on some private pasture land north of Anita. It was quite breezy out but was a good ride nonetheless. The ride provided a very scenic view. Saw a lot of deer. One turkey flew up amidst some of the horses, but luckily it didn't cause any horses to spook too bad. We even had a spur of the moment cattle drive. There were some cattle out on some plowed ground. We saw the gate that they had knocked down to get out there, so we all went out and herded the cows and calves back into the pasture! It was Windy's first time doing anything like that and she behaved very well. I don't think she had any idea what was going on, but she sure seemed to enjoy it. It was fun, but unfortunately there were two wrecks doing it. My friend was dumped off her green horse twice. Once when she tried cantering along to go get the cattle, and then another time while waiting for us to get back with the cattle. Other than that it was a great day. Windy even let me ride her away from the group successfully, twice!

2.46 miles

When I got back from the trail ride Saturday, I put Windy away and saddle up Whiskey to take her for a little ride. She hadn't been ridden since last fall so wanted to make sure to get at least one ride on her before taking her on a trail ride the next day. She is such a good horse though and is the type you can pull out of the pasture ready to ride any time. She was feeling good and wanted to trot a lot.

5.34 miles

Took Gus and Whiskey today to ride the trails over by Griswold with friends. I took a young friend riding on Whiskey. She had ridden the trails with me once before on Whiskey last year, but never had been on a "real" trail ride with a large group of people before. She had a lot of fun, and Whiskey was on her best behavior (as usual) for her. I missed out on logging a small portion of the ride because my batteries died on me! (This would be the portion that appears as a perfectly straight line on the map!) I wish that GPS would beep when it has low batteries so I know!

Total Mileage To Date: 278.68

hreilly said...

4.26 miles

4.34 miles

7.12 miles

1.97 miles

5.02 miles

4.35 miles

14.42 miles

6.4 miles

Went to Stephens Forest riding and camping Thursday through Monday with a new group of riding friends. I took Windy this time (Gus will get to go on my next big trip in a couple weeks). She was on her best behavior and rode nice and calm and quiet most of the week, except for Sunday, when she was very high strung and anxious and pushy for reasons I don't know why. Perhaps she was mentally tired of all the riding, or perhaps she was coming in heat. Those 14 some miles I rode her that day on our long ride sure didn't slow her down any. And I rode them bareback to boot! I was wore out by the end of that ride. I rode bareback for a couple days because her underbelly was sore and cinching was painful for her, I believe from horsefly bites she sustained the first couple days we were there. They just terrorized her for two days and she spent much time kicking at her belly. No fly spray would keep them off of her. I slept outdoors in my hammock most of the time. The first night I was awoke by the sound of the trash can lids banging--Raccoons raided camp every night! The first night they made of with my entire jumbo bag of beef jerky out of the trailer! The whole bag, package and all, disappeared. One night in fear of rain I tied up the hammock in the back of the trailer, but was forced into the cab of the pickup for the remainder of the night by a friend's snoring. It never did rain like forecast. Another night in the hammock outdoors I ended up moving to the pickup when I was awoke by thunder and lightning. (But it never did rain that night either). We did lose one afternoon of riding along the way to rain but that was it. It was a good time riding and making new friends.

Mileage for the Weekend: 47.88

Total Mileage to Date: 326.56

hreilly said...

.94 miles
Used Gus and Whiskey to give kid rides around the pasture.

4.28 miles
Took Gus and Whiskey to Griswold Sunday to take a friend riding on Whiskey that loves to ride but doesn't own a horse of her own. Met up with some other friends too, but one set of friends didn't barely make it out of the gate, literally, before they had to quit. One friend's horse hit the pipe of the walk-through corral gate leading into the pasture with her hind hoof and blew up and bucked him off. So they unsaddled and headed to the hospital for x-rays--nothing broken thankfully. We haven't had hardly any rain for ages, so that ground is pretty hard! The rest of us went ahead and rode and had a fairly uneventful ride.

.56 miles
Windy looked like she felt left out when I got back from Griswold with Gus and Whiskey, so I rode her for a little bit around the pasture before tying up and clipping all three horses and giving them baths. Windy has lost all the hair on her belly (something to do, I suspect, with either those recent horsefly bites from Stephens Forest, or all the fly spray I put on her trying to keep them off). So I wanted to give her a good oatmeal shampoo and soak to soothe her sensitive skin.

Total Mileage To Date: 332.34

hreilly said...

Not sure if I will have time to ride or not in the next two days so I will go ahead and post now that this might be the last time I post before going on a long horsey vacation to Shimek State Forest. I will be gone over a week and won't be back to a computer to post until after the 17th. Bring on the miles!

Tammy said...

Is .56 right? Just rode 1/2 mile after the accident? Just checking to make sure you didn't leave off a number. :)

(OUCH! to your friend's fall!)

Tammy said...

Never mind - I see that it was .94, 4.28 and then .56... Math works for me! :)

hreilly said...

Went to Shimek State Forest with friends. We camped at a private campground...River Valley Campground. It is just south of Farmington, Iowa. The River Valley Campground is horse camping luxury! Stalls for the horses (with a roof over their head), electrical hookups, air-conditioned bathrooms with hot shower facilities, an arena, and a horse-wash to hose of your horses. Oh, and a main office with laundry facilities and ice available. You can ride through their land to get to Shimek State Forest. The forest has beautiful wooded trails. We rode every day and still didn't make it to every single trail out there.

I took Gus and he did wonderfully. No sign of his heaves at all in him. I wet down his hay and gave him his medicine each day and he was just fine. A few of us even did some fast riding and boy that was fun winding our way through those trails at a trot or canter. Gus sure enjoyed that! Now I just have to have the discipline to keep putting on the hard miles and he should be ready for the ride and tie event this fall! (And I need to keep running, myself!)

We met some interesting people too, and ended up riding one day with some folks that are into Rocky Mountain Horses and learned a thing or two about that breed of horse. It is always fun to learn something new about different kinds of horses. I ride with people who are open-minded about different kinds of breeds, which is fun. Gus is a Quarter Horse, and my friends I went with brought an Arabian, a Saddlebred, and a Mule. Quite an assortment! Other friends that met us for part of the week brought Arabians, an Appaloosa, a Missouri Fox Trotter, and some Quarter Horses.

Towards the end of our vacation we loaded up and headed to Stephens Forest for a couple days to meet up with some other friends there. Stephens put us halfway home.

We had perfect weather all week and missed out on all the rain. Finally we hit rain at Stephens but it didn't stop us from riding. We did one ride in a light shower, but other than that it only rained on us during the night.

As for the raccoons...oh boy! We thought we had it made over at River Valley. The first couple days we had no problems with raccoons. But as soon as the campground thinned out (the Pony Express had a poker ride event the weekend we were there) and the crowds dispersed, in came the raccoons! When we got to Stephens, we were prepared, because we KNEW they would be bad there. We took the precaution of putting everything in the back of the trailer, but somehow they still managed to crawl up the side of the trailer and squeeze through the narrow opening of the stock trailer and get into our stuff!

Total miles from vacation: 84.39

Total Mileage To Date: 416.73

hreilly said...

1.14 miles: 6/17
Rode Windy around the pasture for a little while.

1.86 miles: 6/18
Took Gus for a quick bareback ride through the field.

9.87 miles: 6/20
Rode Gus through town, out on railroad tracks, and up and down a dirt road. Testing his wind for the ride and tie event I want to do in a few months, we galloped and trotted up and down the dirt road. He is doing pretty good for a fat old quarter horse that has battled lung problems in the past! I might have to get boots to put on his back feet too, because after vacation (which was pretty rocky) his back feet seem a little more sensitive than before.

1.46 miles: 6/20
Rode Windy around the pasture for awhile as the wind was picking up and the cold front moving in. We could feel the blast of cold air as it moved in. Got her put away and the tack put away just in time before the downpour.

10.29 miles: 6/21
Rode Windy down the dirt road and north on a dirt road we hadn't ridden on before. The day was beautiful. Sunny, high 70s or low 80s, with some breeze. A few odd clouds in the crystal blue sky. Crops all shining bright shades of green as far as the eye can see. Was a beautiful ride. (Except for the ever-present wind turbine nuisance.)

6.68 miles: 6/21
Rode Windy around town and out west on railroad tracks. We encountered a skunk family to the side of the path. When the mother saw us, she took off, but the babies stayed. Two of the babies huddled together, but the third was feeling rather courageous. He inquisitively approached us from the side as we tried to sneak by. Then, he started following us! Not knowing enough about skunks to know if a baby could spray or not, I didn't want to stick around to find out. Windy didn't even see them in the first place to know what was going on, and she was probably wondering why I suddenly smacked her on the rear to get going fast! That skunk baby was starting to trot along after us down the path! I wonder if Windy's pride would be hurt if she knew she got chased out of there on the run by a tiny skunk baby?

Total Mileage To Date: 448.03

hreilly said...

1.32 miles: 6/23
Rode Windy with the saddle club through the Lewis Parade.

Then after the parade we went to Griswold to ride and camp for the rest of the weekend:
5.13 miles: 6/23
4.53 miles: 6/23
5.23 miles: 6/24

Total Mileage To Date: 464.24

hreilly said...

13.2 miles: 6/26

Road riding on Gus. Found a long stretch of dirt road to do some trotting/galloping on.

Total Mileage To Date: 477.44

hreilly said...

4.64 miles: 6/29

Rode Whiskey down the dirt road to try out my new Cashel Soft Saddle. Now to just figure out how to attach some saddle bags to the thing so I can carry stuff!

Total Mileage To Date: 482.08

hreilly said...

1.88 miles: 6/30
Rode/ran with Whiskey. Used my Cashel Soft Saddle with running shorts for the first time to see how that would feel. Whiskey and I actually went almost 5 miles, but I ran a lot of them next to her. Not sure if running alongside the horse would count for distance derby miles, so I turned the GPS off when I ran and turned it back on when I rode.

.41 miles: 7/1
Rode Gus around pasture to see how he was moving after several days of rest...was worried he had an abscess, but after soaking his feet a few days and some time off, the soreness went away and no abscess became visible. He seemed to be moving pretty good.

4.54 miles: 7/3
Rode Gus down dirt road and back. Used soft saddle and running shorts again. Think I am going to have to wrap the nylon stirrup straps with something to keep my lower legs from rubbing raw. Gus is moving out well and am relieved that he is over the soreness, whatever it was. Just hoping putting miles back on doesn't bring it back!

Total Mileage To Date: 488.91

hreilly said...

3.78 miles: 7/3
Rode Gus around town to see what sorts of 4th of July festivities were underway. People were starting to gather at the street dance. Several parties going on in different yards around town. I couldn't think of anywhere I would rather be to celebrate than to enjoy my freedom to ride my horse!

1.72 miles: 7/4
Rode my friend's horse, Joe, in the 4th of July Parade in Exira. My truck was broke down so I couldn't get my horse up there, so my friend brought an extra horse. We decorated our horses with paint, glitter, and ribbons, and carried flags. We carry the Iowa flag, the American flag, and a flag with our saddle club insignia. It was hot, hot, hot! We sweated and suffered in our long-sleeved shirts.

4.02 miles: 7/7
Took a friend riding at Hacklebarney. I rode Windy and she rode Whiskey. Met up with some other friends and had a nice ride.

1.66 miles: 7/7
Later in the day, after riding at Hacklebarney and coming home to rest for awhile, my friend and I took Gus and Whiskey to ride with the saddle club in the Old Soldiers Reunion Parade in Griswold. After the parade my friends and I used our horses to give kid rides to help raise money for the Pony Express Riders of Iowa (an organization that raises money for the Easter Seals Camp Sunnyside.

.9 miles
.46 miles
1.63 miles
(July 8) Went running and riding with Gus on the dirt road. Only logged my riding miles. (Overall we went about 4.5 miles.)

Total Mileage To Date: 503.08

hreilly said...

6.49 miles: 7/11

Rode Windy down dirt road and around town.

Total Mileage To Date: 510.29

Tammy said...

I am getting a total of 509.57
508.08 from previous rides + 6.49 = 509.57

Just making sure we jive or perhaps your transposed some #'s when you entered?

hreilly said...

Mileage correction:

Total Mileage To Date: 509.57

hreilly said...

5.41 miles: 7/23

After a couple weeks out of the saddle it is good to be back! Took Gus for a ride through town and around the section.

Total Mileage To Date: 514.98

hreilly said...

5.18 miles: 7/29

A friend and I took Gus and Windy to ride at Griswold with friends. Windy hasn't been ridden much lately and it shows! I could tell from the time I unloaded her in the trailer, she needed some "reminding". So had to take her into the round pen there for some of that "reminding" for awhile and then after that we had a decent ride.

Total Mileage To Date: 520.16

hreilly said...

4.75 miles: 7/30
Took a new horse-riding friend for a ride tonight. She rode Gus and I rode Windy. Went through the field and down the dirt road.

15.27 miles: 7/31
Went for a night ride with a friend up by Walnut. She let me ride her 4-year-old Arabian stud and she rode one of her 3-yr olds. It was a fun and peaceful ride under the moonlight! Although we were both disappointed we didn't see more wildlife.

Total Mileage To Date: 540.18

hreilly said...

10.31 miles: 8/2

After such a long, busy, hot month of July, Gus and I have resumed training for the Ride and Tie as of today. I was gone, had other obligations, too many irons in the fire, plus I had to move. Couple that with the excessive heat and humidity, I didn't get much time to ride in July. Hopefully the rest did Gus well and hopefully we didn't lose much for the time off. We did some walking, trotting, and cantering today. It was hot out there, but not as bad as it has been. I didn't push him too hard, just wanted to ease him back into it to see what he wanted to do as for trotting and cantering.

Total Mileage To Date: 550.49

hreilly said...

1.02 miles: 8/4
Went for a road ride with a friend. I took Gus. Our ride was actually much longer than this, but my batteries in the Garmin died, and the only batteries I had packed in my bags were also already dead. Sigh. So I missed out on tracking about 6 miles. Oh well. Gus was feeling good in the nice weather and we did a lot of galloping ahead and back. Excessive heat has finally subsided for awhile.

6.56 miles: 8/4
After road riding in the afternoon with a friend, a couple other friends brought their horses over and we did some night riding under the moonlight. The night cooled down nicely, and I felt something I haven't felt for a long time: chilly! I was glad I had Gus and not Windy, because several times he had to be the leader when the other horses weren't sure about going ahead.

2.45 miles: 8/5
We took our horses down to where a friend keeps bucking bulls and has a bucking arena. He has his rodeo friends come over to get practice bucking out bulls. We intended to go for a ride after, but the bucking took until dark so we didn't go out for a ride. The horses still got some good experience and the kids got to ride anyway. Some of us took our horses out in the dry lot to help push the bulls into the small pens. Talk about an adrenaline rush! Gus sure enjoyed being right up there in the action. There was one point when we had them up in the corner and some of them wanted to break. Gus was ready to stand his ground and push into them, but when I saw those big old horns pushing our way, I convinced Gus to just let them go by. It wasn't worth getting horned over! After that I used Gus to give kid rides around the rest of the evening. I had one girl in my saddle while I sat behind the saddle and I ponied another girl on a horse beside me. Can't believe I put on over 2 miles just going back and forth with kids!

Total Mileage To Date: 560.52

hreilly said...

6.57 miles: 8/7
A new horse friend and I took Gus and Whiskey for a ride through town and out on the old railroad tracks. We ended up running a good part of the way home due to a storm moving in and not wanting to be caught out in all the lightning it was producing. I took a chance on a shortcut at the river. I hadn't been across for months but figured since we've hardly had any rain, there wouldn't have been any chance for my little path down the bank to have washed out. We made it through the crossing just fine and then had fun racing the horses through the bean field all the way home. Too bad the storm didn't amount to much after all that running. We got a quick shower and then it was done.

4.82 miles: 8/8
Took Gus for a ride down the dirt road and did a lot of trotting and galloping. Got sprinkled on a little bit on the way home, but no rain to speak of.

Total Mileage To Date: 571.91

hreilly said...

8.22 miles: 8/9
Trailered Gus to a long stretch of dirt road for some exercise to practice for the Ride and Tie. Alternated riding Gus and tying him up to trailer so I could run too. Both of us got a good workout in! It was a picture perfect afternoon. Not too hot, not too humid. Breezy to keep us cool. A nice relief from that hot month of July!

Total Mileage To Date: 580.13

hreilly said...

4.46 miles: 8/10
Took a city friend riding down the dirt road and back. I rode Windy and she rode Whiskey.

9.39 miles: 8/11
8.87 miles: 8/12
Took Gus on a two-day trail ride with the saddle club. It was a beautiful weekend--a nice relief from the hot weather we have been having. Everyone had a good ride and there were no mishaps along the way. Gus was a good horse and we even took our turn carrying a kid along the way. Gus had the chance to really get out and run as a friend and I raced the final stretch down the dirt road. Gus achieved top speed I have ever had him at that I know of at 25 mph!

Total Mileage To Date: 602.85

hreilly said...

2.69 miles: 8/16
Took Gus and Whiskey for a ride with a friend and her son. I rode Gus and she and her son rode Whiskey.

1.54 miles
.74 miles
2.67 miles
Went running/riding with Gus. These miles logged are only my riding miles. Practicing for ride and tie!

Total Mileage To Date: 610.49 miles

hreilly said...

5.04 miles: 8/23

All three horses got ridden tonight! My friend brought her son along to ride and also her dad visiting from out of state. We took the horses through town and out on the old railroad tracks. We worked on trimming some branches on the tracks and Windy, who I was riding, stood nicely for me. Having taught her foot/verbal cues came in handy to free up my hands for using the trimming shears. It was after dark before we got home. We had a good ride as usual. Her dad and Gus bonded and got along well. So much that when we turned the horses loose Gus didn't go, he stayed by his new friend wanting more attention.

Total Mileage To Date: 615.53

hreilly said...

4.43 miles: 8/24
We rode Gus and Windy to the end of the dirt road and back.

Total Mileage To Date: 619.96

hreilly said...

My Ride and Tie event that I have been mentally and physically preparing me and Gus for was Saturday, September 1st. Unfortunately (or fortunately) poor Gus has come up lame so he was unable to run. We made a last minute switch and rode a borrowed horse, so in all of the chaos of switching horses I failed to remember my Garmin. So unfortunately, I missed out on tracking some miles. But I we did come in 2nd place on the little half-Arab named Lexus. She was a very good horse and actually she and her owners were awarded Best Conditioned Horse. If we would have ridden Gus we could have finished, but would not have been competitive at all. So this was a treat to enter this event for my first time ever on a thrown-together team (my partner I just met the night before) and take 2nd! The race we ran was 20 miles, and I probably ran roughly 12 or so and my partner ran the other portion. The horse, of course, runs it all, but gets a break now and then when tied up waiting for the other runner to come along. I had a lot of fun and hope to do it again next year! Too bad there is only one of these races in Iowa/the Midwest.

hreilly said...

Took Windy riding over by Griswold this weekend to ride with friends.

6.62 miles
5.49 miles

6.48 miles

Total Mileage To Date: 638.55

hreilly said...

9/8: 16 miles
9/9: 7 miles

Took Windy on the annual Yale Saddle Club trail ride. And alas, once again I forgot my Garmin. (What is up with this forgetfulness lately?) Anyway, a couple different friends in my group had their GPS devices, and after rounding down the decimals because I didn't have anything to write it down and didn't want to try to remember decimal points, this mileage above is what they both tracked for the trail ride. So I am hoping that you all will allow me in good faith to log these miles that I rode, even though I wasn't able to track them on my own GPS.

Total Mileage To Date: 661.55

hreilly said...

9/18: 2.16 miles
9/20: 3.64 miles
9/23: 6.06 miles

All of these rides were my friend and I taking out Windy and Whiskey for rides.

Total Mileage To Date: 673.41

hreilly said...

9/29: 8.47 miles

Rode Windy with friends at Griswold. All my riding from here on out for this distance derby will be on Windy. Bad news last week...Gus is lame and I can't ride him. Vet diagnosed him with a severe case of arthritis in his pastern caused by improper and unbalanced hoof trimming. Vet said to give him rest through the winter and we will see how he is doing in the spring. Need to find a new farrier who can get his hooves balanced correctly and perhaps some corrective shoeing come spring the vet said.

Total Mileage To Date: 681.88

hreilly said...

10/2: 2.5 miles
10/3: 6.64 miles

Total Mileage To Date: 691.02

hreilly said...

10/7: 1.18 miles

Whiskey and I helped friends to horse rides at their church fall festival. Afterwards we rode around town a little bit but didn't make it very far before the trailer for the corral showed up and we had to turn back to load it up.

hreilly said...

Total Mileage To Date: 692.2

hreilly said...

Well I can't get Garmin Basecamp to open on my computer anymore so I am unable to upload my miles to Garmin Connect, so I will just have to report straight from the device now until I can figure out the problem.

10/20: 10.11 miles
On Windy to Bridgewater and back.

Total Mileage To Date: 701.31

hreilly said...

Correction: Total Mileage To Date: 702.31

hreilly said...

So I had to download a new version of BaseCamp to my computer since my other version wouldn't work anymore on this computer for who knows what reason. I can get my miles downloaded to my computer via this different BaseCamp, but can't make it communicate with Garmin Connect. Sigh. Can anyone help?

10/27: 10.1 miles on Windy by ourselves.
10/38: 14.6 miles on Windy. With friends from a friend's house to Marne and back.

Total Mileage To Date: 727.01

hreilly said...

11/3: 1.02 miles on Windy
11/4: 3.7 miles on Windy

Total Mileage To Date: 731.73

hreilly said...

11/26: 3.04 miles on Windy

I went riding on Windy Monday out into one of the fields I have ridden in for years just to see what damage has been done by the backhoe and dozer that were in there the other day.

Throughout the many years of my life I have spent horseback riding over this little piece of Southwest Iowa, I have had the opportunity to become very familiar with the local landscape, knowing details of the land that go unnoticed to others who do not have the opportunity (or take the opportunity) to pass through the land at an unhurried pace, such as horseback provides. I remember the days when I was a child, horseback on my pony, and I could enter any field and ride along the grassy waterways, fencelines, terraces, and headlands, and never set foot in a farmer's crop. There was wildlife--pheasants, quails, rabbits--bustling everywhere. Wildflowers were abundant. I knew many places to gather wild fruit--raspberry vines, blackberry vines, and plum trees could be easily found tucked away in these spaces. To ride this landscape was a joy--immersing myself in a balance between agricultural man and nature.

Today, riding this landscape is immersing myself in the destruction and greed of man. Farmers are farming right up to the edges of rivers, right up to the edges of precious waterways, right up to the fence (if there is one still) and right up to the edge of the road ditch. Wild fruits, wildflowers, and wildlife are becoming rarer to see. The changes taking place in our Iowa landscape that have progressed with rapid acceleration in the past couple years make me very sad. I have seen so much destruction of our landscape--trees being dozed down, fence lines ripped out, waterways being plowed through, terraces being farmed over. Just when I thought these particular farmers in that field I rode in the other day couldn't farm any closer to the stream, they managed to doze in the land and the trees even closer to the water's edge, inviting erosion should this climate turn around and give us once again some spring floods. All this destruction of the landscape to gain just a few more rows of corn and soybean crop, at the expense of our beautiful land. Is there no sense of moral obligation to care for the land so that is there for our next generations to enjoy? The idea of farmers as stewards of the land is a farse. All that I see being done to the land around here is raping and pillaging the land for all it will give forth. As I see it, while we as a nation are fighting wars in distant locations, we have our own war going on here at home, that is, the farmers' war on trees.

If you are reading this, thank you for giving me time on my soapbox. Thank you for humoring my rants and raves.

Now on a side note, originally my goal was to make it to 1000 miles this year, but I can see now I am not going to make it there. I have been sick with something or another, not feeling myself, fatigued, or lacking any energy or ambition for reasons unknown more than I have felt well this fall. This has really put a dent in my horseback riding. I am just going to have to be content with the miles I have ridden. Maybe I can make an even 750 by the end of the year.

Total Mileage To Date: 734.77

Tammy said...

I couldn't agree more. I see it around here, too. I used to have a nice dirt road between our pasture and the field next to us and it is now planted almost right up to our fence. A creek that ran between the two fields to the west of us which was tree lined and a good training opportunity for the horses has been bulldozed out; all the trees are gone. And this is just on our little corner of the section. It is really sad.

Sorry you were under the weather but so glad you joined our Distance Derby and we got to know you better through your rides on YOUR Windy. :)

hreilly said...

12/13: 2.3 miles on Windy

Total Mileage To Date: 737.07

hreilly said...

All my miles have been logged. I had fun in Distance Derby 2012, but am not going to participate in 2013. Good luck to all 2013 riders!