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The day dawned foggy and dark and dank….but it was not raining.
The Poor People Monthly ride was today at Five Forks Battlefield…I had said I was going if it was not too wet and I could get hooked to the trailer and get out of here….
But gosh it was foggy as the sun came up….At first I could not find the horses or the cows…but when I whistled a horse nickered so I knew they were there….and one of the cows bawled back at me as well….
Some folks say I am crazy to feed my cows grain….I give them a handout every evening when I feed the horses….benefit is they come to me every time I call them….I don’t give them but a couple of cup fulls per head but it is an easy way to count noses and make sure everyone is upright and healthy in the dark….
It also keeps them quiet and easy to get along with….even this falls calves born around labor day have caught on to the routine and are usually waiting for me in their stall for their evening handout….. they have a little creep area where the cows can not push them aside and steal their grain.
Condi knew it was not time for feeding and she stood outside for a while but when she saw Pete eating his handout her greed overcame her caution…she came in for her handout and realized that someone was going to have to go to work and it was most likely her….I shut the stall gate and went to hook up the trailer….The trailer was in an unusual place because the last time we used it it was too wet to put back in the regular parking place….and I had to back around a tree to get to it and it took me a couple of tries to get lined up….and it was foggy…..
Finally got hooked and stopped at the barn for Condi….Always a lady, she stepped right up into the trailer and we departed….but it soon became a Journey….the first half hour was so foggy that I almost missed a stop sign at a T intersection so speed was cut in half…when I finally got to the interstate there was enough traffic that the fog was dispersed from the roadway a bit…and traffic was still light enough to proceed sanely. But the trip was long and tedious…
Gps said it was a 51 mile trip but it took me over an hour and a half to get there….I had not been to five forks in several years and had absolutely no memory of the trails. It had been several weeks since we had been out and I really needed to have a good therapy session with Doctor Condi
The fog had abated by the time we arrived and when I unloaded her I realized that Condi had apparently slept in a mud bog….she was covered in mud….I knocked the top layer off and tacked her up because we were running late…
The group was small….8 horses and riders and we set out when I finally got mounted….Condi of course wanted to be in front, which was a problem because neither she or I knew the trails so at every intersection we had to wait for instruction on which way to go….but the group was seemingly patient with me…At one point I stopped and took a couple of photos of the group….one is below.
It was then that I realized that I was riding with seven ladies.
Condi and I had a very nice ride….she was her usual excellent trail horse self….The trails at some points were vehicle wide….at other points they were winding and narrow through the trees. But they were all enjoyable….At one point we came to a pretty long wide stretch and Condi wanted to step out so I let her go….She hit a pretty good gaited lick and four of the ladies were right along behind her. The other three ladies decided to continue a moderate stroll….but they were not far behind us.
I remembered to take my gps but when I went to turn it on the batteries were dead and the spare batteries were in the camera case which was at home on my desk….One of the ladies had a fit bit and told me that it had logged 5.09 miles…..I would have guessed six miles. As we got back to the parking area it began to mist a little….I decided that I had tempted fate enough for one day and it was a little after one and we had to make the sojourn back home and tend the rest of the stock. I think some of the folks were going back out to do the other side which I don’t think I have ever ridden….So now I have to go back at least one more time….
When we got home Condi asked me if it was worth driving 102 miles over a nearly four hour period to ride five miles through the woods….I told her that when it was no longer worth it she might be out of a job….but so far it has been the highlight of the month of january. Time spent with Dr. Condi always ushers me back into a semblance of sanity…I have been privileged to have some good horses in my lifetime…different kinds of horses for different jobs….but Condi gives me a lot of joy in my golden years….Comfortable, smart, gentle yet spirited, dependable, sure footed and takes good care of me on the trails….I enjoy our time together tremendously.
Great read Jim! Thanks for the recap of our fun ride. It was nice to meet you and Condi. Hope to see you both more this year:)