Ride Report 1 20 2021 Dixie

PDF RIDING LOG 1 20 2021

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It has been quite windy here the last few days….but yesterday afternoon in spite of the wind would have been a good day to ride and several people reported rides on facebook..

I decided that if today was no worse weather wise than yesterday that I would ride today.  When I got up i turned on the local weather and the wind was the big topic.  I knocked around the house for a while and then ventured out side.  The wind was pretty strong but the sun was out and things were warming up.  

I have this week taken to feeding Dixie twice a day….she gets a pretty good slug of feed and lately she has not been eating it all and Esther waits beside her until Dixie walks away from he pan and then Esther dives in and squeals at  all the others while she cleans up Dixies Feed…..Esther does not need any extra feed…Dixie does….it is comical to watch them….Esther will not try to crowd in on Dixie….but when I turn out Condi and Pete and the goats, Ester bluffs them all with squeals and moans and bluff kicks….

Condi just looks at her and I wish I could explain her expression….she is the queen of all around here but she lets little Esther bluff her …..bear in mind that Esther is a mini donk and maybe 9 or 10 hands high and maybe 500 lbs and Condi is 15.1 and probably 1100 lbs.

Anyhow to avoid trouble I have taken to splitting Dixies feed into halves and she is the only one who gets a morning feeding now…so when I put Dixie in the stall to feed her I was overcome with the idea of riding her today.

I have to put her in to keep the goats from stealing her feed…none of them are afraid of her and in fact the five goats are her entourage….picture below of them napping together…..the smallest goat, the aptly named Corona walks under Dixie without notice or fanfare.  She would not walk under either of the horses as that would be a mistake….The goats left to right are Audie, Iris, Nelly, Calvin and Corona

Anyhow after she finished her breakfast Dixie and i loaded up and headed to Washington Lacy Park….Dixie does not mind riding in the trailer…..Condi loads good….Dixie will tell me to get the heck out of the way…I have hauled her twice this week….Once to the vet to update her Coggins and then again today…she steps right in and upon unloading carefully backs out….

When we got to the park the wind was still blowing but not too badly….I was hopeful that once we got in the woods it would be less and it was..

Apparently Dixie has not done much solo riding….when we got tacked up and stepped away from the trailer she looked around to see who she was travelling with.  Finding no one else she looked at me quizically….photo of heer surveying the parking lot.

And a glamour shot before we set out.

She was a perfect lady at the mounting block and stepped out smartly after I was aboard.   She continued to scan looking for other equines and before long let out a mule bray hoping to get a response…She must have brayed and prayed for company nearly a dozen times while we were riding….but other than being lonely she was a perfect lady.  She did step out pretty smartly….I thought at first that she was moving at a pace that would keep up with Condi….I was close….the last time I rode Condi her average pace was 6.1 mph.   Todays pace for Dixie was 5.9 mph.

I should add here that when I first started riding Condi, just her and I, she Similarly was looking for equine company….She would nicker frequently so i think riding solo is just something they have to learn…  Condi no longer is concerned about just her and I being out.  I expect Dixie will adapt quickly as well.  I don’t Think Stewart rode her very much alone and I dont think the folks he got Dixie from rode much as singles….they had four mules and rode together most of the time.

Washington Lacy is a nice little park but it does not have a lot of trails.  Condi and I usually do two trips around them to get in five miles or so…

Today Dixie and I went off trail….probably not supposed to but on the south side of Jamestown Rd we hit the power line….I just wanted to se how far we could go before hitting an obstacle… we rode a good ways and then came to a big wet place but we saw what I will call a hunters road going up a hill into the woods and we followed it.  Actually found another hunters road but we did not go down it…we back tracked down the power line and then did the trails in the park…totaled out just a tad over 5 miles….very nice ride….only saw two other people walking their dogs…

GPS track below.

PPRC 1 16 2021 Five Forks



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.

PDF update 6/19/2016

Sunday, June 12, 2016 BEEN AN interesting couple of weeks.  Marie has had cataract surgery on both eyes since I last took keyboard to hand.  First one went smooth as glass…a week later the second was more difficult and she had pain in her eye for a couple of days….it is rapidly getting better now…she is not even wearing glasses and only needs a 1.50 magnifyer off the shelf store glasses to read.  Definitely cheaper than my auto tint bifocals…….                      Now after the rainest May on record it has gotten hot and dry…….     Hay making is going on at full tilt whereever you look……  My second cousin Lee, came by yesterday and I helped him pull a new wire to the outlet where the freezer is….there was a short somewhere and he had us up and going in no time.  people everywhere having experiencs with copperheads….I wear my judge when ever I am out side…but all I have seen are black snakes until yesterday….I was pulling some weeds from a bed in the garden and apache was following something…all of a sudden a good sized garter sanke appeared in front of me…and right below my hand.  Almost fell over backward.  not having any cows here the grass is taking over.  I decided I needed a few calves to eat some grass and hold the snakes a little farther from the house.  So this morning I put a bridle on Perkins and we did some cow moving…Three of the weaned calves had gotten back with the cows…so first step was to open the gate and gather the cows and sort off those calves….one of them was a steer that I am bringing home to begin feeding for freezer beef….Then I sorted off four of Courts heifers and we brought those five over to my house.  Finished around 10:30 or 11:00.  It was beginning to get hot….  Perkins is still a great old man and is beginning to like cow work…He had one moment where he apparently thought the mineral feeder was a grizzly bear…thought he was going to unseat me for a bit but we worked thru it…Then we rode up on a lame turkey dusting himself in a dust hole….may flies and small black horse flies were both pretty bad…….then after lunch I mowed and reseeded the paddock the horses have been in this week….     Our nanny goat Nellie, finally had her long awaited Kid….A single male goat born on D Day….I named him Ike…got off to a slow start with him being a little dumb and her not wanting to stand to be nursed….I milked her and fed him with a syringe the first evening…next morning he had a full tummy…I check him two or three times a day and he always has a full tummy and she normally has one teat or the other flaccid, but this afternoon was the first time I have actually seen him nurse.  She apparently is a pretty good milker and one side is all he can take at a serving.
Friday, June 17, 2016 I would have slept thru the storm if Dee Dee had not been so scared of the noise.,,,Court just came by to check on us…I said that I did not think the storm was bad here….I watched out the window as the southern sky was continuously lit up with lightening and thought to myself that Richmond must be catching hell….about that time we had a brilliant flash that hit within a mile or two and the whole house reverberated….next one was 12 to 15 miles away…Court said that Hoge Smith lost a hay barn,,,didn’t know yet what from…I just poured out and inch of rain from the gauge but the power did not even blink here…..the rain was hard enough that the direct teevee was out for about 49 minutes…it is still misting rain this morning…..turned on the news and sure enough Richmond got hammered….thousands without power…trees and power lines down ….roads blocked and the schools are closed.
Sunday, June 19, 2016 Well when I went out Friday morning all of the cows were in the ell behind my house…they were not supposed to be there…I had apparently left the electric fence off and they just helped themselves and walked thru and tore down a lot of electric fence…..so I spent Friday morning moving cows and fixing fence….when I got it back up and on it turned em okay….Friday afternoon I managed to sow one of the front paddocks and mow the grass the horses didn’t eat..   Marie had to work Saturday morning and I spent the morning cutting grass and trimming.  In the afternoon she wanted to take me out to eat for Fathers day…I told her I was not her father but she was insistent.     early afternoon I put Nelly and Ike in the garden lot so she could get some grass…she had pretty well mowed where she was….Ike was running and playing…I went to the house to get the camera and when I came back he dashed into the horse round pen and got stepped on….he was dead before I could get to him….I cried like a baby while I was burying him, and Marie is still bummed out and angry over it….when we went to eat we drove across Hewlett road to Jericho Road and saw why Hoge Smith lost a barn….both sides of the north Anna River looked like a war zone…trees down everywhere…..there was a storm cell that went thru there that must have been ferocious….       Sunday morning I took Perkins to Lake Anna and we rode with a small crowd to celebrate the 75th birthday of Jim Leahy….I hope to still be riding if and when I hit that milestone.   we rode 4.77 miles and then had some snacks and birthday cake and came on home….Perkins did well but he is not in the shape he was in….He was ready to quit when we got back to the trailer….we got back home before it got hot.

Lake Anna Ride 1 1 2016

Baby Jim
Photo courtesy of The Old Cowboy Archives

New Years Day Ride 1/1/2016

I have not written a ride report in a good while…..mostly this is because I have not ridden much in the last two years. Not because I don’t like to ride anymore but because life has gotten in the way…

I have had problems with the trailer for several years. I don’t even remember how long ago it was that one of the axles broke loose and I stripped it down to the frame and rebuilt it. I strongly suspected then that I di not get the axles welded back in perfect alignment as I did not have a jig to build it in and pretty much nothing was square any more. When I started riding with Stewart, he liked to have company on the travel to the venues and he told me that if I could get my horse to his house then we would all ride together. He only lived about five miles from me. It became habit.

Stewart and I rode everywhere together. Then Stewart had surgery on his foot and could not ride for months. But eventually he healed and we began riding again. The last tiem we rode together was new years day of 2014. I really don’t recall why we did not ride much in the first half of 2014, but .to escape the evil situation he found himself in Stewart was forced to sell his property and move to Buchannan. He found a place on Lil Mountain with thirty some acres of good grass and like all good horsemen immediately began taking in boarders to graze it down to the dirt…

And Marie has not been well…So I am hesitant to go far away and never over night. And then there is the new wood stove…cutting wood for the monster has filled the void in my life. Cut wood….split wood….haul wood…burn wood…I should be in better shape than I seem to be….

And now there is the coal stove…we have two stoves and this year we replaced the old one, which needed a good bit of work ,with a Chubby coal stove. I picked up a pallet of bagged coal yesterday…50 fifty lb bags to a pallet. 2500 lbs. I took the tractor to lift the pallet out of the trailer and while the hydraulics would lift it….what got lifted was the rear end of the tractor. I had the wood splitter on the tractor and that is almost the heaviest thing I have to put on it….so I unloaded half of the coal by hand….then the tractor would stay on the ground.

Then my trailer died again….one wheeel fell slam off and the bearing and hub were shot…I sold it to a guy to use as a chicken house…It had become too untgrust worthy to puyt my horses in.

During the intervening time, Stewart had sold his big gooseneck because it was difficult for him to get in and out of his property and he did not need all that trailer…he bought a two horse bumper pull…but after a year he found he did not like it and went back to a larger gooseneck. It helped that someone with some farm machinery accidentally knocked down the main obstruction on his driveway, making access easier. I bought the bumper pull from him sight unseen. So the trailer excuse is out the window. The tale of getting a title and a license is another story in itself…but it is licensed and inspected and street legal. Then for Christmas I got a lifetime state park riding pass. Marie mumbled something about needing an attitude adjustment. I thought she was just making more idle threats.

Anyhow, well before Christmas Stewart started talking about coming to the New Years day ride. And then the Christmas monsoon set in and it rained for a fortnight. But then Jim and Colleen posted that the ride was on and so I broke the news to Perkins that we were going and he went and rolled in a mud puddle…I swear he stuck his tongue out at me….
So we made the trip and I was hustling trying to make sure I had all my stuff together and trying not to be late…still forgot the GPS…so I had to guess at how many miles we rode. When I pulled into the lot there was not another trailer in sight…I had faith and unloaded Perkins and began to scrape away the mud…he literally was covered….About ten minutes later a rig unfamiliar to me pulled in and it was Stewart….shortly after that other trucks started arriving.

Stewart and I were the first ones mounted and we set out. While over thirty riders were in attendance we never saw any of them while we were riding…We rode the lake side loop and the little loop and half of the power line loop…We got to the big hills and decided it was too slick to go for a hill side slide on those steep hills and Perkins was about worn out by then anyway. So we doubled back and got back in time to scavenge some lunch….we were there at the appointed time but most others had come back early and a lot of folks were leaving by the time we ate. But we managed to find something to eat…We were not the last ones back and the reinforcements brough more provisions.

It was good to be back on a horse. It was good to ride with the PPRC again. It was good to enjoy the fellowship. It was good to meet some new folks. It was good to see my old riding buddy and his nice mule Dixie… Have to tell the story here…Stewart has gotten a new black Rocky Mare…Dancer. He was intending to bring her. He went out on the mountain to catch her in the dark. He could not find a black horse in the dark. She did not come to call…she did not come to the rattle of the feed bucket…Dixie, hearing the feed bucket appeared and followed Stewart all around the field in his quest to find Dancer and or Loretta…Finally with time getting tight and a long drive ahead of him, Stewart turned to Dixie and told her that since she volunteered it looked like she was elected.

As we departed it seemed to me that it started to get cold. So the weather cooperated. Perkins enjoyed the new enclosed trailer. The day was delightful and hopefully for me it was an auspicious start to a new year.






Starting 2014 out right

My people always told me to do something you liked on New Years day because you would be doing it all year….Last year I missed the new years day ride and low and behold……I only rode five or six times in all of 2013……

Determined not to repeat that pattern I was going to ride today even if was just a few laps around the house….

It was much better than that……We went to the annual PPRC New Years day ride at Lake Anna and had a ball….

I went with Stewart and in fact was priviledged to ride his nice his nice Rocky Mule, Dancehall Dixi….

Stewart and I had not ridden since mid summer….and Dixi had not been out in longer than that…But she was just like I had ridden her yesterday….well mannered and a joy to ride…

The deer were numerous and today we were riding right up to them…..must have seen a dozen and rode withing thirty feet of one….Dixi and I were both watching her and waiting for her to move, yet she stood stock still. When she did move it was so sudden that it still caused a little jump.

The weather was grand….started out cold as the devil but when the sun came out it warmed up nicely and the fierce wind of yesterday had laid down today….with all the rain of the last month the trails were a little sloppy but Stewart and I are seldom in a hurry…..We rode a total of 6.75 miles and got back in time for the nice pot luck lunch. Dixi breathed a great sigh of relief when I finally stepped down off of her….

while I did not get photos of them there were at least four other mules there today….One was David Oates on his nice mule and there were three more in a group that was not with us…..Peerkins would have enjoyed that as he always likes mules.

random photos below without narrative….
















Buckingham Appomattox Ride

Stewart and I went on a nice Ride Saturday. We were supposed to meet up with Jim Blanks and Zane Britton….We had a malfunction of the GPS and Dorothy took us into a dead end gravel road where we had a heck of a time turning Stewarts gooseneck trailer around in a small fishing trailer parking lot. The lot was access to abeautiful lake but it was steep and small….we finally got turned around and got out but all confidence in Dorthy was gone….We finally found an equestrian parking lot with a picnic shelter and corral and we stopped there….Blanks and Zane were in a different part of the park and when we talked to them all agreed to just ride out and perhaps we would meet on the trail….

Stewart took my camera and took a couple of photos of the suffering that Perkins must endure. One is a good photo of Perkins and one is a better photo of me…..


this is a shot of one of the trails….this park evidently gets less use than many we ride at….which appealed to me…Holiday Lake State Park is located within the Appomattox Buckingham State Forest….my analysis is the park has better trails but the forest has more trails….but sometimes the trails in the forest become a gravel road. In fact one ended on a paved road with no signage. Fortunately my GPS pointed the direction back to the parking lot and there were good wide grassy shoulders to ride along the road.

Perkins and Loretta always take turns leading….When Loretta leads she walks out but when Perkins leads she just ambles along behind him….Loretta still admires Perkins and nickers for him when ever he is out of sight….turn them loose and they walk around side by side….I think Perkins likes Loretta better than old bossy back home too…(Star Baby)

Another shot of the trails

In the state forest there are all kinds of tree management….these were some very tall pines we rode along beside….

Stewart and Loretta


Stewart and Loretta leading out…

my GPS map of the area we rode….11.3 miles most of it beautiful but one pretty good stretch of gravelled logging road….and we had not put the boots on so the ponies had to go slow and we tried to put them off the road as much as possible……all in all we want to go back….it is a little more than a two hour haul and a little long for a day trip. But now that we have been there we found a better way in than that lying Dorothy took us..does not seem to be any equine camping down there but we think we have a plan for that. Something like thirty miles of trails all together including one all the way around holiday lake which we have not been on yet….