We went riding on Monday, swallowed our pride and paid the $10 for a one day ride at Blackwell Horseman's Camp in the Hoosier National Forest, otherwise known as the Charles C. Deam Wilderness area. We have been riding there since we were kids and now we have to pay to use the trails, it just isn't right. I was riding there before it was even a horseman's camp.
I took Ranger and my DH took Darth, they both did well but Ranger was awesome. He doesn't shy from anything. He walks through horse swallowing mud holes and didn't even notice any of the horse eating stumps or fallen trees.
He doesn't scrape your knees against trees unless there is gravel in the trail, he hates gravel, we will have to shoe him for the next ride. Who puts gravel on horse trails anyway? The thing that really grates me is that we are paying for the stupid gravel with our $10 per day.
The thing that I really love about Ranger is he puts his nose to the ground and he doesn't stumble, he is super careful on rough and steep ground. Flies don't bother him either, even horse flies. I don't mean that he doesn't mind them (which he doesn't) but they don't like his color. They did land on the saddle and pad though. Darth got the bites but the flies really weren't that bad.
Darth had to go twice as far as Ranger went, because he kept having to turn around and come back down the trail to make sure we were still coming. Ranger is very slow and does not mind being left behind, there is not a buddy sour bone in his body. All in all he is a perfect horse, just needs to learn some neck reining and maybe to speed up his walk.
We were about halfway to our destination when the sky cut loose and engulfed us in a ferocious thunderstorm. We had heard the sound of distant thunder but we didn't think that it would find its way to us. All of the sudden there was lightening flashing all around us. The flashes were scary enough without the sound of the ground shaking thunder. We were all ducking.
When the rain came it was large stinging drops that were being blown horizontally. My DH tried to turn back but I talked him into going on in search of shelter. We finally found a barn with easy horse access. We rode into it and waited and waited for the rain to stop.
The hard rain on the tin roof made it hard to even talk, so we waited some more. I tried to clean the water off of my glasses but neither of us could find anything dry to wipe them with.
Here are some more pictures of poor Ranger after our little ride at Blackwell. We met some other riders on the trail, three ladies on cell phones (you get a strong cell phone signal in the Deam Wilderness), they called my horse fat. They didn't say that I had a nice looking horse or a pretty horse, they just said that I had a fat horse. Here are some pictures of my fat horse and his saddle sores after a three and a half hour trail ride.