No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill

Monday, July 6, 2009

Shawnee National Forest the Trailriding Capitol of Illinois

Well my husband did it again! He took me on yet another wonderful horse adventure! Most people probably spent their Independence day lit up with fireworks, but not us! We loaded up the trailer with a promise to me that it would be breath taking scenery that I would fall in love with. Now I am not a skeptic, but he has told me that many times since I've met him and with all the beautiful places he has taken me and all the cool places I have now been with him I thought it impossible to happen yet another time! Shawnee National Forest nestled between the Ohio and Mississippi rivers was our latest destination. The short clip above is just a small taste of how serene and tranquil this place is. All you can hear are the sounds of the forest and the soft clip clop of hooves. Awh to go back....oh we will be back! rolling hills, deep rocky canyons, caves, and giant rocks are just a few of the grand sites to see. Waterfalls, springs, and crystal clear streams are also present. There are several landmarks to see as well...Indian Kitchens, Jackson Hole, Secret Canyon, and Garden of the Gods just to name a few. There are many different horse camps to accommodate a trail rider in the area, but this trip we chose Hayes Canyon. Endorsed by RFD t.v. as Best of America by horseback. The camp ground hosts are very helpful and friendly and the camp ground is neat and well cared for. It is just feet from the small village of Eddyville a real trip into a Norman Rockwell picture! It was only 4 days of pure fun, but it was well worth it! And yes again we got caught out in the forest in a down pour. What would a ride be without rain?? Can't wait to go back!

Big Creek Get Away From Life!

One of the greatest joys in life is to own a horse, but the other is to enjoy a great ride on that horse! We returned from a relaxing, wonderful eight day ride in Hartshorne Missouri, the first week in June. This is a real get away from it all place! There are no cell phones (wouldn't do you any good if you had one), no mail, and no work. The nearest store is...well I'm not sure and you don't really need one! It is eight miles from the nearest blacktopped road and if you want to cross the creek you drive through it! For the trail riding enthusiast just let me say it the way Big Creek's pastor summed it up that week: "Where else can you ride much as you want and eat as much as you want everyday?!" There are great people and good food, but along with that there are nice wooded trails and open fields that take you through the Ozark mountains. There is a lot of history here and the family of Big Creek can tell you all about it. Old homesteads, school houses, and cemeteries all have an interesting story to tell. The prices are very reasonable and I will promise you that for some good family fun you will not be disappointed. One of the most interesting days out on the trail was the day that we were caught out in a storm. It thundered, lightning flashed, and poured down. But that wasn't also began hailing pea to quarter sized hail! We were way too far from camp to escape it, so we had to find shelter under the trees from the hail. Under a tree isn't exactly the best place to be when it's storming either! But we made it back and the scene was just spectacular! Fog was rising up out of the foot hills and created a fairy tale land frosting the ground with a wispy mist. I captured it all on camera and took some of the best photos I have ever taken! Unfortunately I lost those photos to a technology glitch, but it is none the less a day that will be forever etched in my mind. Wow what a week!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Our Beginings on the Farm

Sometimes I think our love for certain things are deeply seated into our beings by how we were raised or the experiences that we encountered at a very young age. I believe that to be the case for me and my love for horses. One of my very first memories of proud Independence came while on the back of a horse one of the very first times I rode a horse on my own. My mount was a coal black mare named Gypsie that was nothing more than just a horse to the outside world, but my dearest and trusted friend that no champion thoroughbred could ever replace. Being only 6 galloping across the fields felt just like flying. I remember one day looking down at my tiny hands holding a horse figurine and thinking "yes, I love horses!" and a feeling of excitement welling up inside my chest. After that my childhood has been a blurr of horse posters filling my bedroom walls, horse books lining my bookshelves, and Breyer models strewn across my floors. My love for horses outlasted even the toughest of my teenage years and boys. I feel very fortunate that my parents tried their luck at farming, giving me the chance to experience all the things a farm life has to offer including horses. I absolutely loved when it was time to move the cattle and we did it the old cowboy way and headed them down the road on horse back. I felt like Calamity Jane or Annie Oakley heading out west with those little doggies. We had 3 horses on the farm that were not only for fun but useful as well. Goldie was a young energetic sorrel. Peanuts was a sorrel and white paint Shetland pony with a stubborn streak. Gypsie was my idea of the perfect horse patient and kind.
My new husband has a history with horses that goes way back as well. He grew up on a farm where he recalls having very large gardens that had to be attended to, therefore that is one of his least favorite things. But he also had a horse when he was young that his dad bought for him. One such horse was born on the day of the Kentucky derby and therefore was named Derby Day. I am sure he had pleasent experiences while on horse back and this is why he still has a passion for horses. Our days of youth are over, but our love for horses still continues.