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

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Mammoth Cave-Wet Prong Ride 2012

I roll over and check the clock...a minute later the alarm sounds.  It doesn't take me long to get out of bed this morning.  It's a riding day!  Keith feeds and loads horses as I cook breakfast.  I hum "Happy Trails" as I pour myself another cup of coffee.  We have our breakfast and coffee and soon are on the road. 

We stop in Richardsville to drop off the Cheyenne mare and pick up Dandy my quarter gelding.  I haven't seen him since we took him and Cody to Keith's dad's for greener pastures.  He has fattened up a little too nicely!  We have a quick visit and I soak Cody down with fly spray.  I have never seen so many face flys in my life!  Skeeter waits very impatiently in the trailer, pawing the guts out of it.  Keith goes to take control of the issue.  As we say our goodbyes and head down the driveway I can't help but get excited about the day to come.  Keith thinks out loud, "We're running behind..." and a few other comments show that he shares my impatience of getting out on the trail.  We just can't seem to get there quick enough. 

As we pull into Lincoln trail head Keith voices that we may not even have a parking spot, but we quickly see that we are the only ones here to partake of such a beautiful day from this spot.  We wonder why no one else has decided to indulge on such a summer day.  It is already almost 11:00, which really is a late start of a day of trail riding. 

The weather is warm, but not uncomfortable.  Both horses are at ease going down the trail.  So peaceful, only the birds singing and a few frogs.  The breeze is slightly blowing bringing with it the sweet smell of summer time.  As we top the first hill, we pass a group of tourist riders and their trail boss.  They bring to mind to me what a Sunday school teacher on a Harley would look like, but I can tell by their smiles that they are enjoying themselves. 

We decide we will make our first stop at the hitching rails where the Wet Prong trail begins.  Although as we approach we see that a large group from a nearby campground has already occupied them, so we move on down the trail.  We don't go far when we decide to stop where there are a few rocks poking through the forest floor. 

Our ride continues to be a pleasant one.  Keith recalls how most years by this time there are so many horseflies that man or beast can not stand it and is thankful we haven't had that problem this year.  As we begin to make our first creek crossing of the day, Skeeter begins the rider's dreaded bee stomp.  Yellow jackets for some reason just love to build nests in the ground next to or on a trail. 

We lope up the hill to get away from the swarm.  Bees can cause some terrible fiascoes with horses.  With just two horses in our pack they don't seem to attack with quite as much vengeance, but if you are in a large group the third horse on to the last is attacked with such a furry that people have been thrown from their horses and hurt.  Bees can make the gentlest horse wilder than the orneriest mustang bronc and seem like a pussy cat, in comparison.

We make our second stop at another creek crossing where Keith being the southern gent he is, partakes of a cigar and enjoys the relaxing sound of water and rock melded together making soothing tunes.  I plan to make this sound a part of my home as I construct in my mind how to finally complete my much coveted fountain for my back yard.

As we approach our third creek crossing we meet up with a group of fun loving ladies accompanied with a husband and wife and two little girls.  They splashed and galloped through the water.  The cool wet water was welcomed by both the horses and riders.  As always Keith hasn't met a stranger, so phone numbers are quickly exchanged and we find ourselves riding with a new group of friends.  These ladies inform me of an upcoming "Cowgirl" ride that they are certain I need to accompany them to.  They ask if Keith knows how to cook and even though I am not sure where this conversation is leading I tell them yes without hesitation. It seems that there is room for men on this "Cowgirl only" ride if they can cook!  I watch Keith out of the corner of my eye behind me, but I don't hear a comment... :)  One of the few times I've seen him speechless!

The rest of the day goes just as well as the first half, only with a few more laughs and antics from this new Calamity Jane Posse.  I laugh until my side hurts. 

Back at the trailer I can't believe that the day is over...something that always seems to happen when I am on a horse!  I really do believe that horse time and warp time are the same thing. 

Keith looks at me as we are unsaddling and says "I'm hungry...ready to go get a little Mexican?"  We load up the horses and both comment on what a great day we have had.  There's just something that a good ride does to a persons inner self.  Keith and I still being on cloud 9 from this adventure have the rock tunes cranked up, barrelling down the highway with the windows down, wind blowing in our hair.  The beat of the music vibrating down to the inner seed of our souls so intensely that it unleashes a euphoria.  Keith and I look at each other, begin our air guitar and drum duo band and belt out tunes from Metallica, John Cougar Mellencamp, and Ozzy at the top of our lungs as if no one else can hear.  This is what cloud 9 looks and feels like!  We round the bend closing in on dinner.  It has become our little tradition after riding Mammoth Cave to go to El Mazatlan to eat afterwards.

 I chose the burrito portillos this time, which doesn't disappoint me!  Two flour tortillas filled with spicy chopped steak, shrimp, broccoli, and pineapple, covered with white cheese sauce!  Yummy!  A great satisfying end to a most pleasant day!  Thanks Honey!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Mulenburg County Fair and Mule Show

Even when I have the summers off, I certainly live for the weekends!  Nancy Woods had alerted me that there was an upcoming mule show and invited us to come and join them for the fun and antics.  Keith and I have a hard time turning down fun times with friends added with a mixture of equine.  So Friday night was date night!  We headed to the small town of Powderly and was met with  flashing midway lights, that lit up the sky like the strip of Las Vegas.  I wouldn't have thought it possible that so many people could crawl out of the nooks and crannies of that short breath of a town, but it was literally crawling with country bumpkins.  Our only disappointment was the $20 entrance fee, which I thought was a little steep, even if it did include the entrance to the midway.  Oh well, we pulled up our boot straps and sucked it up and went in search of a muley good time.  As we entered the Ag Center we immediately were met with a scene of every shape and size of long ear a body could imagine. 

There were short mules, teams of mules, tall mules, and even an appy mule.  A variety of riders accompanied their mounts, young and old.  I enjoyed watching the young at heart, but what tugged at my heart strings the most were the little ones sitting up on their mules just as well as any adult there.  I have to say kudos to the parents, grandparents, or who ever was responsible for those kids having that opportunity.  It really is not often children get out and do things any more that don't involve a piece of technology!  These kids know how to play, have a good time, and it's real not virtual!  There were several games that even I had never heard of that prompted a few laughs out of the audience.

  The monkey and the barrel consisted of a backhoe with a tire swing attached and a lone barrel.  The object was to gallop down to the opposite end of the ring and leave your partner-aka-monkey hanging from the swing while your rode your mule around the barrel and then came back to pick up your "monkey" and run back home.  It sounds easy, however tell a mule that!  Another contest was called the Dolly Parton race.  The mule rider was fitted with a bra then mounted on their mule to run down to the opposite end of the ring, get off their mule place two very fragile water balloons in their bra and ride back.

 Eddie Carroll did this for the first time with us cheering him on and he placed third!  Great job you know how we feel!  HA! 

We watched as our friends and their grand kids ran the poles and then decided to call it a night.

  It was by then well after 9p.m. and we had planned a nice little ride for the next morning.  The show continued without us and included events such as the pantyhose race, shovel race, barrel race, and various others.  Nancy took several pictures and it looked like they continued to have a great time and even brought home some cash and ribbons.  I wonder if this is on Keith's to do list for Miss Kitty in the future??

Saturday, June 2, 2012

New Beginnings Benefit Ride 2012

Waking up the first week of June needing a jacket, I realized quite quickly that it was more than an excellent day to saddle up a horse.  With anticipation, as always I eagerly pulled on my ole weathered and trail worn cowgirl boots and jumped in the truck with my best riding buddy.  He disappointingly commented that our 8:00am departure was probably not early enough as we discussed what else needed to be accomplished on the way to this much awaited ride.

We made it just in time to saddle up, take in the sites, and visit with our friends. Howard Cole, Carpie, Puddin', Julie, Tommy and Kim and a few more from the Bucksville bunch were there to share company with.  The grounds were abuzz with activity.  Horses were moving about, nickering to stable mates, prancing, pawing, along with the occasional braying.  People were parking, taking photographs, laughing at one another's antics and readying their beastly companions for the event of the day.  Every shape and size of equine was present.  From ponies, to palominos, paints to spotted saddle horses, Rocky Mountains to Quarter horses, teams of mules down to a single donkey carrying a pack saddle.

There was no way a mind could be prepared for the number of animals present.  As the time came to leave the stable topping the hill, Jazzy and I were counted as the number 115th horse present.  There was a constant rhythmic beat of the many horseshoes passing down the blacktop.  We didn't travel far when we rounded into a farmer's driveway.  We gaited with the herd to the top of the driveway.  I took in the site of this farmer's pride in his property.  Neatly, freshly painted fencing lined the drive ending with a magnificent southern colonial style home at the top of the hill.  The proud owners watched from their porch as the huge remuda paraded past.  These sites were only just a taste of what I was about to witness.  As me and my beloved mare topped the hill it crested and opened to the most breath taking view.  My eyes scanned the horizon viewing miles of crops, cattle, other farm houses and barns that sprinkled the country side. Keith looks to me and replies, "beautiful country isn't it baby doll?" "Dad always said this was God's country."  His remark touches my heart as well as my soul.  This is the stuff memories are made of!  I can't help myself, pulling out my trusty ole trail camera and begin snapping feverishly to make this scene a permanent one.

It wasn't too long before we were met by our hosts with pans of BBQed bologna and bottles of water.  Now before a judgement is made about eating bologna, everyone should give it a try.  That has got to be the best tasting bologna ever made!  It tastes even better knowing you are out in the wilderness away from food.  We traveled through fields of corn, across cow pastures, through trees on small foot paths, down country dirt roads, up stone roads, covering only a fraction of Richardsville's rich countryside.  Because each horse travels at a different speed, the group I was accompanied with was never the same.  Our last stop ended in a lush grassy meadow.  When I came through the opening of trees it was a picture for the eyes I will never forget.  The prairie was peppered with horses and mixed with mules. I again was so awestruck, out came the camera and the snapping commenced.  tales were spun, jokes were told, memories recalled and made by all. 

Back at the stables as horses were unsaddled and settling down at trailer side, the scent of BBQ mingled in the air.  Old country tunes began floating on the breeze to the delight of my ears.  Keith and I walked hand in hand toward the smell that tugged at our hunger.  We both reiterated what a wonderful day it had become.  We piled our plates full of pulled pork, grilled chicken legs, brown beans, green beans, coleslaw, potato salad, cookies, and brownies.  If anyone walked away hungry only they were to blame.  Keith thoroughly enjoyed going back to the country of his childhood roots, both to reminisce and meet up with folks he hadn't seen in years.  As the auction was about to get underway, we decided that we had played hard and these two weary bodies needed to get home for some rest and relaxation.  We rode home with satisfied spirits and smiles smeared across our lips.  I think it's safe to say that we will be back again next year, Lord willing!

What a great way to end the day!  Home sweet home,bonfire, husband, and loyal friend!