One of my very favorite events of the year is the benefit ride over at Mid Atlantic Horse (the scavenger hunt). We try to go every year because it is an opportunity to ride across gorgeous country and of course it benefits a great rescue.
I think that I have been on a different horse every year we have went which always makes for an interesting time 🙂 This year was extremely special because the course weaved in and out of Woodstock farm. Woodstock farm was owned by Mrs. Allaire du Pont who died in 2006. Read about her here- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allaire_du_Pont She owned Kelso (5 consecutive horse of the year titles!) and other stakes winners such as Politely and Shine Again. Her farm is over 500 acres of the most beautiful land that you have ever seen.
I have a bit of a horse shortage at the moment with Letterman and Legend still on layup and Slugger and Sky not quite ready. I was going to take Junior and ride out with Doris (Ridge’s new owner). That meant Kurt couldn’t go but he was okay with that. At the last minute the shipper was delayed in picking up Halfway so I got to take him so that Kurt could go on the ride too. Halfway really hadn’t done a lot since the show so it would be an interesting test. Not to mention they had been in overnight due to rain and it was cold!
Halfway reminds me of Junior when Junior was younger. You get on him and he is ready to go. He isn’t too keen on standing. He doesn’t do anything bad but he threatens to be silly if you insist that he wait. I just walked some circles while Kurt and Doris got ready and then off we went. The horses were actually all quite behaved for being so fresh and they walked flat footed for a bit until we got to some good trotting spots. Halfway is my kind of ride because he is so soft and easy to move between your hand and your leg. Nice to have a horse so light in the bridle and adjustable (even if he is still green).
We did some nice trots just to let them relax. Halfway spent a lot of time looking at changing colors in grass and anything that didn’t look like it belonged. That is his version of being fresh. We came to the water crossing fairly early on in the ride. I should have taken a picture but I forgot. It had rained the day before and the water was running pretty good. You have to walk over this concrete pad that has water rushing over it and there is a drop off on the left hand side (pretty good drop off) and on the right side there is a bit of slope so the water is like a waterfall. Halfway and Ridge were pretty dug in and I had a feeling that if we did get them to go across they were going to get worried once that rushing water hit their feet. I decided to get off and so did Doris. Junior was walking back and forth like the experienced trail horse that he is and didn’t see what the fuss was about.
I walked Halfway across and sure enough he hit the water and went OMG and jumped in the air but then walked across. It was super slippery and I almost fell down but thankfully I didn’t. Doris started walking with Ridge and he is spooking at the waterfall on the right and almost pushed her off the drop on the left side! It was a bit wild but he figured it out and walked nicely. We then had to find a spot to get back on. Wait…my horse is small. Hot damn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I position him down a hill and hop back on. Doris uses the same hill but is having a harder time getting up. She gets stuck halfway on Ridge and Kurt and I are howling in laughter. She is doing a preying mantis on Ridge’s back. Legs behind the saddle and stuck by the crotch of her breeches. I almost peed myself I was laughing so hard. Ridge is the best damn horse in the whole world because he just stood there waiting for her to climb her way out of this position she got herself into. We totally should have gotten a picture of this!
We have a nice canter up the hill and we come to a neat barn. The clue had us walking through the barn and I said I bet this is where Kelso lived. Sure enough there was his stall still decorated. Talk about chills! Wow, what a piece of history. We stopped and took some pictures outside of the barn.
We had to stop in the next field and just look around. I really felt like I needed time to soak up the surroundings. Just amazing to be riding through this property. Very special.
Junior’s sire (Thor of Greystone) stood at the farm where we started the ride from (Unicorn farm owned by Lana DuPont Wright) and I swear this is one of his favorite rides too.
You see that Kurt and I are standing apart. Well that is because Junior and Halfway are two alpha males and they spent most of the ride in a pissing match with each other. Halfway kicked at Junior and then Junior kicked at Halfway because he was mad and getting revenge. Junior hates that Halfway gets to canter and gets really mad when Halfway gets to go in front. Ridge was just staying away from the both of them because he doesn’t see the need to participate in their antics.
We had some awesome trots and canters across the open fields. I think we were all just laughing and having a great time. I had to reel Kurt in a few times as he just went cantering all over the place and wanted to go faster and faster. Doris was doing her first really big trail ride on Ridge out in the open and she wasn’t quite ready for the big gallops but I was so proud of her!!! She did more than I thought she would (probably because she didn’t want to hold us up) and she was just beaming the whole time. She kept saying that she just LOVED this horse and she was so happy. Hard not to love Ridge. He was so good and he had never been on a ride like this before (neither had Halfway) so we were very impressed with how they both handled themselves. We passed some riders along the way and had some riders pass us going the other direction. It seemed like everybody was just having a great time. Halfway and Ridge had become experts at crossing water, mud and ditches by the end of the ride!
I am so glad we all got to enjoy this ride. Thanks again to MAHR for hosting this ride. I believe I read that they had 130 riders and made over $3k. Awesome!!!
Halfway headed to his new owner yesterday. He hopped right up on the step up slant load. She let me know that he settled right in. Dug into his hay and drank a big bucket of water. I am so excited to follow his progress.
I am also getting excited about our next batch of horses but even more excited about my upcoming trip to Rolex. Yay!