I have lost all track of time. I left last week to head to our ride in Tennessee. Heading out Tuesday AM, with the plan to arrive some time Wednesday, to give Hank some time to rest and relax before the ride. I did not have a confirmed over night place for Tuesday night. Not knowing the road and route, I decided to just sort of wing it, and find a place. I actually had a list of places that I could stay. I decided in the late afternoon to shoot for the Agri-Center East of Memphis. It is a fairgrounds, that advertises having stalls to over night horses. I tried to call them, but it went to voice mail. So, I figured I’d just head there, and figure it out. As I got close, I saw the lights of the amusement park against the dark sky. Great, the fair is going on. Hope the stalls are not all filled. A parking attendant pointed me towards the barn area, which then required I pull the rig through a temporary gate that was about 2” wider than my trailer fenders.
Not a great pic, but this is the gate we had to get through in the dark.
With some creativity, we finally had to undo the gate, and shift it for the trailer, as getting the trailer lined up was not going so well. Finally through, I found that there were NO other livestock, and only a couple horses in a pen. Found some stalls, got the boys put to bed, and headed that way myself. But I managed to get about 8 mosquitoes in my camper, who were bent on having a bedtime snack on ME. I finally figured out that if I flipped on the light in the bathroom, they would go that way, and then my fly-swatter in hand showed them they had feasted their last meal.
Next morning, the boys and I rested, we headed off on our last 300+ miles. Oh, did I mention I brought Flag along to keep Hank company on this trip, since we would be gone almost 2 weeks from home. Figured maybe Hank would be happier with a friend. I must be nuts to take along an extra to feed and care for, along with the dog who has her own set of issues. Thelma, who is 9 years old has some Polyps in her butt. Kind of the form of doggie hemorrhoids. So, she thinks she has to go poo all the time. And it takes forever for her to get the job done. So, every time we stop, she starts with the 10-15 min. routine of wandering around in the squatting position, trying to do the doo. Frustrating if one is in a hurry to get going again. At least when she is in the truck, she crashes and is asleep until we stop again.
We finally arrived at East Fork Stables. This is a 12,000 acre private property with a campground with electric spots, stalls, show ring, store, and all the trails we would be riding. I was not sure what camp sites were ours for the ride,so I parked for awhile, then later found the ride manager, who told me what site numbers were ours for the weekend. Moved, and got a nice spot that I did not have to high line the horses. I could use my Hi-Ties on the trailer, with the horses standing in dirt, not gravel. But later, I found out that I had been misinformed, and had to move a second time. This time I had to actually unhook truck from trailer to fit in the spot.
It had some close trees to high line between, and the ground was not muddy and tore up from previous horses camping like some of the high line poles were below the campsites.
Slept well, and decided to take Flag for a short ride Thursday AM and pony Hank. I had put Thelma in the trailer for the night, where she often will sleep on her home on her own. When I opened the trailer, I found she decided to rearrange all the shavings from left side of the trailer, where I had pushed them out of the way, against the wall to the right side. She kicked, pushed, and moved the shavings, even throwing them up on top of the feed barrels. Not sure if she had a temper tantrum, or just wanted to rearrange to suit her needs.
I knew I’d not have much time to get Flag worked at all for the rest of the weekend, so off we went. He was very cheerful, and anxious to check out what was around the next bend on the trails. Hank was also very forward, and actually wanted to pass Flag and lead the way. Not a plan Hank. We got back, and more rigs had arrived. Many came in on Thursday. People started introducing themselves, welcoming us to Region 5, and saying “hello” to Hank. I am so bad with names and faces, and knew I’d never keep everyone straight.
Friday morning I took Hank out for a few miles, leaving Flag in camp. The trails have permanent markers, and I had a map, so I planned a small loop. The trails were often wide enough for wagons, and the footing was really nice in this section. Some beautiful ponds, but they were marked to not water the horses near them.
The weather was very nice, not as humid as I had prepared myself mentally for, and not real hot. I came across a couple trees close together along side the trail, and decided to stop and ask Hank to back between them. Well, this did not go well at all. Sometimes his brain kicks into over drive, and he starts thinking way too much for himself. He fussed, refused, got mad. I had not seem him get mad at this sort of thing in a very long time. I worked through it, and finally rode him straight through the trees, then backed up, and finished on a better note than we had been on when he was refusing. I mention this obstacle, as there will be more on this later.
Back at camp, I got him cleaned up, and then saw I had two tires on the trailer going flat. Both on the same side. So, I jacked up the trailer with my little floor jack I carry, and took the tires in to town to get them fixed. As suspected, both had a hole, where I must have ran over something on that side of the trailer. Better to find it now, than Sunday afternoon. Got back to camp, and got Hank checked in with the vet. This vet always comments on how nice Hank moves.
Tomorrow, we will ride just short of 37 miles…