Can You Guess What They Tried To Do To Me Yesterday???

Alison and Ike Culpeper August 2014

I have yet again seized control of the blog to share with my fans the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  Mom just doesn’t do a stellar job providing you the facts.  Mom forgets to take off her rose colored glasses sometimes as she skips through her days.

The poor woman continues to struggle with what to do with her appendages.  I hear her reminiscing about how I used to attempt to ram her knee into the fence since I couldn’t make all my body parts work together.  Well here we are three years later and I am more than capable of coordinating my legs.  I cannot say the same for Mom and she is almost 46 years old.  Come on woman! Put your inside leg up near the girth when I’m cantering to help me bend.  You can clearly see from the photo that she is incapable of listening while in the show ring.  Just look where her leg is!  Sheesh!  And then she is surprised when I break from the canter or lean in.  Will someone please tell her to be there to help me…yes, I do a lot of the work, but she’s got to learn to do her part for the team.  I can only hope for better leg/seat/hand coordination at our upcoming show at Rose Mount.  With only a week until the show, I have to hope for a miracle.

That whole feed bucket debacle had nothing to do with what was in my feed bucket.  I’m not really a picky fellow, except for peaches, those things are gross.  I might have been pawing one morning while waiting for my breakfast and might have gotten my hoof stuck in the bucket.  When I pulled back to get it out, somehow the bucket got in the way and it broke.  Yeah, that is what happened.  Or wait, is it too late to blame my brother.  Yeah, he made me do it.

Lately, it has not been fun to be outside.  The weather has been okay, but the horseflies have been out in droves.  We horses have decided that they are evil.  We are pretty certain that they are the devil’s spawn sent forth to make us all miserable.  I have mastered the tail flick and the neck-reach-around to combat the flying devils.  My brother does a nonstop shimmy shake so that they cannot land on him.  He only stops when Mom is close by and then he shows her where it is so she can kill it.  While she is uncoordinated in the saddle, she does have lightning quick thwacking skills to kill the flies.  Go Mom!

And let me tell you about yesterday…Mom and I had another lesson with Ms. C.  I’m pretty sure they tried to kill me.  We worked very hard on the various movements that we will need for our upcoming show: cantering, trot lengthenings, canter lengthenings, centerlines, and leg yields.  We didn’t stop much because the horseflies were lying in wait if we paused.  After about 50 minutes I was breathing very hard.  It was scary.  I huffed and puffed and couldn’t catch my breathe.  Mom dismounted and they hosed me off for at least 20 minutes (I didn’t think I was that dirty).  Mom then stuck this tube of brown goo in my mouth.  She called it “elektrolights.”  I called it gross and tried to spit it back at her.  After about 20 more minutes I felt better.  I hope that never happens again.

If you are going to be in town next weekend, come see me at the show.  I love when my friends come to cheer for me!  Especially the ones who bring snacks!

Until next time,

Ike

 

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Take One National Seashore and Just Add Horses

Headed through the dunes onto the beach.  Photo by Equine Adventures.

Headed through the dunes onto the beach. Photo by Equine Adventures.

What do you get when you have the unspoiled beauty of one of the United States’ National Seashores and add horses?  You have one bucket list item scratched off your list.  While on vacation last week, I took three of the grandchildren on a beach trail ride with Equine Adventures ( http://www.equineadventures.com/) located on Hatteras Island in North Carolina.

I have heard the stories of sketchy operations with tack held together with bailing twine with horses that should never carry inexperienced riders, but Equine Adventures is not one of those.  This ride was top notch and I would go back in a heart beat.

The rides occur either early in the morning or late afternoon to avoid the heat of the day and the biggest of the coastal bugs with voracious appetites.  Even though there was a great breeze once you were on the beach, you do have to ride through the unspoiled maritime forest to get to that breeze.  That means that you are fair game to any and all hungry mosquitoes and biting flies that call the forest home.  We doused ourselves in 30% DEET and escaped unscathed.  One of our guides missed a shoulder when applying her bug spray and had no less than thirty bites by the time we reached the beach.  Ouch!  I get itchy just thinking about it.

The ride is a great way to see parts of the island that are mostly inaccessible to the normal tourist.  Hearty hikers and mountain bikers might give these trails a try, but your average visitor will never see this part of the seashore.  When your sure-footed horse is winding its way through the trees, you realize that the roots of these trees are what help hold the island together.  You see the native deer who are unafraid of the horses, and the horses are unafraid of them…Ike, take note that there is no need to run like a banshee.

It is thrilling to climb the dunes and emerge on the unspoiled beach.  No rows of houses, no hotels, no tacky souvenir shops.  Just sea turtle nests, piles of dried seaweed, seagulls and the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse in the distance.  If you are an experienced rider, you get to add the thrill of galloping in the sand with only the sound of the waves and wind in your ears.

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The reason for such a successful ride?  The guides do an excellent job matching horse and rider.  When you make your reservation, they ask each rider’s age and experience so that they can make the best pairings.  The well seasoned trail horses will take care of their inexperienced riders even with the loosest of reins – no worries about unscheduled gallops.  Each horse has its own saddle and bridle.  All the horses are barefoot – if only I could be so lucky.  All the horses were in excellent condition – no small feat considering all the hay and feed have to be brought over to the island.  I learned that obtaining hay can be an all day excursion.

If riding on the beach isn’t already on your bucket list, add it.  You will not regret this incredible experience!

p.s. They are looking for a seasonal guide for the rest of the season…