Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ponchos!! Oh Yeaahhhh!!

I have always been a summer girl. I was so in love with the summer sun that I had not enough room in my heart for any other season. Since riding has become my primary passion, however, I have begun to understand the allure of fall.

I hear people say this is the end of riding season, but to me, this is the best time of year for riding. But we do live in the midwest, and the weather can become even more unpredictable during fall months.

Once when I was a teenager I went to Silver Dollar City with my family, and I remember that it started raining and we wore plastic ponchos. I was completely mortified to be seen wearing a plastic teepee draped over my body!! And somehow ever since then have been opposed to ponchos. Until recently.

I have managed to have Mary-Poppins like saddle bags, out of which I may pull anything that is needed. And while on a Saturday afternoon ride recently, it started thundering, so out came the little red plastic poncho. The thought did cross my mind that I probably should have practiced unfolding the large sheet of plastic and putting it over my head when I was not seated atop a 1,000 lb skittish animal. But, thankfully, Legend did great and did not seem to mind the fluttering, flapping, crinkling sheet looming above him while we rode home. We stayed dry, and the rain was actually kind of nice! I will never pack my saddle bag without a poncho again. I have officially become a fan. The poncho rates a 10 for functionality, but gets a solid 1 for aesthetic appeal. It was bright red and kept getting inflated by the wind. Melanie was riding behind me, and said I looked like the Kool-Aid guy. Hey, Kool-Aid!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Suburban Cowgirl's guide to Gently Trespassing.

Ah, a nice afternoon ride. Fall weather. Sun shining through the trees, a nice breeze blowing by. Leaves crunching underfoot, and a trusted friend carrying you down the road. Is there anything better?

Of course, after riding the same area for a couple years, a change of scenery is nice. We have been so lucky to have "found" some awesome nooks and crannys with some hidden trails in our riding area. To be more to the point, trespassing has become our friend.

Let me stress that I like to call this "Gently Trespassing." We just seem to discover these hidden gems, and in some cases, end up getting permission from the land owners to ride on their property.

Here are a couple tips for successful Trespassing. I must include here that I am not recommending this to anyone. But if you find the exploration bug nagging at you, like it has at me, be careful and use good judgement.

Take only pictures, leave only footprints. This goes for every place you ride, not just private property. Part of being a responsible equestrian and enjoying nature is preserving it, as well.

If you see a posted No Trespassing sign, then respect it. Or you may come across a sign that says "If you can read this, you are within range." I speak from experience!

If you come upon a person or land owner while riding on new ground, be friendly! Ask them if they know who owns the property, get to know them. It can't hurt, and they may give you riding permission.

If something feels wrong or unsafe, then it probably is. Listen to your gut and don't explore any further.

Happy Trespassing !