Monday, July 28, 2014

first horse camping trip of the year.

I’ve often been asked why I love North Dakota. When you don’t know much about this state I think I could understand why you would wonder why I love it here. I think of it as a hidden gem that not many people know about. But North Dakota was voted the happiest state in the entire country… I think we were also voted the number one state with the highest binge drinking, so I’m not sure if those two things go hand in hand… Fargo, ND is also being written about in many different places as being an excellent place to work and live. I mean we have the lowest unemployment rate in the entire country. Everywhere you look there are ‘now hiring’ or ‘help wanted’ signs. Jobs everywhere for everyone!
But when most people think of North Dakota they think about how flat it is. And how boring it is.  And how cold it is. But what they don’t realize is that we have some absolutely GORGEOUS state parks. And our absolutely gorgeous state parks have horse campsites, and horse friendly trails.
But I mean yeah. I guess this is pretty flat and boring. It's not the mountains that some of you readers have...but I'll take it.

Friday night I dropped off our dogs at the kennel, and then we loaded up the horses and headed to meet our friends at Fort Ransom State Park. It is about an hour and a half away from our place. It’s funny though, as you start getting closer to the park, it’s like you aren’t even in North Dakota anymore, there are hills, valleys, and TREES! I kept saying that it was like we were in Virginia. We checked in at the ranger station, which was located in and ADORABLE little old farm house, and we purchased our season pass and season horse passes.  Then we headed to our campsite to get set up. 
I got new boots a few weeks ago, and I haven't' taken them off since.

We rolled up to our campsite, and unloaded the horses into the corrals we had reserved for them, got them fed and watered, and then started to set up camp for ourselves. We were on vacation, so we all maybe stayed up a bit later than necessary around the fire, having adult beverages, but hey, we were on vacation. I checked on the horses a few times thorough the night, to make sure they were fed and watered, then finally hit the hay myself.
Got up early fed the ponies, realized I was kind of still tired, with a bit of a ‘headache’ so I went back to the trailer and slept for a bit longer. Then finally when everyone woke up, and we had some brunch we, then saddled up our ponies.  

I had brought along Yellow Horse, now known as Cash, for me to ride. I saddled him up and he was a bit ‘up’. My friend could see that I was getting a bit nervous about riding so she hopped on him. He tried to pull some crap with her, but she wasn't having it. She rode him around and then handed him back to me. She and everyone else, decided that he just likes to buffalo me to see if he can get out of work by being a creep. She told me to call him out on his crap, and he will be fine... and we were.
"Hi! I am the cutest!"

One thing we've noticed about him, is that he has a really weird gait. No one can figure out why he does it, but he just walks really, really weird. We had him at the vet for a lameness exam and nothing was raising any red flags. He has shoes on his fronts, because he was completely lame without them after a little gravel road riding. He wasn't bobbing his head, or showing any signs of soreness. He just walks really weird. Maybe I’ll try and get some videos, so you nice folks can maybe help diagnose him. Anyways hopped on and away we went on our first adventure of the day.
The trails were absolutely beautiful. They were hilly, and winded around trees. Right when we got started though, we came up to a little wooden bridge. I internally panicked, but I pushed Cash towards it, and over he went across it beautifully. He was like “This ain’t my first rodeo lady.” We actually had to cross over several more on that trail. We spent the next couple hours riding up and down hills, through valleys, and across wide open areas. Unfortunately I forgot to track that ride, so we aren't sure how far we went but we were thinking we went at least 5 miles but probably more.

After I ride, we went back to the campsite to unwind a bit, and have something to eat. The boys, who stayed up much later than we did, went to their beds and took naps, my friend saddled her horse back up and went riding with our camping neighbor. I just sat and relaxed in our beautiful campground.

Later that evening, we all saddled up again and went back out. BEAUTIFUL night for riding. Not too hot, not too cold, hardly any bugs, and a nice gentle breeze. This time we did 3.80 miles.

Our neigbour came with us for a while on one of her Spanish Mustangs. This little filly was related to Hidalgo!


Love this one of the husband and Duke.

The boys looked at this grass land and were complaining that it was a waste and that they could bale it and make so much hay... 

These are our neighbors from home that we camped with. How lucky are we that it turned out our closest neighbors are awesome and love horse camping?

Once we got back to camp, we had some dinner and all hit the hay pretty early. We were all played right out. Perfect night for sleeping too, it had cooled down quite a bit after the sun went down.

When we woke up in on Sunday morning, I wasn't sure if I wanted to ride. But we all decided that we were there with the horses, we might as well ride while we could. We are taking our horses out to the Badlands for Labor Day so it wouldn't hurt to try and get them in shape. Another great day for riding. It was cloudy, and a bit cool so we rode in sweatshirts and light jackets, which was perfect. I’d rather it be a bit cool than too hot. This ride we did about 3.80 miles. 

"Cross this bridge? What, like that's hard?!"

I was the only one wearing a helmet in my group. But not one person made a snippy remark, or made fun of me. In fact everyone said they totally respected my decision to wear one. 
I don't know what to do with my hands when riding western... So I awkwardly place them like I am holding on for dear life...
We were almost back to the campsite at this point... all the horses were being douches. 

After we got back from our ride we packed everything up let the horses take a little rest, and then headed home. I can, in all honesty say that riding in Fort Ransom was some of the most beautiful riding I’ve ever done in my life. And I can’t believe that it’s so close to home. There are plans to bring George out there. As I really think the hills and different scenery would really benefit his fitness.

The chance to ride out there totally makes up for the awful winters we have ;-) 

In closing I am attaching this picture of me, that proves, I am the coolest person on the face of the earth... and yes, I was totally posing like an idiot on purpose...

1 comment:

  1. Looks like a great time! I want to go camping with my horses so bad - one day! :) Seems like Cash is settling in really well! A friend of mine once said that straight shoulders can cause weird gaits like that without causing lamness. Red's trot is rough because of his slightly straighter shoulder. Maybe it's just a conformation thing.