I was feelin' the pressure for this trip. It was their first time visiting the Appalachians for true and their first
time to the heart of West Virginia. I was born, raised, and now find myself working here for the time being - so I should be a good guide, yes? My childhood and past jobs have lended me knowledge of some of the best places this state has to offer as far as outdoors pursuits, but all the same, it was a little bit of a challenge to puzzle the best summer spots together for my guests!
It took a bit of thinking, but I did manage to fold together a perfect combination of horse fun with WV pursuits - all activities in attempt to fulfill some goals they had. I hope they will be back in the fall and winter to see even more of what this state has to offer, I cautioned them that what they saw this time were only "summer" things. I'll have lots of other things to share as the seasons change!
Because Charles' career is one with long shifts, he had been up for >24 hours by the time we'd finished our high elevation pursuits. Saiph and I dropped him at the house to catch some shut eye and we rolled out to the barn so she could meet Griffin and Q.
I was a bit shocked when Saiph expressed to me how beautiful she thought Q was; she noted how photos really don't do her justice at all. I'd always thought that, but then at the same time just sort of figured I was maybe biased because she's my horse. I'd quit worrying about it as a result, accepting things as they were. Imagine my surprise when a relatively unbiased person noted the same thing, and then doted on how beautiful she really was! I was too shocked at the time to be happy about it, but now I am thrilled that Saiph shared her observation and opinions with me about Q. Love my little mare.
We waited out a thunderboomer in the barn riding in the ring some where we noted that Q was off on the fore at the trot. It seemed to be hoof related, perhaps a stone bruise or abscess so I didn't worry too much. Post-storm we were able to tour around the property on horseback, Saiph on Q and me on Griffin (who was in a right mood that day - angsty teenager phase). We had a lot of fun laughing at my horses' personalities and making the most of the evening.
Post-mini trail ride, I popped Q's Renegades on to successfully mitigate her offness on the fore. Additionally, I got to test out Saiph's Alta Escuela saddle (which she'd been riding Q in) and then turned Q back over to her, insisting that she had to canter her. I love Q's canter, and I know with Lily on stall rest lately, Saiph has missed cantering. With darkness falling, we finished up our equine fun with Saiph taking a cooldown ride bareback on Q as I putzed around the barn putting things away.
From the barn we scurried home to shower and change, consumed way too many calories at McD's and headed to Augusta for a live blues/swing band and dancing. All in all, a good time was had by all on day one of three.
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Day two dawned relatively early. We had a breakfast of pancakes loaded with peaches, strawberries, milk and white chocolate chips, and all three of us headed to load up my horses for a morning of play at the big 4-H ring.
Both horses loaded and unloaded without issue from the trailer. We battled the flies, tacked up, and had a fun time riding. Griffin got his first significant workout since the trail ride where he tossed me off and then ran around in a teenage fit of angst. Q got her first significant ride since the No Frills incident. And Saiph got to jump for the first time in two years!
It was hot, hot, HOT by the time we finished and dropped the horses off. We snagged lunch at the local Venezuelan place and then headed up to the closer of my two favorite swimming holes. It was a good thing we went to the closer one, too, as the water was up a LOT from the thunderboomers and if we'd hiked to High Falls we would not have been rewarded with a swim because with flows like that swimming would have been very dangerous!
That evening Charles and Saiph cooked wonderful Puerto Rican food for me. *swoon* I was one happy girl.
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Day three, Saiph and I headed out to trim Griffin, share trimming techniques, and go on a trail ride. I try to trim my guys every 2 weeks. It makes it so all trims are just maintenance trims. This way I don't have to work excessively, they don't have to stand around forever, and sometimes I don't have to do anything if they've been working a lot and wearing their feet as a result. Saiph is thinking about doing Lily's feet completely on her own now, too, so it was fun to trim and observe one another's technique and discuss some things.
After we trimmed we tacked up and made sure we had plenty of water for our trail ride since it was HOT. I didn't know how long we'd ride for, but I figured it would be in the ballpark of 10-12 miles. I rode Q and Saiph rode Dee's TWH, Little Bit. We ended up doing a really fun 10 miles that included a little bit of exploring and me managing to create a nice lollipop loop out of shear luck.
Saiph got along really well with Little Bit. She loved how he moved - she'd not been on a TWH previously. I was thrilled that they got along so well. I think he's found a home with her if Dee were to ever sell him, haha. Saiph's perma-grin the whole ride spoke volumes.
After our trail ride, we snagged some DQ for lunch (oh my the calories, hahaha) and then showered, changed, and headed to Seneca Rocks. Saiph and Charles were headed for home after Seneca, and I was meeting Jeremy there to climb up to the summit for sunset and rap off in the dark - something I've wanted to do for awhile.
Unfortunately, the weather was iffy when we arrived and Jeremy had zero desire to play human lightning rod (surprise! haha). Instead, the four of us hiked up to the top. It was a great finale for Saiph and Charles' trip and good exercise for Jeremy and I - even if it wasn't climbing.
I had an absolute BLAST showing new friends around WV. It was a really incredible few days for all involved.
And now, have all the photos!
|Look! He's growing a a nice big boy tail!|
|Q in the Spanish browband <3|
|<3 my mare|
|She seriously didn't stop smiling|
|More discussing and learning|
|Griffin worked beautifully in the high setting for the Fauxssoa; working him in it made our ride so much better |
because he would duck and give to the pressure instead of becoming offended by it
|Lets ignore my funny face and instead focus on how cute Griffin is!|
|He was so forward and focused on this day; proud of little man.|
|Didn't. Stop. Smiling.|
|Hot weather makes my shoulders slump. Such oppressive heat. Gah.|
|Dear self, close those fingers. Kthnxbye.|
|Dear self, congrats on those closed fingers!|
|Good shot of size comparison of the two of them.|
|And again, blurry, but look how big Griffin is! In my mind he's still itty bitty, but reality says otherwise.|
|Surprise! She's smiling! ;-)|
|Wandering away from me while I went to get something from the trailer.|
|Having a discussion about that whole "wander off" thing.|
|Zoooom! My 14.1 mare has a huge stride.|
|Look! Q hunts jumps!|
|Prepare for take off...|
|So I had to try, too!|
|At the swimming hole, high water! We swim below the stepping falls.|
|Tostones! Best I've ever had!!|
|I can haz tostones?|
|Annnd he thinks the dishwasher is a good place to be now.|
|We took turns leading.|
|Shoulda grabbed a breastplate, ah well.|
|All grins despite the heat.|
|Fun bareback jaunt post trail ride.|
|And one final grin. =)|