The Curly, A Trail Horse for All Seasons - Summer
by Susan Lejonhud
There's a lot to be said for summertime trail riding on your trusty Curly. Most of us are busy, and a ride on our favorite mount is oh-so-good for refreshing the soul. Either solo or with some like-minded horsy friends, summertime riding is a great joy for the senses.
I spent this beautiful July day riding the fields and woods of a nearby Maine town on my Curly RCR Ah D Das ("Adidas"). My guy AhD is a gelding, but suffers from some hormonal issues and tends to have the temperament of a stallion. Nevertheless, he is AWESOME when trail riding with other horses, even with mares, and this day was no exception. We cantered up the side of this spectacular hay field, following a spirited Morgan mare, and waited for our galloping friends to arrive.
We also wound through the woods on some tight trails. My Curly excels at that type of riding. He is responsive to my body language and cues, yet isn't afraid to pick the best way when I allow him. We crossed quite a few downed trees, squeezed through some tight spots, and crossed numerous brooks. AhD is an excellent "water horse" and has no problem whatsoever with crossing streams. He also has no problem with drinking on the trail and likes to stop with all four feet in the water and take a good long drink before moving on. Some of the brook crossings were quite tricky due to large slippery rocks or steep bankings, but AhD is very sure-footed.
Curlies tend to have great feet, and AhD is no exception. Those honkin' big and tough natural-trimmed hooves of his get compliments from horse people who are knowledgeable about such things. Another thing I truly enjoy about my Curly is the way he stands out in a crowd, even with his summertime coat. I took this closeup of his withers on July 22nd, so you can see that AhD is distinctively a Curly all year round. Even in a group of (beautiful) bays, he is one of a kind.
We stopped for a rest at Range Pond. My buddy AhD was up for a swim, but I was not. Next time, I'm going to be just as quick to stop his attempt at lying down in the water, but not as quick to stop him from swimming!
One of my most memorable summertime trail rides was at Betsy Lirakis' Top of the Hill Farm in Springfield, Vermont, when we had just purchased AhD. Riding with friends is absolutely wonderful, and riding with your children is truly awesome.
That day, Nokwisi (the palomino Curly) and AhD were only three year old youngsters, but they carried me and my quite inexperienced daughter on a fabulous ride through the Vermont woods and fields. That says a lot for Curly temperament! Betsy, her daughter Zoe, and their friend Maya were also riding Curlies . We successfully navigated some steep hills and crossed water with our group of Curlies. Speaking of family and children, I've noticed that AhD enjoys children and the attention and hugs he gets from them.
He especially likes my youngest boy Ian, and is very willing to give him pony rides. AhD has also given many of the neighborhood children the joy of a pony ride.
Finding a cool breeze on a hot summer day is a good goal to have. On this hot summer day, my friend and I rode to the top of Sanitorium Hill to enjoy the view and the breeze. We took a steep and sometimes rocky wooded trail to the top, where we let our horses graze and take a well-deserved rest. AhD's Curly mane fluttered in the wind. AhD is no dummy and he takes every opportunity to eat on the trail. He loves to snatch leaves as we travel through the woods, so he was in seventh heaven in this field. After our break, we walked and trotted back by road until we were about a mile from the house, and then we took to the woods again for the final leg. The woods are so cool and refreshing in summertime. I love the trails that are lined by ferns and tall trees. The leaves block the sun, and that delicious woodsy smell.who could ask for more?
Another summertime favorite thing of mine to do with my Curly is to take an easy low-key ride in the evening once it has cooled down. This evening we moseyed around bareback and checked fence.
After a hot summer day, a relaxing bareback ride into the sunset on your beloved Curly is a dream come true. Hope all your summertime Curlyrides are happy ones!
-Susan and AhD
About the Author: Susan has been part of the International Ride-A-Curly contest for the past 2 years, being awarded in 2008 by fellow RAC'ers for "Favorite horse & rider team" and also "Most improved rider." Susan and her loyal equine companion,, AHD have been an inspiration to many as she shares her experiences through her wonderful stories. To read more about this pair, visit the RAC blog in 2008 and also 2009.