Just a bit more about our ride including pictures!
We are riding in Chickamauga Battlefield. It is a beautiful place to ride or hike if you are so inclined. The ride started off pretty good. We started with an easy walk up a grassy knoll where a bloody battle was fought in the Civil War. Crystal jumps sideways when some birds fly up in front of her, Precious just plods along. The trail is covered with leaves that has fallen from the trees. Red, yellow, orange and brown all mingling together to form a beautiful carpet to walk on. Sunlight filters through the branches and creates dancing sparkles on the drops of water that are on leaves and branches. The sound of the traffic is muffled, the feeling of being free from the world settles in. Soon another rider joins us. He is riding a gelding that is so calm that Precious pretty much pays no mind. Precious is a boss mare and this horse yielded right away to that fact.
We get to the main road and I wondered if we would have any trouble crossing. To my delight Precious waited until I gave her the command to go. This is a pretty heavily traveled roadway on the weekend. Some horses have problems crossing a road that have cars on it. Her first time went well! On we go. Soon we come to a fork in the trail. One path leads all the way around the park, the other cuts through the center. We decided to take the path through the center. After all the days are shorter and I am riding a fat, out of shape horse. Yes she is fat, weighed in at 1049 pounds and is 14.2 hands tall. It is a beautiful day and all the animals are out. Rabbits and snakes, squirrels and deer are all seen moving around. Open season on deer and we are seeing them everywhere. LOL No hunting where we are and the deer know they are safe.
We are moving along pretty good and Precious starts getting a bit antsy. In a bit a group of horses come up on us. All of a sudden Precious is full of it. I get Pat to stop and allow those horses to get ahead of us and out of sight. I could feel that they were the source of her antsy behavior. Soon she settles back down. Pretty soon we come to a creek that we have to cross. This is another new experience for Precious. At my urging she stepped forward and walked into the creek and bent her head down for a drink then walked out. I was so proud of her! Now we are at an open field and she spots the other horses again.Oh boy here we go again. They get out of sight again and she settld down. Thsi is really making me nervous. I just know what she wants and I DO NOT want to be in on it! Now we are coming up on a real biggie. Walking up a creek and going under a road at the same time. My word, my chest just filled with pride as she did it like she has been doing it all her life! She is trusting that I will not take her into danger! Now I know these are all new experiences for her. She was just back from the trainer when I bought her and I broke my back 1 week later, so she has never had these things happen before.
UTOH trouble ahead! the group of horses that had passed us is resting up ahead. Pat says lets join them and takes off in a gallop. Precious is right on their tail only I know she is looking for trouble!Too soon we meet up with them. The gelding comes over to Crystal and Precious decided to do her thing with me on her back. She rears up a bit and Pat grabs her after the second time when he notices. Actually after I yelled at him! Unfortunately that did not end it. Precious turns and tries to kick. I yank her head up and then she tries again. This time Pat grabs her head and leads her off. He finally understood when I told him that she wanted trouble. We let them ride off before starting on the trail again. Soon we meet another horse coming towards us, a lady riding bareback. She is riding a beautiful black mare. I catch up to them and maneuver Precious to the other side of Crystal to put her in between us since they were stopped and talking. that was working fine until the mare steps forward and nips Crystal in the face! She jumps back and in the blink of an eye Precious has whrilled around Crystal and is positioning herself to kick! I pulled and turned Precious and yell out that she will kick and the lady takes off. Scary moment! I know that all she was going to do was protect Crystal. See Precious is the boss mare and Crystal is the trail boss. If Crystal spots a bugger then Precious leads her past it but other wise Crystal sets the pace and direction on the trail. If there is danger it is Precious's job to protect.
The rest of the ride went uneventful. There was a lot of hard climbing and both horses were tired. Soon we get back to the trailor. Precious was drenched with sweat. I have no doubt she lost weight! LOL Gave her a good rub down and brushing and treated her to some carrots. On the trailor andback home again.
I am sore from my ride. Apparently when she whipped around she pulled some muscles in my ribcage. It feels like I have been punched there. I will get over it. I am looking forward to our next ride. I hope to go tomorrow!
Chickamauga Battlefield is virgin forest, meaning it has never been cut and is made up of old groth trees. There are lots of fallen trees in it from the tropical storm that movd through here a few years back also from the major ice storm and blizzard we had. They do not remove the trees. They lay where they fall. the only ones that get removed are the ones that have fallen across a road or a trail. Those are cut and pushed aside. This makes for a bounty of places for animals and insects to call home. It is not unusual to see deer and other wild animals. During the winter bobcats come down from the mountains into the park. Sometimes they are captured and removed. Bears, if they come into the park are always captured and removed. Foxes and other small animals thrive in the free from hunting environment.
Animals are not the onlything you will see a lot of. Throughout the park are monuments to honor the fallen. There are cannons all over and 100's of plaques telling what happened there at the spot. This was the site of a bloody battle, a hard win and a hard loss. History was made here. You go go all day and longer reading these plaques and learning about what happened, who was there and who died. I am not just talking about the generals and those people. I mean the soldiers. You can learn who they are and where they were from and where they died.