Monday, October 11, 2010

Praise Jesus For Gel Pads

The Hula-gen’s went horseback riding last Friday. It’s the first time Hula’s been on a horse in nearly twenty years. Her goal was to not fall off. Goal accomplished. Whew. Don’t laugh. I have strong memories of a certain runaway horse from my childhood and a clothesline. It was also the first time Hubby had ridden in about twenty years and the first time Teen Angel had ever ridden, unless you count a few fair ponies. So the fact that we made it through the day with only one tumble (a spectacular fall from Teen Angel about thirty minutes before we quit for the day) and no injuries other than sore bottoms was a dadgum miracle.

We drove about forty-five minutes south of here to a campground that is designed just for horse folk. It has stalls, Ferrier facilities and other amenities to make it easy to camp with horses. Everyone there rides.

And those who have lost the physical ability to ride still use horses to get around.

My brother in law and his wife have camped there for years and have helped to develop the campground into what it is today. They have owned and ridden horses their entire marriage, so we toddled on down to their site and spent the day with them and their horses.

We rode for about three and a half hours in the morning and another two and a half hours in the afternoon. It was absolutely wonderful. The cell service was non- existent there, so we weren’t bothered by any real connection to civilization. And we rode along trails that wound through the hills and woods and are accessible only by horse and foot.

That particular area used to be home to scattered residents who were displaced when the federal government forced them out many years ago to bring the Tennessee Valley Authority and electricity into the area and to create a large recreational area for the public. It was a very controversial move back then, and scattered throughout the area are remnants of homesteads and small family cemeteries. This particular one bears the stone of a young man who was a drummer in the Civil War.

This used to be moonshine country, and it’s easy to see why. You could get very lost in there, very quickly. Fortunately, my sister in law knows every little nook and cranny of that place. This photo, although not very good, pretty much sums up the day: her leading the way, and me trying to take pictures without running into anything or falling off.

The best pictures were probably to be had on the first ride we took because of the lakes and eagles we saw, but Hula left her expensive camera at the campsite the first time around because she thought it best to have both hands available, given her lack of equestrian skills. I did take it the second time out and managed a few shots, but mostly I was mesmerized by the scenery. It was a spectacular fall day, and even the blandest of fields were lively with color.

Teen Angel’s fall came near the end of the ride when her horse took an unexpected jump over a log that she wasn’t prepared for. She was actually very lucky she wasn’t seriously hurt, but thankfully her pride and her fanny were the only things bruised. I was proud of her though because she got right back on and rode to the campsite.

We wrapped up the evening around the campfire with some good conversation. All in all, it was an excellent day. We even had a great sunset.

It was a badly needed day of rest and regeneration for us and a reunion with family we haven’t seen in a very long time. That alone was worth the sore bottoms.


J.G. said...

By far the best way to see any kind of country, especially in the fall! I wish I was right alongside you there, but the pictures are the next best thing.

BTW, those are mules pulling that cart. Not that it matters. :-)

The Church Lady said...

I remember a few years back when me and some gal friends decided to go Horseback riding. I practically peed my pants from laughing so hard just trying to hoist my butt up onto the horse! I too had a runaway horse incident when I was a child, so horseback riding is definitely not one of my favorite passtimes! Love the scenery and I was wondering how you managed the camera and riding at the same time!

Life with Kaishon said...

It sounds like a wonderful day. That last sunburst picture is just too gorgeous for words. Oh my heavens. I love it. Love. love. LOVE!

oreneta said...

Sounds wonderful, wish I could do something like that one day soon. Glad Teen Angel wasn't hurt, and that your camera didn't get broken either!

Trailboss said...

I knew you would have a great time. It is the best campground (in my opinion) for riding within 100 miles! I need to get my fanny back down there. I'm afraid my fat mare wouldn't make it an hour though since she is so out of shape. Looks like yall were on gaited horses. At least the ones I could see. What a lovely day to spend a fall day with friends and family. I hate to say there is no way Joe would get on a horse at all. Steph yes, Joe no. I guess he remembers a certain horse and a barbed wire fence. Oh well. Glad you had fun!

Hula Girl at Heart said...

JG-LOL. You're right, those are mules. I wasn't thinking about that when I wrote the text. We saw a handful of horse pulled wagons that day, many of them homemade rigs that were quite interesting. BTW-My husband loves a great pair of mules.

Kelley with Amy's Angels said...

AWWW! I love horseback riding. And what a pretty place to go, too! Looks like you had quite a nice time. :)

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...


I love this post! How fun for all of you. I haven't been riding for about as long as you. And, it makes me happy that you get along so well with your in-laws.

Sorry your girl had a tumble, but I am glad she is fine.

Great pics. It makes me want to try it again.