Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sunday Fun-day Trail Ride

On Sunday, Ethan and I brought Mooch over to Riverview and met up with two of the lovely ladies from my barn, and we went for a sunny trail ride with Goose, Tucker, and Wally, and Mooch.

Four perfect geldings!
New Jersey is not quite green and springlike yet, but it was so, so nice to be out in the open with the horses, feeling the sunshine, smelling the fresh air, and seeing the big expanse of blue sky above.

My favorite view:
Ethan and Mooch through Tucker's ears!
Selfies on horseback are ill-advised....
Sunshine is fine!
The route we take goes through the hay fields on our property, then through a little development behind our farm.  We had to cross a pretty intimidating bridge, it's long and narrow and makes a lot of noise as the horses walk across, and the ravine below is pretty deep.  Tucker was really worried about it at the first crossing and threatened to have a meltdown, so I dismounted and walked him across.  I was so glad I did that, because on the way home he calmly walked right back over like it was no big deal.  Such a super trail horse!

Mooch thinks it is so unfair that they can be walking side-by-side
and Tucker is somehow still beating him.
We also have to cross some roads and bridges and that gets us into Six Mile Run, which is a beautiful part of the D&R Canal State Park, and then through more hay fields.  Regarding the road crossings, I have a quick PSA.  If you are driving a car, and you see someone on horseback, you should approach slowly.  If the riders signal you to stop, you should stop your vehicle and wait, either for the horse to exit the roadway or for the rider to signal you past.  

In fact, New Jersey Statute 39:4-72 mandates that you do this:
When approaching or passing a person riding or driving a horse, a person driving a motor vehicle shall reduce the vehicle's speed to a rate not exceeding 25 miles an hour and proceed with caution. At the request of or upon a signal by putting up the hand or otherwise, from a person riding or driving a horse in the opposite direction, the motor vehicle driver shall cause the motor vehicle to stop and remain stationary so long as may be necessary to allow the horse to pass.
Failure to abide by 39:4-72 warrants a fine of up to $150. 

I'm sad to say that we had more than one encounter with vehicle traffic that made it clear that most New Jersey drivers lack common sense are unaware of the above statute (even though it's on the NJ driving test).  I completely understand that most people don't ride horses and might not realize that we are sitting on 1400 lb flight animals and therefore that flying up behind us or racing past us poses a safety risk.  I don't really understand, though, why drivers do not respond to hand signals or even four riders yelling STOP at the top of their voices.  

We discussed it after our ride and agreed on a protocol for future road crossings to make sure we all get across the roads and bridges safely (which includes getting the license plate numbers for those who do not respond to hand signals and calling local law enforcement), but I hope that any of my non-horsey friends who read this blog will take note of the above.  Please don't put yourself or others at risk, you have nowhere to be on a Sunday afternoon that is SO important that Tucker and I need to fall off a bridge or get run into a road sign.

**Hops off soap box now**

One of the cutest things we discovered on this trail ride is that Wally LOVES Tucker.  Wally and Tucker were turned out together for a bit and he did not seem overly enthused about Tucker's BFF overtures.  On this ride, however, Wally wanted very much to be near, an in fact often touching, the big brown horse. Which, obviously, Tucker loved, because he welcomes all signs of affection whatsoever, from anyone, at any time.  Pretty much adorable.

Wally <3's Tucker!
All in all, it was just a lovely day.  The horses were so happy to be out doing what they do best, and I think the Vitamin D was much needed for all of us!  So happy this particularly harsh winter is behind us.  Amazing what a little sunshine will do!

Home again.

5 comments:

  1. Getting jealous of all these lovely trail rides, though definitely not of traffic. I have a horse+car phobia.

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  2. Jersey scenery A+! Jersey drivers F-! Glad you guys stayed safe on your super fun ride!

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  3. Sounds like fun minus the really annoying motorist part. Drivers can be idiots.

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  4. what a nice ride!!! i'm loving getting out and about in nicer weather (even if my trail compatriots' ponies aren't quite as sane as yours haha)

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  5. SO badly do I want a field to ride in

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