And the wild lilac bloometh

Every spring I make a special detour to a section of trail where the wild lilac trees are. With all of our warm weather of late, I was sure that the trees would have bloomed so I did the detour three times in the last week. No blooms yet.

But today was the day, and she was glorious. We were surrounded by the scent. It was lovely.

About ten years ago I came cantering down this trail with my other horse Jazz and my friends in tow. Where I came around the bend and saw these surprising blooms I came to an abrupt stop and my friends almost crashed into me.

Since then, every spring I make sure to come see how the lilacs are doing. This year the blooms were particularly generous.

This year I have a new budding friendship with our new barn intern C. A lovely young lady who is happy to follow my lead as I show her the trails. I get the benefit of good company and the safety of a friend, and she gets to discover all the sections. She was particularly giddy at our long fast trots as she learns t…

Goldilocks and riding conditions

This week it was too hot
Last week it was too buggy
The week before that it was too windy
And the week before that, we were stuck at home for 6 weeks.

And now? Thunderstorms are coming.

If I was goldilocks, I would never ride. Especially not in the worst heat wave we have ever had ... in May??? We hit 38 degrees this week. And it was snowing three weeks ago. Crazy weather.

But the birds are chirping, and the skies are blue for now, so I will drag myself off this couch and head out to the barn to gallop in between the rain drops. Being outdoors in less than ideal conditions is always better than being trapped inside.

I love Qs radar ears as he is waiting for me to give him the go-ahead and Im too busy trying to get bird calls to notice.

Clean grey horses an oxymoron?

Another cliché is the dirty grey horse. Of course I have benefitted from a grey horse that is taking a very long time to white out. He turned 7 this year and is still a very dark dapple grey. And he knows nothing of social distancing.

This nice thing about spring is that we get back to grazing grass, listening to birds, and taking a bath. And of course, after a bath, what does Q like to do?

You got it!

Dirty horse = happy horse?
Q seems to think so.

Recipe for bananas

Q loves bananas green, ripe and black. He seems to have a limit of two before the banana mush starts to stick to his mouth and he drools. Because of his fondness, we always buy extra bananas to spoil him. In a good week he might even get 8-10 bananas.

Banana bread is a cliché of the Covid confinement, and usually we never have any leftover bananas to bake this treat. But 6 out of the last 8 weeks I was not able to go to the barn and we needed to do something with the black bananas. And I had an abundance of buttermilk getting old.

So this recipe for banana bread, or muffins, was born out of necessity and constraint. Please do not tell Q. He knows how to hold a grudge.

The recipe is super forgiving and bananas can even be substituted for a cup of zucchini, or mashed squash. Apples would probably work too. Nuts can be added instead of chocolate chips, or they can be eliminated entirely.

The key is the slow and low bake. It transforms the bread. That same analogy could probably apply to …

Nipped in the bud

A completely uneventful week aside from lots of solo rides of varying speeds. Today we took out the new intern for a quiet one hour stroll in the woods as she gets acquainted with the trails and her horse for the summer. She comes from the equestrian college program nearby, and she is working as a summer student between her sessions. She was a pleasure to ride with.

Today was stupid hot, so I dressed in my summer tights with water bottle and bug spray. The woods have been transformed over the last week and today it definitely felt like summer. A month early.

I took this picture of one of the trails and then found the identical shot I had taken on February 28th. Just a few days before my covid adventure began. Its amazing how much has changed, and stayed the same, over such a brief period in time.

Im mostly pleased with Qs behaviour this week. We have graduated to a quiet jog on the buckle while heading home. This is a big feat for Q as he would previously trot very fast, and then I wo…

Overdose of blue skies

Six hours of riding over four days. And Im on my way to the barn for a fifth session this afternoon. Ouch! My hip is killing me.

Tomorrow is the first day in our province where recreational activities are legal. Golfers, kayakers and horsebackriders can soon rejoice. But lots of illegal activity had begun a few weeks ago when the confinement rules started to loosen after 7 weeks of being cooped up.

Over the last few weeks I have noted plenty of reckless behaviour. On the roads, I have witnessed dangerous driving, weaving through "traffic" and creating pile-up accidents. On the trails, I have noted plenty of delinquent users with loose dogs, and mountain bikes. And even my fellow horsemen have been disappointing with their thundering gallops as they pass me on a ravine. Seriously?

Yep. All these things make me angry and righteous. I want to remind them all that we live in a society where one person's freedoms stops at another person's right to safety. But then I calm …

Oxygen Day

Today the wind has quieted down. We had some blustering windstorms over the weekend that made trail riding disquieting. Its pretty hard to relax when the wind is pushing the pine trees to crackling over your head. So I made my weekend rides quick and fast and retired Q to a grassy spot for him to inhale some spring lushness. He was happy.

Today however its my turn. I decided we would do a 60 minute trail with trot and canter sets and four ravines to see how Q is holding up. We have done lots of quick/fast and long/slow rides over the last ten days so it was time to see if a moderate/fast ride would get Q winded. Im guessing his recovery time will have much improved since May 1rst. Horses recover their previous fitness levels so much faster than humans.

When I arrived at the barn I realized that the windstorms with gusts blowing at 60km/h were still very active in the area and so that dampened my enthusiasm a bit. But we headed out in record time, and started trotting within a few minu…