Horse Crazy in the LBJ Grasslands

It’s not hard to find a little girl who is crazy about horses in the LBJ Grasslands. Suzy has been wild about horses since she was a little girl, indulged by her father who was happy to wait in the car while she rode. So, when we came upon a little girl, we stopped to share some equestrian goodness. Amelia took to PowerStroke quickly, grabbing his rein with purpose.

Every future Rodeo Queen (or dressage queen) needs a facilitator to put them up on a horse. Lucky for us Jodi and her husband Don came riding back to their trailer while we were talking to Sean and Amelia. A competitive rider all her life, married to a roper and former bull rider and the mother of a Rodeo Queen on a full equestrian scholarship, Jodi knows about horses and kids. She and Sonida showed Amelia a good time.

Amelia looked pretty comfortable in the saddle as her father, Sean, and Jodi talked about horses, kids and how good they are for one another. Amelia, as expected, wanted to take Sonida home. Her father said, “some day.” Sean had been to the LBJ Grasslands many times, but it was the first trip for Jodi and her husband. Hope to see them all back soon.

New Royal Gorge Bridge

All the talk at TADRA Point in the LBJ Grasslands Sunday was about the new Royal Gorge Bridge over Cottonwood Creek on the combo Blue, Yellow, Orange trails. The Wise County Messenger reports, “work on the 9,000-pound bridge made of fiber-reinforced plastic” was completed Thursday by Trails Unlimited. Our ride did not take us in that direction that day, so we set out Monday on foot to check it out with Boo. The new trail going to the bridge from the north passes though a great section of hardwood forest that will be a relief from the sun during the summer. The Royal George Gate has been moved a little to the southeast, however the new trail is well marked and easy to follow. Suzy will illustrate the change in the trail on her next map revision of the LBJ Grasslands Trail Map.

Approaching the bridge from the woods, the view opens up to New Valley on the other side of the creek.

The view from the Royal Gorge Bridge of Cottonwood Creek is impressive. It will look even better with some water in it.

The New Royal Gorge Bridge in The LBJ Grasslands

The south view shows a drop off that might be an issue if a horse balks at the last minute. Don’t look where you don’t want to go and breath is what I always tell myself.

We could not resist dropping down into the creek for a little exploration. If I had lived by the LBJ Grasslands when I was a kid, I would have spent all my free time here. Luckily that is what I have the pleasure doing as an adult.

Here is the bridge of the Yellow Trail, still new as far as I’m concerned. We call it The One Horse Bridge. Does anyone have another name for it?

Busy Day in the LBJ Grasslands

The LBJ Grasslands was loaded with people out enjoying the park this Sunday thanks to the warm temperatures. First we met up with Ian and Shaleen with their dogs Roscoe and Sylvanas from Fort Worth. Shaleen spent some time scratching Jay and enjoying the horse smell, thinking of her horses back home in Iowa. Jay was not complaining.

Saw this group at Coyote Pond as we both stopped for water. Jay kicked out at their little dog who just came back to say hello as we came up behind them on the trail (Sorry!). He will chase small animals around, but he generally does not kick out. I think the dog just surprised him. Although, we do call him The Big Red Menace.

Almost at the end of our ride, we came across this parade bopping down the trail to the beat of “Honky Cat”.

We saw Johnny and Ann coming through the gate, headed back in from their ride.

The smiling faces are a sure sign of a good ride. They did not neglect to close the gate, they left it open for the parade.

As we where pulling out, I snapped this photo of a TADRA packed with trailers bringing people and horses out to enjoy the LBJ Grasslands.

On a late afternoon walk with Boo we saw a Cormorant chasing its shadow along the shore of a pond. Really he was just flying away from us.

Chilly Walk

It started out to be a warm afternoon, then the clouds moved in and the wind picked up, creating a chilly walk in The LBJ Grasslands. Darcie and Sheryl were of the same opinion when we met them in Jackson Woods, looking to cut their ride short. Amongst the trees in the valley was the best place to be.

Armadillos and Hedgehogs

Boo’s favorite animal to chase is the armadillo. They run fast and make a strange grunting sound. He doesn’t ever catch them, its all about the chase. He will run them down and administer his own brand of tag you’re it. If the armadillo goes into the brush, he gives up the chase for another day. He never does hurt them like I want to do when they spend the night digging up my yard.

Ok, it’s just a hedgehog cactus near the shore of Lake Bridgeport. This colony looks like it took some abuse from the ice storm, along with the Prickly Pear behind it.

A look at a specimen in better shape.

Fog

The morning fog reduced the normally long vista from my window at work to less than half a mile. A good day to stay inside and play with Photoshop and do a little work.

If You Don’t Like the Weather…

Many people say, “If you don’t like the weather in [Pick a Location], just wait…”. I don’t much care for the change in the weather from Saturday to today. The tee shirt I wore yesterday would not provide enough warmth for a ride in today’s 40° F downward shift in the temperature. And it looks like we have longer than minutes to wait for a change. The memories of a great trail ride on a warm winter day in The LBJ Grasslands will have to entertain me today on this cold winter day. Compared to the weather in Minnesota, I shouldn’t complain, but I will anyway.

Long Ears on the Yellow Trail

I’m not big on new year’s resolutions, but I do like to start the new year on a good note. So after lunch we headed over to The LBJ Grasslands to walk off some roast beast and who pudding. While trying to get Boo to pose on this cool part of the trail, we heard voices coming up the trail. It turned out to be a second encounter with the mule brigade. We first  saw them today as they were breaking for lunch in the pine forest. We coaxed Boo away so they could eat their lunch in peace. He is a terrible mooch and also had consumed too much roast beast at Christmas.

Horses and mules have the right of way on the trail system, so we cleared the trail.

Look at those ears. I failed to get the names of the two new members for this long-ears lineup. If you let me know, I will add them.

This yucca has some great staying power.

After coming down the hill out of the piney woods, these riders broke into a cool canter. It looked like they were having a great time on the first day of the new year.

Happy New Year from The LBJ Grasslands!