Region 4 of the North American Trail Ride Conference was in the LBJ Grasslands for two days this weekend, taking part in a benefit trail ride. Saturday, I caught up with the riders at mile 17 on the Orange Trail as they paused for a Pulse and Respiration Stop where their horses’ condition was evaluated. After the health of their mount was verified, they were judged going over two obstacles and climbing up a hill out of a wash. This was only a small part of the challenges the participants faced during the two-day event. The horsemanship of the rider and the condition of the horse are constantly being judged and can result in deductions from the 100 points each rider has at the beginning of the ride.
NATRC is based on the philosophies of stimulating the breeding and use of horses possessed of stamina and hardiness for trail riding and to encourage good horsemanship, training and conditioning of the horses.
Click on image to enlarge.
Eight to ten inches of rain made areas of Cottonwood Lake once accessible by vehicles available to boat traffic only. I made this photo a week ago on Sunday when you could just start seeing the overflow intake. On Saturday, the only sign of the intake was the whirlpool above it.
The other side of the dam was a torrent.
The level of Black Creek Lake was not over the intake on Sunday, but it was looking more like a lake than a sand bar.
Full Moon Pond in TADRA Point was up to the trail for the first time in a while.
The muddy trails did not stop Traci and Taylor, riding Keanu and Moose from enjoying the cool temperatures on Saturday.
A Grey Frog hanging out on the wall is always fun to see.
Sunday was very warm all the way into the evening, but that didn’t keep Carl from an evening ride in The LBJ Grasslands. He says that this is his time to relax, enjoying his horses, dog and the Park. Hey Carl, let me know the names of your horses and dog. For some reason, I think operator error, my video of you giving me their names did not work. Of course Boo had to get in the photo because he is always the star of the show.
Before meeting up with Carl, we trekked up and down Jeep Hill through the Mountain Pinks.
The perfect Spring day drew many people out to the LBJ Grasslands with their horses. Every time we asked people if they were having a good time, we were greeted with a big smile. Almost as big as this group of riders with some cool looking horses who must have looked like a parade coming down the trail. Click on photo to enlarge.
Nancy was leading her own parade riding Starr down the Red/White trail taking in the day.
Our neighbor Janet on Moose with her friend Traci on Keanu came through TADRA as we were brushing and snacking our horses.
I saw this group from a distance and knew Jay would find them scary. Sure enough as we rounded the corner he came to a complete halt, certain that they were bears, not people with packs on their backs. By the time we got organized for this line up shot, he was OK with them, but not completely. The hikers represent three different troops from the Northwest Texas Council training for a trip to Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico.
The family that rides together — has a really good time together! As we were brushing out sweaty horses, this group came riding into TADRA. Atop Informa we have Chloe, Cassandra (Mom) and Lane; the cool pony Cookie was carrying Mikey and Landon; John (Dad) is riding Truman with Katlin in his arms. Thanks for stopping for a pic and Happy Trails.
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.
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.
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.
An autumn day in the LBJ Grasslands on top of horses with a young dog running lead is hard to beat. So says Ranger the dog.
Spiny Puffball Fungus
I had to get off my horse to get pic of this, it was too cool.