April 22, 2024

Deam Lake Trail Ride

I realized yesterday that I've taken trail riding for granted. Both my access to good trails, and my solid little trail pony. But it crossed my mind as I cheerfully rode along in the sunshine on the buckle for two hours yesterday with friends on beautiful trails, and I was so grateful.

And this made me giggle too.

Yesterday FIVE of us (wow!) got together to do a 6 mile ride around Deam Lake State Park, which is about an hour away from the farm. Our haul-in endurance friend Barb offered to give the folks without trailers a ride and to be our guide since none of us had been to Deam before. 

Part of the reason we chose this place and this trail is that there's an endurance benefit ride there at the beginning of June that (according to Barb) is a perfect introduction to the sport for those of us who have never done it before. They have a 6 mile intro ride that is not timed, so you can walk it if you really feel like it, but you still get to do the vet checks and go out with everyone. If you know anything about endurance, you know 6 miles is laughably short, which makes it perfect for a first ride IMO - the distance won't be an issue so we can focus on learning everything else we need to learn about the sport.

This, but make it a sport

We ended up covering the 6 miles yesterday in about two hours, and that was with about 90% walking and 10% trotting. The horses were outstanding, including Ivan the Wonder Pony who went out with Mary partially because his owner was out of town and partially because I wanted to see how he was on trails with Mary before Deb took him out.

Turns out this was Mary's first proper trail ride EVER (which I didn't know) but she trusts me enough that when I was like "Hey, you're going to ride the new guy without a bit and in a treeless, flapless saddle on trails we've never been on before and I don't really know how he'll be but I'm pretty sure he'll be fine" she signed right up, lol.

Mary: "Okay, I never liked knee blocks before going down a steep hill on a horse for the first time but now I get it."

He was amazing, like a trail professor, gently guiding Mary to just the right spots on the trail and never putting a foot wrong. Can't stop being grateful to have him in my barn.

For my part, I was looking to just get Connor out, assess his fitness and do some minor gear tests. Everything passed with flying colors, including my saddle bag held onto my saddle with twine and his Scoot Boots.

Never been here before, couldn't care less

Connor is out of shape, but still covered the 6 miles no problem. He's just so good on the trails. This was the first trail ride I've ever not managed him at all, quite literally rode him on the buckle nearly the entire time, and he just...goes. Straight through creeks and puddles and mud, carefully picking his way around to find the best and safest footing on hills. Happy to lead, follow or be in the middle, not affected by what the other horses are doing. He's just...fun.

Pony in the lead

And pony not in the lead

So I'm excited for June. Excited to try a sport I've always been curious about. Excited to have friends to do it with. And excited to check another sport off of Connor's bingo card.


  1. What a beautiful way to spend the day

  2. Endurance is so much fun, and it is definitely the sport that forces you know your horse inside and out...all around a win-win. Enjoy the trails!

  3. Sounds like such a fun day! I can't believe Mary hadn't trail ridden ever!