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Wizard Ride 145: Follow the Yellow Brick Road

May 19, 2010

Monday, 5/17/10

The fabled Tree Nursery. I’ve Google Mapped it, I’ve asked about it, and now we’ve finally ridden to it! It’s the New Jersey Forest Tree Nursery and Forest Resource Education Center and it’s located in Jackson, NJ.

My friend has ridden there before, but never on her Warmblood/Thoroughbred filly. I don’t know if Wizard has been there before. We set out around 7pm and returned after dark. It was a wonderful ride and a great change of scenery… literally!

Before we hit the trails, I had an “if I only had a brain” moment and got on Wizard without a helmet. How on earth did that happen? I’ve ridden with a strict helmet policy for well over a decade, and yet did not notice the breeze blowing through my hair til somebody mentioned it- yikes!

In order to get to the nursery, we had to do some road riding. I don’t love riding on roads, but I know that Wizard is pretty awesome at it so I was more confident. Trucks, cars, everything passed us and he did not bat an eye… yet another advantage of riding a Thoroughbred who is off the track.

We cut through the edge of a development and rode up a really cool hill, which was great for strengthening and fitness. From the top, we could see a nice view. We descended and kept on riding. We reached a grassy field, where my friend asked if we could do a little trot. Why not?

So we began our trot, but Wizard broke into a canter. I slowed him, but as the filly trotted away from him, he leapt around a few times, not a buck and not a rear, more like Bill the Cat having a freakout (thanks for the reference, Wendy!).

The prospect of being separated from the filly and the filly going ahead of him was what set him off. I remember having similar experiences with Alibar. I held him together and we were able to do a little trot. We will have to work on that in the future. During the ride, we practiced letting each horse lead and it worked nicely. They also got along really well, there were no flattened ears or angry faces. They seemed to enjoy each other’s company.

We reached the entrance to the Tree Nursery and rode down the road. There was some stone dust footing and some dirt footing. We walked over a wooden bridge (GOOD BOY, WIZARD!) quite well. Wizard flinched when he heard the noise of hoof on wood but then crossed it like a pro. Baby followed his lead. There were lots of really cool log benches which looked like fantastic log jumps. We hopped over one little one. I can hardly wait until we’re jumping more and we can hop these logs for practice.

We rode past the education center and looped around on one of the trails. The trail was the Yellow Trail, which struck me as funny since I was riding Wizard on the Yellow Brick Road. The trail snaked in the wrong direction (we DID want to go home, eventually) and we hit the road but got back on course and headed back to the barn.

As we rode back, it was getting dark (see photo below). Wizard did one more round, fancy jump over a stone curb, much to my surprise, but he looked and felt great as he hopped it. We took the wooded way back to the barn, only crossing one road. Wizard walked on sidewalks, up and down curbs, and stood nicely at the road crossing.

Once we hit our usual network of trails, I virtually dropped the reins and Wizard picked his way back in the dark. We rode for about two hours and he was only sweaty under the saddle pad and girth. I was SO proud of him. This was our first real challenge on the trails (besided the pig pen, I suppose) and he passed with flying colors. This summer, I hope to do a few nice rides like this per month.

Product raves: Bug Balm and Cocosoya. I smeared the Bug Balm on Wizard’s ankles and belly before our ride. Bug season is not in full swing, but he came home with no noticeable bites or ticks. And he LOVES the Cocosoya oil! I added a little to his rice bran mash- it has a sweet, pleasant smell and Omega 3, 6, and 9.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 20, 2010 2:51 pm

    Hooray! Sounds like a great ride.


  1. Wizard Ride 254: I Am a Tree « Rock and Racehorses: The Blog

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