Saturday, November 26th Helmut was surprised when a group of friends threw a birthday party in his honour. Following the potluck dinner and after the gifts and cards were opened Sheila MacDonald and myself conducted an interview with the “man of the hour”. Here are some of our findings. Helmut didn’t start trail riding until 1973. Since that time he has owned eight horses. His most memorable, and one that he still owns, is a Tennessee Walker named Smokey. Helmut purchased Smokey in 2010 and after owning her for only ten days completed a 250 mile ride. (we don’t call him leather butt for nothing). An OTRA member since the mid 1980’s, an active member of the Ontario Trail Riders since 2000. Helmut joined the Board of Directors in 2002. He was on the Board for seven years. Helmut came back on the Board again in 2015 as President. When Helmut first started camping he had a slide in camper in the back of his pickup truck and a two horse bumper pull trailer. He upgraded to a one ton truck and a large goose neck trailer with all the comforts of home. He has put over 100,000 kilometers on his truck and trailer. One of his favourite places to ride and camp, Otter Creek, New York. He remembers fondly time spent there with Frank Bauman, Sheila MacDonald, Ron Keeler, Marvin Haliday, to name only a few. Helmut has rode and camped across Western Canada, from Illinois to Alabama, and all the way down the Eastern and Western Coasts. He was active in getting a camp in Mattawa started. Helmut says the trails were beautiful. He and Marvin Haliday bush whacked their way to their own beach. A very memorable ride for Helmut was the Shore to Shore, Michigan ride, from Lake Huron to Lake Michigan. He proudly displays the small block of wood, trophy from the Michigan Trail Riders Association. OSCODA to Empire. The 10 day 250 mile/400 kilometer ride. He will tell you that he and Smokey bonded on this ride. Helmut has made many friends along the way. Carla and Ron Walker, from Michigan presented him with an “Iron Man” trophy, which he proudly displays, after the Shore to Shore ride. Carla and Ron drove from Michigan for Helmut’s 80th on Saturday. Helmut lost an U.S. election result related bet to the Walkers. He is now sporting a “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN” cap and is out fifty bucks. Helmut also received a birthday card from Annie and Clay Smith from Texas. More friends Helmut has made trail riding.
The party was busy and it was hard to nail the birthday boy down. We will wait for some quiet time in the future and continue the interview. The number of people helping Helmut celebrate this milestone is a testimonial to the person that he is. Helmut, you an inspiration to all. Happy Trails.
Sheila MacDonald and Lana English
Grey Cup Weekend: posted a blast from the past in 2012 CSC Grey Cup Robbery
If anyone would like to author horse related info that could help us keep our horses healthy please let me know. The winter month are a great time to read.
Bluewater Feed Company -HORSE NUTRITION IN WINTER: WATER THE MOST IMPORTANT NUTRIENT
As winter approaches, horses may begin to drink less as the water gets cold and freezes. At this time, horses often transition from food with a high moisture content (pasturing) to a dryer diet (dry hay). These two things are at the root of a common winter problem: impaction colic. It is crucial that horses living
outside be given access to quality water at all times as they must consume at least 10 gallons per day. A bucket of half-frozen water or snow is next to useless as it does not fulfill the horse’s basic needs. Moreover,if a horse consumes very cold water, its body temperature will drop and it will have to expend a lot of energy
to warm up. The only way to prevent water from freezing in the winter is to invest in a heated water trough.This is the best way to prevent impaction colic and esophageal obstruction in horses… and to avoid potential veterinary fees, not to mention the emotional toll of losing a valued animal. Research shows that horses drink
more when water is kept at a temperature of about 18 to 20 degrees C (65 degrees F). Even stabled horses may begin to drink less because, even if the water in the trough does not freeze, it may be too cold for the horse to drink. Consider using individual buckets with concealed heating elements to keep water at the
desired temperature. Using hot water to add moisture to feed, especially if it contains fiber, is another great way to get your horse to drink more. Finally, it is important to carefully monitor your horse’s water intake and check its hydration levels regularly using the skin pinch test or by monitoring the texture of the manure. If your horse is still not drinking enough water, adding 1 to 2 ounces of salt (100% NaCl) per meal, in addition to a bloc of white salt, is a great way to increase its water intake. Marcia Cunningham
October 15-16 John’s Lucknow Fall Ride– Authored by June & Johnnie Cicero- This ride included everything that you would want in a trail ride: beautiful fall colours & autumn sunshine; dynamic, interesting and sometimes unknown trails; entertainment courtesy of The Strawberry Roan and The Little Black Speed Demon; a camera crew of 1 to catch us at our finest moment; and then a feast of chili, breads, salads & many desserts to end a glorious day! Thanks so much to John & Pat for hosting this successful event! J&J
The painting that was won in the draw at the Aug. annual meeting is the featured picture for October Rides. The winner chose what they wanted done by either Margaret or Wayne. The winners were June and John Cicero and they chose a watercolour painting done by Margaret Yeoman. It is called High Range. Congratulations to June and John!
Authored by Carol Blake-John gave us a full day of spectacular vistas that captured all the fall colours. One of my favourites is this country road. This weekend was a surprise that it was so warm every day. Starting Friday afternoon an easy 20+ degrees as we all gathered on Pat & John’s deck after horses settled and camps set up. Gathering again for the beautiful fire after dinner to tell more stories….it is amazing how we have so much to share in 3 days!!! Sat. started out cooler but sunny with John leading us out by 9 because he had so much to show us to make up for all his rained out rides. Returning around 4:30; ready for a cocktail which was then followed by a scrumptious chili dinner served in the barn, on picnic tables adorned with vases of fall flowers. A good exhaustion by all; most retired back to trailers for an early night. Sunday awoke to warm overcast and the decision to head home was made by most after coffee. Thanks John for all your trail work; loved my rides every time. Cheers Pat for all your energy and for just being you!! “Till We Ride Again”
Authored by Pat MacRae- For me, the highlight of this weekends’ CSC ride, along with everything else that was wonderful, was the fact that our hosts Pat and John Pyatt provided me with electricity. I sleep in the dressing room of my trailer, which has been converted into a tiny living area with a bed. Friday night was very cold and would have been an extremely uncomfortable night for sleeping, but because of the hydro it wasn’t. With the aid of my electric heater, I felt that I had been put up in a five star hotel. I had a great nights sleep, ready to hit the trails Saturday morning at 9 am. Thanks Pat and John, I mean it! Happy trails…. pm
Authored by Liz Rowe- Perfect ending to an amazing season of riding with good friends. The long and winding trail that led us to more beauty. A wonderful ride with all our friends (accomplices in devilry) involving stories from every walk of life. It couldn’t have been a better day with Mother Nature in full agreement this time favouring us with sunshine and glorious temps. Once again a beautiful bonfire and new cocktails to sample! John and Pat again hosted a beautiful weekend, you are both exceptional people. For everyone riding is freedom and hopefully soon we will be back at our favourite pastime. Liz
Authored by Jan Moulton- What a fantastic ride with the Chesley Saddle Club this weekend . John and Pat were exceptionally fantastic hosts. Riding a full day, 8 hr. Ride thru beautiful fall coloured bush with 18 other riders…can’t think of a better way to spend a weekend. Topped it off with a fantastic dinner..love to see all the CSC members pull together for a delicious meal….And a huge “Kudos” to the yummy chili that John Pyatt made. Just finished off a great trail ride. I feel so lucky to have been a part of this Club and to ride with such great riders and true friends…our year has come to an end…but…lots to look forward to next year!……Jan
Authored by Jeff Dibble- Well here goes my parigraf, please edit it fer me Carol. I’m a poor speller at best and if it ain’t appropriate let me know.
I would like to let everone know that missed John Pyatt’s ride you missed a GOOD one. We started with a great camp fire, Johns hard wood of coarse. Had some good entertainment with stories,lies and I think a dance of some sort! The early departure on Saturday was one HR early, yes CSC left camp at 9:00! Randy Wright’s dream come true! John says we did just shy of 20 miles, my ass didn’t think it to be more than 50!What a perfict ride weather was nice trails just rite some hills, some wide manicured, some not(my style) and very little road! We did have a close call when Don R had to take off a sweat shirt cause of heat. This got some of the “girls at the back” a little worked up! i was more worried he’d blow some buttons and spook the horses! Saturday nites supper was real good too John and his lovely wife Pat had chilly fer us. Some members brought a salid,pies and a carrot cake to. Oh I’m thinkin the sand cougars had fresh buns! Also a big thank you to the land owners, with out them we’re riding in a circle on sand!
Thanks John and Pat fer all your hard work. It takes lots of work and determination to pull off a ride like that!
I know the last one don’t pertain to the subject but just a proud dad I gess!
Two of Jeff’s loves Virginia and the Widow Maker….
We had the pleasure to enjoy the hospitably of Pat & John on the weekend of Oct.14-16.The weather was perfect, sunny and warm. The ride on Saturday was also very enjoyable, riding thru the hills and forests, the area around Lucknow is a trail riders paradise. Sunday was a total washout with rain starting early in the morning. Everybody left for home. Well we had a good weekend nothing to good for a cowboy/girl.
September 17-18 Herman’s Ride Authored by cb- Friday was a beautiful afternoon to set up camp on the Wainwright Property. One by one rigs arrived and settled in literally…more on that story later. John offered a ride around 3:30 for anyone that felt like saddling up. We rode for a few hours and got a feel for the great trails we were going to enjoy this weekend. Herman was even prepared for the rain that was predicted to arrive Sat. Our evening fire was incredible with the Harvest Moon beaming above us.
Woke up to a warm overcast morning with predictions of a long day of rain coming to fruition. As we waited for a clearing Herman agreed to give us a tour of his family goat farm. An estimated 700 goats was a sight to see and hear; from Brutus the Ram to the tiniest of kids each wanting attention.
Sat. after our unique sunset ride we had the pleasure of meeting John & Pat from South Africa now retired Professors from U of W; Andrew a AJW Fine Furniture fabricator & Owen (Andrew’s son) Wainwright the landowners of our home base for the weekend. They were sharing with us that they purchased the property 50 years ago and through a Ministry program planted 50,000 trees. The Wainwright’s have trimmed trails all through their property making it a relaxing, soft footed ride for our horses. Sincere appreciation to the Wainwright Family and their generosity in sharing their environmental treasure with us.
Day riders started to arrive by 9-9:30 on Sunday morning. Welcoming new riders Joyce, Roxanne, Casey & Rachel. John & Herman lead us through manicured trails, around fields with gorgeous panoramic views, through babbling streams…you could not be disappointed on this ride it had everything. I must remind myself not to get complacent with the beauty I see on all these rides.
Of course all great weekends must come to an end and getting everyone out of this location was done with the assistance of Andrew and his tractor…as I mentioned a few rigs settled into the clay and needed a tug to get pointed in the right direction.
A huge thanks again to the Wainwright’s and to our trail leaders Herman and John for another superb time. Maybe the next ride at John’s could be a “DRY” Ride!!!!!!!
September 10-11 Authored by Jeff Pollard- Ralph’s Ride was graciously hosted by Ralph Campbell of Westfield Rd near Blyth. Saturday’s ride did not get going until 1:00 pm due to inclement weather but that is not to say the morning was uneventful. Somehow, Bob’s horse got loose and for some unknown reason, decided to take off running and was last seen going over the hill with a smile on its face. An exhaustive search of the surrounding country finally turned up the fugitive several miles away. The ride got underway after lunch with 10 riders and went through beautiful country and well groomed trails.
A delicious pot luck supper was had on Saturday evening. It was apparent that all contributors brought their best dishes. No one went away hungry. This writer especially liked the desert table.
Ralph provided a large wagon load of firewood and decreed that it all had to be burnt before the end of the weekend. A large bonfire was had both Friday and Saturday night and despite best efforts by several people loading the fire, there was a little bit left on the wagon Sunday afternoon.
Sunday’s weather was gorgeous. Sunny and low 20s. 16 riders participated in aproximately 5 hours on the trails. Again Bob provided the entertainment when his horse came across some ground bees. It’s clear to see why his nickname is Cowboy as he went well over 8 seconds. Fortunately both horse and rider escaped without injury and the ride carried on.
Thanks to Ralph Campbell for a very well run and successful ride. Jeff Pollard
September 3-4 Cowboy Bob’s Ride Ayton WOW!! what a weekend in every possible way. Absolutely perfect weather, incredible trails…this cool picture was taken by John Pyatt of my girl coming down the sand slide. Soooo Fun!!! Huge THANKS to our host & trail leaders Bob Butler & Murray Grein. cb
Look for the COWBOY at his gate: Johnnie Cicero is Authoring his version of Cowboy Bob’s Ride- Saturday morning 10′ o clock saw 29 riders head out for day of riding under blue skies. We traversed trails through the bush and across open fields enjoying the day and scenery with temperatures that were just right. After lunch we back tracked short ways heading off on other trails, riding across a couple creeks, stopping to let the horse have a drink as needed. After crossing one creek we lost the trail which required us to ride through the creek for short distance to find the trail.. After a full day of riding we returned to camp in the late afternoon tired and happy. Potluck supper was served with plenty of food for everyone followed by a bonfire which was enjoyed by all.
Sunday morning 32 riders rode out to ride on Bob’s farm. We rode in the bush on trails and on trails up hills, down hills, some steep, over, under and around trees until a branch knocked Bob’s hat and glasses off his head. Luckily Clare joined Bob and his grandson and found the glasses. Awesome job Clare! Bob showed us a hill that was steep and sandy….A few people took up Bob’s challenge to ride down the hill. We continued our ride and returned to camp in mid afternoon. Another great riding weekend. All the best Johnnie
August 26-28 Authored by Liz Rowe What an absolutely incredible weekend of riding. Carol, myself, Wilf and Doreen arrived at John and Pat`s early Friday morning. We trailered over to Herman’s base camp and set off on the trails. The perfect blend of wider trails where we could ride beside each other and then single file in some parts. Small crystal clear streams to stop for the horses to drink, up & down hills and level riding. One trail had huge gnarly old Maple tree’s on one side and beautiful pines on the other side. Carol has named it Maple Lane!
On Saturday Jeff and Herman joined us and away we went on different trails. Again beautiful riding, we even got to play extreme cowboy a few times. Sunday we went out in the morning and came back to John and Pat’s for lunch. Wilf, Doreen and I left but being addicted to riding Carol and John headed out once again. Each night we had a bonfire and shared stories.
Thank you so much to John and Pat for inviting the club members to enjoy the trails. Liz
August 24 The Bluffs Authored by John Pyatt I joined three wonderful ladies (Carol, Liz and Pat) for a spontaneous ride at Saugeen Bluffs. What a great way to spend a relaxing day. For those of you who have been there you know the trails are lots of fun and the scenery is easy on the eyes. The weather was sunny and warm and there were no bugs. I mean really, what else could you ask for?
We started out around ten, rode for a couple of hours and then had a relaxing lunch beside the river. We meandered back to the campground to check out any changes that might have been made. There were a couple of extra corrals I believe and everything looked clean and neat. The ladies continued on but I had to head home to get some chores done. Hope to do it again soon.
August 12-15 Mansfield/Dufferin Forest Authored by Mary Lou Ruttan & Ride Host Don Ruttan Through trail conversation we learned they are celebrating 39 years. Congratulations to The Ruttans!!!!!!
Another small but mighty group successfully completed the Chesley Saddle Club Event that was held over the weekend. Great riding and great company was enjoyed. Moved in and set up camp on Thursday afternoon and Friday we enjoyed a very pleasant ride.
The weather on Saturday was not as good. We started out in the morning with very humid and dull conditions, but it was tolerable in the bush. That was not to last! As we started our lunch, with no warning, we were treated with a downpour like no other!! We were instantly drenched!! For close to two hours, we traveled through pools of water and relentless rain with water rushing like a river down trails to meet us. After the humidity and stifling hot weather the rain did bring a welcome cool relief. Yet, near the end of our ride, with boots and pockets filled with water, the pleasure had begun to wear off. We were glad to arrive at our trailers, pour the water out of our boots, peel off our wet clothes and have a warm shower. Our gear was certainly not about to dry out that afternoon or evening and there were some tense moments later Saturday because of severe weather warnings.
Sunday and Monday provided nice conditions and great riding again. Lots of stories were exchanged with good friends and all in all a good time was had at the Dufferin Forest ride despite some wet socks on Saturday!!! Mary Lou
July 1-3 2nd Wiarton Work Weekend: “Papa Clare’s Trail” The Making of a NEW Trail on the Peninsula Trails do not just appear….there is an art to creating them and on the peninsula even more patience because of all the rock and crevices. Chesley Saddle Club has 45 years of incredible experienced people that have the skill and dedication to create great safe rides for us. In 2008 Clare Dendstedt (trail committee) from Dorking and Jimmy Rhodes from Elmira were two guys with two young horses who decided to ride alone and tackle a trail that had been haunting them for years; wanting to see where it would lead and what was just around the next corner. Each year after Clare would inch away at making a bit more trail by himself. In 2015 he was driven to complete it and brought his entire family to Work Weekend base camp for the day. The family dropped Joel and his Papa to work on the trail while they went into town. While working Clare put his glasses on top of his hat contemplating a direction to pursue he walked off forgetting about his glasses and now the trail has a pair of his glasses that sees all the riders that pass over them…3 hours later the patiently waiting family in the car see them finally return from the forest. Cowboy Bob joined Clare on a 5 Day Ride taking 8 riders into unknown territory. It was later described as walking on rock ridges like mountain goats; luckily not a horse was hurt and all had an experience they will never forget. Now 2016, 8 years later on Work Weekend 2, Joel, Courtney & Papa Clare spent rainy day Friday trying to get the last piece figured out with yet another unsuccessful return. The club decided that Sat. we would all help get that last part of the loop finished. The completed trail is now aptly named “Papa Clare’s Trail”.
These companies are CSC 45th Anniversary Sponsors for 2016. Ionsons Saddlery, The Horse Habit, Herbs for Horses and Bluewater Feeds Ltd. Please acknowledge their contribution if you visit any of these establishments. Their funding is allowing the transportation of horses to the starting points each day for the Anniversary Ride this month from Chesley to Wiarton’s 5 Day.
June 17-19 1st Wiarton Work Weekend Authored by Marg Drexler & Frances Vegh- It all started at trail #12 our first obstacle. The dreaded red chain and a no trespassing symbol. Who knew Clare and his horse were color blind we went around the gate. After that things were going peachy…until the sand box. Joel and his horse decided it was a nice day to roll around in the sand. It really didn’t take us too long to catch the horse. Marg & Fran singing in chorus, “Back in the saddle again.”
Oh, Oh, a water hole. Suddenly we heard the melodic yells of splish splash Clare was trying to take a bath. That spot is now renamed Clare’s old swimin hole. Marg & Fran in chorus, “Back in the saddle again.”
We were moseying along and found some interesting old side trails that need a lot of work…..note to Joel leave the skinny trails to skinny horses. It really didn’t take that long to catch his horse; again. Marg & Fran in chorus, “Back in the saddle again.”
Marg and Clare swear we were never lost, just misplaced the trail. Finally we found old ribbons, added new ones and lo and behold, we have a trail. Marg & Fran in chorus, “Back in the saddle again.”
We headed out to the main county road and finally Carol could see exactly where the trail comes in off the road. Saw that Chad (land owner) was home so Carol thought she would let him know that her group of anniversary riders were coming thru. Lucky her she got off and knocked on the door, she quickly retreated to her horse but was humming wait for it, “Gonna find my baby, gonna hold him tight, gonna get me some afternoon delight” and looking a little flushed. Door opens a crack and Chad’s head comes out, he was quick to give his permission for us to carry on. Marg & Fran in chorus, “Back in the saddle again.”
We returned back to camp along a well marked trail with no further events to report!! Marg & Fran
Happy Birthday Ron & Joan!
Sydney Bay on the Peninsula: This is just one of the great lookouts we have on the CSC Rides. Thanks to our 45th Anniversary Sponsors- Bluewater Feed Ltd, Herbs For Horses, Ionson’s Saddlery and The Horse Habit. If you visit any of the establishments make sure you say thanks on behalf of the CSC.
June 10-12 Helmut’s Ride in Vivian Forest Authored by John & June Cicero- Another successful CSC ride! After some unscheduled trailer-backing training, we arrived at Helmut’s beautifully treed property. We spent an enjoyable evening by the fire, rekindling old friendships and meeting new people. Our quiet, sleep-filled night was disrupted by lightening, thunder and rain, but we woke to mostly blue skies and warm temperatures.
After breakfast, we set off through the bright green forest to meet some local day riders at the North Tract parking lot where we split into 2 groups. Lana and I chose to ride with Crystal, a local with extensive knowledge and experience in the Vivian Forest. The other 11 rode along with Helmut. Crystal has and was willing to share her considerable knowledge of forest history, tradition (she actually decorates a tree in the forest every Christmas), as well as past, current and future trail and forest plans. Crystal guided us on a wonderfully relaxing 2½ hour ride through beautiful, dynamic forested trails, taking the time to tell us all she knew about what we were experiencing and seeing. We crossed paths with several riders enjoying the day and the trails. We rejoined our main group for lunch, parted ways with the local riders, and then continued on the fabulous forest trails, stopping at a pond before finally heading home.
Saturday evening’s potluck was well supplied, attended and enjoyed. And after a pleasantly exhausting day of riding, the majority of the 10 riders retired by 9pm.
Sunday morning brought winds and cooler temperatures-excellent riding weather after the humidity of the previous day. We were once again joined by local riders and set out on new trails that were again beautiful and varied. Today we were met by more hikers and dog walkers, everyone happily enjoying the day and the trails. And after a request for a new leader, Lucy and I took the lead. Thankfully we were skillfully guided through the trails by Helmut, just a few mounts behind-don’t quite know how he remembers the trails so well, especially from 10-20 feet back. Camp began to break up in early afternoon and we departed, leaving some behind to relax before setting out.Many thanks to Helmut for another great weekend of riding! J&J
Saugeen Bluffs Conservation Horse Camp June 4th Grand OpeningThis spring our club was contacted and we offered a monetary donation and also our expertise to help them with their trail system. We started working on the trails in April, very chilly time to be camping! We worked for two weekends and have gone back a number of times to continue the work. It’s been amazing watching the trail system come together and talking to the people who have come to enjoy a horse park.
To see photo’s and news commentaries you can go to saugeenshoreshub.ca and The Sun Times newspaper. The grand opening was June 4th with approximately 11 kms of trails open. The club will continue opening more trails and of course enjoy beautiful riding and comradery with fellow members. See you on the trails.
Authored by John Pyatt After my May 14 weekend ride was cut short by rotten weather I rescheduled it for the May 28 weekend. Clearly the weather gods are after me as I had to cancel that one due to the possibility of severe thunderstorms. However, because Saturday looked to be good for the most part I held an impromptu ride. Four of us decided to give it a shot and it was a glorious day for a ride.
We covered about thirteen miles through bush, fields and a tiny bit of road. The mosquitoes were thick in a few spots but the healthy breeze kept them mostly at bay. I suspect that for the next couple of weeks the skitters will be a bit of a pain. Hopefully the deer flies won’t be to bad.
After about 4 1/2 hours of riding we ended the day with a very pleasant cold beverage. Thanks Carol, Don and Merlene for coming along.
MAY 28-29 LUCKNOW JOHN’s RE-RIDECANCELLED Changed to Spontaneous Ride-John would like the CSC members know that his ride has become a Spontaneous Ride due to the changing weather pattern over the weekend. A 9am departure time Sat & Sun but advised to call before you drive over. John Pyatt 519-955-1286
MAY 20-22 Vivian Forest Ride Authored by Marilu Murphy & Brenda Douglas-Jump in the truck, horses are loaded, we are looking forward to a fun filled weekend with fellow horse people. Four hours should have been sufficient but it took us another hour making it five hours before we finally drove up Helmut’s short driveway and onto his property. Ron was standing and talking to Helmut ahead of us. They quickly cut their conversation short to assist in parking Brenda’s rig in a perfect spot to allow us to set up a portable corral for Misty and Sage. Two horses that loaded well, travelled five hours like troopers are tired and beyond feeling the freedom of the soft dirt beneath their hooves and more hay in there bellies. They unload perfectly and rest happy within the confines of their corral. Their owners, are finally sitting back enjoying a cold beverage, caching their breath.
The socializing has begun. We gather at Brad and Ruth’s rig to chat and catch up with last year’s news, beverages in hand while munching on tidbits and snacks. This is the life! A green tree canopy envelops us with an oak leaf carpet below our feet.
After our bellies were full, a long but enjoyable day came to an end while we relaxed at the campfire sharing more stories.
Saturday morning at ten am sharp, the group of twelve led by our host and trail master Helmut stepped out along the road that cuts through the property. The soft trail winds down a fairly steep hill behind his home and leads down to a large pond where the horses can grab a quick drink before heading out. The shallow depths at the edge of the pond was not good enough for Misty and a few others as they had to creep out into the deeper waters to take their drink.
The trails start in the Vivian Forest just beyond the pond. A gentle incline takes us up into tree lined soft sand trails that meander through the forest. We ride along edges of highways, behind private homes and property, across the Forest’s parking lot and through another small body of water. Three more horses catch up with our group, having missed the ten am start. Fifteen horses in all follow Helmut and his Tennessee Walker, Smokey at a reasonably good clip, taking breaks as needed for slower horses to catch up. Trilliums and other spring flowers lining the trails are at their peak, the canopy a bright yellow green that is seen only at this time of year. The softly packed sandy trails are not difficult or challenging with steep hills but are more relaxing and rolling. Areas that are harder surfaced are still not going to bother a good healthy bare foot. Some of the trails are single file while others widen out. We meet horseback riders that do not belong to our group, and walkers with their dogs. Everyone is kind and respectful. The weather is warm up here not far from Newmarket, a real treat for our “volatile late spring” in this more north eastern area.
After four and a half hours, I look forward to getting back. My knees are starting to ache a bit, as this is my longest ride this year so far. I was satisfied; Misty the Morgan was more relaxed as was Sage, Brenda’s five-year-old Quarter Horse mare. A finish at the pond was enjoyed, as they stood buried up to the top of their elbows in the cool water splashing and dipping their noses.
Back at camp, we were able to use Helmut’s spray hose to rinse off sweaty areas under the saddle. Horses are happy to go back into their portable stalls to munch on hay and rest while we gathered together to enjoy a cold beverage at one another’s rigs.
A potluck supper sitting properly at patio tables up on Helmut’s large deck over looking his pool later on in the day followed by a campfire was just the best experience to end a wonderful day.
On Sunday, after a breakfast of muffins from Timmy’s provided by Sandy and coffee that was made by our host, we were on our way again. Ten am sharp, heading in a more northerly direction, twelve horses left to enjoy the trails once more in the Vivian Forest. Another five hour ride of sweet bliss through the beautiful trails once more. We end our ride at the pond for another dip and drink while walkers and other guests of the Vivian Forest take the opportunity of a Kodak moment snapping photos of riders and their horses playing in the pond.
Riders congregate at Brenda’s rig after their horses are comfortable in the portable stalls and on high lines. We discuss previous rides; next year’s rides and say our goodbyes to those who are leaving to make a long trek home.
We have decided that we will leave on Sunday rather than stay the holiday Monday. Heading out later on and the day before, we will avoid the busy traffic on the 401.
Tired but satisfied, we load our horses and easily leave our camp site, saying goodbye to our friends only to meet up again at another ride.
Vivian Forest and the kindness of our gracious host Helmut gave us a wonderful experience. Thank you Helmut, we appreciate all that you do for our horses and us. Marilu Murphy and Brenda Douglas.
MAY 20-23 Dufferin/Mansfield Ride Authored by Jan Moulton-I would like to say what an amazing weekend we had at the Dufferin Forest ride with the Chesley Saddle Club on the May 24th weekend. What a great bunch of people to ride with….however…we had a couple of hiccups getting there. After a week of preparation in getting ready for our vacation with our horses…Leslie & I headed out and needless to say… the midway point my diesel truck blew a head gasket. ..after hours of sitting in a “gracious” Amish barn yard waiting for the tow truck to take my truck back to our diesel mechanic in Burgessville, we had a grateful rescue from the ever gracious Cathy Dibble who brought us a truck to haul our trailer home. Finally getting home at midnight, we decided we were not going to miss this Mansfield virgin trip and proceeded to get up at 5:30 a.m. Saturday morning with the intentions to make it to Dufferin for our 10:00 a.m. ride. Well….needless to say….we pulled into the campsite with a very warm welcome from all our friends at CSC…and managed to get our horses off the trailer and tacked up ready to ride by……..Oh Yes…10:00 and off we went!!
Our good friend Jeff Dibble offered us some fried chicken on our lunch break and it brought us back to life. ..after not eating for 32 hrs…my horse didn’t recover so well after the Sat. ride and thanks to Carol Blake who rescued my horse with some electrolytes. ..we survived!!. All of our friends at the CSC were so generous as to share their horse’s water with us; our water still on my truck which was towed for repair.
Well. .we are still travelling and camping with Mr Jeff Dibble’s truck and are touring the Saugeen Bluff trails that our CSC members have worked on at the Saugeen Conservation Horse Camp. I and my best travelling companion and friend Leslie Ball are truly blessed and thankful for all the help and overwhelming support of our CSC members who truly care about their fellow riders and care for our horses. I’d like to say a big “THANK YOU” to all of you. Ride on and be safe!! Jan Moulton
MAY 28-29 LUCKNOW JOHN’s RE-RIDEThe Lucknow Ride of May 14 was cancelled due to the inclement weather so we will give it another shot on the May 28 weekend. Refer to the May 14 ride for driving instructions and give John a call if you are interested in coming to this ride. John Pyatt 519-955-1286
MAY 14 Lucknow John’s Ride
John & Pat were the hosts for the 1st scheduled CSC Ride held in Lucknow, ON. They have a beautiful rolling hill property that kitty-corners the South Kinloss Tract and CSC members are getting the opportunity to ride it once again. I believe this forest was once a CSC ride hosted by the Cowan Family years ago. We are fortunate to now have members that live on the edge of this forest and are willing to host us in to ride it again.
Friday we were running around in T-shirts enjoying the warmth and sun while getting nipped by the pesky little black fly. John helped us get our rigs set and high lines attached to the remaining trees in his orchard. He shared with us that they were hit by a tornado last August; the Sunday night of the Wiarton’s 5 Day …………as devastating as that must have been for them it is still a beautiful orchard, when it is DRY, a little different this morning, WET.
You build it and they will come; a fire beckoned us Friday night to leave our trailers and congregate around it to share stories and reconnect after a long winter. There is nothing like being out camping with my horse again. So good to share laughs, dinner and drinks with like-minded people.
There is something to be said about the sound of warm raindrops all night as you sleep in your trailer but when spring temperatures drop, winds get stronger and horses start shivering it is time for riders to be responsible in getting horses warmed up and eating.
At 9:30am CSC meeting was called and John & Pat graciously opened their house to all of us. After the meeting coffee & Birthday cake was served to celebrate Pat, John & Jeff’s special days.
The club decided to call the ride and get horses home. John got his tractor out to pull a few rigs back on to the road to head home. Sincere appreciation to our hosts Pat & John for a memorable CSC Ride.
Don’t forget to click Contest and play. I will post your horse’s eye(s).
New game started April 1/16.
TWO SPOTS for the CSC Anniversary Ride 2016 have just opened up. There is always the chance of a lame horse or someone taking ill; so there is a cancellation list. If you would like to add your name please let me know. Thanks to all who have confirmed to be on the CSC 45th Anniversary Ride 2016.
If you are someone that would like to be involved but do not want to ride we need Transportation Rig Drivers. If this might interest you please contact me for a Driver Package. email@example.com