Mansfield Ride Aug 23-27

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Well, what can I say about the Dufferin Forest Ride? I should go there more often! What a great place to ride a horse and enjoy the outdoors!!

The trails are wide and shady, and the footing is a barefooted horse’s dream. It’s always good to know of places to ride where you don’t need shoes on your horse!

I arrived close to dark on Fri. night after work. Friendly voices in the dusk greeted me, willing to help me get my horse unloaded & set up before complete blackness set in.

The only two guys there, were completely willing to steady me on my ladder as I reached for a high branch to get my picket rope around. What a stretch!! Thanks guys. There was lots of joking but no “naughtiness”. Lol!

A short while later, I made my way to the bright glow & sound of a cracking fire and pulled my chair up and joined the group. There was Pat, Ralph, Brenda, John & June, Sherry, Lea Ann & me. My ideal of just a nice amount for a pleasant ride tomorrow.

Next day was threat of rain, so as a group, it was decided to do the pink trail (approx 13 kms), cause it was the shortest, and we wouldn’t need to pack a lunch. We would eat once back at camp.

We almost made it back without getting wet, but the raindrops made an appearance……not too serous at first, so I delayed putting on my slicker. It was warm anyhow and a little dampness was welcome. Some of the riders suited up at the first few drops. Riding under the canopy of trees perhaps it wasn’t warranted to be so hasty.

Finally it seemed to get more serious, and I finally relented & put mine on too. Good thing, since it began to rain in earnest!

It wasn’t long before we were back in camp. The rain continued to fall and it was amazing how fast horses were put on picket lines and the humans disappeared!!

I stayed out in the rain for about half an hour, letting my mare graze since my riding boots were wet anyhow & I hadn’t transitioned her to hay, so thought she could use some grass.

Finally after making my horse comfortable (she even got a warm bath to wash off all that sweat), I got myself comfy too, got dry, fed & headed for my bunk for a nice nap.

Sure is comforting falling asleep to the rain pattering on the roof. The whole camp was quiet for awhile. (Note to self: bring more socks!)

There was talk of maybe a ride later in the day, but perhaps everyone was content and satisfied with our first ride or just plain lazy to saddle up again.

We had a nice guy from the “biker”group, stop in to chat. He was a very good ambassador and seemed genuine in wanting to help us anyway he could, to bring cooperation & unity to all parties wanting to enjoy Dufferin Forrest. A good contact for future reference.

On Sat. night, a few new rigs showed up in the dusk, like me. I wondered who that was driving in, with a big tractor trailer for a truck. It looked quite impressive coming in.

And in the morning I found out who. A girl, no less! Spunky as all get out! An Annie Oakley type. I liked her right away. (Aka Carol Blake) and…..a girl I remember first meeting as a 16 yr old red head that tagged along with good ole Jim Mustard, Laurie Misener. I have a picture of Laurie sitting beside my 3 month old filly, who is also laying down on the ground, at Camp Oliver. That was 18 years ago! That same filly was the very horse I brought along on this ride! Her name is Calypso.

Next day dawned bright & sunny. A perfect day for a horseback ride!! Today it was decided to try the “orange” trail. And boy! What a trail it was!! It had lots of variety, wide sandy trails, hills, narrow windy trails & trails that took you close to the outside of the park and tall pines with open spaces. The big, tall pines is where we stopped for lunch. A perfect, beautiful spot to tie up your horse! Everyone gathered round and had a good chin wag and relaxed awhile. Then back up to remount and finish the ride.

So try the “orange” trail next time you’re there. It was a very good ride! Just a little longer than the pink trail, about 16 kms.

Well this is where my story ends. Hope you all have “Happy Trails” and get lots of riding in for the next couple of months. This is the time of year we all wait for!! Aaaaaw, the sunny, pleasant days of autumn.

My final word? Aren’t we all so blessed? To be able to be on a horse, walking a on quiet trail, enjoying the beauty that God has created? It’s the very best!! Happy Trails!

Marilyn Votary


6 thoughts on “Mansfield Ride Aug 23-27”

  1. What a great write up of our ride at Mansfield, thanks Marilyn. I loved your photos too! I think the “orange” trail is my new favourite trail there now. It’s just beautiful and you described it perfectly. I hope more trails just like it will be developed there in the future. I would certainly volunteer to help. I’m sharing your article with the Dufferin County in Orangeville, to let them know how much we enjoy riding in their forest. Thanks again.

  2. Great write up Marilyn. It was a great weekend with John and the ladies. The shower on Saturday only dampened our time for the afternoon as the train robbers needed us to listen to their wild stories of Friday night and Saturday.

  3. Thanks Marilyn for writing up this beautiful story . Very well said. Love all the pictures. It was a great ride and your right the orange trail was awesome. Pat you did a great job of leading thanks for being there and hosting the ride . Laurie Misener

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