Sunday, March 23, 2014

Shackelford Island Banker Ponies

Yesterday Terry and I rode 109 miles on a string of five different horses each. I started the morning before 3:00 am on Holland. We rode through the woods on lumber paths for 22 miles in the darkness. To my surprise it was the fastest leg of the ride.

On the second leg Terry was on Wanchese, a Shackelford stallion. There are only two herds of wild Colonial Spanish mustangs left on the east coast--Corolla and Shackelford. Had you been here yesterday to see what these historic horses are capable of doing you would never question why we work so hard to keep the Corollas from going extinct.

I was perfectly comfortable trusting myself to Holland as he gaited and cantered 22 miles (actually 23--we got an insurance mile in since he and Comet were doing so well) in the darkness. He could have carried me another thirty miles at that pace with little difficulty.

These are very special horses.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sunday morning, I peeled my eyelids and went out to check the horses, as I was pretty sure nobody else was moving much...Didn't see any sore feet, limping horses, or anything to even indicate that any of them had a workout the day before...Holland walked up head bouncing as he always does, Wanchese was as bouncy as a toddler with chocolate bar.
Folks, Natural horsemanship, horses working barefoot, horses running long distances over rough terrain...these are not new ideas, they are very old ideas (Look up Xenophon on horses to see how old)
In the old west, The Pony Express riders made a career of it..along with their partners, those tough little ponies who were very much the same breeds as we ride everyday...They would run flat out for ten miles, hand off the bags, and the next rider and horse would go..the first pair would rest and catch the return mail...The old mongol post worked the same way, except they didn't change horses..they got through. (Look up the Mongol 1000 THAT is a horse race.) The point is, These horses are far tougher than "the establishment" gives them credit for. Horses that get injured all the time are pretty much always fed improper diets and are not allowed the exercise they need...a healthy wild horse is incredibly hardy. They have to be.
Saturday evening, Steve and Terry wanted some company for their last leg, So Lydia and I saddled up and rode it with them, Lydia on her little man, Owl Prophet, and I (of course) on Snow on Her...around mile fifteen, Snow stopped to relieve herself, and the other riders got a quarter mile ahead or so..after trotting fifteen miles she broke out in a dead run just as fast and powerful as if she were fresh...yep..tough, fast horses, and not a better partner will you find. Anywhere. If you have never looked at life from between the shoulders of a Spanish horse, you are missing out..better than a trip to the beach. Well, Unless that trip to the beach is on the back of a Spanish horse. -Lloyd