Day 5 -- and the rains keep coming. A storm last night dumped more rain on the already saturated landscape, but the rain was gone by morning leaving only cloudy skies. The forecast warned of severe storms moving in by afternoon, but that was not enough to deter Team Virginia from meeting at my place that morning for a planned 21 mile "end of the VV rides" jaunt around the Middleburg countryside. Larry and Kathy Tumblin arrived at my farm and in due course we were all saddled up and ready to… Continue
Added by Flora H on March 29, 2009 at 9:30pm —
Day 4...and it had rained all last night. No..let me re-phrase that. It had *deluged* all night, and into the morning hours. Not spitting, not drizzling. There was nothing so-so about this weather. We're talking real, honest to goodness rain. By morning it had lightened up... somewhat. The forecasters were predicting a break in the rain come mid morning, just enough time to give us a breather before even heavier storms swept in late in the afternoon, bringing thunderstorms and winds with them.… Continue
Added by Flora H on March 28, 2009 at 3:00pm —
Day 3 - and it is sunny, bright, warm, and beautiful. A lovely day. There were quite a few people out on the normally quiet gravel roads, and we found ourselves stopping and chatting with quite a few landowners and farmers who were busy getting their estates and farm fields ready for Spring. While all the chatting was fun, it extended our time just over the 6 hour limit, including the one time we forgot to turn back on the GPS and went a few miles before discovering our mistake. Because of the… Continue
Added by Flora H on March 27, 2009 at 10:41pm —
Day 2 -- and it is raining. The forecast called for some intense rain in the afternoon, so I was intent upon getting an early start with Drummer (14h Welsh Section B pony) for his first ever LD. However, I overslept while listening to the patter of rain off the eaves, then was thwarted in my attempt for a hurried, albeit nice hot breakfast by finding plenty of bacon in the fridge, but all the eggs gone! Seems like darling hubby scarffed them down and then hopped his flight to head to the UK… Continue
Added by Flora H on March 26, 2009 at 5:46pm —
The final seven days of the VV rides are here, and it is time to put all our conditioning ..for both equines and human...to the test in our very own multiday -- a week long series of LD rides through the Loudoun, Clarke and Fauquier countryside Civil War haunts of the famous (and local!) Confederate hero Col. John Singleton Mosby and his Rangers.
John Singleton Mosby and his…
Added by Flora H on March 25, 2009 at 9:00pm —
What a glorious day!! Clear, bright, 60's, warm -- the perfect day for Team Virginia to host a 27 mile "Ride to the River" from Flora Hillman's Auriga Farm, over the Blue Ridge to the Shenandoah River, and back... at least half of the trail following the original trail of the Old Dominion when it was held in Loudoun County 30 years ago. Team members Larry and Kathy Tumblin, and friends April Dobson and Mary Ann Wates (a former OD board member) arrived at around 10:30 to park in my spacious… Continue
Added by Flora H on March 22, 2009 at 7:30pm —
Seriously. Who in their right mind expects the weather to go from 20 degrees with a wind chill at zero degrees....to 72 degrees hot and humid -- in three days!!?? The person that said truth is stranger than fiction certainly hit the nail on the head.
Tuesday, March 3
I thought today was supposed to be warmer -- at least above freezing, but they say no -- still in the deep freeze. So I had another chance to wear my extreme weather gear. I took Itchy out cross county (off the roads)… Continue
Added by Flora H on March 10, 2009 at 8:00pm —
The first day of the VVMM was cold. The second day of the VVMM was more than cold -- it was BLISTERING cold! The whole NE was locked in a major blizzard with high winds whipping the snow into almost whiteout conditions. Temps were in the 20's, wind chill was in the single digits...
...and I was ready to ride. Crazy, huh? Well, not if you have the right clothing to keep you warm, warm, warm. I had struggled for many many years trying to find the… Continue
Added by Flora H on March 3, 2009 at 8:00am —
The opening day of the VVMM. I look out the window and see ... snow all over the ground, cold temps, and wind chills down below freezing.
All I can think is ... "Yippee!!! Now I can try out all my new heavy duty winter weather gear!""
Am I crazy.. or what?
As I walked outside into a pristine glittering world, my nose caught the rising scent of a passing fox. Sure enough, in the perfect snow in the front pasture was a wandering line of dainty footprints, a sure… Continue
Added by Flora H on March 1, 2009 at 9:00pm —
It has been a busy week - most of it found me tied to the computer getting an article finished for the April issue of Endurance News and to the EN editor before I could get my 4 ponies ready for the VV March Maddness ride. The small stuff needed for the ride was done quickly, but the big job – the shoeing -- I was holding off because I was anxiously waiting for my order of the new Easy Boot Gloves to arrive. My plans were to use the Gloves on the back feet of the large ponies Itchy and… Continue
Added by Flora H on February 27, 2009 at 9:30pm —
How often does one have to enjoy summer weather in a winter weekend? Not often enough, I'd say! And what a treat that it happened during the VV ride!
Saturday was wonderful -- warm and inviting. I rode Drummer out, heading out and down trails that I wanted to check to see if there were any windfall branches and trees that needed cleaning up. The ground was still fairly hard, even though the mud was getting deep and starting to suck at the feet. We went places he’d… Continue
Added by Flora H on February 8, 2009 at 6:16pm —
Seriously, with the "freeze/thaw-to-50-degrees/freeze-to-15/freeze/REALLY FREEZE-down-to-1- degree/thaw-next-day-to-60 degrees" diversity of weather we've been having here in Northern Virginia this winter, I was really torn as to whether I should shoe, boot, or go barefoot for the VVDoItAgain ride.
For reasons known only to the weather gods, they decided the weekend of the VV would be spectacular - highs in the 60's - even though the two days would be sandwiched in between two… Continue
Added by Flora H on February 6, 2009 at 6:00pm —
How can I put this other than….Fort Valley is perhaps the most favorite of all my most favorite endurance rides -- the gorgeous fall foliage is always spectacular, and the trails are always breathtaking and challenging.
Everything about this ride is terrific, and one always comes home with
memories that one will never forget.…
Added by Flora H on October 28, 2008 at 4:14pm —
The ride Itchy and I took yesterday didn't quite pan out for many miles due to all the windfall trees on the trail I had taken up the Blue Ridge, so this morning I decided to spend our ride down on the flatlands. I knew I had to ride out this morning as soon as possible since a major rain/snow storm was moving towards us, threatening nasty weather due about noon time.
Since I wanted to do both a jumping school, and get in some endurance conditioning with -- hopefully -- 25… Continue
Added by Flora H on April 13, 2008 at 4:01pm —
Well, I did it. I reached my goal. 400 miles, 1 month, 5 ponies.
So... what did I learn?
That the no stress way to figure out all that uploading and stuff for your GPS is to just give it to a computer-savvy kid with the comment "figure this out, will ya?"
That the miles only look easy AFTER you've done them.
That good neighbors who own lots and lots of land, and are delighted to have you ride through, are worth their weight in… Continue
Added by Flora H on April 1, 2008 at 7:09am —
As of tonight (Wednesday) I am at 299.74 miles -- just 1/4 mile shy of my goal of reaching 300 miles today. Of course, had I enough light while galloping through the fields after dark, trying to get in the last 7 miles I needed to hit that magic number, I could have done it. But...it was already an hour past sunset and I could barely see the ground under Andy, let alone the GPS. And the dark was getting darker by the second. I had a rough idea of the distance I needed to cover, so I was --… Continue
Added by Flora H on March 28, 2008 at 7:18pm —
There is one ride that has always claimed the top honors as the BEST ride anywhere! That is the ride from my farm to the Shenandoah River and back -- a lovely, scenic 25 mile ride.
But... I digress. The river ride took place at the end of the week. I must start from the beginning... the beginning of the week, that is.
Monday, March 17
: It was Itchy's turn today -- and I was in the mood to give him a good conditioning ride up the mountain - a total of 6 miles… Continue
Added by Flora H on March 23, 2008 at 11:33am —
Saturday dawned warm and lovely -- another unusually perfect day in mid-March, just ripe for a ride... or two.
On deck today was Andy and Drummer -- the former lean and clipped and shod for foxhunting after having been my weekday hunting mount for half the winter; the latter a fat, hairy, barefoot couch potato who has done zero all winter but eat and get fatter. Both ends of the spectrum -- both fun to ride.
Before heading out on the trail with Andy, I checked to make… Continue
Added by Flora H on March 15, 2008 at 9:45pm —
Spring has graced us with deliciously warm weather -- so unusual at this time of the year. But with 5 ponies now being worked under saddle, I am thrilled for the nice days, even though I feel like I'm in the saddle 24 hours a day! This week has raced by so fast I'll do a quick recap of the last four riding days.
Tuesday - 3/11 - I decided to begin my day by walking Drummer down to watch the Piedmont Hounds go off. He was very good, standing quietly while looking wide-eyed at the… Continue
Added by Flora H on March 14, 2008 at 9:45pm —
My plan for today was simple -- ride Itchy up the mountain to do the final trail clearing so we can trot non-stop to the top, and get Andy out to see how fit he still is for foxhunting this Wednesday.
Of course, I had to wait until the weather warmed up a tad more -- it was in the 30's this morning with a tiny wind -- just enough to make me say "I'll wait until late morning to start". While that meant I was going to be working Andy later in the… Continue
Added by Flora H on March 10, 2008 at 9:33pm —