It’s 8 a.m. – I walk out to load my mare, Sadie, for the first Sunday ride for STA in quite a while. (Remember the questionnaire you filled out last year on what you wanted to see STA do for members? Some wanted rides on Sunday because of work schedules.) It’s 75 degrees already but this is no worry because Ron has chosen a shady route that is a little different from what we usually take. As I drive down US 90 toward town, I see a horse trailer up in front of me. There are two horses in it – small; Paso Finos, I think. I got excited thinking they were coming on our ride, but, alas, they turned toward Alford Arm! It made me wonder who would be joining us for this Sunday ride.

When I arrived at the trailhead, Ron was already there and had just unloaded his mule, Minnie. We talked for a few minutes and he, too, was wondering how many people would show up. Next came Charlotte with her gelding, Dakota; then Doel with her mare, Snippy. Things were looking up, I thought! Next to arrive was Pam with her mare, Flashy, then Ambrose rolled in with Rocky and a guest, Ashley. Ambrose brought his mare, Sally; Rocky brought her mare, Silk, and Ashley rode Ambrose’s mare, Sabrina. This was the Sunday riding group!

There were several comments about the temperature at the trailhead because the sun was beating down on us since we were parked under the power line. Ron and I assured everyone the ride would be shady and the heat would fade. True to form, that’s what happened! We left the trailhead via the rail trail parking area and took the road just south of the “canal” that separates our trailhead from the national forest. There were a couple of trees down across this road; one we had to go around and one the horses could step over. We then headed south to the main part of the forest and turned east back toward the rail trail. This area is very shaded and was welcomed by all as there was a nice breeze. The road then turned south and took us behind the Marpan Recycling Center. Do you know how big this facility is? Since we were there on Sunday, they weren’t up to “manufacturing speed”, but they had some fans running. None of the horses paid any attention to it. Next to Marpan is another business that deals in funeral supplies. I would give more details but don’t have proper verbage for all the units we saw. Just past the industrial area is a pond the horses really like. They love to eat the grass that grows in the water and a couple of them wanted to drop down for a bath, but didn’t get to do that!
When we left the pond, we headed west and crossed under a power line and ended up near Munson Slew. We didn’t want to get too close to it as we knew that there had been a big spill of sewage due to Hurricane Hermine. We turned north and then took a single track trail to get some diversity. We eventually ended up going back to the trailhead the way we had started out so the horses were excited knowing the ride was just about over.
As I loaded Sadie in the trailer and jumped in the truck, I noticed the temperature was 85 degrees. Not bad, I mused, for a two-hour Sunday ride in late September!
— Sue