While Tom and I have been less than busy with guests over the past couple of weeks, we’ve managed to take some time off and do some really fun things. One of them was a horseback ride to visit a friend who lives up in the Mountain Pine Ridge, and a ride to a waterfall we hadn’t visited before. We left around 9:00 Sunday morning, with Tom riding Es, me on Glin, and a saddled Tony dragging behind Es for George to ride when we got there. We knew it was seven or eight miles from here to there through the trails, and we figured it would take us about 90 minutes, and not more than two hours. However, we didn’t factor in the factor that Tony is basically a boat anchor with four legs. Even with Tom pulling him and me behind with a whip to tap his butt, it took us two and a half hours to get there, and George was just about to come looking for us when we finally showed up.
We made it without getting lost, following George’s directions for the trails we hadn’t yet ridden. We had a drink and a quick tour of the farm, and then we took the horses and rode for a delicious lunch at the waterfall, which is well off the beaten track. We thoroughly enjoyed the ride, the swim, and the lunch, when I suddenly realized it was a few minutes after 4:00. It gets dark here between 6:30 and 7:00 right now, and it didn’t take a mathematical genius to figure out that with about 45 minutes to get back to George’s house, and then two and a half hours home, we’d be riding through the jungle after dark.
We did a quick pack-up and got back on the trail. George volunteered to walk the bit between where we could pick up the trail home from the waterfall trail to his house, but we’d decided that it didn’t really matter since things always work out in Belize, and horses see in the dark anyway. So, the three of us rode back to George’s, taking a shortcut through the bush to save a little time, and Tom and I did a quick about face to head home.
This was where things got funny. We thought that because we were heading home, we’d just let Tony run and we’d drive him from the backs of the two mares. Horses always want to go home, especially when they know dinner is waiting there – right? That’s what we thought, but not Tony. He would have been perfectly happy eating George’s lawn, probably forever. After trying to chase him around to get him moving and getting a double-whammy kick well placed on Tom's shin, Tom put the tow rope back on Tony, and rather than going around and down the driveway through the farm, we decided to just cross the ditch. Tony seemed to think he’d rather stay and eat the lawn than cross the ditch, and after Es jumped across Tony slammed on the brakes and launched himself backward, pulling the rope out of Tom’s hands, which freed Tony to head back to the yummy lawn. Tom went after him, and jumped off Es to recoil the rope. Es pulled away, and decided she was going to head home on her own, and she seemed to think home was through the bush, the way we’d come back from the waterfall. So, I had to go careening through the bush on Glin, dodging trees, bushes, rocks, and vines, trying to get beside the galloping Es (how do they gallop like that through the bush???) so I could grab her reins. She finally came out on a cleared spot so I could pull up beside her and grab her. I got off to get things organized so I could pony her back through the trees, and Tom came crashing through to fetch her, having left Tony happily grazing on the lawn. We both remounted and galloped the long way – not through the trees – to get back to George’s to fetch Tony. I stayed in the road on Glin and held Es while Tom chased Tony around the yard. Tony was perfectly happy to stay there as long as he was left in peace to graze, but knowing that Tom was coming to drag him away somewhere gave him incentive to gallop around the yard. All this time the clock was ticking, and about 20 minutes had passed by the time Tom got Tony over the ditch, he got back on Es with the tow rope, and I got behind with a whip to keep Tony going. We took off at a somewhat herky-jerky trot with George shouting to drop him an email when we got home so he’d know we weren’t lost in the jungle.
Since I’m blogging, you know we made it. And, we actually did it in pretty good time – 1:38 as opposed to 2:30, and it was still light enough that I could read the words “I fear no beer” on the back of Tom’s t-shirt. The trail is fairly clear and flat, it’s downhill home, and even though Tony is a dolt, I think the horses knew dinner was waiting for them, so we managed to get them trotting. We’d seen a lot of wild cat tracks on the trail on the way up, so I was hoping to see a cat on the way home, but no such luck. We did find out where water is being collected to be delivered in San Antonio, since we had a brief delay and had to lead the horses across the Slate Creek concrete ford since the concrete pad was just about full with the tractor, the water wagon it was towing, and the noisy generator that was being used to run the pump to get the water out of Slate Creek and into the water tank. Es and Glin crossed without much problem, but Tony the dolt refused to move and the water guys had to turn off the generator before he’d tiptoe past the tractor and wagon. Tom and I had a brief discussion about whether to take the road home or use the jungle trails we’d used in the morning, and since my fear of idiots in cars and trucks on a dark road is greater than my fear of what comes out in the jungle at night, we took the trail and it wasn’t any problem. It was pitch dark by the time we finished feeding, but as Tom’s Gram used to say, no horses lost, no men killed. Or maybe it was no horses killed, no men lost…whatever, either way we all got home, ready to ride another day.
And regarding the water – we had enough pipe water to fill our tanks one night late last week, but we haven’t had any since then, and San Antonio didn’t even get that – which is why the water needs to be delivered to San Antonio.