My daughter was on her spring break from college last week.  We decided to take 4 horses, 2 dogs, and our camping trailer to the woods for a couple of days. Off to the Homochitto Forest we went.  We got to the park, set up camp, got the horses settled in stalls, and took a minute to relax.  One of the dogs we brought is Gunny, a 3 yr. old Belgian Malinois that we adopted about 4 months ago.  He wasn’t very socialized and has some serious anxiety issues, so he’s got some lessons to learn.

Gunny is watching and into everything.  Cody, my daughter’s German Shepard, is just making sure she doesn’t get out of his sight.  We put them into the horse area of the trailer to keep them out of the way.  Gunny gets anxious and comes out through the slats in the side of the trailer.  None of our other dogs can do that, but he’s very agile and sleek, so slithers right out.  We take a lead rope and attach it to his harness so he can’t get out, which he does anyway.  We’re quickly discovering that he’s like Houdini. New plan, we set up an overhead trolly system, so he can’t get the tie down around his legs and can pace back and forth without causing himself any harm.  Off to get a couple of horses.

We groom and saddle up 2 of our babies.  Ariel is going to ride Juneau our 18hh Friesian x Shire mare and I’m going to ride Jackson my 15.1hh Palomino quarter horse, who thinks he’s gaited at times.  There’s a man in the camp ground exercising a saddle bred stallion, that has a gorgeous gait to him.  You could drink anything while riding this boy and not spill a drop he’s so smooth.  We head off into the woods, showing him the trail that we know.  Once down at the river, Juneau decides to lay down and cool off with my daughter in the saddle.  Ariel stayed on and got the mare to stand, but not before getting soaked to her waist on one side.  Nothing like riding when your clothes are wet and your boots are full of water. We ride another hour, then head back to camp just in time for sunset and grilling on the pit for dines.

Saturday, a close friend, James, met us with his granddaughter to ride.  He was taking us on an all-day ride, so we put our dogs in his trailer, his slats are too narrow to escape.  No need to tie Gunny, so they can relax a bit more and be safe from anyone else also.  We took our 2 strongest boys Jackson and Magic, a 15.3hh Friesian x Appaloosa.  James likes to go off the trails, we call it off roading.  We rode through some really thick, steep, trails and ended up at an area called the bear caves.  It was beautiful, lush green grass below steep hills with a couple of caves looking out over the riverbed.  The water was clear and cold, very refreshing after a 2-hour trek in the hills.  Our horses grazed and drank, while we ate a snack and watched his granddaughter run up and down the hills.  To be young again with all the energy.  After a 45 minute, break we headed back to the camp site for a late lunch.

I grilled burgers, boneless beef short ribs, and baby red potatoes with purple onions.  Cheese on the burgers and potatoes with sour cream.  We ate very well, followed by dark chocolate cake with coconut frosting.  Life is good when you take time to relax with family and friends.  The next morning, we packed up and headed back to the house with great memories and a renewed sense of energy.