Sandy Neck Beach

Posted May 16, 2021 by heccateisis
Categories: Uncategorized

Yesterday Jigs and I rode on Sandy Neck Beach in Barnstable Massachusetts. There are not a lot of local beaches that allow horses, so I jumped at the chance to go with friends. It is one of those “bucket list” things to do.

I was nervous about riding on the beach. We ride often at Goddard Park in Rhode Island, but Greenwich Bay is small with minimal waves. There is not a lot of room to move out. While Sandy Neck is on the quieter bay side of Cape Cod, horses are allowed on 4.1 miles of shore. I was not sure what Jigs would do with that much beach in front of us.

Great Whites?

Off road vehicles are also allowed at Sandy Neck. There is a road for them between the tidal flats and the dunes.  Tire air pressure needs to be reduced so vehicles do not get stuck. Around June, a good portion of the beach is off limits to protect nesting Piping Plovers.

It is best to ride at low tide, so the horses do not have go through deep sand. Rather than drive two hours early on Saturday through Cape Cod traffic, we camped overnight at Miles Standish State Forest, about a half hour from the beach.  We got to Sandy Neck before traffic and hit the sand by 8:30.

Tidal Flat

It was a glorious ride but my vision of cantering through waves the like Alec Ramsey on The Black Stallion did not come to fruition. We managed some reluctant trotting through the water, but it took a lot of leg, and I mean a lot.


At the 4-mile mark, there is a dune trail through the scrub pine forest. Riding the dunes is breath taking. We even ran into a coyote who stared down at us. Amazing. In places, the sand was and deep and the dunes steep, I would not recommend this for beginners but our horses took it in stride.

Scrub Pine

The trail brought us back to the beach and we flew back to our trailers along the tire tracks. I even let Jigs go and we cantered quite a distance, exceeding the speed limit! In total, the ride was 11.2 miles. Not major mileage, but given the deep sand; it was a workout.

Speed Limit

Horses and Humans returned home tired. I was a bit sore, especially my cheeks from so much smiling and laughing! Apart from a quick spin around the ring, Jigs got today off. He deserved it.

Back to Regularly Schedule Programing

Posted May 2, 2021 by heccateisis
Categories: Uncategorized

Spring has brought with it an opening. Or perhaps it is the rising vaccination rate. I am starting to get excited about riding again. The past few months I have found every excuse not to ride, but better weather and two off-property events, improved my confidence. I get my second Covid shot this week. It is freeing.

Two weekends ago, Jigs and I attended our first organized ride of the season.  Last year, due to Covid restrictions, the number of riders were limited. There were nearly 100 riders this year. It was fun catching up with people and horses we have not seen since before Covid. And it helped that Jigs was a perfect gentleman despite the crowded trails.

Douglas State Forest Massachusetts

Saturday Jigs and I participated in a mountain trail clinic. Jigs was delighted when he saw the course. Ears forward, he studied each obstacle. I’d forgot how much he enjoys them.

Mountain Lane Farm, Temple, New Hampshire

The trail course is one of only a few in the northeast. It is an hour and a half from our barn, but taking the clinic is a requirement to use the course. They want to ensure riders can navigate obstacles safely. The first forty-five minutes of the clinic was focused on in hand. I must admit, Jigs and I were a little rusty, but we got through it.  Once mounted, Jigs was in the zone, easily going over obstacles without hesitation- even the wobbly suspension bridge!

Suspension Bridge
Water Dismount and Mount

After the clinic, the clinician took us on a short trail ride up the side of the mountain behind the facility. The view was incredible.

Looking back from half way up

Now that we have taken the course, we can sign up for the play days and compete in events. I’m really looking forward to going back, and maybe even competing!


Posted April 3, 2021 by heccateisis
Categories: Uncategorized

The maple tree outside my window is fringed red. Behind the red and silver branches, the blue is clear and deep. It is chilly, but still spring.

Today is the third anniversary of my mother’s death. This fact sways through my thoughts like the evergreen beyond the maple.

I visited the gravesite where she lies with my father. Her death date is blank, beneath my father’s.

She had her name engraved when my father died. Just the date to be added, she told me, but three years past her death; it remains blank, like she is still living. Some days I come into the house and expect to see her on the couch, watching games shows or the news.

I rode early this morning, alone. A few degrees above freezing, the brilliant sun nullified the cold. Recent stresses have caused me to be heavy on Jigs. One handed, loose reined, I focused on breathing. Being in the present is hard. For brief moments, it was just Jigs, trees, the sun, the bold sky, and me.

March Madness Part II

Posted March 21, 2021 by heccateisis
Categories: Uncategorized

Next day. different pony. We took a similar route as yesterday, but my pony was much calmer. Except for one yahoo sort of scoot forward/buck, he listened. We even managed two nice stretches of canter.

By the Water
Over the Bridge

Each day is different, a bridge to the next. Each moment, each step forward is a victory.

March Madness

Posted March 21, 2021 by heccateisis
Categories: Uncategorized

5:37 AM EST yesterday was the Vernal Equinox, the start of Spring. Some friends and I celebrated by taking a trail ride through glorious sunshine.

I tried to cast off my insecurities and leave them behind with Winter, but feelings, like the weather do not respect boundaries. There was no free flying up the hill with them. Jigs and I walked or trotted behind, catching up. Unhappy, he let me know this was not the speed he wanted. Last week he threw a buck in frustration, fighting my request to go slow. Yesterday he was resigned, but furious.

This is the annual cycle. Spring rides are not joyous for me- or him. A few years back at a March clinic I could not get over the fear of literally flying off his back because his joy included yahoo antics. The clinician tried riding him and as usual he became a different horse, stubborn and contrary. Handed back to me, the instruction was, just push him through it.

If my seat were in the saddle maybe I could.

Every March we struggle with this seasonal madness. This year is different. Recent events have reduced me. My confidence is gone, not just with Jigs. Honestly, I have been questioning if I should give up riding all together.


Posted March 4, 2021 by heccateisis
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , , ,

I have not been purposeful in my life. My choices were not courageous, if there were choices at all. I am driven by a desperate need for security so deep, I am beyond risk adverse.

I despise the yuppie town I was born and still live in. My house is the house my parents built. I do not love it. I long to have a small farm and bring Jigs home, maybe get a donkey or a goat, or both. But I am stuck here. I really should sell because I can barely afford the real estate taxes that since the early 70s have grown so high, they drove out many longtime residents and all working farms. The result is neighborhood after neighborhood of McMansions with manicured lawns. Horses are not welcome.

Only those with ridiculously high salaries can afford to live here. I tell myself to sell, but fear kicks in.

My career is the same. I fell into the security of a boring job, allowing others to make choices for me. I should have found another path years ago.  Close to retirement, it is too late. I am a lame duck. I would retire now but I cannot afford health insurance or the taxes on my house without income.

Paralyzed by fear, I am stuck.

Fear has creeped into my riding. I stopped riding on the road alone. I do not canter much. Last weekend I wimped out for fear of ice on the trails and walked with Jigs nearly 5 miles on the road. I should have ridden in the woods. I let both of us down.

I have no right to lament. I have so much. I was given opportunities others were not. My failure is not capitalizing on them.

Long Walk

2/21/21 – Or Aging Not So Gracefully

Posted February 21, 2021 by heccateisis
Categories: #besthorseintheworld, #smartesthorseintheworld, aging parents, besthorseintheworld, Family, horses, Living in the moment, Responsible horse ownership, trail riding, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , ,

3 twos and 2 ones- patterns everywhere.

Into the Woods

February’s pattern is snow and more snow with a few warmish (in the upper 20s low 30s) days between. Footing on the trails is decent. We know where water pools into ice beneath it and are careful- maybe too careful.

Last weekend Jigs and I even managed some extended loping behind my friend and her wonderful mustang. Loping is rare for me on these trails. Without the snow they are rocky and uneven with tree roots.

At 3 plus 60, I have become a cautious rider, almost fearful. I do not canter unless sure of the footing. I no longer ride on the road when alone.

Today Jigs was full of exuberance. He wanted to run when I wanted to jog. My hesitation was a buzz kill. It nearly came to a rare argument.

I feel bad.

Feel bad that I did not give him a chance to stretch out.

Feel bad that I slowed my friend down.

Feel bad not to be that little girl who could fly without consequence.

There is no cure for aging. We shrink. Our bodies lose flexibility. Our bones get brittle. We no longer bounce, even with snow on the ground.

New Years 2021

Posted December 31, 2020 by heccateisis
Categories: #besthorseintheworld, #smartesthorseintheworld, besthorseintheworld, horses, Living in the moment, poetry of apaul, Responsible horse ownership, trail riding, Uncategorized

Tags: , , ,

No expectations going into 2021.

Clairvoyance is not my superpower. What will happen, will happen.

Remaining in reverse will not change anything other than digging a muddy rut you cannot escape, even with an 8-cylandar engine and 4-wheel drive.

Best to focus on each moment for what it is. Breathe it in then let it go.

Winter Fun

Posted December 20, 2020 by heccateisis
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , ,

Winter snow in New England seems trite, but a ride through the woods after a storm drops a foot of snow IS glorious. If you are lucky, you stumble across snowmobile tracks. They compact the snow just enough that you can fly. Fresh powder is also great. The horse in front kicks snow turning it into laughter.

The horses also had fun shaking snow laden branches onto their riders.

This was the first time I used my winter riding skirt on the trail. The skirt covered Jigs’ rump, keeping both of us warm and dry. I did not realize how cold it was until I removed it back at the barn.

Weather in central New England is fickle. Rain is predicted Christmas Day. Snow will become mud. Until then, I will enjoy the awesome snowy trails.

When a Blue Ribbon is an Epic Fail

Posted November 24, 2020 by heccateisis
Categories: #besthorseintheworld, #smartesthorseintheworld, besthorseintheworld, Medical Hoo Haa, Responsible horse ownership, trail riding, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , ,

A few weeks ago, Jigs placed first at a versatility. It was totally unexpected and not our best performance…ahem… well, not MY best performance. I took him off course and totally skipped an obstacle.  Not sure how we won our division….

What is worse is I rode the course and 4 trail miles without my helmet. When someone asked where it was at mile 2, I froze. My brain was foggy.  I went back and retrieved it from my truck to finish the second loop.

Riding without a helmet is a huge NO for me. I have fallen enough times to know its value. When I flew off Pepper onto the pavement, my Troxel was cracked front to back.  That would have been my head.

And there was the time I got bucked off hard and ended up in the ER with a bruised hip. That night I had also forgotten my helmet but remembered as I started to mount. I ran back to the barn to get it. Who knows what would have happened if I had not?

Riding with a helmet is my rule.

I have been struggling with Vertigo over the last month. One episode was so bad my daughter took me to the ER. A saline drip and a few meds got me through that frightening morning.

A follow up visit to my doctor resulted in removal of wax and another appointment to check on my blood pressure. I have been doing exercises to help reposition the crystals in my ears, but the dizziness is recurring.

My daughter who is an ER medic has been taking my blood pressure almost daily. Seems like I may suffer from white coat syndrome as it is still high but not dangerously high as it was in the ER and the Doctor’s office.

I suspect my physical issues reflect the world around me. 2020 has been stressful for EVERYONE. I must keep reminding myself how lucky I am. Maybe that is why I do not feel like I earned a blue ribbon for a less than perfect performance- even though Jigs was joyful on the course.


My problems are first world. I have food, a place to live, and a horse to ride, while others wait in line for hours to get a box of food so their families can eat.

Thanksgiving is approaching. I will focus on being thankful. The undeserved blue ribbon is a reminder of how lucky I have been in this long, stressful year.