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Phantom Riders!!

     Shocked Again! How is it that horses never cease to amaze me?? This past weekend I was left with my jaw hanging on the ground when Luc allowed me to join him and 4 others on a midnight ride in the pitch black of night. - - - At a gallop. - - - Through dense forest. - - - for ten miles!!

Quebecois Hospitality!


The weekend started off as all do when I visit Marie-Claude and Bernard, lots of hospitality, food and wine. Went straight to the stables upon my arrival and took a nice little ride with them on their fantastic Curlies: SS Nevada Commanche and SS Tulsa Jackpot. I was amazed to see how much both of these horses had changed since I saw them last in April. Plus how much both Marie-Claude had improved in their riding skills and handling of the horses. I love to see the bonds that develop when people purchase horses and they grow together!
Pictured above was a very entertaining evening with music provided by Marie-Claudes family. Two guitars and a flute make such beautiful music and the signing was better than any concert. Well maybe not quite that good!

    
Our first ride was just a nice easy jog to through the village and into the forest, about 10 miles. Great to see everybody again and lots of laughter and hugs!!

    
Here's an excellent shot of Marie-Claude on Tulsa coming up the bank from crossing the river. On the left is a picture of Eric, a great friend of theirs (and mine I suppose also now!) on his Canadian horse.

At the end of EVERY ride Bernard and Marie-Claude turn their beloved Curlies loose on the lawn to enjoy some fresh green grass. Just another indication for the love they have for their new best friends.

That afternoon Eric and I went for a gallop through the forest. Was a fantastic ride. I borrowed a CelleFrancais mare and was impressed with the condition that all of the horses were in. We traveled about 7 miles and hardly walked at all.
Bernard and Marie-Claude joined us for another ride after they had lunch and we went about 8 miles to a little lake. I borrowed another horse, Chabelle (I'm sure I spelt it wrong) who was having a bad hair day (not a Curly, so we understand!). But still had a great ride and a great visit!

Quebecois Hospitality!



The start of my ride of the weekend. Nothing unusual, cross the river, head into the forest. 7 of us headed off from the ranch around 6 PM.
    
We trotted most of the way, with short canters the rest. When we came to Luc's new trail we had to walk as it was pretty steep and lots of rocks and trees across the path. At one point Luc asked if I was comfortable jumping. I said yes, but it had been a while. He said it was nothing very big, only 200 feet!! My jaw must of dropped to the forest floor as they all laughed. Of course it was just a matter of translation and it was only 2"!!
    
Arrived at the lake around 9:30 and Luc had a fire ragging in only one minute, as usual.
    
Of course we had to take a swim!! Luc and Sam went in first and said the water was "tres chaude!", very hot! We had to dive off of the rock, and guess what, it was not "tres chaude!"
I wish that there was some way to post some pictures to justify the experience of the trip on the way back to the ranch. When we left the rock I had to use a lighter to find my horse!! It was soooo dark. Luc of course led the way, and I of course was right behind him! No way was I going to get lost in the forest!! One needs alot of trust in their mount and the leader to every try such a thing. I will never, ever forget this experience. Thank you Luc for taking the time out of your very, very hectic schedule to allow me to experience another eye opening revelation about "the horse!" I cannot say enough times that I never would have thought it possible to give your horse his head and he could weave through the dense forest, over the little creeks and up and down hill at a canter and gallop in the middle of the pitch black night. It was so dark you could not see ANYTHING!! All the other riders kept calling everyone's name to make sure that the group was together. Not once did my mount (Stormy) miss a turn, hit a tree, or falter. He stayed right behind Nellie the whole run. At one point we were at a flat out gallop down a dirt road (I only know this as I knew where we were from the day before!) and Luc stopped his horse dead in it's tracks right in front me. Of course I could not see what was happening, but Stormy did and immediately stopped!! It was hilarious!! I'm sure if someone could have seen what happened they would have thought I had no clue how to ride!! Everyone was laughing (and cursing Luc!!) and ready to go again.
Please do not try this on your own. It was alot of fun, but Luc knew the trails and his horses knew the trails and Luc makes 500 miles a week with Nellie. It is not something for even most experienced riders to try.
    
    
Saturday morning Luc had a booking for 17 people from France to ride. There were 21 of us who headed out for a very nice easy ride. We climbed up to the top of the mountain and had a great lunch, saw some caverns and a super panoramic view. Some pictures here of the group crossing the river. Was a couple of exciting moments for some of the participants. Some of the horses had to actually swim across. Marie-Claude allowed me to ride Tulsa for this trip and he was a perfect gentleman. I assisted some of the riders to keep their mounts going and Tulsa did everything that I asked of him.

The Three Musketeers!


Sunday morning Eric was doing some footage for the backdrop for his play "The three Musketeers!" Here's some shots of them all dressed up in their gigs.

Looking pretty spiffy!!
    
    

Sorry Eric!! Just had to put this shot in!