Mountain Trail Horseback Riding in West Virginia

5/27/2014 10:55:00 PM

Me on Socks.
me on my horse 

For good, for bad, I sometime feel I am at the wrong place at wrong time, all the times. Traits of a wandering mind perhaps, but the truth is so. I should be somewhere in a country side stable, riding my horses, may be few propeller around for flying to work and come back home, a few waterfalls in my backyard to get a personal spa bath anytime I like, a few cats, dogs, alpacas and goats to play with, and a nice cabin to sleep and wake up in with a snow peak views. Well, I am here in a small studio in the city of New York,  very close-by actually, and I love it too. Can I be a contradiction enough?

Its been five years since I first rode a horse, and moving away from Bangalore and of course the constant move ever since I had not been able to pursue the skill further. I did my basic-level horse-riding course there, and I have some really fond memories of that time.

* The article I wrote on my horse-riding experience in 2009 : Hoof prints on your heart *



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the horse trail in canaan valley - allegheny mountains

This write-up was a generic one I wrote for an adventure company who organized horse riding courses. but these were pretty much my first impressions. The basic training that I did was mostly on Marwari horses, in an equestrian center owned by the princess of Mysore, Karnataka, excessively exhausted, used through the course of the day and week, and honestly were n't taken care the best way or at least the way they should be, One of the reasons I and my group left the academy, I am not sure the management is changed in past 5 years for the sake of the horses I hope it did. Going back all these years, I have seen and read much about horses, for the love & interest of 'em. The wild horses of himalayan mountains to those roaming freely in the islands, the rearing wild mustangs and of course Marwari. I was planning to volunteer in One of the Mustang rescue and rehabilitation center in Florida, for a couple of weeks earlier this year. Dint happen I will hopefully spend sometime there by the end of the year, But Yesterday when I got a chance to interact with my favorite animals a little in Tucker County of Canaan Valley West Virginia, I again wondered how much i want to go back to stable and revive my love for horseback riding.

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Jolene

Over 921000 acres area named Mononghahela National Forest, in Allegheny mountains West Virginia host many counties that have horse trail rides. Most of the horses there are mixed breed, such as Half arabian, Stallions, Quarter Horses, I can tell with my little knowledge. I did a one hour trail with Mountain trail rides ( link above), for $25 I think. These are guided tours for novices to anyone with little knowledge, and you' don't get to really ride a horse, I forgot to ask them about lessons and independent rides. These horses do 4-6 trips a day most of the year and trained to walk in line, and get back home with or with-out you. The First horse i interact with, Jolene, her name, was the one assigned to me, but some Saddleback issue and I got on "socks" who had an upset stomach and kept on farting, poor thing. Well, wasn't really a problem for me but for those riding behind me. We rode or rather walked through the meadows, forests and on a little slop of few hundred feet, spotted few deer on the way and covered a good area in one hour. Only in the end I got to kick the horse a little while riding it back to the stable and got some feel of how it felt like previously. Just to maximize my time with them I helped others in the group get down and by bringing horses back to their respective positions. most of them were very composed with no signs of wilderness - trained for the job i guess.

I remember the first time I sat on a horse, It was something similar but on a flat area with just one or 2 slopes, but it was so hard to balance myself when the horse started walking. For a few minutes, I was almost on the verge of giving up thinking I will never be able to do it, which ultimately changed in to confidence by the end of the hour and when I saw the the shadow of me on my horse in the morning sun and felt like a princess. haha funny that, but honestly, the reason of less balance was the horses being very high, lean and fast, a quality of the rare Marwari horses ( Indian & Rajasthani ) Later in continuing classes I got to ride a retired race horse who dint like anyone ahead of him, and wow what a challenge & fun that was to ride him.

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Canaan Valley 

The American Quarter horses however high are more stable and good at short distance rides. Huge chest, and a very heavily muscled appearance, sitting on these horses you may be feel as comfortable as sitting on a chair, perfect for a first time ride, and very less work from you honestly. I did feel a little twist and pain in my lower leg area because of broadness Socks had. but overall he was fun to ride, and sure brought me back to thinking going for an advance course somewhere nearby.

If you're interested in experiencing trail rides in WV here is a link I found that hosts many businesses near by. As I wrote in my previous article, Horseback riding is a great adventure sport with many health benefits but incase if you cant do that courses for some reason, Its always fun to do some trails on the horse once in a while.

All the images are shot in B&W with iPhone. More images and stories from 5 states trip to be up soon. You may follow my travel on Instagram / Twitter / Facebook. I'll be out to explore few National Parks in the west this weekend. will write back more next week. cya.

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