We were supposed to do hay today, but Larry decided that he just wanted me to clean the barn and give the horses their dinners instead. I took care of all that, kissed on Stella for while, and then decided that I was going to go out into the woods and walk to Gregg's Place. I had a slight feeling that it was a bad idea when I started heading out there, but I went anyway.
Abby followed me faithfully and led me bravely. She stuck fairly close to my side even though there were so many interesting things to get into. We crossed over logs and jumped over the dry stream bed. We ducked under the vines and thorny plants until we were surrounded by the mass mess of Gregg's Place. The only trouble was, we'd gone to Gregg's Place before when the trees were bare and the trailer was clearly visible. The whole thing was covered in thick green plant material, and I wasn't about to go plowing through there. It was the kind of place that would invite snakes and other animals; I'm not afraid of snakes and other animals by any means, but I definitely respect them and know that they're capable of seriously injuring me or my little Hoo-Dog. I decided to walk out a little farther to see just how far the clutter was spread out. I found a whole lot of old car parts and an old shopping cart, as well as a toaster, the top to a small saucepan, and a broken green laundry basket. Abby still followed faithfully and we strolled through the grasses. At some points, the tallest grasses reached my shoulders. I'm 5'7", so it really was some pretty tall grass. Abby ran along with her nose to the ground until I heard the sound of a car nearby and told her to stop and stand near me. I was scared to death because, well, I thought I was going to get caught for trespassing--and in this area, that could very well involve a shotgun. Gregg's Place is completely abandoned and most of the place I was exploring actually is barn property, but the part I was currently on, er...really wasn't. I crouched in the grass with Abby until I couldn't hear the car, and then I somehow got disoriented.
I should have known that I'd gotten myself turned around when Abby and I came to two massive fallen trees. Abby was able to squeeze under it, but it was well over four feet high and difficult for me to climb over because my hip was hurting. Looking back, I could have just gone around it (The hole where the roots had been was massive!), but I wasn't thinking entirely clearly because I was trying to move quickly. I was impressed by the size of the trees, but I didn't stop to think that, hey, I hadn't seen them before.
We eventually came to the end of the woods, where Abby and I stepped onto a small dirt path. In my head, I thought we were heading toward an asphalt road. I'd never seen the path before and I couldn't see either end of it, so I was very worried. I assumed that one way would lead me to a house and, obviously, deeper into the woods, while one would lead me to a/the road. I figured that as long as I made it to a main road, we'd be okay, even if it wasn't the road I originally intended to reach. While I was standing around and thinking, Abby decided to take off running one way down the dirt road. I hesitated and called to her for a few seconds, afraid that I'd get myself even more lost if I went anywhere without thinking, but quickly decided that I really didn't want to lose her and took off running after her. We ran together for a few minutes until I spotted an asphalt road. I hugged Abby and gave her a good scratch on her back for taking me to the road. I carried her a few hundred feet down the road and finally realized that we were heading back toward the barn. I carried her most of the way back to the barn, mostly when there were cars passing. She's so good about them, but I was still worried. When I finally saw the house and the willow tree and my car and the workshop, I was so happy. We walked back up to the barn and I gave Abby a quick bath because I thought I saw her run through some poison ivy. She wouldn't start to itch, but everyone else who petted her would. I also thought that I'd touched some, so I washed all of my exposed skin with apple-scented doggy shampoo :) We were both soaking wet, so I dragged Abby into the feed room to dry her off. She was absolutely WILD, wanting to romp and play instead of having her coat toweled and her Aussie feathering combed.
After she was all clean, I set up the jump in the arena and we jumped it for a while. I also set out the cones in a weave. Abby wasn't very interested in jumping today, so we didn't go very high. Usually, she can do about four feet, but I didn't want to push her today. I kept the jump between eighteen inches and two feet and covered it with saddle pads as a filler. She took it a couple of times before Jack moseyed over. He wanted to play with us, so I tried to call him over the jump. He ran up to it but chickened out and slammed on his brakes, sending him sliding into the pole. One of the jump standards is broken, so it toppled over when the pole was dislodged. Jack was amazed at what he'd just done, so he took the moment where everything was in a disarray to snatch up one of the cones and run off with it. I chased him around (which is exactly what he wanted) and eventually tricked him into giving me the cone. I put the one cone out of his reach and...he picked up another. We repeated the chase until I could get all of the cones up somewhere where Jack couldn't grab them. His finale was knocking down our jump again and then losing interest and walking off like he hadn't done a thing.
Everyone sat on the porch for a while and talked, and then we went home. I turned out Stella, Tatiana, and Baby Jessie before we went. They all ran around like crazy wild horses, kicking up their heels and a massive cloud of dust. They even coordinated themselves for a while, cantering and galloping in straight lines behind one another, running three abreast, turning simultaneously... It was very nice to watch.
This afternoon was a lot of fun. We have to do hay again tomorrow.