Trail riding at Oologah Lake
Before I hauled Moe down to the show on Friday, I spent the morning trail riding with friends at Oologah Lake. I took Gina, as I was aiming to cross something off my summer bucket list: horse swimming!
Gina has a variety of quirks: she doesn’t tie reliably, she has an irrational fear of ground poles, and she can’t always be trusted to get on the trailer. But Gina is a super trail horse, and I think spending a season hunting has made her even more reliable!
The trails are Oologah are theoretically maintained by the Army Corps of Engineers. They’re often overgrown, deeply rutted from rain, or a muddy mess. The weather has been dry for some time, so they were in pretty good shape this weekend! The trail winds through shady woods, backs to residential areas, and opens onto a rocky beach perfect for getting your horse in the water.
All the horses seemed happy to splash around in the warm water! My friend Rachael‘s horse Fiona wandered out pretty far and looked like a big spotted hippo basking in the sun! Gina and I rode over and said hello; Gina got a little nervous when the water was up to her belly, so we went toward the shore a bit and stayed there until everyone decided to continue down the trail.
We continued on through the woods to our turn-around point and began to make our way back to the trailhead. On our way back, one of the foxhunting ladies on the ride pointed out a downed tree that was hanging over the beach and asked if anyone wanted to jump it. I can’t say no to a jump, so Gina and I cantered over it and continued to gallop on down the beach. It was such a joyful feeling- the water splashing up, Gina’s steady strides, the sound of horses chasing us.
I pulled up near the swimming beach and we waded back into the water. This time, Gina was more comfortable, and we got deep enough that the water was over my knees! I don’t know that Gina was truly swimming, but I’m totally counting it for my bucket list.
I really will miss having Gina for the full hunting season or trail riding next summer!