Thursday, June 5, 2008
Spring Vineyard Ride 2008
Here is the recap of the Vineyard Ride 2008.
The day had finally arrived! The morning was cool and damp but the sun was on it's way to a shining warm day. We left home early to pick up Monty and meet my friend who was also riding in the event. Monty surprised both my husband and I by waltzing right into the horse trailer and standing there. Usually he resists a little, then we wiggle a lunge whip behind him and he walks in. I guess he was just as interested in going someplace else for an adventure, too.
Our drive was quick and uneventful. We arrived at Martha Clara Vineyards in plenty of time to sign in, stop at the restroom and grab a bagel and juice from the breakfast spread laid out for the riders. After unloading and tacking up, we joined the growing group of riders on the lawn for a champagne toast to thank those who work so hard to organize this ride.
The fast group was the first to head out. My friend and I found our place near the front of the group. We left the yard at a trot and it wasn't long before we were cantering/galloping through the fields. It seemed the pace was set and it was faster than the previous year's ride. I enjoy a good gallop and have no problem asking Monty to keep up with the leaders. He's a welcome change from my previous horse. If she wasn't in the front of everyone, you were going to have a really hard ride.
The first Vineyard we stopped at was Paumanok, where we dismounted. Our horses were given a chance to graze and drink water as we sampled a delicious riesling and a nice chardonay. In previous years, this vineyard's offerings were my least favorites but I was pleasantly surprised this time. I called my husband who was out with his road bike and he was over at Jamesport vineyard at the time. He'd already made a few purchases and said he'd be right over. Sure enough, he was there in 5 minutes and agreed with me on the Paumanok wines for this season.
Soon it was time to mount up and head off to Jamesport Vineyard. I have always liked this small, family run vineyard and their wines are always a favorite. At this time on the ride, we are doing a lot of riding along the roads in the area and the horses get a nice walk to relax and settle down. We arrived there quickly and the horses were given another rest. Again, their samplings were wonderful, including a rich, smooth merlot, which was nice as I've gotten used to their white wines and tend to think of them mostly for white.
Now we remounted and headed for Martha Clara, where we would have the last of our tastings and a nice lunch served. All the horses seemed eager to get back and the end part of the ride got a little wild. Nothing I couldn't handle, just kept my horse at a canter while some of the more aggressive riders galloped ahead.
And we were back to where we started. All total, the ride was about 2-1/2 hours. It was a hot day but there was a constant breeze so even though the horses were sweaty they were not overheated. My husband was back from his bike ride already. We untacked, showered off our horses and loaded them into the trailers, then went to enjoy the lunch and socializing. We purchased wines from all 3 vineyards this year, which is the first time we've liked selections from each place.
After lunch, it was time to drive home. By now it was approaching 4:00PM and we were going into babysitter overtime but we just had one stop to make before hitting the highway. There is a teeny bakery in Jamesport called Junda's Pastry Crust and Crumbs, and their cheesecake is incredible. I pulled over in front and my husband ran in and bought cheesecake, apple strudel, rye bread and assorted cookies. Ahh, love to Junda's!
Back at the stable, Monty was happy to have a nice wet bran mash to round out the day. I could see he was tired, that was more galloping than we usually do at this time of the year and I rubbed him in well with wintergreen rubbing alcohol. My husband went home ahead of me to relieve the babysitter (and to get our precious cheesecake into the refrigerator). My day didn't end until the truck was unloaded, the trailer was mucked out, the sweaty tack cleaned and the horse checked "one more time" to be sure he was comfortable.
I really enjoyed the hot shower, cup of coffee and slice of cheesecake that evening.