They kept rolling in! Trucks and trailers bearing horses, ponies and carriages converged in the parking area of Sky Meadows State Park in Paris, Virginia. What started out as a conversation between PDC members Vicki Baturay and Judy Hahn…..”Hey, let’s you and I meet at Sky Meadows and check out the trails….” turned into the discovery of a whole new, and at times challenging, venue for the Club. Possibly it was the desire to explore new carriage trails, or maybe it was the turn in the weather, but 10 turn-outs assembled to enjoy the day. Although Vicki and Judy had suggested a couple of routes, it was pretty much “go as you please”. Some headed UP Lost Mountain, while others stayed on the well mowed bottom land.
Caroline Collomb, with hubby Bertrand and groom Edgar, was the only one brave enough to explore the area with a four in hand. She piloted her trusty Haflingers up, up, up until they nearly reached the pinnacle. The trail became narrow and rocky, however, so she was forced to turn around. Carl Cox, Caroline and groom Molly drove the Black Boys part way up the Mountain and then decided to head for the mowed fields, where one didn’t need to act as a “ballast” to keep the carriage level! Al and Vicki Baturay were more adventurous….maybe because they drive sure-footed Haflingers to a sturdy Khunle…so they continued further up the Mountain. Mary Munster surprised everyone by driving Dirk, her Friesian gelding, on his first picnic drive in company (lots of it!) Judy Hahn drove Buddy everywhere and anywhere she wanted to go (he’s THAT kind of horse!) Wayne Porter drove Sweetie and they displayed how nice it is to have a horse that goes the same in/out of company, especially when you have Club President, Ann Watkins on board. Barbara Wolf dropped by to guide Sheba ‘round and through the lower trails before she left for work-related engagement at the Kennedy Center. Happily, Tom was able to stay for the picnic. Sam Davis drove Foxglove directly behind the Cox turnout “because that is where she wants to be”, offered Sam! Marci Bade, with hubby Keith, sent Maya along behind Foxglove. Good Haflinger that she is, Maya always goes politely wherever she is asked! Leslie and Bob Yarbrough drove one of their TB/Connemara mares (which one??? Hard to tell, they are so perfectly matched!) over the mowed trails, to the rest stop and then for another couple of miles before heading back to the picnic.
Ah, the picnic! Judy may be fairly new to the Club, having joined only this year, but she certainly has caught on to what makes for a stellar PDC “Picnic Drive.” Not only did she and Vicki select a picturesque and interesting venue, they placed what was to become a FEAST under huge shade trees, providing a comfortable setting for the many whips, grooms and guests who gathered. The tables were filled with a delightful array of warm (how did you manage THAT, Judy?) quiche, plenty of salads, summer veggies, roast chicken, cheese trays, cakes, cookies and pies plus cider, sodas and a selection of wines to accompany the food. The friendly Ranger who dropped by was kind enough not to notice anything amiss in our selection of beverages (who KNEW that alcohol is frowned upon in the Park…!?!) All agreed that Sky Meadows is a place we want to come back to, again and again! Also, it is possibly a good venue for sleighing, should the weather cooperate this winter.