HORSEPLAY: Rides of March wander down Dungeness Trails

Photo by Karen Griffiths

Cutline:  At the horse trailer parking area off Happy Valley Road in Sequim, riders Teresa Crossley, left, Linda Morin and  Judy Dupree were all smiles after finishing up the BCH Peninsula Chapter’s March 13th ride at the Dungeness Trails, located just outside city limits off River Road.

BEWARE THE RIDES of March. That was the phrase Back Country Horsemen Peninsula Chapter Event Coordinator Linda Morin used to title the synopsis of the group’s March 13 ride through Dungeness Trails. I appreciated her tongue-in-cheek use of the quote from William Shakespeare’s play “Julius Caesar,” in which a soothsayer warns the Roman emperor with the now-famous words: “Beware the ides of March.”

Although there were some spring antics from horses who were feeling good and excited to be out for their first ride after a long winter, there was nothing treacherous about the ride the 14 chapter members went on. Linda shared they were joined by “four of our Whidbey Island members who crossed the Salish Sea to ride with us.”

Sadly, one rider did lose a silver ring with a pale blue oval stone. A photo and reward poster is posted at the trailheads.

Horse trailers line up at the parking area for Dungeness Trails at the intersection of Happy Valley and River roads. Those parking cars are asked to pull all the way forward to allow room for trucks with horse trailers to park. (Karen Griffiths / for Peninsula Daily News)

Horse trailers line up at the parking area for Dungeness Trails at the intersection of Happy Valley and River roads. Those parking cars are asked to pull all the way forward to allow room for trucks with horse trailers to park. (Karen Griffiths / for Peninsula Daily News)

Highlights included The Cowboy Café, which set up under a canopy at the south loop. There, volunteers served up hot coffee, chocolate and lots of St. Patrick’s Day goodies. Plus, Linda said, riders were able to take advantage of grooms to hold horses and a mounting block. They even remembered the horses, having a bucket of carrots on hand for the equines. She gives a heartfelt “thank you to the crew who saw to all of our ‘kneeds!’”

Dungeness Trails was built by the Olympic Peninsula Bicycle Alliance in partnership with the state Department of Natural Resources. It’s a well-marked non-motorized, multi-use network of 10 to 15 miles of relatively flat trails over a 400-acre site off River Road and adjacent to the Dungeness River. Because the parking areas located at the River Road trailheads are not large enough to accommodate a truck with a horse trailer, the Peninsula Chapter got permission to make a parking area to serve multiple trailers near the intersection of Happy Valley and River roads. It has part of a log to serve as a mounting block to make it easier for us older folks to put our left foot in the stirrup and swing a leg over.

Please note, if you do park your car in that area, pull all the way forward to allow room for horse trailers to park.

Back Country Horsemen members Tim and Paula Keohane traveled from Whidbey Island to join the Peninsula Chapter’s ride through Dungeness Trails. Even through spring has sprung most horses, such as these two, have yet to shed their long and warm winter coats thus they tend to sweat more easily even when walking on a trail. (Courtesy photo by Linda Morin / Back Country Horsemen Peninsula Chapter)

Back Country Horsemen members Tim and Paula Keohane traveled from Whidbey Island to join the Peninsula Chapter’s ride through Dungeness Trails. Even through spring has sprung most horses, such as these two, have yet to shed their long and warm winter coats thus they tend to sweat more easily even when walking on a trail. (Courtesy photo by Linda Morin / Back Country Horsemen Peninsula Chapter)

Since Dungeness Trails is a stone’s throw away from my home, I intended to join the group before the 10 a.m. ride, but alas, a wardrobe malfunction — getting Lacey into her old hoof boots — delayed us, and we arrived at the parking area just as Linda and a few other riders came across the finish line.

At the parking area, one of Lacey’s hoof boots burst apart at the seams, and two others did the same on the walk back home. Thankfully, boots weren’t really needed because the ground was mostly soft dirt and mud.

So, just how old were these Old Mack hoof boots? Going through my memory files and calculating Lacey’s age when she became part of my family in 2003 (11) to how old she is now (she’ll be 30 in April), and keeping in mind I actually bought them for another horse, April, to wear on winter rides just prior to Lacey’s arrival, I figure the boots to be at least 19 years old. So, I guess I can’t be too disappointed the rubber soles fell apart. By the way, does anyone have size 3 or 4 hoof boots they’re not using?

Linda said local BCH members send a big rave to all the groups who work together on these DNR and Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal lands to give everyone these great front country trails to enjoy.

On Saturday, April 2, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. is the chapter’s next event, All Things Horse and House. Club members will clean out their barns and homes to sell the items at a booth at the Pumpkin Patch Flea Market, located at the corner of U.S. Highway 101 and Kitchen-Dick Road, as a club fundraiser. For more information, visit the club’s website at pbchw.org

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Karen Griffiths’ column, Peninsula Horseplay, appears the second and fourth Sunday of each month.

If you have a horse event, clinic or seminar you would like listed, please email Griffiths at kbg@olympus.net at least two weeks in advance. You can also call her at 360-460-6299.

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