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NBLA Trail Notes: Horse Guard And NBLA Collaborate On Trail Ride And Obstacle Course



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On Sunday, May 15, the Friends of the Second Company Governor’s Horse Guard (2GHG) hosted the annual Spring Trail Ride. An optional Challenge Course was coordinated by the Newtown Bridle Lands Association (NBLA). All proceeds from the trail ride went toward the care and maintenance of the 2GHG and proceeds from the Challenge Course were directed to the NBLA. The weather was perfect with the sun dancing behind the clouds and pleasant temperatures. Spring means time to get your horse back in condition and many took advantage of this event. Approximately 40 horses and riders from all over the local community saddled up and took to the beautiful trails to enjoy a non-competitive ride.

The approximate 90-minute trail ride started at the Guard headquarters on Trades Lane. After signing in, participants could head out at their leisure anytime from 8 to 11 am. The flexible start times meant no crowding on the trails and riders could pick their own pace. After leaving the main grounds, the course progressed down Old Farm Road behind Reed School. Riders then entered the woods and enjoyed the quiet beauty of the “Enchanted Forest.” The horse and rider teams continued on near the Animal Control facility, across a small bridge spanning Deep Brook, a pristine and protected trout stream, and rode through some of the expansive fields at the Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary, which generously shared access to its property. There were more fields and woods to enjoy near Governor’s Road before the ride finished up back at the Hunt Field.

At this location, the NBLA hosted the Challenge Course. Many interesting obstacles had been set up, all potentially terrifying for a horse. Balloons swayed in the wind and pinwheels spun as the riders introduced their horses to the challenges. It might seem simple to walk a horse up to a mailbox and open it up, but the horses did not consistently cooperate. The riders were encouraged to remove a tambourine from the mailbox and shake it. Some horses thought that was just too much, while others were nonchalant. Another challenge was to ride up to a hanging umbrella, open it up and twirl it around. Everyone was laughing as they tried the various tests. One big hit was a toy fox in a burrow. The rider slowly pulled the fox out of the burrow using a long rope, slowly backing their horse. Horses generally don’t enjoy an unknown object coming toward them so this was a test of control and trust. All the obstacles help to build a bond of trust between horse and rider, which is very practical in almost all riding situations.

In 2021, the 2GHG and the NBLA pledged to collaborate together on events of common interest to horse owners. By cross-promoting events and hosting joint events, the two groups are looking forward to larger attendances where participants can meet other like-minded people in the horse community and hopefully grow membership for both groups. This spring trail ride was a great example of that spirit of collaboration.

To learn more about joining the Second Company Governor’s Horse Guard contact 1SGT Farina at 203-948-2123. The NBLA is committed to preserving open space in Newtown for passive recreation and supporting and educating the horse community. To learn more or join, visit nblact.com.

Tracy Van Buskirk is a 37 year resident of Newtown and president of the Newtown Bridle Lands Association, a nonprofit volunteer organization formed in 1978 to foster an interest in horseback riding as well as preserving, protecting and maintaining riding and hiking trails in the community. Horses have always been a part of her life. She owns a small bay quarter horse named Little Bear.

Riders enjoyed the scenery during the Friends of the Second Company Governor’s Horse Guard’s annual Spring Trail Ride, and had an opportunity to participate in a Newtown Bridle Lands Association obstacle course at Fairfield Hills, on May 15. Pictured are Durelle Green on Artie, Deborah Webb on Mason, Payton Green on Guiness, and Ariane Mermod on Buck. —Photos courtesy Marion Lynott/Irish Flare Photography
Chris Russo pulls a toy fox out of his burrow during the Challenge Course.
Kim Armbrusher on Joules, left, and Catherine Anderson on Sasha still had energy for an uphill gallop at the end of the trail ride.
Dorothy Vallee of Oxford demonstrates that a well-trained horse will even put up with a shower curtain draped over his head. —Tracy Van Buskirk photo
Loraine Marshall opens an umbrella on a very unimpressed Sally during the Challenge Course.
NBLA President Tracy Van Buskirk on Little Bear confers with LTC Gordon Johnson during the very busy day at the Horse Guard.
Eva Berkovitch of New Milford on Trigger, left, and Leighton Bowen of Fairfield on Butter, amble down a dirt path.
Dan Reilly, the retired owner of All The King’s Horses tack shop, could not resist stopping by to see many of his old friends. —Photo by Tracy Van Buskirk
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