The Picture of Relaxation

I know this doesn’t really fit with my mantra of providing useful information, but I wanted to share this iPhone video of my horses enjoying some particular fluffy grass because it makes me feel so relaxed and at peace just to see them be so carefree. Hopefully it will provide you with the same good feeling!

Farrel McWhirter Park

Our first ride entry and our home park. Annie and I both grew up in Farrel McWhirter (at different times, of course) and it feels like home to us. It’s a nice cozy size, offers equestrian facilities and is usually pretty spook free. It has a good trailer parking area and is a good place to start out from for other rides that are nearby and don’t have great parking such as The Jule Park, The Powerline Trail, or Tuscany.

Facilities:

- Safe trailer parking with turn around space (steep hill entering parking area)
- Large competition arena with bleachers (mind the footing, sand, as it tends to be deep in places)
- Larger than standard round pen (or small arena)
- Jumps, barrels and other riding accessories (but no mounting block, use fence or a barrel or something)
- Water and Hitching Rails, grass for grazing
- Just shy of two mile loop trail with good footing for all gaits (some areas get a little wet in winter, but generally its dry and soft)
- Connector trails to Powerline Trail and Jule Park

Our Favorite Parts:

There is a good hill for cantering/galloping just east of the horse arenas. You head out the trail on the other side of the hitching area from the arenas, which takes you through the woods by the parking area and onto a cleared power line swath. Once you can see that it’s clear ahead there is a straight, wide, uphill slope that flattens out for a long run out before you have to stop and turn back into the woods. The footing is gravel and is good all accept for the very bottom of the hill where it’s become rutted by water runoff and has some large rocks.

Another large open area is by the park’s farm (not open to horse traffic) where the trail crosses through a huge grass field. On warm sunny days this field is usually full of children so be careful not to squish them as the make a dash for your horse with their parents running after them. Other spooky things include various farm animals making strange noises, the horses (usually cute creme colored ponies) in the field on the other side running up, and cars or buses on the road right by the trail. Regardless of all the things to see, this makes a great spot to show off for all the spectators. We don’t typically gallop through here, instead we collect ourselves before entering the field and then prance or extend a nice trot all the way across.

There is one hilly part on the North East side of the park, which includes a bridge, and (my personal favorite) a small animal which makes a small noise in the bushes every single time we walk by. Annie’s not afraid of it, but it makes me jump every time. The hills are short but reasonably steep and so we walk through here. Besides that, really the whole park is good for trotting which makes it a good conditioning opportunity.

Spook-Factor:

MILD No bikes on most of the perimeter loop, only the power line connector on the North Side of the Park allows them. Dogs are required to be on leash. The equestrian area sometimes has a few spectators or a pony class (park sponsored) going on. The scariest part is probably the field on the South East side of the park where there is a swing-set, children, and farm animals.

Maps and Directions:

From Avondale Rd, head East on 116th Ave NE. You will go down and up a small hill. Then turn right on 196th Ave NE (go slow). Just after you go under the power lines, you will see the park entrance on your right. Go slow, it’s hilly and kinda dark.
View Farrel McWhirter Loop in a larger map

The Park’s Official Website at Redmond.gov: http://www.redmond.gov/insidecityhall/parksrec/parks/farrel.asp

If you enjoyed this review, please leave a comment!

Happy Trails!

-Kelly and Annabella

Riding in the Rain

Riding in the rain can be fun! There is nothing more beautiful than walking through a quiet forest and hearing the song the droplets make on the leaves. Here’s how we stay warm and dry on our rainy rides!

Ride to Redhook

I love riding to Redhook Brewery in Woodinville. If you horse ties nicely it’s even more fun because you can go in and sit down for lunch. If your horse is a hitching post spaz (not pointing any fingers… Annie!) it’s still nice to sit out in the grass and graze. I’ll post more details about this ride at a later date.