Tuesday, February 15, 2011

sunday the 13th

A day of extremes. What came first: counting more than 20 rigs in the staging area, calling the park dispatch on a dirt-bike rider on the horse trail, me falling off my horse, or losing a friend?

First was the staging area. It was packed! Major was curious and antsy about all those trailers but we walked between them, winding our way to the trailhead. Down the hill, and right to the lake. I'd planned on moving out pretty good this day, we'd been building back up with some slower rides, and I knew Major really wanted to move. I hadn't anticipated on moving sideways so quickly...he did a good job of that!

And there I was on the ground. OK, note to self: look where you're going, not anywhere else! Coming at a trot around the first corner I was looking more to the left, Major looked to the right and saw two riders/monsters, did a little jump/spin that wouldn't have meant anything if I'd been paying attention. I wasn't and ended up looking at his front feet nicely stopped in front of me. I was happy not to be stepped on and jumped up. Landing in mostly sand I felt mostly ok, a little twinge in the shoulder I landed on. And who were those two riders...my neighbors! So we talked a bit...and kept going down the trail.

And promptly came across some riders who warned me of the dirt-bike. No motorized vehicles are allowed in the park, and some horses are very nervous. So when I saw the bike on the trail, right on the old rock canal crossing, I got off Major, who did his job of standing quietly, and I called dispatch. The park is understaffed and the area is hard to get to, so I just wanted to let the ranger know, maybe they can do some patrols in the area. As I was calling the bike slowly rode by on the sand below. Major was fine with that, though meeting one at speed around a corner would be another scary situation.

There were lots of people out, so we passed a few groups, though I never let Major trot up on them, we never appeared to be trying to catch them, I didn't need that attitude. My GPS hadn't been working all day, which was annoying, and as we came around the corner I could see ahead of us: a horde of riders! Maybe only 12 riders, but that's a lot in that area! So we took the high road. Literally: I took the cutoff to the Rock trail.

the notorious Rock trail
Officially the Pioneer Express trail, this section is notoriously know as the Rock trail because that is all it is: a couple miles of rocks and more rocks, up and down. Big chunks of slippery granite, steep steps and overhanging branches. A good challenge on a good day. Major does a great job of scrambling up rocks like a goat, sinking into his haunches to go down steep banks. We went along a bit, I decided it wasn't a challenge I was up for today. My shoulder was hurting, It was time to go home. I found the cutoff to the forest, and headed home, having at least 2 more miles to go. Luckily that was uneventful. Major was well behaved, we had a nice trot and fast walk all the way home.

It was warm enough to hose Major down and lead him out to the grass. Enjoying the sun and his snack, my phone rang "Call to Post" so I knew it was a horse friend. Unfortunately they were calling to let me know my favorite school horse, Echo, was colicing and not going to make it. I was only able to speak about two coherent sentences before getting off the phone.

Major's last job of the day was letting me cry in his mane.


  1. I've used my horse's manes, too. I'm sorry to hear the sad news, but glad you had a good ride and didn't get very hurt.

    Ice, snow, a frozen river, a horse that is too young and a horse that is too old all have kept me off the trail for a couple months. I envy your lovely ride.

  2. Thanks Judi. Horses are good friends. I can't imagine not being able to ride the trails, I am not good at staying in the arena. I hope some of my trail adventures will entertain you till you can get out there again!