Monday, November 21, 2011

more wild(life) ride

Where to go...always a dilemma, but we headed towards Granite Bay, through the forest sprouting green grass and yellow fall leaves, onto the upper Pioneer Express trail. Friday and his owner joined us, we were all happy to be out, and she noted how the dropoff is either into the lake or onto the rocks, depending on the time of year, not something she likes very much.

And then we came around the corner we met a rider and hikers at the most awful part: Rattlesnake Point! No going around, very little room. Major had enough room to just stand aside while the woman decided to get off her horse. The two hikers just stood on a rock off the trail with their dogs. Friday had no room to step aside, so he backed for awhile, then they were able to pass. There is a leash law, where all dogs must be leashed, but these dogs listened to the owners and were just good. No problem with those kind of dogs!

We then came across a few worrisome dogs. One man had two very happy golden retrievers, who had no recall whatsoever, and while Major and Friday were fine with them as they ran up and bounced around their hooves, some horses would not be, and those dogs might get stomped (or spook someone). Another group of about five people had 10 dogs between them, none leashed. We had been going to trot that section, but kept it slow, thinking about the dogs seeing a running things and coming after them. I love dogs, but common sense isn't so common out on the lake.

Coming out of a forested section, I thought there was another dog on the trail, but there was a beautiful coyote ahead of us. Often they are mangy and scrawny looking, but this guy looked so healthy and fluffy. He was trotting down the trail ahead of us, in no hurry, so we just walked along. He just stayed on the path, traveling wherever he was going. He was only disturbed when a rider was coming the other direction, and dodged off the path to the side, and stood watching us. The rider was a friend, and we chatted for a bit, he had thought for a moment that the coyote was our dog! As we moved off the coyote had already melted into the bushes, I'm sure to hunt some mice (or look for some little dog that people might bring!).

We were going to head to Granite Bay, but it was warmer out on the lake trail in the sun, the trail through the sand was so nice, so we headed back along the water. The whole trail is open now, even the boggy area, and the horses were happy to move along. It is only a few miles along the lake, and we quickly came up to the staging area, which was just packed with horses and people. A whole group was back from a ride and having picnic lunch, with paper crunching and tin foil blowing, quite a gauntlet. I had told Friday's owner I was taking her somewhere a little evil, but I actually hadn't meant the staging area!

Instead I meant we tricked the horses, and didn't go home the road, but trotted through the housing development: gravel, then driveway, gravel, driveway again. I wouldn't take a shod horse over that at speed, too much slippery concrete, but Major with boots and Friday barefoot were just fine. Back in the forest we were almost home, and tormented Major some more by making him trot side-by-side with Friday, keeping pace, when he just wants to be in front and win that race.

Finally stopping, I found a couple cool feathers in the same place I saw the owl last week. Are they owl feathers? I can't tell, but they were soft and fluffy and Major wore them like a good indian pony.

Walking back there was also a dead tree filled with little downy woodpeckers, chirping and carrying on. Major was happy to stop for a snack while I took a couple photos and enjoyed watching and listening to them.

The clouds were rolling in as we finished, the temperature had dropped, but Major was already dry, and I treated him to some soaked grass hay pellets, carrots and salt. He was happy to slurp it all up, and go finish the breakfast hay he had missed. I just watched him for awhile, he seemed content. Me too.


  1. Content is good! Oh and you mentioned riding oin pavement etc, I'm just discovering how much less slippery footing is with Easyboots vs. steel shoes, its awesome!

  2. That sounds like such a wonderful ride! Especially the coyote - they're so creepy and cool, all at the same time.