Wednesday, January 25, 2012

jumpy and quick

It all started with a branch. A new one across the trail, that instead of stepping over Major took with more bounce than usual.

We'd headed out in a springy mood, but ran into a friend, and talked for 15 minutes. Daylight was burning, and after standing around Major wasn't as keen to head back out. But we did, over the branch, crossed the creek and picked up a trot. The trails are pretty good, still some slick parts, but Major did ok slowing.

Then three kamikaze deer ran across the trail. Well, two across the trail in front of us, and the other was "stuck" on the other side, dancing around. Major jumped a bit, we kept going.

Then two crazy rabbits burst from beneath us (a narrow path with lots of brush). We were traveling pretty fast, Major just jumped ahead a bit.

Loud spinning tires were next, as some idiot offroaders were stuck on slick rocks. Major kept an ear turned that direction, but was unconcerned, except for the fact I made him walk.

Up to Inspiration Point, two more deer dashed into the trees and hid. Major used it as an excuse to kick it up a notch going up the hill. At the top a break, with grass to snack on, and I watched the gorgeous sunset, trees silhouetted, lake reflecting clouds and color, a quiet moment.

Just a moment, for heading back Major was fired up. I had been wanting to work on going home at speed, ever since reading some tips from Mel at Boots and Saddles. She talked about that being the closest you could practice for what an endurance ride is like (horse mentality wise).

Pretty epic fail. Major does finally listen (his whoa is strangely better than his half halts) but there was way too much pulling. If there was safe, open trail I'd let him go fast, then turn him back. But this time of year there are too many slick places.

Zoom, another rabbit dashes away. And birds rustling loudly in the brush must have heard my request to just stay asleep.

Coming up to a dip in the trail, a frog symphony greeted us. They weren't talking when we went through earlier, so the time must have been just right. Walking through they kept croaking, and I looked down to see the puddle jumping alive with tiny frogs.

We were headed home, jumpy and quick. And I saw a light ahead, coming toward us. I called out "horse ahead" and the mountain biker slowed and talked to us. It was too dark to see him, and the cyclist asked me if he needed to stop or get off, but I judged Major's mood and thought we'd be ok. Major had never seen a bike with a light, but he was fine with it, and I was proud of him. After that I turned on my glowstick, so anyone else out there could see me.

Since Major was in a mood to get home quickly, I let him. Now that sounds like a bad training idea, but we trotted home, and kept going past it, at a trot. Then back past it again. A couple times, and gee, surprise surprise, Major slammed on the brakes when asked.

Not much mileage, not much time, but plenty of adventure packed into one ride. I'd like a less exciting one next time!


  1. keep going!. I am in the process of starting over with my horse having not ridden for 3 years. Did two LD's in Virginia and they were GREAT! now I live out here in CA. my horse is boarded over near the lake and I am hoping to send him for 30 days of refresher training before I get back on him.
    Some of your pics of the Auburn/Tevis trail freaked me out with the hill on onside and the canyon on the other. I think I want to stick to trails that don't have a drop-off for awhile-until I can get my nerve back.
    Do trails like that exist here in this part of CA?

  2. thanks! At least Major is brave, so one less hurdle there, no crazy spooks to deal with.

    Welcome to the area! There are plenty of nice trails without dropoffs, though if you ride here and really want the most fun trails (IMHO), you'll have to get over your fear (or do like my friend, and always just follow behind the braver horse/person!).

    I would be happy when you're ready to show you (non drop-off trails included!). Major can be a good calm plodding horse when I ask him to be, he takes out greenies (people or horses) with confidence.

    I know a good very local trainer, who does regular training, trail training and is an endurance rider if you need someone.