Tuesday, January 10, 2012

watcher in the woods

Another gorgeous weekend, no rain, and no rain even in sight (which is getting a little scary). But the trails are dry, and I wanted to move out...

So Major and I headed out to Granite Bay. He was pretty happy to go, a nice forward trot heading out. Then we had a little detour which turned us towards home, and even more forward trot! Than the detour ended facing away again, and he became a slug. He likes to go, so it is just barn sour, and once I tell him "yes, we're going" he is fine.

As I approached the lake, the wind started picking up. And up. I went down to the sand for a short section and the wind was incredible, and we were both being sandblasted. Major has handled wind just fine, but this was truly setting him up for a difficult situation. So we headed back into the forest, where we happily trotted along, though there were many horses coming at us from the staging area direction, we would just step aside, or they would, and everyone continued on.

At the staging area we stood by the trough, but he wasn't interested after only five miles. I hopped off and he got to have a grass snack, before I got back on and followed a runner back onto the trail. He was moving quickly, so we just stayed behind, until there was a nice wide section and I asked to pass. No problem. Most people are so nice about sharing the trails.

Then there are the not-so-nice people, and I'm sad to say this time they were other horsemen. I heard a voice yell from up ahead "Slow your horse, we're over here!" no problem, and I stepped aside, as there was room. Two ladies came through, gave me the stink eye, and proceeded to lecture me how "all" these horses were just "running" at them today, that no one should be going so fast and that I would be liable if she fell off her horse and got hurt.

At that point they'd ridden past, and I just didn't want to deal with it. But really? I'm not liable if you are on a horse trail and no one is being reckless and maybe single track, windy trails isn't where you should be today. I realize that maybe they had green horses, but maybe they should say that, we'd all understand that better. I know too we've all had bad days, so I'll chalk this up to a bad day. (I've since learned that another rider had an encounter with probably these same crabby people. It takes all kinds I guess.) Major just stood there quietly, good boy.

Then we headed back on the top trail, where it was less windy but still pretty gusty. Made great time back, and Major was (mostly) listening, and I let him trot or canter if the trail allowed. Almost home we were cantering around a wide corner when a huge gust of wind created a wall of dust and leaves, Major spooked hard left, which luckily was the way we were going! I almost lost a stirrup (thank goodness for the nice wide, caged stirrups) but managed to remain completely seated and we just continued on. That is when I realize I'm a better rider than I used to be!

At the end of the ride, Major was still full of it, but we always walk home. He kept breaking into trot, and I'd get him back down into a walk. Repeat. Until the edge of the forest: the wind started whipping around, branches were blowing, leaves flying, every direction at once. He completely thought something was after us, and scooted forward a bit, eyes wide. I turned him around to face the "danger" but he still was wide eyed, so we headed back into he windy forest, which he was OK with, but turn back around so it was behind him, no way!

He just KNEW something was there: a Watcher in the Woods. Which was my favorite scary movie when I was a kid. It was terrifying (to an 11-year-old), Watcher in the Woods was a complicated plot about strange winds in the forest, a missing girl, new people in a creepy old house, a scary old neighbor (Betty Davis), the solstice, witches or aliens...ok, it is just so bad it is good. I totally need to watch it again, and to remind myself of what Major was actually seeing there in that windy forest...


  1. Sounds like a good ride, and isn't it always nice to be discover your seat is more solid than you thought!

    I have totally encountered crabby people on the trail and isn't it strange--here we are enjoying our horses on a nice trail and someone presents an attitude like that. Best to ignore it and move on, as you did, but it can sure be annoying!

    Haven't seen Watcher in the Woods but it sounds scary--Bette Davis, YIKES, Lol! I change the channel if a scary movie preview even comes on though so I'm a lightweight in that regard.

  2. I hate the crabby people, they stick in your mind even though you know to blow them off. You're on a horse, be happy! Even a bad day on a horse is a good day.

    You have to see Watcher in the Woods! I am a total scary movie wimp, but it is more creepy than truly scary (and no gore or anything, it is Disney), and kind-of silly too, but every time the wind blows I think of it...

  3. I knew you were somewhere in the northern half of CA, but I didn't realize you were near Sac. Roseville is my stopping point of choice because it has the closest Chipotle to Reno. Gasp, we live like heathens here in Nevada. ;)

    Sorry you met jerks, but I'm glad you didn't let them ruin your ride!