Tuesday, October 23, 2012

racing the storm

We never saw the sun on Sunday, it threatened rain all day. Overcast sky, cool temps, a hint of damp months to come.

heading out, gratuitous ear/no hands/river photo
 But we rode, and it was good. Major and I joined Friday and C at the Auburn Staging area. We boldly set off about 9:30, C smartly bringing a windbreaker just in case, I was being braver (I have a new day-glo orange sweatshirt, I wanted to try it out. It is so bright it hurts your eyes to look at it. Awesome.).

Fall river, this is about all the color we get around here

Down the canyon, across the bridge, over the highway, down quarry trail to Poverty Bar. Trotted and cantered, Major and Friday are well matched. This ride was a bit of a test, I'm going to try the 50 at Lake Sonoma, and C will do the 25. Were the horses ready? Are we? 11 miles, and then a quick lunch break.

my lunch view, constantly bugging me, "what cha got there?"

Major had his own carrots, then sampled everything I had: peanut butter and jelly, a few almonds, candy orange slices, and kept bugging for more.

poverty bar crossing

dreaming about riding the other side

The trail continues, on the other side of the river. This is where the Tevis riders cross, water is held back in the upstream dam to make it safer. This time of year the water looks low, but is deceiving. No crossing for us, so we headed home. The horses had lost some motivation. It made me worry a bit, Major was dragging, I'd ask to trot and he would, then slow when the opportunity arose. Friday did the same. We walked plenty, they didn't seem particularly tired. Hmmm.

Hawyer cave: you go first

We stopped a moment to look at Hawyer cave, where cool prehistoric bones were discovered, locked tight now because of vandals. Could a mammoth walk in there? Maybe the mammoth bones were dragged in by predators. How cool would it be to go in there?!

Life-vest borrowing station, too many drownings on this river

We crossed No Hands bridge on the way back, picking up a trot in the middle of the bridge. C is NOT a fan of heights, but sure puts up with all the crap I want to do, excellent riding buddy! Major found his motivation, and picked up a trot on his own. We continued to trot up the hill, stoping to wade through the beautiful waterfall (he did not drink) then a little bit father on is a dirty little spring/puddle next to the trail (where he slurped off the top). He found another gear, some nice cantering, and a quick gallop (with whoops and hollers) up the Robie Point hill. Both horses kept going till the staging area, where everyone finally slowed down.

 still life (blurry random) with muddy boots, muddy sneakers and reins.

all done, warm, snack, good

It was getting brisk, a breeze picking up, too cold for a bath. But sponging and I threw on Major's cooler so he'd be dry when we got home. (I know, my cooler does not match my color scheme, that will need to be remedied one day.)

its good to grind the sand into your face

and be sure to coat both sides evenly

Back home Major was pulling on the lead as I took him into the arena. Halter off, he ran off, dropped and rolled, hopped up, did some ridiculous bucking and trotted around. I opened the gate to his pasture and he ran up the hill, dirt clods flying, to eat his leftover breakfast.

He sure didn't seem tired at all! I'm a bit concerned over his lagging behavior earlier. He was bright eyed, seemingly happy, should not have been tired. Was it just attitude? I'm leaning that direction unless I see otherwise. But then I worry that he isn't happy doing this job. I'll take him on a shorter speed and hill workout this coming weekend, see how that goes, and evaluate for Lake Sonoma. I sure want to go, for me it is "home" turf, though I've never ridden a horse there!

Sunday evening the rain finally caught us, and it poured down all day Monday, with crazy wind, local funnel clouds (possibly tornadoes), and more rain to come. Soon the trails will be a muddy mess, but for now I'm hoping it clears the air and settles the summer dust.

threatening clouds at sunset


  1. The view across that bridge is pretty impressive.

    1. I agree! As gratuitous as it is (I almost always take the exact same photo) it's because it is always so gorgeous (and fun to canter across!)