Monday, November 26, 2012

oh, behave!

I was prepared for the craziness. Major's meltdown on Thanksgiving morning was just too much silliness. Arena work it is, then a long working trail ride.

Of course the arena was busy with a trainer working a horse. Lunging with tarps and balls, no issues for Major, but I needed the room, and didn't want to disturb them. So I'd work the gravel road. And we did. Up and down, no problems, listening. Fine, so out we went, maybe the issues are trail-specific.

Down the road, out onto the trail, a nice normal trot, then we came upon a little deer. This poor young buck only had one skinny antler, and was looking for a way though the fence. The ridiculous gated community erected a 12-foot fence around their huge rural property (gee, can't let the deer, who lived here first, use the forest, or they might eat the flowers!) I didn't want to spook the deer, and tried to give him room to get by, but he just ran ahead. We followed quietly behind (though Major thought we were herding him!) until the deer got to the end of the fence and went around.

Now a true test, onto the main trail. Where Major was perfect. For 14 miles. His one bad behavior? Trying to pull over and go home. I kept telling him we had a trailer waiting in Auburn, but he'd pretend he had to pee in the weeds, pull over, and then turn around. At first I fell for it. Once he peed, there was no fooling me (yeah, I'm not that swift sometimes, he's clever about that). We crossed the noisy stream at Mormon Ravine without the usual bridge tap dancing, and continued on.

Avery Pond? Really a puddle right now.

American River? Maybe creek at this point!

We walked, trotted, cantered. Then we came across a downed tree. There was no going over or under, too big to move. It was on a very steep slope, no going below. I could have turned around and gone home, but I thought we could make it. I climbed the bank above the trail, and pushed the tree as much as I could. It only dropped about 6 inches. But that was enough to step over it, on the slope above. So I climbed over, tugged the lead, and Major clambered up, sliding, stepped over carefully, and slid down the other side. GOOD pony!

hard to see, tree down on steep slope

The trail is pretty level, with just gradual uphill (though with steep cliffs) until Auburn. We crossed the creek at Oregon Bar, defeating the terrifying stump monster (the only little hesitation of the day). The trail was lovely here, a bit damp in the shade, but some nice fall color, with the river alongside. I tried a video, which is lovely, and would make everyone seasick. I hope to get a helmet cam in the future! (anyone have one, any recommendations?)

stump monster

lovely fall trail

Cardiac Hill, always good to rest here!

Then we get to Cardiac Hill, where the trail pretty much goes straight up. But Major does like hills, so we climbed right up. Major kept thinking we were almost there (the last few miles do seem to take forever.) I decided to take the Cardiac Bypass, which isn't quite as steep, and we cantered up a beautiful hillside, but had one more hill to go. And it's a nasty one. I got off, ready to hike, and I think Major thought we were done. The look on his face, "Oh no! We have to go up that?" was precious. Poor boy, at least I'm not riding you!

What? We have to keep going?

nasty trail, all round, slippery rocks, bad footing.

At the top he was fine, miraculously recovered, and trotted most of the rest of the way to the staging area. Awesome SO was waiting with the trailer, though Major didn't want his haybag, he preferred all the yummy new grass. And pranced around after a bath totally full of it. I think he thought we were just going to ride home! I probably could have worked on some of the bad behavior problems if we headed home, but I wasn't up for another 14 miles! Since didn't need to do an LD that day, Major got packed into the trailer and taken home.

deserved snack

It was a fun ride. But I didn't work on any of the bad behavior. I'll try later this week (between the rain?) at home, which may be the main problem. Not AT home, or AWAY from home, but NEAR home. Horses sure make us problem solvers...


  1. wouldnt have been a paint in there with the balls and tarp?

    AND that silly "one antlered" buck-jumped right out in front of my car today-thankfully I had just pulled out of the lane and so missed him by a few inches...which he then ran down the road in front of me instead of crashing back in to the woods. I thought he would stop for the traffic signal, but then he veered left and crossed in to the brush. I don't think he is long for this world if he keeps jaunting down the road.

  2. Yep, it was Falcon! Glad things are going well. That poor buck, I hope he figures it out and goes out by the lake, plenty of space and food out there!

  3. For the first time in 4 years I stepped in to the stirrup and put my leg up on his back. That is amazing progress for both of us since I have been dealing with a fear issue ever since he threw me way back when. Mike is good about going slow and working with me-but I had no fear on Sunday and would have taken off down the trail if he had let me. : )

    Glad you are able to get out and go down the trail-it is going to be a mucky slosh mess here soon!

  4. First time post - loving your Blog! Major is such a character. I'm fairly local (Grass Valley). Anyway - the GoPro is a wonderful helmet camera, my husband has been using it whilst driving, cycling, skiing, and the quality is amazing. Christmas is coming .... hint to SO! Fran in GV.

    1. Welcome! Always love a new reader, especially a local! I'm always up for a new riding buddy too, show us some new trails. You can email me from my profile if you want. I'll look into the Go Pro, hint to the SO is a great idea.

  5. Not riding at present, lame horse resting for the winter (plus full time job getting in the way!), but would love to ride Folsom Lake next year... Can I recommend another Blog for you to read: written by a local friend. Keep writing, I look forward to your posts! Fran.