Monday, April 29, 2013

monday random

I was trying to write something about a fun ride a group of us did on Saturday, but my brain is tired. It is 15 degrees above normal, almost 90 degrees, and while I like the heat, I melted a bit this weekend.

Instead, how about Monday random? I always have some photos I like that don't fit in anywhere. They fit perfectly on a day like today. They make me smile, and that is sometimes all I need to get through a Monday.

apple face. Don't worry, I'll share my drool on your shirt later.

I wonder what color shirts I like...

little blue-belly (western fence) lizard sharing my lunch bench

trying to take a nice photo, hey, Major, look over here!

OK, turn around. Now it looks like you have a giant head!

Pay attention! Hey look, I found a stick.

Look mom, another stick, don't leave yet!

See my stick? Want to play fetch?

That helped for a few minutes to get me through my day. Of course, it's not even lunchtime yet…

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


I find time to hike between riding, though often I am scouting places to go riding later! I know many people who have gone riding in Spenceville, but I never have, and it had been a few years since I'd hiked it. Out the curvy windy road, onto the rutted dirt road, over the tiny rickety bridge, in my Subaru it wasn't bad, it would take awhile in a horse trailer!

But the rolling green hills beckoned. As did the path less traveled. My SO and I began our wander on a faint path, and just meandered.

bucolic cows and babies

herd of cows, and horses

lovely skeleton tree

pond, looked like a beaver dam

Past the cows and babies! I am not sure how Major would do with these big creatures, I think I would get off and walk him through. There were two horses out there too, looking fat and sassy.

Spenceville view

I had faith in this faint path

The trail disappeared at times, but I could hear the creek below. At one point SO wanted to cut down the hill, but my instinct told me no, keep going. And we did. And ended up right at the waterfall, our final destination, just on the opposite side than the usual trail. But a great view.

dry creek falls

cool lichen

small river/creek gorge


An adventure, lunch, rocks, river, a good book, a great afternoon. One day I'll bring the horse and explore, but sometimes it is nice to use your own two feet and see the details that I miss when trotting the trail.

an actual road home
the road less traveled

Monday, April 22, 2013

purple too

I thought the glowing purple trail was pretty amazing a few weeks ago. But in the last week it is even MORE purple!

This week is about it. The lake is inexorably creeping up, soon flowers and trail will be under water until October. I think the trail is better that we only get to experience it every six months. (It would also be unbearably hot in the summer!) I love to see how long we can take the trail for, how deep will my horse wade (he'd swim if I asked, loves the water!). In the summer it will be good for cooling and Major's snorkeling adventures. Every season has some wonder...

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


(This post was written before I knew about the cancellation of the American River ride. It still holds true...instead of "will I be ready in a week?" it is "will I be ready in three weeks?" for another ride!)

My brain goes weird places on a longer ride. Just me and my horse, out on the dull backside of Olmstead Loop, wandering in body and mind.

this is the pretty (not dull) part. Didn't want to bore you with those pictures!

Goldilocks ate porridge. First too hot. Then too cold. Then just right. This is my training dilemma. How much is enough? Or too much? Or just right, but in time for an upcoming ride? I don't have the experience to know yet.

nice cool creek, after this is a few miles of dry, rocky trail

And training alone has its own issues. Major isn't that motivated if we are not heading home or with a friend. He'll trot along just fine, but none of the speed and silliness of other situations.

coyote friend

On our ride this weekend we only saw one other rider. She was having difficulty getting her horse (who she said kicks) off the trail. I sidepassed Major off the trail into the bushes, and let her pass. We headed back up the trail, the opposite direction of the other horse, and Major kicked it into high gear. "I'm winning, it's a race!" he thought for the next 5 minutes. Then he figured it out, and we were more sedate the rest of the ride. We did play leapfrog with a mountain biker, Major is inspired to chase them too!

Froggies didn't even try to move, just sat there. Major ate some of their habitat. Sorry guys.

I was hoping to just do the canyon, Auburn to Cool. Except I missed my trail turnoff. Not that bad though, not like the Training Hill episode! Just 23 miles instead of 17, about 3,800 feet of elevation gain in 4 hours.

Wildflowers. See the barely there trail? This was the wrong turn. Not bad!
short cut trail wasn't so bad

Major was having flashbacks of last ride, and when we were heading home and I got off to hike he was quite suspicious, thinking I was again dragging him somewhere awful. Luckily most went well.

this is my suspicious face

I did have a boot failure, but it was definitely operator error. I had a frayed cable. I thought it would last one more ride. And I didn't take my extra boot. There was a very strange person at the staging area, yelling at trees, the water spigot, trucks...I pretty much left there a little too quickly, forgetting my boot, and my sandwich! I attached boots to saddle (love having extra caribiners) and luckily 10 miles barefoot is no problem.

Major again didn't drink. Not out of the creek, not at the lovely trough in Cool, not at the waterfall. But he did in Auburn, finally! Didn't wait till we got home, but right as we finished the ride. I wish it didn't take 23 miles...

finally drinking in Auburn!

I love the staging area right now (since the strange person seemed to be gone): lots of green grass to eat and convenient water hoses. Horse was now clean, I was sweaty, dirty and eating my pb&j sandwich and chocolate milk. I've figured out my eating pretty well, I like the simple things. Like porridge. Maybe I need to remember to keep it simple. And stop worrying.

a bath + grass + warm sun = good.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

American River cancelled!

I had a whole post about am I ready for this, etc. Just got word that AR is cancelled this year. All my worrying if we were in shape for it is naught. I am highly disappointed.



My horse has more appointments than I do!

I noticed on a ride a couple weeks ago that at one point Major began cantering with one lead in front and a different one in the back. That sure feels weird! That seems to be the first sign (that I notice) that he needs some sort of adjustment. So I called out the chiropractor.

I had Major adjusted last May (on his birthday!), and while I was skeptical going into it, I could tell he moved and felt better afterwards. This time the chiropractor came out and didn't find any big issues, mainly some muscle soreness, and showed me more exercises (that I need to remember to do!). Major was so unconcerned I didn't even hold the lead rope much of the time. Probably feels good!

see Mom, learn to do this

If I give you my leg will you give me a carrot?

We checked my saddle fit too. I thought my favorite saddle bridged a bit, and he confirmed that. My newer saddle fits nicely, but I'm not used to it yet, especially for long rides. I upgraded my pad inserts but am not going to change everything two weeks before my first 50 of the season. After that I'll have some time to reevaluate.

And where is my treat? I mean treats. Many treats.

Major just thought he needed more carrots for being good. He was right.

Monday, April 15, 2013

slow feeder, round 3

Maybe this is too much work. I'm not sure. My net was again on its last legs. I started in August 2011 with a Freedom Feeder. It got a bit holey, I made a new net in August of 2012 with some net from Arizona Sports. The problem with that was it just kept shrinking and getting harder for Major's staff (the awesome barn help) to add any hay. So back to the original Freedom feeder (see, this is why I don't even throw old holey nets away!)


lots of patched holes

looking pretty sad

Finally the holes and fraying were too much. It just had to go. I researched but still decided to buy a new Freedom feeder. I like the size of the net and how easy it is for me to install and have the staff fill it. (Full disclosure: I didn't even install this one! Great SO did while my horse had a chiropractor appointment. Yeah, I'm lucky.)

Not so bad (filled with a special treat of crack hay)

as installed (photo by SO, me taking another, too much tech!)

Just step away from my hay...

I do like feeding in the net. It takes him longer to finish his hay, it doesn't blow around or get wet on the ground. As I've said before, ideally it would be filled 24-7, but there is ideal and then there are boarding barns, where they can't cater to my every whim (though they do pretty good). It will be interesting to see how long this lasts. I do as they recommend and patch any holes ASAP, but it lasted a year the first time and a few months this second time, so probably 15 months total, for about $50. I'll see how long this lasts, and maybe reevaluate at that point.

While I was doing some house/horse-keeping stuff, I decided my trailer was just sad and dirty too. It sits in a nice shady place at the stable, under the oak trees, which droppped pollen and leaves all over. Though I use it often enough for most of the debris to blow off, it was grimy. I didn't realize how bad until it was home in the driveway.

gray trailer or white?

slobber, debris, ugly

There were horse slobber marks and the aluminum was all dull. It is a bear to lug the ladder around and wash it, but my trailer loves me again and looks so pretty!

white, shiny, orange, lovely
At least it was lovely until I took Major on a ride and he slobbered mash all over the side. Nice while it lasted.

Sunday, April 7, 2013


Every ride has moments. Some good, some bad, fun and terrifying. Like when a rattlesnake begins vibrating next to the trail and you just keep moving as fast as you can.

I was on single track, the rock trail. There is nowhere but down a cliff, up a cliff or back down the trail. We were scaling a rocky section, at a pretty good pace (as fast as you can scale rocks, admittedly not THAT fast), when I heard it. My brain processed in a split second, didn't see it on the trail ahead, and asked Major to just leap ahead! Whew!

I saw my first rattlesnake of the season last week, while climbing Dottie's hill. He was a big, fat guy half into the bushes as I came around the corner. That trail is wide enough that I could go to the side and avoid it.

Last week I also saw a big garter snake, but that was cool. Today I was riding ahead of a storm blowing in, my intentioned 12 miles becoming 6 as the sky darkened.

Threatening clouds, trails totally overgrown with poison oak, hanging caterpillars from the oak trees, and now snakes.

Oh boy.