This weekend I decided to "deal with it" for myself. I decided to go out with some local endurance friends, who ride much faster than I do. These folks often top 10 rides, and Major is not in the best of shape after such an odd year. But I decided to deal with it. I know the trails, I can go off on my own if necessary, plus they're good people, they won't kill me. Right?
Fellow boarder E and her small-but-mighty horse Tux were coming. We had some time while we packed the trailer, so turned both horses out in the greenest pasture to eat. Major loves everybody, I wasn't too worried, but we still stood and watched for a bit.
Major tried everything he could think of to get Tux to play with him. Tux just ate. Leaping, bucking, head-flinging ridiculousness ensued. Tux just ate. Major was so frustrated, he ran over the plastic-covered compost pile, circled around Tux, reared right next to him. Tux just ate. Major continued to throw a fit that his new friend wouldn't play.
From the Auburn overlook, we four horsemen headed down the hill. Major was very happy to be out with friends. Our last ride here was a trudge to the bottom of the canyon. This time we flew, he loves the “competition” of riding with others, even if we’re all staying together. No winning this race buddy!
|at the start of Quarry road|
Down the canyon, across No Hands and the highway, and out the Quarry road, definitely faster than my usual pace! A group of climbers with a giant climbing pad and dangling crap attached was a tiny bit unnerving to everyone, but quickly passed. We sped down the road, eventually taking a turn up the Brown’s Bar trail. Which goes up and up some more, next to a creek. While everything is really dry, the hanging grape vines and shade from the oak trees give a semblance of cool. The trail is nice single track, with roots and rocks for some tough footing.
|along Brown's Bar, me in orange!|
|across the canyon, and distant quarry|
We found a water trough before crossing Highway 49. Major snorkeled but didn’t drink. Arrgghh this horse almost always waits till 15-20 miles, just kills me. We continued on, down, down the Cool side, back across No Hands. Major found another gear and wanted to lead the charge up the hill. So I let him for a bit, but then we let the good hill horse Will pass us, (ok, completely blow past us) and Major knew he had met his match.
At the end, Major finally drank his fill at the Auburn trough (after at least 18 miles) and looked great afterwards. The next day he was prancing around, raring to go. I am so proud of my out-of-shape horse, who is actually in better shape than I ever thought. I really don’t do any rides where I push things. I tend to stick to the tried and true paces, long-slow distance, etc. I worry too much, and kept an eye on my horse all ride, but he was never too tired, never not willing to go.
I was glad I decided to just "deal with it," which led to a fun new adventure with good people, and renewed appreciation for my horse. Not having done any endurance rides this year, I'd forgotten his spirit and strength on tough trails and when pushed beyond my comfort zone (mine, not his!). It felt great to be flying down the trail, pushing some limits.
P.S. And for another laugh of the day, I took my smelly tack home, where my very old, crabby cat Thomas loves to roll all over it. And then hiss and growl at the neighbor's kitten, who was somehow annoying Tom just by watching her. Too funny. Like Major and Tux in the morning.
|Thomas (left) annoyed by tiny kitten, "stop watching me!"|