Thursday, September 8, 2016


Sometimes it all just clicks. When there are no expectations. And you learn something new (that your horse has been trying to teach you for years.)

morning light

I've done this trail more than 20 times in the last few years. And of course, so has Major. So it is sometimes a bit of a slog to get him interested. He is difficult to condition, he sees no benefit from repeated loops, going away from home, seeing the same trail, etc.

autumn light

But this time was different. I think the difference was we're not conditioning. I have no expectations. I have nothing on our calendar. We were on the trail JUST for fun. And he somehow knew it.

Heading out in the early morning, sun already high but a tinge of fall in the air, no one on trail, he ate trail for breakfast and left behind us a small cloud of dust.

lush river bend

The usually busy canyon bridge empty. River below quiet. Cantering across No Hands with no one in sight.

quiet canyon bridge

this is the little "waterfall" that people hike to!

Heading up the other side of the canyon. A few runners. All of us in our moment, sharing these trails we're so lucky to have. Major wanting to continue, but we didn't need 20 miles. I turned him around at the top of the other canyon, he reluctantly listened but would have happily continued.

shady side

posing in NEW halter bridle!

Back down I got off to hike. Which he hates (dragging him behind me). It occurred to me, click!…why not tail down the hill? It isn't too steep, he was listening nicely, and maybe I finally listened too.

Major: I've got this

Because he loved it. Power walking down the hill that is usually a horribly slow slog, nicely waiting as runners came down more quickly and passed us.

He did try to detour us up the steep Pig Farm trail. He loves that damn trail, though it wasn't heading home, so I lead us past while he longingly looked at his missed opportunity. At the bottom of the canyon I got back on to cross No Hands again.

not going there

And the trails were still pretty quiet. Runners and hikers, well behaved dogs, but none of the madness that has been other weekends. Major brought his own excitement, not pulling, just having fun moving down the trail at speed, working together.

Major wanting to chase the runner

Almost back, we passed the half-mile marker to the staging area. I dropped the reins. The reins lay on Major's neck, within reach, but unneeded. And Major continued boldly on, happily powering along. I felt like we were flying…click.

coming home


  1. Ashke, too, gets bored with doing the same trail. Especially if they are ridden close in time with each other (like if we do Chatfield two weeks in a row). I love Major! And its always good to have the Arab characteristics confirmed.

    1. Major and Ashke are very similar! Wish we could explore some trails together.

  2. I like the new bridle. The fact that it has no browband must be so much more comfortable in sweaty California weather. One less itchy uncomfortable spot on the face. Also your girth game is tight - white as snow. Goll I sound like Fashion it So. Love that site.

    1. You can be my fashion consultant anytime! Exactly right on the itchy face part, Major was always hating that. I have a couple girths, wash then every few rides, easy! Fashion it So is so great, I was watching a DSN episode wishing they'd do that series too!

  3. Here in S California we are dry as a bone and hoping for a wet winter. Out on the trail everything is brown, except for a few tumbleweed.

    1. Only our evergreen trees: pine and oak, a few hardy shrubs, are still green. Even the poison oak is dead looking! At least riding by the river makes you think you're a little cooler! I'll hope right along with you for a wet winter, even if it means less riding!

  4. Replies
    1. Thanks. I like it when I actually listen and learn from my horse!