Wednesday, June 21, 2017

sun worship

The longest daylight, and hottest day of the year. We were out early, though the sun was already rising quickly and strongly hinting at the predicted 108 temperature. A balmy 75 at 7:30am, finishing at 9am and heating up quickly. A cold hose bath, extra sloppy salty mash, a shady structure (though he'll just stand in the sunny pasture). 

I think I'll worship another day, and today try to stay inside, in front of a fan, and dream of cooler summer evening rides, and mid-summer cool 95 degrees!!

Monday, June 12, 2017


"To be, or not to be, that is is question."

Not to be.

My endurance ride hopes in three weeks were dashed when I arrived at the stable to find Major with a swollen hock.

I'm not usually a freak-out horse owner, having had enough bumps and bruises. So I figured to just cold hose this and see what's going on. He was flinching away from the hose, and not letting me near his leg to poke or prod what looked like a tiny scrape. My normally stoic horse was hurting.

Sigh. Normally I might wait and see a bit on the vet. But a painful  injury over a joint? And me leaving for the weekend? Major was loaded into the trailer (which was packed with all my tack for a long training ride the next day, sigh..)

With heavy sedation (no lightweight this boy!) vet was able to poke and prod. And not find a deep wound or any joint involvement (probably, always a caveat). Just an infection and pus and swelling, the wound needed to be enlarged a bit to flush it all out. Glad it was "just" that, but damn!

(There are no pictures. I just held Major's lead rope. I do not do well with wounds. Or needles. As the vet who picked me up off the floor after they stuck a needle in my old cats eye will attest.)

Wound cleaned and bandaged, Major stood groggily at the trailer. Back home he got a mash with 14 antibiotic pills, which at least he gobbled all up. Twice a day for two weeks. He doesn't care, I mixed it in with a bit of senior feed and he's super happy about that!

Later he said he was sorry. Me too buddy, me too. But there are other rides, and days to train, and only one Major.

To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them.
   —William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Monday, June 5, 2017

play time

Where did May go? I guess I was busy with horse play time. Did you ever run around the house pretending to be a horse? Ride your plastic bounce horse on a wild chase (almost straining the springs to their breaking point!) I had an awesome 1970s hop ball (I think it had a horse shape, or I pretended it was at least!) anyone with one of those? Remember how fun it was?

So I spent May recreating that as an adult. There has been too much adulting (ok, I seriously hate that word, but it works for this) in my life lately. I figured I'd condition for endurance eventually. Maybe. It takes so much time and planning, this many hours/miles/elevation this week, when's the ride, plan and plan some more).

Nice face Major.

So I had fun just playing. Explore a little, ride with friends, see old buddies and new trail. It's just some fun.

loud helicopter ruins a ride

There was watching (and hearing) a helicopter lifting logs at Folsom Lake to clear debris (incredibly loud, even in the distance, and seems super inefficient, but obviously I'm not an expert!).

There was coming down from Auburn to the dreaded waterfall bridge, normally packed with people and feral children, instead with just one actually polite guy, wow!

Hi Tux!

An actual arena practice (oh, it was NOT pretty) then a visit with Major's not-friend Tux. (But they were polite, Major didn't bite him this time!)

piggy-back pig

Days for found squeaky pigs, giant horse-eating puddles, too much energy and just snacking.

giant puddle needs inspection
snacking in the overgrown lot

In the last couple weeks I figured I should do some conditioning if I want to do an endurance ride this summer. But we still explored some trails not traveled in awhile, watched the grass turn golden and the lake rise higher and higher, found a pond we'd never seen before and encountered snakes (the good kind!).

Is that buckeye or are you happy to see me?

golden grass

rising lake

discovered pond!

Tevis-bound friend exceeding the speed limit

California King snake
But it has still been fun, and not work, so my goal is accomplished. Major is my modern day bounce horse. Luckily we can travel a bit farther than the living room, and he's pretty non-spooky. I swear bouncing on the shag carpet was unpredictable!

Now we're more serious about adding some miles, but I still plan on keeping it fun, for both of us! So if that means extra time spent snorkeling at the trough, that's what we'll be doing.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

stranger things

Our trails have oddities. Remnants of mining operations and dam building have left debris scattered and hidden throughout our canyons.

But when a friend posted a photo of the flying barrels, I had to check that one out myself. And even better, it was less than two miles from my house (as the crow flies).

western fence lizard keeps watch

maybe for measuring water levels as the proposed lake would rise?

This canyon has so many trails, most not marked or noted on many maps, but only found by exploration, word of mouth, and in my case, adventuring to find those crazy barrels!

seriously purple: purple larkspur (I think)
Down, down, down. I knew approximately where the barrels were. There were other finds along the way. But then there they were, floating above our heads, so many barrels on a wire! Kegger at the river!

barrels hanging in the sky!

strange, right?

tree isn't letting go!
Fascinatingly strange. The only clues I can find are people commenting they are from the long-derailed dam construction (it was halted in the late 1970s). The barrels would have floated on the surface of the water, to keep boats from getting too close to the dam. If so, they were WAY ahead of themselves with this project!

river stop, making stacks
After a brief stop by the river, what goes down must come up: 1000 feet in about a mile. Luckily there were lots of wildflowers to use as an excuse to stop and take photos.

taking a breather: look, fringepod!

American River below
This cliffside trail has seen better days, this winter created a lot of erosion, and there are too many low hanging branches for me to want to take my tall horse on it. But some do, as there were occasional hoofprints! I was content on my own two feet to take in the view.

Pardner's rock: Huge granite monolith alongside the trail
But I saw a lot of cool side trails, with more places to explore. And hopefully more places for stranger things.

what goes down...

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

conversations with major: my day

Hi Major, why are your face and legs all wet?
I was snorkeling!
In your trough? Is that why it was broken last week?
Um, no? 
Well, let's go out and play!
Or just eat grass?
But it's almost your birthday. Let's do something fun.
MY day! Oh Boy!
acceptable birthday hat

embarrassing birthday hat

Birthday hat time! Good thing I found it, a little flattened in the trailer.
Yeah…great. Look, I already have a hat.
That is grass on your head. It does not count. It's not so bad, just one photo.
Fine. But I won't smile.
Of course you wont.

So where do you want to go today?
The lake!
You always pick the lake.
The forest is around and about in the mud, not fun.
Well, you're kind-of right.
The lake is fun!
Well, it's a mess this year.
But I want to…
Ok, no whining, off to the lake we go.

mud under the green

NOT the lake, a dumb puddle

where is the trail?

stop taking pictures of orange flowers!

Are we there yet?
We have to get through the forest first.
There is still lots of mud.
Look, the lake.
THAT is not the lake. It is a puddle. It does not count.
But look at all the tadpoles! OK, go this way.
Where is the trail? I just see snacks.
Covered in clover, hopefully we can ride out here more before our trails disappear!
Stop taking flower pictures, the lake is over there! 
I see the lake!

sticks…but grass too!

splashy fun

water, a snack, this is the best day

The lake! Oh, and sticks. Yuck.
Yeah, there is a lot of debris this year. Let's find a safe place.
Here! Snacks!
Just a bit father is a clear space.
Splashing! Snorkeling! Oh yeah!
I'm glad you're happy.
I love this!
I know.

seriously, that's the trail?

Flowers are nice, dry trail is better

Ok, let's head back now.
The trail is underwater. I don't like it.
You were JUST in the lake.
Not the same.
But look at all the flowers!

Not. Funny.

We're home, and almost done for the day.
I see my mash.
It is soaking, now you have to as well.
I'm fine.
No, you need a bath.
This is not what I want for my birthday.
It's just more water.
Not FUN water. 
heading home to mash

it's got the good stuff

Mash time?
Yes, now it is mash time.
Oh boy, it has the extra yum!
Just some rice bran.
It's my favorite!
I know. It's your day.
I liked my day. Can I have my day tomorrow too?
Always Major. Always.