Tuesday, April 30, 2024

birthday boy

Miles is eight years old! We celebrated in the usual fashion, carrots and a birthday hat. But not eight whole carrots, he's watching his figure…

birthday tiara

are we done yet?

happy birthday Miles!
I’m not sure where my time goes now to write. It didn’t go to riding this spring for sure! We had a wet winter (yeah for the earth, bad for riding). Almost every weekend it rained, and when it didn’t the trails were too wet. So there are only a few riding options that we took advantage of this winter/early spring. 

mud puddle
shared cooler now
The Auburn Dam site has some graveled roads that remain decent in the winter. But they do get a bit boring, so better with friends! S and Rocky are doing great, even when I take them on a trail I don’t think twice about but is a bit adventurous (going down the Cardiac Hill, rocky, steep, switchback, singletrack)! I also went to Hidden Falls, they close the trails when it’s too wet so I assumed if the trails were open they were good, right? They were super slippery! But we just slowed it down and had fun anyway.

he's really not crabby, just has the ears!

view from Oregon Bar

old homestead wall

snack priorities

dam road downstream view

Hidden Falls slippery!
The lake trail was wet and went underwater early this year with all the rain. The forest trails were just a mess, and I made the mistake of going out a couple times I’d think they were ok only to slop through wet, slippery mud and regret my choices.

last time i saw "my" rock this year

lake mud
fern mud
When I could get out from home Miles was really improving his barn sour naughtiness. Then I was gone for 10 days (Hawaii vacation, no complaints there!), and before that he had a week off from a hoof abscess/bad weather. I came home to a horse who thought this was the good life: pasture with friends, treats from the stable owners, and that’s it, right?

getting green (now easily a foot taller!)
spring blooming
lost a boot (found it next ride!)

The first ride back I assumed he’d remember things, but he did not, and much jigging and spinning and me getting off and walking because I just couldn’t any more. Then we did a training ride, out and back and around and about and out and back again. The third ride was much improved!


saddle selection!

I also haven’t felt the most secure in my Freeform saddle. I think it is a mental block because I’ve ridden out some pretty good shenanigans in it! But it also has no twist and bugs my hip a bit on long rides. So I finally got a saddle fitter out. She has an impressive array of so many different kinds and brands of saddles. First she tried them on Miles to see what she thought fit him. Then I tried them just on the stand. And third we put the package together. I sat in about 12 and rode in I think eight or nine saddles. I’m glad she took notes of my preferences because my head was spinning with the variety. I ended up with a Frank Baines Enduro on trial. Two rides so far and we both seem to like it, fingers crossed for continuing that trend!

lake trail underwater

lack of lupine
The grass is green and lush and overgrowing all the trails. The lower lake trail is underwater and it is dud of a lupine year. The rattlesnakes are also already out in abundance. But I’m gearing up for riding more, some camping is planned, and hopefully updating this blog a bit more (though I think I said that last time…). 

Wesley claimed this pad so of course I couldn't wash it that day.

Friday, December 15, 2023

almost solstice

Almost solstice. And what have we been doing since I last updated back in (mumble, sorry) August?

how cute am I?
First the bad: everyone in my stable (that had it's issues but was pretty damn good) was given 30 days notice. No options. Now the owners had done this before, saying (fill in the blank) insurance, cost of hay, maintenance, etc. We boarders asked if we could pay more, etc. Nope, get out. Now a nice facility with turnout and direct trail access sits empty. Probably to be sold to someone who’ll turn the pastures into an ego vineyard or some such. Sigh. 

Miles waiting for me in his new pasture

hanging with new buddy Copy
I desperately called up my friend S, who lives close to the old stable, hoping to have her place be a stopgap measure. But it’s worked out! I was worried about mixing friendship and boarding, but we’re both quite reasonable people (sometimes unusual in the horse world!) and things are good. 
eating snack with new friend Guinness

Except the move really stressed Miles out. Who acted colicky one morning (except ok on gut sound and EDPP) so what was going on? Ulcers. A month of treatment made him much better (though not my pocketbook).

when your mom tries to take a nice picture…
Oh, and that saddle I got from the saddle fitter? Big fat white-mark on shoulders nope. Damn. I’m back in the Freeform for now, Miles likes it and I’m used to it now, though still keeping my options open. 

the usual no hands view

hanging with some bay boys before a ride (he's in the middle)

learning the Ikea bag is full of yummy
But the good! So we’ve been riding hither and yon. Lots of riding from the stable, short and long, to work on his anxiety and learn to deal with life!
Our local Folsom Lake beach trail is gorgeous, even with the water low now, fall in the foothills means the grass has gone green, which Miles is all about!  

blue sky days at the lake
We did have a fun, short trip camping at Skillman horse camp in Nevada County. Another camping trip in Pt. Reyes (where it was fun but Miles felt crummy and we went home early, that was the ulcers showing up). Really would like to do more camping next year, already penciling in some new places to check out.

Skillman trails

Skillman camping (pens are nice!)

S and Rocky in Skillman pines
Point Reyes fog

Point Reyes Ridge trail

messy camp at Point Reyes
But on our rides Miles is being pretty damn good! We have some triggers we’re working on (horses cantering off). But we can even trot towards home on a loose rein (some days! There are others that are E ticket rides!). He is slowly getting better at the extended trot, but prefers to canter. Which I let him IF he is listening. Big IF there. Now to figure out a big walk, which he'll sometimes do, other times it's tiny mincing stupid steps until he figures we're not getting anywhere. It's a process.

Evening shade along the lake

Empire Mine in the fall

The bridges of Hidden Falls

S and Beau on No Hands with it's stupid new, huge, non-historic railings WTF?

someone lined the trail with pine cones
We do “boring” walking rides that aren’t his favorite but he can deal with his oh-so-difficult life. Sometimes we go out with barn buddy Rocky, who is unfazed by everything and such a very good boy. (Even when Miles tried to nip him in the butt which he would NEVER do at home since Rocky is in charge in the pasture). Because then we have fun faster rides alone, or sometimes with old barn buddy Beau. (A slower ride with Beau completely annoyed them both, to which we said good, deal with it!)

lake drink, good boy!

learning to tail

a cloudy walk after work

low lake and "my" balancing rock

ears say "dinner is in one hour we should go home now."
Of course I have all next week off to ride, and it’s supposed to rain all week. So much for a Solstice ride! An expected El NiƱo winter calls for more rain than usual…sigh. But we had a fall with no major fires in my part of Nor Cal, so I’ll take it and let the forest recover some moisture from the long drought. 

low sun and lake on my ride Wednesday
After December 21 an added minute of daylight doesn’t seem much, but every day it will add up quickly. I hope you can ride or at least enjoy the Solstice in warmth and comfort. 

Wesley says Hi

Wesley in his uniform for Halloween