Saturday, June 18, 2011

friday ride

Wow! A really great ride! I planned for a quick ride pretty early to beat the heat. Best laid plans and all that, and didn't get on the trail till almost 10:30.

On the trail, we tried out the pre-winter quickest way to the Granite Bay access...still some pretty scary boggy parts. Those will dry, but the 4-wheelers have ruined the trail. More 4-wheel crap when I saw that one of them tried to drive through Mandy's Cutoff, knocking down a fence (had to be so careful, barbwire in the area). So stupid, there is no where for them to go, the State Park f**king lake is right there! Hope they drive off a cliff...

But on a better note, Major was really behaving himself, we were moving as fast as the trail allows (so many rocks and dropoffs, but some smooth parts). He was deciding himself, a second before I asked, to slow when appropriate, so I also let him choose sometimes when to speed up. So far everything on a totally loose rein, really nice.

At Granite Bay there was no water. We'd only gone 5 miles, but it was warm. The tank isn't just turned off (EHV1 scare), but gone! I can see what might be another soon-to-be water trough, hopefully soon with this heat. I decided things were doing so well to continue on. I hadn't been past that point in awhile, but the trail was great, we were able to canter a lot. Crossing the entrance road the trail merges with an all-access trail. We stopped while two cyclists went by, then chased them up the hill. It's a big hill, it was great fun to canter up the whole thing, passing the bikes and emerging on top with an amazing view of the lake and dam.

The bikes made their way up, where they mentioned that relations between horses and cyclists seemed to be better. I am glad to hear that. I really think a few bad apples in each group were spoiling it for everyone. I headed down the hill, they went the other way. I thought about the beach, but it was full sun and warm, so headed home.

A nice canter on a side road lets you bypass going down the same big hill. Heading home I got the same great behavior. We did stop at the pond for water, but Major just looked around and snorkeled a bit. Came home a slightly different way, I wanted to avoid the mud, and I love this one loopy roller-coaster trail.

The final meadow is turning brown, but still really pretty. I did think that cutting through on the middle trail would be safe, and it was, but still some boggy parts! I have never seen marsh grasses in the meadow, but this year it has plenty, and still mushy. Not much trail to be seen, but did see a complete deer skeleton...Major didn't notice, we were heading home!

At home I stripped off the tack and Major got a good bath. I turned him out to roll and hosed off my sweaty tack (love biothane!). I did this ride with front boots (and no boot failures, I think I'm getting this down), which I hosed off but are full of foxtails. I'll spend one evening picking those out of Velcro!

I am really pleased with the success of this ride. I felt like we were a good team, each making decisions, respecting the other. I also feel much more secure this year allowing Major to canter on trail. He's proven himself incredibly surefooted, and is more consistently making better choices. I was considering last year how he always seemed so fast, I could never let him go. I realize now that I am just comfortable with his speed, not that he is any slower! My old trainer used to say it took a year of consistent riding to know your horse. I think it has taken me longer, but hopefully I'm getting there.

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