Thursday, October 20, 2011

it's alive!

Halloween (my favorite holiday) is close enough for the silly title of this post. But truly, it's alive, the canal trail lives!

I was planning on a fast ride with Major, to see if I could (even though alone) dig up any of the issues I'd dealt with the day before. I headed out, towards Granite Bay, and walked trotted, just casually, as he had no interest in any form of speed. So we meaneded, till I'd push him up a hill or down a straight stretch, Of course he'd perk up when he thought we were heading home.

I did want to see the lake level, so headed through the pit of rocks, logs and erosion to the lake. It was way down, and I could see trail both directions! I followed the trail to the left, where there is still a huge morass of water and mud, it will take awhile for that to be safe. But to the right there was some sandy trail. Not much, maybe about a half mile, before another muddy mess stopped us. Some areas smell a bit boggy, they've been under water for 6 months (exactly! My last ride on the canal was April 18).

Canal ahead, and a smoke monster from Lost (OK, a tree, looking weird)

I could have hopped back on the main trail and continued on, but now the spirit of exploration had me. It did not have Major, who was completely clueless about the trail, wondering where we were. I got back onto the Rock trail, then down onto the other side of the mess of the left. There is some very deep driftwood to go through, Major was careful, but it twists and turns. The path is somewhat obscured with branches and leaves, even the parts that were exposed when the rest was submerged.

Lots of driftwood, yes, the trail is though there

Once on the trail, you can tell it hasn't been ridden much yet. The sand is very deep in places, there are random rocks and driftwood strewn about. Major was pretty cautious about everything, it all looked new and different! That is the issue every year with a trail that changes so much. My favorite are all the blind corners. Most horses learn to slow a bit, craning their neck around to try and see. Later in the year it gets easier, but many people use this trail, and you can come around the corner to rides, hikers, or boats next to the lake.

Cool balanced rock and a blind corner ahead

We kept it pretty slow with all the obstacles to navigate, as well as the sand footing. Major got quite a workout walking in the sand. I know sand needs to be conditioned to, and was being careful, but Major did try to canter once in some deep sand, and not again! It was too much work, he figured that out pretty quickly. I also decided to be extra nice, and we took many breaks for the fresh green grass.

Grass on top of the berm, right at horse height!

About half-way though, a lightbulb came on in his mind. "I know where we are!" It was hilarious. He now knew we were heading home, and got a little more springy. Then I asked him to listen, slow down and even stop for grass. Grass trumps going home!

Every year this wall is still cool. Reminds me of LOTR style.

It was a good ride, though not what I'd planned. I am happy to have this trail open again, as it is different training and conditioning, and new scenery. I'm still planning on many training rides to address the previous issues, but it is hard to plan for certain kinds of rides, you just never know what will happen on the trails. Sometimes a day spent exploring is just good for the soul (of horse and man).


  1. Yes! A good different ride. Time in the saddle counts at the end of the day. Your trails are really cool and different, I would love to ride them someday!

  2. Come on over sometime, I'd show you around (and would make Major be on his BEST behavior!)

  3. :) I would love to. And I WILL take you up on it at some point!
    I ordered my new saddle for a 30 day trial this week, once that is all situated I will be free and hitting the trails again, woohooo!