Sunday, April 29, 2012

AR ride story

It was quite an experience, with so much learned, I'm sure I'll forget half of it in the retelling (which is good, this is way too long to begin with!)

Ridecamp was already getting pretty full when we arrived at 2:00pm. I learned later there were 30 late entries for a total of 90, in a tiny parking area. The ridecamp and start were moved this year from their old location to Granite Bay because of the development of the trail (which previously consisted of the first few miles being on/next to pavement).
all the orange accents let's you know it's mine!
Luckily my friend saved me a great spot, and we were able to create a little encampment. Major truly thought nothing of it, liked looking around at everything, and ate everything in sight. I tied him to my high-tie, which I hadn't practiced before (I know, bad). But figured I'd tie him to the trailer if he showed any signs of bad behavior, but he never one danced around or tested it.
trot out: good thing they vet Major and not me!
I told the ride vet Melissa Ribley that I'd never done any of this before, and she was very nice. Explained lots, and we vetted in all "A"s. (I need to get myself a stethoscope so I can learn to take his heart rate, I can never seem to find it otherwise, though people have showed me.) I did a quick little ride, Major thought we should trot for home (5 miles away), but other than that was fine. I was incompetently braiding his mane when my SO/awesome crew stepped in to take over.
pre-ride: See Major sleeping? All an illusion

better braider works while Major wonders what I'm doing
We relaxed and had the ride meeting, which told us we'd be starting where we vetted in. If you notice in the photo, it is an old concrete road, totally straight, for quite a ways. I was pretty unsure of that, but everything else seemed straightforward, and crawled into the truck to try and sleep.

I maybe got a few combined hours, but of course kept waking up to check the horses, fidget around, and generally worry. My friends B and S were doing the 50, so were up at 4:30. I got up too, just tried to relax, and sooner than I though they left (5:30 ride start) and it was almost my turn. Major was fine, I think he just had no idea what was going on. We were having a controlled start, they would lead us down the road at a walk, pick up a slow trot till the complicated area was past, and let us go.
you only see the orange glowing reins...
They didn't walk long, and soon we were all trotting along, way too fast (Major's big trot, mostly others were cantering). We saw our friend B (who was doing the 50) walking back to camp! Oh no, something happened! But I just had to keep riding. At this point his brain fell out (were were behind about 15 people) though I was able to keep him from cantering, I couldn't rate him at all. All of this had been going away from home too. And then we turned for home, up a hill, and I got a bolting, uncontrolled gallop! Luckily we only rudely blew past two people, then Major was trying to catch the front-runners who were (voluntarily) cantering away.

I thought for about two second what my choices were, and said screw it. At the top of Mooney Ridge I single-rein-stopped him (which we practice a lot) and got off. People trotted past, nicely asking if I was OK, I assured them all was fine. I have no ego. I don't care if I finish last, I just want to finish alive! We walked/pranced down the hill, let most people get ahead of us, and when there was a nice bubble of space, remounted and tried again. Still rushy, but not so bad. I trotted along and met up with a nice man who was walking his horse too, that helped Major a lot. I especially liked when the guy seriously reprimanded his horse, in a good mean voice, and Major's ears flicked around very concerned, he was being yelled at!

A quick trot by at four miles, and I fell in with a woman on a little quick foxtrotter. Asked if she minded me, said I was new, no problem. We stuck with Dorothy from Oroville for the next 20 miles. Her mare was great, kept Major's trot back from warp speed, consistent pace, just what was needed. She first did this ride year's ago, and has lots of experience, the perfect ride partner.

The sun came up and the vet check at Rattlesnake Bar was busy. We came in and were at 44 pulse. They thought we'd been standing around a bit, but actually we trotted almost all the way in to the check. Found the vet, trotted out, everything was "A"s, and we were missing a boot! Damn. Vet hadn't noticed, even on the trot-out over gravel, and I decided one renegade would be weird, so left him barefoot, and if I sensed any change of gait, etc, I'd put the boot on. Major found some sort of mash and was happy, I felt the adrenaline from before wearing off, and managed to choke down more water and a dried fruit snack. Only a 30 minute hold, and our friend left a bit before us, and as we left Major was reluctant to go. He wanted to go home the other way! But I pushed him on, and he remembered his job, and we soon caught up with Dorothy.

The rest of the ride was uneventful, the bare foot was no problem, and Major learned a new trick of eating carrots at a trot. I just break off a piece, lean over, and he grabs it, quite cleverly. Almost to Auburn the trail goes from about 400 elevation to 1200 pretty quickly, though this year they did the Cardiac Bypass instead of the main Cardiac, probably to add in the miles. Major wanted to charge up, and he had it in him, but I just kept it quiet, and we came into Auburn with a big group of 25s and 50s. It was actually kind-of anticlimactic after the morning rush, to walk into the finish, but that was just fine. We were already at pulse, and vetted right away. Vet noted he had great feet, impulsion certainly not a problem, though a B on gut sounds, quickly remedied with a grass snack.
finish line: Major isn't tired, he's actually acting bored.
final vetting; Vet Melissa Ribley taking his CRI pulse.
We all relaxed a bit, my SO/crew had already put away tack, had water buckets/sponges ready, and food for me too. Awesome. Major stood around for awhile, had a snack, then loaded right up and we took him the 15 minutes home. He was happy to roll on home turf, have a big drink of yummier home water, and eat more. He probably put on weight during the last two days!

I have no idea in what order I finished, and I seriously don't care. We finished! Unfortunately B probably has a broken nose from a nasty impact with a branch, and our friend S got pulled at 43 miles. Life with horses is unpredictable.

Things I learned: I'll be going out WAY behind the front, and the middle too. Finding someone to ride with really helps. Everyone was nice, and thought starting with this 25 was a good idea. A ziplock bag of almonds will explode in your pack. Major WILL drink when he actually needs to (at 20 miles). Will I do this again? Eventually. Maybe I won't be quite so long-winded the second time around!

Saturday, April 28, 2012


I survived! Somehow! Much more later, and I didn't take a single photo during the ride as I was holding too tight to the reins.

Camping and vetting in was uneventful, and Major ate and ate and ate, no problems there!

The first part was runaway awful, then met a nice woman and we rode together. Vets, volunteers and riders were all nice, explained where to go and what to do.

Vetted great, pulsed in every time no problem. And plenty of impulsion at the end!

Now Major is home, had a good roll and a drink of "his" water, is snacking some more, and I'm heading back to watch some 50s come in. Unfortunately B and Ziggy pulled at the start because B hurt herself, but another friend is hopefully coming in.

Thanks for the support the last few crazy weeks, it did help keep me calmer, and I'm pretty glad I did it. And learned some good stuff too: Candy orange slices are the most delicious saddle food ever.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

glue-ons and final prep

Last night it rained, all night. Hopefully the trail was dry enough to absorb it! Today was windy, wet and cold. We postponed gluing on boots till the afternoon, and then went to a neighboring barn with a good sheltered area to work.

My trimmer is both an Easyboot and Renegade dealer. Even though my boots are Renegades, he is new to them, and felt more comfortable with the Easyboot glue-ons, which he has applied successfully before. I'm happy with his opinion on what will work best.

Major was every bit a wild child walking down the road, a blowing gate, oh my! 4 days off, oh boy. At the stable next door everything was new, snorty and looking around. And I just stood there, and he figured it out, hmmm, not as exciting as he thought.

I didn't do many photos (new place, wind, trimmer under my horse!) but there are a few. Trimmer cleaned the feet, then really rasped the outside wall to give good purchase to the glue. The glue is very messy and you have to work fast, though not as fast on a cool day like today. Fit to the foot and glue on the shell, he held up the opposite foot so the horse really put his weight in the glue-on shell. It didn't take too long, and Major pranced up the road and ran around the arena and his paddock. He looked fine, but a new thing on race day, the one thing you don't do! I'll just have to see how it goes.

Trailer is (mostly) packed. Using a good list I found is helping. I'm not the most organized person, but this pretty much forces you to be! Tomorrow off to ridecamp (15 minutes away!) and Saturday the ride (6am, seriously?!) Not freaking out yet, probably tomorrow...along with everyone else. Even my experienced friends are nervous right now, which strangely makes me feel better. This should be fun/new/scary/an adventure all rolled into one. With a story to tell at the end.

Monday, April 23, 2012

side note

Watching Major contentedly eating grass, I thought about our ride yesterday. For all my talk, all the horses were actually very good. And looking at Major I also remembered another cool point: all the horses were barefoot.

And I don't mean we wore our hoof boots. We all went naked feet, quickly over that rocky singletrack, almost 10 miles, no flinching or problems. An Arab, an Anglo-Arab and a Spotted Saddle horse, who all live on irrigated pasture.

It works for us, and that is very cool.

That being said, I am gluing on boots for my LD. Some might think that is overkill, just for the LD. One less thing for me to worry about. I love my boots, despite some glitches I need to iron out, but I'm already thinking about enough things. When I knew my trimmer was gluing for B and Ziggy, I just decided to go that route, for this time.

In another note: no back soreness today with the new pad inserts. Saddle still doesn't fit obviously by the white hair, but this should get us through the ride. After that we'll reevaluate.

Major is pretty happy with just grazing all week. He thinks we should do this ALL the time. When I remind him that we do, he can't hear me over the munching.

shiny, happy pony munching...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

all day ride

It used to be that going to Granite Bay was an all day ride.

Today it took an hour to get there and an hour back.

The trail was a total of 9.7 miles, all technical singletrack. Major didn't lead much, his big trot is just too fast, and Ziggy has a great medium trot (we'll get one someday, I hope!). Friday is such a good horse and just goes along with whatever we do, though sometimes a bit quizzically (Why are you having a fit Ziggy? Why are you a prancing idiot Major?)

At Granite Bay Major got to snorkel in the water trough, up to his eyes, holding his breath and then blowing water on me, splashing everyone. Though when C splashed back he thought that wasn't fair...too bad, you started it.

Going home first Ziggy's brain fell out, and Major lost his in the lake. The going-home dance was silly, but everyone settled down and it was a good fun ride.

It'll be my last ride until I get to the American River ridecamp on Friday. I'll probably try to get in a relaxing (?!) ride after vetting in. I'll have to see how it goes. I'm as prepared as I can be right now, trailer is mostly packed, snacks (horse and human) are bought, now just to get through the week!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

spa day

Major was pretty miffed about getting a bath, even if it was more than 80 degrees today.

Oh my god, I can't stand still, there is water, and a puddle, aaahh!

You know Major, you look a bit like a drowned rat, pretty pitiful, your tail is so wimpy.

What kind of pep talk is that? Were you listening?! There is water, on me and on the mats, with white foamy stuff, I think it's going to eat me. SNORT!

You don't care about anything on trail, but for this you come unglued?

It's on me! Get it off! Oh, you brought in reinforcements...

B helped me hose Major idiot off, dancing around. Then he had to stand and dry a bit.

I had to stand, tied! I was itchy, I wanted to roll!

Don't interrupt, it's rude. Then he got turned out in the arena, where the clean lasted about five minutes before he rolled. And then walked around eating the weeds.

I was guarding the perimeter.

Really? Why'd you harass me for my pear core?

I thought it looked dangerous, wouldn't want to leave litter behind.

Is that why you munched it up with a dorky look on your face and tried to slobber on me?

No, the slobber was for giving me a bath...

(you can take really unattractive pictures of cute horses, see!)

Friday, April 20, 2012

ridecamp discussion

There has been an interesting discussion about introductory endurance rides going on at Ridecamp, one that Funder talked about yesterday. She got lots of great feedback. The Ridecamp side: different story (of course, this is all my opinion, take at your own risk). I warily posted, and was reminded why I don't usually contribute: I felt pretty rebuked by some of the contributors. I know it is not me personally they are talking about, but I can't be the only "newbie" to the sport who feels like this (I'm not THAT special!)

I posted that it was daunting to think about all you need to manage at a ride (ridecamp and vet checks and vet cards, etc.) and the actual riding, dealing with an anxious horse, etc. That it is hard to remember when you've been doing something for 30 years what it could be like for a new rider. At least one poster said that they weren't intimidated, another that a 25 is just a walk in the park (paraphrasing), and much more negative than positive.

Is that really the way to encourage people into your sport? I don't think there is anything weird about being nervous about something you've never tried before. That being intimidated by all the rules and laws and knowledge you need to have is wrong. That you're taking this horse, who you work with every day and have a huge bond with, and asking them to do all this work for you, and they could hurt themselves. There are many things to think about, and no, not obsess on them so much you freeze, but to be prepared for.

But in among the naysayers, there are some voices of reason, including a very nice supportive post, that I (and other newbies I'm sure) really appreciate. And go Funder, for supporting the little people! I just hope THOSE are the people I meet next weekend...

intimidated worried newbie (who is still doing it)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

cartoon fun

I'd been meaning to post this forever, but Redheaded Endurance shamed me into it reminded me. She posted this great comic of Joey's adventure by Chris Stone, and I have a custom art piece myself!

I bought this piece and it hangs in my office. It is perfect, down to Major's crooked blaze, my green eyes and glasses, my love of orange, Major's green bridle accents, so fun! (My boobs are much bigger here, you know how cartoons exaggerate!)

Chris Stone is a very talented artist, with an endurance rider wife (my friend B (Becca) and her horse Ziggy). I've seen the drawings he has done with multiple family members, many horses, getting the personalities just right. You might recognize his work from Endurance News magazine! If you'd like a fun remembrance of you and your horse, check him out at Stone Graphics.

Monday, April 16, 2012

quarry ride

Major LOVES his friend Friday. Both horses have such a good time (well, so do their owners). So together we decided to try the Quarry trail that I'd been dying to go on since hiking it a few weeks ago. The plan had been brewing for awhile, and I was excited, but then another rider told us the trail was blocked by a tree! Damn. Luckily they said three miles in. By starting in Auburn we would have already done seven miles, so if the tree was down, we'd still get a good ride in, with lots of elevation change.

I had new saddle inserts to try, really nice equipedic foam from Action Rider Tack. It doesn't solve the too-tight issue the saddle seem to be having, but unfortunately saddle-ftting seems to be just trial and error. Saddled up and ready to go, the staging area was filling up by the time we hit the trail.

Down, down, down to the river and No Hands bridge. My SO was also out trail running, much faster than we go downhill, and quickly passed us. Both horses were happy to be out, the mud was beginning to dry up, and we fit in good trotting and cantering in the flatter areas. And Major lost his first boot, front left. Luckily it stayed around Major's pastern, and I slipped it back on, the mud does a number on the velcro!

The bridge crossing is fine (I don't mind it, be wary if afraid of heights) but the road crossing is scary. The trail drops straight down onto the road, no space really to compose yourself or look both ways. Luckily my SO did stay around and acted as crossing guard. One car stopped, another guy almost hit him not paying attention, and we dashed across the highway.

But the Quarry trail was so fun! We cantered almost a mile along the first part of the flat trail, we don't have access to much trail like that, so it was great. Major was quick but not pulling, so we just kept going. You come to the long-abandoned quarry, and keep going. The trail starts going up and down and winding a bit more, but still car-wide. We waded across creeks and cantered up hills. Cantering up one hill Major took some funny steps, and his boot was flapping. I got down to fix it...and the other boot was gone! Arrggh! I love the boots, I really do, but I understand why people don't want to deal with it. I didn't want to backtrack, I figured we'd pick it up on the way back. One boot attached to the saddle, Major headed out barefoot. This part of the trail is mostly just packed red dirt, so very nice footing.

Then we came to the downed tree. And I pulled out my handy-dandy saw and chopped away. It only needed a few branches to be passable (to a good trail horse) so 10 minutes later we were on our way again, real trailblazers! There had been a directional sign, and Maine Bar sounded like a good stopping point. Best peanut butter sandwich EVER, and the grass was nice for the horses. Both horses were sweaty and gross, Major again thought it was a good idea to roll! No! Saddle came off (nice even sweat marks) and then he was distracted by grass and didn't roll...sigh..back on the saddle went, and off we headed for home.

And boot searching. I've lost enough to know they're pretty easy to notice. But we saw neither hide nor hair (nor orange plastic) of the damn thing. There were lots of people out, maybe someone thought they were being a good samaritan and picked it up. But didn't see it put anywhere, and I am very sad. (Luckily Mel from Boots and Saddles is helping me order a new one, and walk me through the fitting issues, and it may be ridiculous, but I made a lost poster to put up near the trail, hey, doesn't hurt!)

But Major seemed pretty undeterred. He preferred the side of the trail, though he does anyway. Didn't seem flinchy over rocks, and we traveled home no problem. Major likes to lead, Friday likes to follow, and though we switch it out so they don't get too entitled, the system works great. Lots more people out walking on the Quarry trail, plenty of room so we just kept trotting, people smiled as we went by. The highway was much easier to cross this direction, you can see both directions safely and have plenty of room.

"Black Hole of Calcutta" was a rushing waterfall
Again we crossed the bridge, and powered up the hill (mountain? more than 1000 feet of climbing). We crossed paths with another rider, who said his horse was out of shape....if that is out of shape, wow! Turns out he owns a local feed store, is a serious Tevis benefactor and does lots of trail work with a fancy trail machine. He mentioned as an aside that Tevis is allowing a completely barefoot horse for the first time ever. They are taking it very seriously, looking at the competitor's records, talking with vets, before approving anyone. Very interesting to see how that turns out.

Back at the staging area the horses were not happy to get hosed off, but were happy to gorge on the fresh grass. Major had even sweat marks, and his back was fine right after the ride, but I'll see how it is today. His feet, after 18 total miles and 13 barefoot miles of dirt, gravel and rock trail, looked fine, a couple chips (and he is due for a trim tomorrow). I'll check them later today too.

After trailering the horses home, I was hot and sweaty and tired, and Major and Friday jauntily pranced around the arena, looking great. A good roll in the sand and Major galloped back up the hill to the waiting leftover breakfast hay. A good fun day was had by all. And I'm still a pit of anxiety about saddle fit and boots and the upcoming ride. I know I said I was trying to get better about worrying...yes, getting better, but not that much better about it yet!

Friday, April 13, 2012

saddle woe is me

Damn. I gave Major a super good brush/scrubbing today. He grazed as I curried away piles of fur. I usually don't like my fancy Oster curry, it sits forlorn with the extra trailer stuff, but it was accessible today and I will say very effective. Shiny bay is finally appearing, and his black shoulder barring and back stripe becoming more prominent with the summer coat.

And white patches! F***! (Sorry for the language, but arrggh!) Two "roan" patches on each side behind his withers. It looks like they correspond with the stirrup bars (though wider).

He had tiny marks in the same spot with my Wintec, but they faded away with the new saddle. Which is obviously not fitting. These marks mean the saddle damaged the skin last year...

Where to from here? I had already ordered some nice dense impact inserts from Action Rider Tack, but if the saddle is too tight that does not help. I have a ride planned for this weekend and will try the new inserts. If he is sore after, or there are dry patches, I don't see how we can do the upcoming ride. Ill-fitting saddle + first 25 mile endurance ride = pull. And more importantly, long-term back/saddle issues for Major.

I was actually starting to look forward to it, and not just in terrified panic. Can I repeat "F***"!!!! Saddle fitting is so hard, and this one had checked out by the saddle fitter, and I love it too. What to do?!?!

Monday, April 9, 2012

oh my...

Sproing? Sproing! Sproing! Down the trail. Is the the Easter bunny? No, it's Major, having a fit.

What a ride. Wanted just a quick jaunt. Well, quick it was. SO came with me on a quiet Easter Sunday. There were very few people about, most off celebrating, and we headed into the forest, wanting to do a nice loop of the rock trail. He'd never been on it, and Major and I can always use the practice that tough trail gives us. The forest was fine, I got a lovely canter on the trotting trail, even a tiny jump over part of the log that has been cut out (and not as stupid as some of his other "jumping" attempts).

Then we got on the rock trail, And SO was in front. While Major may know not to barge into him, Major still thinks he is a very slow horse that needs to be going faster, and was jigging and annoying. But in front was rushing and silly. No winning, so just kept swapping places, and trying to avoid the reaching branches of new poison oak. The trail is horribly overgrown for a rider. The American River 50 run was over the same trail on Saturday, but they're much shorter than a rider!

Major and I dodged and trotted down the trail, often stopping to wait (patiently?), and sometimes holding back so Major could deal with his herd mate (my SO) running away. It actually was mostly fine, just quick. Until we got to the neighborhood.

A new giant dog (Great Pyrenees maybe? lots of fur) rushed the fence with a yappy thing close behind. His owners calling fruitlessly to stop it, he barked a huge bark and Major skittered sideways onto the asphalt. He is fine with dogs usually, but I think they came from out of nowhere and sounded aggressive, and with already being keyed up ready to go home, it was just the final straw.

His brain must have fallen out on the road, because I never did get it entirely back. Up the road to the house where barking Riley the golden retriever is, but no Riley. Good. But the mastiff across the street started up, and his property is above the trail, so the scary thing is above Major's head. Jigging on asphalt is not my favorite, and when he wouldn't listen he got a swat on the shoulder. Which he objected to and kicked out. OK, damn, now we're circling on the road, so we pranced into the dirt and proceeded to circle and back and listen. And then I got off, because both of us were at our wit's end. And did some groundwork, walked along a bit, and mounted back up. Finally got a big flat-footed walk home.

I actually should have gone out and done 10 miles. This six mile trip didn't include enough focusing, and he certainly wasn't tired. I will say his whoa is much better, even trotting along I can get it within a couple strides. No cowhorse, but better. The rating within the trot is what we need to work on.

It was 70 degrees back at the barn, and stopped for a grass snack. When Major decided to roll with my saddle on! Picture a horse wanting to roll, actually down and trying to flop over, and a rider frantically pulling on the reins. ARRGGH! Got him up, took off the saddle, SO took it and put it in the barn. And then Major wouldn't roll in the grass or in the sand arena. So I hosed him off, and he was perfectly happy a few minutes later to roll in his pasture.

Sigh...Well, that was a ride I could have skipped. Let's hope the rest of the week goes a bit better...

Saturday, April 7, 2012

spring music and conversation

To the tune of "Peter Cottontail"
"Here comes Major black-of-tail,
Trottin' down the forest trail
Clippity cloppity
Spring is on the way."

Ok, I don't know any more lyrics to that one ( they're extensive, who knew?!) I'm more of a Little Bunny Foo Foo fan. I know the lyrics to that one! I think Major learns about as well as that corrupt rabbit.

Happy spring!
Oh Mom, this is mortifying.
Yeah, but it's fun, and silly. It is Spring and Eastertime, which is celebrated in many different ways. I celebrate Spring and eat too many treats, and didn't color any eggs this year...
What? Rabbit ears? Treats? Eggs?
Believe me Major, it is WAY too hard to explain...

If I'm a good horse I heard the Spring Horse comes and brings me a basket of treats, like apples and carrots and sugar cubes and plastic carrots filled with goodies...
Oh really? Where did you hear this, and have you been good?
Some passing horse told me. And well...I've tried to be good, does that count?
We'll see.

I got a basket!
You did?
The Spring Horse brought it!
Well, makes as much sense as anything else!

Have a great weekend, however you celebrate!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

drowned trail

Last year the canal trail was submerged about April 20. This year it is already impassible April 5. I speculate that the lack of snowpack is worrying water resource controllers and they're holding back water.

Either way, it was still a fun ride. The clouds were perfect, fluffy, in a bright blue sky. Major was joined by his buddy Friday (and my buddy C). We headed out to the lake for an attempt at the whole trail.

We only got about 2.5 miles of it. And then we hit some underwater trail. I decided to try it anyway, sometimes just portions are underwater. The first section was the deepest, lifting our feet to keep them from getting wet! After that it wasn't as bad, and we found an island of dry with good grass for the horses. But we were stuck from going forward: when the water is so deep you can't see the underlying trail, there is nowhere to go but back.

And how awesome were the horses! Major just plowed into the water, no balking, and Friday followed. Major did a little snorkeling and log inspection per usual, but hadn't been in water like that for more than 6 months. Very proud of him for that.

And the water was licking the sides of the trail, another 6 inches and it's gone. But it was great to be out there again. Major felt good, was mostly behaved, though going home we did put Friday in front as a brake! I told C she needs to come on the endurance ride with me as a pace horse! Major knows not to mess with Friday.

I also was doing an experiment this ride. I booted Major (even though usually on these sand rides there is no need) so I could see if they were staying on. On the ride to Auburn one had come off after crossing deep mud and having wet feet. Today we walked through every muddy puddle, sucking mud hole and into the lake with no problems.

I also used my new orange reins. They are so orange they hurt your eyes. And probably glow in the dark. And are awesome!

It was great to be back out, with a healthy horse, good friend, beautiful day.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

weeee! spring!

Major usually toodles around the arena, sampling weeds. Walking him today I could tell he was in a mood, I think most horses seem to be right now! Who can blame them: great weather, finally warm, shedding that itchy winter coat. In the arena one arm wave was all it took to get him going, and he kept it up entirely by himself, throwing bucking fits near the gate every time he slammed on the brakes and I said "Nope, not going out." His fits are very silly, the bucks more laughable than athletic, he really can't jump at all. But he can trot and run!

And just because the next photo was pretty but a bad exposure:

Watching him made me wonder: I'm willing to ride that crazy beast?

Monday, April 2, 2012

making lemonade

I'm not usually a "make-lemonade-from-lemons" type. I'm more the "brood-on-it-until-sick-with-worry" type.

But after a setback on Wednesday night, Major was improving, and I'm trying to get better about obsessively worrying about things over which I've done everything I can and have to wait. I am NOT good at waiting. I am not patient. I cannot finish a puzzle. I do not make lists. I just DO. And when I can't do, I keep busy and so I did a few things:

1. Spoiled Major rotten: He got extra mashes. He was allowed to eat whatever he wanted (even a couple flakes of straight alfalfa). He got taken on walks to the most succulent grass. He even pulled me over to where he thought the best grass was. Will I pay for this behavior later? Probably. Was it worth it to keep my horse healthy? Yes.

2. Actually watched some movies and TV: Went to the theater and saw Hunger Games (short review: the books were fun YA novels, the movie was less in-depth and could have used some more character development. I think trying to keep the rating PG-13 maybe dulled it a bit, though I understand, and I only give it a C+). On rainy Saturday I watched The Big Year, about obsessive birders and with a good cast. Very cute movie, nothing spectacular but silly. Rating: B.

Anticipating Game of Thrones, but I don't have HBO or high-speed internet at home (I know, what kind of heathen!) Like last time I got them all on DVD and watched a marathon, which was pretty fun. I just got the most recent season of Eureka, and will have a marathon at some point. Did catch up with The Good Wife, wow is that show good!

3. Dinner with friends: Eight friends and fellow riders (and a couple husbands, they sat at the kiddie table) got together to eat too much potluck and swap war stories. Good to see everyone, catch up on horses and lives. Everyone is doing something different, but we all can relate to stories about fun rides, or rides gone bad, or silly things they do.

4. Trail scouting: Officially a hike with SO, but this will be a great trail to go for a ride soon. Quarry Trail is part of Western States Trail, in the last miles near Auburn, scene of the final on-trail vet check. Trail is wide and pretty flat for at least five miles before intersecting with single-track again. From Auburn this could be a good 20 mile ride, with stream crossings and gorgeous views. In the summer it would be way too hot, but right now you could canter and trot along, I'm going to pencil this into my calendar. This time I just hiked and took photos, on a perfect Spring day.
just the first stream

stream crossing the trail

mossy stream

canyon view
this old railroad area has many industrial relics
me at the lunch stop, with rushing river

vultures enjoying the canyon updrafts
OK, kind-of funny, though unaware people drown every year. Standing...woah!...underwater!

hope to be riding soon!