Monday, October 8, 2012

longer solo ride

I usually ride by myself, but most of my longer rides are with someone. Not only is it nice to carry on a conversation with someone other than my horse, it also keeps the horses a bit more motivated. But this weekend everyone was busy, and Major had to listen to me up and down the canyon.
Where is my buddy going?
No, this is not my naughty face...not me...

We actually started out with my SO. But he was running, and can go downhill much faster than I want Major to. Major kept looking for him, and would see runners ahead and speed up. It was very cute, his buddy was gone! I'd say "Where is he? Let's go get him." And Major's ears would perk up and he'd trot.

ribbons and glow sticks, it felt like an endurance ride!

There was an endurance run the day before, and I followed the trail markings all the way to Cool. There were even still-glowing battery tealights along the trail! Major was happy to be out, and the trail down to the river is nice because it is steep, then levels off for a section of trotting, then steep again, and repeat. Near No Hands Bridge we met the scariest object of the day: a porta-potty where no potty has been before! I was glad no one came popping out of it, Major was already very suspicious.

that potty is NOT supposed to be there.

My SO was waiting on the bridge, and was heading back to Auburn, while Major and I headed up to Cool, where Major really found his groove. It is an incline the whole way, not the steep-then-gradual like the Auburn side. He is at his best on that type of hill, just powering up it, I'd ask if he wanted to walk and he just kept going. There were very few riders or runners out, it was a nice fall morning and we had the trail to ourselves.

someone left alfalfa, are you sure this isn't an endurance ride?

In Cool there were a few trailers, but it was quiet. We stopped for a bit, where Major didn't want a drink (damn) and didn't want to go home the same way. He wanted to head back out the other side of the staging area. If I had taken that trail I'd have to loop around the longer section, which is hot and in the sun, and I didn't really want to do a 20+ mile ride! So Major lost that request, and with crabby ears we headed back.

But I don't WANT to go back this way.

Seriously, you'd think I was torturing him. I'm glad he wants to explore, and it made me feel a bit guilty, but most horses like going back to the trailer! So we headed back down the hill. And that is the part I don't really like. Since it was all gradual uphill, of course it's the same downhill. But a bit too downhill for me to really want to trot much of it. I would trot slight downhills in a competition, but a long downhill like that I feel is really hard on their legs. So I got off and walked some of it, and he carried me the rest, but most of it walking. It was dull, so Major got a running commentary on the trail, "Oh, yeah, scary rock dude, good job, keep going, no, don't step there, bad choice, come on, let's trot, ok, easy. Yeah, I see that turkey, ok, let's chase it. Now keep going, we're not stopping here."

Still working on the bridge, I have no idea what they're doing

We did almost get run into by a runner. Yes, you read that right, a runner almost ran into my horse. I saw the person about 30 feet ahead, looking down at the ground, with earphones on. I said "horse ahead!" like usual, no response. So I just stopped. And she kept running, and running, and finally about 3 feet in front of Major she jumped, startled and said "Oh, I saw his hooves!" all surprised. One more step and she would have run into him. Good thing she was going so slow! Next time it'll be a bear or a mountain lion lady!

rock cliff ahead is looming over the trail

Shallow fall river

So we got over No Hands and started up. Now Major found another gear! We trotted and cantered in all the places we could. I met my neighbor as she was heading down on her horses, and stopped to chat a bit. Major wasn't pulling, but was leaning the direction we should be going. Goof.

fall shadow

He didn't pull or be silly the whole ride. Being away from home works wonders on him mentally. Back at the Auburn staging area he had a big drink and got a quick bath. His boots worked perfectly, though a new pair is coming soon, as the tread is pretty worn. They were caked in red clay dust, so they got a bath too. And the sweaty bridle, I love a staging area with hoses! Major stood bored as he was sponged off, acting tired, not wanting his haybag. So of course I think did we overdo it? Not drink enough? Does he feel OK? Sometimes I worry about him because he is so quiet, and I still have a hard time judging an "issue" with his normal "I'm bored of this when do we go home I know we're going home" routine.

Of course as we pulled into the stable he was dancing in the trailer, though he didn't get let out until he stood quietly. Then he rolled in the arena and thundered into his pasture to get a big drink of "his" water and trotted over to eat breakfast leftovers. Miraculous recovery! It was a great solo ride. Though of course if we're with our horses, we're not alone.

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