Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Many of my rides are solo rides. I like being able to choose where I'm going, speed, distance, etc. But I like riding with friends too, just a different kind of ride. I had a great ride earlier in the week with friends, and then headed out, just me and Major.

Tried to head out. As I dragged my horse up the lane, I wondered how slow he could possibly walk. Longingly looking at grass, stubbornly just stopping, the "I want to stay home" attitude was just like a sullen teenager (Yes, I remember those years. Sorry parents, I now apologize). Anyone else have solo ride issues?

Once on the actual trail he was a bit better, though needed far more encouragement as we headed away from home. I wanted to do a few hills, and we found a good one that goes up to a fancy housing development. We've done it before, but Major did not quite remember. When I pointed him away from the main trail and up the "new" trail, he took off. He either thought it was heading towards home, or just wanted to explore, but we bombed up that trail. Which unfortunately dead-ends at aforementioned fancy neighborhood. So down we went, prance prance prance.

riding solo, taking time to stop and walk down the hill

And up again. And down, and up. Repeat. I got off on some of the downs. I honestly thought he'd figure it out, as I tried to get him to just slow trot. No such luck, just a pulling contest. OK, onto the next hill. In disappointment to Major, we did not turn for home yet, but down the trail, till we got to another good hill. Up, up the old road, now it ends in a neat house with crap all over the yard. Too bad, neat place, awesome trail access.

And back down. This one we didn't repeat, I don't like the footing of mostly cracked asphalt covered in old leaves. But a nice view from higher than usual above the lake.

green glowing grass

solo view

We headed towards home, but not TO home. Major, of course, does not know the difference. No dragging this horse now! We're going home! Except we passed the turnoff. That's OK, there's another. Oh, we passed that too!

By this time I was just about DONE with my horse. But I knew I couldn't be until I got some better behavior. So down to the lake we went. As long as he just trotted, I left him alone. And finally about 9 miles into the ride he figured it out. Something clicked (or he got a tiny bit tired) and we were able to take it down a notch, and actually do some nice normal trotting, a few collected canters, and even walked without jigging.

solo tree
quiet, with vultures

That was when I was actually able to notice how lovely out it was. Birds were chirping. A slight breeze ruffled the still waters of the lake. Vultures drifted on unseen air currents. I took a deep breath, realizing how tense I'd been. Person feeds off of horse, horse feeds off of person, vicious circle.

solo idiot truck on state property

Going home we encountered another solo, this time a true idiot. Who drove his truck onto state property where no motorized vehicles are allowed, hoping to play in the mud or destroy something. Just lovely. And reported. (The problem is these trails are far from anywhere a ranger can easily access, and the parks have so little staff. But I always report, just so they know what is going on. There is a burned truck on the upper park trail. Seriously people, why live in this gorgeous area if you're going to ruin it?! Please go somewhere else. OK, rant over.)

Back through the forest was a nice cool down. I usually turn and go by Bread Rock, but this time went with Major's wishes, and took the Elephant Rock trail.

Elephant Rock: what, you can't see it?

Here it is.

Right after Elephant Rock is a tree branch that tries to kill you. I think it is worse that someone trimmed it off. It isn't trimmed short enough, and juts onto the trail to jab you in the ribs, or knock you down like a lance (idea courtesy of C, who mentioned it on a ride other day). Many obstacles on our trails!

Lance tree will try and get you, pay attention!

Back home it was warm enough for hosing, which was good because Major had the David Hasslehoff hairy chest thing going on. Long winter fur + sweaty = one non-sexy horse! In the end a good ride, while we continue to work on just about everything…


  1. I found your blog just recently and I'm already loving it!! My horse is sooo like Major. :D He's a an 8-year-old pretty green arab gelding and just knows everything best and I mean EVERYTHING. x)

    We also ride solo most of the time and going away from home is such a drag (drudge drudge drudge...). He trots all right, but the speed is more like a pleasure jog then an active nice trail trot. I get sooo frustrated with him. He doesn't care about a whip or attitude or anything that I do to encourage him and just goes the speed that he wants. Aargh! Situation is totally different of course when we are going towards home. x)

    He's always at his best when we are on a foreing trail (or going home ;)). Then he's the most sensible, reliable and obedient trail horse ever.

    Anyways what I really wanted to say was that I definitely feel for you with the solo riding issues. :)

  2. SOlo ride issues you ask? Who doesn't?? I also ride alone alot. Maggie does alot better when we trailer to a trail head and head out but she is always ready to put it into overdrive when we head home.. Leaving from home, which we rarely do becuause it only offers is dirt roads to ride on and I have almost been hit 2 times in the past.. but when we have ,she has temper tantrums about leaving her herd. yes, herd bound. I ran into that as well now that she is boarded.. I hyave direct access to trails and she throws a fit but I have learned how to pudh her through it.
    As for the obstacles, nothing a pack saw won't fix.. Don't you pack a saw for trail riding or is that just a Montana thing? I pack a saw and often in the spring time have to blaze trails due to winter blowdown.. never know when you will need it!
    I totally saw the elephant rock without your neat little helper drawing.. !

    I love seeing the green grass in your photos.We have the "brown and dirty with spots of snow" here... It gets green in May/June so we have a ways to go!

    1. ha! I know everyone has solo ride issues, I guess I should have asked what does your horse do! 8-) Maggie sounds just like Major, though Major doesn't care about leaving friends, just home. Too bad you only have scary dirt roads, drivers are really dumb around horses here too.

      I sometimes carry a saw, but I'm packing light right now. Often it is enough just to have clippers, but the lance branch is a pretty big branch, and would probably require standing in some poison oak...for now I'll just dodge.

      The green grass is so lovely and glowing right now. Just when you are getting your green grass ours will be dry, so I'll be jealous then!

  3. We have a lance tree branch out here too! It's a spearing remnant of a smaller fallen tree and if you don't watch it then your horse may very well drag you off on it.

    Solo rides... Rose usually has steering and speed control issues for about the first mile out and then settles into a nice working trot. The second she knows we're going home it moves into her super trot (or recently on our rehab protect the pony's butt rides a fast walk) but rarely is too much of a idiot about it. She still offers the occasional mock spook and often will have arguments with me on the trail when I don't let her run down hills like a crazed lunatic.

    Rides with folks though come with their own problems... Rose likes to threaten to kill 'new' horses for about 5-10 miles. Mostly it's just mare posturing after the first correction or two but when I first start out with her and new horses I have to tightly control the mare-ish desire to nip and kick. We wear very purdy red ribbons on rides for that very reason but as I tell who ever I ride with, she's good after that first mile or so and just wants to show off how 'mean' she is.

    1. Only a mile of issues, lucky you! We have serious speed issues coming home. I don't think I want to deal with that AND the mare issues. I'm sure Rose is just reminding them who's boss (and forgetting that it is actually YOU!)

      Glad your rehab is coming along. Better to have these guys for a long time than rush anything.