Tuesday, October 29, 2013


an almost-a-buck naughtiness (directed at me, though I'm up the hill and behind a fence!)

Last week I was dealing with a bit of attitude. Cool weather, not many trail miles, all adding up to one amped pony.

let me in, let me in my pasture!

I let him into the arena. But he wanted to be in his pasture. So he lunged himself around for awhile, getting himself all hot and blowy, throwing in a few pitiful bucks and leaps (seriously, he's like Elaine from Seinfeld dancing, it's so sad but I laugh).

So my plan for that excess energy was a good ride to Auburn. It isn't that far, 14 miles, but has some super tough footing and good elevation gain (2,300 feet). C and Friday joined in our adventure, as long as I promised not to kill her. Hey, I haven't yet!

Rattlesnake Bar with a receding lake
should be lake, now just the river

Avery pond still looks nice, with turtles on the log

We actually had very well behaved horses as we trotted towards Rattlesnake Bar. There is no water to access, we just continued on, throwing in some super nice canters (and one ridiculous unasked-for gallop). Before Avery Pond you can look down at the lake, except it isn't there! All you now see is the river and lots of exposed rock. But the trees are lovely, and at the pond the turtles were sun bathing.

The creek and lake are often as high as the base of the tree on the right

Mormon Ravine creek, normally a full rushing bridge-of-death, was totally calm, and the rest of the trail was dry, dry, dry. But lovely and rocky and Major was completely behaving himself. Here is always my training dilemma: I know my horse is hot and raring to go, but even on a ride where I'd let him go, he just ambles along (unless we turn for home, then the afterburners kick in).

lots of exposed rock down the cliff, no big boats will coming this way!

Major thought we should go home across the bridge

We crossed a small creek, where Major thought we should then turn around and go home back across the bridge. He did the same when we stopped to view the very minimal Oregon Bar rapids. I can't quite explain to him that it is now farther to go home then just continue to our destination!

Oregon Bar, Major's ears saying let's go home, to the right!

top of the first bypass trail
huge pile (taller than a house) of either leftover mining or dam-building rocks

We decided to take the Cardiac Bypass trail, no need for the complete torture of the main Cardiac Hill trail, the bypass is tough enough. At the top you are still a few miles from Auburn, Major was pretty sure we were never going home and tried trudging along. Friday tried to bolt over the top of us after he thought a monster was behind him, Major barely even noticed, but we took a small breather after that!

trough, perfect for scratching

I don't even want to touch this dirtiness

Almost to the staging area Major remembered where we were, and picked it up a bit. We cantered the last small hill to the lovely trough, where he drank then mostly proceeded to rub his face all over the very useful rocks. I had the usual boot dilemma: wash the horse then take the muddy boot off, or deal with it first? I removed the boot, then washed the sweaty horse, who got a mash and a ride home in the waiting trailer (thanks to my great SO who took it up there that morning!)

Back home both horses trotted around the arena like nothing, and Major galloped up the hill to get more of "his" better water. A super fun ride, though I think the naughty beast is still lurking within…

Thursday, October 24, 2013

conversations with major: spooky

mmm, but also fun to knock the wheelbarrow over and scare other silly horses...

Let's go!
To the apple place? I love the apple place. There are apples on the ground, and you let me eat them and…
Quiet. No, into the forest.
But I don't have breakfast yet. See, they are bringing it. I see the truck. Look, breakfast!
Quiet! I'll give you breakfast, then we'll go for a ride.
I thought I was retired.
It hasn't been THAT long.
I forget.
I know. So I hope you'll be good.

weird stalky dead plants, not spooky

Oh boy, let's go!
No, we don't need to run all over.
But we could.
We're not.
Now I remember, sometimes you're no fun.
Seriously? Do you ever want to go the apple place again?
Look, a trail! Let's go there!
Good boy.

Watch out for the plastic bag.
The bag, don't step on it.
I didn't even notice. Plus, I don't care.
I know, it's habit, some horses are scared.
Of a bag?
When they blow in the wind especially.
Well, then they're ghosts. That might be spooky.
Don't even think about it.

What's that!
Weird tree!
A cut tree?
It's different than last time!
Let's go.
I'd better keep and eye on it as we go by.
Sure, brave warrior, give it the stink eye, always works on trees.
It wasn't scary.
I know, I told you that.
Yes, but you are wrong sometimes.
Excuse me?

Enchanted forest not so enchanted right now, it's so dry.
We should go home.
Um, no, it's been 15 minutes.
But this is work.
Not HARD work, you can deal.

Where's the lake? Where did it go?
It's way over there, super low this year.
I can RUN in all the sand!
No, we can trot.
No, trot!
Canter! Going home!
We're no where near home, now TROT!
Fine, if you put it that way.

Let's go there, down to the lake!
No, I know it is fun, but we have to stay away, there is scary quicksand on the edges.
It is quick? I am fast.
No, you're not this fast, it sucks you up.
That sounds spooky.
Yeah, it is.

OK, take it easy crazy man, we're going around the corner.
It is not spooky.
Yeah, until you come around and there are horses there and it scares everyone.
Nope, not me.
Oh really? I seem to remember a spectacular spin and dump move you made with me a few years ago.
Hmmm, nope, not me. Mmm, dry thistles! Pretty good.
You're weird.

Going home, going home, this is my going home dance.
Knock it off.
Walk, prance, walk. Argghh, can't walk there, spooky!
The manhole? The weed? The sign?
That! I'm just gonna walk off the trail over here.
Stand here anyway. Hah, now it looks like it's growing out of your head! Now walk by.
Hmmm, not scary.
I know. Watch out, another manhole.
Those aren't spooky.

New tree fell down across the trail.
Tree down, I'm going to have to duck.
Hmmm, didn't even notice.

Hmm, someone TPed the road home. That could be interesting.
There's white toilet paper across the road, and hanging from trees.
Don't care.
I don't know what you're talking about. Let's find grass.
No, let's go home.
Almost home, almost home, wait, what?
If you're going to pull going home, I'm going to tail you up the road.
OK, works for me!

OK, you're clean and ready to be put away, I'll take you back and you can eat a little grass on the way.
Who's is this horse trailer?
It's a visiting barn friend.
Can I get in?
No you do not need to get in! Get out! That is not ours! Guess we'd better trailer somewhere soon.

What's in this bucket. I want it.
It's not yours.
But it's orange! And smells good!
No, leave it alone.
Maybe I can open it wif my mouf…
No silly, let's go.

DO NOT even think about running me over. What is the deal?
What? Oh, the sprinkler? Seriously?!
I got wet, oh my! Wet!
Last week you were standing in your pasture sprinkler.
Totally different.
I will never understand you.
Trick or treat? 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Major's flymask had seen better days. I washed it really good, and let him out to play in the arena while I stood at the top if his pasture and fixed the sad little holes. But Major wondered where I was, and I looked up to see him thundering up the hill.

what'cha doin?

Can I see?! Feed me something!
It's still fly season for awhile, at least until the first hard freeze. I'm trying to make the mask last, and it has, for two seasons. Of course they changed the design of the mask, so the new design I bought this year doesn't fit as well. He is pretty good to fly masks, though horses in adjacent pastures have needed sturdy masks, Major is adept at pulling them off. I do feel guilty finding flymasks on his side of the fence. 

When I was done fixing the mask I walked to the bottom of the pasture, out the gate, into the arena, and whistled for him to come. The same horse that five minutes before had wondered exactly what I was doing and had run to investigate instead stood at the top of the pasture, thinking we should go out THAT gate as he had already made the trip up there.

Major says: I can't possibly walk all the way down there

So I just relaxed in the arena

So I waited down in the arena, taking in the nice fall air. I was laughing at the situation, that it had turned into a who is more stubborn, contest of wills. I can wait. Let's see if Major can. Occasionally I'd glance back up at my stubborn horse. Who was creeping closer.

sneakily getting closer

And closer

I made the huge trek!

Finally down in the arena, he went nonchalantly to eat grass on the opposite side. Still playing the game. So I walked to the "good" out gate (that leads to the road and freedom to eat) and waited some more. I didn't have to wait long.

oh my, don't leave without me!

Later he wore his spiffy fixed up mask and got an apple. Stubborn round 1: won by me.

Pay no attention to my pitiful forelock. Got cookies?

A few days later: revenge is sweet.

ground in dirt and more holes

Sunday, October 6, 2013

oregon escape

I needed to get lost for awhile. To escape the busy summer, general life craziness and find some quiet.

The Oregon coast was just perfect. Miles of beaches to explore, hiking on headlands, exploring forests and lighthouses. The SO and I just wandered. No plans, no checking back on our "real" life (OK, I had the petsitter text me pictures of Major and Thomas the cat, we did go to every brewery we drove by, and took one one Sunday night to watch an awesome football game!). I'm trying to keep that peace in my life, continuing the quiet, so here is a picture-heavy post of our adventures.

I love the patchwork fields as we leave Sacramento

and straight to the coast, where mundane bridges are even lovely

the fog and rain added waterfalls into the sea

Cape Perpetua, but no distant view today

fog shrouded trails

hidden mushroom treasures

a decorated forest giant

natural coastal sentries stand guard

and the human sentries guide the ships

low tide and odd rocks
cormorants warm wings

restful seals

an interested octopus at the newport aquarium

mysterious paths require following

Horse-drawn coaches once took the beach road at low tide here at Hug beach
ocean denizens exposed at an extreme low tide

beach reflection (worth it to click and view it larger)

the view of Newport harbor from the Rogue brewery

can't miss these signs everywhere

back in Portland, the rose city

I didn't know Grace, but I love her memorial plaque in the rose garden

can't leave Portland without a treat

Mine is creme filled, the other is (yuck!) maple bacon (he said it was good!)

one last stop at my Portland mecca: Powell's books

The Oregon coast was great place to explore, though I think that about just about everywhere. Always something, large or small, mountains or mushrooms. I took a long trip, but know that I can find this, even in my own backyard. Sometimes it just takes more searching.