Monday, April 28, 2014

lovely, but not the same

Walking down the Peregrine Trail a few other flowers tried to catch my attention.

twining snake lily crawling up poison oak

wild honeysuckle
But I was on a mission: a twilight walk to see the purple fields of amazing lupine again this year.

shadows creeping over the field

pano across lake, fields of lupine on the other side too

twilight trail

The hike was lovely, but it's not the same, as I didn't have the good view between the ears! Though I was able to get up close to a few lovely flowers, and a couple of beasts too.

lupine: other colors are available

old irrigation canal wall still stands

this big guy was crossing the trail and almost got squished!

tons of fuzzy caterpillars this year

Later I paid some attention to Major, who was more interested in the fact the irrigation wheelbarrow had some leftover snacks on the bottom.

He got to snack, and I made a wish soon to be back on the trail, maybe with a view of lupine from between brown ears.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

dance of joy and a cleaning frenzy

Yeah! It looks like Major popped a big abscess out his right heel bulb! All weekend I soaked in Epsom salts, wrapped in Ichthammol (man is that stuff gross, but recommended by vet and barn owner) and put a loose boot (borrowed Back County glove). Now Major has a lovely big gash that isn't bothering him much, but is certainly in a bad spot. I'm just letting it heal, leaving it mostly alone, but haven't trotted him out because I don't want the wound all filled with sand from the round pen or arena. But I'm thinking the worst is over! Dance of joy! (I am probably the only person who remembers this dance of joy. Hey, I was young, it made an impression!)

This weekend I was epically stir crazy. Yes I visited the horse multiple times a day, but I was ready to DO stuff, not watch my horse rest. So what did I do?

copyright Allie Brosh, Hyperbole and a Half

Clean all the things! (art from Hyperbole and a Half. One of the best pages that exists on the internet)

OK, not all the things. I didn't actually clean the house, just the horse stuff. Really people, priorities!

left before, right after (I did cheat and put the hale bale bag in the back)

How many hoof picks can you find in the before photo? (Evidently you need six hoof picks per trailer, including one with no brush left!).  How many rolls of vet wrap out of place? (Three, returned to the vet box.) How many feet of random length hay strings? (Uncountable, all tossed except two nice bundles). How many caribiners? (There are never too many! I use them for everything.)

Why do I keep the metal curry that Major hates? And the two curries that I hate? No idea. Did manage to take them out of the trailer and added to the pile of unused crap in the garage. I did find a new Shed Flower, which is my favorite curry ever.

inside, two pictures, now neatly organized chaos!

Trailer tack room is still very full, but organized. It'll least until I go to a big ride, then all hell breaks loose. But for now, glorious!

Sparkly! Taking the mats out is an awful (but necessary) evil

needs more orange accents. Racing stripe?

I hadn't washed the inside of the trailer in at least a year. I even took out the crazy heavy floor mats. It is now cleaner than my house. I could live in here.

I also managed to re-dye my chaps. They were sad and old and stretched out, but I was hoping to squeeze another season out of them (why did Ariat have to discontinue my favorite style? Still looking for a good replacement. Anyone?). It was messy, and I managed to end up with very gray hands, fingerprints on walls, but super black chaps. There are no photos of me wearing them around to re-shape them, (in shorts and long socks, NOT a good look). Take my word for it, they are nicely black and the dye is finally coming out from under my fingernails...

all sad and worn out

mistakes were made...

Sometimes I find joy in the little things like a clean trailer and better chaps. And sometimes my horse is better and it's not such a little thing.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

cautiously optimistic

Major seemed to feel better today, and is not resting the leg as much. And was being a jerk pulling on the lead line. I did not trot him out, or see an abscess blow-out hole, but the heel bulb is less inflamed, I took him to eat grass and he led without hesitation. Fingers-crossed that things are looking up.

He did suffer the humiliation of his Easter costume.

at least I get grass while I am humiliated

And out-takes.
let's go over there!

mid-bite, not a good look

too embarrassed for more photos...

He is embarrassed by me. As he should be. No lovely dignified Arabian should have to look so silly. Except it made me smile among all the stress, so he tolerated it. Good boy.

Thursday, April 17, 2014


All the training and conditioning doesn't matter if your horse is lame. I've already thrown myself a pity party for breaking my horse, and am moving on into dealing with it. Not well, but trying.

Last Friday I went to visit Major, planning in a Saturday ride. And he was stocked up in his rear legs, and resting his right hind. I had helpful SO trot him out: slight hitch on a straight line, serious hitch in the round pen to the right, and not wanting to canter. Damn. Right then I cancelled my endurance ride plans for the end if this month.

But I waited to call the vet, as Major was walking around fine, using the leg, there was no swelling, no painful areas, mystery. My brain filled in horrible career ending scenarios, so I finally did call the vet and had an appointment today.

It's not very good when the tech trots your horse out and the vet tells her, "Ok, yeah stop, he's really lame" but it is nice when he turns to me and says "sorry" for being blunt. I really like my vet.

Flexions were inconclusive, it was looking like some blocks were in order. But then the vet hoof tested and got a positive reaction on the outside heel. Maybe just a severe bruise? The vet didn't want to do blocks and trot him around if it was a bruise, so suggested the wait and see approach.

I'm soaking and Major is resting, but stalling is out of the question as he will just pace. In his pasture he'll stay quiet (at the vet hospital Major hated being under the shelter, in the shade on nice mats, he was happier out on the sunny, hot gravel driveway. Horses.)

You know how you see things in hindsight much more clearly? Yeah. I broke my horse. Did it happen on the rocky Olmstead loop last long ride? He didn't want to canter up one final hill, but I attributed it to being tired and hot. I rode him on hills the day before I found him lame, was his reluctance to go out (which I attributed to not wanting the leave the barn at dinner time) actually because he hurt? My stoic horse was trotting around not complaining or limping until it got really bad. Arrggh! I totally feel like I broke him more, but it's just wait and see.

Waiting. Something neither Major or I is good at. I'll be getting some practice...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

detour: spenceville

Almost every Spring I take a detour over to Spenceville Wildlife area. It is close by, but with different enough scenery: rolling grasslands studded with oaks, ridges dotted with pine, wildflowers and cows in abundance. In Spring it is beautiful, Summer and Fall get hot, dry and brown. But for a few months it's just lovely.

juvenile cows guard the trail (though run off if you get close!)

glorious oak and meadow

trail panorama

hidden caterpillar on a lichen branch

twisty tree

aged rock outcropping

Open meadows lead to ridges and unexpected views. Exploring off trails finds poison oak to avoid! But tiny creatures and plants thrive in creeks and crevices, if you take the time to look.

the waterfall looks far away, but it is really a short hike

woodpeckers have been leaving their mark

orange poppies shine

purple aster among rocks

cool water pools while pines stand sentinel on the ridge above

The water here crashes in the upper falls, then deepens through this spot. I was curious and got some string from SO's backpack, tied it to a rock, and discovered the depth to be at least 12 feet! A big fish also swam out of the depths as I watched the water go by.
dark and deep (and very cold!)

succulents survive in crevices

froggy friend is so pretty!

froggy poses for the camera

I keep saying I'll go ride these trails. There are enough scary cows to have a Major meltdown: cows in open fields, cows hiding in the trees, cows standing boldly next to the trail. So maybe with an experienced not-afraid-of-cows horse along as a guide!

cows and calves enjoying the day too

always more trails to explore

But I sure like exploring on foot. Getting to see the close-up creatures and plants that I miss when trotting by. Detouring along a tiny side trail and finding a surprise view. And sitting by a rushing creek, taking in Spring, while it lasts.

Monday, April 7, 2014

all the greens

I think I may have seen most of the greens in the world yesterday. There were neon jade little leaflets of the budding oaks, verdant grass green meadows, dark emerald pine trees, and every color in between. Mix that up with some orange poppies, yellow buttercups and purple brodiaea, the world was alive!

ears, cliff, poppies, river, doesn't get much better
Ho hum, just another good ride....away from home (and not in a competition setting) Major is very consistently good. You've seen it before: Auburn, No Hands, Cool. But the green! Wow! Every year I forget, and then nature reminds me. Months of brown help us appreciate. And we've gotten some late rain (as evidenced by quite a bit of muddy trail), but are still at 50% of normal rainfall. I will try not to imagine the dry summer, and focus on the green.
oak meadow
I wanted to do some big hills and elevation. We did 3200 feet of climbing (and back down too!) over the course of almost 20 miles. It was supposed to be shorter, but I wanted to explore. It was too pretty not to!

the trails are red clay, they really show up with the green grass

yellow vernal pools
C and Friday joined our adventure. We went down, we went up the other side. Which was totally dry in January and now we got to cross many little streams and creeks. Unfortunately the recent downpours also ate away the trail, and there is some nasty footing. The exploring ended up with pretty scenery but rocky trail. Still worth it.

green, yellow, blue, gorgeous!

lunch stop horse butts

Major got to play snorkeling in a pond, though there are no photos, and I was nervous about him trying to drop and roll (as he has done before). He also snorkeled in the water trough. What he did not do is drink from any of the lovely streams. Or the trough 14 miles in. Or any of the nice streams as we went back up the Auburn side. Finally he stopped to drink out of a trickle crossing the trail (about mile 17.5!). Friday was smarter and drank from the little pool above the trickle, then shared with Major.

There were a million people out, with big dogs and little dogs, rampant children, baby backpacks (no cats this trip!) and more. Major didn't bat an eye at anything, and was pet by a little scared girl by the waterfall (she was scared of crossing the water) and a small horde of kids again at the staging area, when he was disgusting and sweaty. The difficult life of a trail horse in a popular area!

canyon view

poppies along the trail

well deserved trailer rest

A fun adventure, made even better by my new accessory: dinosaur phone holder! Because honestly, a dinosaur phone holder is awesome. I like keeping my phone on my leg, easily accessible for photos and emergencies. If I could actually sew and it didn't take me 3 days to make this, I'd seriously open up an etsy store and make custom ones for people.

awesome dinosaur phone holder

With this ride and a good recovery I think I can tentatively make a plan for a 50 at the end of this month. I think we're physically in shape for it, mentally we just have to go and deal with it. It's local, I know the trails, so that part is easier to manage. I'm hoping for no big heat waves so everything stays nice and green, a nice calming grass green...