Monday, August 25, 2014

deal with it

I often tell Major to just deal with it: We're not running home like an idiot, deal with it. No, there is not something scary in the woods, deal with it, etc.

This weekend I decided to "deal with it" for myself. I decided to go out with some local endurance friends, who ride much faster than I do. These folks often top 10 rides, and Major is not in the best of shape after such an odd year. But I decided to deal with it. I know the trails, I can go off on my own if necessary, plus they're good people, they won't kill me. Right?

Fellow boarder E and her small-but-mighty horse Tux were coming. We had some time while we packed the trailer, so turned both horses out in the greenest pasture to eat. Major loves everybody, I wasn't too worried, but we still stood and watched for a bit.

Major tried everything he could think of to get Tux to play with him. Tux just ate. Leaping, bucking, head-flinging ridiculousness ensued. Tux just ate. Major was so frustrated, he ran over the plastic-covered compost pile, circled around Tux, reared right next to him. Tux just ate. Major continued to throw a fit that his new friend wouldn't play.
Join me mini one!

Come on, come on!

Just play already!

Look at me, come run!

It was hilarious and ridiculous. Major was a willful child not given what he wanted. Finally we caught them and loaded in the trailer for the short ride to Auburn. Where we met our friends and headed out. These experienced endurance horses and their people know their jobs. One horse Italic is a great downhill horse, so we were able to keep up a better pace than usual down hills. Another horse Will is a crazy awesome uphill horse, so he set the pace there. We tagged along the whole ride, Major even behaving himself behind, at speed, and actually the whole ride!

From the Auburn overlook, we four horsemen headed down the hill. Major was very happy to be out with friends. Our last ride here was a trudge to the bottom of the canyon. This time we flew, he loves the “competition” of riding with others, even if we’re all staying together. No winning this race buddy!

at the start of Quarry road

Down the canyon, across No Hands and the highway, and out the Quarry road, definitely faster than my usual pace! A group of climbers with a giant climbing pad and dangling crap attached was a tiny bit unnerving to everyone, but quickly passed. We sped down the road, eventually taking a turn up the Brown’s Bar trail. Which goes up and up some more, next to a creek. While everything is really dry, the hanging grape vines and shade from the oak trees give a semblance of cool. The trail is nice single track, with roots and rocks for some tough footing.

along Brown's Bar, me in orange!

Well, I thought it was tough footing and uphill. Until we got to the Goat Hill trail. Oh my. Tough, steep, twisting single track, with knee-bashing trees, parts of the trail needed to be almost jumped up and slid down. Goat horses needed for sure! Almost at the top Tux and Major took a break, they were tired. But when finally at the top and moving on, quickly recovered. Way better than I thought. From here the view was across the canyon, absolutely gorgeous (however my phone/camera decided to misbehave all day, so I stole all the photos from E!).


across the canyon, and distant quarry

We found a water trough before crossing Highway 49. Major snorkeled but didn’t drink. Arrgghh this horse almost always waits till 15-20 miles, just kills me. We continued on, down, down the Cool side, back across No Hands. Major found another gear and wanted to lead the charge up the hill. So I let him for a bit, but then we let the good hill horse Will pass us, (ok, completely blow past us) and Major knew he had met his match.

At the end, Major finally drank his fill at the Auburn trough (after at least 18 miles) and looked great afterwards. The next day he was prancing around, raring to go. I am so proud of my out-of-shape horse, who is actually in better shape than I ever thought. I really don’t do any rides where I push things. I tend to stick to the tried and true paces, long-slow distance, etc. I worry too much, and kept an eye on my horse all ride, but he was never too tired, never not willing to go.

I was glad I decided to just "deal with it," which led to a fun new adventure with good people, and renewed appreciation for my horse. Not having done any endurance rides this year, I'd forgotten his spirit and strength on tough trails and when pushed beyond my comfort zone (mine, not his!). It felt great to be flying down the trail, pushing some limits.

P.S. And for another laugh of the day, I took my smelly tack home, where my very old, crabby cat Thomas loves to roll all over it. And then hiss and growl at the neighbor's kitten, who was somehow annoying Tom just by watching her. Too funny. Like Major and Tux in the morning.

Thomas (left) annoyed by tiny kitten, "stop watching me!"


  1. what an exciting ride for you both. Major is such a character. I loved his antics and attempts to get someone to play with him. Poor guy! Its always nice to be pushed a little and allow ourselves to grow!

  2. I totally hear you on not stepping out of the slow and steady often, but how refreshing it can be. Scrappy only gets excited about life when I ride with my friend J's buckskin Mustang mare, he trots like 10 mph and acts like it's FUN or something! Weeeee the wind in my eyes, LOL. Too funny since that used to be Desire's slowest trot speed. Well, times do change. Good for you for braving it and so glad he was feeling great the next day.

    Hahaha, Thomas is so CLEARLY annoyed. :D