Friday, September 11, 2015

a tale of two rides

What better way to end the summer than a ride on the back of a good horse. But I was riding Major (he did redeem himself later)…

I knew there might be interesting times ahead when Major was already standing at the gate, ready to go, when I drove up. I worked on tacking him up as he ate some breakfast hay. I had just undone his halter to put on his bridle (I just unclip the lead rope and tie the halter around his neck as a grab strap, not still tied, too dangerous if he pulled back) when the barn staff made a noise that would normally go ignored by Major. Instead he lifted his head, realized he wasn't tied, looked right at me, and ran up the hill! Luckily all still in fencing, and he didn't go far, but oh my, this is my morning already!

riding through the fancy neighborhood to get to trails (photo by E)

Major hears monsters, Tux ignores him (photo by E)

Easily caught, Major thought this was a fun morning! We headed out to meet Tux and E, and had to walk a couple different streets than usual, all early morning, no traffic. Major was looky and prancing along. When we got to Tux's house, Major was happy to see him, but Tux is a bit nervous of Major, not that guy again! But we headed off down the street to the trail, where Major proceeded to try and pull my arms out and Tux decided that bucking was more fun than trotting, both horses in fine, obnoxious form for the next two hours.

you're doing it wrong Tux!

this is how you splash! (photo by E)

Just follow me, we'll cross the whole river…only six inches deep (Photo by E)
Back home I didn't think twice: I put my tack in my trailer, ready to go out the next day and reinforce some good behavior!

The next morning Major was waiting at the gate, and jumped in the trailer. We went up to Auburn, where a few early-morning riders were also taking advantage of the cooler morning to get an early start. "We should chase them!" Major thought. We did not. We walked, and nicely trotted, until we did catch up to them and pass, but only because all the other users were just walking slowly along.

gratuitous No Hands photo, nice and empty this early!

Near the bottom of the canyon Major did find his motor, but was not naughty about it, so we power trotted along the wider old railroad trail and across No Hands bridge, then started up the other side. We came to the turnoff for the steep Pig Farm trail, which I'd planned on avoiding. Major looked and wanted to turn that direction, and I said "OK buddy, you picked it, no complaining," and up we went.

pig farm trail was a blur of steep

cairn at the top, with dumbbells (!?)

He didn't complain, though we did slow in spots to catch his breath, as he is not in the shape he was earlier this summer (round is a shape, right?). At the top, there is now a strange little cairn at the sign for Training Hill. There are a few coins, a dollar bill, beads, and dumbbells. A tribute left by runners who make it to the top?

We continued on towards the staging area on this side, with a lovely trough. I fed Major a few carrots but he didn't want any water, and wasn't winded or seeming tired, so we waited a few minutes then turned back around. Major hates leaving this staging area. Maybe he thinks there should be a trailer waiting for him (there never has been), or wants to explore more (we have on other days), but we had a canyon to cross again, so back we have to go!

Olmstead looking particularly golden

wild grape along a dry creek
"Not Pig Farm trail again!" Not this time Major

dragging, dragging, posing, dragging…

Across the pretty meadows, filled with golden grass, and down the canyon, where I hike most of the way down while Major drags behind. We're going home, where is that hot horse I rode yesterday? I know he is not that tired, just uninspired. We started passing some runners and hikers heading up, that cheered him up. And then we cross No Hands bridge again, and he knows there is only four miles to go.

a different perspective

towering rocks, and getting hot out too

But he was so good! Away from home, and no other similarly-minded naughty horses to feed off of, I have a different horse. One day naughty, one day good. Will he get older and wiser? Maybe. Or maybe this is just who he is, this shiny, silly, brown, crazy, fun horse. I'll ride the horse I have that day, and be glad for the time.

watching the other trailers

don't bother me, I'm having lunch


  1. I love his expressive face. It's that fresh Arab character that's keep us never bored eh. Plus, really, I think almost every horse is worse leaving from home!

  2. I think the issue is boredom. If Ashke and I ride a trail two times in a row or two times too close together he is a much different horse than if I pull him off the trailer, he looks around and goes "new!" then he is much more interested and engaged in where we are riding.

    I love the Orange shirt.

    1. Ashke is smart like Major, and Major certainly gets bored, I try to mix it up. Major likes riding with friends to, whcih is harder to find! Luckily I have lots of different trails to try.

      And I almost always wear orange, I used to say the better to find me if he leaves me behind (though that is not likely anymore, thank goodness!). People know my horse and me as the orange lady, though maybe not my name!