Friday, September 22, 2017


a little lakeshore showing
The lake is shrinking (sorry, I couldn't help myself with the title. Anyone else thinking that I'm thinking? If someone doesn't know what I'm referencing, you must watch this clip from Seinfeld).

Ok, back to the shrinking… lake. On a recent evening ride I decided to explore down by the lakeshore. You have to be very careful down in these areas due to the hidden, sucking mud. But we explored, safely, and found a tiny bit of the lake trail open!

Major contemplating reflections

Just enough to give us a little hope. Major was so excited to be back on his favorite trails, and we even found a safe spot to go in the water. But he was more interested in taking in the view than drinking (and there were no frightened turtles), and then we had our hopes dashed as we turned the corner: logs and sticks and debris as far as we could see. How this will ever get cleared, and the trails accessible, I have no idea. The parks don't maintain these trails and there are so many miles of debris. It is more than a work crew could handle, large equipment would be needed!

our trail is under there somewhere

more debris in a different section

Major thought we could still race home. Over the logs. Sigh. We did not. We picked our way carefully over a short section, back onto the main trail, and headed home.

best way to watch a sunset

I let Major choose one of two trails home, and he picked the stabby starthistle one (not a particularly good choice. Yes, I could overrule him, but he really does learn and did not choose that trail the next time we went out).

We walked slowly along (The starthistle providing a little acupuncture to Major's legs), and movement out of the corner my eye caught my attention. Two bobcats were hunting in the field. They walked slowly away, but not too far, as we were not threatening. Bobcats are such secretive creatures, I rarely get a glimpse. But they just stood in the high grass, almost invisible, watching us pass. We walked on in silence. Moments later a tiny vole ran across the path in front of us, good hunting for bobcats!

golden fields
I started off with something silly, and ended up with something sublime. This is why I love trail riding: I never know what experiences I'll have. But if I'm quiet and paying attention, it might be something special.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

september night

The moon was too beautiful to ignore. Orange and yellow (from nearby fires) it sat like a beacon. And I promised to be out the next night.

7am: 82 degrees

The unrelenting heat has broken, for awhile at least. Last week there were 7:00am rides to escape the heat, now a 7:00pm ride to watch the moon rise.

8am: 90 degrees

cool lake view on a hot day

Heading out in the twilight is easiest, once on the trails it got darker and darker. The trail is cool and empty, the horses enjoying doing something different. By full dark we were at the lake, waiting for the moon to rise and reflect off the water.

We're doing what?

And we waited. And waited a bit more, while riding around, scaring wildlife. Note to self: if moonrise is at 8pm, and you are in any sort of mountainous region, wait a bit longer, we were in complete darkness until 8:30pm.

not the scary bridge.

almost the same place as the lake view on our hot ride!
But when the moon came up, it was awesome. I don't know what is better: the moon peaking over the hills, or through the trees, or reflecting off the lake or the clouds. With the moon out, it is possible to see a bit on open trail, but under tree cover, it is still shadowy darkness.

crummy photos better than none at all: moon reflecting
I saw plenty of dark trail, luckily Major could see all the trail ruts and we had a very surefooted ride. Major also saw monsters under the bridge! (Our only issue of the night, him balking at a bridge we've crossed hundreds of times, but this time there were the monsters of darkness waiting underneath. Good thing I got off to walk him across, they didn't eat me so he was safe).

moon, cloud and shadow
I love our trails in light. But in the cool darkness, with just that silver moonlight, it is like another place, some secret trails that only can be found by the lucky and bold. Go out and find them.

Friday, September 1, 2017

horse torment

There are always two perspectives to every ride, mine and Major's (and maybe if you have a friend along, even more!). I think a recent ride was pretty representative of our relationship:

I hooked up the trailer, as Major stands at the gate in anticipation.
Standing here, standing here, where are you!?

A friend is joining us, but her horse Beau has pulled off his shoe overnight. Luckily our barn staff is also a farrier, and is able to put it back on!
Still waiting, waiting…Beau you're so dumb, don't play in the fence I told you last night!

Love how Major just jumps into the open trailer!
Jump into the trailer, weee! 

Beau has never been in a straightload trailer, so it takes a bit of time for him to feel confident enough to stand inside. Major is standing nicely, so I open his back door so Beau can see it is safe, and Major stands with just the butt bar, waiting to go.
Why am I just waiting for this dumb new guy to load? Fine, I'm a good boy and will stand with my door open so dumb Beau can see it's not scary.

The drive up the mountain is easy, and it is much cooler and nicer up here.
Drive in the trailer box, boring.

I always love riding here!
Ooo, I remember, I love this place!

anticipation/let's go!

Beau is a bit anxious and ridiculous, so we just walk for awhile. Beau may have left his brain at home, so we'll be patient, I've been there!
Arggh more waiting. Why do I have to be the good boy? Can't we just go? Let's go!

twisty trails, watch out/go faster Beau!
the only sunny, hot place/He's not in front, let's go!

 Beau has settled in a bit, so we can trot out a bit. But we'll let him be in front, so he's not trying to race us and be silly on these twisty trails. Major can have crabby ears all he wants, as long as he behaves.
Wheee, trotting! Arghh, now following again, go faster Beau!

I love these shady trails/Now is our chance, go!

A nice, mostly uneventful ride, the best kind. I remember when Major was as bad as Beau, and we all have to start somewhere. At least Major has never had a problem settling in and eating!
Back at the trailer. Beau, stand still and don't forget eat, that's what you're supposed to do. There's alfalfa!

good boys/don't eat all my alfalfa Beau!

Beau has a lot to learn, but he'll get there. And they can learn to be friends.
Don't touch me Beau.

Be nice Major/Don't touch me!

We'll all go out again soon, it's nice to have company and help someone out!
Next time: leave Beau at home.