Thursday, December 31, 2020

2020 finale

We're all ready for 2020 to be over, though I know 2021 will not solve anything, as least it is looking better…

2020 did have one last surprise for me, and that would be coming back from a ride and seeing my new-to-me car a bit smashed under a huge tree branch! Oh boy. It was almost so ridiculous to be funny. Almost. Luckily insurance came though, and the repair shop, and I have my car back to drive into the new year.

While I still feel like the new year begins with solstice, the calendar says otherwise. So today was our last ride of 2020. 

pre-ride outlast snack…on the trailer fender, we're classy…
 I meant to document the ride with lots of photos to have a pretty end-of-year blog post. But I was having a good time, and then later dealing with a very enthusiastic Major, so there are only a few photos for the end of 2020.

not designed by an equestrian: that railing is in a weird turn and right at riding knee height, ouch!

This has surprisingly been a good riding year! Not many travels, and only local adventures, but no stress of conditioning or endurance rides. I'm still having fun working on the 1900 mile Pony Express challenge, (I am near the Diamond Springs Station, Nebraska!)

apocalypse wasteland, or low lake water levels?
 My ride recording app sent me my stats for the year: 753 miles, 83,632 feet of elevation, over the course of 95 rides. I was most impressed that is is 157 hours, and that doesn't count the time spent getting ready, untacking, general horse care and everyday horse time spent. Maybe I don't want to add up all those hours (I know I don't add up the dollars)!
things are getting green
Best of all Major is healthy and happy to be out (as evidenced today, oh boy!) and we look forward to more fun on the trails in 2021. Happy New Year everyone, and happy trails!

Monday, December 21, 2020

happy solstice


solstice sunrise
The darkest days are behind us, and the light is a bit more each day.

some winter days are glorious

Until there are later evening sunsets for proper outings, I'll settle for longer weekend rides and evening bareback jaunts.

the morning sun in my tea cupboard

I wish for all of us a better year in increasing light. Happy Solstice!

Sunday, December 20, 2020


Major was not so sure when he met his doppleganger earlier this year.

who is this guy?
I'd truly forgotten about this project until scrolling though my phone photos and I thought you might need a laugh on a dark winter day! This was a silly project I did while trapped inside during the smoky fall, following some different website instructions on making a stick horse.

mini major

why do you annoy me so?

finally, a cute pose
With a bit of trial and error I made a doppelganger Major, and Friday and then also a Gray with Rainbow, because, well, why not? I have gifted these to my nephew and a friend's granddaughter because while they were fun to make they were sadly a bit small for me to ride around the yard…though I did try.

three minis in the hay shed

Silkh is suspicious of Rainbow

no one trusts stick Major
The best part was the reaction at the stable: the horses in the front pasture wanted nothing to do with the stick horses! Major didn't care but was annoyed that, yet again, I was making him stand around and try to model. Mostly unsuccessfully.

it's not that bad, Friday.


one cute picture and we're done posing!
This was probably just as annoying as the holiday unicorn from lat year, but I do already have a scheme in mind for next winter…

 Major is thrilled, I'm sure…

Monday, December 14, 2020

tevis trail adventures



trail access, closed to cars right now, win!
I know some riders have been competing in the virtual Tevis challenge, so here are some recent pictures of part of the real thing! I've ridden most of the Tevis trail, some lots (river crossing to finish) and some only once (during sweep riding). I had somehow never ridden the short three-mile section from Francisco's to the Poverty Bar river crossing!

oak watches over the trail

Probably because there is a two-mile downhill gravel road to get there, Driver's Flat. During the actual ride you don't go that way (unless you get pulled, then you get a nice trailer ride back), but on a recent Sunday I decided to check it out. Be prepared for too many photos!

Major will tell you, two miles down is a long way to be dragged to your death. Sigh, he is really quite awful at being led downhill, but I did not need to ride when I could easily walk (though he disagreed). I did take a detour and headed down the river road towards Ford's Bar. I'd done this a couple times before, but had forgotten it is a mostly level, pretty uninteresting (except for the views) gravel/rock road. A couple miles down I turned around, Major thought that was a grand idea!

canyon in shadow

scary rapids with portage trail
heading to Francisco's
Back on the Tevis trail in the correct direction, we headed up the hill into Francisco's. A lovely little meadow that on ride day most folks will only see in the dark! On the opposite side of the meadow is the trail out, which is switchbacks of rocks, fun! But short, then back onto the wider road, where you shortly take a tiny turn-off for Western States Trail.

up to Francisco's

the quiet Francisco's meadow

all trails lead to fun!

tiny sign shows Western States Trail
This single-track trail is so lovely! I'm sad most folks only ride it in the dark, because the views are awesome. Major got highly annoyed as I kept taking photos and making him stop. But pretty views, historical foundation rock walls, and even a cool old car were too hard to pass up.

river trail is so pretty

also had the trail all to myself all day

past evidence of ride/run

on the right trail…

mining device/house/something foundation

target practice on this awesome vintage turquoise car
The river crossing looks simple, but it is dangerous except when the river is lowered for Tevis (cold water, swift currents). Right in front of us looks peaceful, but was easily six feet deep water, straight off the bank! On the ride day they have a very safe crossing.

just around the bend

river waiting

river crossing, looking across to the opposite side trail (with can-we-go-now ears)

I'm done, go home now?
I promised Major no photos on the way back, so he could move out. But did remind him we had a big hill coming and to take it easy…

looking back downriver
When we got back to the road Major thought he was all that and more. So I let him trot up a bit…he's not in bad shape after we've done some hill riding recently, but that two miles was tough! When we slowed to a walk I was able to snag a nice branch from a bay tree, yum! I got off the last half mile and we just walked in.

never ending road

bonus bay leaf!
What a fun adventure! It was so lovely, a bit chilly but nice in the sun, Major and I both enjoyed our adventure. Best part: my trailer smelled like bay leaf instead of old saddle pad horse sweat, win! 

hay, mash, water, a good return

Thursday, November 26, 2020


Major paused, as if to say: see, for this moment, and for so many other things, we are thankful. 


Or he was saying: we should turn around now and go home, I might be missing dinner.

Smart horse, either way.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Friday, November 20, 2020

hold my beer

For a short while the beginning of November felt like relief, we finally got some rain and some 79,585,494 Americans made an informed choice for change. 

Here, hold my beer, I don't have hands!
Then came "hold my beer."

thinking of our next adventure…
Seriously, the rest of this month has been peeking at the news between my clenched fingers and then running outside to distract myself by playing with my horse.

Major wonders where the race is?
Because when frustration levels reach a certain height there is nothing that can distract you except horse hair, sweat and pretty views.

rock dinosaur spine (it was 72 degrees in November, argh!)

We've still been working on increasing our ride length and difficulty to clear the months of smoke from our lungs. But just getting out has been great. 

Major LOVES the BLM donkeys (who are getting tame quite quickly)

Seen while horse hiking: I think the branch is full Mr. Woodpecker!

We had explored both directions from the stable, to the pond then to the lake shore, getting farther away every day. On one random day I let Major decide which way to head home, and from the lake trail he took an obscure little trail to access the rock trail (why oh why do I let him decide these things) where I had to duck and dodge low branches and poison oak and Major had a grand old time.

the smell of fall leaves, damp ground and horses

our fall is more subtle
On a weekday we trailered out to a pretty local park when there is actually a little fall color. I had my bandana mask that I pull up whenever I see people, and everyone was very polite but almost no one (maybe 10%?) had masks?!…sigh.

Major loves to annoy Sal, who is 30+ years old

poser with fall trees

Now that an actual fire-season ending (we hope!) rain has fallen things are a bit squishy, but it is nice and cooler and Major is ready to go. Yesterday it had only just stopped raining and when I drove up he practically threw himself out the gate, wanting out (he has an entire pasture, but getting out is much more fun). We just went for a short hike, but I can tell I may be in for a real hold-my-beer ride next time!

our fall colors are in the sky…