Saturday, December 24, 2022

happy solstice

glorious day after Solstice at the lake
Maybe Miles knew we had a few extra seconds of daylight. Or maybe it's the training, but either way I'll take a quite successful ride today! Trotting along the lake, big walk heading home, and only when I pushed my luck and asked for a trot very close to home did I get some quite sprightly shenanigans (quickly shut down).

the last of fall

trying to get home before dark (at 4:45pm!)

barn sunsets (at 5pm!)
I needed this ride. Seasonal craziness and not enough daylight all conspire to make me a bit, well, dejected. We've had some pretty good training rides in the last month, though we also had a 20 minute discussion about walking through a puddle. I succeeded and Miles did not die of getting his feet wet.
Miles and Beau, buddies

moss is delicious

Folsom Lake view does not get old
We also had a good adventure over in Cool! Miles had his friend Rocky along, an old sensible guy who still likes to move out. The trails were icy and muddy, but Miles pretended to be a most sensible pony for the day, even walking through all the water with no fuss.
Knickerbocker Creek

enjoying the trails in Cool
I am looking forward to more winter adventures, though we are expecting a lot more rain soon (of course on my holiday time off). We need the rain, and Miles is happy for the new green grass. Every extra moment of daylight will be savored, I hope you all do the same. Happy Solstice and all the holidays, here is to more adventures in the new year…
quite a tolerant elf

yes, see those ears and that look, there was some zoomies with the hat on!

Wesley and his best Simba impression

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

good boy Friday


my favorite picture
Losing them is so very hard. 

spring ride
My good friend C had watched her good boy Friday get more blind and deaf, and while he physically looked OK from a distance (he still had an amazing, glorious trot!) he was falling apart. We talked and worried about winter, and rain, and what if he fell, or spooked into someone he couldn't see and hurt them (he was never the bravest anyway, make worse by his failing sight and hearing).

camping and lake culbetson

local show

Folsom Lake

putting up with my shenanigans with his mini-me

so handsome on a camping trip
She did the hardest, best thing. She let him go on a beautiful fall day, before cold winter set in, and he did not have many bad days. He was Major’s best friend, and it is so very hard to have them gone. We had so many awesome adventures, and they are so loved.

adventure at blue hole


best friends


Friday, November 4, 2022

mea culpa


If there is anyone still out there, I'm sorry for my extended absence! I can't seem to get back in the writing groove. While Miles is coming along I fear that I lost something more of myself when Major died. I can't even put it in words, but I'm trying to push past it and get out on the trails, and remind myself to write about it!

amazing clouds along the river

low river at Avery Pond

hiking down from Cool
obligatory No Hands bridge photo!

This summer we had some really nice, even quite long, trail rides. Miles has NO problem with 16 miles Auburn to Cool, though we are not traveling quickly. He loves getting in the trailer, and has not put a foot wrong when we're out on an adventure. We drove into Hidden Falls and there were hundreds of goats next to the parking. I thought "oh crap, this should be fun." Miles unloaded, looked at the goats, and went to his haybag, "Whatever, there are snacks here."

hundreds of goats? no big deal.

Hidden Falls bridge

our buddy S and Rocky behind us on a ride
Home is another story, still! He is stupidly barn sour, and at some random point on a ride in the local forest decides "now" we've turned for home and gets stupid. We work on turning the other way, sidepassing, backing, one-rein-stops, big whoas, taking a different trail, etc. We also come home and ride in the arena, make him wait and not get put away after a ride, etc, but it is a serious work in progress. And he is super smart at figuring things out, but this one is a battle. If I can't ride consistently (there was a time in September when it was too hot, then smoky, for almost three weeks) it is back to square one.

huge new house along the trail

Beeks overlook view

But yesterday we had a nice five mile ride. And coming back he was stupid again, sigh. So I tried all the things and something clicked, we walked part of the way home very nicely! I did want to see if he tried a trot for a few steps, then walk, then repeat if that would help his anxiety. But instead he was a pogo stick and I decided walking was in my best interest to stay in the saddle!

last ride in daylight after work

waiting, not patiently…
So my update is nothing exciting, and maybe that is part of my reluctance. How many times can I write about training rides? But we also have been hiking, as when I'm not in the mood for shenanigans (I'm sometimes just too burned out after work to deal with one more thing) we take a jaunt into the forest. Lots to see and explore. Last week was a flapping turkey with (what appeared to be) a broken leg. Sadly I'm sure he became coyote food that night. Now there are some puddles from recent rain, a challenge at first but then he was reminded of his manners and marched through. 
fish toy fun!

arena trot

We have also been spending time in the arena, some riding, but mostly some obstacle stuff. He doesn't need to be ridden five days a week, but he needs work to keep his mind busy. He is very smart and in one lesson each learned to pick up the cone (for a treat), pick up the fishy inflatable (for a treat), stand on the manhole cover (for a treat) and put your foot on the big rock (for a treat.) Sensing a pattern here? Yes, he likes treats! I'm really hoping to get a book on trick training, any suggestions? 

My least favorite season has arrived. Darkness is descending, and riding after work gets much harder. But I'll keep on trying, and trying to write about it as well. Maybe I'll at least try for a photo a week, proof of life! On the home front Wesley is just so much fun, our latest game is chase and hide. When all the fun is done he reminds me that when things are hard a cat in your lap makes the world a better place.

watching for lizards

just chillin' on my concrete leaf

watching Wesley TV

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

be cool

heading out, somewhere new!

this is why I get lost, these are all the trail options!
The Olmstead trailhead in Cool, CA is also part of Auburn State Recreation Area, but on the opposite side of the canyon from the Auburn Staging area (and driving the canyon is not particularity fun). I've ridden there quite a bit…but also manage to get turned around almost every time. I can memorize other trail systems no problem, but this one stymies me.

lovely grassy meadow
So Miles and I headed out and I followed my GPS track from a ride (with C and Friday) almost exactly two years ago. It was unseasonably cool (a high of 80 expected, not like today, it is 104, yuck!) as we followed the creek then turned south to eventually get to the Rim trail. All went well for the first mile and a half, when we got to the large, muddy, creek crossing. It is more just standing water, a creek/pond. Miles was having nothing to do with the deeper crossing, so we went a little farther on where there is a tiny bridge and a shallower crossing. 

the dreaded creek actually not so bad…
The little bridge is a bit sketchy, so I hoped to cross the water. He was having none of it. So I settled in for a lesson. First just stand by the water. Fine. Take a step? Oh no! Ok, try again. And again. Did not like that water. So I got off and walked him across the sketchy bridge. I could have just got on and continued the ride but I wanted to work this water obstacle. This side was more gradual, and Miles put a couple feet in the water. Then he'd rapidly back up. So I got off again and led him in. He was fine with that. Once in the water he looked around and played, really dude?! But he was in without too much drama.

I turned to go back up the embankment and a water monster must have grabbed his foot. He leapt up the bank behind me (not touching me, good boy) and splattered me with mud. It looked like I'd been mountain biking through puddles. Sigh. I scraped off the mud and got back on. We walked back down to the creek, entered nicely, turned around, walked back up and continued on our way. Luckily that was the biggest problem of the day!

first big pond

creekside trail

this is very fun single-track

the view over to the Auburn side!
The rest of the ride was nicely uneventful. I followed the pond/creek trail through the shade to the Rim trail. All these are my favorite single-track, and I didn't see another person out there all day. There is lots of creeks and water out there, which was really refreshing, though none of the other creeks caused even an ear flick from Miles, so maybe he just didn't like the mud in the first one?

Knickerbocker Creek pose

Even drinking, good boy!

The red dirt road back to the staging area

the other side of the pond going home

Even on the hotter hills of red dirt he was pretty cheerful, and seemed to know we were heading back to the trailer. I haven't trailered him a ton of places yet, but am establishing some habits to make sure he likes going out, including an after ride mash (of nothing exciting, just beet pulp, alfalfa pellets and salt). He was quite enthusiastic!

hand-me-down boots worked surprisingly well!

mash face

Now that full summer is here these trails can be too hot unless we get there really early, so we might not explore Olmstead much more until fall. Though I'm tempted to go back and school that muddy crossing another time, but maybe closer to the end of the ride than the beginning!

Wesley had a very hard day and was grateful I was home

P.S. This is Tevis week, and the Auburn endurance community is in a fervor. It is quite exciting, and I'll be crewing for my friend S and Beau, her first Tevis. She and Beau knows these trails, Major and I rode many of them with her, it is bittersweet but I'm so excited for her. Full crew report to come later!