Wednesday, June 29, 2022

auburn firsts

I'm lucky to have a wide variety of trails, but riding out of the Auburn staging area is still my favorite. You can take so many different trails, and if you don't want the elevation gain you can even stay on the upper terraces. I thought it would be a good place to take Miles for our first off-site ride.

I cajoled my friend S along, with her horse Rocky. He has been there and done that, and Sandy is a newer rider, a very good team. She even goes on my adventures, so she's brave too! I told her we would try not do any scary trails.

going up Robie Point
We just went around and about, and mostly stayed on the wider trails. I didn't take many pictures (two hands on the reins in new situations!) but we all had a good time. Miles likes to lead, but we made both horses switch off. Miles and Rocky both kept their heads when we came up from behind on an entire hiking group of rowdy kids, who moved aside but were pretty noisy, rummaged in their backpacks, pulling out lunches and clothes just as we walked by!

perfect weather and trail that day

video still that S took of us
We did go up one steep trail with a drop off to get back a shorter way. It is a known trail but S noted later it was a little scary. Sorry! I think I don't even notice any more!

Miles and his buddy Rocky
The second time I went I pretty much repeated the same trail but by ourselves. Miles already had learned the way and when we continued going at one point he definitely knew what trail headed home!

The long road back

Why are you turned around taking photos?
The third time I decided to go for it and go all the way down to the river. Much more elevation than we'd done, but Miles had done longer distance, so I thought he'd be ok and was going to take it easy. And I chose a weekday to not battle the crowds hiking to the street runoff "waterfall."

the importance of pre-ride snacks
Miles enjoys his pre-ride hay bag, but leaves it nicely as we head out. No Hands bridge is 1100 feet below the staging area, but it isn't a straight drop. It takes 4 miles where you follow an old railroad trestle (so flat), then drop down along a single track, then another level section. It is a really good variety of trail. Going down the only part I was worried about is the steep banks and the bridge at the "waterfall," so I hiked down and Miles was fine to follow. There was one small group of nicely quiet people, so all was well as we continued to the river.

and back across (this view is heading back to Auburn)
And crossed No Hands for the first time! We just went across and back, he looked a bit at the sides (now ugly chain link) and down to the river below, but otherwise a non-issue. We went down below the bridge to get some water, where he was very good and actually drank. Sadly for him there were really no grass snacks down there.

being dorky for his No Hands posed photo

actually drinking yeah!
We headed back up and again, when we got to the waterfall, I was going to dismount but there was no one there. Miles has been very sensible so we rode down and crossed the bridge. Then I got complacent. Going up I should have showed him the best path to take, but I let him choose. He lurched over a big rock step (we should have gone more left) and fell to his knees. Ouch! I jumped off quickly and he seemed ok, but I walked him to the top to evaluate.

He definitely had skinned both his knees, and I rinsed them with water from my water bottle. I have other first aid in my saddle bag but they weren't bleeding, I was more concerned if he was lame and if I broke my new pony! I walked him out the next half mile, where he was chipper and prancing along, seemingly none the worse for wear. I got back on and we rode the rest of the three miles back to the trailer. 

Broke my new pony (but only a little)
There I cleaned him up, applied some aluminum spray (my favorite) so he looked worse than it was! But he never took a lame step and everything has healed up fine. Lesson learned: I need to pay attention and tell green horse where to put his feet sometimes!

heading out in the cool morning
For our last trip to Auburn we headed out very early as it was going to be a really hot day. I went the other direction (also a bit gun-shy about the section he fell on) and headed downstream to explore the trails over there. There is more gravel road and less single-track, though we did go down Cardiac Hill… carefully. We practiced some cantering on the roads and also tested his mettle on the big hill at Oregon Bar, where he was enthusiastic for the whole ride up. 

Finding a snack just about anywhere

Miles is skeptical about "Cardiac Hill"

ouch, sorry about the star thistle

So I apologize for going on and on about four Auburn trips, I'm trying to get caught up. Miles has been very well behaved off site (better than at home!) with few spooky looks or hesitations. Bikes and hikers and dogs have been no problem. He certainly seems to have a good base on him, I don't know if it is his previous experience, our 100 miles of walking, or just his breeding (or all of them). We have a long way to go till we're tackling 25 miles of canyon trails for fun, but so far I think we're both having a good time getting there.

Oregon Bar view

Wesley seems to have melted while I was out riding

1 comment:

  1. nice pics! my vote is for the 100 miles of walking with support from the breeding and easy starting … something about aligning heartbeats in the no pressure context of the “herd” moving forward. its priceless yet pays endless dividends.