Monday, February 20, 2023

cronan firsts

I am fully taking advantage of the lull in our winter to get some rides in. California weather does this almost every year, a false spring, but after the deluge of December and early January I'll take it!

filling up before the ride
This time Miles and I teamed up with Rocky and S to explore Cronan ranch. I've been there many times but not with Miles before. I was happy to be showing S around as she'd been, but not on very many of the trails. And Rocky is the absolute best boy! Such a good role model for Miles. The parking lot was packed with cars, I'm assuming runners and bikes, as we were the only trailer there.

love this conifer section by the creek
We first split off the main trail out and do a nice single-track trail called Gerle Loop, then head out on the still-misspelled "Connecter trail" (sigh…). There is a long, fairly narrow bridge across the creek now, I've never done anything like that with Miles. I had him go first, and I'm not sure if it is smart or foolhardy, but I just assume he can and don't worry about it and he does! He certainly takes leadership from his person, but is naturally brave anyway.

love this viewpoint

good boy drinking

at the river for the first time
The views are always beautiful. I practiced having Miles both lead and follow, at the walk and trot. A small storm was rolling in, the wind increasing as the day progressed, but the footing was great and we headed down to the river. We followed the river trail, seeing from debris piles how high the river was in January. There were quite a few people on the trails but there are many miles of trails and everyone was pretty spread out. And everyone was so nice. We gave trail when we could and graciously thanked everyone who stopped for us. (And Miles even got a treat from a cyclist, his favorite thing!)We headed back into the valley floor. There is a nice, long level trail that we worked on some leapfrog exercises as well as trotting side by side (Mr. Competitive showed up for that one).

good hair day riding

We came to the steep Up-Down Trail and hand-walked the horses down. Bikes came past, slowly both directions, and the only glitch was a loose dog, luckily friendly, but really? (This park is managed by the Bureau of Land Management, which allows off-leash dogs, but the owner should be in sight at least!!)

Rocky following, this looks epic, I love it.
Back on Connecter trail we headed home. Miles was a bit more forward but I made him wait when his faster walk outpaced Rocky. The funniest part was when we got to where the Gerle Loop split off. He was convinced we had to go back that way, and I let him lead just to see what he'd do. He turned across the trail and started heading that way! We can literally see the parking lot in the distance, but he knew the way we'd come, so it must be the way we had to go to get home! He grudgingly walked down the main trail, but I still don't think he figured it out till we were almost back. He won't forget again, he is very smart about finding his way home.

threatening skies

heading home
Back at the trailer the boys were grateful for their haybags while we had a snack too. This was a good adventure for us all. Rocky was pretty full of it (for him!), S is learning a lot, and I am lucky to have a good training partner. Our ride home was extra long due to a traffic accident, but we can all sure talk horses for a long time! The rain started just as we got everything unloaded, perfect timing for a successful ride.

I'd like to request more alfalfa please

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Miles: one year

One year ago I decided to risk it and take a chance on (another) young, bay, Arab gelding. 
February 15, 2022. Looking a little cautious.

We've both learned a lot, and have a lot farther to go. (Though we did go 575 miles this year, I was surprised at that!)

So here is to many more trails, happy Gotcha day Miles.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

two times

Staying off of delicate trails while they dry is so hard when the sun is out and it is perfect riding weather. Luckily the roads in Auburn are great for that, though maybe not as interesting. I rode very similar trails twice, and I rode two different horses. Both of them were Miles, but first was Miles with Beau, the second one was Miles by himself. I sure like the second Miles better (we have work to do).

remembering to follow at a respectful distance

it was icy in the shade

We went out with Beau to explore how dry the trails were and how the boys would behave together. Short story: they don't very well! So we will need more practice with others (which I knew). Beau has not had enough work after pulling from Tevis last year, and is full of it. Miles just feeds off of all that. So there was walking and circling and lagging behind (on purpose), separating and dealing with it, for horse and human! Going home Miles finally settled down. It was half walking and half riding, but we have a lot to improve on.

now that we're home, can I play with Beau?
Then we headed out the next weekend by ourselves (also in a new-to-me saddle, having fitting issues). Beau was at the trailhead with another horse, and Miles didn't care at all. We left and rode our own ride, and damn, what a good boy!

obligatory weird barrels, just cool

heading down to the river

can't we just stay out here?

all the green starting to peek through

He was forward but rateable, went everywhere and at everything I pointed him at, no spooking or much silliness. Best part: he drank out of everything he saw. Random weird spring that funnels into a tiny bucket, sure! Old trough with running water, sure! Puddles? Ok!

weird spring, yummy!

roadside trough, all good!

Plus is was just gorgeous out. The river trail has really good footing, and the rest was gravel roads. We could have stayed out longer but I'm cautious of bringing him along slowly, We did 11 miles with 1300 feet of elevation gain, and he was never tired, though he was very sweaty!

dam view does not get old

going up

looking downstream

what else are we doing? We're done buddy.

I think moving forward a balance of rides with others to trainhis brain to that and rides alone will be a good compromise. The weather still looks perfect for another weekend, so off to find more trails!

drying off after eating grass snacks