Saturday, May 19, 2018

Trail Rides, And What I've Learned

There comes a time, you have to put your preparation to work for you, and that time has come for Leah and me.  I haven't been writing much because we've been on the trail a lot.  Instead of practice bridges, we have real bridges.  Instead of practice polls, we have real logs to cross.  Instead of puddles, we have rivers, creeks, and lakes.

We've been exposed to new horses, new trails, and new challenges. Each ride has been a learning experience.  On this one, we practiced bridges, and things that go over bridges--like runners, walkers, and fast bikes.

The river is high, so we practiced wading out into it.  With caution!  A couple weeks after this picture was taken I had a friend who got a horse stuck in the same area.  She said it was like quick sand.

I inspected it pretty well as we waded into it, and I didn't expect her to stand in it because I could see her feet sinking when we stood still too long.

We were in and out.

The balsamroot was abundant on that trip.  Now, there are even more wildflowers, so I will start packing a plant and flower guide in my saddle bags.  The one I use is, "Plants of the Southern Interior British Columbia and the Inland Northwest" by Parish, Couple, Lloyd.

Mother's Day brought a mother/daughter/son-in-law/husband ride.  Be still my heart!!  

On this ride I learned to take my time and help everyone get their fresh horses thinking before we took off.  I planned for a long, long ride because two of the horses hadn't been on the trail yet this year.  We started at the round pen and progressed from there.  It made for a wonderful ride!

I also learned that my daughter makes the best trail partner and the best friend.

And my husband isn't shabby either!!!  I love this man.

The cowboy boot was the theme of my Mother's Day.  This one was from my daughter.

And this one, for the outside, was from my husband.  They didn't coordinate.

Lots of rides with friends.  We're just taking it easy and getting our horses in shape.  Different day, same trail, but this particular route is a really good one for exposing horses to many kinds of stimulus-dogs, people, bikes, water, trees, cliffs, logs, etc.

It's always nice to practice tying to the tree afterward while the girls have lunch.

This was the most recent ride from Wednesday.  It was wet and buggy.  What I learned is that I need to pack a lightweight, trail fly mask, fly spray, OFF (for me), and a roll-on fly spray for my horse's face.  My trail partner had taken a roll-on deodorant bottle and filled it with fly spray.  

Here is what I pack in my saddle bags:

phone (often on my hip)
flower/plant book
fly spray
fly mask
lightweight gloves

We had a tough creek crossing on this ride, but I learned it's okay to jump off and get your boots wet!  I'm trying to avoid a fight on the trail.  And by that, I mean I'm trying to get better at figuring out when Leah's no means NO.  I don't want her to feel like she has to notch it up a peg to get her point across.  She looked as if she was going to flip around and run, so I dismounted and played with her in the creek for a while. She has no problem doing anything if she sees me doing it first.  Silly girl.

It has been raining a lot, but this is my pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

No pictures, but I have been taking lessons with Bee.  One was at the park--worked her, then rode  her in the roundpen, then drove her over the trail obstacle course.  The second was here at home, where we did pretty much the same.

Also, I've decided NOT to breed Cowgirl.  I just don't feel like taking the risk with her, and I don't feel qualified.  The next horse I get is going to be, most likely, my last, and I prefer to meet it on the ground, rather than taking a chance and rolling the dice.

I hate leaving Cowboy behind, but his head shaking is at its worst in spring, so I've been letting him rest a bit.  I do hope to ride him more as spring progresses and he gets better.  That's looking to be real soon.

Oh, and at DAY 93, I had reached my half way point to my goal.  That is good news for me because we aren't half way through the year yet!  We have a month and almost a half left--which means I should be ahead of schedule.  Woot!  Woot!

I hope you're all doing well and getting in lots of time with your herd!  Congratulations to Shirley on her new little Tumbleweed!


  1. You've been busy! I once knew a man from the Congo who traveled the world, and he said that Lake Tahoe was the most beautiful place on earth, but I'd venture to say that those trails you ride beat L.T. in beauty. Love the boots and flowers. I have a boot in my sewing room. It holds rulers and scissors.

    1. Thank you! We do have beautiful trails. Yesterday, a cougar attacked and killed a biker here in Washington—but on the west side of the state. We went on a ride last night, and I couldn’t get it off my mind. We carry a gun, and that is why. Also, at the trailheads. Every once and a while some scary people show up at the trailheads. It’s pretty common to have your vehicle’s windshield broken out, which doesn’t scare me as much as the other possibilities. I see lots of deer, occasionally moose, and lots of wild turkeys. These parks are on the edge of a city, but they are still wild. All this is to say...I don’t want to get attacked by a cougar or a bad dude!! 😭🤣

      Your boot sounds lovely!

    2. Yeah, I had a hallucination that there was a mountain lion on my driveway one night, and the next day I heard the news about the cougar attack. That was disturbing. I also saw (no hallucination this time) two homeless men at the back of my property cut across three of my neighbors' yards. That was disturbing too. Our homeless population is going up and they are spilling into our neighborhood. I don't want to be afraid to go into the arroyo behind my house and have to start locking my tack room again. Actually, I am afraid to go into the arroyo right now, because there is a killer bee nest down there.

    3. Scary!! Killer bees would stop me in my tracks!! It’s sad that we have to be scared of people, but I guess you should be prepared everywhere.

  2. What a beautiful spring you are having and amazing rides! Looks like excellent progress. I love the photos you've posted ~ just beautiful! Thank you!

  3. You've got a great approach to helping Leah progress. I think she's doing just great! Beautiful trails but like you say it's always good to be prepared for any incident that may come up. Enjoy your rides and congratulations on being halfway through your goal.

    1. Thanks! She has come a long way and I’m really proud of her. It’s a good feeling to think back on all the work we’ve done and see where she’s at today. 😌😀

  4. I wish I had as many rides in as you do! Now that the foal is here it is dividing my time - part of the day caring for him and mama and finding time to work Gussie and Mesa. Needless to say the foal comes first!
    Finally got boots for Gussie so I should be able to head out on trail rides with other folks soon.
    Nice that you got a quality family ride in :o)

    1. Oh, you’re lucky to have a foal to play with. I’m jealous. That will make your summer fun!

  5. Those are stunning trails! What a lovely way to spend time with family!

  6. A field of yellow flowers is always my cue to stop and let Padre enjoy his favourite treat. We have not had a single drop of rain... and the ticks are everywhere this year.

    1. That’s unfortunate. We’ve had plenty of rain and lots of bugs, too. I hope we get a reprieve from fires.


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