Sunday, February 3, 2013

Strong Sunday

I started my morning by helping my friend Lisa move her new Straight Egyptian gelding, A-Maar, from the old farm to the place where Lisa boards her horses. We were expecting it to take quite a while. I went to catch A-Maar for Lisa, since her shoulder is bothering her and we didn't want it injured, and A-Maar turned his butt to me. I flipped the end of the lead rope at him, not touching him, and kept flipping it until he decided to turn and face me. Once he did, I stopped flipping the rope at him and stood, letting him think about it. He tried to dodge around me and I moved to block him. He stopped and let me get the halter on him. He was very excited to see Lisa (she has been working with him between when she put the deposit down on him and now.) I led him around to the trailer and Lisa started feeding him cookies. For cookies, A-Maar walked into the trailer. Completely uneventful. We trailered him to his new home and got him set up in the round pen. Lisa needs to introduce the alfalfa they feed with the grass he was already getting, so as not to colic him. In a week or so, they will move him in with Blaze. I think he has already started to bond with Lisa and was very affectionate with her. (Got to love Arabians.) Lisa is going to have his feet done when the vet floats his teeth, while he is under sedation. The expectation is that he will let Michelle trim him eight weeks later because of the work Lisa will do with him in between times.


Lisa has found a place in Evergreen where VK can be on pasture for the rest of his life. Sadly, I don't think it will be too long. You can see how badly his hip is starting to twist, and how painful it is becoming for him to move. It was bittersweet for me to see the older and the younger in pens across from each other. It felt like VK passed the torch to the new horse today. 

Then I went and spent the rest of the day riding Ashke. Nicole was really sick so it was my boy and I. There were a lot of horses in the arena and I didn't want to ride inside, so I told Cinnamon where we were going and Ashke and I took off.

We rode our regular trail up to where it meets the main road. Then we turned right and headed into unknown territory.

The plan today was for Ashke and Cali, Nico and myself, to ride the Mesa. I wasn't going to let Nico's sickness derail my plan. We headed uphill.

There is a point where the road goes straight up, at about a 14% grade. Ashke was puffing and struggling to carry us both up, so I dismounted. He was lifting his head too high and hollowing out his back and I didn't want that to continue. I led him up the steepest part and led him back down on our way home.

This is about half way up the Mesa, looking out over the valley below, taken while I was leading him. I think his right hamstring got a bit sore, but he did really well on the ride. He didn't act up, he didn't balk, he seemed really interested in everything we saw. It was amazing.

We did over 1000 feet of elevation gain on the ride. You can see where the road we walked up stretched out behind us.

I have been carrying our Nikonpix camera in a gameboy carrier attached to my belt. Takes much better pictures than my iPhone.

After we got past the really steep part, I mounted up again and we headed for the top of the Mesa.

We made it up on top, which is a lot bigger than I would have guessed before we got up there.

We meandered around a bit, doing kind of a loopy circle. The only issue I have with the mesa is that it is incredibly rocky. I'm thinking I need to get boots before we do a lot of riding up there.

There was quite a few people on the trails. Runners, bikers, people with babies and people with dogs. Didn't bother Ashke in the least.

Got close to the edge, but didn't look down. I'm afraid of heights.

There were deer, which Ashke wanted to chase. 

He got real jiggy, wanting to go after them. It was too rocky to try and do that, not to mention, not good for the deer. We motored past.

Silhouetted against the sky. It was very windy and cold up on top. 

We followed a guy with a baby border collie down the hill.

Almost two hour ride. I was pretty tired when we got back. Ashke was more than ready to tuck into his bran mash with carrots and a couple of peppermints.

Not bad for elevation, eh? 

On the map, between the one mile marker and the 4 mile marker is a patch of trail that is darker. That is the really steep part where I led Ashke on foot. We had a great ride. It would have been better if Nico could have come, but it wasn't bad as it was. 

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