Monday, July 15, 2013

Best Ride Ever

T spent the night at a friends house. The sky was grey and threatening rain. Most of the Front Range was under a Flash Flood warning. It had rained heavily and noisily the night before. It didn't stop us, however. We loaded up saddle covers, rainslickers and brought halters, figuring if it got really nasty we would cover the saddle and hand walk the horses home. Everyone we saw at the barn thought we were crazy or stupid or some combination of the two.

Ashke knew when he saw J and her bike that she was part of his herd for the ride. He would look for her to make sure she was still with us. J said afterwards that it was really obvious he was making sure she was still there.

Can you see the heavy grey clouds? The temps were perfect - in the mid-70's for most of the ride. It would have been blazing hot if there hadn't been cloud cover.


We moved pretty quick. Our slowest mph was 4.4 per mile and our fastest was 16.5 mph. They didn't break a sweat until we were almost home, mostly because the sun came out.

We did a lot of trotting at first. I'm still struggling with balance and pain when we canter. I think my pain reaction is setting off Ashke, causing him to react in a not smooth way, which increases my pain issue. 

It also doesn't help that they want to race each other when we canter. We tried with Ashke in front and with Cali in front. Cali did fine in both positions, but Ashke fought me so hard, with his nose straight up in the air, that we were doing more of a stiff legged bounce than a canter.

Cali is much faster at the trot and canter. Ashke struggles to stay with her when she is moving that fast. At the walk, however, Ashke kicks butt.

We only had a couple of spooks and most of those were due to foreseeable obstacles, like the large piece of cardboard behind Cali. Both horses are becoming trail rock stars.

It was such a fun ride.

More trotting. This would be a perfect place for a canter, but we always ride it downhill. Maybe next time we will go the other way. Although, I'm not sure J will be interested in doing the switchback uphill on her bike. The long downhill would be fun.

J kept going out in front of us and stopping to take pictures.

I don't think N ever stops smiling.

Picking our way through the prickly pear.

The only issue we are still having is Ashke is still trying to figure out what to do with his butt so he doesn't hit the outside pole with his left hip. He struggles at the barn with this issue as well. I think I need to cue him to sidepass a couple more steps toward the gate, before we start to walk forward. The good news was, he didn't completely freak out and pull me away from the gate, he listened to my leg cue when I was asking him to step in, and he moved forward toward the gate when I asked him to. It was a huge win, in my opinion. Yes, there are a couple of things I can work on to make it smoother, but over all I was really happy. And he got a peppermint.

Ashke walked right into the water. I think he would have headed for the center of the lake if he could have. I'm going to need to get comfortable riding him bareback so we can pull their boots, strip off the gear and take them out far enough they can try swimming.

The trail is really pretty around the lake.

There were several opportunities to canter, some of which I opted out of but N and Cali took full advantage of.

Ashke finally figured out he wasn't going to be left and started listening to my requests rather than trying to tear away from me. Next time we will canter this path. It looked really fun.

At the top of the hill, we stripped off the bridles and used the halters to allow them a moment of grazing and to give J a breather. She kicks butt on the downhill, but we have her beat on the uphill.

He looks happy, doesn't he?

We cantered most of the way up the hill. We slowed a couple of times to give me a breather and to scout out the terrain, but overall, we cantered for over a mile. I felt like Ashke was beginning to get what I wanted from him and to give it to me, if only for a few strides at a time. I also let him run full out for a couple of hundred yards two or three times. He was more willing to be collected once he was allowed to run full out. N said Cali has such a pop on her when she is allowed to run that N is rocked back in the saddle. It's the QH in her. She can dust Ashke over short distances, although he has her beat for distance.

After the fiasco of last weekend, when we almost fell down the hill because my boy wouldn't pay attention or listen to me when I asked him to slow down and get his butt under him, he was perfection on downhills. We went down a couple of fairly steep, single horse trails and every time he walked down them with his butt under him on a loose rein. I didn't even have to do anything, he just figured it out.

Cali did so much better this ride than last. She never found a quick walk and there were several times when N thought she was exhausted, however, she was still cantering right up to the end of the ride. She and Ashke absolutely love riding with one another.

There was minimal traffic on the sidewalk for the entirety of our ride. I think the heavy clouds and flash flood warnings scared everyone off. We were both happy about that.

J says she can tell he's happy because his tail is always up and his ears are always foreward. 

We saw one garter snake, which brings the snake total this year to one rattler, one bull and one garter. The horses haven't reacted to them at all. Yet.

Cali did great. N said she had a great time and we both were grinning ear to ear most of the ride.

The horses knew they were on the last leg home. The ground gets really uneven and rocky, but we managed an uphill canter to the top of the hill, where Cali promptly shied at a police car parked on the side of the road on Hwy 93. J was waiting for us to follow her and couldn't figure out where we had gone. So limited pictures of that part of the ride.

Ashke checking in on J.

Really great picture of N and Cali.

We are coming!!

Starting to feel the miles.

Ashke loves looking for J.

Finally back on the canal trail.

I think we would have been content to walk the rest of the way home, except we were swarmed by gnats. N had to use her dressage whip to help clean them off my shirt and helmet. We decided to out run them and cantered the last bit of the canal trail.
I managed to miss taking a photo of the first page of Runmeter to post. So I had to use the history view in the calendar page. Not nearly so pretty. And the ride time and stop time are still screwed up. We may have stopped for a total of 35 - 40 minutes, but not more than that. The app isn't reading the pace when we are traveling at a walk is what I think is happening. So a better title than stopped time would be walking time and stopped time. So we walked for an hour, trotted and cantered for an hour, and rested at a stop for about 30 minutes. Our average speed is almost double what it was the last time we rode out together.


  1. Love the pictures!! About three rides ago a huge snake, just a black snake, but it was ginormous, slithered in front of Spirit, mom's horse, and Patches, the barn managers horse, and Red, Spirit and Patches stopped and had a little spooky moment but Red just walked passed it without giving it a glance, I know he saw it, but he was just like, "Meh." Then again he's fairly used to that stuff... Hahaha!

    1. We've come across three snakes this year and all three times Ashke has been curious but not scared. I don't get it.

  2. I love his expression in every picture, he looks so happy! Even with a chance of rain, it looks like it was a great ride.

    1. Awesome ride! And the clouds kept the heat down, which is always better.

  3. Bike photographer = best ever! How fun.

    1. We love riding together. And she takes great photos.

  4. I Did Love That Ride A Week, Gorgeous Area. Your Bike Photographer Is Awesome!!!
    Loved Loved The One Where You Two Are In The Sky With Your Horses, And Mountains.

    My Cardio Trainer Pauses For Us when We Stop. I Just Love These Apps!

    Glad You Went, Even No One Thought It A Good Day...You Rock!

    1. My favorite picture is the one you enjoy, but it won't work for the blog picture. I'm going to get it printed and put it in my office at work, though.

  5. Really cute pictures and it looked like you had fun (always important!).