Monday, May 5, 2014


J and I rode out from the barn on our typical ride on the Fairmont Trail. It was a lovely day, but with very little foot traffic on the trail.

I have no idea what the hell was going on here. I think I was asking him to stop and he was resisting.

When we got close to Tucker lake we took a detour up a path I have been curious about. Unfortunately, it was a feeder path through the neighborhood and didn't really lead any where. We wandered through the neighborhood and ended back up at Tucker Lake.

I wasn't done exploring though. We followed a new bike path up through these two neighborhoods and ended up connecting to a nice path that took us back to the main loop of the Fairmont, which we followed home.

Ashke had a great ride. We cantered four times on trail, with my confidence getting higher each time.

J seemed to have a nice ride. We stopped at about half way through and ate sandwiches and shared an orange. Ashke was allowed to graze during our stop. (And he kept snatching bites as we walked.)

We had a great time and the exploring managed to add a mile and a half to our ride.
A couple of ride notes: As we got back close to home there is a field we like to canter in. J asked me if I was going to canter and I said sure. I asked Ashke for a canter. He transitioned up nicely, took three steps and stopped. On a dime. If I had not been holding the front of his saddle I would have been off. As it was, the stop rocked us all the way forward and I faceplanted on his neck. Ashke then tried in a awkward and ineffectual way to jump the small stand of dried weeds that he stopped for. For some reason he does not think he can run through them.
Second, when we got back to the barn, Gina was there untacking her horse. She said that we can get to Partridge Park (one of my many goals) by turning right on the dirt track instead of turning left and going back to the Fairmont. We will try that some day next weekend. She offered to ride out with me, which I thought would be a lot of fun. I hope J and I and possibly T can do a couple of rides next weekend.
I washed him after our ride, fed him his mash and supps, then left him with two full buckets of Horse Quencher. The day was in the low 80's and I wanted to make sure he drank a lot. He emptied both buckets by 8 pm and they were refilled with fresh water for the night.

On Sunday we trailered back to Dowdy Draw. J and T brought their bikes. Ashke was not certain he wanted to get on the trailer, so I didn't even mess around. I put the come-a-long on him (without any pressure) and walked him to the trailer. I let him think about it briefly and then asked with the lead rope without adding pressure on the butt rope (remember - I'm not trying to force him in, I am trying to stop him from pulling back and backing up.) He stepped on the trailer and waited fairly calmly for me to get the rope off him again. He called once and then was fine.
When we got to the parking lot the lot was full, but there were two different hikers who had just parked their cars in the trailer parking side. I kicked them out. The one guy, who was kind of snotty about it, demanded to know where the sign was dictating that the side we were on was for horse trailer parking only. I walked him over and showed him the four by six foot sign on the huge rock as you pull in. It was hard for him to argue with that. Both groups moved their cars and we pulled into the slot that they opened up.
When I got Ashke out of the trailer, he stood fairly quietly, waiting for me to get him ready. He wasn't interested in the grass, just in being on the trail. We got ready and out of the parking lot in pretty decent time. 

I have to tell you, this horse completely impresses me more every day.
He has no problem spending the day trail riding with J and T. He's not stressed or nervous and he was forward and willing on the trail.

Parking lot from the top of the hill and J and T by the fence.
We stopped a mile in to eat beef jerky and let Ashke graze. We really need to figure the food thing out. I had planned on packing sandwiches and sodas, but then we forgot to stop to get them. The snacks thing held us over, but the boy still got grumpy.

This is a fairly technical trail down off the plateau into the valley. It is really rocky and the first time Ashke has been asked to traverse something this "footy". He had a couple of missteps where he was gawking at something to his left, but other than that he was awesome!!

This trail feels scarier than it looks. The drop off to the right was pretty steep and even Ashke was snorting softly at it. T was worried he would lose control and tumble down the draw.

It switchbacks and then leads to the creek. The creek has a path on it that leads back up to the plateau and would be a stiff but direct climb up to the parking lot. That was the plan.

Still heading down.

You can see the creek in the background of this photo. It was washed out in the flooding last year and the crossing over it was hairy enough I got off and led Ashke. I was afraid of him slipping on wet rocks and wanted him balanced and able to scramble without my weight throwing him off. He was a rock star!!

Somewhat happy.

This bridge was about three feet wide with a small waterfall on one side and a fairly swift moving stream. Ashke walked over it without any issues.
I love my horse!!
The Flatiron Mountain Range.
The same mountain range we have on our rings.
So, instead of riding the community ditch trail back to 93 and then up to the parking lot, we had to go the long way. They are building an underpass under 93 for bikes, horses and people, but it's still being built, so the ditch was closed. T was not happy, but none of us wanted to turn around and go back up that draw.
We had to ride on the side of the road from the trailhead to where it connects with 93. Way in the distance starting up the hill is J and T. Ashke and I were a bit slower. At the top of that hill is a convenience store where we bought sandwiches, sodas and some Sweetarts (bribery for the boy). We all felt much better after eating. By this time we were all tired and sunburned. (And yes, I did have a DP. Don't judge me.)
Across the road from the convenience store was this.
This riding path has been on my bucket list for 20 years. This was the only time T had fun all day.
There was a lot less rock in this park and even the uphills were less taxing. The footing was pretty good and Ashke and I cantered quite a bit.
So beautiful when it's green.
Nice wide paths, with little rock.
There were a couple of bridges I got off to lead him across. I get nervous when you can see between the boards.

This is the community ditch trail and probably the best footing all day. We did a lot of cantering here.
The boy was not happy with the climb up to the plateau. He was so unhappy I offered to put him up on Ashke and I would lead Ashke and push the bike. He refused and stopped talking to me. This was the top of the plateau again. We rode down off of this and crossed the road to get back to where we parked the truck.

Back at the trailer Ashke drank down a full bucket of water with Horse Quencher and then ate some of his mash while I untacked him. During the untacking process I discovered that the toe of his front glove was gone. I need to order replacements. I also need to add powerstraps to the backs.
When we went to load him, J took the rope and walked him onto the trailer. No muss. No fuss. No hesitation, even. Just walked on. She's in charge of loading from now on. When we reached the barn I rinsed him off, checked his legs and put him away with another bucket of Horse Quencher.
The plan is to let him move a bit in the round pen tonight at liberty, to check his legs and make sure he is still sound. Then he will have time off until the new saddle gets here. I may rub his back tonight with Sore No More to help keep the muscles loose and to help with any pain.
18.7 miles in two days. Not bad at all.


  1. Your trails are gorgeous, Karen! Love the photos and love that you are getting to cross off all of these goals with your boy! He looks SO HAPPY!! And yay for continued progress with trailer loading! I had a feeling that would disappear once he realized trailer = fun adventures. :)

  2. What a great summer you're having! And it's only May!
    Congrats on the easy loading. That makes trips more fun!

  3. Wow I'm so jealous of your trails! So pretty! I have no trails... all roads for us. Ugh! I'm glad you had a good time. Why did T go if he was having no fun? I might have missed something lol.

    Oh and I loved all of the photos! I love Ashke's white ears. :D