I asked Ashke to load on the trailer, allowing him to take a moment and examine the request. He sniffed and then pulled back. I went to get the rope. As I was walking him around to grab the rope out of the tack room of the trailer. A woman at the barn was stepping out of her car and asked if I needed help. I smiled and said no. She and N started talking and I guess she was willing to wave a dressage whip at Ashke to help him load. That would have been a horrible idea for my horse. It would have scared him and made it impossible to get him on the trailer. N explained to her that I had something that helped him load without freaking him out. J, of course, videoed us using the come-a-long, for those of you who were wondering.
Cali loaded with as little issue as Ashke and then we were off to Bear Creek.
It was hot out and I had expected more shade. But not really. Not so much.
We did some pretty steep ups and downs. I figure on the day we gained and lost 1000 feet in elevation.
We only managed to cross one "river" and obviously Cali enjoyed it a lot.
After our last ride, Cali had small nicks on her hind pasterns, so N left her dressage boots on for this trail ride. This downhill let us figure out that although she tightropes normally, she over steps on her tightrope line so her left hind crosses over the median to the right side, and the right does the same to the left side when going down hill.
We climbed to the top of one of the headlands
Some of the trails were a lot more challenging for J than for us
When we got to the top of the headland we discovered that the way around was a single track trail along the side of the mountain, with a fairly steep drop off to the left. This is N's kryptonite. I started along it because is rose and then dropped and I couldn't see the entire trail and N started to panic, just a little. I turned around before she started chucking rocks at my head. I had already realized that we couldn't go that way, but I just wanted to see what the entire trail looked like. It wasn't worth the stress. We turned and went back down.
Some of the trail was pretty rocky and we got barked at by prairie dogs.
We also had some really nice trails were we trotted and cantered. At the far end of Bear Creek Lake was a flat, paved road. We trotted the length of that road, from one side of the lake to the other. Ashke has always had a problem with trotting fast enough to keep up with Cali, but today he managed it. He kept his head down, really using his back, and trotted out. It was fast but it was smooth. It was like riding a cresting wave.
Then we ate lunch in literally knee high grass. Ashke was pretty sweaty when we stopped for lunch.
Cali was finally happy
J was a rock star. She ported her bike a couple of times.
N was intent on the Beef Jerky. It was more than time for lunch.
And what would the blog post be without a selfie
We had ridden for an hour at this point in our ride and were averaging about 3:05 a mile.
We let J ride ahead and then we cantered behind her. She said that kept her moving. It also gave Ashke someone to chase.
On the next ride I plan on cantering Ashke behind Cali. We may have to ride a touch faster than I am comfortable with, but Cali was struggling today not to ride over the top of us. Ashke has demonstrated that he is very sure footed, so now we just need to work on riding with control in the back of the pack.
Ashke kept his tail raised for the day and seemed to really love the ride.
We came to another stream we needed to cross and both horses refused. In fact, Cali tried to run into a Russian Olive tree to avoid the stream. In their defense, the mud at the edge of the stream with thick and viscous, and when their hooves began to sink, both horses wanted nothing to do with it. We tried following the trail along the edge of the canal, but after a mile or so, it led to the road. This was the place where we cantered and even galloped the most all day.
We ended up crossing a bridge we weren't supposed to cross in order to get back to the truck.
Actually, we had to do that twice.
My horse loves his job
The only change we would make on the day would be to ride with hydration packs instead of the pommel bags. I am really dehydrated tonight and I drank everything I carried by the time we finished lunch. Too hot and too dry. I hate how the hydration pack rides, but maybe it will be better with the Alta. Because everything is better with the Alta.
There were some shadows, but mostly it was sunny and hot.
We also rode on a couple of trails we weren't supposed to, but by that time we were tired enough we didn't really care.
The ride was amazing and had lots of pretty scenery. However, I would have loved to have been able to cross more water. Alas, perhaps later in the year when it's not running as high or as fast as it was today.
We got back to the trailer, pulled tack and boots, offered water (which Ashke drank and Cali tried to paw in) and then went to load. I said to Ashke, come on buddy, let's go home. He walked on the trailer without any hesitation. Cali loaded just as easily. We headed home.