Today, N and I and J headed to Marshall Lake. There was traffic (construction on 93 to complete the underpass for the Community Ditch ride) and we sat just in sight of Dowdy Draw. I realized that Boulder Park and Rec was doing trail maintenance there and the side of the parking lot that is for trailers was completely empty. Woot!! I suggested to J that we stop there instead of waiting for traffic to clear. It was wonderful. One of the PnR people came over to tell us they were doing work on the trail and asked if our horses were going to be okay with the noise. We told her we would handwalk them up past the construction, but that otherwise they should be okay.
It was just starting to sprinkle when we headed out. Cali was pretty up and tried some rodeo shenanigans. I suggested we trot them for a bit and we trotted out pretty much the first mile (and yes, all of you endurance riders can stop laughing at me now). For Cali, extending distance is a work in progress and even being able to up our speed from 3 mph to 4 mph is a positive improvement. We may never be endurance riders, but we will have nicely conditioned horses. We opted to do the small loop on the top of the draw, just because it is so pretty and we weren't sure what the weather was going to do. The storm that was threatening moved away and we rode under some cloud cover for the first 45 minutes or so, then the sun came out and we began to wistfully wish for the clouds to return.
He loves being on trail. The ground seemed so much rockier this ride, and I'm not sure why.
Cali and N had a great ride as well. We both worked on a little of our dressage while we rode, and neither horse seemed to fight that idea. Cali has gotten very arena sour, so it was good for her and N to ride without a fight.
My left hand and I practiced, but I had to trade off every once and a while.
I definitely need to get an ear bonnet for my boy. He was head shaking a lot of our ride, because of the bugs.
Yes, we are posers.
J is beginning to seriously contemplate the benefits of riding a horse on these trails. The rocks kicked her butt today.
Ashke likes to lead. Cali likes to follow. We made them switch places for a while. It makes Ashke very bouncy and hard to rate.
The path we took today ended up taking us by a small pond. Both horses were excited. Cali tried to roll. Thankfully, N was able to stop her from going all the way down, was able to get her out of the pond. J, faithful photographer she is, caught it on the phone.
We got back to the trailer at about an hour's worth of riding, so I suggested we ride on the other side of the road. Everyone agreed and we went to the light to cross. J opted for what looked like a flat ride, but which turned into a downhill and very rocky path. We turned around and headed back. N and I had had limited opportunity to ride at a canter and I suggested we try cantering up the hill. She was game and so we started off. We ran into trouble. See, Ashke canters fairly slowly and Cali has a huge stride, but if Cali leads than Ashke becomes a speed demon monster with zero control. We can't ride next to each other, because then Cali kicks at Ashke (mares!!) Going up that hill, trying to stay behind Cali enough that she wouldn't kick at him, and still maintaining our sanity did not work. Ashke and I got into a fight. We ended up spinning in a circle until he stopped and then went on at a trot. (We can do the trot, it's just the canter that gives us both issues.)
I lost a back boot at that point and neither N or I realized it until J said something about it when we got back to her. I got off, fixed the boot and then crossed the road again before getting back on. We had one more canter, where Cali waited a little bit before following us and that seemed to work pretty well. We will continue with that until Ashke is listening to my aids a little bit better. We just need more work on the canter.
Not bad for Cali's third trail ride this year.
Tomorrow the plan is to try Chatfield Reservior.