Ashke in the hackamore
So, the hackamore was a failure. First, I am not happy with the fit around his nose. Even tightened as much as I feel comfortable with, Ashke could flip it around on his face, which he did with regular abandon. As for how well it worked on the trail . . . well it didn't, unless you think having your horse's nose up between his ears while he is galloping, fighting and rearing down the trail, arguing with your request to slow down and watch where he is putting his feet, is working well. He braced against the request to slow more in the hackamore than he did in the Myler. It was very frustrating to ride.
J and Coyote
This is where the hill begins to get steep. That guy up in front of us totally kicked both of our butts going up the hill. J made it about a third of the way up before we had to stop and let her catch her breath.
The Mesa is almost a mile climb up and this isn't really the steep part. It's a mile climb to get to the road that rolls around the edges of the mesa.
Taking another quick break. Once we were up the first long hill, J rode the rest of the ride without having to stop.
One of the only issues we really have with riding together, especially on trails like this, is that I go fast uphill and she goes fast downhill. This does make ongoing conversation difficult as we play hopscotch. We do still find things to talk about when we meet up again.
The pictures don't do the colors justice. It's been such a beautiful autumn.
When we turned for home, Ashke lost his shit. It didn't help that a lot of the ride home was downhill and J absolutely flew. We were cantering the singletrack where we could but had no hope of keeping up with her. When we hit the main road, Ashke fought and reared and twisted and did everything but turn himself inside out trying to fight out of the hackamore. We almost went off trail three times, twice on fairly steep drops (not fall and die drops, but more like, bash his legs to bits on the rocks drops). We got back safely, but it was tense.
I went to the consignment shop at the barn and picked out two new bits to try. They were similar in style but one was much heavier and a touch wider, with longer shanks.
Low, wide port
I tried them both on and both J and I agreed that the shorter shank, lighter bit was a better fit. I think it is a 4.75" and the other one was a 5". I really didn't like the weight of the bigger bit, so I am happy that the shorter shank one fit better. It also fit the medieval bridle that I got for my birthday much better than the hackamore.
Ashke snorted for the first fifteen minutes. You can't really tell from this video, but he was doing little spooks and shies at the weeds.
J rode her street bike instead of Coyote, since there was not a lot of difficult terrain to traverse.
We did the Fairmount backwards and as you can tell from Ashke's ears, he wasn't happy.
If you watch, Ashke kept turning his head back and looking back at the barn, plaintively.
It was driving me crazy. Add to that, he was short striding on the right hind.
Going back to the Smartpak Smart Flex II as soon as I can get it here.
I think this is the first time I can remember in 27 years that we are having an extended autumn.
We climbed to the headland. He kept looking behind us with longing.
We took the singletrack horse trail from the bottom of the switchback to the top of the headland.
J had taken off earlier from the top of the prior hill (to gain momentum for the climb) and barely beat us to the top.
I told J that when we got the point where Ashke knew where he was in relationship to the barn, that he would get more forward than he had been and maybe he would stop looking behind him. Sure enough, when we capped the top of the plateau Ashke stopped in his tracks and looked around. I could tell when he recognized Tucker lake. Then he turned and looked at Table Mountain. Then he looked back at Tucker lake and J waiting for us. I could feel it when he decided it was shorter to go ahead, then it was to turn around. He picked up a trot on the downhill headed to where J was waiting for us. Stinker.
The pack is freaking awesome. So light weight I don't remember it's there. I have the phone in a pocket on the front designed for a smart phone, that flips down and allows me to access the screen without taking it out of the sleeve. Best thing ever. I am so very happy.
Next test is to try it on a day when we pack a lunch.
There was a very large Siberian husky in front of us who was standing on his hind legs in excitement about Ashke.
Very forward on our way home.
The ride home was the test of the new bit. Ashke was still being very spooky at rocks and grass. And the occasional shadow, so I made him trot this long path. And then we cantered the rest of the way home. There is a singletrack path that Ashke is always allowed to gallop up and he loves to race as fast as he can. I discovered at that point that the curb strap was a bit loose, so I got off and tightened it while we waited for J to catch up to us.
You can see him pop his head up and test the bit a couple of times. Both times he dropped his chin and accepted contact. Much better than with the Myler or the Kimberwick.
Last canter on the way home. Overall, a good ride. 7.8 miles at 5 mph.