Are the only thing you can see when you take your eyes off the goal.
Today our high was 63, with little wind and bright blue skies. I had ridden on Friday night (another awesome indoor ride with my ponyboy) but Saturday it was grey and cloudy. Neither J or I felt like riding, so instead we just napped and played on the electronics. Today, however, was a different story.
We were supposed to be at TMR to get K by 10:30. At nine, when we pulled the bike up from downstairs, J found a dozen goatheads in her back tire in place of the air that was supposed to be there.
These little MF's are the reason J has a slime strip and slime spray in her wheels.
They hurt like a Mofo when you step on them.
They are the bane of the west.
We loaded up and headed to the store where we got the bike. Their online hours said they opened at 10. I called K and told her we were going to be late because we needed a new tube. Patching six holes sounded like it was going to take longer than going to the bike store. We got there and walked up to the door at 10, which is when he saw the Winter Hours posted saying they didn't open until 11. Cussing ensued. I got back online (what did we ever do without cell phones?) and found a bike shop near the barn which opened at ten. We got there at 10:20. At this point I figured we were going to be about 45 minutes late. It took the guy 40 minutes to change the tube. 40 minutes. I was about to rip his head off. And we think he screwed up the bearings in J's back tire, since that was the only thing that happened between this ride and her last one, and her tire did not want to spin freely on our ride.
We left the bike shop at 11. Drove to the barn, hooked up the trailer, loaded gear and the horse and drove to TMR in 39 minutes. Ashke took three tries to load. He wasn't real sure he wanted to go and I was feeling the pressure of getting him on right away. (The best laid plans of mice and (wo)men). He loaded easily on the third try, although I was thinking about pulling out the come along. K was waiting with her gear in her car (much easier to load from there) and Eddy in the outdoor arena. Eddy started racing up and down the arena when he saw the trailer. Once the gear was loaded, K went to get Eddy.
Eddy walked onto the trailer with his front feet and then backed away twice. I grabbed the dressage whip to tap on his haunches. He is long enough he can position his head and front feet in the trailer with his hind feet on the ground. By tapping the back of his legs we can usually get him to step on the trailer. This time he threw up his head and backed out. K circled him and headed him toward the trailer. Eddy went sideways with his head, knocked K off balance and then ran over the top of her and broke away. It looked to me like he had clipped her with a couple of hoofs, but missed stepping on her and hadn't knocked her hat off. K told us later that was the second time he pulled away from her this week. Little shit. I went after Eddy, who had ran to the barn, and J went to help K.
Eddy was eating hay in the aisle when I walked up to him. I said, "Son, that was a really bad idea" as I wrapped the lead rope over the soft part of his nose. His bullying of K is just not okay and she's still putting tools in her tool box (speaking of which, I saw the girl with the little mustang mare I helped out last week and guess what - that little mare is now holding still for her to mount. FTW!) At some point in the past, Eddy was allowed to get away with this behavior and it is his go-to when he doesn't want to do something. When we walked out to go to the trailer, K was coming inside and she was livid. She told me to load him because she couldn't be dispassionate with him. Eddy went with me to the trailer and then pulled back and reared, which wasn't a lot of fun with the rope wrapped over his nose. He popped himself pretty good. He tried to pull away with me and I stopped that before it got started. I made him back up and then turned and he walked on the trailer. He got lots of scritches and good boys and then we headed out. Luckily, K was still up for the ride. Eddy hadn't stepped on her (pure luck in my opinion) and had just brushed the back of her thigh with the back of his hoof.
We went to Spring Gulch, where J discovered that at some point in our carting around her bike today, the brake for her front disc brakes had gotten bumped and closed the disc without the tire inside. That meant she wouldn't be able to ride, since she couldn't get the front tire on. It was the frosting on the cake. J went online (again, with the cell phone) and found a method of opening the disc brakes (Yeah!! my wife is a badass!!). This saved our day.
The ride was somewhat dry in a lot of places, but where it was wet, it was really wet.
The Castle. The one on the left is about 8000 sq ft. The one on the right could hold a small country. I'm guessing 30,000 sq ft. The MIL house to the right is probably 5000 sq ft.
At the point we turned south and moved off of the crushed gravel and onto singletrack, it got really muddy. We stopped before J could completely brick her bike. The mud did not help with the sluggish movement of J's back tire.
Eddy handled some new obstacles today. He crossed two busy roads, once while being lead, the other while K was riding him. He handled people running up behind him and bikes coming towards him. He even handled a small herd of horses thundering up and down their pasture right next to us.
Ashke was a rock star.
On our way back we decided to take the trail from our first ride back, to make a loop instead of an out and back ride.
Ashke was very up when we turned around for home and he suddenly wanted to trot piaffe. We discussed it for a couple of hundred yards (I was only worried because the ground was fairly slick) and then he settled. I recognized for the first time that he doesn't escalate. He gets a little jiggy or a bit bouncy and that's as far as he goes. He doesn't escalate to trying to buck or bolt. He's letting me know he is ready to head home, but he is also willing to listen and calm at my request. Him being bouncy is his way of communicating with me and I have absolute confidence that I can ride anything he decides to throw my way. It's not malice. It's just energy.
The trail for the day was wet and muddy intermixed with dry and solid. It made for interesting travel.
Eddy was pretty sweaty, but still full of enough energy to argue with K.
She was being very strict and not allowing him to tug her reins out of her hands in order to eat. (She has allowed this behavior in the past and Eddy was pretty insistent today.
Being a good trail pony.
On the way back, the trail goes past a small neighborhood park. On this day, there were boys shooting hoops, a mass of children playing on the jungle gym and a bunch of kids with their razor scooters. We heard the normal amount ooooing and aaaahhhing from the girls as we rode by. As we reached the grass at the edge of the soccer field, I could hear a couple of boys starting to chant about chasing the mythical white horse down and capturing it. I could hear the chant strengthening as more boys decided to join. As the boys came streaming out of the park onto the sidewalk behind us on their scooters, Daniel kicked the front tire of the front scooter and sent the boy sprawling. Eddy has spooked when the boys started to chase us and I had tried to alert J to run interference, but she couldn't hear what they were saying, and so I confronted them. I told them they could get a rider killed if the horse spooked back enough and threatened to call the cops if they continued to follow us.
Thank you, Uncle Dan Two Bear. You rock!
We went around the outside of Spring Gulch, which was fun, and found another parking lot I think we can use, so we don't have to fight with the gate to get out and onto the trail.
Once back to the trailer, we untacked while the ponehs ate their mash, and then loaded them up. Both of them walked right on the trailer.