Thursday, May 28, 2015


There is a young woman who rides a beautiful horse western style. She wears spurs and has the heaviest hands I have ever seen. She is trying to teach her horse to slide stop through the time-honored method of spurring her forward, then hauling back on her horse's mouth. That poor horse can't get her head down enough to do a balanced slide stop.

Stacy Westfall (from the web)

Instead, this poor horse is almost throwing itself over backwards to get away from the bit. And it doesn't want to move forward again, because it's just going to be yanked on once it's moving. I can't ride when this woman rides. It's brutally horrible. She was riding in the outdoor arena when I got to the barn.

So, I rode last night. In the indoor. Just the two of us.

We worked on stopping with a breath. We started at the walk, then the trot and finally at the canter. We were able to do the halt transition without me touching the reins at all. At the canter I didn't worry if it took Ashke three or four steps to stop, since I am trusting him to slow himself without injuring himself. I was much more focused on our communication than on his reactivity. 

We worked on lateral work at the trot from the quarterline to the outside rail, and he gave me some really nice try. Then, I was going to ride through some of the dressage test for Novice, but I still don't have it memorized, so we worked on rhythm and balance at the three gaits. He lifted himself nicely into the canter, but once when I asked him for more bend to the left, he immediately tried, I felt his body change, and on the second step he cross cantered. It was too much for his right hind. And I'm not sure he wasn't having some issue with his left stifle as well. Which may or may not have contributed to our fall on Sunday. We stopped and I asked him to canter again, this time letting him handle himself the way he could.

I've discovered that he counter bends with his neck on the left lead. On the right he travels like he is moving with his haunches in. It feels much different than moving in the other direction. It is also much more difficult to move with him to the right. He is able to slow himself a lot to the left, but to the right he rushes more, probably to keep his balance and momentum. It is better than it was when the winter started, but not as much better as I was hoping it would be. We just need to continue working on it and try to keep himself from hurting himself again.

It did, however, make me question my goals once again.

Not what we are doing, so much, because my boy loves what we do. He loves playing with the obstacles. He loves doing the speed runs, in fact if so much gymkhana didn't involve sitting back on his haunches and then launching forward once again, I think he could kick ass at gymkhana. He's even doing the dressage that I am asking him to try with all of his heart. And he is incredibly happy out on the trail. He prefers new trails over old, but he is still happy and alert regardless of where we are riding.

And I do see progress. We can do ground poles without flailing. We can jump a small jump without dragging our hind end. We can ride for four hours and still be moving briskly down the trail. My back only hurts when we fall and hit the ground hard (yes, I was very sore). He is moving easier and lighter than I have ever seen and he feels great under saddle. We are growing as a team.

But still.

I had to stomp hard on the "we could be good enough to really pursue WE" monster that tries to poke it's head out every once in a while. The "we could be good enough to show at The Haras Cup" spectre that meeps out at me from the back cupboards of my brain. Maybe, if I continue to work five days a week and build on what he can do, we might some day be able to do that level of showing. I have a horse that has the heart for it, I just don't know if we have the body for it.

I kind of have to laugh to myself when I hear about other people wondering if they should move on from their horse when they've been working with them six months or a year. I'm three years into this journey and still working on a good balanced canter. Maybe in a year I will be able to get a good balanced canter with bend. Maybe, if we are lucky, he will be able to canter in a frame without hurting enough that he has to cross canter or throw his head up in the air and slam to a stop because of discomfort. I just have to be patient and wait. Keep moving us forward a bit at a time.

I read a great quote this week that struck home like an flaming arrow to my heart:

"It's water on a stone, people. Horses take patience, infinite patience. Wait for the horse." 
 --- George Morris

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


 Saiph, from Wait for the Jump, just got herself a new trailer. We were talking about the different styles of trailers and how they are set up. She suggested doing a review on the trailer I picked out, so that we could compare and contrast the differences in styles, makes and models. I've had mine for a year now and have used it quite a bit for hauling out to the doc, the expo and on rides, so I have a pretty good idea of what works and doesn't work for me.

 We bought ours from Scott Murdock's in Johnstown, CO. 

When we started looking at trailers, we looked at a Bison with LQ (10' short wall with slide), three horse style. It would have been perfect for camping and endurance rides (still holding out hope) but the downfall was the difficulty in using it for a day trip. It was three times as long as a simple two horse slant load and the thought of hooking that up to drive 20 minutes down the road and then try to find a place to park it, was tough to consider. It seemed like a lot for just a day trip and the cost of the trailer was significant, even over 30 years. So instead, we started looking for a basic trailer.

I knew from the beginning that I wanted a slant load (I think they are much better on the horse, and much easier to haul with only one horse) with a swing out saddle rack. I am getting older and stepping up into the trailer is no longer graceful or easy. The swing out saddle rack is much easier for me to use. Trailers with windows are nice, but up the price a couple of thousand dollars and I wasn't real excited about spending that much. I like the slot openings on the sides, which allow for air flow, and I can always blanket when we haul if I need to.

 First time we hooked it up. 

Dressing Room/Tack Area with swing out saddle rack

The dressing room is decent sized, although I am using it for all of my seasonal tack (like my winter blankets right now) and the other items I have purchased and don't really want to get rid of, like extra saddle pads, my fancy saddle pad. It also holds the items I purchased for practicing WE, like dressage cones and poles, or items that I use when trail riding, like saddle bags, extra water buckets. The door hanger is nice, but I'm not utilizing it as well as I could be. It is slowly accumulating the items that we realize we need and they slowly find their way out there. I need to move my first aid kit to the trailer, plus a roll of duct tape and a can of WD40. (Rule of thumb to live by: If something doesn't move that's suppose to, use WD40; if something is moving that shouldn't, use duct tape.)

Extra buckets. The black and yellow bin is used for storing the odds and ends.
Winter blankets in the plastic storage bag I got with the rain coat I just ordered from Schneiders.
They were washed and treated before being stored, so they will be clean and warm come winter.

Broom and rack storage, plus my fancy saddle pad for shows.
Lots of bungies. You can never have too many bungies.

Hooks along one wall for hanging bridles, etc.

Not the best picture. I'm not sure what I was thinking.

The back door is one solid piece all the way to the top of the trailer and swings open to the passenger side.

At the end of the season we cleaned it out. Once the weather gets warm, we will wash walls, pull the mats, check the floor boards and clean everything before putting it back together.

Trailer is pretty amazing.
Steel construction. Empty weight is 2300 lbs. Hauls two really easily.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Working Equitation

On Mondays, Silver Quarter Acres let's us do Working Equitation in the indoor arena and tonight J came with me to set up, tear down and video. We had nine obstacles: the garroucha pick up, picking up a hoop, setting down the garroucha, the corridor with a bell and reinback, bridge (with a barrel on either side), the gate, a jump, a side pass pole, and slalom poles. Both C and I had worked most of those obstacles, so we were ready to work the entire course. Jac and her Friesan Dante have worked with us before, so she was ready. The other person who decided to join us brought her three year old Arabian.

Ashke was a freak. He reared and bucked a little bit. He danced and pranced like a poneh at the parade. He felt like a powder keg. Completely out of character. I don't know if he thought Monkey (the other arab) was cute or if he thought we were going to race the obstacle course. I just know he was a handful, even at the end of our ride. I finally made him work the edges of the arena doing leg yields to the quarter line and back to the wall.

Then I got off because my entire lower body was killing me. I pulled a lot of muscles I didn't realize when Ashke fell yesterday.

We originally were going to do the garroucha pole after the jump, but there wasn't enough room to set up for it. We didn't realize that until I ran through it the first time. Then when I swung around to pick up the hoop, I hit the cross bar square on and knew that I had to drop the pole.

Not our finest hour.

Our final run. Ashke did well. I thought he is beginning to bend nicely through the slalom poles. 

C had a couple of good runs through, although the first time through Bretia did not want to walk over the bridge. She wanted to park on the bridge and nose the barrels away. Her second run through was very solid and Bretia did a great job. The two women working in hand both did a great job as well. I think it is harder to work the obstacles from the ground, but they both seemed to have fun.


I think my biggest fear since I started riding again was the fear of Ashke falling. My second biggest fear has been coming off of him in some form or other. That fear, of being thrown and hurting myself, was faced in June of 2012, when I came off and hit flat on my back hard. I ended up in the emergency room with a CAT scan and bruising that kept me on the ground for at least three weeks. The fear of Ashke slipping and falling has stayed with me though. I had two falls in my childhood, one which left me with 35 stitches in my face, a severely sprained left ankle and damage to my L5 vertebrae. The second left me bruised and battered, with a strained neck and scrapped face. Not something I really wanted to through at this point.

Yesterday, it happened.

Ashke fell.

We had decided to take T out to the barn and have him run in Van Bibber Park, while J rode her bike and I took Ashke out. We had partly clear skies and temps in the upper 50's, so it was perfect for all concerned. It also gave T a new place to run, which is at least half the battle. We knew it would be wet, but I don't think we expected it to be as bad as it was. We got to the barn and I booted Ashke. The front boots are fitting very nicely since his trim, but the back boots are loose. This has been a factor since starting him in the boots. He is too small for 0.5 and the 00 size rubs his heel bulbs, so I'm not sure what I am going to do. I got him saddled and we headed out.

I had told T that we might struggle to keep up with him, since he runs at 6 to 7 mph pace and Ashke and I struggle to maintain a 4.6 mph pace. We played leap frog for the first mile, until there was a safe place to canter and then we caught up. At the end of the trail, near the soccer fields (which were packed) we stopped for a breather before turning around. There is a nicely groomed area with short grass and great footing were Ashke and I have cantered before. He was game so we started our canter. I was looking down to the inside shoulder, asking for bend around my inside leg, when his back foot slipped.

I blame the boots.

He slid down onto his left side. I slid off onto the grass.

I didn't hang up nor did he land on me. J said his hind end fishtailed and he went down. He scrabbled to his feet quicker than I did, and I missed grabbing the reins. I said his name, which is usually enough to get him to calm down, but his left hind boot had slid off his foot and was still wrapped around his fetlock. He spooked at his own left leg and headed back. J and T threw their arms up trying to distract him, while I shouted out to grab his reins. I knew he would stop if they could grab the reins. J said afterwards she had no idea what to do and T said he didn't want to get ran over. Ashke ran around them and was about to head for home.

During this incident there was an old man, probably in his upper 80's with a cane, standing next to the sidewalk at the edge of the fence. The fence came down on both sides of the sidewalk so it made a natural gate of sorts. I was hobbling after Ashke, panic rising as I thought of him tearing for home with that one boot still hooked to his fetlock wondering how in the hell I was going to catch him, when the old man reached out and grabbed Ashke's rein.

Ashke stopped and stood still.

Thank all the gods for the kindness of strangers.

I thanked him profusely as I hurried to take my horse from T, who the old man had handed the reins to. We pulled the back boots and I checked Ashke for any injury. He was fine. I walked him around a bit, then swung back up. He felt even better without the hind boots than he had with them. We headed back to the barn.

We rode 4.75 miles, with the extra loop I threw in with Ashke. He was tucked away none the worse for wear.

I, however, landed on my left boob and severely bruised it. My neck and shoulders are sore. My groin muscle on the right is stretched. This morning I ache, but a hot shower and some ibuprophen should help. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015


Today was the Play Day for WE, but because of the stupid rain, it was cancelled. Instead, we hauled out to CS's place to do a lesson. K, who hasn't been on Eddy in three weeks, hauled up with me. CS had planned to do a miniature play day with the two of us and invited her niece to join us. We got there just before the rain, tacked up and went into the indoor.

Eddy was being a bit of a stinker and did not really want to work in the arena. K handled it really well. I think I would have gotten really frustrated with him, had it been me, but she kept her cool and rode him through it.

We started on walk pirouettes, with some lateral work thrown into the mix. It is hard to tell the difference between the pirouette and the turn on the haunches. CS had us move to the corner so the walls would help shape the movement.

Ashke and I did get one good pirouette toward the end, but I have no idea how. Or if we will be able to replicate it again.

Then we played follow the leader, which is so much harder than it looks.

Eddy was giving K some grief, although I think they both did great, considering this was his first work in three weeks.

Ashke tried really hard and did a great job at what he was asked to do. CS said afterwards that he looked really good and was moving very well.

Some canter work.

Riding a Western Dressage Intro Test. Ashke did pretty well, considering we have not practiced anything like this in a while. And I had no idea of how the test went or what to expect next. I really think that would be the best way to do a test. Make up the movements and the order the morning of the test. Hahahahaha

I was going to ride a second, more advanced, test, but the rain was drumming down so hard I couldn't hear anything. We decided to end it there, although we had planned on working obstacles, etc. We raced out to the trailer, pulled tack and threw the rainjacket on Ashke and the rain stopped. It was okay. By the time we got back to the barn it was almost six o'clock.

I have lots of lateral work to work on, and I am going to memorize the Novice test from WEIAUSA so that we can work on our dressage stuff during our ride on Weds. Ashke was very good, not too spooky considering the outrageous noise from the rain and the wind blowing the flags on the walls of the arena. Hopefully, next time we can do the side by side work (like Westernaires or riding posse), because you can teach your horse some technical stuff that may be harder alone, like learning to collect and slow the canter behind a horse that is already doing so. Some of my favorite riding is doing that kind of work. It's a lot harder than you would expect, especially if done technically.

Friday, May 22, 2015


I have a new farrier and so far, after one trim, I am really impressed. She addressed all of the things I thought might be an issue (from my limited knowledge stalking hoof blogs) and reconfirmed what I suspected was the issue with Ashke's feet. So, without further ado:

LF. Pre trim. The front of the frog looked really bad to me. The bars have grown out along the collateral groves and the foot over all is very flat on the bottom. I know that the Old Farrier hasn't touched the bottom of his hoof with anything but a rasp since he started working on his feet. 

Ashke has been touchy on both front feet. My feeling was that he was tender because of the amount of sole he had and the sole was carrying the weight rather than his wall. New Farrier had me walk him out first and noticed he had problems on his turn with his RF, just a touch. The second thing that was noticed was the length of his front hoof. His feet are only about 3" long. I was asked if that was normal for him, which it is. Michelle had commented on it when she was trimming him as well.

New Farrier took down his bars and then cleaned out the part of his hoof where the bar meets the sole. She said that because his bars were allowed to grow out, and they are stronger than the sole, that leaving them long allowed dirt to be compressed into his hoof, between the bar and the sole. This could have become an abscess and New Farrier said that the areas she was cleaning out were called bar abscesses.

New Farrier took a long time on this front hoof. She took down the bars and cleaned up the areas that could have become abscesses. She carefully cleaned out some of the sole, checked the angle and balanced the foot. Then she had me walk him again to watch his movement. Finally, she finished the last of the rasping. She told me that because his foot was so short that he only has a quarter inch of sole between the ground and the coffin bone. She made sure there was some space between his sole and the ground by laying the rasp across his foot, resting on the hoof wall, and made sure there was light from the front of the hoof to the back. 

An area of concern was back toward the heel of the hoof, where the sole and hoof wall has a deep grove. Right where the white line is. She wants me to soak it with a thrush buster, by packing cotton balls into the grove and then soaking them with an anti-thrush solution. She suggested betadyne mixed with sugar, so that is what I am going to try. There is also a product called No Thrush, which is a powder that I should be using on the entire hoof once a day. I will pick some of that up tomorrow and start using it. 

Very Flare.
Before pic of the RF. The grooves between the hoof wall  and the sole are not as bad in this hoof as the other front one. 

The after pic. The foot had a pretty worn down toe, which could have occurred due to compensating because of his RH. Again she took down the sole to alleviate the pressure he was feeling on his coffin bone.

RH. New Farrier said "his hind foot is really flat."
It didn't use to be. I wanted to cry.


LH. Pre-trim.

There is a small crack in the sole of his LH that New Farrier said we needed to keep an eye on.

At the end, I walked him out again and we talked about his way of moving. New Farrier said she wasn't going to change much on this first trim especially on his hind hooves, since he had a distinct breakover on both back feet that she didn't want to mess with. We are scheduled again in six weeks and will see what changes between now and then. In the meantime, I have ordered the No Thrush and pads for my Easyboots.

The best thing about this ever? New Farrier is going to email Dr D with the details and her observations. Ashke will see Dr D before our next trim and will then communicate any thing she sees or any suggestions she might have to New Farrier to implement/observe at our next trim. New Farrier also took over an hour on this trim, measuring angles and inspecting his hooves from every angle. And she was willing to tell me everything she was doing and what she was seeing as she was doing the trim.

I am very pleased.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Recap and Review

Recap: WE 

Last night was another informal WE Ease of Handling Phase group. It was just Caroline and myself. We set up the corridor with a zig zag corridor so the horse would have to negotiate a backing turn in each direction, the slalom poles, the two barrels, a jump and the gate. The corridor was a challenge for both horses, and we worked that several times. The gate both horses have, so we worked it backwards a couple of times, just for fun. Working the gate backwards means backing in a half circle. Ashke was very confused at first, so it was good for him to actually have to listen rather than think he has it all figured out. The slalom was good. We rode through that several times, working on getting a bit of bend and rhythm through the poles. C and I spent some time talking about symmetry and shaping our circles around the slalom poles. Neither of us is particularly good at geometry. Ashke had some very good moments, and he was on the bit and listening well during our practice. The myler bit is making a huge difference in how he responds. We trotted the jump a couple of times and then put together a course to run through.

C struggled on the zig zag corridor. It may have been a bit much for her, but we figure we are just training, so there should be some things challenging us. The rest of the course was awesome. She has a great Connamara mare and that pony is so darn cute!! I worked the Ease of Handling at a trot, which Ashke did great on and we even had a good jump, where I wasn't jumped out of the saddle. We then ran it at speed and Ashke had three flying changes in the slalom before breaking to a trot, but he picked up the canter again immediately. We changed the corridor to a straight backing line for the speed round, which he executed well, then we flew around to take the jump at a canter, which C said he jumped perfectly (and I didn't look like an idiot) with his knees up and good form. The final two barrels he almost caught the flying change, but didn't switch in the back. However, he ran the entire course without a misstep or feeling like he was holding back. No feet issues. No hip issues.

It was a great ride and a lot of fun. I really hope more people come to join us, but I guess we will wait and see.

Now: Product Review

I've purchased two new products in the past month. The first was:

Cashel Western Tie One On Set

This is a web and plastic set to add tie on straps to your saddle. There are two parts to the set. The first is the part that attaches behind the cantle. It has several points to tie to and straps under the saddle to either the billet straps or the cinch ring, depending on the type of saddle you have. There is a second part that is intended to tie onto the place on a western saddle that the rear cinch goes through. I wanted to try this because my Alta Esquela does not have any attachment points in the back and I have been struggling with my Stowaway cantle bag.

 How it looks on the back of the saddle.

 How I have it attached under the saddle flap

And on the other side of the saddle.

The issue I have been dealing with is the Stowaway cantle bag sags down and kind of rolls under both the saddle pad and the back of the saddle when we are in motion. Ashke hasn't complained of a sore back, but I wanted to address any issues prior to that developing. I tried this set so I could ensure the Stowaway pack stayed up on the cantle and didn't hang down. The back piece was fairly easy to install and I secured it to the stirrup bar (a solid metal square piece under the stirrup flap). I was then able to use it to hold my cantle pack up off of Ashke's back. The two pieces that were included for the rear cinch points on a western saddle, I cobbled together and attached to the saddle at the pommel. This allowed me to use the attachment points on the Tie One On instead of the broken latigos that came with the saddle.

You can see the Stowaway Cantle pack up off Ashke's back. I carried a raincoat, my lunch and eventually his boots in the pack without it bouncing or bothering him.

On Sunday, I packed less of a lunch and just tied his halter and lead rope to the back.
I had my rain jacket tied to the front.

I have exceedingly pleased with this purchase. It is functional and effective. At $25 and free shipping from Amazon, I couldn't be more pleased. My only complaint is the tie on lashes they provide are shoelaces, which I am less pleased with. I tried them this weekend and think replacing them with parachute cord will be more effective. Overall, I am very happy with the versatility this provides us. 

The second product I purchased was a Back on Track Western Saddle pad. This was genius. As you can see in the above photo, it provides enough length behind the saddle that I don't need to worry about the cantle pack bunching up underneath the pad. The western pad is as thin as a dressage pad, with the wither relief form. It is intended to be used beneath a regular Western Pad, so using it solo under my Alta was exceptionally effective. It just covers the area on the side where the saddle sits and doesn't bunch up between the saddle and my girth (I have short billets on my Alta, since I am impatient and have to use a jumping girth). I feel completely confident that if I were to add extra saddlebags or gear storage options on the back of the saddle, they would not scuff or rub due to the length of the BoT Western pad. If we ever decide to ride for more than a day, this will be optimal for packing extra stuff on behind. (Like food, a hammock, sleeping bag, feed for Ashke, brushes, water containers, tarp, etc. J will need panniers on her bike to carry her stuff or we are going to need to find a mule, since my goal is to do a three day ride along some of the Colorado Trail after T is in college. Anyone want to join me?)

The BoT pad is as good as the rest of their products and works well with my Alta. My only wish is that there were blanket loops at the withers like the AP pad has so I could secure it to the billet straps so it wouldn't slip. I haven't had any issues with it yet, but may add the straps myself, just to be safe.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Waterton Canyon

J and I adventured together yesterday, with a goal of reaching the dam at the top of Waterton Canyon. We were awed by the beauty of the canyon in spring and I was a little surprised that the water level wasn't higher, but very happy the canyon was open. (Although I have to tell you I had a couple of cut off the river and head to higher ground scenarios in my mind in case of a powerful Thunderhead up river. The forecast called for no rain, but this is Colorado, so I packed my new raincoat along with lunch and we headed out.

Ashke walked right on the trailer even though we had hauled out the day before. When we got to the trailhead he stepped off the trailer blowing through his nose at being somewhere new. I set him up with TC Senior and Amplify dry (I am tired of having slimy green mash dribbled down the middle of my back and wiped on the seat of my breeches as I try to get his boots on). I groomed him and then got his boots on. I'm beginning to really hate having to put boots on him. I know this is a product of the trim from my ex-farrier, and I know there is light at the end of the tunnel (Friday) but I am tired of the boots making him more uncomfortable sometimes than being barefooted. We struggled during our ride with moments of footsoreness, especially on the way home, due to traveling downhill. All I can figure is the down hill pushed his foot forward into the boot and pinched whatever he was feeling. His frogs and his soles are shedding and his feet are a mess. I'll be really happy to see what the new farrier thinks/does with what he has. I'm pretty committed to riding him barefoot, but seriously sometimes I think I should just throw in the towel and put shoes on him.

I got my stuff strapped on the saddle and swung up. We crossed the road and headed up the canyon.

 The first stretch of river.

 Ashke was not as happy as I was on parts of the ride.

 The canyon gets warm when the sun is out.

Worshipping the sun.

I thought this canyon was stunning in the winter, but it is magnificent in Spring.

 J said she could see the thought go through both of our minds "I wonder what's up there?"

 We rode by a small rattlesnake, which I heard and turned around to locate. Ashke and I were well out of the snake's strike range, back five or six feet. He was a couple of feet long, curled up under a bush, behind the roots that provided a strange sort of screen between us. Ashke wasn't bothered and I thought the rattler was pretty cute for such a pissed off little guy. I tried to talk J into taking a picture, but she flat out refused to even consider it when she realized I was teasing a rattlesnake.

 So we went on.

 Some of the walls tower straight up.

 This is the sluice way where T had so much fun throwing huge rocks onto the ice that was built up behind the sluice.

 Ashke really doesn't like bushes or large rocks. Makes riding in this canyon a very suspicious activity.

 There are three goslings in the grass. Parents were very protective.

 That big tree on the middle right of the photo, set next to the road, is the white one I took a pic of during the winter.

 Tail up.

 Ashke drank briefly on our way out and was not real crazy about the sound of the water once we crossed the bridge and it was on the other side. 

 He was about ready to stop and eat lunch. We will never make endurance riders. 

 The rocks in the canyon are incredible.

 The rocks in the river are pretty cool too.

 Small little waterfalls every where.

 The dam and our goal.

We stopped and ate lunch at the dam. Ashke got to graze for a good 30 minutes. We saw a big herd of Bighorn Sheep just up the road. We were tempted to continue exploring up the road until we saw the beginning of the Colorado Trail, but common sense prevailed and we headed back.

 Grey clouds blew in on our way back. I broke out the rain jacket for a short time. The temps in the canyon dropped by 20 degrees when the storm started pushing in.

 Ashke making faces at me riding with my feet out of the stirrups.

The full waterfall effect.

At the trailer, I pulled Ashke's gear while he munched on wet mash. I found a small piece of sole that had worked it's way free, which seemed to have been bothering the poneh. He was sound walking on the trailer and sound when I pulled him off at the barn. He got rinsed and squeegeed, a touch of Bute in his feed and Magic Cushion on his front feet when I turned him into his stall. 

We did 13.25 miles in exactly 3 hours.

Saturday, May 16, 2015


Today was a planned ride with PJ and Margo. We talked about a lot of different ride scenarios that we could try and landed on Waterton Canyon. At least that was the plan. We met at the barn and got on the road by about 10. We pulled into Chatfield at about 10:30 and were greeted by this:

The reservoir is super high. There were permanent buildings under water. They can't launch any boats because the launch ramp is under water.

Remember this crossing that J filmed from the bridge?

Same spot on the bridge. No way were we going to attempt to cross that.

It was a gorgeous, warm day.

Margo and Ashke are a good fit for one another. Margo is well conditioned and they travel at similar speeds. Margo's running walk and Ashke's working trot are about the same speed.

It was just so beautiful.

Clouds were far, far away.

Power Rider

On the canal trail

Ashke and I were struggling with his gloves on his front feet. I don't think they were set on his feet correctly (although I could not get them set right) and the break over was off, so instead of rolling his toe correctly, he was stubbing his feet down. Plus, even in the gloves, he was occasionally tender. About half way through the ride, I pulled the gloves. He was better after that and we stayed away from any rocks.

His enthusiasm was minimal, though.

The canal was beautiful.

So very green.

Tree canopy in Spring

We were in water from Plum Creek. It was way over it's banks.

Ashke was not happy with the mud.

This was the meadow we stopped in for lunch the last time we were riding down here. We were sitting on the log on the far side of the flowing water.

K - see that log. That's where we sat to eat lunch.
There is now a creek running through it.

 Stopped for Lunch. There was no where to sit down.

 I made Ashke walk in the water. He was not amused.
It was a common theme today.

He was happy to leave the wet ground.

 Getting dark (it was one in the afternoon).

This trail leads to the parking lot next to the reservoir. We had to turn and cross the field to our left, with J carrying her bike, because there was no parking lot, only water.

This is the point where it started to hail. Pea sized hail. 
We were in rain jackets but not rain pants, except for PJ, who had a full length rain slicker.
We were moving as quickly as it was safe.

That line of trees is where we stopped and let the horses drink last ride. The water was a good hundred yards past where we were. We didn't stop. By this time it was raining pretty good.

When we got to the curve in the road, PJ and I headed for the fence and the track that would take us the most direct route back to the truck. We sent J on ahead. I told her we wouldn't do our after ride feed, since all the horses were really going to want to do is get out of the rain. We trotted, or in Margo's case gaited, our way back home. Trotting seemed the best use of energy while still allowing us the ability to gauge the ground conditions. There were a couple of times when Ashke slowed to a walk, with his head hanging low, ears sideways and eyes squinted shut against the storm. I must have told him what a good boy he was a million times on that part of the ride. Encouraging a horse to go against their better judgement and move forward into the storm, instead of turning tail and dropping their head to weather it out is difficult for all involved. Both ponies did good.

J had Ashke's rain coat ready and we stripped the saddle/bridle quickly, then covered him up. I swear that horse gave a heavy sigh of relief when I opened the trailer for him. He didn't even hesitate to get on. Five minutes later, we were on our way.

The water was almost over the road as we were leaving. 
There is a sidewalk under that water and there used to be a parking lot on the far side of the trees.

Five minutes down the road, it was clear and sunny again.