J wanted some video of Ashke walking. He has gotten stronger and stronger and his right stifle looks pretty normal to me (again). We go to see Dr D on Thursday and I am hopeful she will give us a passing grade on our rehab.
Pretty boy. He is moving so good under saddle and feels the best he has felt since I first started riding him.
Margo and Eddy in the lead. Ashke lost his mind. Seriously.
I was asking him to move laterally back and forth across the path. He was fighting with me every step of the way. Nice cross over in the back though, right?
Ashke demonstrated race brain yesterday. He cantered in place, he jigged, he refused to relax if there was a horse any where ahead of him. He tossed his head and flopped his tongue around in protest to the bit. His head was straight up in the air. I had completely forgotten to change the bit from the Mylar to the straight curb and he pretty much fought me the entire time. I tried to hold him with my core and thighs, but there is no way to realistically do that for 20 miles. I even smacked him on the neck with my open hand to try and redirect his attention, which did not work. I was so frustrated. He was lathered, like dripping sweat and lather from the reins, within the first two miles. I moved him to the front to allow him the time to cool off and calm down. (This does not bode well for an endurance ride.) I also did not want to ride him all that way in a frame (especially since he was behind vertical) for that long of a time, because I did not want him sore. There was one point where he was almost cantering a sidepass down the trail and not even that tired him out.
Once in the front, he picked up the canter and cantered for the next couple of miles, interspersed with brief moments of walking. He was so fun of energy. He hadn't been ridden in four days and it was apparent he was ready to move out.
The beginning of the Backcountry. It is so incredible that this exists just outside of the city and goes for miles.
Ashke actually acting like a reasonable horse. He didn't mind Eddy being in front so much as he minded Margo in front. Eddy stopped because of a broken down cinderblock shack at the bottom of the hill. Ashke was like "no big deal, dude."
Once again fighting me. Margo spent most of the ride in her running walk, which means Ashke and Eddy have to trot to keep up.
Both PJ and K were impressed and awed at the country we were riding through. It was so verdant and there were so many wild flowers blooming it was just amazing.
The scrub oak was still bare of leaves, except where it was growing up from the ground. The early cold snap the end of September, where it went subzero for four days did the damage.
The scrub oak forest that I love. This is hands down my favorite part of this ride.
This is the same place that J videoed me from last November.
My fav pic from the ride.
About 7 + miles in we stopped for lunch. Margo wasn't interested in eating and so we offered her a drink of water from a water bottle K had thought about bringing. PJ said she didn't know if Margo had had any water that morning, since she is out on pasture and there is no way to monitor if she had drank. Margo slurped up the water we had out of a ziplock sandwich container, and then started to graze, interspersed with cadging apples from PJ. We had the option of turning around or pressing on for another two and a half miles to reach the park and water. We made the correct decision to press on.
At Redtail park there was a water fountain, with a place for dogs to drink. It was turned off. I knew with the temps we were experiencing, that I was not going to try riding back without getting them a drink. J and I went across the street and started knocking on doors. A wonderful family of East Indians not only offered their hose and water, but a plastic bucket (yes, because I left my collapsible bucket in the trailer - it is now in my Osprey Hydration pak, where it will stay) for watering the horses out of. Margo drank two full buckets of water - maybe seven to ten gallons all told - while the hose was running into it. We let her drink her fill. I rinsed off Ashke's neck and chest, rinsed his mouth with the hose and then let him drink until he started to play with the water. Eddy drank at least five gallons, and then he started to play. While we were watering them, the father of the family came out of the house, clapped his hands and said, "thank you so much from bringing us this good gift of beautiful horses."
The orange bucket in the background and the young woman holding it were the family that helped us. Much thanks to their generous and hospitable nature.
The horses were all much better after the drink.
Ashke either led or fought me the rest of the way home. Here we were leading. I let Margo and PJ go in front, because I didn't want to travel faster than Margo was comfortable with. Ashke was still asking to canter at 15+ miles.
This is my second favorite pic of the day.
Can you see her?
She kind of blended right in to the scenery.
Wild flowers all over the hillside.
Wild flowers zoomed in on. There was the most vibrant Indian paintbrush. So pretty.
This was the most unusual flower we saw. It's called Prairie Smoke or Old Man's Whiskers.
It is part of the rose family. There was one hillside completely covered with these. They were amazing.
At the trailer the horses drank well, ate their mashes, and then we got them loaded just as an afternoon thunderstorm started to break. There was no hesitation about loading and within a few minutes we were on our way. At the barn (under sunny skies) I rinsed and squeegeed Ashke off, tucked him into a clean stall with his extra mash and an extra flake of alfalfa. He was giving me squinty eyes and a soft nicker as we left.
Note to self: change the damn bit next time.