On Saturday we got a late start and ended up hauling out to Waterton Canyon. We figured with the footing we could all do the ride without too much trouble. We managed to clean up Ashke's clip, load the trailer, load the horse, drive to pick up K and headed to the trailhead. The temps were right around 40 when we unloaded (Ashke shipped in his BOT Fleece cooler and his medium weight winter blanket - he was toasty).
Eddy with his feed sack and K's Abetta.
Ashke in his Alta with the TSF saddle half-pad
Speaking of which, I am going to have to work on the saddlepad thing. I'm going back to using the BOT A/P pad under the half pad. I have figured out how to hook the half-pad to the saddle to keep it from slipping and it worked perfectly on the spot on his back. However, the pad slipped back during the ride due to the saddle not being secured properly (horse-boy has lost weight). Next time I ride (on Friday) I will give the combination another shot. I think the pad will fix the issue but I need to figure out how to make the rest of the pad/half-pad combination work.
There was maybe three inches of snow left when we got to the parking lot.
Ashke was pretty ready to do a ride.
Headed across the street to the entrance to Waterton Canyon.
We rode between muddy roads and snow covered roads, depending on the height of the canyon to our south and how much sun it blocked.
We did a lot of trotting. Not much cantering.
Ashke was bare (I used the Radial Rasp to shape his hooves before we left).
The Eds sticking his tongue out.
K rode him in a mechanical hackamore on trail for the first time.
They did well.
Brown horses are better in the mud.
You can't see the mud on them.
Standing in the South Platte, where Ashke drank and Eddy stared upstream.
It was a pretty ride and the footing was pretty good considering.
J said the frozen parts were easier. Not much coasting on her ride, though.
This was a patch of clear water amongst the ice, with the rock from the far side of the river reflected in the water. It did not come out as well as I had hoped, but still pretty clear.
J taking a picture of me.
Me taking a picture of her
Canyon walls in sunshine
Ashke and Eddy being lovey while K ties her jacket back on.
Such a pretty canyon in the snow
Ashke wants to know where his peppermints are.
Eddy was pretty sweaty. More so on the side where his mane hangs.
We made it five miles up the canyon and the temps dropped at least 15 degrees.
We stopped to eat the rest of our lunch (first part of our lunch was eaten in the truck).
Coyote in the mud
At least she didn't brick her bike.
The mud on Ashke was pretty intense, however.
This was at our half-way point. There was so much mud on him.
While we were stopped for lunch, the horses let us know they saw something across the river on the hillside. Sure enough there was a herd of deer. Both boys watched them until they were out of sight. The knowledge that there was something on the walls of the canyon made our ride back down canyon exciting to say the least. Eddy spooked first and K was able to control him easily. A year ago and she would have been in the mud. A few minutes later some rock slid off the canyon wall just behind where we were standing trying to secure K's bridle in J's bag. Ashke bolted down the canyon and Eddy followed. It took several running strides before I was able to pull Ashke up. It didn't help that I was paying more attention to what J was doing than to what my horse was doing. We decided that we needed to head downhill quickly, since there was evidence on the road of the rock that had slid off the walls. Ashke was very spooky on the ride down and when K headed past us with Eddy, he almost lost his mind.
I had to turn him back up the road and make him stand to get him to listen. I allowed him to trot in a collected frame, but not very fast. He did that very well, although at first he was really behind vertical trying to get away from me. Finally, he set off in the collected trot I wanted and we eventually caught up with both Eddy and J. He was not happy and kept trying to extend his trot, but I would adjust that and we would go back to the collected trot.
Once Ashke caught up and we started walking again, he pretty much outwalked both Eddy and J. Eddy finally found his second wind and trotted to catch up to Ashke. We had a brief canter but mostly just trotted.
Back at the trailer we let the boys eat then double blanketed both of them since Eddy was wet on his neck and chest. Ashke was dry but I wanted to make sure he didn't chill in the trailer on the way home. We dropped K and Eddy off at TMR and by the time we pulled the extra blanket off of him he was completely dry. It was a couple of hours after dark when we pulled into the barn. I wanted to wash the mud off of Ashke with the hot water the barn has, but the hoses were completely frozen. We took Ashke in and crosstied him in the aisle, then worked on getting the mud off of him. We used the shedding blade, then brushes and finally our hands to get the mud off. I was able to get the mud off the inside of his thighs, the outside of his sheath and even some off the inside of his sheath. Yeah, it was a necessary evil.
We filled his hay bag with hay and then tucked him into his stall. He was grabbing at the hay when we left.