Thursday, July 30, 2015

Cantering 2.0

Wednesday night J came out to the barn with me.

He would have been moaning if he could have.

 Derpy horse face loves scritches

When I came out, J said "I guess you do that a lot."
Such a good boy

I rode while J videoed.

Working on the Walk Pirouette

And the other direction.

Saiph found a great exercise to work on this which I am going to start trying during our ride. Ashke is trying so hard. He always lifts and braces when I ask for something complicated.

Cantering to the right.

Cantering to the left.

I like this exercise because Ashke anticipates and begins lifting his front end up to make the turn.

First Attempt at flying changes

Simple changes.

I started not being clear in my direction and he was confused for a bit, but we got it worked out. We had a very good ride overall.

 Even though it was dusk, he thought the water felt good.

Except on his penis.
Hates that.

Indian Creek Part Two

Sunday morning dawned late. Both J and I were moving slow, as was K. We prepared a lunch, packed our bags and set out for the barn by 9:30ish. The plan was to ride the 14 mile Indian Creek trail. When I got to the barn it was a moments work to get the trailer hitched and loaded. We had a slight detour when I pulled Ashke out of the stall, but the rinse off at the wash stall was brief (there was no way I was riding without rinsing him off first - he had rivulets of urine running down his body). He loaded easily after that and we were on our way to TMR.

K and Eddy were waiting by her car when we pulled up. Eddy started to pull a little when he saw the trailer and I made a comment that he seemed eager to go. K agreed and decided to see if he would self load. Poneh trotted onto the trailer while the rest of us stood around and watched with sloppy grins. So much better than when we started.

We were at the trailhead about an hour later, which made it close to noon. We opted to eat lunch before setting out, while the ponehs were still eating their mash. Once that was done, we were just about to swing on when a camping ground attendant swung by to remind us to pay our day fee (we did) and to warn of a barn near Roxborough Park. Eeeep. Not interested in making his acquaintance.  Then we set off.

My wife is a Rock-star bad-ass, but this trail kicked her butt.

Eddy did awesome. We only had one big spook and that was entirely my fault.
Little dude can go sideways in a hurry.

I honestly think this may be the prettiest trail we have ever ridden.

There was pine and aspen and a lot of scrub oak.

In some places the scrub oak formed a tunnel of sorts.

The trail is fairly challenging, but the horses handled it like troopers.

It was slightly overcast with rolling thunderstorms passing overhead. There was some thunder and lightning, but nothing that was real close.

At the apex of the climb, we turned and headed down the Forest Service road. 
There was no way J could go on. Her legs were spaghetti.

Indian Paintbrush. 
It's unusual to find so many in one place.

The views were breath taking.

After we made it back to the trailhead by way of the forest service road and the campground, where we paused for a bit while K schooled Eddy. He was acting up a touch. We hadn't ridden far enough or fast enough to really expend his energy and both of us are working on control and obedience leading, following and do what we ask. Neither of them wants to leave the other and Ashke struggles when Eddy is in the lead. These combined problems led to rearing (Eddy) and bucking (Ashke), but we both dealt with the acting out appropriately.

We decided to explore the horse camp grounds and see what the accommodations were like. Each site has a double corral and a place for a tent. Some of the corrals have shade from nearby trees. At the far end of the campground we found the other Indian Creek trail trailhead and rode down it for a bit. It headed steadily downhill (which would mean an uphill climb at the end of the day for J) but the trail was not as aggressive as the one we took from the parking lot.

Ashke is not happy being second.

We went back to the trailer having ridden just a bit more than 4.5 miles. By that time it was after 2, so we stripped tack and sponged off the horses. K, J and I talked about how neither horse was happy to have returned to the trailer and then was forced to ride out again. That is something we need to work on if we ever want to seriously consider a 25 mile ride. A couple of women rode up as we were getting ready to take off and we chatted for a bit. They told us of a loop they had ridden that was 7 miles (J is willing to try to tackle that) and it has water (necessary) for the horses, plus several creek crossings.  That will be our next ride up there, maybe in a month or so.

The other ride I have planned for the area will probably happen in September. I want J to drive us up, drop us off with the horses and then drive back to Waterton Canyon, where she will park and ride her bike to come meet us. K and I will ride from Indian Creek up to the Colorado Trail and then down into Waterton Canyon. It looks like about a 14 mile ride one direction. J will ride from the Waterton Canyon parking lot up Waterton Canyon (maybe with the boy) and meet us somewhere between the dam and the connection to Indian Creek. It could be as much as 16 miles for her, but the return is all downhill.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Indian Creek Part 1

We had planned to go camping last weekend. Then I realized it was the final weekend of Cheyenne Frontier Days and reminded J. The last thing we wanted was to be camping out in National Forest with a bunch of drunk dumbfucks with guns. Been there, done that. Combined with the level of backlash going on around the country because of recent SCOTUS rulings, it just seemed safer to forgo our favorite camp site.

I did some research and suggested a hike on Saturday. J thought that was a great idea and we forced the basement dweller to actually come with us. The drive was about 50 minutes even though we ended up fourteen miles from the southern end of Chatfield. Once we arrived, we put on packs, hooked up the dogs and headed out.

The trail is really nice, but somewhat aggressive. We climbed 2350' in a mile and a half.

Once we got away from the trailhead, I let the dogs off leash.
They were fantastic!!

They did cover about three times the distance we did. Back and Forth.

The scenery was magnificent.

Happy dog tails.

The near constant rain has left our mountains absolutely green.

It was like walking through a bouquet of wild flowers.

And the sky . . . and the distance . . . . and no breath

T refuses to leave the house without his beenie, even in 90 degree weather.

Checking out his heat rash.

The dogs stayed close and returned the first time we called.
Demonstrated they could be trusted.

The scrub oak was every where.

I swear this Aspen was 50 to 70 feet high

Dogs hanging in the shade waiting on us.

Very tall Aspen forests.

He wasn't even breathing hard when we got to the top.

The poor pups had gotten tired and would go ahead, but not come back. They would just stand and wait for us, so I put them back on leash.

More wild flowers. T almost blends in.

T waiting for me to haul my old body up the hill.

The trek back was on a fire road. We kept the dogs on leash for most of the way back.

T and J spent the walk down talking about what they would wish for if they had five wishes.
It was awesome to listen to their conversation.

The hike was just about four miles and we did it in just under two hours.

We missed the turn for connecting from the fire road to the campground and hence to the trail head. We went on for another half mile, with all of us getting more and more tired. We finally reached a point where we were overlooking the parking lot and realized we needed to turn around and back track. When I turned around to go back both dogs stopped and looked up at me with the most pathetic look you would ever see. They were both a bit foot sore and not at all happy that we were back tracking. I had kind of hit a wall too, but found some energy in the bottom of a Gatorade bottle. 

It was a really nice hike. However, I was jonesing to ride those trails on Ashke. J and I made plans to return the next day.

Sunday, July 26, 2015


A week ago, J, K and I went for a ride at Fairmont Vista. K has wanted to ride the Marshall Lake loop starting from Fairmont Vista, crossing the street and heading east to Colton road. Riding the loop in that direction means we would have ridden the long 3 mile hill downhill rather than uphill (talk about a canter hill set). It was a ten or so mile loop.

The trail was pretty rocky starting from this end and was rolling prairie. J was rocking it on Coyote. We had tried this loop a year or so ago and J couldn't do it on her old bike, but the new bike handled the terrain.

The weather was pretty good for this ride, since it has zero tree cover. We had a decent high cloud cover and temps in the low 70's. It would have been brutal in the full sun.

The rocks disappeared the farther to the East we were moving. I just love the varied terrain we have the opportunity to ride. This was an absolutely beautiful ride. 

There was a stock tank, which Eddy was encouraged to approach. Ashke drank a decent amount once he realized that there was water. He is so good about drinking when he has the opportunity. 

Crossing bridges that don't have sides or rails. FTW!!

Two and a half miles out K realized her cell had fallen from her pack. Somewhere behind us. We turned around and tried to retrace our steps, looking for a yellow and orange cell phone. We rode back to the trailhead and K found it right next to the trail sign. We decided to break for lunch.

 My new saddlebags. They have a insulated pack on one side and a normal pack on the other. It fits the back of the saddle really well, doesn't roll up under the edge of the saddle (like the stowaways) and they attach well. Kept J's pepsi cold. Sit nicely on top of the BOT western style pad.

 We opted not to traverse the rocks again and instead headed up the Greenbelt Plateau. This was not a great choice. J didn't realize that she was going to have to go up again on the way home.

 There were cows.

Eddy about lost his mind the last time there were cows.
He was much better on this ride.

 Riding under the Flatirons.
I am a very lucky woman.

 We did some cantering. Ashke loves to follow J.

 Once we got onto the canal, I mentioned to J that we could ride around the Marshall Lake loop, we could ride back up to the Greenbelt Plateau or we could ride Dowdy Draw backwards. J opted to do the Draw.

Riding Community Ditch toward El Dorado Springs.

 Headed up the Draw. J was hating life at this point. Lots of elevation. Lots of rocks.

 Going up Dowdy Draw.

 The Eds coming up behind us.

My Beast of a wife coming up behind the Eds.

A little over 11 miles of riding. J said it would have been better to do the loop in the opposite direction. Also, we still need to do the Marshall Lake loop, when it gets cooler.