Tuesday, February 2, 2016

South Platte

So. Saturday was our High Country Working Equitation Kick off the Season Party at Circle Star Arena. It was chilly but there was hot coffee, hot cider, hot chocolate and some very yummy food. There was close to thirty people there and everyone seemed to have a good time walking through the obstacle course set up in the indoor arena. I was completely out of breath trying to canter the obstacles while making horsey noises with my mouth. It was a lot of fun and I think we have some great people who are truly interested in helping this discipline progress in Colorado. Makes me really excited for the year.

On Sunday, there was a storm coming in. It was supposed to start snowing early in the afternoon, but as the weekend got closer the storm got projected to hit later and later. We had committed to moving Eddy from TMR to his new place in Dacono, but K and I really wanted to do a ride before dropping them off at the barn. Sunday dawned pretty blue, but the storm clouds were banked in the south (direction the storm was moving from). J and I decided to give it a shot. We packed a lunch (not enough), put on clothes (I was wearing my Carhartt but J didn't put enough on) and headed to the barn. The BO told me that Ashke didn't want to come in at the end of turnout, so I figured he was going to be a handful. We double blanketed him and loaded him on the trailer, then headed to TMR.

The closer we got to TMR the more snow came out of the sky. It was grey and dismal which kind of seemed appropriate to be at TMR for the last time. K was dealing with some anxiety, so we put the Monty Roberts halter on Eddy to load him. He started to hesitate, but K was able to redirect him immediately with the halter, which kept him from pulling away and tearing off. We headed east to Adams County Fairgrounds.

At Adams County Fairgrounds we got the horses tacked up in the strengthening wind under grey clouds. Once we were on the horses were raring to go.

Both of them were ready to go. 

Ashke was not happy to have Eddy in front of him, both of them wanted to race, and the footing was not conducive for cantering. We argued about it a lot.

The South Platte river trail runs for over 20 miles through Denver, plus it connects to Sand Creek and Coal Creek, both of which would add 40 miles or so to the trails available. I thought we could ride from Adams County Fairgrounds to our house, actually. However, there is a three mile gap that made it impossible for us to go that far.

Some of the trail we had to ride on the sidewalk, because of mud.

I said to J, "He is so happy."
Here is proof. And the fast, forward spooky horse was the reality for yesterday,

We did a lot of trotting. We averaged 5 mph on our ride and we walked a lot of the last two miles.
Eddy was dripping sweat off of his face.

More. Trotting.

There was a spot where we could canter and I asked Ashke for a controlled canter, not the wild, head-tossing gallop that was obviously called for. At the end of our canter, we went back to the trot and much pulling and fussing ensued. He really wanted to go, go, go. A half mile further on, we ran out of trail. There was a bridge over the Platte that was closed. I was very bummed. We turned around.

When we reached the piece of trail where we cantered on our way out, I requested another canter and instead got full-blown run away horse with his nose straight up in the air. It took me a quarter mile to bring him to a rearing, bucking halt. We had a bit of a conversation about his behavior at that point, then he was asked to go forward at a brisk trot. The rest of the ride was pleasant and a lot less of an argument.

We rode back and around the golf course, making a bit of a loop at the end of our ride. Overall, 5 mph average and 8 miles on trail.

Back at the trailer, I had K load Eddy first, thinking we would stop and drop Ashke at the barn before driving Eddy to his new barn. I didn't want Ashke standing in the chill while we got Eddy settled. Eddy threw a freaking fit when he realized he was in the front of the trailer. He kicked the side of the trailer for a good forty minutes. He reared, he kicked. He was an ass. Thank goodness we have a steel trailer, because I think he would have put his leg through an aluminum trailer. He shredded the tie strap (bungie quick release) at the front of the trailer. 

Ashke got tucked into his stall and I went to pull the BOT fleece cooler out from under the top blanket, but forgot to unhook the hind leg straps, which meant that the fleece cooler hung up and Ashke thought about completely freaking out. But he calmed at my touch and I asked him to give me just a moment and I would get him loose. He stopped, trembling, but trusting me to get him free.

We then drove the thrashing yak to his new home, which is only a few minutes north of where Ashke is boarded. The place is nice, with a huge indoor. Eddy will be in a huge (100 x 100) space with one other horse. He seemed to settle down really easily and there was not much squealing or upset between them. The word is that he and the other horse was sharing their lean to without any issue today. I know K is hoping this will work until she can move Eddy in at Morelli. It seemed like a nice place.

J and I, hungry and exhausted, headed for the barn to drop the trailer off. It was getting dark and we wanted to get home. We decided to drive back to the trailer parking, turn around and then park the trailer facing forward in our customary spot, instead of trying to back it in after dark. We had parked it that way the last time we trailered out and it had worked really well. As soon as we drove off the asphalt, we realized we had made a huge mistake. The mud was about 10 inches deep. We couldn't back up and we were battling to drive forward. Then we couldn't drive any more. We unhooked the trailer, and with me pushing, we managed to get the truck free. 

We bricked the trailer.

And then we got 14" of snow. So, the trailer sits until the BO can move it to the front of the property for us.


  1. It is really great how you two have found a way to share your hobbies together. Having J ride her bike while you ride Ashke seems pretty ideal. You have so many different trail systems available to you!

    1. It's funny - J tried really hard to learn to ride, thinking that was the only way we would be able to do this kind of thing together. And I have a bike (which I am not very fond of) which I have ridden in the past. Neither of us was very happy with those adventures. J told me she dreamed of having a BMX bike as a kid (her parents would not give one to her because she was a girl and BMX is for boys) and never once wanted a horse. This works out really well, because Ashke loves following her on her bike. I could not have a better horse. I swear.

  2. I'm still just amazed that you actually ride outside in weather like that. I'm such a wimpy southern girl! But the landscape is beautiful and it sounds like such fun, minus the hot-headed Arab bit. ;)

    1. The haffie with us was just as hot headed and eager to go!! :) Ashke is really good at not trying to hurt me, he was just very exuberant. He really likes to run. Swear he thinks he's a race horse. I need to find some hills to gallop him up.