Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A Week

Time sure flies when you are busy. My week included playing driver for the young man suddenly inhabiting my house, which resulted in 200 miles of driving in three days so he could spend time with his new girl. We are hoping this will motivate him to find a job, because the only thing holding him back from being a licensed driver is having the means to pay his insurance. Whole new levels of terror await. You'd think surviving the new levels of independence would get easier as they got older, but not really.

I had a lesson on Tuesday, May 23, then rode the back 40 at the barn on Wednesday.

We did 4.5 miles around the perimeter in about 45 minutes.
He was on fire.

Such a beautiful barn. I love where we board.

I skipped riding on Thursday. I rode early on Friday in the arena. Saturday I skipped riding, mostly because it rained all day, and we did stuff around town. Sunday we rode the South Platte trail from Adams County Fairgrounds. The ride started with what sounded like pig slaughter from the barns closest to where we parked (Ashke is not a fan), although I'm pretty sure it had something to do with 4-H.

 Mostly traveled at Ashke's pace.


 Goofy boy


 Pretty boy


 Grazing the deep green grass


 Friend A, not amused by the camera


 He wouldn't drink from the river
He drank from every puddle we came across.

18 miles in just under four hours

Monday I was super sore and ended up only do a brief ride mostly to keep us both moving.

 Skittle growling at her sister

 Sleeping Skittle

 Lily. Stalking the baby black kitten.

Little Black Kitten (she's 10 years old)

Monday, May 22, 2017

Barn Party WE Style

 One of the reasons I spent Mom's Day working on obstacles is because of our pending Barn Party and Intro to WE we were having at my barn. And Babe, the Big Blue Bull, perished this winter so I needed the Burro Bull, anyway. So, by Saturday, most of the stuff was done, including painting the obstacle numbers and putting the stencils on them. The only item that still needed work was the bridge.

We bought more 3" nails and a piece of mdf to go over the top of the bridge. We headed to the barn to fix the issues (hole through the top) and get it set up for Sunday. Luckily, our BO had pulled it out of the field and left it for us next to the barn. We carried it over to a power source and took a look at what we had to do. The mdf board was too wide, so after a quick call to the barn owners, we carried it up and cut it with their table saw (seriously need to get one of those!), then went back to affix it to the bridge. We strengthened the bottom board from the bottom, adding two additional layers under the hole, then laid the new board on top.

T wanted to work the power tools, so I left him and J to fix the bridge (they also had to reaffix the side pieces with screws rather than nails) and went to soak Ashke's feet. He has WLD and I am doing an anti-fungal soak every time I am at the barn. He was surprisingly sweet and didn't even fuss when I put his foot in the soaking pan.

 Power Tools FTW!

They finished the bridge about the time I finished with Ashke's feet, so we headed home.

Sunday morning, J headed to the gym (she is working out to prepare for her 40 mile bike race in three weeks) and I cooked lunch for the barn potluck. Then I created risers out of some of the spare wood from the bridge project. I want to replace them with the potty seats from IKEA, but until then, they will work. When J got home, we loaded everything up and headed to the barn.


 In the far corner is Varied Footing (14), #11 is Rounding Several Poles, and the Garrocha (#3,7)
  Amanda and her sister were there and helped us set up. 
The arena is 90'x130'.
We put 14 obstacles in there. Well, mostly.
 

 Along the back rail was the Double Slalom (#2) and the single slalom (#12)
The single slalom shared three poles with the Double Slalom
Drums in front (#10)

Amanda walking past the bull (#4), sidepass poles (#8), Gate (#1), Bridge (#6) and Corridor with Bell (#9). The bridge is on the far side of the gate. The Corridor was set in the scary corner, which wasn't as scary on Sunday.

And the Livestock Pen set outside the side door to the arena. 
The original plan was to do this in the outdoor, but you can see the effects of the snow we got on Weds and Thursday.

We ate our lunch first and my chili seemed to be a hit. There were fewer people there than I expected, but everyone that showed up was interested in trying WE for the first time. After lunch, I walked everyone through the course walk, explaining the obstacles and demonstrating the order they would be ridden. Once we had walked the course, everyone grabbed their horse and went to walk the arena with them. Ashke was in his stall and he got very animated when the other horses started working the obstacles. He seemed to be screaming "hey, hey, that's mine! Those are my obstacles! You can't play on them!!"

We started in hand first.

Ashke didn't need to do it in hand, but it made more sense to walk around with him rather than just stand and wait until people were ready to ride.


The only really bad distance was the livestock pen to the bridge. It was maybe two strides. Hard to get a canter transition up and down in two strides.



 Bridge approach

 Making sure it's his bridge


 SD Finnegan (Gypsy Cob) was nonplussed at all of the things
I think he would be so darn cute riding the obstacles.


 After the walk through we got saddled up.

People played around the course for almost an hour between the in hand work and riding. Then we pulled everyone to the front of the arena and had each person ride the course. Most people were able to trot between the obstacles, trot the slaloms and then do the obstacles at a walk. There were obstacles they were attempting that they wouldn't have to try in a show at Intro (Rounding Several Poles, Sidepass) and those obstacles were a bit harder. The gate flummoxed a couple of people the first time, but doing the reverse gate seemed easier, almost. The horse had begun to figure out what the point of the exercise was.


 Watching Amanda ride her Intermediare I horse through the course was amazing.
Four stride flying changes through the single slalom.
Something to Strive For.


 Hanging out next to Amanda waiting our turn.
(I went last)

So, I got that spurt of adrenaline in the pit of my stomach two rides away from our turn and spent the next ten minutes or so trying to let my energy go. Ashke had gotten warmed up prior to schooling most of the obstacles at the canter but then we had stood for quite a while and I wasn't sure how upset he was going to be at being asked to ride the course. I took him out for the warm up and asked for a canter. He threw his head up and charged. We stopped immediately and I made him back his ass up. Then we sat there for a few moments and thought about it. When I asked for the canter, he gave me the canter we have been working toward since last September. I cantered around a few obstacles and then gave my salute (might as well practice like it's a show). 

Ashke was wonderful. He was a little sluggish at the gate moving off my leg, but after that he was magnificent. Our double slalom was the best he's ridden so far and he was really moving his shoulders around for me, although I could hear Amanda say "look up" about half way through. Although, I did stop after the second pole and go back to try it again. He did not gather himself well and we did not get the canter depart. He did it much better going forward from there.

He did not veer away from the garrocha or the bull and after we missed the ring and were headed for the livestock pen, he stopped off my seat. I could hear people applauding when I dropped the pole off (I was the only one who did not stop to pick up the pole - but I was also the only one with experience). His sidepass was very good and the corridor was great. I made him pause for a count of ten at the end of the corridor before ringing the bell and backing out. We lost our haunches a little bit on the drums, but overall he did them better than he has ever done them in a competition. We wove our reinback down the Rounding Several objects on the right side and he did good. The single slalom was hard but we made it through with solid transitions. The reverse gate was easy and he didn't even hesitate to walk over the varied footing.

I was so proud of him. I think if we can do this in a show if I can control my nerves and keep him focused.

It was such a fun day. Hopefully, we will get to do it again some time. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.





Friday, May 19, 2017

Mother's Day

I am achy and sore this week and my body is reminding me that I am not twenty-something any more. Being very busy can do that to a person.

Saturday after I dropped Ashke and the trailer off, I went to Lowe's to gather supplies. I got five foot long pvc 1" pipe to fit into the construction cones to create bending poles, 2x6x8 fir planks (what the fuck happened to cheap ass pine?) to create my own set of numbers, and some 2x4x8 fir planks for my bell hanger. Then I picked up some scrap lumber, which was actually fairly functional, for free and a 4x8' hemlock ply sheet (not mdf) for the bull. I finished my purchases off with 3" wood screws, a couple of magnets and some liquid nail.

Then I got home and carted it all down stairs with minimal help from T (he was primping in the bathroom). By that point I was pretty tired. I drove T to the mall, came home and had ice cream for dinner and did a couple hours worth of ironing. Then I drove back out to get T, came home and had a stiff drink (self-medicating for bed) before seeking my pillows.

Sunday I got up and spent the day making stuff as a gift to myself for Mother's Day.


Much more reasonable bull painted with the trim color of paint from our hall.
It's what we had. Light weight and able to be easily moved. Just need to get the ring for the top.
Of course, more burro shaped than bull. 

Burro shaped is the best you can hope for with my limited artistic skills, using an image off of the internet as a guide and winging it on the back patio in my pjs. Talented in this area, I am not. But, it is light weight, easy to move and not the size of Paul Bunyan's big blue ox (seriously, what the hell was I thinking?)

My bell hanger for the corridor with the bell. 
Repurposed TP hanger FTW!

Fairly straight forward application of wood and metal to create a bell hanger that will not blow over in the wind. I used two pieces of 4x4 block wood for the ends of the base and am very happy with it.

 These obstacle numbers were very easy to make and I created 20 of them for about $35
I could paint the wood white first, but I was feeling lazy. I may go back and paint them anyway.


Because the wood is fir, it is fairly light weight.
The base is heavy enough to keep the number from falling down
The black vinyl numbers are 6" tall
I am very pleased.

On Monday morning I could barely move. My hands, forearms and shoulders were exceedingly sore, mostly due to the vibration of using the scroll saw and drill. Surprisingly, my left hamstring was tight, sore and I walked with a limp most of Monday. 

Still, I went to the barn and saddled up Ashke.

He was high as a kite and tight as a wire. He was spooking at the shades of sand in the arena. I opted to take him outside and ride the edges of the field. It could have been the weather (we got snow on Weds night through Friday morning - in FUCKING.MAY!!!) or it could have been that he was feeling great after his chiro appointment, but I didn't want to try and contain his exuberance inside.

We did 4.5 miles around the field in about 45 minutes. The first round we spooked at everything. I just worked to keep him at a trot, with some contact between him and I. He spooked at all of the ant hills (nine), the on-again-off-again oil drill (four times), each and every trailer parked next to our trail (seven) and dark patches of grass (four). Our second round, we cantered the quarter mile along the back fence from the far north corner to the piles of manure, then trotted past the manure and cantered to the far south edge of the trail. He didn't try to bolt or fight me, and came back into my hand when I asked, but he really wanted to go. We ended up doing a third round and by the time we were on our way to the gate, he was doing crisp leg yields, a few steps of half pass (easier when we have impulsion) and turns off my legs and seat. He still felt great, just not as up as he had.

Tuesday was my lesson. Ashke was a great and willing partner. His canter is no longer difficult to attain and we do a lot of transition work during all of our rides. He is becoming very handy and I really am excited to ride him around a set course this weekend. The barn is doing a potluck and EOH intro for the boarders who are  interested.

Any way. We finished the lesson starting our schooling for the half pass. It is so hard. Partly because I still am confused a bit about the direction we should be moving. I'm sure Amanda is tired of saying, "uh, no, that's a shoulder in." Although, Ashke tries very hard to figure out which pretzel shape I am trying to make at any given time. He really is a saint.

For your amusement, video:

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Monday, May 15, 2017

Teeth and Sheath

I have looking forward to seeing Dr D for over a month now. We had originally scheduled to do the teeth and sheath appt on 4/29, but Ashke had vaccines scheduled for that date so we rescheduled for this past Saturday. I've been feeling that there were things going on with him and my impatience level was getting pretty high, not that there was anything I could do about making the appt come any quicker.

Saturday, I was up and out of the house pretty early. J had left the day before to go river rafting with a group from her work, so I was running solo with the truck and trailer. I hitched up on our first try, loaded Ashke without any problems, then headed to Dr D's. Traffic was light and it is a straight shot to her barn, so there weren't any issues. I drive like a granny when I have Ashke on board, so the hour I left myself to drive to her place ended up being the perfect amount of time.

So, I have been feeling like Ashke really needed the base of his neck adjusted, plus I wondered if he had a rib out a couple of weeks ago on the right side and I knew he needed an adjustment in the SI area (although that is a give away, since he always needs adjusting there). He's felt heavy in the front (not on the reins) but like he couldn't lift himself up in the front. His canter has been much better: I felt that he has gotten a lot stronger and it's been awhile since he cross fired on his left lead. That is his go to habit (like chewing your fingernails during times of stress) and he just hasn't done that with me in so long. Of course, in the round pen he was cross cantering all over the place. Nothing like reverting in times of stress.

After Dr D evaluated him, we set him up in the stall and she looked at his hooves. The width of the frogs were all the same (5.25) with the exception of the left front (5.75). I was correct: there was a rib out (C7) on the right side, his withers were off, and the base of his neck needed adjusted (the reason for the slightly greater impact on his left front. Plus, his SI joint. After going over him, Dr D drew blood and set the needles. Then she gave him some sleepy time juice.

Pretty sleepy

Heckin' tongue

His teeth were pretty straight forward: adjusted incisors/molars to maximize A/P and lateral motion and to restore proper balance to TMJ; realign, angle change, balance incisors, slight upright diagonal, sharp, float, balance molars. He had one pretty good sharp point in the back on the right (all the stuff was on the right - no wonder we have struggled with bend). It went quick enough that he was still pretty drugged when she was done.

Then we did the sheath cleaning. Better to do it before the adjustment, so he doesn't throw himself back out. I held his left hind leg stretched out behind him while Dr D went fishing. She got two and a half beans out, but then things got a bit violent. Ashke actually had a fairly significant swing at me with his hind leg. We decided to put a little more juice in him before finishing the cleaning (Dr D thought there was one more bean she needed to retrieve). He got pretty darn drunk pretty quickly, and I held a leg while Dr D went back into the breech (I mean, she's almost shoulder deep at that point). She retrieved three and a half more beans, so it's a good thing we didn't just give it up. All six were still soft, but they were also the size of my thumb nail, so a good thing they are gone.

Dr D started with her next client, who knew me (I guess I'm becoming famous) from WE. I think maybe she was at our open house in January. Anyway, they did the evaluation and then drugged the horse for his dental while we waited for Ashke to sober up. At one point he staggered out onto the gravel floor and peed like a race horse. It would have been helpful if he had dropped out of his sheath even a little bit while he was doing so. He sprayed pee everywhere like a garden sprinkler. No wonder the bottom of his belly is so pee stained. 

It had been almost two hours at that point and some of the needles were still pretty tight in his SI area and the places where he was "out". The cool thing about the accu needles is that as they do their work, the horse's body will push them out. Pretty soon there is a small storm of spent needles falling like leaves from various parts of his body. Not so this time. He lost the front of his chest and neck first, then the needles on either side of his poll. But the rest of them were pretty tight against his body. It was probably just as well that we had such a long rest, since it gave them time to do their work. They were starting to loosen their hold when Dr D finally removed them. 

By the time Dr D was done with her next horse and the dentist was starting her work, Ashke was sober enough to do an adjustment on. Dr D adjusted the base of his neck (much better flexion to the right after), put the rib back in, and then used the actuator on his spine and SI area. Then she went over his withers as well. At the end of making the adjustments, we asked him to raise his back. I reminded him that he needed to raise it up through his withers and he did so. We could hear the vertebrae in his withers pop into place when he did so. It was a great alignment.

By that time he was mostly awake. I threw him in a stall while I gathered paperwork, paid for the visit and went over our treatment plan. Ashke needs to be on a psyllium supplement like Fiberpsyll or Sand Rid. She could hear sand in his gut. I got it added to his supplement bags on Saturday and will add it to his supps for the next two weeks, in accordance to her directions. I will plan on adding it for the last week of his smartpaks going forward (manually, because that is a much cheaper option than actually adding it to his smartpak).

Dr D is such a wonderful person and Ashke really loves her. He knows that she listens to what he has to say in his body and leaves him feeling so much better afterwards. I felt like the heaviness of the trapped energy in his body was gone when we left her place on Saturday. I am also very happy that I am in tune enough with him to notice when he needs to see her again. I've decided that we will just schedule regular visits every three months to keep him in alignment. We have a tendency to see her during the spring, summer and fall but then kind of slack off until our next spring visit. I think seeing her every three months will help Ashke's healing process and definitely keep him feeling better in his body. I mean, it only makes sense, since we are going to be working on our flying changes as soon as the competition year is over.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Lesson #4847565929

I'm sure Amanda feels like the lessons have been going on forever. Luckily, she seems to like both of us and is willing to go above and beyond to try and pound some dressage sense into our heads.

Can you tell I wasn't feeling very competent last night? It is possible to lose muscle tone and memory in a freaking week.

This is what met me at the door when I arrived to work last night:

 The storms that crashed through our city on Monday night left a giant mud puddle for my boy to play in. It also left golf ball sized hail and a shattered windowshield.


 He doesn't do anything half way.

I had expected to find a mudball, so I arrived early enough to be able to rinse him off. Then I covered him with a fleece cooler until it was time to tack up. He stood and watched the lesson before ours while I got him ready.

He felt normal under saddle, although there were a couple of moments when he twitched, but it wasn't enough to call it unsound. Once he felt fairly warm and loose, we moved to the trot and canter. I felt remarkably off kilter and unable to ride. 

Circles are cones and the bar is a ground pole

Ashke and I did a figure eight circle around the outside of the cones, coming into the center to and changing leads through the trot over the ground pole. It worked very well as a visual cue for the transition and a couple of times, I got my timing good enough to pop up into the canter going over the ground pole. Mostly though, I was off on my timing and cues. It was a great exercise for us and helped Ashke find his balance and rhythm without pulling. 

The fourth or fifth time we went through I pulled up in frustration, almost in tears, feeling like I had lost everything we had gained over the long months since last October. Amanda, who is very kind, checked to make sure I wasn't having an asthma attack, then suggested we do some other exercises to get me back into focus. 

We did our leg yield exercise from the rail to centerline and back to the rail. Ashke did awesome. Moving from the right to the left has always been more difficult for him and last night he felt stronger than the last time we worked on the leg yields. That settled me and got me using my body better, even though my legs felt weak. I just can't believe that a week off of practice could affect me so strongly. We then did leg yields at the trot, with some shoulder in at the end.

Ashke was a bit spooky at the scary end of the arena. Instead of getting angry or frustrated, I just brought him down to a walk, walked him past the area, then picked up the gait we were working in prior. A couple of times of that and he completely ignored that end, focusing on what we were working on instead. It is a much better strategy. 

We worked on shoulder in at trot, then haunches in at the trot. We did okay on our strong side, but I had to slow to a walk to get a good haunches in the other direction. 

Then we worked around the cones. First at the walk-trot, then adding the canter in. We went over the ground pole, and around the ground pole. I did some sidepassing over the ground pole and cones. We worked the three cones in the three barrel pattern and Ashke was very good. The times we missed the transition to canter was all my fault for not setting him up better. I really felt like I had thumbs for legs. We then worked on turns on the forehand around a cone. 

In between exercises, Ashke got to walk on a loose rein. One of the times we did a really nice stretchy trot along the rail with Ashke actively reaching down for contact.

Our final exercise was pretty cool. We walked with haunches in along the pole, turned on our haunches maintaining our haunches in, then walked out straight. It was really hard work and Ashke did it really well. We ended on that note.


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Colorado

When I got to the barn on Sunday, Ashke was in the big turnout in the front (he has been banished because all he does is fight and play with the geldings in their runs during his turn out) tearing around like a wild man. There was no indication in how he was moving that he was unsound. There was bucking and kicking and being chased by the mare, but no stumpy steps and no hesitation at throwing himself around. It confirms my belief that I will not talk about shows going forward.

We trailered out to Chatfield to do a ride with my friend, B, J and A. B trailered out her own horse and met us at the parking lot. The sky was overcast and the temps were right at 70ish, so I was pretty happy. J and A were both hoping for more direct sun worshipping, but it would have been really hot had that actually happened.


B and her mare, Dazee, were paying their entry into the State Park when we whizzed through the line. I tell you, that park pass is the best money we spend all year. We waited and had her follow us to the parking lot, where we got the horses suited up and ready to go.

We stayed on the east side of the river and headed south toward the Highline canal.

 Dead Horse Lake
Ashke thought he might like to try his hand at swimming, but I said no


 Coming through the mullien


 Not sure why neither of us is smiling


 We walked, trotted and cantered at various moments along the canal


 This was largely Ashke's reaction to all of the downed trees along the canal.

There was one point where we were cantering side by side and Ashke was taking turns spooking at the canal, then away from Dazee (cuz mare - although she didn't do anything), and then canal. I slowed him down and told B to continue on if she wanted. She cantered out of sight and Ashke remained mostly calm and responsive to my request to go slower. We were coming around the corner of the canal and I thought, I should make sure to warn B about the wrought iron bench by the eventing field. The trees parted and I saw B standing next to Dazee on the edge of the canal. Ooopps. They were starting to slow down from an active canter when Dazee went backwards and sideways. B was up in the stirrups and leaning forward when Dazee backpeddled. We were all thankful that B was wearing a helmet. She was bruised but not broken.

It took me fifteen minutes to get Ashke to touch the bench. I have no idea why in the world that bench is so terrifying, but it is.

 This was the bench.

It was painted green and set at the bottom of a slight incline, off the trail about twenty feet. Most terrifying thing to ever exist on any trail ride. It took me fifteen minutes to get Ashke close enough to touch it with his nose. There was fire-breathing dragon snorts and mini-rearing, plus lots of sideways movements to try and avoid the damn thing. Seriously. What could possibly be so dangerous about a bench. Dazee let B remount from the darn thing.

 One of my favs.

 Break to fix a tire. See the sun?

The tire was temporarily fixed and then went flat again. As we stopped a second time (hadn't really left this spot yet), we heard thunder. I was shocked to see the huge black thunderhead that had sprung up to our south, because it hadn't been there a few moments before. It was dark and angry looking, but mostly moving south and east. J suggested the riders get going, since honestly we are the slow spoke in this wheel. It did not take much prompting, since I knew J and A would be able to ride very fast on the paved road, while B and I were going to have to ride the fence line back to the trailer. 

It started to rain and then pelt mushy hail down on us, still from a clear blue sky. We were long trotting through the wet grass when Dazee decided she was done. B needed only a moment to straighten her out, but we really couldn't blame her. The rain and smushy hail was not comfortable and the wind was freaking cold. I said to B "people used to die in storms like this". She laughed and we continued on. We were both soaked long before we made it back. B was in the front and we were taking a walk break when there was a horrendous snap of lightning through the air. You know it's close when you can hear the water droplets frying in the electricity. 

I got off and B got off too. We didn't want to be the tallest thing on that prairie top. There was no where to hide and I haven't taught Ashke to lay down yet (although that is on my list of things) so we tried to make ourselves small and walked toward the trailer. The rain and hail stopped two strides after we got off and there was only one more lightning strike, far away and less immediate, to the storm. Five minutes later, we got back on and pushed for the trailer.

 The hill above where we park the trailer


You can see the dark storm clouds in the distance behind us.

At the trailer, we dried off and got a snack to eat. The horses were eating and we were chatting when the next storm came boiling over the mountains. We drove home in horrible weather and Ashke was shaking and trembling when we reached the barn. I don't blame him. The wind was pushing us sideways, there was raining crashing the sides of the trailer like waves and there was not much we could do. Ashke seemed relieved when he stepped off the trailer at home.

The crack I made about people dying in storms like the one we were caught in on Sunday was more accurate than I knew. Eight miles or so south of us, a woman and her horse were killed by lightning in that storm. A teenaged girl is still in the hospital. The weather report had said it was to be upper 70's to low 80's with no rain on Sunday. There was no way to really predict the storm or its sudden appearance. All we could do is deal when it suddenly showed up. There wasn't much else we could do except get off and try to get to lower ground. I was not going to leave Ashke. I am thankful that we got back safely.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Prairie Textures

So, on Friday, I went to the barn late and checked Ashke. He was still just a bit off, although I did find that the point of his right shoulder was sore, possibly from sliding into the fence in turnout on slick, wet clay. At least that is my guess. If the show on Saturday had been a WE show, we would have gone, but considering it was just for experience and exposure, we opted to move our entry to the June show. I did bathe him (three rounds with shampoo to get all of the mud out) and braid his mane afterwards. There is still a urine stain on the underside of his belly that I will have to work at over the next month, but it should resolve fairly quickly given I can rinse him everytime we ride.

J and I decided to spend Saturday exploring. We went to the show first thing in the morning and supported the people from our barn that showed. Amanda rode Intro A on both horses (SD Finnegan - Gypsy Cob and Ernest - Friesan) to help with calmness and focus, but then both riders rode their horses for Intro C. They did awesome and were very brave!! Both horses did a great job of taking care of their riders. I think the laid back atmosphere of that schooling show will be a great practice ride before our next show.

Then we rushed home to grab floofs and the boy and head north. We dropped the boy off at Blitz paintball to play for the day, planning on picking him up at 6 pm that early evening. Then we headed for Wyoming. We have plans to go camping up there with the horses for the first time and wanted to check out the area. The pups were pretty good in the car, although they did take turns trying to sit in J's lap.

We finally made it to Vedauwoo to find the entrances chained off. That kind of defeated the purpose of the trip, since we wanted to drive back and check out the actual campsite. However, we decided to try and hike back, even though we only had an hour to look. It would allow the pups a chance to run and play, J and I would hike for a bit, then drive back to get T.

 Long dirt road. The distance to the campground was more than two miles.
We didn't make it.

Floofs found snow though. 

We got out about a mile and a half, then turned back for the car. It was too far for us to hike and still make it back. I started having problems with the altitude and the hiking. We hadn't packed snacks, although I did have my inhaler with me. J basically saw that I was beginning to crash and forced me to eat some GU. I felt much better after and we headed back.

 When snow is not enough.

I decided to share some of the textures of my prairie.

 Not Indian Paintbrush. They were everywhere.

 Really cool bunch of prairie grass.

 Lichen

 Crocus

 I loved the color of green and red

 Barrel cactus
with blooms

Piece of rib bone, I think, left from some coyote's dinner

And this one:
I will leave it for you to guess. The first comment with the correct answer will win a bridle charm of your choice

We loaded up and headed home. The dogs were pretty tired and traffic sucked. We got back about fifteen minutes late but the boy had a great time, so he wasn't upset. 

All in all, a great day.