Friday, December 18, 2009

Storm Gets Fixed!




Well yesterday was VERY exciting for me. The locals around here (esp the endurance ppl) have been trying to find a good bodyworker for some time now, that would come up to our area on a hopefully regular basis. There really weren't any takers, or the few that would, wanted to fly in or otherwise make our costs go up to about 300$/horse...too rich for our poor pockets. I knew my horses were all messed up... MY body was really messed up and though I FINALLY got that fixed this September (at a ride I finally found someone that I trusted to put me back into shape...even my FACE was out of line, LOL), I had been riding my poor, tolerant ponies crooked for years! Add to that the minor kinks and misalignment that happen when you put the amount of miles on a horse that I do, or things that get out of whack when a horse trips or slips or whatnot, and I have stiff, sore, out of alignment ponies.
So yesterday we had a clinic with Cindy Schleuss out of the Petaluma, Ca area
(http://www.horsesavvyranch.com/index.html) at a local endurance rider's barn. She is absolutely awesome! And not only does she know her body work stuff, she knows and works on gaited horses and how to get better gaits! So that was a BIG bonus with Storm! I had her work on the other ponies and my little red mare Hoanna was SOOOO out of whack. I can't wait to see the results when I have time to hop up and ride her...I hope for decent weather soon, so I can go do that :) Anyway, here are pictures...












She would first watch the horse move on a lunge line at varying gaits (after getting some history on the horse about use, injuries, concerns, etc...), then work on it a bit....



Then she'd have you move the horse out some more and see how the horse changed, where it still had issues, etc. Then work on it some more, more lunging, and so on. Until she was happy with how the horse moved. It was REALLY neat seeing the change in the horses. The 20yo I ride, who had been moving fairly stiff and short behind,which I had attributed to arthritis (and he had come up with a mystery lameness at the last ride that went away), moved like he was young again by the time she was done. Sure, he wasn't perfect (arthritis can't be fixed), but he was fluid again, not way short, etc. He was bringing his back up, his head in, etc (before he just was fairly ventroflexed and high headed)...and this was on a lunge line, with no rider manioulation going on.... The little red mare change a TON too...it was bizarre...her whole topline was different and she actually has WITHERS now (her main issue was the spine). Too cool!
Anyway, so she did all this with Storm, then we started addressing the paciness. Now some of that of course is genetic as he just IS a very lateral horse, but some of that was indeed coming from being stuck in an inverted frame and then being "stuck in behind the vertical" as she called it...a lot of horses need to learn to come to the vertical...he was the opposite. He had to re-learn to go long and low and get his head back out into a relaxed frame. So instead of lunging in a rope halter (as we did with the others), she brought out her caveson so we could encourage him to bring his nose out and relax. She also agreed with me riding him long and low in a snaffle...NO leverage bits of any kind until he relearned a proper, relaxed position, THEN he could learn to come TO the vertical (not past and above it).
Added to this, he was going to get lunged over cavaletti to break up his pace into a diagonal. All we had at the barn were some small poles, so we used those. But she said to make some actual cavaletti that I could adjust height on, so he'd also have to pick up his feet, as part of a pace problem is a horse "slides" long and low to pace most the time as it is a lazy gait. If he has to lift his feet and learn to elevate his front end and tuck his rear, he will fall more into a rack.
We then began lunging him over the ground poles....


And she also showed me how to lift his back, by using the stiff part of the lunge whip (or better yet she recommends a bamboo rod...easier to handle than the long, floppy whip) to tap him on the belly, which will ask him to lift his back....


And you can tap the legs (best just above the knee...not sure why we were low in this pic) to have them lift the leg higher (resulting in lifting the whole front end better through the shoulders as well and you can determine the rhythm of the footfall that way as well)...

We also got video of some of this...it was funny, cause Storm really didn't know how to lunge well (I had done some when I first got him, but it was always in the round pen and that made it real logical for him. He never really went in "the open" before...and he was getting bored with the whole thing, so we had a hard time getting him to even GO...all the whip swishing, tossing it on him, around his legs....nadda...LOL... and then he would try and evade the poles, so we kept having to put more cones on the sides as barriers. He finally figured it all out in the end though, and it did break his pace (once he stopped trying to canter over the poles, LOL) up and he'd get praised every time he was doing well... We will be setting up cavaletti in the round pen at home and I even have a caveson I can use..
As usual, I can't get a video to upload here...it is taking hours and still no result. Soooo... here are the links to the Youtube versions...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRqUsjpRA9o
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUlk0uPKJSY

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Another Outing into the Woods...

...and back home through Town...
Yesterday I went back across the freeway to mark that trail I almost couldn't find when it got dark. Bright pink flagging should do the trick, right? Storm did finally have a "bad day" at the start. Guess he was tired of being such a god boy, LOL...he is not the most motivated horse when leaving "home" (does ok if trailered out or with other horses...just doesn't like leaving from home) and I am not much either (hate riding by myself...kinda lonely and boring...yes, the horses is there, but it is more fun with another person around). So he played "mule" a few times and planted his feet while leading and I would have to go and chase him with the crop a little. And then he kept trying to turn around and go home. Almost got the rope from me once, while I was trying to hang a flag. BAD BOY! But when he finally realized we were going down the trail no matter what, he settled back down to his normal good self.
Thought I would take some pictures of the trails...


This is part of the woodsy trail going through the demonstration forest from Terri's to the freeway....

This is the trail from the woods up onto the freeway...you have to kinda scramble up the side...










This is the 4 lane fwy, US 101 (you can only see the first two lanes from here...I am still partly down the embankment waiting for traffic to clear enough to walk across) looking South (the Trinidad sign) and North (call box, heads toward Crescent City, Ca)




This is where the trail goes into the woods from the freeway after crossing...stop laughing, I'm serious! It's covered by low hanging branches...was hard to find after not having been over there for some time....

Ok, how's this view? I hunkered down and shot under the branches...the horse has to trust you and just duck under and "dive into the trees" hoping that there is somewhere to go...

Where's Waldo?.....I means, where's Storm? :) Find the hidden horse... this is just the beginning of the trail from the fwy to the lumber road...up ahead.... THE TUNNEL OF HORRORS...ok, kidding....but you'll see why it is called that now :)

This is the entrance to the Tunnel....if you were a horse, it would probably look like the door to horrors unknown too... :) That "black hole" is where the trail goes...it is not quite THAT bad, but on an overcast day, even with a flash, this was the best I could do....
















This is inside the Tunnel...again, it isn't this bad, but pretty darn close on a day like this...wet, dark, and very tight...no horses with claustrophobia need apply... :)


Storm inside the Tunnel...it is this narrow most the way...bout 100yards I would guess? Maybe more.. As you can see, he thinks this is a stupid trail...WHAT trail ???? he asks....
One of the many logs he has to climb over once out on the logging roads...this one is about medium..some are smaller, some are taller.. he is pretty good about it all.
We marked the trail, then I decided to follow the far right logging road to see where it went, as it was WAY to slick to get up the steep clay hill after the 2-4" of rain we had the day before. It ended up splitting a few times and I decided to stay to the right. I ended up on a logging deck and saw a gravel road and some tractor type equipment just a little below. Went down and low and behold, we popped out NOT on another logging road as expected, but on somebody's property with a new house being built.... WTF? Where the heck ARE we? Hmmmm...well, saw a gate and another road and figured we could take the road to wherever it went, if we could get through or around the gate. It went around, so onto the road we went. I had to think for a little bit about what direction to go...decided on left, as the signs put up for the housebuilders to find the house were all facing to be viewed from that direction (meaning that way was civilization, LOL)...ended up on a paved back road and the mailbox numbers confirmed my direction was correct. Followed the paved road until it popped out somewhere that was finally familiar...

We were on the frontage road that parallels the Fwy on the east side... that meant we were about a mile from town.
So I could turn back, or go into town and then not quite 2 miles to Terri's house...maybe even less. I hadn't ridden storm on roads yet and only remembered the "Dreaded Hamilton Road" incidences from Amber's (usually involving lots of panic, spinning horses, and sometimes Amber on the ground...hmmmmmmmm). Town was a 15mph speed zone, but Patrick's Point Drive (to get to Terri's) was a 45mph road with some idiot drivers that do not slow or move for horses. I used to ride my mare down the road all the time, and she was fine with it, but Storm would be a new experience. Well, I figured I would go ahead as it was so close to home. All else fails, I could get off and just lead (a long walk for me, but oh well).

So down the frontage road we went (not much traffic this way as it dead ends with only one or two roads off it) and headed towards town.
We met two cars, both driving carefully, and Storm did fine. In fact, we have some BIG trucks go wizzing by on the Fwy next to us, and the only thing that "bothered" him (made him toss his head the first two times...whoopee) was when a car would change lanes, going over the "bumps" in the markings and make a bbbbbbrrrrrrrttttttttttt kinda sound....
Once in town, I had to go under the freeway again, so I got off just to be safe (busy area with two exits and on-ramps feeding cars into and out of town, and then the weird and loud noises overhead when cars go over on the Fwy' and I didn't want him jumping in front of a car if he did spook. Well, no biggie there either, as usual. We stopped on the main cross street (would then be heading right to go down Patrick's Point) and took more pictures....

This is the local "bike locker" (so you can keep it safe while you carpool to work or take the bus or whatever). The town decorates it like a big gift every year around this time. Storm almost dragged me over to go look at it...he probably thought something great was in there for him :)

And here is the one and only gas station (Trinidad is pretty much a main street, some feeder streets, and that is it...not big, but a nice quiet town to live in...)
After the photoshoot, I hopped back on and rode down PP to Terri's. Plenty of vehicles of varying kinds passed us. Some were careful and slowed down and moved over, but some were the usual idiotic drivers and went zipping by about 4ft from us (we were in the "bike lane"...well, kinda, LOL...what passes for one anyway... most the time, except when we could hit some grass patches by yards or businesses) and Storm really just ignored them. He was more focused on going home. So we got home with absolutely no issues and had a great time. He even offered a few good racks for once on the grass, vs the pace he was doing before... whoo hoo!
So over all, despite the goofy start, he did great!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Another Productive Day

"Hello?? Can I come out now? Please? I'll be a good boy!"


So today I was going to go riding with a new gal I met that wants to ride but has no horse. I was going to take Storm and my "do anything" mare Hoanna. She is my perfect pony and what I hope Storm will be like with a year or so of riding under his belt. So far it looks like that will be the case:) Well, the gal never showed and I figured I would make good use of the time, and the fact I had trailered Storm over to my mare pasture, where we were to meet. I figured it was time for some "mare desensitization training. I tied him to a post right near the mares, but where he couldn't get nose to nose with them. He got all hot and bothered at first, but I after a few growls and then realizing that he wasn't going to get any, he finally relaxed and just stood around gazing wistfully at the girls. I also walked him up and down the fence line in hand, letting him graze, and just getting on his case if he dropped and got huffy.. he started figuring that one out real fast too.
Last, I had him tied to the post again and brought out Hoanna to graze all around him, til he found that equally as boring as the first few exercises. It's funny...but he really doesn't show any studly behavior under saddle...or out riding leading him around. But "in hand" he was all puffed up expecting to get some. At least he knows when he is "working" and when not, but in endurance he won't always have tack on (vet check, tied to the trailer, etc) but will still have to behave himself. So these exercises are great to teach him that he has to behave at all times in the company of humans, and that breeding is not allowed unless we say so (which right now is not at all, LOL).
Last, I decided it was time to toss him in the trailer with Hoanna and see how he does. I really have been wanting to go riding with a few friends who don't have horses, and the mare is great for that, but was leary of sticking him with a mare in my trailer. It is a straight load and had no real "divider" as such (see pics/vid). I did make a divider for the head area out of some clear vinyl I glued around the tubing, so that the other horse and Storm can't touch noses as such. Seems to be working. I also tied him from the side and the front just in case. I loaded him up first (figuring he'd be too tempted to get excited, coming in "behind" the mare that straight loading promotes) and then tied him up. There was realllllyyyyy "special" yummy grass/alfa (higher on the alfa than they normally get) in the mangers to distract the ponies too. Then I loaded Hoanna and left her butt bar open, in case she got uncomfortable and wanted out, she could just back on out. She could care less and was stuffing her face with hay...Storm "spoke" to her a few times, but I was standing outside waiting and growled at him and gave him a small pop with the crop when he did, and he'd go right back to eating. After three repeats of that, they stood for almost 20 mins in the trailer eating and not a peep out of them (Hoanna would lay her ears at him a few times if he DARED look at her..she wanted to make sure the food was ALL hers, LOL). So that ended up really anti-climatic and I am really pleased, cause now I know I can haul him with a mare and not have any issues and take ppl riding with me again! Whoo HOO!
What a GOOD BOY... Storm really makes stallion ownership so much easier than expected. Granted, I am not under any pretense that he is not ALL MAN and I will always have an eye on him, but I don't have to sit there and "babysit" him all the time, wondering when he'll attack me or go jump the nearest horse in site, LOL....
Oh and then, I got a call from one of my clients that lives right down the road from the pasture and wanted to reschedule our appointment that was tomorrow. I told her if there was room to get a small trailer in there and turned around, I was game for right now. Sure, she says. So back in the trailer Storm went, Hoanna back in the pasture, and off to Rachael's place. She has an 18 yo QH that I just pulled shoes on and she's really happy so far with how his feet have already changed in one cycle. She also is interested in endurance, but wants a multi-use horse and one that her husband and kids could hop on too. Well, I had told her how enamored I am of the KMSH breed and that they would be great family and multi-use horses and the gaited aspect also makes it great for non-horsey ppl (no need to learn to post, etc).
She was surprised when I pulled Storm out of the trailer, as she thought I had the mare with. She thought he was quite the handsome horse, but commented on how different he looked from what she was used to (stock horses)... We tied him up and trimmed her horse, then talked for some time about the breed. She was curious about the gait, so I tossed his bridle on him, hopped up on him bareback, and tootled around her pasture area whilst explaining what he was doing. Then I told her to hop on up and try him out. She was so excited that I would "let" her ride my stud (well, why not? not like she could break him, LOL)...Then the best thing...her tootling bareback around the pasture, with an increasingly wider gaited grin plastering itself on her face... :) I think we have a new convert! Esp cause she couldn't get over how quiet he was in a new place, especially "for a stallion"...LOL... back in the trailer he went, done with his ambassadorial duties for the day, and back up to Terri's. What a great day, with a lot accomplished. :)

























video

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Lost in the woods...

Well, today I decided I didn't want to take the time to haul anywhere to ride. So I thought I would go out to the logging property out behind Trinidad today. This used to be the first real
playground" Terri and I would explore when we first started thinking of endurance and had to find somewhere to train, with no trailer at the time... So we would go out to a small trail in the woods across the street, that would lead to Hwy 101 (4 lane freeway at this point), cross it, and ditch off onto a narrow trail through the woods that leads onto the lumber property. I hadn't been out there in forever and last time, it was really changed from new roads put in, lots of dead fall logs across old trails, old roads decommissioned that now dead end, etc. So lots of exploring to do. I only had about 2 1/2 hrs before dark, but figured I would go do a quick ride and hop back home. This would only be the second time I took Storm out without anyone else to ride.
So first off, traffic. He did fine walking along the road to get to the first woodsy part with a few cars passing by. Then we had to find our way through there (a few old trails, some were overgrown and I got turned around a few times) and get to the freeway. Once out there, we had to get across 4 lanes of traffic. He didn't mind the cars whizzing by (not real busy here, but about 4 or 5 cars/trucks every few minutes...you just have to time your crossing for a break in cars...you can see a long ways too, and there is a very wide grassy verge to wait on, so pretty safe)
and just waited til I told him to go. I always time it so I can get across at a walk (or wait in the middle grassy area between N/S lanes), but like to teach the horse to "hurry" across at a trot (I lead doing this btw, I feel much safer that way) just in case I have to ever make it quick. Well, we have to practice that (need to anyway for our endurance ride trot outs) as I had to DRAAAAGGGGG him along, LOL...he doesn't "hurry" anything :)
Once across, I found the (fairly hidden) trail that ditches back into the woods. This is a VERY close trail that is so enclosed with brush and small scraggle trees, it is more a "tunnel" than a trail. One can only lead, not ride through here and it brushes the sides of the saddle as is. A good test to see if a horse is claustrophobic. Storm did great and didn't mind at all, even with stuff grabbing around his legs, tugging on the saddle, etc. Very good :) We finally dumped out onto the old logging trail that is the start of our training trails. The last time I went left and hit way too much gravel and new roads all the way up to "A-Line". This is a main back road that loggers use to connect to all the side roads...goes from Big Lagoon some 10 miles north of Trinidad, all the way to at least McKinleyville, if not further south...you can't really ride on in much though, as you have to dodge trucks and such which is neither desirable, nor allowed (technically no one is allowed back there, but lots of hikers, dirt bikers, mtn bikers, etc use it anyway, esp during the off season for logging or weekends...only a very few horse ppl use it though), so you stay off on the side roads and trails that dirt bikers have put in over the years. So I decided to go right and see if I could find an old road/trail up to a big rock outcropping locals call Strawberry Rock (looks kinda like a Strawberry shape from a distance I guess). This is a place lots of hikers go to, as it juts up above the hills and from the top, you have a 360 view to the ocean and inland forever...I have hiked it a few times and it is always an awesome view from up top (you can also ride and if your horses tie well, tie them below and climb up the rock). Many of the locals fear the day the logging company decides to blow it up and turn it into a rock quarry for the roads...
I went down the road (used to be you could follow the old road all the way up the mtn to Strawberry Rock, then on to eventually also dump out onto A-line) about 1/4 mile, when about 6 big,old, dead fall trees put an end to the road. I tied Storm to one of them and decided to see if there was a way around. Sure enough, it looked like someone made a really good trail up in the woods and paralleled the road. So I led him up the trail (which went both N/S along the road) to see where it went (half the fun out here, is exploring "new" territory and not going on marked trails that you know where they end up...you really have to be good at figuring out where you are and getting back there, or you could get really lost...one of the reasons I never have gotten lost at rides, because I learned how to find my way out here!). After about a mile or so, it dumped back into where the main road splits and either goes up the old Strawberry Rock trail (whoo hoo! It was still there!), or the road that is the far way around the hill (will have to see if that still goes through next time). I hoped back up on Storm and up the hill we went (this will be a GOOD training hill...it goes pretty steep up for a good mile or so, before leveling out again) and then ended up at a semi dead end...the old road/trail ended in more deadfall and I was at hte bottom of something I couldn't tell what it was, but LOTS of rock. I saw a little trail, but not sure we could make it up, so was just about to tie him to a tree again and explore, when two small yappy dogs came barreling down the trail. The little wire hair thing was really yappy and was constantly circling around behind to try and nip at Storm's tail. He was being really good while I was trying to shoo the dog away. Soon the owners followed and we managed to get yapper to leave Storm alone. They said the trail was a little slick, but nothing big (rocks or logs) that a horse would get stuck on. So up the trail we went, scrabbling over some rocks and trying not to slide out off the trail (it was a hard, slick clay), me leading on the ground. We get up top and I see we are in a quarry! That was not there a few yrs ago! Pretty trippy... Off I go again, but we run into BIG rock road (this is road base gravel...usually 1-3" and sharp and "loose" on the road) so I dig out his boots (all else was dirt/clay, so I only carried the boots just in case we hit the rock I knew was out there) and slip them on. I LOVE the new Gloves... four boots on in just few minutes (which includes digging them out of the packs, cleaning the feet, Storm walking around in circles wanting to go, etc) and off I go with a happy horse. We gaited out a bit and practiced cantering (he still has a hard time getting into a canter) and had a ton of fun going all the way up to A-line. At that point I turned around, otherwise I'd never make it back by dark.
Halfway back down the road, we ran into more hikers with a black lab with Dog Packs on and another dog and two young kids. Storm is going to be a GREAT ambassador for his breed. We stopped and talked with the hikers, who of course wanted to pet him and the kids petted him and walked all around him (I had to tell them to not go directly behind the horse and WALK...they kept trying to switch sides by running right past his butt...good thing he's not a kicker) while I explained what he was and what a gaited horse is (they just couldn't get over how pretty he was and had never seen a horse like him, LOL). Meanwhile, I wish I had brought my camera, because we had a total "AAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWW" moment with the lab...he came up while his ppl were petting Storm, Strom puts his head down to sniff him (prob cause he looked "weird" with those "things"...the packs...growing out of him :P)..the dog held his ground, sniffed back, then LICKED Storm on the nose, who stood there letting it happen! Oh my, how CUTE!!! I REALLY wanted a video of that one. Needless to say, the ppl were very impressed with the NOT wild stallion :) Whoo hoo Storm! I asked them if there was a way around the quarry without having to go back down the slick and boulder strewn trail. One guy thought that if I stayed to the left when I came out in the quarry, then that would lead back to the main trail. Thanks! and off we went. There was indeed an old road that went off to the left at the quarry, and it looked like a mtn biker had recently used it. So off that way we went, knowing that a biker HAD to come from the main road at the bottom of the mtn. I figured it would dump into the road that originally went around the hill way at the bottom, that I have yet to follow (but from yrs ago remember having gone on to get up here too). There were several road branchings and we had to turn back to the main feeder a few times. But overall there were familiar places I remembered and I was confident we'd get off the mtn that way. Well, until we hit a road decommissioning "trench". These are were they take an old water runoff or creek, and dig about 10-15 feet down from the road base and make a new creek bed for the water. The sides of the trench are almost always really steep (hikeable, but hard to impossible on a horse..some are less steep though and you could switchback down it) and sometimes "lined" with huge boulders to stabilize the sides. This one had no rock, and I thought we might even be able to tackle the trench and get to the other side of the road bed (the biker went down and up it again, off walking by looks of the tracks). BUT...I have done this before out here riding, only to run into another trench or something else (big log jam or slash deck) that makes the trail totally impassable. Then it sucks to have to back track over the trenches again (which are really not for the faint of heart, but doable if you know you can get through).
It was 4pm or so (dark is about 5ish, pitch dark at 5:30) and I had no clue if this road would go all the way through if I did get over the trench, so I decided to turn around. This trail was about 20 mins from the quarry, which was at least half an hour from the woodsy trail to the freeway. It was going to be close if I wanted to get out before dark. I hopped back on Storm and up the trail we went again, letting him gait or canter as he chose (except pacing) to hurry up and get home. He was really good, only spooked once at something in the bushes (which was only slamming on the breaks, no spin or bolt or duck :) ) and being pretty good at watching his footing (lots of ruts, things to step over, and slippery mud) It was kinda fun just letting him go and having to trust he'll get us where we need to go in one piece (I have to know this, as some of the rides I plan on taking him to have hairy trails that don't allow for goofy horses). I will be taking pics next time I go out. These trails have all sorts of terrain and obstacles and any horse that rides out here, would do great in those "extreme trail challenge" courses...those are easy compared to what's out here ;)
He got us back to the quarry in good time and I called Terri and let her know I was coming down the mtn a bit late (I called her before I left with my expected arrival time and where I was going. I always do that if I go out alone, so someone can come looking for me if I am overdo and lying in the woods cause my horse tossed me, or if I got lost, or whatever), but that I was back on track. She said she hoped I had a flashlight, as I would prob hit dark...hmmm, think so as the saddle has my endurance packs on and I normally carry a light in those.... So off I hop to lead Storm down the steep and slick rock strewn trail, back onto the main trail. He did well on it! I really like how he both watches where he goes, and stays off the person leading him (a lot of horses rush tougher trails and are constantly sliding inot you or stepping on you, or just won't lead nicely and crowd to pass you) , he just has to learn to lead at more than a walk, LOL...
I rode and then led down the mtn and back to where the re-route trail that parallels the road. We got on it and headed into the woods, where it was getting increasingly darker (out on the road, the twilight from the sunset was plenty of light...but didn't filter through the dense tree and scrub growth very well) and the trail that on the way out looked so clear, now was hard to follow. Note to self, bring flagging rolls next time and mark the trail! I got off track a few times (either to dead ends that looked like trail, but were just cleared out brush...or up side tracks that went elsewhere or were deer trails). I went through a stand of alders that I though was were I had come up from the road, but didn't see the trail to the road, so kept going (remember, the trail went both N/S along the road when I first got up on it). Finally the trail was veering away from the road and then led up a steep hill...I knew I hadn't been that way. It was getting darker, so I figured I would dig out that flashlight while I could still see...through the packs I go...lots of stuff in there...but no flashlight... SHIT! I realized I had moved it to the FRONT pack, that snaps to the saddle, which I had taken off along with my water bottles a few days ago cause I didn't need them at the time...SHIT again. Another note to self: get more lights and put in ALL packs!
So around I turn and figure I'd get back to the alder stand (about 1/4- 1/2 mile back) and see if I couldn't find a way back to the road... luckily when I got back, from this direction the lighting showed the trail I had missed going the other way, and I was able to get back down on the road where it was much lighter.
Now I knew where we were and all was well, even if it got pitch black :) We went back to the woodsy tunnel trail, over the freeway (had to wait in the middle for traffic to pass, Storm was fine with that and cars going by with lights on...good boy!), and ducked back into the woodsy trail across the road from Terri's. Through the woods (and to Grandma's house? Luckily no big, bad wolves here...just bears and cougars...hmmmmmmmm maybe wolves would be better? :P) and down the road, we got back to Terri's before it was pitch black...whoo hoo! Storm got untacked and then got to go into the round pen for a well deserved roll. Then back into his pen for a good drink of cold water and a big pile of yummy hay :)
He is going to be an AWESOME trail horse I think. He handles himself so well in even unfamiliar territory and without other horses. He will be a horse I can trust not to kill us when we tackle something like Tevis trails in the dark :) I am so enjoying riding him... If all Mtn horses are like this, I will be a true believer in the breed! He may not be a hot and flashy horse, or be a top ten contender in endurance, but I really am not into that anyway (I did my stint on Arabs...it was fun and I still love many things about them, but like much quieter things now). I love that I can take a basically green horse on a new and somewhat difficult trail, get stuck in almost dark, and not worry about anything except finding the trail back :) I hope Ari inherited his fine qualities too :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Ent-Horse????

"WHAT!?!?! What's so funny??! I LIKE my new do! Are you ok? When horses
roll on the ground like that, they are really sick....
should I call the vet for you? Nat.... NAT!"



So yesterday I got back from the 3-day Desert Gold ride in Monterey...nice ride, but a total bust for me. The old man came up lame on the right hind half way through the first day. Much better now, but no riding that weekend. Oh well...all part of the game. Today I went up to Trinidad to help Terri set up some new fencing next to Storm's pen. He'll have a new companion soon that I will post about later... Anwyay, I went in to say hi to Storm and give him a few scratches, when what comes around the corner behind the big tree? Is it a horse? A tree, a what????? It's an Ent-Horse!!
(Ents are the living tree-creatures from Lord Of the Rings...) He LOVES rolling and sleeping in the Redwood Duff under the big redwood in his pen. But sometimes the results are too funny! His tail is a mess too and I think I will start using a tail bag on him...half an hour of grooming just to untangle the tail is nuts (and even braiding has not helped much)! Enjoy the pics :)