Saturday, August 15, 2009

Progress on the Trails

I was able to talk my son into hiking with me on a trail ride this morning. My husband's knees have been bothering him, so he stayed behind at home. As I was tacking up Lostine at the trailer, a bunch of moms were racing in and out of the parking lot dropping off their Cub Scouts for a hike. I was getting a bit annoyed, because some of them were driving very fast just a couple of feet behind my mare's hind end. Fortunately, Lostine recognized them as idiots and didn't let them bother her.

An older lady showed up with a beautiful black horse. I contemplated asking her if she wanted to ride together, but she struck me as a loner. As I walked Lostine past them, she started correcting her horse, so I knew it probably wasn't that good around other horses. Lostine pumped herself up and started snorting in long, low, deep rattles at the other horse. She snorted all the way up the trail head past the field of sheep. I'm not sure who she thought she was warning and warning them of what.

I'd swear that every time I take a horse out to this trail, there are more signs than the last time we came.

At least they are friendly, educational signs.

Lostine finally made it through an entire trail ride without jumping sideways as she passed each sign. In fact, she acted like the signs weren't even there. I always have to walk the horses up the trail head and adjust the cinch a few times as we go before mounting, since they are bad about bloating their bellies when I saddle them. The downside is that I need a boost to get on since I can't carry my step stool with me.

Amazingly, for the first time in my life, I was able to mount from the ground without help. That means I'm getting stronger and more flexible. I had asked my son to grab my leg and push it up, but I had my leg over her before he could grab it. Lostine is my shortest horse at 14.2 hands. I doubt I could pull that off with Bombay.

We pulled over to let the woman and her black horse pass, and then we followed them for a while. I was curious as to whether Lostine would be more relaxed around another horse, but I didn't see any change in her. This other rider seemed to prefer to ride alone, so we dropped back to give her some space.

Hey! An airplane!

My son hates it when I take pictures of him, so I had to be sneaky. I was taking pictures of him while he was taking pictures of Lostine and me.

He got a little obsessed with this fly on her face. I love it when he takes pictures, because I always find something in the batch that gives me the giggles. At least it wasn't a big pile of manure this time.

This is the Cub Scout group just after they passed us. They got a late start, so they passed us going up as we were coming down. Some of those kids had been waiting in that parking lot for at least an hour for the rest of the troop to show up. My son pointed out a puddle of pee in the middle of the trail and said that perhaps one of the Cub Scouts couldn't hold it.

There was also one point in which Lostine was listening to something behind us. I didn't think there was anything behind us, but then a jogger with a dog took me by surprise by coming up on our hind end. I waved her past and she thanked us. All the dogs out on the trail today were off leash and very well behaved.

Lostine spent a lot of time looking off to the side of the trail rather than watching where she was walking. She did trip over a rock at one point and I felt like I was in a falling elevator. We dropped straight down, then she jumped back up. My son helped point out rocks to her after that, and I wouldn't steer her over or around them until she looked at them.

We ended up going higher and further than ever. Lostine was glad to get out of the rocks and back into the sandy foothills.

She perked up when she spotted the parking lot off in the distance.

By then a third horse trailer showed up.

She kept staring at some hay on the ground that someone had been feeding another horse.

On our way out of the driveway to go on this trail ride, my friend walked up to tell me some very good news. She talked our equestrian instructor into coming down on Saturdays to give us lessons. Her granddaughter got a new horse and needs some lessons on him. I'd like to continue my lessons, but it's been so hard to get those Thursdays off on a consistent basis. I was really surprised that he agreed to do it, because last year he had a bunch of students in Reno who he worked with on Saturdays. I guess people are hunkering down and not spending money on equitation lessons now, so his schedule is more flexible.

My friend asked if I had someone I would be trail riding with. I said no. She warned me that trail riding alone can be dangerous. Then she saw my son in the truck, and I told her he'd be hiking with me. That relaxed her a bit. Then, of course, I saw the other woman riding her horse alone, and she didn't seem concerned. She looked like a seasoned veteran who has seen it all and knows just what to do in every situation. It's a busy enough trail that someone should always be around to help if you get into trouble.

I think Lostine enjoyed the ride, despite me having to fight with her to catch her, get her boots on, and get her into the trailer. She's so funny, because she tries to turn and run from the trailer, but once I get her up to the back on it, she steps right in and obediently positions herself so that I can close the divider. Then she paws and kicks and throws a fit until we start driving. I watch her in the side view mirror as I drive, and she really does seem content to be in a moving trailer with the wind blowing in her face. She just doesn't like being in a parked trailer.


fernvalley01 said...

Sounds like a good ride. way to go Lostine!
As for your mounting block ... now you know you can do it ,the sky is the limit!

Kate said...

Sounds like a really good ride - Lostine sounds like a gem - and good for your son for going with you!

manker said...

gotta love those equine victories... you must feel great

had some great moments too today 'specially when some grouse came up and last year gazi jumped sideways 9-0 leaving me on the ground... with the "spook in place work " we've been doing.. he barely looked up today!!

happy trails all

Anonymous said...

My Arab mare is the same way, she hates being in a still trailer. Kicks the door constantly, but as soon as she's in motion she's happy. :)

Katharine Swan said...

Ha, I loved those pictures of you and your son taking pictures of one another at the same time! :o)

Yay Lostine -- I'm glad you two had such a good ride (and your son such a good hike)! That's great that she was so good about the signs this time -- next time we go out, I'm going to be working with Panama on passing a garbage can on the trail that he seemed nervous about on Thursday. Please tell Lostine to send him positive thoughts to help him through it. :o)

Andrea said...

It sounds like it was a good ride. I wish I could go out on some trail rides. I am like you and lack in the riding partner department......sigh.

You are lucky to have your son go with you. Maybe I could convince my kids to ride and I will hike!! LOL

I have an older horse that hates to stand in the trailer but loves the ride. Maybe they get excited to go??

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Your son is awesome for being willing to just walk along with you as you ride. I thought it was cool that he enjoys taking photographs while you're out and about, too.
The photos of Lostine and you and your beautiful trails turned out beautiful! :)


KD said...

Great ride and you were relaxed enough to let go and take pictures on the trail. Passing scouts on the trail can be a scary enough experience for some horses...especially when they have backpacks on. Lostine is such a pretty girl...but then all your ponies are beautiful!

Breathe said...

What a fun ride - Im glad you got one in. Its always challenging to find people to ride with unless you've got them built in, seems like.

That's funny about Lostine and the trailer. Between us we have one loading horse - mine will get in, but won't stay! Once in, both mine are fine standing parked.

Mary Olson said...

Looks like you had a good ride on the trail. Nice of your son to go with you.

Lulu said...

Geez, Lostine sure seems like she's about ready to trail ride alone!! What progress!

Violet is a real brat about standing in the trailer when it isn't moving. She loads like a dream, but then carries on until we get moving. To resolve this I have been tying her in the trailer when we have no where to go. When she stands quietly, I unload her and we move on to other things.