Saturday, March 2, 2013

A Five Hour Tour

I was finally able to fit in a half-day trail ride through the Goldfield Mountains into my and my husband's schedule, and it happened to fall on one of the nicest, clearest, warmest days of the year.  My farrier used to be a trail boss or guide for this outfit and he recommended it.  I was originally going to sign us up for a half day ride through the Superstition Mountains but found out that it involves a lot of climbing along steep, narrow trails.  I figured the mountains would be more beautiful from a distance, as opposed to being in them. This was my horse Scout...

This was our trail guide Josh...

He liked stopping to take pictures just as much as I did.  He wanted new shots for his website.  We weren't the only guided tour out in the desert on this day...

Some tourists were being driven around in a jeep and taught about the area.  Our guide Josh grew up here and could answer just about any question I threw at him.  He had a lot of interesting stories to share.  Here he is leading us toward the rock which has a nickname we cannot repeat.

A close up of the rock which has a nickname we cannot repeat...

You can figure it out.  There was lots of gorgeous scenery.  I was given a horse that for some reason had to follow the guide's horse, which was fine with me, because I could hear what he was saying better.  However, Scout had the bad habit of riding with his nose in the other horse's tail and we were supposed to keep a horse-length between us.  I tried.  I really tried, but it's hard to check your horse with the reins to slow it down every couple of seconds for five hours straight.  My neck and shoulders are killing me.  I don't have many shots with Josh this far ahead of me...

We had actually signed up for a four-hour ride, but I guess we got so engrossed in gabbing and took too long of an intermission, so the ride got drawn out an extra hour.  There were only five of us including the guide, so it was a small group...






The California Poppies were out for the first time this year...

We had to squeeze between a lot of different cacti.  I was asking Josh how the horses usually react when they get stuck by a cholla fruit ball.  He said they don't stick in the bottom of a horse's hoof.  Otherwise, their reaction just depends on if they get stuck in a sensitive spot or not.  He once had a horse get one stuck on its nose.  He said that if the horse is jumpy, it's best to get them out with pliers.  Otherwise you can flick them off with a comb.

Speak of the devil, not long after that conversation, his horse got a big piece of cactus stuck in its tail and when the spikes hit its hind legs it jumped.  He dismounted and untangled it from the tail.  A short time later the same horse got a cholla chain fruit stuck in its leg and he flicked it off with a comb.  He said you just have to watch your aim because when you flick it off one horse it can stick to another.


My husband on Rusty...

My horse Scout nearly caused a wreck for my husband toward the beginning of the ride.  Scout got his leg caught on a rock and jumped sideways to get out of the feeling of being trapped and to avoid falling.  He made such a ruckus on the rocks that Rusty panicked thinking a mountain lion was jumping out at us, and my husband's horse spun, threw my husband off balance, and began running back to the stable.  Fortunately, he was able to stop him before plowing down the other two riders at the back of the line.

We took a break and dismounted to stretch our legs.  That's when I noticed that Scout's eye was half blue and half brown...

On the way home we noticed that the horse at the end of the line was giving his rider some trouble.  I spotted the horse jumping and bucking on one occasion, and even rearing slightly on another occasion when the rider had the reins pulled too tight.  That was the horse they were originally going to give me, but for some reason swapped us out.  The guy riding had never ridden a horse before, but he wasn't complaining.  I informed the guide of his trouble, so he started watching more closely.  He decided to put the trouble horse between me and him so that the two of us could help keep the horse in line.

The beginning rider's horse was much better since he had more pressure from behind to keep up the pace.  Before he would stop to eat, and then run to catch up to the group.  He'd get a little wild going up and down hills.  However, having him in front of me presented a new problem.  My horse still was not good about giving the horse in front his space, and the trouble making horse did not tolerate having someone tailgating him.

At one point Mo backed right into my horse to kick him, and I pulled to back my horse out of the way to avoid the kick.  Scout had some masterful backing skills and flew backwards graceful as a bird.  Unfortunately, my husband's horse was following mine too closely and when he saw my horse running backwards at him, he panicked again, jumped and tried to bolt.  We all got our horses stopped, and I really got on Scout's case after that to stay off Mo's butt.

Getting closer to the stables on our way back, we came across a group of horseback riders who were standing in a circle taking a break.  My horse got really excited to see those other horses and he just would not stop gawking.  He stepped on a rock that teetered underneath him and reacted to his loss of balance by exploding sideways, which, once again, startled my husband's horse and almost caused another wreck.

On the way out my guide was giving me a hard time for owning Arabians, but I think these Quarter Horse / Mustang / Draft mixes and grade horses threw just as many wrenches into our ride as my Arabs do.  The only difference I felt was that these stable horses were built wider and sturdier, so when they tripped, it was more like being in a tank going over a bump.  Scout had a bad habit of randomly stopping on hills to rest and no amount of kicking could get him to walk.  However, if Josh yelled his name, he'd happily catch up to him.  Funny horse.

We found out that the other guy in our group worked in a pizza place, so my husband got pizza on the brain and we stopped at Pizza Hut on the way home.  The family that owns this riding stable also owns several mines in the area and they sell gems in their shop.  They had all kinds of horse-related jewelry, including horseshoe rings that come in a pink cowgirl hat box.  I pointed out half a dozen things I liked and told my husband he could buy all my birthday presents there.  That'll be a long wait until September, though.  Maybe I can talk the kids into shopping there for Mother's Day.

13 comments:

achieve1dream said...

I can't wait to see your Mother's Day and birthday jewelry hehehehe!

Sounds like you had a fun, but kind of wild, ride. I'm glad everyone had fun and nobody got hurt. I didn't know your husband rode horses! Cool!

The cactus thing had me cracking up. When he said be careful about brushing them off or they stick to another horse I started thinking about those nerf ball things that stick to the velcro mitts. LOL!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

achieve1dream - My husband doesn't ride horses. He just humors me every once in a while. I think the last time he rode, it was on a mule through Yosemite about 15 years ago.

Once Upon an Equine said...

Beautiful desert scenery and great cactus.

Sam said...

Oh beautiful! I went to school with Josh and did the overnight with them in the Superstitions. If you get a chance to do it, it is a really beautiful ride. The night we did it was the only time in history you could see the Aurora Borealis in AZ! We've also rented horses from them recently - my husband is learning to ride and their horses are quieter then mine. :D

Christine

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Wow. Surprising that the dude horses were so high-strung to over-react like that. They're supposed to be very mellow, calm, and well-trained and behaved. It's a good thing that the riders on your trail ride were able to ride out all the horses' shenanigans.
And your hubby sounds like a natural horse rider. He even sits well on the horse as that great pictures shows. And that he can stop a bolting horse is a testament to his natural horsemanship skills. Sounds like he should ride more often with you.

It is on my Bucket List to ride among the saguaros, so I really enjoyed these photos. Perhaps I can make it a reality to ride Apache in AZ this Fall.

~Lisa

fernvalley01 said...

that is one weird rock. Glad you got out and overall it seems you had a nice ride

Cindy D. said...

I had the same thought as Lisa. Surprising that they would have such high strung horses on a trail ride.

I cannot wait to do that trail. Have been reading about it for a long time. But I think I'll take my old paint. One thing he has going for him is that he is rock solid trail horse.

Beautiful pics!

K.K. said...

I love going on guided trail rides that I get to ride a horse that isn't mine! I've learned though, that it's best to lie about your riding experience. In the past when I have told them I ride all the time and own horses they always seem to smile and say "Oh great! You can work Ol' buckingbronco for us! We have to stop using him because he keeps bucking and bolting to the barn. maybe you can work that out of him" So now I smile and say I've riden a few times....Makes for much more relaxed trail rides :-)

fernvalley01 said...

KK, I have been there too, and frankly if I have to pay to ride I want dead broke, barely conscious thanks . Not paying to school someone else's horse

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

lol! What Fernvalley said! :D

~Lisa

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

If it were just my horse giving me trouble, I'd think it was because I said I was an intermediate rider who owns horses, but the two horses that the two beginners were on were pulling off the most dangerous moves. I told them my husband has never ridden, even though he has, and the other lady said this was her husband's first time riding. The guide said that my horse was having an off day. He didn't address what the deal was with the other two horses. Even the lady's horse jumped the gate instead of stepping quietly through it. Who knows? Maybe the horses were just feeling frisky because it was a nice day. But, you have to remember that out of a 5-hour ride, 4 hours and 58 minutes of it were perfect. I just have to write about the tension in my blog, because otherwise I wouldn't have much of a story.

Anonymous said...

Daddy would ride if Daddy had a horse.

JanLou said...

I regularly do what you would probably call "guided trail rides" generally the horses are happy to be nose to tail with the odd exception and fairly ploddy. You only tend to get the more forward ones if you tell them you are a good rider or they know the standard of your riding. Even then most of them seem fairly bombproof. That said although I am not brilliant I normally say intermediate as some places won't let you canter if you say you have only ridden a few times but a lot of my more experienced friends complain about getting to school someone elses horse. I also hate it when the kick alongs get so slow that they stop with the beginners so they give them to a rider to get them going. I know I should be able to but it is less relaxing and hard work on an all day ride if you constantly have to kick rather than squeeze just to keep going