Sunday, May 4, 2014

Putting on the Miles

Rock and Gabbrielle took their longest trail ride yet this morning.  As usual, we just started riding without a plan, but then we realized that it was a Sunday, P.S. didn't have to be to work until the late afternoon, and the schools were closed.  So, we chose to cross the road with the schools on it and see how far the horses would take us.

As we were approaching the road with the schools, I spotted a man coming out of the bushes up ahead, so I cut off trail to avoid having a head-on collision with him.  However, he spotted us and seemed to aim right for us.  He appeared to be homeless, and I figured he was going to ask for money.  I didn't want him doing anything to disturb the horses and cut our ride short, so I ignored him and kept trying to ride away from him, but still in a general direction that would eventually lead to the road.

Here we are heading up the road in front of my house...

Here we are heading out into the road by the schools...

We headed out toward Silly Mountain, but then I remembered this bridge Christine told me about that runs under the freeway.  I didn't want to go under it, but just wanted to know where it was and what I could expect to deal with when the horses are ready to go under it.  We rode directly toward the freeway and then along side of it with 65 mph traffic rushing past us.  The horses were doing really well.  If anyone was going to spook, it would be Gabbrielle, and she was in the lead.  P.S. was confident she could make it to the tunnel.

We reached this section alongside the freeway where the bushes were overgrown around the trail, and with no warning, Gabbrielle spun to get away from something.  P.S. thought she was afraid of some rocks.

Gabbrielle struggled to get away from the offending rocks, P.S. struggled to get her under control, Rock flipped out, not knowing what he was running from but he was more than happy to follow Gabbrielle's lead by spinning and trying to run for home.  I struggled to get Rock under control, all the while yelling to P.S. to hang in there and ride it out, but Gabbrielle's maneuvers were just too unpredictable and violent, and P.S. fell off.  Fortunately, she slid down Gabbrielle's side first, so she only fell about three feet to the ground instead of five, and she wasn't hurt.  Gabbrielle just missed stepping on her with her hind hooves, though.  That was scary.

Gabbrielle bailed out of the overgrown section of the trail and only stopped when she got into an open area.  We tried approaching her slowly, but she kept evading us by walking off and staying just out of our reach.  So, I rode Rock slowly up to her and then as soon as she started to move away, I turned him away from her, hoping she would follow him.  She did stop and let P.S. catch her at that point, which was a good thing because she had stepped through her loop rein, and if she lifted her head high or tried to run, there probably would have been another wreck.  This is the only thing I don't like about loop reins.  They get caught on things.

Now that P.S., my husband, and I have all experienced falling off a spooked horse spinning for home, I can tell you that it is very important not to get angry with your horse after you fall off.  If you punish the horse for it, next time you fall, your horse isn't going to wait for you.  At this point we were 2 miles away from home, and it would have been a long walk back if we lost Gabbrielle.

P.S. lead Gabbrielle back down the trail to make her get past the scary spot.  You can see the freeway signs to the right side of this next picture.  I think the tunnel was just around that bend, but at this point I didn't want to push it.

We headed for home, but once we got to an area we were familiar with, we headed the horses back out away form home just so that Gabbrielle would learn that she can't go home and rest after losing a rider.  She had to finish the trail ride.

Crossing another street...

On the way out, we happened to hit the busy street when there was break in traffic, so we could just keep our momentum and go right across, but on the way back, we had to make our horses wait while two cars passed.  Since the schools were not in session, the speed limit was 35 mph instead of the usual 15 mph.  One of the drivers was a teenage boy who I worried might try to cause some mischief by honking his horn or throwing trash out the window at us, but if he did have such ideas in his head, I think he changed his mind when he saw the camera strapped to the front of my helmet.  If someone does something offensive, all I have to do is reach up and push a button, and I've got a picture of the driver, the car, and the license plate.

I was pretty stiff and sore after the ride.  I thought we had to have covered 6 miles, but my husband did some research and said that with the meandering we did, it was probably more like 4 miles.  Oh well, miles are miles.  The horses just get better with every effort.


ellie k said...

The horses haves come so far in the last year, I am happy you found someone to ride with you. Hang in there, things keep getting better it seems.

Cut-N-Jump said...

The bridge isn't much further and I have ridden under it. Plenty of room above you and on both sides, besides the footing being deep sand, so if anyone comes off- it's not a bad place to land.

Thing is, it's been a while since I've been out there, but it doesn't seem like there was a lot on the other side of the road. You can ride out to Mountain Vista and all of the stores out there, but just staying along the fence. Lots of room for horses away from the traffic.

Brenda said...

Wow, what an eventful day. I'm glad P.S. wasn't hurt and the rest of your ride was uneventful!