Monday, November 10, 2014

Lovely Day for It

We have the most awesome cool breeze today.  I know -- I'm spoiled because I can ride on the weekdays instead of being stuck in a work environment.  Sorry, but this has been a long time coming.  I've put in my share of working 60 to 80 hour weeks in the past, so I'm savoring every minute that I don't have to work outside the home.

Several humorous and interesting things happened on this ride.  I think I will have a sore butt and a swollen eye to prove it.  So, first off, I decided to switch my GoPro camera over to my new helmet so that I could take the helmet for a test ride.  I needed to sit down to readjust the straps, so I sat on this plastic storage tote that I keep grain and hay pellets in.  I was busy working on the straps when suddenly the brittle plastic lid, which has been sitting out in the sun for several months, gave a loud crack and split in half, sending my butt down into the grain bags.  It was like I fell into a toilet.

Of course, my first reaction was to burst out laughing at my predicament.  Then I remembered that the last few times I've been out doing barn chores, someone has been watching me.  It's not always the same person or people.  It's just whoever happens to be passing by who gets enamored with my activities.  I've pretty much given up on trying to get privacy in my backyard.  I'm just that fascinating, I guess.  One lady walks her horse up to the bluff every evening to watch me do my chores.  I suspect she's just waiting for me to go indoors so that she can sneak down into the arroyo.  Anyway, fortunately, no one seemed to be around to witness me getting my butt stuck in a tub.

When I got myself out, and walked around the trailer, I found Rock standing on alert with this funny expression on his face.  He knew something weird had happened.  We rode out and I realized that I had forgotten to switch out the loop reins with split reins again.  I was going to give his butt a whack with the split reins if he walked with too much hesitation or was lazy.

I started thinking about how he and I have such a good relationship now, that he reads my mind and I read his, so why ruin that with whipping him?  There's got to be a better way to ask him to speed up.  So, I started moving with his rhythm, only using exaggerated movements, and then I started speeding up the rhythm.  Trainers are always telling riders to move with the horse, so why not make the horse move with the rider?  It worked.  Rock naturally began speeding up to match my rhythm.  I also was using my Chi, by imagining energy pushing forward out of my belly button.  That helped when I got tired of exaggerating my movements.

At one point I looked off to the side of the trail and saw a coyote passing us in the opposite direction.  I said, "Hey there, Coyote!  What 'cha doin?"

The coyote looked at me, scooted forward, stopped and stared until I started paying attention to him again, and then he'd run a few feet further.  I had the presence of mind to hit the shutter release on my helmet cam several times, but in most of the pictures he was behind a bush.  I twisted all the way around in the saddle to try to get a shot, and Rock decided to just turn himself around to help out.  The only problem with the GoPro camera is that it doesn't lend itself to photographing well in the distance, which is why coyotes, wild hare, and snakes never show up in the pictures.  Take my word for it...

... the coyote is in the middle of the trail to the left of the tallest tree in these two shots.

And he was much closer than the camera shows.  Rock decided he wanted to chase the coyote, so I let him.  Chasing coyotes helps the horses gain confidence around loose dogs that approach them.  A little while later I tried getting some shots of a hare, but of course, you can't see anything even though it was right next to us.

There are a couple of trails I've been avoiding because they have a mine field of cholla balls on them, but I went out this weekend and golfed them all off those trails, so we were able to ride them.  It takes stepping on one and getting stabbed through the sole of my shoe for me to remember to take my walking stick out there.

The neighborhood was much more quiet today.  I think most of the neighbors got their ya-yas out over the weekend.  The race car driver/mechanic has returned after a two week absence, but he's being polite about not monopolizing the airwaves every minute of the day.  He's giving me a break from all of his engine revving, pounding, sanding, drilling, and whatnot every once in a while.

When I was removing Rock's boots, he thoughtfully picked up his leg for me while I stupidly had my face too close to his leg, and he kneed me in the eye.  It feels a little swollen.  The eye -- not the knee.  He seemed like he felt bad about me letting out a yelp, so I gave him a hug and a kiss to let him know it wasn't his fault.

Regarding the Troxel Liberty helmet I just bought, the first thing I noticed was that the back of my head felt naked.  The Tipperary Sportage I've been wearing does a better job of covering the base of the skull.  The Troxel did feel a little heavier with the camera strapped onto it, but not uncomfortable.  It wasn't a humid day today, but I did sweat a little under the helmet.  I definitely wasn't dripping sweat like I have in days past in my other helmet.  I didn't notice any excessive heat or discomfort while wearing it.  The visor came in handy and did a better job of keeping the sun out of my eyes than the visors on other helmets.  Hopefully, that answers some of your questions.


Katharine Swan said...

Thanks for your thorough report on the helmet!

fernvalley01 said...

thank you , I think I would like more coverage on the back/base but a helmet is better than none I guess

achieve1dream said...

Sounds like a great ride. Rock is such a sweet horse. I hope your eye is all healed up now!