Sunday, June 3, 2007
First trail ride
This morning Levi woke me up about 6:30 am which was great timing. I was able to feed him, take the dogs out, eat some breakfast and get dressed without feeling rushed. I made it out to the barn by 8:00 AM
As I was walking to the barn Kittee asks me if I put on sunscreen. I had worn a tank top and my riding breeches. I said no, I don't own any sunscreen. So she had some in the barn and I lathered it on my arms. She thought I would bake if I did not use any.
I went out to the pasture to get Sinwaan and what does he do...? He takes one look at me and turns and walks quickly to the other end of the pasture. Hrump! So I walked out and got him, once he got to the other end he just stood there and stared at me as if to say "Well, here I am. Come get me." LOL
After I got the halter on him and was leading him in, I noticed Dale was having the same trouble with Derby, his palomino gelding. I said "how is it they know when we want to work them?" Dale said "Oh they always know, you can't hide anything from them."
I should note here that both Kittee and Dale ride palomino geldings, Kittees' is Nugget, her parade horse. He is a good horse.
So we got them tied to the hitching post(s) and groomed and saddled up. I was ready before the others so I took him into the round pen and mounted up using their mounting block in there. I rode back around and Dale told me I would need to ride around in the pasture for a little bit because he needed to round pen Derby.
Well at that moment I realized I had completely forgotten my pack with water and snack so I dismounted and then realized I should probably use the breastcollar today as we would be climbing a little. So I got that all added on and I can just see the look on Sinwaans face like "do you really need all this stuff? Its supposed to be 100 today" haha
Well after I got all that on I asked about another mounting block since I really am not that good at getting on without one (and Dale was in the round pen). Kittee told me there was one down by the gate (on the other side of the fence outside the round pen) so I walked Sinwaan down there and just as I came around the corner of the barn I saw Derby really explode! He was bucking like a bronc! Dale said "woah" and got him stopped and calmed down and told me he thought it was the saddlebags - although he has always ridden Derby with them, but for some reason this year Derby has been acting up with them.
It did not take but maybe another 15 minutes for Dale to decide Derby was ready and he mounted up and we hit the trail. I was relieved that Derby was acting mellow today, Kittee said he usually does really well with Nugget along.
We rode up the trail a mile to where we turned off the road last time I rode with them. This time the dirt trail was fenced off with a KEEP OUT sign. People had been taking their trash up there and dumping it so I think that is why it is not available to us now. A shame. We took a rest at this point because there was some shade. I pulled out their camera and Dale took some photos of Sinwaan and I.
One thing I noticed about Sinwaan was that he was being very lazy. He would stop every so often and test me. He had to stop to poop about three times. He would put his head down and investigate the old poop on the trail. He would give a feeble attempt at snatching leaves or weeds from the side of the trail. It is the complete opposite of my old mare (who never wanted to stop). Which was kind of nice for me today. He did not spook at anything. Once, he stopped and did some blowing so I waited to see what he was seeing and out popped a deer and bounded right up the side of the mountain. That was neat. We got lucky today and no pheasants decided to come out from under us.
Sometimes Sinwaan was at the rear, plodding along and other times he would pick up his walk and really step out and lead the way. He seemed happy to be at any place in the pack. We did a little trotting, but not much because it was a gravel road and I didn't know how his feet would do without boots or shoes.
There were a few times he had to take a second look at something that made him nervous but was no trouble for me at all. I felt completely relaxed on him. Probably because he was just walking and being lazy, but it was such a nice ride.
It was a climb all the way up the road. At one point there was a spot where we crossed off the road over into a field. There was some cover crop planted but none of us could identify it. There were some large smooth rocks in the field but it was better footing than the gravel road, at that point it became gravel and rocks and pretty tough footing. We rode though the field and kept climbing and it was stop and go, I had to really keep clucking and using my leg to keep Sinwaan going.
Hrump I am thinking, we will be lucky to complete an endurance ride on time if this is his speed. Ha!
At one point he stopped and spread his rear legs and it took me a minute to figure out he had to pee. So that is good he has no problem doing that with me aboard.
We rested on a knoll in the field and they said they would let me call it. Keep climbing, or go home. I decided it was getting pretty warm, the horses all seemed tired (or just lazy) they were starting to lather up a little, so we turned around to go home.
Well Derby is really barn sour so right away Dale was having to hold him back, but he seemed easier this time than last time. Sinwaan did a full body shake on me and I was thrust forward and lost my balance but didn't lose a stirrup or come off or anything. Then Nugget did a full body shake behind us and I heard some commotion so I turned around and KA-POW he did a rear and a buck and a short bolt and Kittee was like "WOW! He has NEVER done that before!" So the whole ride back she was
trying to figure that out, I guess she lost her deer whistle so she thinks when he shook it came out and hit him and startled him bad.
Headed for home Sinwaans whole attitude changed. He set off in this lovely extended walk all they way down the mountain. The palominos have a slow walk so every once in a while they would have to trot to catch up to us. That did not bother him at all, he did not change his pace or anything related to what they were doing. He is just COOL.
The breeze was hitting us then and we were going downhill and the horses felt fine.
I am guessing we went 2-3 miles up and the same trail back down. So it was a 4-5 mi ride and I don't have a watch (yet) but we probably rode about 2 hours.
It was GREAT.
I was so excited and nervous when I got up this morning, not knowing what to expect. And I imagine things may change once the weather cools down again. We had highs today about 100 but when we got back to the barn a little after 11 am the thermometer at the barn said 84. It didn't feel as bad as I had expected, but they are on a river out there and usually have a breeze.
We encountered a truck on the way up. The driver was very courteous, pulled over and turned it off, and got out and went to the bed of the truck to hold his dog and give him water. It seemed like a nice enough dog. Some Swissy mix or something.
There was one other truck but by then we were out in the field. Sinwaan didn't care about that.
He walked sideways once on me when we were pulling back into the front yard and I think he was overwhelmed by the vehicles, flowerbed with mister on, and some sacks of fertilizer or something over by the garden fence. All he does though is stop and stare and blow a little and then Nugget went on by and then he was fine again. I just tell him to WALK ON. He seems pretty sensible. We'll see if I continue with that opinion when he sees something he doesn't like when we are traveling at a faster rate of speed. :-)
After I untacked I brushed him down and noticed there was a visible sweat pattern. Directly under my innner thighs there was a spot with no sweat. It was even sweat over his spine, shoulders, the base of the saddle and the saddle flaps and girth areas.
Kittee came over with her horse boots and we tried them on him since I am curious about what size he will need with his one slight club foot. The club foot we tried first with a size 1 and it went on about 85%, so I think with a little more work that could fit. We tried the same shoe on his hind and it went on too easily and was visibly too big. So next time I will just have to take out a ruler with me and measure all his feet and compare that to the chart I have for boot sizes and go from there.
I gave him a little grain and some carrots.
I took him over to the watering trough (which was in a run-in shed) and he didn't really like being in there but he took a little lick of salt and a little drink of water and then spit half of it back out.
So then I took him over to the hose and sprayed him down a little and at first he was walking circles around me trying to get away from it but then he realized it wasn't going away so he stood still for me to hose him down. Then I scraped him off with my hand and he stood nice for that.
Then I took him out to the pasture and turned him loose and there was a watering trough there and he didn't want any, he went out a few yards and laid down and rolled and rolled. Then he just started grazing and that was that.
So that was my first trail ride. It went really well and mostly easy, aside from the coaxing him to move. LOL!!! I think maybe he is a little bit lazy but in time with riding and getting him conditioned he should have some more energy and hopefully will enjoy it more also.
Dale said he isn't working in Pendleton anymore so he will be available to ride with me weekday evenings when I go out Tues or Wed, he wants to condition Derby and also his paint mare so they can do a ride up to Tollgate in the fall. That is equivelent to a LD ride and from what I hear, a technical trail. Lots of rocks...I don't know if I will end up doing that with them or not.
Out here there is lots of places to ride from their ranch but most of it is UP hill and then you have to come DOWN the hill. I like flat riding better. But this will be good condition training land for us for sure.
Lara and I have decided our goal for our first LD ride is Sept 1 Lakeview Ranch Ride in Odessa, WA and it is 3 hours from home. We should be able to have them in shape by then. That is the closest endurance ride from our house. Another one we want to try is the Owyhee ride the end of September, that is about a 5 hour drive.
So we'll see how it goes! Lara's horse is 4 y/o Arab/Paint and is currently in training. She is coming along well but reportedly "hot." So she will be green and am counting on Sinwaan to be the brains of the operation. :-)