Ain't nuthin like ridin' a fine horse in a new country - Augustus McCrae – Lonesome Dove

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Saddle Time~

Heavy clouds, cool breeze~
I was very happy to be heading north today to meet-up with Linda for a ride.  I was hoping that saddle time would help.  There is the healing process that occurs whenever you lose someone - it takes time, lots of time & each day has to be taken at face value.  Riding is invaluable to anyone who appreciates just how much good a big, warm, horse can do for our soul.  Count did his best!
Count & Linda
Linda managed an almost smile & we enjoyed every mile.  At least as long as Linda's phone didn't ring with another problem that she was supposed to solve for someone.  Funny - when you need people to step up - it seems you end up giving them a hand anyway.  Regardless - we caught up on the local news & enjoyed what ended up being a decent day.  No rain!
Farah enjoys her fresh Salmonberry leaves~
As I took this photo - Linda reminded me that no indeed - this was not random browsing...
Count too~
It's "Trail Clearing"!  OH!  That makes all the difference - it's your state-of-mind!  What great horses we ride!  Not only do they take us miles & miles - they clear trail!  With all the use the trails that are supposed to be closed are getting - it's a good thing that someone is doing some clearing!  :-)
Prunus emarginata
 Today - we enjoyed the Wild Cherry trees!  Now in Full Bloom & smelling so sweet that they fill the air with their richness!  This time of year it's as if Washington explodes with Green!  You think this state is green - then comes Spring & you learn that what you thought was green - really wasn't! 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Should have been Ridin!

Instead, Farah has her new shoes!  We'd gone six-weeks this time & the shoes were worn!  Time for new Eventers.  We might have squeaked in a ride this morning - but Rascal decided to dig out between the time Butch left for work & I went out & noticed him gone.  I grabbed a leash & went looking for him.  He wasn't far - just across the road checking out the neighbors barn.  He never takes off, but wasn't in any hurry to come to me either!  The invisible fence is out - so that means walking all the way around to find the break & make the repair.  Rascal spent what was left of the morning on his cable - barking...
Farah watching Justin work :-)
Both dogs get put in their kennel while Justin is here - makes it much easier for Justin to get the job done.  Once he leaves - I open the kennel door - it's a race to see who can get to the trimmings first!  Justin hardened the shoes a little more than usual - so we'll see if they hold up any better.  As usual we're wearing through them quicker than either of us would like.  There was hoof to cut off - soon we should see the spring growth burst.
New front shoes!
Farah was really good - so nice for us all to be out in the magnificent sunshine!  Even a breeze keeping any flies away!  Justin would still like Farah's heels a little higher - she likes the toes off in the rear - but there's enough shoe there to protect her toes. 
Hinds too~
Our next shoeing will be for Mt. Adams.   I've done the ride five times on three different horses.  Yes - I'm one of the many who love this ride - especially on a good year - when the course incorporates all the incredible trail that's there - rather than logging road.   Jasrada has the speed record for my 50's - at 7 hrs. flat for a 14th place finish in 2002.  Khari - the slowest - 8:34 for 24th place in 2010. 

I'm going to try Equi-Pak instead of traditional pads.  Since we'll be putting shoes on the week before & they'll stay on for several weeks - I don't want to have the pads on for that long.  I've always felt that they hold in too much moisture in our climate - which is wet enough most of the year.  With this - I'll be able to cut them out once the ride is over.  Farah isn't bothered by the hard rock roads - but I like having protection when we're heading for a ride.  Here's an interesting video on the technique.

Next - hoping for riding weather during the upcoming week of forecast rain!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

In Honor Of~

Looking up~
This morning I received news of the passing of good man...  He had the luck to be married to one of my longest & best friends...  She had the luck to have picked one of those men who's presence is felt & will continue to be felt - by all the trail users in the Arlington/Stanwood area, whether they realize it or not.  George Brown was instrumental in cutting many of the trails that have been enjoyed by horsemen for many, many years.  As an active member of BCH Traildusters - George ramrodded many a trail clearing adventure.  When his wife & I went riding & ran into issues, George was the one who heard about it when we returned :-)  The above trail was one of the last he cleared & it's a critical link to a large loop.
The Monument - one of George's favorite views~
In the early years - when Butch & I started Competitive Trail, Linda & George were the first people we met.  My favorite story - revolves around Khari.   When we purchased her - she wouldn't load in my trailer.  My friend & mentor Dean Essex, DVM - suggested that we raise the roof!  Literally!  So we did & she loaded forever more without any problem.  But - with the roof having gone up 8" - it left a nice wide area above the rear door.  Khari took full advantage & terrorized motorists who pulled up too close behind us!
We leave through the dark woods~
As I pulled in for a ride one day- George came out of his shop & saw what Khari was up to.  By the time we came back - he had welded a bar across the door, dividing the space in half - which no longer gave Khari room to stick her head out!  I loaded her & in an instant she realized not only that her fun was over - but she looked Right at George & let him know that SHE knew who'd done the deed!  :-)   We all had a good laugh at her expense!

Petasites palmatus - Palmate Coltsfoot

My ride today was subdued, but long, far & beautiful.  I'd been out-of-sync for a couple days & when I told my husband last evening - he said that they were talking about just that on the morning radio!  Guess I wasn't the only one!  Strange though & have to wonder if it's something in the air?
Incredible cedar snag on my long loop~
We kept moving - the only trailer in the parking when we left - by the time we returned, it was almost 5:30 p.m. -late for me...  Yes, I washed my smartphone & it wasn't feeling well enough to take with me...  So I didn't realize how quickly the afternoon had gone.
The natural beauty of nature~
We covered some ground - Farah enjoyed her gallops & I'm so thankful that Linda's saddle is working as well as it is - since the latest news on my tree wasn't what I hoped.  Randy had again run out of rawhide - so we're delayed another week...  Hopefully Everett will receive it by the end of next week.  Next will be shipping everything over to Mike.  Good thing - since I started this the first of Feb.!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Incredible Day!

Whitehorse & Three Fingers
With the upgrade of my desktop computer to 8.1 - I've lost the photo editing software that I used everyday...  Until I can find something else that works in the "app store" - I'm stuck using them just as I took them!  Even so - today's view from Victoria was breathtaking!  The snow so shockingly white on the peaks against the blue sky. 
Mt. Baker peeks over the foothills~
Lynn & Jack were kind enough to make the drive up to ride with me & it was sure a fun ride.  This time I re-traced part of our path from last week & we did what I'm now calling the "Double Loop".  At just over 17-mi. it really made for a nice ride, with a long steep climb all the way back to the top - which we took first at a trot, then canter & finally a good gallop!  Both mares feeling very competitive - at least Farah wasn't as ornery as she'd been on our last ride.  A couple rides out on our own seemed to help her to settle down again.
Flowering Currants & Farah
The wild flowering currants were in full bloom, I was trying for a close-up when they started swaying back & forth?  Oh!  Farah browsing on the greenery!  :-)  The third portion of our loop is a long stretch of the old logging road - it's beautiful with all the grasses starting to grow.
Lower road
So with the nice place for some long trotting, then the climbs back to the top - this makes for a nice conditioning loop.  Farah's heart rate is staying lower & I'm working for more consistent speeds, while picking up the pace.  Sophie has such a nice trot & is always game for whatever we do - an amazing mare at 20-years of age.  As I've told Lynn many times, I can only hope that Farah will still be as strong by that age!

Great day, great ride!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

To Tin Bridge~

Today, I wanted to go see how the river looked out at Tin Bridge.  With the morning starting off overcast & cool, it wasn't until mid-afternoon when the sun broke through, that I decided to head out.  The afternoon was very quiet in the woods & on the trails.  We were the only ones out there.
in the big trees~
It was beautiful, Farah felt good - broke into a couple canters with no urging from me.  We were in no hurry - every time I go to the bridge & the emerald valley beyond - it still feels like moving into a slower paced world.
Cloverdale Farm
Even in the valley - it was quiet, no one around - so we took a nice break & Farah enjoyed the excellent grazing.  The dandelions were already in full bloom!
Does this look like horse heaven?
I walked on foot over all the rock back to the bridge, then mounted up for the rest of our ride.  Farah started taking trails & at first I thought she was heading back, but soon - we were into an area where I've gotten lost before & since it was already late in the afternoon - I turned her back & retraced our hoof prints back to where I knew.

We ran into Patty & Kendall heading in, as we were coming out.  Nice to see them!  I picked up dinner on the way home - too late to cook :-)