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

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Seven Years, To the Day~

This morning I was adding a Mt. Adams photo to Farah's Facebook album, went back to look & realized that my very first photo of her - was taken seven-years, to the day - before our win at Mt. Adams.  One of those strange coincidences that can happen in life & leave us wondering?  Was it preordained?
My first photo of Farah, May 16, 2008
My niece purchased her from Amy Lynn Durga - in January of 08, as a long-yearling.  When I tell people that she was a pale palomino at birth - they don't believe me...  (Farah's breeder, Renee - had traded Amy straight across; Farah, for a four-year-old Thoroughbred gelding - September of 07.)
Probably a yearling in this photo
We were returning from a trip to Colorado, it was supposed to be a vacation - but ended up being more of a working vacation.  We'd helped my mother do some downsizing.  On the return, my niece asked if we could go through Greeley to pick up some personal possessions she'd left behind at her brother's, prior to her move to the Portland area.
Nice Stride! 5-16-08
With the back of the truck full & towing a u-haul trailer behind, we arrived in Portland more than ready to ditch the stuff & the trailer!  Of course we had to go see the new horse!  It was late afternoon - I took my camera & was really surprised at the filly we saw!  I gave some advice on hoof care etc. & we headed home.
8-8-08 - Almost 2-1/2 years old.
Early August, we were again in the area visiting friends & stopped by to see the mare.  There was just nothing about her that I didn't like.  She hadn't had much done with her - just a lot of handling.  She was already friendly by nature.
No date, but probably 3-years old
A couple years went by, we saw a few photos of her~
Four-years old - dorsal stripe visible~
By four, there were changes!  The mane had darkened & her coat had almost silver highlights!  Circumstances had changed & the mare was put up for sale unsuccessfully.  Eventually, she was leased out to a couple different people.  May of 2011, we got a call asking if we could haul her up here & board her.  I had Khari, we'd hit a sour note in our relationship & I kept thinking about Farah...
One evening I got up the nerve & asked Butch if we could make an offer?  There was just something about her...   Being the great, supportive husband he is - he agreed & a deal was reached.  As I mention in an earlier post, after my first ride - there was no question which horse was going to be sold & which would stay!
May 16, 2015 By; Jessica Wynne
So indeed!  Seven-years have passed since that eventful day that didn't even seem eventful at the time!  Farah - coming at a point in my life where I have the time to devote to her, is something I'm very thankful for.  She's already carried me many miles, given me some of my most memorable moments & become a full fledged member of our family!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Mooove Cows!

The tail says it All!
Finally, it works out that we meet-up with our friend Janelle, to introduce Farah to cows!  Arlene has done this before too!  Graig & Julie Ohm have a beautiful ranch where they host occasional classes, within just a few miles of us.  It was late afternoon, I had to wake Farah from a nap in the sun!
The three of us warm-up
Craig suggested we warm up in the arena first, Farah recognized her long-time friend Duke & he her!  Duke is the most experienced cow pony we know!  He & Janelle have entertained us on our beach trips with his amazing spins!
Janelle & Duke make it look easy!
Farah watched with amazing intensity!  (Butch met us there & took all the great photos!)  Soon, it was our turn to go out!
You want me to do What?
When one calf jumped up on another - I managed to retain my seat for the fast 180 spin!  But with Craig on Louie near by - she did walk into the same pen as the small herd!
Hum - they're not moving?
Craig said that some horses can take a couple sessions to walk into the herd!  I think we'll leave that for next time!  :-)  Below is the video Butch took - the tail tells the tale!  Farah would stomp her hind foot if I asked her to move further forward that she wanted to!
I should have given her more rein, but had to keep enough control to try to stop any fast action!  :-)  I wish I was built more like a long-legged Cowboy!  The swishing tail made it perfectly clear that Farah was Far Out of her comfort zone!
Time to relax~
She watched with rapt attention while other more experienced horses took there turn, then - suddenly - enough was enough & she started backing up.  I moved her over to the arena & asked for a little trot, but got a buck & a grunt!  I know her well enough now, to know when it's time to quit!

Really fun to play!  I would have Really had fun riding Topsy!  First time in a long while that I remembered those days as a kid galloping after Grandpa's herd!  I don't know how much fun Farah had - but I do know it was good for her brain!  I hope to see improvement next week!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Farah Wins the 55! @ Mt. Adams~

Our camp~
Again, we had to leave on Friday morning - traffic was heavy but moving.  With only one stop for fuel & a break for Farah, we made good time. 
Waiting to Vet
I wish I'd been quick enough to get a photo when Butch was trotting Farah away!  She did Everything but trot!  The Vet asked his scribe if there was a box for AAA?  :-)  Coming back toward us, she at did at least show that she could trot!
 The Big Tree!
Once the vetting was over, I wanted to get Farah out on the trail - heading out the start, to check the turns, most of which we flew by last year when following the front runners.  The wind was blowing pretty fierce, but otherwise it was a stellar afternoon.
Blooming Vanilla Leaf
Farah was higher than a kite!  Spooking at the cut evergreen branches on the trail to the point where I got off, took a piece & brushed it over her head!  We were out about 2-miles when we ran into our friends Marie, Leslie & Julie!  Always good to see those friends we see so seldom.  They left, we continued on - a huge branch came smashing down - another Big spook & we turned back!

Ride meeting, dinner & to bed for us!  4:30 a.m. came too darn early for me!  Our plan was to lounge Farah rather than me trying to ride her for the warm-up.  (That almost had me bucked off last year!)  Butch said she did plenty of bucking on the line, but by the time I was ready to mount up, she stood solid as a rock - eyes on the starting area.

Our first loop was Snow King. Riders were leaving on the open trail almost before we knew it!  Farah was on the make & within the first mile or two things sorted out as they usually do, with about six riders leading & arriving at the first water tank together.  Soon, we were down to four horses, then three.  Dick, Becky & me.  We discovered that our three traveled well together, Farah leading on the flats & hills, Becky's great gelding on the downhills, Dick's mare Ali - anytime she could find a way around the other two!
We arrived back in camp at 7:42
Butch was waiting when we arrived, Farah was the first of the three to pulse down.  Our routine now is for me to help cool her down & get the pulse check - then Butch vets her through & meets me back at our camp.  There Farah can eat & drink without distraction - same for me!  :-)
8:18 - waiting to head out on the 2nd loop!
This mare is so smart - she has the game down now & was anxious to get back out!  Loop #2 Gotchen is my favorite - through the big burn area.  I didn't even put the camera on the saddle, I knew I'd be too tempted...  As Dick said;  we could finally enjoy our horses, the trail & the day, since the first loop craziness was over!
Becky & I coming in at 9:55 & 31 miles
Now for our lunch break.  The day was warming up - I was ready to change shirts & Farah was busy eating everything Butch put in front of her.  (The three horses had pulsed down within a minute or two of each other.)  Dick was camped right next door, I could see Ali out our window - Dick & I headed down for the start of our third loop & met Becky there - leaving together - the Three Amigo's!
Away we go headed for the Ghost Loop!  10:47 a.m.
The three of us were having such a fun time of it - our horses too, by now they'd figured out who was better at what & we never had an argument over who was going to lead :-)  Farah would pull away like a freight train on the flats or hills, but Becky's gelding was a pro at the down-hill & twisty turning trails!  Ali, just went about her business - very professional!

It was this loop we had a huge laugh at my expense!  Farah was cruising along in the lead when around the corner was a water tank, manned by two of the ham radio operators.  She literally dove her face into the tank - with such a sudden stop that I almost went off over her head!  In the next second, Ali ran right into her butt & again I was almost sent flying into the tank!  Dick was laughing so hard he could hardly apologize!  :-)  
Coming in off Ghost Loop 12:10 p.m. 10 miles to go!
Once we came to the common trails at the back of camp, Dick would usually be the first to dismount & walk in,  Becky usually second & me - finally last :-)  Our speed throughout the day was just over 10-mph. these three horses were working as well, even better than we could have hoped.   This loop is deceptively difficult with short very steep climbs.  There were a couple times the horses walked to recover from the effort.  Farah knew right where we were & lead us in for the final VC!  Again, all three pulsed within a minute or two of each other.  The 30-min. hold went quick - but I was looking forward to that final ten-miles!  Dick & I were waiting for Becky - when suddenly...
 Time to leave on the final loop - Morrison
There she went!  Dick said;  "Well, I guess she's going for it - but I'm not going to sit back!"  He'd told us earlier in the day that his goal was to finish with a sound, happy horse, not go for a win."  Very gentlemanly of him!
1:39 p.m. - Dick & I head out - with the well wishes of the volunteers!
I sure didn't plan to take it easy at this point in the ride!  Dick had caught Becky by the turn onto Morrison loop, but Farah held back.  I knew she was tired, we'd gone way more miles than we'd trained & it was after all - her first ride of the season!  I didn't push her - I knew that if she had what it took - she would soon show me, one way or the other.  It was hard to see our companions disappear from sight - the only sign that anyone had been this way was what was left of their dust...

I shouldn't have worried, because suddenly - Farah's ears went up & she moved right up into her trot, then leaped up a section of rock & into a gallop!  Around a corner & there they were at the water tank!  Farah stuck her nose in - before whirling to lead the way!  We again had that long stretch of road & we FLEW!   All three horses galloping along easily!  (I was so happy to have those pads on her feet!)  She remembered where we were & knew how close we were to finishing!

Becky said her grand-kids were going to be waiting at the finish line - they of course thought of it as a horse race & Becky was hoping to give them a little excitement :-)  I told her that a race in was fine with me, but that I planned to take first.  Our agreement was reached! 
Here we come!
We were pretty excited!  It had been a fantastic ride, we were all so thrilled at the way our horses had performed!  So - we threw caution to the wind & galloped in!  Fun!  (Happy that racing in hadn't been mentioned at the ride meeting!) Even so, there's really no place to go - so you have to be pulling up when you cross the line!
We Finish!
We were all laughing when we finished :-)   The laugh was on us - because now we had to wait for those heart rates to go down!  :-)  Not to worry - all three looked Great!  The three of us were all going to show for BC - even though Dick, who probably weights 300 lbs. (NOT!) would have us on weight!
Butch trots Farah for BC
Farah's scores were her best ever all day.  All three horses looked amazing, especially when we realized that they'd finished the ride over an hour faster than last years finish time.  We'd completed in 5 hours 21 min.!  I couldn't have asked for finer traveling companions - let alone fellow competitors!  Thank you Dick & Becky!
In celebration of my Twentieth year riding Endurance, my horse-of-a-lifetime presented me with a WIN!  This mare, in my humble opinion - has proven herself!  She can move from trail horse, to parade pony, to cow horse, to arena horse, to endurance horse with ease & has covered over 3,000 miles of trails in two-years.  I just hope I can continue to do her justice!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Lush & Humid!

The neighbors field~
I wasn't to the top of the hill before I was hot!  Even overcast, it was really humid from the ongoing drizzle that we received yesterday.  I'd wanted to get Farah out all week, Monday Justin put her new shoes on - with pads & I wanted to be sure that I had all four gears :-)
Outflow from the big wetland~
I was almost soaked by the time we were up on the trails - all the Salmonberry overhanging the trails & everything had Grown!  I was breaking branches & wishing I'd thought to bring my pruners - but really had no time for that.
Orange Salmonberry getting ripe!
It won't be long & I won't have to bring my grapes to snack on!  Instead - I'll get to enjoy these berries!  Yum!
Red Salmonberries
They come in the two colors above - I have no idea why - since both taste virtually the same.  We did some trotting, fast trotting, a couple short canters & Farah did a bit of her bucking - just to let me know that she feels just fine :-)
Thimbleberry Blooms~
Thimbleberries, are also edible - but have a very dry flavor.  I do love the blooms!
North end of our short loop~
Once off the power lines, we just headed for the small woods that has the trail where we loop back toward our favorite wetland - before heading back south toward home.
Slight breeze over the water~
With the pads, we trotted the power line, making it back home in two hours.  The sun came out as we reached our gate, so Farah kicked back & enjoyed her bath.  I loaded the saddle right into the trailer - then went up to pack her blankets.

Looking forward to miles of nice trails, seeing friends & enjoying the Big Mountain!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

CHC Annual Chili Ride

Parking filling up!
Why not we thought?  We belong to both the Cascade Horse Club & Traildusters Chapters of Back Country Horsemen - but had never gone on an organized ride.  Mel was guiding a ride up Blanchard Mountain to the Samish overlook.  I've ridden there a few times over the years, the last time was with Best of America - in 2013.  We left in a few small groups, I was with Linda, Toni & Carrie.  No one was real familiar with the trails, but most everyone thought they could find the way :-)
On our way :-)
 It was just another of a string of exceptional days - sunshine & forecast to maybe break a record for warmth.  The trails were dry & we were having a great time.  We went past Lizard Lake - & were looking for the correct trail when we came to several men & boys working on the signage.  We asked for directions to Oyster Dome - thinking that was where we were going - NOT - rather than the Samish Overlook!   So, the men pointed us forward!
Tree's over the trail~
Finding these trees over the trail at rider height - probably should have been our first clue - but we just dismounted & continued on...  The trail got steeper, more technical - technical to the point that we were wondering just how much climbing over rock & tree roots we'd have to do?  The horses dug in & we Climbed!  Then - we Stopped!  We literally - had - Nowhere to Go!  Suddenly we were surrounded by hikers - at least 40 - more than I'd ever seen before!  All totally Astounded to see four horses where we were.  No space, just a very steep hillside, with a lot of trees & no more trail!
Farah waits - thinking I'm sure;  "What next?"
All these people were taking our pictures, almost surrounding us!  I asked them to please not surround the horses - it was almost intimidating to me!  Let alone four horses in tight quarters.  I could see that there was one heck of a view out there - so tied Farah off & went to see.
View from Oyster Dome~
At 2,075 ft. it was quite a view - with a straight down drop-off.  Just so beautiful it took your breath away.
Looking out at the islands~
While I was snapping photos, the rest of my group were asking about how we were to get down?  Yes...  The way we'd come up...  Thankfully - all the hikers were so courteous - they squeezed out of our way, giving the horses full use what trail there was.  Good horses all!
At the Samish Overlook~
By now, we were behind the rest of our group - but caught up to them at the Overlook!  We let the horses graze & took a few photos before starting back.
Farah & I talk with a hiker~
On a day like this - everyone feels so wonderful - that it's almost like one big family - warm & so friendly!  Linda & I decided to start back on our own & both Count & Farah let us know that THEY knew the way back! 
Of course there's logging...
It was so sad to see a once beautiful trail reduced to clear-cut.  But - I'm sure there are many reasons that this popular place has to be logged too...  Nothing in this state is sacred when it comes to logging...
The Spread!
We all arrived safe & sound back at the parking lot to find this incredible spread of food - all prepared by Jan!  Chili, corn bread muffins, hot dogs, brownies, I could go on - but I was too busy eating!
Map of the trails~
What an incredible day, wonderful people, great food & the camaraderie of fellow horsemen!  This ride will now be on our yearly list :-)