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

Friday, September 30, 2011

Pulled shoe...

The offending shoe~
Had planned a nice long ride with Joyce yesterday.  I was there early, we were on the trail early & had hoped to get up high enough to see what should have been some crystal clear views of the Olympics & Puget sound.  NOT!  About five-miles out, doing a nice trot in the lead, it felt like Farah had decided to stop in less than a stride, she almost went down, then down again - until she could recover.  She trotted off about 3 strides when I saw the head bob & felt the shortened stride!  Got off, No Shoe!   Took the photo where we found it, ground into the gravel.
Art leaves just enough shoe to support the heels, but nothing to "hang" out the back!  Even so, Farah managed to catch the back of her left front shoe with the left hind foot!  Luckily, she's not sore or lame today, from the wrenching pull that it took to get it off.  These shoes were new on Tue. & only her second set ever.  I know her stride is lengthening as she's becomming more fit, her angles are good & she's moving great!  Art was out this afternoon to get it put back on.  We both think it was just a "fluke", time will tell! 

Joyce & I finished our afternoon with a nice cold wine cooler while we sat out admiring the horses & enjoying the sunshine!  All & all not a bad way to end a short ride!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Beagles at "Play" :-)

Rascal & Mischief
Rascal has mentioned several times, that Mischief does Not Play Fair!  She tries to take any advantage she can!  You'd think from this photo that she's in Big Trouble...  but not - Rascal will Not let her dominate him & every once in a while he has to remind her who's boss!
The energy these two expend playing is amazing!   One of these days I'll have to try to catch it on video :-) 
This morning the dogs favorite person came to visit!  Art, our horse shoer!  The Candy Man!  Nothing like darting in to get a freshly trimmed piece of hoof - that gives plenty of good chew time!  Rascal was two-years old on April 16th, Mischief just turned a year-old on the 15th!  
Mischief - one year old~
 I'll  have to try to get another photo of her without the wireless collar...  Five fenced acres & we still have to use the "invisible fence" to be sure that they don't find a way out!  Having her almost killed once by the neighbor's pit bull is enough for me..., 

Friday, September 23, 2011

First Day of Fall!

We follow Joyce & Annie
I somehow can't think of a better way to celebrate the arrival of Fall, than with a ride.  From a cloudy, somewhat overcast morning with a good wind blowing, we ended up in bright sunshine, high humidity & temperature over 80!  The mares worked up a good lather & we did too.  
Gorgeous in the woods~
Lots of trailers at the Bracken parking area, plenty of riders with the same idea we had.  We tried some different trails, I worked on getting Farah IN to mud puddles, after a somewhat quick sideways jump to avoid one!  Finally, she was walking through for me & getting lots of praise :-)  If she doesn't get used to them now...  I can't imagine that she would possibly make a trail horse in Western, WA!

She was showing me some attitude today too.  Picking up the speed of the trot  & resisting when I asked her to slow it down :-)  Of course with all the  bravado of youth, on her side - the gold mare prefers to be in front!   What she found out today though - is if you're in front - then decide to stop or avoid a mud puddle, the other horse gets the lead!  We're working on getting the rear-end disengaged too!  What?  Move my rear end???   I'd rather be moving forward!
Rose Hips~
I would have taken the day a few degrees cooler, but that will come soon enough!  Leaves were already flying through the air, in a couple more weeks & with a few more cold nights the colors will start to show!

As a post-script to those of you with Garmin Forerunner 205 GPS units...  It seems they are NOT waterproof :-(  At Bare Bones, when I first looked down at mine, I thought the water was just on the lens...  not... it was all the way inside.  Once home, I plugged it in & it actually downloaded my data from the ride.  I could see the moisture inside, so put it out in the sunshine each day & really thought it had dried out.  Today, when I went to turn it on, nothing...  This is my favorite gizmo... so I sure hope it recovers!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Last Lazy, Hazy Days of Summer...

Ben fishing the Sauk
Summer?  Where has it gone?  It seems as though we only had a few weeks of incredibly nice weather, before the days started getting shorter, nights cooler & sunrise later!  Even the air is starting to smell like fall!  At least in the mountains! 
Ben gets off the bus~
Ben is back in school, so his days of doing what he loves are shorter & shorter!  Even so, once he's off the bus, he asked to go fishing!  He caught a big humpie by snagging it on a gill!  They were that thick in the water! 

It was just an amazing day to be outside!  I love making the drive up to Darrington, even if it cost me $100. to not quite fill the tank in the Bronco!   (That with my grocery store discount!)
Skyla at 5 1/2 months
Skyla is growing by leaps & bounds!  She can now roll-over, but once over - the fussing starts, because - now she needs to learn to flip back!  Mommy has taught her to go 1/2 way :-)  That way you can reach other toys & not get frustrated!  The best part of any little sister's day though, is having big brother come home! 
Ben greets Skyla :-)
The best part of mine, is spending time with these two & their Mom!  All too soon, the leaves will be gold & that crisp feeling in the air...  will be Fall!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bare Bones Ride ~

We spent most of Thursday packing, shopping, washing, doing all the stuff that seems to take forever when you're getting ready to go to a ride...  It's always been difficult for me to understand Why it takes so long to pack - yet half the time & effort to unpack?  It rained off & on, but we woke up Friday to a beautiful morning.  The 2.5 hour drive down was uneventful, so nice to only have a short distance to travel!  

We arrived in Ride-camp to the sound of Loud gunfire!  Wow!  It's a gun club - but gee - isn't this supposed to be a "horse" weekend?  It was - until the club double booked our ride on the same weekend as a long standing black powder shooting event!  Oh well, we have neighbors at home who on occasion fire off high powered rifles, so Khari took it in stride.   Still, less than relaxing for the horses & riders alike.
Sirie braids Khari's mane
We sat up our little camp next to Aarene's Pirate encampment & the Fish Creek Team.  Pulled out chairs & enjoyed the sunshine!  Registration was really organized & I was first to sign-in for the 50, giving Khari #100!  Butch vetted her through & she received her usual all A's :-)

Heidi was hoping for the 80+ riders who had confirmed that they would be attending the ride, so held off on the ride meeting until about 8 p.m.  We had really nice maps of our route & everyone was looking forward to a good ride.
Ride Info. sheet
We had fun catching up with everyone's news & meeting a new friend too!  Karen, owner of the Wren Loop Thoroughbreds blog!  Was so much fun to see the big bay Cartman in person!   His owner too of course :-)   We'd watched him vetting in, admiring his shiny, big Thoroughbred form!

I didn't check to be sure our alarm was set correctly, so found myself waking up at 5:30 instead of 5!  That put me under pressure to get ready & get Khari warmed up for the start at 6:30.  Linda had told me her ride plan for the day, which was similar to my own.  Go out, make time - get our completions.  We decided to leave together & see how the ride went.  
Linda & Connie before the start~
 It was cool, cloudy & very overcast - but believing the weatherman, neither of us took rain gear, thinking that by the time the rain was forecast to move in, we would be in camp for a hold & could pick it up then...   Not!  We left in the front & started making time, heading up the long climb to the top of the mountain when it started to mist.  The mist turned to drizzle...  Linda said;  "Aren't you glad that we're used to Western Washington weather?"  The words were hardly out of her mouth - when it started to Rain!  The rain turned into a Downpour!  Within minutes we were soaked through.  The trail had turned into a mud bath, water was standing several inches deep in the trail furrows.  We continued to climb - right up into the rain-making clouds - we couldn't see anything of the view - it was a complete white-out.  I started watching my GPS.  We were only about 7 miles into the ride!  We knew we'd be coming up on the trot-by at Fall Creek.   The Vets gave a wave & we passed them by - both mares moving really well.  
Bare Bones per my GPS
After a few more miles, a rider caught up with us, the trails continued to deteriorate.   Khari hates being tail-gated & totally stopped paying attention to what she was doing to worry about the horse behind her.  (She slipped hard once, caught herself just in time to keep us from taking a bad fall.)   I moved aside & asked the rider to move ahead.  If I was going down, I didn't want to get stepped on!  The three of us continued on & on & on.   My GPS was reading over 20-miles & still no out-check in site.  Suddenly - no more ribbons!  Oh NO!  We didn't want to make a mistake in that weather!  We turned & went back to find the last ribbon & ran into other riders trying to make a decision as to which way to go.  Kathy was somewhat familiar with the trails, we followed her advice & found ribbons again!  The out-check came up quickly - we were in at 9:54.  Butch was waiting for Khari & dropped a blanket over her.  What was to be a 45-min. hold time was shortened to 15-min. due to the cold.   We'd ridden 25-miles & the horses were hungry.  Khari ate all the time we were there, but we decided to go ahead, leave on time & finish the ten-miles back into Ride-camp for the 45-min. hold.  Due in part to the fact that we were soaked to the skin, dreaming of changing into dry clothes & rain gear!

As luck would have it, that ten-miles was the nicest of the day.  The footing improved, horses knew they were heading back & we clicked right along.  We did run into several groups of trail riders & a few of the riders on the LD.  That slowed us down in places, where we were on single-track - but everyone was so courteous about moving aside as soon as space allowed.

At 11:39 a.m. we arrived back in camp!  What a relief, the rain had stopped!  Time to eat & find those dry clothes!  The break went quickly, but we were ready to leave again at our out time.

12:26 p.m. Ready to leave on the last loop
Back out on the blue/pink loop for the last 15-miles.  We weren't on the trail for more than five minutes when directly in front of us there was a loud "BOOM!"  Freebie threw on the brakes & tried to whirl!  Linda managed to keep her seat!  There was a man with a Huge black powder rifle firing just around the trees from where our trail merged & turned away.  Nothing like a little adrenalin to keep you moving!

The three of us continued on.  We were drizzled on a few times, but by the second half of the loop the sun came out!  That's because we'd all worn our rain gear!  The trails were still slippery, but were actually drying out in some areas.   I'd so looked forward to this ride, hoping for a bright sunny day...  Even with the rain -- it always feels So good to get out there & GO!  Khari was strong all day & as per usual - didn't spook once!  When she puts on her game face - she's as professional as it gets.  Drafting the leaders, she can set her own pace, stop to poo or grab food as she wants, then move out & catch back up.  This doesn't win us any rides, but it's sure a nice way to travel :-)

We crossed the finish line at 2:16 p.m. in 3rd place!  
2:17 p.m. Our Finish!
Sweet!  After sixteen-years in the sport - I have a mare that's reached 1,000 miles.  20-fifties without a pull.  Not bad for a backyard horseman :-)  I reached my personal goal of 2,000 endurance miles at this ride too.  Butch was waiting, we took Khari back to camp & washed all the mud off before presenting for her final VC.  Her only low was gut sounds...  which is not like her - but she just didn't have the time to fuel-up that she usually gets.  
Butch trots Khari for completion~
Only one rider out of the 14 who finished showed for BC.  It was a really tough trail.  The rain & cold temperatures didn't make it any easier on horses who'd just acclimatized to our short summer of 80's.  When we returned to our camp, the sun came out & it actually felt warm again!  Khari laid down, then began eating her hay :-)  Dory came over with her camera, saying that her 3,000- mile retired endurance horse FT, used to do the same.  She took some cute photos that she's going to forward to me.  I'll post one.  Sirie came over & laid next to Khari,other friends stopped by.  Poor Khari - she gave us all a look like;  "You know...  I was trying to take a nap here!  :-)  I wasn't as honest with her as I should have been going into this ride.  I should have & could have done more conditioning - but was distracted by the fun of riding my new girl.  I won't make that mistake again.  

Heidi & her crew did a first-class job of making everyone feel welcome, marking a super beautiful trail & arranging a beautiful ride-camp!   With four Vets, there was No Waiting!   It didn't feel a bit Bare Bones!  :-)  But... I'm still going to hassle her to have the logo made for t-shirts!  :-)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Looking like Fall ~

Vine Maples Turning Color
What a difference in our weather!  From high 80's & blazing sunshine, to cool, gray - drizzle.  Joyce & I met at Bracken yesterday, for late morning ride.  We were the only two rigs there when we headed out on the trails just after 11.  Joyce made familiar trails look new as we logged a good ten-miles of trotting.   I rode Khari, who again showed me that her temperament has mellowed over the last couple weeks. 
Another great ride!
Really looking forward to Heidi's Bare Bones ie. No-Frills Ride down at Capitol Forest this coming weekend!  The Evergreen Sportsman's Club used to host the American Diabetes ride in the early 90's. It was the first competitive type of  ride that we ever did on our first horses!  We also used to camp there for Competitive Trail Rides sponsored by the Washington State Horseman.

In 2006, I entered my first Competitive Trail ride in years with Khari!  It was really fun & Khari learned a lot!  The floating yellow slicker on a hanger that a man was moving back/forth at the side of the trail -  was Not something that she thought should Be there!  She tried to back away, rear, etc.  After I asked him to just throw it at me & I draped it over her withers - she calmed down & we passed that obstacle test! 

If you've never done CT, consider it!  Especially with young horses!  It teaches them a lot & it's a great place to learn how to pace your horse!

Monday, September 12, 2011

What's More Fun Than a Basket of Beagles?!

Mischief's Litter-mates!
Sunday was HOT!  Probably our hottest day of the Summer.  We watched part of the morning news & some of the reviews of 911.  So sad & could only watch so much.  Checking out what others were doing on Facebook, found that Heidi was going to a "Hound Show" at the Stanwood Fairgrounds!  Sounded like a fun way to spend some time! 

For Beagle Fans - such as ourselves, it was a blast to see so many of our favorite breed in one place!  We gained a appreciation of the work involved in showing dogs, let alone Beagles.  They prefer of course, having the nose to the ground - rather than following their handler!
Regardless, Heidi did a super job of showing her dogs & went away with points for several!

Heidi & Lauren
 We thought the crate on wheels a very clever way to contain the hounds :-)  I gained appreciation too, for the beautiful photos taken at the shows.  Everything was very fast moving!

Butch taking the Beagles to Heidi's car :-)
Granddaughter Cassidy will be old enough to show her new Beagle Luna in 4-H next year!  We hope she does!

Sunday, September 11, 2011