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

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Quilt for Khari!

The start of Khari's Quilt
A friend of my Dad's gave me the idea for a t-shirt quilt many years ago.  Lois mentioned a quilt that she was planning to make out of t-shirts from all the states she had visited.  Well...  I started pulling out ride shirts!  I'd just completed my first 1,000 miles in competition - most on Jas.  I needed a few more blocks, so printed up a couple of my favorite ride photos on t-shirts.  Lois cut them into squares, pieced them together with strips of a horse themed fabric, added batting, a back & had the edges quilted on a long-arm.  Later - I took it to another quilter & had each of the t-shirt blocks quilted down.  I learned a lot from this process - certainly what I wanted to do differently next time.
It had taken me ten-years to reach that first milestone, which seemed like forever at the time.  But, as friends said then;  the second 1,000 would go quicker & it has - in just five years with Khari.  I say;  just when some riders ride more in one year - than I do in five!   It's all about the ride though & I've enjoyed every one of mine!  I can't think of a better way to save the memories than to put them into a quilt! 

The photo above is my layout for this second quilt.  I still need to have a three more shirts made up.  I found the perfect fabric to use for the strips between the blocks at my cousin Jackie's shop;  The Quilter's Fix in Sheridan, WY.   It's a print that looks like tooled leather.  I'm thinking I might use flannel, or even polar fleece for the backing this time.  Now I have cutting, stitching & more layout to do before I turn it over to a "professional" quilter to do the piecing.   
Fun for a cold rainy day!
P.S. - Finished!

Monday, February 27, 2012

The View from Here~

Clear, gorgeous day~
I never tire of the views...  Decided to ride out from home today.  Didn't have the ambition to trailer out somewhere to ride by myself, so took the saved travel time & spent it in the saddle.  Khari wouldn't walk up the road past the sheep without stopping, trying to whirl & refuse.  How many times has she seen those sheep now???  Oh well, no rush - I waited her out, she finally bored herself & we went on.  Once up on top, we checked out the damage from the multiple storms this winter.  One trail closed by a downed tree, but the gate below was standing open & gave us access to the power lines was open.  Lots of water, water everywhere.
Gate to the power lines open~
ATV'ers have broken it open & are tearing through what's left of "my" trails - making a huge mess of everything.  What used to be small puddles are now huge mud holes.  I'm going to call the one landowner I know - who has given me permission to ride & let them know what's going on.  It was all supposed to be developed, but the downturn in the economy has "saved" the land for the time being.
Another "new" gate~
Originally we had miles & miles to ride, but over the years, a section at a time has been closed off.  It' a shame - since I'm the only one who is ever up there now.  On our way home we stopped to talk to our friends, hearing the story of how one of our neighbor's horses died of colic over the weekend.  Always so sad to hear of a colic death.  The mare's sire was my friend Pat's deceased stallion Rocky Ridge Ali.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

New Views!

Looking east at the Cascades
Yesterday, I drove up to Charlotte's - Darlene & I had been invited up for a ride!  We'd heard Charlotte say more than once;  "I'm just riding out behind my house."  A few of us are lucky enough to have a few miles of riding close enough to home that we don't have to trailer - but - Charlotte has Way more than that!  
Victoria to the left, Charlotte's trails on the right~
Since these old logging roads are landlocked by various landowners, they're not available for access to anyone but people who live in the area.  It was so amazing to see "new" country & get a feel for the lay-of-the-land further north.  Charlotte is still exploring & doing some research to see who owns what;  but suffice to say that this could be an incredible recreation area sometime in the future - if the sprawl of development doesn't happen.  We rode out just over 7 miles, then returned the same way.  The wind was fierce & again this week, we had just returned to the trailers by the time the rains hit!  Great Ride!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cat & Mouse~

Kathryn Taylor Fide
Slipping in rides between weather systems is getting to be something like a game of cat & mouse!   Five Saddle-Up members met at Kathryn Taylor Equestrian Park for what was to be a faster paced ride.   It looked like we might get wet when we left the trailer parking area, but as the morning turned to afternoon - we stayed dry.  There was quite a lot of wind damage to the tops of the trees, several had been cut to keep the trails clear.  For the amount of rain we've had - the trails were in amazingly good shape.
Riding along Novelty Hill Road
For being in such a heavily populated urban area, it's so great that there is a connected system of multipurpose trails, most through beautiful woodsThe crossing above is one of several that we took, with long lines-of-sight to the crossing - it wasn't bad.  It was Khari's first time down in this area; she took the barking dogs, bridges & weird objects really well.  No spooks, but she preferred to follow :-)  We covered just under 15-miles in 3 hours & 13 min.  a really good pace for a really nice day.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Blanchard Ride~

Khari, Connie Darlene, Sable, Cinnamon & Kathy
Friday, we were riding "rain or shine".  I met Charlotte at the exit off I-5 & followed her to the trail head where Darlene & Kathy were waiting.  We were saddled & on the trails by 11 a.m.  The wind was blowing, it was cold & looked like rain was on the way - so we brought our rain gear.  We decided on the British Army Trail
Aliento & Charlotte too!

It was as steep, somewhat slippery & as full of sharp turns, rocks, roots etc., as I remembered from my one ride here, a few years ago with Diane.
Looking Southwest~
We set a good pace & covered a lot of ground.  By the time we reached the edge of the lookout area the rain was moving in & wind picking up even more.  After a short break, we headed back the way we'd come.  I heard my name?  Looked ahead & around the corner to see Patty & Kendal!  It was a gaggle of endurance women :-)  Back at the trailers we loaded the horses & headed to a little tavern in Algers for some Great burgers & beer!   Really nice way to end a day's good ride!  The drive home was through heavy rain & lots of traffic, a 100 mile round-trip for me, but well worth it!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Good Ride~

Ten-miles at Victoria
The morning started out with drizzle & gray skies, but by noon things were clearing off.  Wanted to get Khari out again, we were the only rig at the trailer parking.  Once we were up on the trails, it was quiet!  No distant traffic, no logging, so still that you could hear the silence!   Very rare & very nice.  Khari picked up a trot on her own, her little 7 mph jog trot; with some controlled cantering too.  She did give a couple sideways glances to a few downed branches etc. but we did the entire ride without a spook!
Bottom of the clear-sut
 The trail at the bottom of the clear-cut is getting more passable, the sun started breaking through the cloud cover.
View east off the ridge
Khari at the Monument
 The sun was warmer on the west facing side of the ridge, so we took a break for Khari to graze while I made a couple calls.  It was well after 3 p.m. by the time we started back & the temperature was dropping.  It's so nice to have Khari back in good spirits.  Whatever caused her funk last year - seems to be over.  Of course Farah isn't back home yet, so we'll see how that affects her moods, but for now - I'm just enjoying having a non-complicated relationship with our gray mare!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Mann Road Ride~

Our Route - East
Several stalwart riders met at the end of Mann Rd. near Sultan at 10 a.m. for what was to be a ride up to the lookout.  We were prepared with saws, pruners etc.  Rain?  It wasn't supposed to rain?  It did!  It was cloudy, cool & we hadn't gone far when the rain came.
Janelle, saw & a smile!
As we started the climb, Janelle & Tami were off their horses & clearing trail.  We were making slow but steady progress!  Then...  we can to larger trees across the road.  8" at least;  the saws came out again & with much sawing, sweating & more rain - they were cut!  We made it about another 100 ft. until we found where the logging crews had cut down at least 20 good sized trees, felling them right across the road...  No way - it would have taken chain saws to even make a dent in this mess.

Plan two!  Ride to the river - who cares if it's raining - by now our saddles were wet, we were wet & we still wanted to RIDE!  Following Lynn & Sara - we did get to the river & stopped for a well deserved lunch break!
Part of our Crew!  Sara, Tami, Janelle & Linnea
Janelle brought along Ding-Dongs to celebrate my birthday!  I rode Khari today - she was "perfect"!  Happy when I went up to get her to go & in a good mood all day!  Of course I know how much she likes new places & meeting new horses, so today was a fun day for her too.  It's been nice to have my gray girl back :-) 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

When the rain comes...

A year ago today - Mt. Pilhuck under clouds
The ride I'd so looked forward to for today with Joyce - was cancelled due to rain...  After getting somewhat used to riding in the sunshine - gray skies & rain was not what I was hoping for!   Caught up at home yesterday, cleaned the house, did the laundry, sorted through the "in" basket & baked some yummy oatmeal/choc. chip cookies!   Janelle stopped by with an amazingly nice slow-feeder box that she picked up for a great price.  That was yesterday...  Today - the motivation bug just has not made his appearance!  

Part of my lack of ambition stems from hearing that Farah's scratches have taken a turn for the worse again...  Dean thinks due to my riding her through some mud on Sunday.   Her legs were clean when we got back to the trailers, I toweled her down, an hour in the trailer home - so the leg was well dried - but it wasn't enough to stop the bumps from returning.  I was Goggling this morning & found this article by Heather Smith Thomas;  that shows almost exactly what Farah's leg looks like.  http://www.anvilmag.com/farrier/101f5.htm.  I like the idea of the DMSO carrying the treatment deep into the leg.   

This all started November 14th, when she stepped into a hole when we were trying to get to the Wetland.  It was shortly after that ride that the bumps appeared on her high white rear sock - then developed into scratches.  We've been fighting them since.  She's been on the farm since the 25th.  I miss having her at home with us.  (Don't think Khari does :-)  She's receiving the very best of care, a huge nice stall, bedded & dry.  Riding two to three times a day to keep the swelling down & out of the lower leg.  Her front legs had the scratches too, but they were under control & gone in a few days, no high white in the front.  I should be grateful that it's just the one leg - but would be ecstatic to have it All gone!  If you have any miracle cures... let me know!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

On a ROLL!

Redmond Watershed Preserve Ride
Spoiled, no other word for it!  All these sunshine days have been so incredible that any horse person really feels the need to ride!  Farah had a bath yesterday - overdue!  Polito was kind enough to have her blanketed & ready when I arrived at the farm to pick her up at 7:30 this morning.  It was Cold!    I planned at least 1-1/2 hrs. travel time to get to the trailer parking at the Redmond Watershed Preserve.  Leaving the farm before 8 a.m. I took the back roads going down.  We still pulled in just after 9 a.m.  That gave me plenty of time to get Farah saddled & warmed up before anyone else arrived.

This ride was organized by Amanda - a member of our Saddle-Up group, ride out at 10 sharp!   Six riders had signed up, five made it -  for what was to be a faster paced ride.  Layers came off before we left the trailers!  Wish I'd thought to get a picture, but with two buckskins, a paint, a bay & Farah - we were a colorful group :-)

My "re-furbished" GPS recorded our ten-mile route.  I forgot to start it as we left the parking area, you see that at the lower right of the picture.  The other break in the path is at the left side, top corner of the square - where we stopped for a few minutes at Farrel McWhirter Park.

Farah clean & ready to go :-)
Farah soon let me know that she was too wound-up to have anyone behind her & let the horse behind know too... with a big Swish of her tail!  So we took up the rear position.  It took about six-miles for her to settle down to business & from then on she was a Grand ride!  She recognized the area when we stopped at Farrel-McWhirter Park for a short break.  I was amazed that no one was there.

On such a beautiful day, even with five horses who didn't know each other - we had a perfect ride!  We all felt that we made a very compatible group :-)  When we returned to the trailers, I was smart enough to get Farah's saddle off quickly & then lead her to some nice thick, damp grass for her mandatory roll!  My training has progressed!  :-) 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Another Fine Day~

Harry O's Loop
It was 25 degrees when I checked on our front deck at 6:30 a.m.  Butch had me hitched & ready - I headed over to pick Farah up.  Dean's gate lock was frozen - out came the lighter :-)  (No... I don't smoke :-)  

In just over an hour we were at Harry O's Backcountry Horseman's Camp.  I'd invited myself along for the morning ride that two of my friends had planned :-)  What an incredible day it became!  We were on the trail by 9:30 a.m. & the first layer peeled off within minutes.  The sun was over the mountains & the day was WARM with a light breeze.
We could see all the way to the Olympics
Taking a turn that was unfamiliar, we climbed to almost 2,000 feet.  Most of this was on logging roads, so the footing was good.  Once we started on the trails down, we found the mud.  The worst of it was only in a few areas.  Riding for just over three hours, still felt like a short ride!

Once back, I stripped Farah's saddle;  she started looking for a place to roll & roll she did!  Grunting & rubbing & have a whee of a time :-)  Next she jumped up - had a good shake & walked over to see what Fancy had to eat!  Fancy was so nice & shared with Farah.  By the time we were ready to leave, she'd also emptied Fancy's water bucket!  I was hearing things like;  "She sure takes care of herself."  "Are you sure you might not try endurance with her?"  :-)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Cascade Rails-To-Trails Ride~

Ride on the Cascade Trail
It was a gorgeous day, Charlotte & I left the trail head off Fruitdale road about 10:30 a.m.  After crossing the highway - we headed west on the "Rails-To-Trails" Skagit County Cascade Trail.  Footing was perfect, we found some new gravel here & there.   One of the creeks was flowing along the trail, out of it's bed.
Charlotte & Aliento
The bridges were Very Slippery.  On most bridges they've installed a center strip of non-slip surface - but where there was none, I got off & walked Khari across.  One time of having a horse come over backwards on me - left a lasting impression...
Loop up to Harry O's for Lunch
 My GPS read 10 miles when we made the turn to head up to Harry O's for lunch.  We took the trails going up, road going back down.  The trails were Very Slippery!  Sitting at a picnic table in the sunshine watching the horses graze - it almost felt like Spring!  On the way back, our pace improved :-)  We made a couple short stops - arriving back at the trailer parking area before 4 p.m.
Khari & Connie
The river had taken out a huge chunk of bank at the point where we posed for this picture, almost to the bridge supports.  There will be a Lot of reinforcement needed - soon - to keep this portion of the trail open. My GPS clocked just under 24-miles & our ride time was around five hours.  Nice start to the conditioning season :-)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

First of Feburary!

Overlooking the Stillaquamish River
Finally, I made it back over to the farm to ride Farah!  From pouring rain last night - to sleet pellets this morning - I still managed a good hour of riding without getting wet.  Farah seemed happy to see me & collected up nicely when I asked.  I'd been using Khari's headstall on Farah - with her slightly larger head, had everything to re-adjust each time. 

I sold the nice Beta Endurance halter/bridal that had been for Jas - to a friend, so had been looking for a while.  Sat. on our way home from Cassidy's basketball game, we stopped at Beth West in Snohomish to look around.  Butch found a rain cover for his new hat - my attention went to the wall of headstalls, where this one caught my eye!
Farah's new headstall
I'd planned to use my set of silver conch's, but the slide was too short.  Took my good ones off Khari's & they fit!  BTW - the amazing silversmith responsible for making these can be found at; JL Smith Silver.  Now Khari will have the silver, which should look good with her gray coloring! 

I brought it with me this morning, anxious to see how it would look, work & fit.  I'd already figured out that it wouldn't work with the Mylar Short Shank bit that I like to use.  I'd had to have Khari's headstall shortened to make it work for her.  There's no way to shorten this one - without loosing some of the bling - so decided to try a snaffle bit that I had hanging in the tack room.  I think it's a little narrow for Farah.  When I went to take it off, she raised her head & seemed to "hold" the bit in her mouth...  That reminded me that her teeth probably need to be done, since I have no idea how long it's been.  Will be scheduling that...

Might drive up to the Bony Pony over the weekend to look at bits.  In the meantime, put the Mylar bit on another older shortened headstall - so that if I decide I might need it - can have it handy to use.  I've not heard other riders complain - but to me that's the draw-back of the Mylar Combination bits - with the length of the shanks, you really have to shorten up any headstall that you use for it.

Funder... where are you & those new clippers when I need you?  :-)  As you can see, Farah could use a trim!  :-)