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

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ridin~ ?

Gate bent & open~
Funny how fate can be.  It doesn't take much to send the best laid plans askew.  Monday I was busy all day, packing, cooking, cleaning, the usual.  Late in the afternoon as I was walking down from the barn, I managed to bend my right ankle stepping on a rock.  The next step it hurt for a minute, but then was fine.  In the middle of the night, I woke up suddenly & felt the pain of what seemed to be a sprain!  No!  Thinking positive, just thought I'd twisted it in my sleep.  

Yesterday morning with my first few steps - I knew that it was a sprain - no doubt.  Walking hurt.  I drove up to my friend Joyce's to pick up Khari's heavier blanket that had needed repair.  When Joyce saw me "hobbling" - at least a "Grade I" lame - she knew I was mad!  :-)  She gave me some pain relieving patches that stick.  I plan to use them!

I wanted to get Khari out, the weather was much nicer than what the weather forecast had been predicting, so saddled up & away we went.  Once my foot was in the stirrup, the pain really wasn't all that bad.  We did a couple nice sets of trotting & cantering, again going over to the trails that had been closed off.  Once home, I knew right away that I hadn't done the ankle any "good". 

Now I'm doubling my dose of HA, staying "off" the foot today & using Butch's cane, which he says he will inscribe with the word "cripple" in my honor!  :-)  I've ridden with a broken wrist & other injuries over the years, so hope with a few days off - things will be tolerable.  Question is now - who will I find to trot out the mare? 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Riding in the Sunshine!

Connie & Farah, Charlotte & Aliento

Connie & Farah, Amanda & Cato
 I've had a couple fine days of riding in the sunshine!  On Friday I met up with Charlotte & Amanda for Amanda's first visit to the Monument.  That's always a pretty special thing - taking someone who's never "been" there to see that stunning view.  Cato dug in & did the hills like a champ!  We were all having a grand time admiring the stunning views of the mountains with the most snow cover we've seen in years.  I rode Farah & that was a challenge.  She is very unhappy with having to be stalled, but the scratches are still there, swelling & heat are gone - so we seen to be on the correct treatment protocol.  She pranced, she bucked, she galloped & finally she settled down & behaved!  Here's the link to the stats from that ride;  Victoria Loop by hhmstead at Garmin Connect - Details

Today, Amanda & I met-up at Bridal Trails State Park in Bellevue.  It had been at least twenty-years since I'd ridden there when Butch was building the Redhook Brewery in Woodinville.  At that time we rode from the Brewery to Marymore Park in Redmond, then over the freeway on a very scary concrete overpass/bridge, through a neighborhood & finally to Bridal Trails!  It was a feat!
Bridle Trails Route
Amanda suggested taking me as close to around the perimeter as we could go & that was really fun.  We saw some amazing small horse farms & really incredible homes.  The trails were well groomed except for a few downed trees.  We rode ten-miles & enjoyed every minute.  Khari was well behaved - except for a squeal at Cato for getting too "fresh" :-)  
Beautifully managed small horse farm

 We even took the time to work the horses at a obstacle course that is adjacent to the main park of the park!  How cool was that?  Khari did NOT like the "noodles" but eventually went through with a rush!  

We met a man riding his huge Shire!  17'3 H!   Do you believe six flakes of hay a day?!  Just a perfect day to be OUT!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Ride from Home~

Water flowing over the road from the Beaver Dam
It was cold, but we'd had a sun break or two, so saddled Khari & headed up to see what we could see.  
To the right of the photo above
 The wetland I've been trying to protect all these years is directly behind the evergreens.  The trail to it has now become a creek bed & the clearing that was done is now full of young alders - making it impassable.  All of this is a "good thing" for protecting the west side.  

Once up on the power lines, we cut over to the west side & through an area where we used to have trails, but in the last few years - the trails sprouted houses on small acreages.   We'd attended a clinic at the "Flying Filly" but all was quiet there this day.
Covered Round-pen at the Flying Filly
We turned back & headed on south down the power line access road.  Past more of the Wetland ponds that are full to the brim!

Love the cattails & water!
  At the southern end of the access road, we turned east, back toward "our" trails, expecting that the gate there would be locked.
Many locks on the gate
 I should have taken a photo of where Khari squeezed through, between the gate post on the other side & an ecology block.  She was Amazing!  Best in the West at obstacles :-)  Some of the big snags that had been put at that side had rotted back enough to give about 18" of clearance.  Getting through this way put us near the paved side of our old trail system.  Now I was wondering if we'd be able to get out!  At the bottom of the trail, there was another gate that had closed off the shorter route back home for several years.  It was unlocked & standing open!  Bonus!  We went through & onto "our" trails to complete our upper loop!  
 My new GPS is working perfectly!  Lots of new Garmin tools on-line too & the ability to save & send out data sheets from our "workout".  Even a setting for "horseback riding"!  

Spring! Hours away!

King Edward Flowering Currant
Very cold!  Blue sky!  What an incredible morning!  Wouldn't it have been nice to have had this weather yesterday...   I'll take it for today!   the buds on the flowering currants are holding their own.
Indian Plum blooming
One of the first Washington Native plants to bloom - lending the appearance of white lace to the light green of the new leaf buds.
Frozen ice on the ground covers~
Spring is around the corner!

Friday, March 16, 2012

We have a Sunshine Ride~!

Khari waits - Redmond Watershed
At home, the wind was blowing - it was raining... but after talking to Amanda we decided to just "buck-up" & ride!  Heading for Redmond it was rain, wind then a sun break in DuvallI parked at the Watershed wondering where everyone was until my phone rang & I found out that I'd misunderstood riding there with "parking" there!  Put Khari back in the trailer & we were only a few minutes late getting to Kathryn Taylor where the sun was out!
Beth on Kate, Amanda & Cato
 My GPS was on the fritz - wouldn't stay on...  so I'm hoping it's only that it didn't take a charge.  We trusted Amanda & she didn't let us down!  We had just a fantastic ride going here, there & everywhere!  We rode for almost four hours & covered probably close to 20-miles.  It was so beautiful out, the air smelled so fresh & we found blooming daffodils - a sure sign that Spring is just around the corner!  

Khari has decided that she likes Beth's mare Kate - but Not behind her :-)  Really nice day to enjoy a really nice ride!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Into the Cold~!

Farah unimpressed~
The morning wasn't too bad...  by noon I decided that with any luck at all, I might be able to get in a loop up at Victoria.  Farah needed some LSD & hills would help too.  It was 1 p.m. when we arrived at the parking lot to find a truck in the horse trailer parking.  I stopped at the porty potty... while inside, the door was attacked by a barking dog & his claws.   I'd left Farah in the trailer & was glad of it!  Peeked out the door to see what I would be confronting & found a black lab.  No owner - just the dog.  How many ways to say "mad"?!  I've about had it with loose dogs...

The dog headed back up the road & I unloaded Farah.  By the time I had the saddle on her, the dog walkers had returned to their truck.  I let them know how unhappy I was with their choice of parking places & loose dog!  They mumbled something & drove off.  I'd parked up against the trees at the far end - some "shelter" from the rain.  Had just put Farah's halter on her neck & was putting in her bit when she spooked & turned toward the front end of the Bronco.  Here was a woman standing not five feet from us!  She had been with the dogs & had evidently walked back up the road to "talk" to me.  This caught me off-guard & I'm going to be more careful to keep an eye on my surroundings when I'm alone.  She started in by saying that she was a dog trainer & that dogs did not have to be "on-leash", just "under control" on the tree farm.  I told her that barking & scratching at the Porta-Potty door was NOT what I would call "under control"!  She went on to add that horse trailers didn't park there often & that if they parked off to the side, that sometimes they got stuck etc.  I told her that the parking was for horse trailers ONLY& that the parking though empty when I arrived, could fill up quickly!  Finally admitting that the dog was Not under control... she left.

I thought I had my GPS set for the ride, but when I put it in my pocket to keep it dry, must have hit the off button.  Farah started out with her usual brisk trot.  Heading up the hill she wanted to canter & was so smooth in her transition that I didn't touch the reins.  A little further & we were into the snow!  At least 6" on the ground & more starting to come down! 
Bunny prints in the snow~
 We both enjoyed the canter in the snow, but the weather was quickly turning worse.  By the time we were climbing the hill below the clear-cut the wind had come up & the air with thick with fog.
Mt. Washington is over there~
 I wore a polar fleece vest, my Carhart jacket - then my Muddy Creek long rain slicker over all!  I was still cold!  My plan was originally to head up to the Monument, but with the weather deteriorating & no views to speak of...  decided to finish the loop & head back.  It felt like a good call.  We'd gotten in a ride & I was ready to get WARM!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Is it Snowing yet?

View from the top~
Today it sure feels cold enough for the snow level to drop down to us!  The wind has a bitter edge to it & at one point we had sunshine, rain pelting down sideways & the wind that was driving it!   Farah always wants OUT!  Full of energy & with spring in the air besides, yearlings on the run, Eagles mating in the huge Cottonwood on Dean's farm - it's all pretty exciting!  (The first time I've seen Eagles mate!)  

She wanted to gallop up the hill, no - we did a nice trot.  Worked some circles both directions, then let her graze for a while.  We took the loop that goes close to the edge of the river where the little waterfall comes out of the hillside.  Instead of her usual spooking & attempt to whirl - she tucked her head & pranced by :-)
I'm hoping we get a break in this weather soon so I get get both the mares out to do more than stretch their legs!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Way Back When...

Jasrada 11-yrs. old
It was the 19th of March - 1999.  There was SUN, warmth, a breeze & blue skies!  What a change from our weather in March the last few years!  The Cottage hadn't received a coat of stain yet, the area by the pond was still full of reed canary grass - I didn't realize that it was an "invasive" & needed to Go!  I'd been working for nine years on the woods & it would be another year before we had our official "Walk In The Woods" summer party!

I'd written up game sheets that listed all the statuary that I had in the woods at that time.  The goal of the game - was to find it all!  Will never forget Jennifer L & our oldest daughter's father-in-law Don, spending most of the day up there in a battle to find the last item!  (I should have set a time limit!)  It was Jennifer who eventually Won!  :-)  As a redhead - those who know her, know how tenacious she can be!  :-)

99 is as far back as my digital image library goes.  I still remember how excited I was with my first digital camera!  Instant Gratification!  Below is my first digital photo~  It ended up being one of the best dog in the world.
Kittaka - 2-yrs. old, on Cedar Lane
 Can you tell it's raining?  Pouring?  I'm baking cookies, cleaning house & reminiscing :-)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

"Hill of Death"~

HOD, zig-zag on the right~
Our local test of fitness for our horses heading to the first endurance ride of the new season - Home On The Range - is how well they can trot up a four-mile climb that we named appropriately, the "Hill of Death".  It's a tough, tough climb - heart rates go up & stay up - all the way to the top.  Once you're up there though - the view is always well worth the trip.
Khari admires the view in a borrowed headstall :-)
I feel so lucky to have managed some really nice rides this last week, in spite of jack-knifing my truck/trailer in my own gate...  (Thanks to a neighbor, we managed to get me unstuck.)   Since I'd planned extra time, still on schedule, I drove over to the farm - pulled Farah from her stall &  grabbed what I thought - was her headstall.  Arriving at Kathryn Taylor, it became obvious when I started to try to put the bridle on Farah -  that it wasn't hers!  As a matter of fact... it was Thoroughbred size!  That made for some interesting re-working with some thick string :-)  

Early Thursday morning - Khari & I head up north to ride with Fish Creek Team members & a Pirate...  Opening the tack room door on my trailer - I realized that I'd forgotten Khari's headstall!    OK, do I ride her in a halter?  Not easy with a group of competitive horses!  To my rescue is Aarene of Haiku Farm fame!  She produces a a nice halter/bridle combo with bit - that sported Calvary brass!
Finally - today - I meet Charlotte up at the Glass School for a couple loops, one slower paced with a friend conditioning a youngster, then a second faster paced loop.  We return to the trailers to find that we'd been tagged!  Of course we have NO Idea WHO the offender could be - but...  we both think that the fact we did see Aarene getting ready to leave might be somewhat suspicious?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Riding & Farah's Scratches~

15-mi. Route at Kathryn Taylor Park
We've still been battling scratches on Farah's high white hind sock.  After months of keeping her stalled & dry - she would have a "relapse".   I'd called Diane & asked her if she had any ideas...  She did!  Penaten baby cream.  With a quick search, I found it at Amazon.com & ordered two tins.  Monday it was in the mail, so Butch & I headed over to the farm.  I washed down Farah's leg with Castile soap, rinsed, then dried & dried & dried.  Next - applied the cream & wrapped the leg with cotton & a bandage.  By the next morning - the leg looked the best it has in months!  

Since Ms. Farah was going nutty with her short daily rides on the farm - I loaded her in the trailer & we headed to Redmond to meet up with our new Saddle-Up friends!  Such a perfect day, hazy sunshine, warm breeze.   Farah decided to become her own worst enemy...  fighting the bit, trying to gallop, refusing to "listen" to me, making my life miserable.  I was hoping that the six-mile mark would bring a return of her brain...  but no... this time it took ten-miles!   Three riders headed back to the trailers, but Amanda & I decided to add a few miles.  Once the other horses were gone - Farah settled in, started paying attention, giving to the bit, collecting & moving out the way only she can. 

Once we were back at the trailers, I stripped her saddle & looked for a place she could roll.  Found a nice grassy area - but - faster than I could move her - she found the only clay - muddy spot & dropped into it, grinding her withers back/forth - having a horsy good time!  That set her up for a badly needed bath back at the farm.  Keep your fingers crossed that the improvement to her leg continues!  

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sounds of Melting~

From yesterday afternoon's clearing, sunshine - we woke to a world of white.  Another three inches of very wet snow accumulated overnight.  I do have to say that by now...  I'm ready for some warmer weather & maybe the color of a few flowers? 
Lenten Rose
As the day progresses, the sun appears again, things start warming up & the snow is melting!  I head up into the woods to see if how the hellebore's are doing...  to find that yes!  They've finally bloomed!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Riding the SVT ~

Our route on the SVT
I was leaving home with Khari by 9 a.m. - the day was was overcast & didn't look promising...  Where was the sunshine that the weatherman had been talking about all week?  By the time I was in Snohomish - the rain started.  Driving into Monroe the rain became a downpour.  I decided to call Katie & Dean, figuring they were behind me & doubting that we'd get in a ride.  Surprise!  They didn't pick up the third rider, so had arrived at the trailer parking in Duvall & it was dry!  OK, I'm "game"...  if we leave & it's not raining that works!  I decided to wear my rain jacket anyway!   (The usual unspoken rule - if you take it or wear it, it won't rain!)
Khari watching a dog on the bridge~
 Katie & Dean set a really nice 10 mph pace.  We cruised right along, only slowing down for people on the trail - all of who were very friendly.  Our plan was for a 20-mile ride, by the time we arrived at the Snoqualmie river, we were just under ten.  The horses had a drink & grabbed some fresh grass & we turned back. 
Dean at the river~
Again - the pace was fast & steady, Khari as usual bringing up the rear for most of the way.  We arrived back at the trailers with a 2 hr. 24 min. ride time.

I called our daughter who lives in Duvall - she was home, so I stopped by for a hot cup of tea before heading home.  Granddaughter Cassidy took carrots out for Khari!  
Great ride, great day~

Thursday, March 1, 2012

First T-Shirt Quilt ~

First 1,000 miles
Here's my first quilt, using ride shirts, Arabian horse shirts, team shirts & a couple photo shirts that we had made.  Shirts from the charity ride that used to be held down in the Capitol Forest for American Diabetes Association & a shirt from our local Centennial Trail . There's one ride - (the red block) that only happened once, Kahneeta Oct. of 1999.  There, I rode a horse named "Rosebud" - who definitely did Not fit his name!  It was the perfect example of the AERC's motto;  "To Finish is To Win" as we did finish the 50 in a three-way tie for last place, with Charlene & Marie :-)  We had a ball!  
Charleen on Booker, Marie on Sir Prize, Connie on Rosebud
I was riding for the Fish Creek Team - who - with that last ride earned enough points to be #1 for the year!  Another, "Fire Mountain" that same year, was only held once or twice.  Rides that I didn't have shirts for - I didn't think to have made up - but will do that if I make another.

2002 Ride logo For Home On The Range
The above photo shows the stippling that I had done to each block after the quilt was pieced.  It needed the extra reinforcement.  The blocks weren't placed in any kind of order - this time I they will be.  Didn't add any dates or placements - the new quilt will have some of those too.  The overall size of four blocks across & five deep worked out great for our queen sized bed.  The strips are 2-1/2" & the borders total 16" all around.  Blocks are 12" square.