This night - we'd had the most howling winds of the trip. Big, huge, long lasting gusts that would have sent anything not tied down - flying! Even through the worst of the gusts - the frogs at the ponds kept croaking :-) By morning - the temperature had dropped & it was raining. Time for rain gear! Who would have thought?
When Butch pulled Farah's blanket off so we could saddle her up - she got cold instantly. I hadn't brought her rump rug & wished I had! Once she was tacked - we put her sheet over her, until everyone else was ready to go. Barb & Scott left ahead of us - Barb wanted Rio to be moving forward.
|Farah waits next to Linda & Count|
Once I mounted up, Farah wanted to be with Count - right away! Though they couldn't see each other - she knew right where he was! I was really surprised, since she hasn't shown any predisposition to bond with any horse for a very long time. She was wound as tight as a spring...
|Turning on my GPS|
We then had another wait, our riding companions hadn't brought rain gear. Butch & I both decided that Farah needed forward motion too. Linda dismounted & found enough extra rain gear to outfit the other two riders.
|Linda leads out~|
Scott & Barb were waiting - good thing - since I'd already gone the wrong way! :-)
|Into the rain~|
The rain didn't look like it was going to let up anytime soon, but we were all determined to make it to the Winery! We had an extra mile to ride, to get to the entrance gate. There was a rivulet of water actually running down the trail, through the big rocks on each side of the trail & out across the road. Scott & Barb's horses went right through & turned up the trail. Farah next - Refused! Big Time! Tossing herself around, nostrils flared, eyes wide - you would have thought it was a horse eating monster! I tried twice from the saddle to get her across - the saddle bags were right in the way of me effectively using my stick. I dismounted to lead her over & she made a huge leap, hitting my shoulder on her way - something else she Never does! Count & the remaining horses walked right through.
It was really something to see this landscape in the rain! Another benefit - NO dust! We were making good time, the rain never did get really heavy - more of a drizzle.
|The Gorge Amphitheater & Cave B up above!|
We'd passed two hikers & watched another group of riders ascending the climb a way ahead of us. Soon we were on the waterfall trail - a steep down - good flow of water & up to the far side. We spaced out, to give each horse a chance to drink. Farah was fitful & didn't want a drink. Just a short distance on, there was a small depression in the trail - totally dry - & for whatever reason Farah absolutely Refused again! This - after crossing the good current at the waterfall! I couldn't' believe it! Scott & Barb's horses were already across. Farah dropped her head - I gave her rein & in the next instant - she made a terrific jump! Picture a steeple-chaser jumping a water crossing! I was snapped back in the saddle & Linda said later she thought for sure I'd be going off! I was furious - but we were over & thankfully - almost there!
We were going up the steepest part of the climb, looking for the little trail that we'd missed last year. Barb - spotted a new sign marking a new trail - that fallen into the trail. I dismounted, handed Farah's reins to Scott & moved the sign to the uphill side of the trail. I heard a squeal & later Linda told me that Farah had touched noses with Kelly - then reared into the air & struck out at him!
This new spur started just over a whoop-de-do. It was narrow & there was a smashed down sage brush on the track. I went back for Farah & attempted to lead her a few feet up to a point where I could re-mount. Suddenly, she leaped to the side & trapped me against her body & the steep hillside! I couldn't move! I poked her in the shoulder with the blunt end of my stick & in the next instant - she leaped in front of me - another bound & up the hillside!
Suddenly - I was in a really bad position. I looked up to see her belly above me on a soft rock hillside - not a good feeling :-( Barb was saying quietly; "Connie the sign is right in front of her... If she see's it & spooks..." Well, either Barb would have my mare in her lap, or I would have her on top of me when she slipped...
I still had the rein - thank you Dean - long reins are a great aid! I quietly climbed up behind her until I was at the same height on the hill. Then pulled on the rein & moved my stick to try to direct her back down & On to the trail! Dust flying - she slid down & stopped. I got up on a rock & back in the saddle - by now - more than ready to be done!
She led our group to the paving & even there - she was so hyper vigilant that I dismounted & let everyone go on. I made her drop her head & the strange thing was - she did it instantly! Then - to my surprise - she kept it there! I put my head down with her & watched as she finally took a deep breath - then started chewing...
|Our hitching posts! :-)|
By the time I'd met up with my friends, they were trying to find spots at the hitching rails to put their horses. The other group had their horses at both ends & in the middle too. Scott tried tying Kelly to the far side, but within seconds, squabbles were breaking out. In the mean time, I tied Farah to a sage, well below the other horses. Linda was with me & agreed to watch her while I visited the ladies room!
I was greeted at the tasting room door by a rider I recognized. She mentioned that there were other hitching rails. I didn't think there were - so asked the staff. No other hitching spots, but they said we were welcome to tie our horses to the pergola. By now, Barb had joined me - so we headed back out to inform the rest of our party that we had a second option. Soon, six horses were tied to six posts! Scott - the great guy that he is, agreed to horse-sit - while we ladies headed for the tasting room!
|Linda, Barb, Lorraine & Victoria|
Cave B is one of the only wineries around that shares tastes of their iced wine. I asked for one - it was just enough to take the edge off! I grabbed a bottle of cold water & went back out to keep Scott company, while my friends did their sampling :-) When I sat down next to Scott, he informed me that he was trying to sell my mare for $2.! Explaining further - that after her morning of attempting to kill me three times over - he thought the price was fair! One couple offered $3. & a ride back to camp! :-) Farah was being so sweet to the guy - he was totally hooked! As we were getting ready to leave, they came back by & told me that she was just having a bad day :-)
|Columbia River from Cave B|
The view above is from the picnic table where Linda & I had lunch! It was cool & overcast - a huge black cloud on the horizon - but it only sprinkled on our way back. Count & Linda went ahead of us & right through the horse-eating divot in the trail. I fully expected Farah to just follow Count - but NO! She instantly Refused again! I tried to turn her back & I do think she would have thrown her self over! I dismounted, hit at the divot with my stick & asked her to cross. She leaped again, slamming her shoulder in to me in the process, almost taking me off my feet. At the waterfall, she stopped & buried her nose in the current, but didn't drink.
Our lady on the gaited horse took the lead now, then Barb, Scott & me - with Linda & Count behind. I collected Farah right up! I kept her nose tucked & kept her off Scott's gelding. Since our other friend was far in the rear - Scott & Barb decided to ride with her. That left Farah & Count following the gaited mare. She was gating, they were walking & I Do mean Walking! 5+ miles an hour & Linda & I were having a blast! They'd catch up to the gating mare every time she slowed. Eventually her rider took her to the side & we passed. From there on Farah & Count were cutting the rug! I told Linda that the only thing better would have been trotting - but they were both so wired that a fast trot was out of the question - unless we wanted to find ourselves on the ground!
|We've returned to camp!|
Butch expected us from the other direction - so missed getting photos of us coming in. These two horses were so pleased with themselves :-) Count proved that he still has a walk so fast that it makes Farah work for a living! :-) Before long, our friends were back & it was THAT time!
|Barbara, Linda & Connie|
I think I worked harder for my bottle of iced wine that anything else I own! :-) We had some good laughs that evening. Scott said that many of the posts on the pergola were rotten at the ground. Can you just picture what might have happened if something had spooked them all??? Horses running, pieces of grape vines flying - probably all the way to Yakima!
I have no idea what got into Farah. She'd done the ride before, Post~ & was not in season. If I'd had my HR monitor on her - I'm sure she would have pegged it...
Saturday, we decided to head home. My eye surgery was again re-scheduled from the 4th, to the 24th, then back to the 4th - so I have plenty to get done before I go in. I also thought that my stalwart companions might have a better final ride without the gold girl in attendance!