Saturday, March 7, 2009

Is THIS the mountains, Mom?!?

This was Kate's eighth or ninth ride, in the spring of 2008.
After the first day out of the round pen, we wandered around in our relatively flat, 2-3 acre pastures for a couple of times. Now it was time to take her out in the wide world.
Our "salt-of-the-earth" neighbor Henry has invited us to use his cattle pasture any time, cows or no cows. I think for this first "trail ride" I'd just as soon it be no cows. But he hasn't moved them out of his feedlot yet, since calving, so we won't have that added excitement.
After a brief warm-up in the arena, we come out to the house parking area to recruit our photographer, hubby Al.

Wouldn't ya rather drive?
We've gone out our front pasture, into our driveway, and now down the road into the cattle pasture. That's irrigation pipe to our right, but Kate has grown up with it in her pastures, so she more interested in seeing if all her buddies are watching from the barn to see her worldly debut.Lookit all da room out here, Mom!
Stepping down into the draw. Kate needs to learn to be aware of where her feet are. She picked her way down pretty carefully.And out the other side.Climbing up the far side of the draw.Wow! Looky da view, Mom!This was the only real spook we had all afternoon: That's a big plastic lumber cover/tarp that had blown up against the fence line...and was continuing to rustle in the breeze. We had to do some backin' and forthin' for awhile, but, suddenly, once she got close enough to see what it was, it was no big deal!Back down the draw again. There's actually a cow carcass just below us, but it was far enough gone that there must not have been much smell--
Kate didn't seem to notice (though Sandy quickly claimed it as hers!).Far enough down the draw that there's a little bit of muddy creeklet here.
Oooh, I gotz my feetz wetz!
Our first lope/gallop!
I like the first time to be up a fairly steep hill--they want to sorta roll up the hill anyway, and, since they're aimed up, they can't really get their heads down to buck.... Famous last words! Watch, now, here it comes.... Yee Haw!
I don't think it was a naughty buck.
Just a feelin' good, let's go kinda buck....
Okay. Let's slow down the pace. (Breathe, Laurie!)There. That's better. Back across the draw again. This pasture is really only about 60 or 70 acres, but it has a lot of diversity of terrain. We basically spent the whole time winding back and forth, up and down, round and round. (It saved my photographer from having to do all that much walking. The only thing he didn't get to shoot was us skirting the pond way down at the bottom of the draw, and climbing the steep, rocky lower hill.) The dog, however, got lots of mileage! Sandy was one happy puppy!
One last lope up the other side of the draw. This one was much better.And start to cool down.
Heading back toward home.
Pick yer feetz up, Kate!
Headed home...but away from home...We have to return to the road to get out of the pasture and around to our driveway. Kate didn't so much as fuss about going "the wrong way."
Approaching the horse-eating mailbox....
No problem! (And we did get the mail.)
Hey, Mom! This footing is different!
Weaving in and out of the bushes, coming down the driveway.
This is really good for them to get used to random touches on their bodies. We're still cooling off, but we're still working the brain, too.
Done for the day.


  1. I enjoyed this post. My favorite picture was that last, successful lope up the hill. Both of you look like you're enjoying the thrill of adrenalin coursing through your veins. The ones of Sandy having a great time were fun to see too.

  2. Ah, she is in a bit here. I hope you will talk about the transition.