Monday, February 15, 2010


Took Kate out for her first trail ride of the season today [ya-hoo] and it was pleasantly uneventful [ho-hum]. Took along the video camera, just in case I ever figure out how to upload it to Blogger, but technology failed me again: battery as dead as the proverbial doorknob. So you'll just get the prose version of our non-adventure.

Running late, I groomed her a bit as she munched on some breakfast, then balanced the saddle on her back for the trip to the trailer, grabbed my headstall and helmet, and headed for the parking area by the house. Off-loaded gear into the tack room, then loaded Kate up and hit the road for the same section of the John Wayne Trail that we did last summer for Aarenex's virtual trail ride.Got to the trail head just as Pat was calling to see if I had wimped out. [I have admitted here before: I'm a fair weather rider.] Pat and Shari were both nearly ready to go, so I tacked up and worked Kate at the end of the 12 foot lead for a few minutes: she snaked her head once or twice, but no buck snorts, so I mounted up and we were off.

Pat was riding her off-the-track appendix Quarter Horse gelding Rambler, who has settled into being a very pleasant, if somewhat speedy, trail horse. Shari was on her young Appy gelding Tonka. Pat has been working Rambler regularly at the indoor down the road, and has already been on a couple of rides with the Trail Riders club. Shari has worked Tonka at the indoor twice this past week, once from the ground, and once yesterday, riding. This was his first trail ride of the year, and his season last year was cut short mid-summer by a nasty wreck loading in a trailer, so he really only has about the same experience as Kate, though a little more concentrated , since he was just started last spring (as an un-handled 4 year old).

We climbed the steep-ish hill to the railroad grade, and it was just enough to take the edge off of the horses. Then we settled into the long climb up to the Boyleston tunnel. It was a gray day, mid-40's, but damp, and with a chill wind blowing in our faces.

What was most pleasing was that slow-poke Kate kept up with very little prodding. Part of that was probably her "freshness" and part the fact that she's carrying a little less weight than last summer. She even led for a little bit when we turned around to return to the trailers, though she much preferred Rambler to set the pace. Even little Tonka led for a mile or so. Kate followed Rambler across one little streak of a mud puddle, with only slight hesitation and a good hard look, then walked right through it on her own on the way back down. We had one group spook, initiated by Kate, who suddenly leapt two strides in between the geldings, who then also jumped forward. But everyone stopped at that. We looked around and couldn't find any excuse, but the trail is so open that Kate could have spotted movement anywhere off in the distance.

All in all, it was a good ride. We didn't go quite all the way to the tunnel--we all started getting a bit chilled, so we turned around at about three miles, making it about 6 miles total, in 2 and a quarter hours.

Loaded up the horses, and everyone headed for home. A good first real ride of the year.

p.s. I'll have photos of a new experience that Jackson has recently encountered, later in the week.


  1. Sounds like a great ride - I'm envious!

  2. What a nice ride! Glad Kate's off to a good start on the trails this year.

  3. Hasn't our weather been amazing? We've been out on the trails around the barn already this year. My tulips are about 3" tall... in Feb.!

  4. "Yahoo" indeed! Kate is a champ! Love that picture of the road ahead, and will look forward to Jackson's adventure story.

  5. Great to hear of the calm and uneventful but pleasing ride for Kate!
    Love those kinds of outings..

  6. Yay! Thanks for sharing your first trail ride of the season. I hope you enjoy many more this Spring and Summer. Thinking warm thoughts!