Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A New Corner of the Valley, and a New Riding Companion

Well, EvenSong Farm is in the southeast corner of the Kittitas Valley, the Green Canyon ride with Maddie last week was the northwest corner, Manastash Ridge with Kate was the southwest corner, so what's left?
Parke Creek in the northeast corner!

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Today we rode the first few miles of the trip the KVTR's took last summer, when we ended up on a ridge of lava rock flanking the Wild Horse Wind Farm. We opted for the shorter ride, as we had a newbie on board: Grandson Mike is here for two weeks!
This is really the first time Mike has been out in "the real world." Last year we rode the ditchbank around the Farm, and yesterday, on his inaugural 2010 ride, we made a short circuit of Hank's cattle pasture. Mike is riding Kate again this year, and I was on Maddie, who did well, with only a couple of 180 degree spooks. This upsets Mike a bit, as he knows I can't pay attention to him and Kate when I'm busy working through things with Maddie. He also wasn't happy about coming down a fairly steep embankment, when Kate wandered unasked up the hill.

But today he was game to go out. Pat was joining us, but we decided, with Mike's inexperience, to fore go the scheduled group ride, and keep things small. So I picked up Pat and Rambler and we headed north to the Parke Creek trailhead.

Mounted up and ready to go (if Grandma would just put the camera away and get on her horse!).
Pat led the way, Mike was sandwiched in the middle, and Maddie slid right in just behind Kate. Maddie jogged off a few steps, but then quickly settled into an energetic walk (no jigging, yeah!).
But before we had gone even a quarter of a mile, we had to cross a 15 foot wide puddle fed by the creek!
Will Maddie remember that she doesn't melt when wet? Will Kate cooperate?
Pat's gelding Rambler moseyed across, Kate followed, and Maddie, with only the slightest hesitation, walked right through!
Yeah and YEAH again!
The first two or three miles was pretty open, but there was a little breeze to help.

Pat kept promising Mike that we would stop for a rest and turn around when we hit the trees. So when we came abreast of the first real pine tree, it started to sound a lot like "Are we there yet?"

But we pushed on to a "Y" in the creek/trail and stopped there.

We loosened cinches, pulled bridles, and "high-lined" the three horses to the lower boughs of a couple of the now-plentiful pines. Had some grapes, granola bars and water, and rested our (Mike's) weary limbs.

On the way back down, Mike's right leg/ankle started bothering him. We decided to stop and see if Pat could adjust the stirrup a bit to help him out, and when she remounted, I volunteered Maddie to take the lead.
I expected hesitant, booger-finding, reassurance-seeking, stop and go motion... What I got was a long-striding, confident (mostly), "Let's go!" attitude! Sure there were a few hard looks and brief startles (the worst being a large, horse-eating rock that Maddie was SURE hadn't been there on the way in), but for the most part, Maddie was outstanding! (Granted, she may have known we were headed back to the trailer, seeing as how our route was a direct back-track. But still.)
Cross the creeklet? Sure, no problem.
Cross the pond?!? Here we GO!
[I had wanted Pat to video the creek crossing for y'all, but with the forward momentum Maddie had, I decided not to stop to trade off the camera.]
We had been out three hours, and covered probably 6 or 7 miles (no GPS with us today). Good ol' Kate was "Miss Dependable" for Mike, but Maddie was the STAR!

After watering, unsaddling, and resting the horses for a bit, we loaded up for home.
Mike was asleep in the back seat of the truck before we had gone 200 yards!


  1. Looks like a good way to spend a summer's day and to make lifelong memories for the grandson!

  2. Wow sounds like Maddie was awesome and a good trip was had by all!

  3. You have beautifulplaces to ride so close to where you live. I'm glad you enjoyed yourselves

    Kate seemed to be on Mike's energy level. What a good girl for taking such good care of him.

    How old is Mike? He sounds a lot like how my twinling, Jem would act on a long trail ride like that. He's 13 and a one hour trail ride would be plenty enough for him. lol!
    My other twinling Jax, though, he could ride as long as I wanted to...all day...and still want to ride somemore.
    My daughter, who is 7, would love for me to give her pony rides all day long, but I look forward to the day that she can ride Apache on her own.
    Ooops...then I guess I'll need a new horse for me. lol!


  4. What beautiful scenery and a great way to spend the day. Glad you had a good time.