Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Top 'o the world!

This post is actually over a week old--I just didn't get around to uploading the videos until this morning (waiting for my grand son to wake up--post on that later). Plus I was so excited about Maddie's creek crossing, that I posted it first, though it was after this ride.

Kate has been feeling neglected for the last several weeks, while I focused on getting Beth going and she and Maddie ready for the Horse Daze sale the previous Saturday.
Not only neglected, Kate been feeling downright abused by her new diet regimen:[She has lost a few pounds, though, and a couple of holes of her cinch.]

So, once all the "daze" had worn off, Maddie and Beth got a day or two off, and I loaded Kate up with Pat's horse Rambler, and we took off to join the Kittitas Valley Trail Riders for a couple of hours of trails, southwest of Ellensburg. This area is only about 30 miles south of Green Canyon, where Maddie and I wound through the trees the following week, but into the area of the "shrub-steppe"--no trees!

View Larger Map

We started a little south of the red "A" and headed east until we were at a nice overlook of the Yakima River Canyon.
[The wind is blowing in these videos (it made the heat of the day much more tolerable), and therefore the soundtrack is rather annoying. So I'll relate much of what I said here and you can turn the sound off if you want.]
Here the group of riders is wandering along the top of Manastash Ridge, south of Ellensburg, heading east. At one point I pan the camera towards Mount Stuart, northwest of us, and over my [shaky] shoulder to Mount Rainier to the west.

Here is the view of Ellensburg from the overlook on Manastash. Part way through I pan to the east, where EvenSong Farm is hidden behind the near ridge, just below the tallest little "peak" in the far ridge. [By the way, the gal behind me in the salmon top on the palomino is a fellow teacher, who took the photos of Maddie crossing the creek in the last post. Riding with her is her hubby Warren, who was the one who led us across the creek! Thanks again, Warren!]

Then I give you a look down into the Yakima River Canyon. The geology of the area is fascinating, with lots of volcanic uplift activity creating the Manastash and north and south Umptanum ridges, running east-west between here and Yakima, WA. Then another cataclysm formed the roughly north south rift that the river flows through. My personal theory (with absolutely no scientific basis) is that before the river broke through the ridges, the bowl-shaped Kittitas Valley must have been a huge lake.

Then we moseyed the long way back to the trailers, covering both volcanic basalt fields and grassy meadows. Her Simple Boots performed well again today. I have not yet lost one from either Kate or Maddie. Kate did stomp with her left hind a couple of times shortly before we got back to the trailhead. Another rider said nothing seemed amiss, so I wonder if she had just gotten a weed or something under the boots top. If we hadn't been so close to being done, I probably would have climbed off to check it, but she stopped fussing and continued back to the trailers fine, so I guess it wasn't a big deal.

The only green-horse moments we had were a couple of times climbing out of little gullies, where Kate would lurch and get a little "light" in front. After the second time I did an experiment on the flat: I reached up, as I had at the gullies, and grabbed a little mane, as all good trail riders have all been taught to do climbing hills. She shook her head hard at me! It turns out I have never taken the time to teach her this balancing maneuver, and she didn't particularly like it. We'll have to work on that.

Kate was a REALLY pleasant ride today! A little bit of a rush the first half mile or so, then settled to a really nice energetic amble along with the group. [I'm beginning to think her pokiness/lethargy last year might have been related somehow to the bite/abcess she got early in the season.]


  1. Cool riding pics!

    Oh, no, a horse with the dreaded "basket"! I need one of those for Maisie, although the last time I tried one she couldn't figure out how to get any grass and got very frustrated!

  2. Heck, I need a "basket" for MY face!

    Great vids.

  3. HAHA...how cute she is -EVEN WITH- the muzzle!
    Excellent riding..That is the terrain I wish to train my mare in groups on...OPEN! She can fuss but there is not anything to fall over or run into!
    Tell me where you live again..I will map the miles and maybe sometime..I could do a horsey stay over, and we could go out to a place like that!
    Kate did so well, funny about her not wanting you to hold her mane...I am loving Wa's longer locks there now..I totally grab that with the hills we have that I stand up in!

  4. Kate--Kate and Maddie both got frustrated the first two nights, to the point that I took pity on them and went without for another week. But that led to much fussing when they didn't get to go out with everybody else, so we tried again. They hate to see me coming with them, and follow me around the paddock as long as I'm there, begging me to take them off, but once I leave they resignedly go out and seem to manage to get something. I do give them some hay during the day in the paddocks.

    Aarenex--Me TOO!

    Kacy--E-burg is about 115 miles directly east of Seattle--all interstate if you don't mind driving thru the city (ugh!) My preferred route is east on I84 (?) up the Columbia from Portland, then north on WA97 at the Biggs bridge, to Yakima, then I82 not quite to E-burg, then east to ES Farm! 'Bout 4 hours in a CAR from Portland, so it's a bit of a trip!

  5. Thanks for taking us along for the ride - I can smell the desert air from here! With the amazing visibility, it really does seem like one is at the "top o' the world". So different from the heavily treed terrain of my own area, and so beautiful in its own unique way.