Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Romantic Getaway for Five

I have been trying to get Al and I away towards the end of the summer for a little pre-anniversary interlude before school starts.Last year we did a long weekend to south-west Washington state for a couple of nights, with a concert at a winery amphitheater in between.This year we needed to conserve--both time and money, so I opted to stay closer to home. We headed to Easton, WA, one of the last little towns on the east side of Snoqualmie Pass, before one drops down in to the Seattle metro area. I had taken Kate to a poker ride at Silver Ridge Ranch last year, and the trails were pleasantly flat, for the most part, and surrounded by trees. Silver Ridge has a RV/tent campground, but also has a small lodge, operated as a bed and breakfast. There is one room designated for canine companions.And all of the sites, including the lodge, have the optional use of corrals!
So Sunday afternoon we were off: Maddie and Kate, Sandy, and Al and I!
We let the girls settle a bit in their corrals while we got checked in and found our room, then I saddled up for a quick afternoon ride.
Maddie was very compliant about "ponying" Sandy. She was much more worried about RV's and bicycles and tents and such in the campground. Once were were moving along, Sandy just sort of settled in beside her. (We only got on opposite sides of a tree once!)Here we are skirting the edge of the Easton "airport" to get to state forest land.Wait!
The photographer has Kate's ears in the photo! Could it be?
Yes, Al said he was game to go for a ride...
This would be the first time he's ridden since we left the Spokane area, eleven years ago. (What with ride-able mares having babies with them, and Corky's seizures, I just didn't have anything I could trust with him.)
It was a short ride, maybe 2 or 3 miles. Maddie was striding out well, with only a few balky moments in the deep, dark, threatening woods.
But Al was way out of practice, and Kate took a little advantage of that, squirreling around, lagging back, then trotting to catch up (a tactic grandson Mike had encouraged). Plus, in the disorganized effort to get both of us mounted and dog in position, I had forgotten to double check Al's stirrups, which it turned out were several holes different, so he was off balance and awkward.The real issue for Al, however, was that he was (rightfully) worried about Sandy: the footing was soft once we got off the airport 's gravel fringes, but she isn't very fit, having been confined largely to the yard after all the problems with the neighbor dogs. After the ride, she didn't seem any the worse for wear, though she slept really well that night.
One very pleasant surprise was that, away from her own turf, Sandy did not show hardly any of the dog-aggressiveness of home! She greeted several campground dogs pleasantly enough, and wanted to play, though I was really hesitant to take any chances with her off-leash. The only snarling she did was when this little Jack Russel tried to snitch some of her breakfast. Otherwise they played well.

Monday morning the girls ate their breakfast while I mucked. That's the lodge (and the morning scenery) in the background.
At first, Al was ready to head home first thing. I had forgotten how close the freeway is, and the constant drone of traffic sort of spoiled the location for both of us. But I told him I wanted to get Kate out for a bit, to remind her a little about proper trail manners. After a hearty breakfast, Al decided he was game to go out again.This ride, we opted to leave Sandy behind, so I could focus more on helping Al and Kate have a pleasant time. (We opted to leave her in the trailer rather than either the truck, which she knows, or the lodge, which she didn't--the trailer would be cooler and with less visual stimulus.) She stayed quiet as we left and was happy to see us when we returned.
With Al's stirrups evenly adjusted (though still a bit long for my liking), he was much more comfortable. He declared that he wasn't going to use his reins as much, and therefore Kate was happier and better behaved as well.
She was happy to tag along behind, and Maddie was very forward, and much braver about the woods.
Al did push Kate up to lead for awhile...
...but she kept looking back to make sure her buddy Maddie was still coming.It was a much more pleasant ride all the way around, as I didn't have to worry near as much about two green horses, a green rider and an out-of shape puppy-dog.

We got back to the lodge, packed up and headed for home. The girls were glad to be back in their pasture, Sandy was glad to be back in her yard, and we were happy to sleep in our own bed again.
It was a brief, but welcome get-away.


  1. Sounds like a nice little break - despite the traffic noises. How nice that Sandy got a little vacation too, and behaved well toward (most) other dogs. I do believe Jack Russells have a habit of taunting other dogs at a sound level we humans can't hear - my gentle, social girls have been known to react to them too.

  2. Glad to hear that you were able to get away for a few days--I'm dying to explore the trails near Silver Ridge!

  3. Aarene--Let me know when! [school starts next Tuesday... :-( ]

  4. What a lovely little getaway! And I am totally jealous that you got your hubby to ride. And how did you road the dog?? (I think that's what foxhunters and field trialers call it.) Cersei always zigzags too much - even Champ wouldn't put up with it.

  5. Funder, Sandy was quite aware of where she was in relation to Maddie, and kept at the end of the lead (without pulling). The one time that Kate started sandwiching her was the only time I saw a little look of panic in her eyes! Al just pulled Kate over to the other side.

  6. That looks like so much fun, and nice to get away with your hubby and he rode voluntarily too!

  7. This sounds like a great get a way. I like the description of only getting a tree between you and the dog once. That's a great accomplishment. If it were me my dogs would have been wrapped around the tree. Glad you had a nice time.

  8. Oh so lovely that was...too bad about the motorized noises near...from the photos, each were awesome, it looked heavenly...remote.
    we too have am anniversary coming.... Love the fall time.
    You have it made with a husband that rides....don't think I will ever have that pleasure.
    Have a great weekend ~

  9. With the exception of the traffic noise, this would be, in my opinion, as good as it gets for the perfect get-a-way. Horses, hubby and dog all included, and all did well! I had no idea such a place existed. Thanks, EvenSong - very enjoyable and interesting post.