Saturday, March 26, 2011

So Busy I Couldn't Blog!

Well, it's certainly been a busy week!
Our spring break is earlier than most schools, as we coordinate the timing with the end of Central Washington University's winter quarter. The weather is always a bit iffy this early in March, but I had hopes of getting some rides in and some projects accomplished.

However, first I had some celebrating to do!
Grandson Brenden turned EIGHT, and we partied like crazy at Chuck-E-Cheese's. Birthday boy is at the rear, wearing Grandma's present, a U-Dub (University of Washington) purple jersey.
Here he is wheelin' along on his new bike.
Joined by little sis, Delaney on her "Princess" Big Wheel.
Daughter Terri's two kiddos are joined by son Maxx's, Mike, who rode Kate last summer with me. (Love the tall, slender silhouette of Grandma's shadow!)
Before returning home Monday, Terri and I had a late breakfast, before she was called for a court appearance (as a witness). Then I managed to zone out in Home Depot for nearly two hours (I did buy a saw blade and some zip ties for an upcoming project), then shortly before noon I hit the highway .
Or...the highway hit me.
About an hour into the drive, the hectic weekend caught up to me: I could hardly keep my eyes open. I pulled into the next rest stop, thinking I'd close them for a few minutes....and woke up almost an hour later!
Feeling refreshed, I continued home, in time for dinner with my hubby.

Tuesday was spent setting some fence posts, where I had pulled out another section of 4X4's and was replacing them with 6X6's. I wanted to get something accomplished, as I knew Wednesday would be another day for play!

The first "official" ride of the year for the Kittitas Valley Trail Riders was originally scheduled to be at the Ancient Lakes area, northeast of Kittitas, on the coulees above the Columbia River. But with the weather still being a bit unsettled, and gas prices being what they are, the group decided to stay a bit closer to home, though still on the Columbia. We headed out to the "Army East" trailhead of the Iron Horse State Park/Milwaukee rail-trail, where a group of club members had snuck out for a ride in January. (You might recognize a few of the landmarks from that post.)
I knew it would be a small-ish group (we ended up with 10 riders) and that the area wasn't too steep, and the footing was pretty good, so it was Maddie's turn to get out. I had only ridden her that little bit a couple of weeks ago, so I didn't want to push too hard, either physically or mentally, so this would be a good chance to see where she would be, attitude wise, in this, her sixth year. She's really only had about 30 rides total since I started her at three, twenty of them of them last year.
Well, the first challenge was this bottomless puddle! The group spent about twenty minutes here, with most of us asking our horses to cross what obviously could be gone around. Maddie was the only one who didn't make it! We danced around the fringes, both mounted and from the ground, driving her. We got a couple of decent tries, and she did get her front toesies in to the muck, so I called it "good enough" and the group moved on... the RIVER!
We're about a mile below the Wanapum Dam here, so it's fairly shallow and lazy, with an easy approach. Maddie followed her trailer-mate, Rambler, down to the edge of the Columbia.
She thought about it a minute.
There's obviously no way around this big puddle.
And in she went!
Once she made her decision, she walked right in with no hesitiation, and trundled around for about five minutes. Then we ambled up the bank and rejoined the group.

We did a little rock climbing, but Maddie is bare foot, so I let the others play a little more than us. A couple of riders had just competed in a ACTHA competitive trail ride last weekend, so they wanted to practice/show off their skills. You might remember the speculation in January as to the purpose (and age) of the little rock "hut" in the foreground. Someone did some research and found out that it was one of several "ovens" that were constructed by the crew that built the railroad line, "The Milwaukee Road," and the bridge back in 1906-1909.
Some side passing of logs was accomplished, as well. Maddie remembered the basics, and didn't get flustered with the lateral work, so I was pleased.
The little buckskin to the left is the little mustang mare, Wendy, who might pass as a Kate clone, except that Kate is a dun, with all of that gene's primitive markings--I often have to look twice at photos to make sure which one it is (tho Wendy is tiny compared to my tank). To compare, here's a photo from last fall, when they got to play cowpony together.
We ended up with a group picture at the abandoned railroad trestle between the little towns of Beverly (on the east side of the river) and Doris (on this side).
This pretty much covers the first half of the week. The only reason that I've had time to post it, is that today's (Saturday) club ride has been rained out! So I'll finish here and post the rest of the week later.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

It's Here!

And here.
And here.
Last week when I went down to Yakima for my post-operative check-up, I was also able to pick up my new Tucker "Cheyenne Springs" saddle!
Unfortunately, between the weather, and the Doc's release to go back to work on Thursday, I didn't have a chance to try it out until Saturday. (PanKake told me it is very comfy.) This was Maddie's first ride since last fall, and, although she was pretty amped, she stood quietly while I mounted.
PanKake was right.
Pat had ridden Rambler down, while ponying Chief, and once Maddie settled a bit, we rode part way back towards her place with them, then returned home.
Today, Kate and I picked up Pat and Chief and we headed for the Boyleston trailhead for a little walk-about on the old Milwaukee Railroad rail-trail. The sun was out, and the windmills across the freeway were barely moving. There was one trailer there when we arrived, and several more pulled up in the time we were there, but we only saw two other groups of riders out on the trail.
Chief was a typical baby, wide-eyed and a little hesitant. He took one or two big jumps at carnivorous railroad ties hiding in the sagebrush, but settled quickly afterward.
Kate, however, was a POOP!
A couple of times when she would hesitate, Chief took that as an excuse to stop, and once he stopped, Kate would use that as an excuse to try to stop herself. They just fed each other's worries. Then Kate would give me an all out balk, and because of the narrowness of the railroad bed, and the fact that in places it dropped off rather precipitously on either side, I was not altogether comfortable getting after her. Once, I just got off and walked.
After a reasonable stretch of forward movement, we turned back towards the trailers, and both of them walked out nicely. We made a point of having them pass the turnoff to the parking area, and go another little distance down the trail in the other direction. Then, before either one of them could throw a fit, we made it our choice to turn back towards "home".
I'll give little Chief some wiggle room, because he is so green. But Kate was supposed to be setting a good example for him. Instead, she acted like a nitwit!
Who, me?