Saturday, March 31, 2012

Spring Break Catch-Up

Well, actually, I would be hard pressed to call it spring.
It rained (a lot).
It sn*wed (a little).
Besides the fiasco at the clinic with Maddie, and Kate and my trip to Valley View Training Center for a warm-up session, the only riding I managed to sneak in between storms was this trip down to the east side of the Columbia River with Pat, and her older gelding, Rambler.
Off we go.
We parked near Wanapum Dam, and departed under numerous high tension electrical transmission lines.  This fallen ballast ball (to keep the lines from swaying too much in the wind, as well as make the long spans of wire highly visible to aircraft) was like "ho-hum" to fuzzy Kate, who touched it once with her nose (before I could get the camera out) and then was like, "Yeah?  So?  Are we going now?".
Off in the distance, against the dark coulees, we spotted these huge white birds.
Pat wondered if they were pelicans, and as they drew neared it appeared that was a good guess.
Once overhead (they circles us several times--we're not sure what they were looking for), Kate noticed them, even though they were still quite a bit above us.
Kate also took note of lots of ducks and geese in the River.  This was probably her biggest worry all day, though she never did much more than look.
We couldn't tell if this nest were occupied.  A month ago, when the River was lower, other members of KVTR were able to wade out to the island, and found a pile of rotted fish heads at the base of the pole, so it's been home to someone (ospreys, Carol?).
Although she kept a sharp eye out for waterfowl, Kate willingly waded into the shallows, and drank a bit, as well.
We made it to the old trestle for the Milwaukee Road rail line.  On the opposite side of the river is the beginning of the "Iron Horse State Park," a several hundred mile rail-trail that extends west across the Cascades to the outskirts of the Seattle metro area.
It was a pleasantly boring first outing of the year for Kate.  I much prefer the forested regions west of home, but it'll be awhile before the late sn*w we've had melts up in the Cascade foothills, and the footing improves enough for riding.  In the meantime, the high desert to the east will have to do.
The next day was also nice.  Nice enough that I turned everybody out for a couple of hours.
At least little RT got one of his mares back, for just a little bit.
At first, the girls were intent on eating the sparse new growth.  Suddenly, they realized they had room to run!


As far as the list of chores I had for break,  I didn't get much accomplished.  I did get everybody's feet trimmed up, except for Mama Misty, who I'll get this weekend.  I re-potted my one house plant, which has manged to survive in spite of me for 7 years, and re-hung a couple of gate latches which had become awkward when I lined the arena gate with mesh fencing to facilitate Sandy's enlarged dog yard.
And speaking of the arena (and I did), one bigger chore that wasn't even on the list came to mind as I transferred manure from the barn to the compost pile: my arena footing has gotten quite compacted lately.

So I drug the drag around and around for a bit and loosened things up.
The older, north end.  This has had some sand added.  It's where I set up my round pen, when needed.
 Unfortunately, this ends up creating another chore, especially at the newer, south end of the arena, above the retaining wall--ROCKS!  The 6-8 dump trucks of fill dirt I acquired (for free, including delivery, so I couldn't complain) was rife with rocks of all sizes and types (as well as other detritus, such as plastic, tarp, metal and wood scraps, pieces of barbed wire, etc, which were removed immediately as I spread the dirt).

This morning when I fed, there was new sn*w on the ground, but it's pretty much disappeared now, so I may go out and drag the arena one more time (it loosens up better when it's damp), and then start on the pastures.  This is not the best time of year for breaking up manure piles, but it is a good time to loosen up and aerate the soil for the new grass growth which is begging to peek through.
If it warms up enough, maybe I'll bring out a few of my arena obstacles and work Kate over them, in anticipation of her upcoming ACTHA ride (end of April).
Maybe I'll even climb on Miss Maddie for a bit.  Maybe...


  1. I loved the shots of the girls running. I think that mane and tail flowing image is what first drew me to horses. Your idea of "didn't get much accomplished" makes me smile. You loaded horses into trailers how many times? That alone would do me in. Feet trimmed, dealt with emotional ups and downs after the clinic, dragging earth around.. the list goes on. Will be thinking of you, perhaps out on Kate, or maybe even on Maddie.. just sending good thoughts however the day turns out. Yes, possibly osprey nest. Is it on a platform? And Pelicans! Wow! Bill and I saw some once near Jericho Beach, but have never been so lucky again.

  2. What a week! A beautiful ride on a good horse, and a ton of chores checked off. :)

  3. You gotta love Kate. Cool and calm, just the way I like them on a trail ride. Especially, the first one. Good for both of you.

    You really got a lot of work done. I started dragging the dirt arena too and it never fails to produce a ton of rocks in the Spring. Hope your snow melts and you get to ride in the forests soon.