Monday, April 22, 2013

I Rode Up the Mountain

Saturday was a crazy busy day, it started with 2 different auctions going on at the the same time, both of which had things that TC wanted. So he put me at the police auction while he went to the consignment auction, and we communicated by phone. There were a few things that I wanted as well, like a go kart for Simon, a 1932 Gibson guitar for Colton, a Garmin, and a lap top computer.  TC wanted floor jacks, and bottle jacks, and an old broken down road blade for parts for his grader.

We ended up with all the jacks, the go kart, a bicycle, a brand new XBOX 360 (still in the box for half of what a new one would cost) 2 Garmins, a Fossil purse (brand new), oh and a darn near new portable DVD player, with all the chargers and stuff.  He did not get the road grader, they had sold it the day before.  The laptops went for more than I was willing to pay for a piece of used electronics that I couldn't even tell if they worked as they had no cords. The guitar did not even sell, as the owner wouldn't take less than 3 grand for it.  1932 or not, it was just an acoustic guitar, and didn't even have that great of a sound. If I am going to spend thousands on a guitar there is a 1970 Grestch hollow body electric model, sitting at the local music shop that has the most beautiful sound I have ever heard.  I could buy that for about 1500.00. But I don't have that much money to spend on ANYTHING, much less a guitar.  I don't even play, but my son does play very well, so I am always on the look out for a good deal on a nice guitar.

Anyway, back to my story.

We went home with our bounty and then I had just enough time to grab a samich and load up my paint.  We headed up to meet Mark.  The road were clear but everything was a muddy mess. He had texted me and told me we would ride outside since the weather was nice. The out door arena there is on a hill so I was hoping he meant that it was semi dry.  To get to the arena, you have to drive down between the house and the indoor, around the back of the barn and then back up a hill to the outdoor. So in that low spot, it was pretty icky. I put the old gray girl into 4WD and plowed right through it.  Mark had also texted and told me that we couldn't do a full 2 hours this time as he had someplace to be, so he decided we would just go for a trail ride up the BLM land and see how Trax did.

Okay by me, I tacked him up, did a few circles on the ground just to remind him that I am the boss and then stepped up on him. The first thing I had to do was ride through a huge water puddle. It was maybe 8" deep, he balked for a minute but then went through. Mark asked if he was ok with crossing streams, I have never had an issue before with him, so I assumed we wouldn't this time. I was wrong.

We headed up the drive, out the road and then through a gate to the BLM.  There was still quite a bit of snow but the ground was kind of soft and squishy. Where there wasn't mud there was rock.  Not my favorite terrain but I trust Mark, so I pretended not to care. Mark was riding a 3 year old colt, that he is starting for someone else. I decided that if this 3 year old could handle it so can my seasoned trail horse, and truthfully Trax can handle it, he just didn't want to.

First stream, he started snorting and blowing like it was a terrible thing.  I kicked him through it and he jumped it instead. I should have made him go back through, but decided to move on. We headed up, up, up, through snow banks down ravines through some brush, across more streams.He did great on the slopes, and odd angles. He was calm and sure footed, choosing his footfalls carefully. He was more than happy to match his pace to the colt (who Mark calls Tumbleweed, trust me it fits), to lead when we needed to, or to follow when I asked him too. The only time I wasn't so proud of him was at those stream crossings. He did everything he could to avoid crossing the streams, balking and jumping over them, but we came through unscathed, and I think once he even went through like a pro. On the last one, though,  he tried to just turn around and go back but I make him go anyways, so he ran me through a tree.  I could hear my horse saying, "Hey Lady, why don't you try wading through it and see if you  don't look for another route!"  It didn't hurt but it was annoying.

All in all it was actually a cool ride, and Mark and I just talked about different things, there wasn't a lot of training going on, as Trax never once tried to run off with me. I think I had to turn him around once for going to fast, so that part was good. We discussed if Trax will be ready for the open show at the end of May. He said that if we go in with the expectations of not winning but just completing the courses, then yes, he will be ready.  I appreciated his honesty on that, and truthfully that is all I am hoping for.  To prove to myself, and to my horse (and to maybe a couple of doubters) that we can do it.

I wish I had been able to get a few pictures to show off, it was truly gorgeous. Next time I promise.

When we got back I rode to my trailer and dismounted. I almost fell down when I hit the ground, my knees hurt so bad. We didn't even ride that long. The only time my knees hurt like that is if I have ridden for hours and hours or I am riding with my legs tensed.  I guess I was more nervous up there than I realized. So I had to examine that.

I trust my horse, I knew he wasn't going to blow up or anything.  I trust my trainer, I don't believe that he would put me in a dangerous situation. So I guess I was really just nervous about the terrain.  Truthfully, I never would have gone up there of my own accord. There were paths that he chose that I probably wouldn't have, but then he rides up there a lot so he knew what was safe and what wasn't. If I was unsure of what was in front of me, I followed him so that Trax and I could both see what we were headed into.  Even though we did very little training "per say", it was actually good for both of us.  I will be less nervous next time I ride where the footing isn't that great, and Trax learned that whether I am tense or not, I expect him to go forward.  I suppose my tension added to his apprehension just a little.

Once I got him untacked and trailered, I paid Mark.  He said I didn't really owe him since we didn't really do anything, but I paid him anyway. My theory is that he generally works with me for 2 hours and only charges me for one. So this sort of makes up for some of the money I should be paying him, but don't.

I made my way out the drive and promptly got my truck and trailer stuck. Even in 4wd I could not get out of the pit I was in. They ended up having to use the skid steer to get me out. I was so embarrassed  My truck is not supposed to get stuck! The owner of the property assured me that it was no big deal, and that he himself had gotten stuck the day before.

I can honestly say that except for the mud I really did enjoy the ride and am looking forward to a day when we can go there again when it isn't quite so mucky.  I want to see if we have the same problems crossing the little streams.  If so then we will cross as many as we can, until we are both totally okay with it.

Now it is snowing again....supposedly this is the last day.  Gosh I hope so, I am seriously ready for some real sunshine and some decent riding weather.


  1. Sometimes! All my horses cross water fairly well, some a little slower than others, but on the day I want to show others how well they cross, not gonna happen, they act like they have never done it before, frustrating! Specially when you know they can do it without thinking.

    Hope your snow doesn't stick around long, we are actually getting sunshine today, but I am to wary to hope its gonna actually be spring.

  2. I think you probably nailed it, his tension came from your tension. I think if you can learn to trust Trax to put his feet right, he will relax and do it. Sounds like it was a good ride in all.

  3. funny about the water crossings, As I showed on my blog yesterday the guys dont have an issue getting their feet wet, but the odd time...

  4. Sounds like one of those rides that's great in hindsight because you survived and persevered, but is a nailbiter in the process :) A wonderful confidence booster, though. And I'm highly in favor of trainers that get the horses they're starting out to cover some country - sounds like you've got a winner there :) Actually, an pair of them: Trax and the trainer, both!

  5. I will admit it was just a tad outside of my comfort zone, not the riding area as much as the muddy footing, but I am learning that if I don't put on my big girl panties once in a while I will never get anywhere with these horses. Had I been truly afraid I would have spoken up, but I wasn't afraid as much as I was just a tad nervous.

    Thanks everyone for your comments. Good stuff.