Friday, March 5, 2010

More exploring

Today we went rambling back up in the hills, trying to find the trail down to Palomino Valley proper. I actually did consider printing out a sat map of the area, but I decided it'd be more fun to just wander, so that's what we did. We ended up at 9.76 miles in 2:12.

Dixie was exceptionally impatient this morning - I had to cross-tie her to get her brushed, then as soon as I got the saddle on she started pawing. That kind of distracted me from my Rain Man-like routine of tacking up, but I pretty much got everything done and got on and off we went. We climbed the normal hill toward PV and I took the turn I figured would lead us to PV. It was really beautiful out there - just a few houses, snow still on the north sides of the hills, a few rabbits. About 4 miles out from S's, we'd crossed the hills and were heading down. The road down was very steep and muddy and I suspected it wasn't the road I really wanted. Dixie slid carefully down it for a couple hundred yards, to a bend in the road. When we got there, I could see it was just miles more of the same steep muddy rocky stuff switchbacking the rest of the way down the hill - ick, no.

We turned around and headed back towards home. I headed a little ways down another turn I thought might be the right one (and I think it is!), then went up on a hill to look at the remains of someone's foolishness. On top of a small hill, with a For Sale - Owner Will Finance! sign, lies an RV, on its side. Some poor idiot drove this RV (CA tags, expired in '04) up to the top of this hill and it apparently didn't occur to him to TIE IT DOWN. So it blew over and he walked away.

Then we headed back toward home again - took another detour up a hill. Very steep, but mostly damp/dry sand. It looks like maybe it's someone's driveway, so I turned around. Yet another detour across a fairly level little road running along the ridgetops, and finally - good footing! I let Dixie canter a bit then settled her down into a nice rack. The road eventually dropped off the ridge and I turned around there and let her rip back to the main road. She does have good sense, and I've quit "yelling" at her to slow down at the rocky bits. She slows down when she's not comfortable on the footing, then speeds back up when it's better.

On the "real" gravel roads headed home, she shifted through all her gears and finally settled in to a really nice step pace, 8-9 mph, most of the way.

Remember how I said she was really wicked impatient this morning and my autistic checklist for tacking up was interrupted? Yeah, when I got home and slid off I noticed this.

Yes, the girth is so loose my whole hand and thumb comfortably fit between girth and horse. SHIT. And I rode 9 miles in the mountains like that! When we came down out of the hills it was riding a little further forward than usual, but it didn't seem to bother Dixie and we were almost home so I didn't check it.

Oh well. Glad she didn't spook!


  1. Man - that is a loose girth - saved by the withers!

  2. WHoa FUND!
    Your 9.76 miles together in 2 hours 12 min...would have been 9.76 mi in 1.5 hrs(WA mare) and 3 hours for I would be walking and she would be galloping, after bucking me off so fast...she totally hates the saddle moving forward and we had an incident last summer with it!

    I am having FUN with the Garmin..need to get the cord for the computer though.
    Our walk is 5 mph..and the trotting so far is nearer your 8-9 step pace. I am going to the beach in 2 weeks...want to clock her galloping speed! So far did 24 mph on another horse and 18 on her(holding her back).
    Have fun girl and love reading on your progresses. Sure love where you live now too... just seems more conducive for what you like!

  3. Holy crap, Funder! I always admire you for taking up riding at a later age than most of us, but this is where your lack of riding lessons as a kid rears its head. Good on ya for staying balance over that incredible feat, indeed.

  4. OK - I have a confession. I do ride regularly with a girth as loose as this one. that being said, Farley has a substantial wither and I've never had a problem, even when changing my weight and diagnols to do technical trail. Unfortunately it means she is NOT a good bareback horse, but everything's a trade off right? The only time I notice the loose girth is when mounting up (i'll tighten it then) and when cantering my pad tends to slide upward....

    anyway. i think because I use a mohair girth, a loose girth is inevibtable.

    I wouldn't worry about it personnally as long as she has a good wither......However you would hate to have something happen that could be prevented....I also find that a looser girth prevents girth galls on my girl (+ the string girth), which she is prone to.

    Anyhow - good job on your balance!!! No wither would make up for crappy balance! So good job!

  5. new award for you on my blog!


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