Saturday, May 14, 2011

A little extra room

Ok, this one's being written Friday and I'll set it to post on Saturday.

Today I hooked up MY TRAILER and hauled Dixie out to Red Rocks. (I may obnoxiously and conspicuously refer to it as MY TRAILER in all caps for months, possibly years to come. I don't know if this will ever get old!) I dithered, quite a bit, loading and checking and hooking up the trailer, but once I was ready to load Dixie I just took a deep breath, loaded, and hauled. It went fine. The truck hauls my tiny little trailer like a dream!

MY TRAILER has the collapsible slant divider, so I can close the door with the slant "open" and use the trailer like a weird-shaped stock trailer. I tried leaving Dixie untied, so she could stand any way she liked, and you know what? She rode a lot better. She likes to stand backward, with her nose at the hinge side of the gate. She appears to like having a little extra space.

She usually kicks when the trailer's stopped and she thinks it should be going - at a stop sign or a light, she's thunking the trailer wall with a front foot. It's slightly charming (oh, look, she hasn't had a heart attack or fallen over!) and mostly infuriating (STOP CAUSING PROPERTY DAMAGE, MARE!) It's also why I won't load her in a trailer with a manger or breast bar - she can get that front foot incredibly high. Anyway, she didn't actually kick at all this trip. Very cool.

So now that I have this trailer, I have realized that I'm not really sure where to go. I mean, obviously I can go to e-rides and events, but I don't know many places to go condition. Today I headed to my #1 place, Red Rocks where Rides of March is held. It's got good parking and miles of good trails, it's actually legit for horses to ride there year-round, it's fairly close to the house, and I can see enough landmarks to not get lost.

Along the flats

I parked back by the cow pens, in the usual ridecamp area. Of course there were no cows in the pens. Dixie knew where we were, but she was a little confused being the only horse out there. We tacked up with no fuss and headed out.

Cool cloud

Let me know how you like this google map import gps track thing. You gotta zoom in a lot, but the loop should show up...

View Red Rocks training ride in a larger map

We did 14.5 miles in 3:04, which is a terrible 4.7 mph. There were lots of cows down in the valley, and you know what Dixie thinks of cows, but she bravely motored past them. Things in general went great til we started up the canyon out of the valley - it's a long hard climb, so I let her graze and walk it.

Going up the canyon

But then, somewhere after the first canyon, in the couple of miles of trail along the ridges, my poor horse (bless her heart) got lost. She was convinced that we were going the wrong way, that we were going to be eaten by cows, that she was going to fall off a cliff and die. I recognized the trail from ROM, I could see Peavine and Mt. Rose so I knew we were going the right way, and once we got to the top of the last hill, I could see the trailer. Dixie dragged her feet and I mercilessly flogged her onward. I kept telling her that we were going to the trailer - I'm pretty sure she knows that word - but she was sure I was lying. I mean, when we got to the crossroads a half-mile from the trailer she made a frantic break to go left! Bless her heart. She really would die in the desert without me.

Oh no, cows!

The cow pens were packed full of pairs when we got to the trailer. No other vehicles, no people, no horses or quads - just an angry herd of momma and baby cows crammed mysteriously in the pens. They were unbelievably noisy and they'd brought a million gross flies with them, so we loaded up and headed home pretty quick.

Mystery cows by my rig

Oh, and we saw two more antelope! No pictures of them sadly.

I felt kinda bad for my poor tired horse til we got home. She smelled terrible and it was plenty warm, so I gave her a bath. And she gets dirty plenty fast on her own, so I left her tied to the trailer until her washed and conditioned mane and tail were dry. My poor tired lost horse, the one that couldn't hardly trot, glared at me and pawed furious holes in my freakin' driveway the whole time her hair dried. That's when I realized that she wasn't particularly tired, just lost and despondent. And that's when I dropped the Wild West entry in the mail!

She's not out there doing her Arab Impersonation right now, but she's certainly not worn out. I've been doing electrolytes in applesauce and honey (is she a Jewish horse?) and her appetite is good. She didn't drink well today, but there were demon cows at every trough, oh no!

So the thing about all those pictures is that it's just me and Dixie (and the cows). Nevada (even this close to Reno, the second-biggest metro area in the state) is so empty. It's amazing. I love it, and I thrive in it, and I try very hard to respect it. Someone (usually my husband) knows roughly where I went and roughly when I'll be back. If I'm going exploring, I'll drop him a text message before I lose cell reception.

The first thing I thought when we moved out here was "Wow this place is awesome." The second thing I thought was "Wow this awesomeness could really be lethal." I've tried to respect that, unlike those poor idiots up there by Idaho. Don't blindly follow your GPS off the paved road in a 2 wheel drive vehicle without telling anybody where you are. Just use the tiniest smidges of common sense. I clearly don't have much to spare but even I can consistently tell someone where I'm going.


  1. I've read that most horses will stand backwards when given the choice. They are front-heavy and it is easier for them to control their momentum this way. In the UK I have seen love trailers where the horses walk in the side, ride backwards and then walk out the back when they are done. I'm sure they have them here too, but they don't seem as popular.

  2. Hooray for common sense (and don't you wish it was a bit more "common"?)!

    And hooray for YOUR TRAILER!

  3. Congratulations on your trailer!!! That's fabulous!!!

    I'm a retired cartographer, so of course I love the map. I did quite a bit of field work in Nevada, by the way.

  4. I love the Google earth image of your route! Way cool to see where someone else rides! It worked Great! I too have removed the divider in my little two-horse trailer & Khari uses the entire thing! She always rides facing back -- so she can terrorize other motorists on the road who drive up next to me (if possible) & motion that my horse is "loose"! :-) Really had to maintain a good "endurance" pace when you're out there alone.

  5. Oh forgot... Khari rocks & rolls when I stop too! Usually on the way home!

  6. well now that she's got where the parking lot is, she won't do that again.

    i never had a cell phone on me, well, it didn't work if i did, and i never told anyone where i was going, cuz i always decided on the way there.

    it would have been days before my body was found, but from the looks of it, it could be weeks for yours.

    love your trailer. now you've got every single thing you need in life: )

  7. I LOVE the wide open views and the sky is SOOOO blue. sad to say I don't remember what a true blue sky looks like, I've been in this cesspool city for so darn long now =(

  8. Jealous of your trailer. Jealous of your ride. Jealous of your photos.

    But I had a good, hard laugh reading through this. Ozzy wouldn't survive in the wild either ;)

    Sounds like a beautiful day.

  9. Boy, the clouds and sky were beautiful that day. Gotta love Dixie's personality, especially since you seem to have her number, anyway. I just looked out the window...and it's snowing..again! Have fun in the desert.

    PS-Congrats on the trailer. Isn't freedom wonderful? Don't cry at the first scratch - it's part of trailerdom. It proves you DO go places.

  10. Congrats on the trailer!

    At first, when you mentioned the idiots by Idaho, I thought you meant the ones just outside of Portland that got lost via GPS out an old logging road, while trying to take a shortcut to see family at Christmas a couple years ago. Instead, it's different idiots. I guess they didn't get the memo that blindly following your GPS is a BAD thing.

  11. I agree with the common sense bit. I've seen people head out on their own without telling anyone where their going. I think I text/tell two or three people every time just because I do believe accidents or predators can happen.

    Rose last week knew the way back to the trailer even when I got lost so maybe she would survive... she is powerfully food motivated. I'm glad Dixie likes her new ride. think I'm going to try letting Rose ride loose too tomorrow for our first solo adventure tomorrow.

  12. Congratulations! I bet you find lots of places to ride now that you can go wherever you want.

    That sky is awesome, its raining again here. (big surprise)

  13. I'd like to point out that those were *Canadian* idiots, TYVM. And, even more specifically, BC idiots.

  14. I'm glad that Dixie likes her new wheels so much! And what a fantastic ride - soooo beautiful with the grand vistas. As for Dixie getting lost... was she by chance headed for home? Not trailer-home, but home-home?

  15. oh yah, it's so great that dixie gets into this trailer unlike the one that scared her but had the cooler name.

    also, your sky - omg, you have the best sky shots i've seen this year. i come.

    our german friend just got back from his first trip to america - where he wanted to see vegas. after 3 days he was done with vegas. i dunno, i've always had the star trek experience/conferences to see there, so the posh and cheap casino hotels were an added bonus. my poor friend really needed a tourguide, or at least a buddy!

    he made his way to seattle on friday and my family showed him the emerald city which he really enjoyed. wish i coulda been there - in both spots.

    (ok now that the startrek experience is gone from the hilton, i still appreciate a 5 star hotel for a 1 star price, and never needing a hair dryer, cuz, just walk outside. ok maybe in reality i need a star trek convention???)


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