Sunday, June 26, 2011

Carpe diem

We lived in Ohio for maybe 9 months and when we left, we'd only made a handful of friends. And I don't mean lifechanging best friends, I mean people who we'd met in person, had contact info for, and would consider eating a meal with. It was pretty embarrassing, actually.

At some time in the moving process, I don't really remember exactly when, I decided to change my fundamental approach to people. Instead of only meeting people in person and interacting with them if the stars were aligned perfectly, I was going to default to actually doing stuff and only back out if circumstances were just awful. It's really hard for me, even after two years of practice, but I just do stuff all the time now.

So earlier this week I realized the weather was just lovely and I wished I could ride. Since this spring I've had a couple of people remind me that there are more endurance horses than riders, and point out that if I ever need a spare horse I can catch ride, so I posted on a brief email on Ridecamp. I almost immediately got two responses, from different people nearby. Yesterday I drove north to Janesville and had a beautiful ride in the Plumas NF.

This is Fire. Isn't she cute? :)

Yes, she's an Arab. (OMG I RODE AN ARAB!) She was so sensible and kind that I really kept forgetting how green she is.

We were up in the eastern Sierras, and the views were just breathtaking. Very different from my usual desert riding. I was utterly lost, but Fire had more than enough go to keep up with everybody so I didn't worry.
Mountaintop, looking west:

Looking east:

Equipment failure: I rode with the sheepskin cover on my saddle again. That thing has got to go. I can't do hills with it - every time the horse picks up a trot up a hill I get almost bounced out of the saddle. How embarrassing! It's really a shame, cause it makes the saddle fit my butt a lot more comfortably. Maybe it's just the fleece over the fenders that's the problem and if I had a seat-only cover it'd work? I might try that some day.

I also forgot to bring ANY WATER AT ALL. Hurf durf. I have two new Camelbaks to try out, too! When we got back to the trailers, I found a half-liter of water rolling around in the backseat of the truck and gulped that down.

We did about 7.5 miles in just over 2:30, but there was 2600 feet of ascent in there. There were some crazy steep hills! Fire was quite surefooted and I never really worried that she'd trip.

She was not so good on the water crossings. Her owner A thought she'd have done better, but the horse A was riding freaked out completely about every puddle we came across, and Fire picked up on that. I can't blame her for ignoring the strange human on her back and assuming her pasturemate is right and water is evil :)

It's a LONG drive, an hour on the highway, but I'll go back for sure. If we do a couple more training rides on Fire, she'd be ready for an LD this fall and I'd ride her in that. Hopefully next week I'll get a ride in with the woman who lives just up the road from me. Ideally, when Dixie gets back in riding shape I'll have lots of new friends to set up training rides with!


  1. You know, I got to that picture of Fire --what a cutie-- and before I scrolled down, I thought "OMG! Funder rode an Arab!" Great minds think alike, I guess.
    The photos remind me of the summer in the 70s that I wrangled for a Girl Scout camp outside of the little town of Sierraville--it's about halfway between Truckee and where you were.
    Sounds like "doing stuff" paid off for you. If you're ever in the PNW, I've got a spotty horse you can catch ride!

  2. That's pretty awesome.

    You know, it's a bit like that in barrel racing as well. I worry about Moon getting hurt and I don't have a good enough back-up horse to go with, but I've got friends that have extra horses that would like to get them campaigned and trust me to ride them right, so there is a bit of a cushion there. Thankfully.

  3. If you're ever our my way I have a couple of swedish warmbloods you can take for a spin - maybe jump a few jumps on them as well. :)

    Glad you had fun, Fire looks very cute!

  4. Cute horse! Looks like a beautiful ride Funder - good for you :)

  5. What a great idea to put out a request for a horse and have it work out.

    Right now I would do about anything to have an experienced rider take my son's QH mare for the riding season. Free lease! I've put the bug in my friends' ears and would even consider a friend of a friend, but have not taken the next step of advertising her to a stranger. I just can't...

    I hate having good horses not getting regular riding. The owner of Fire is lucky to have you!

  6. Well, you did a fine job of seizing the day. That scenery is spectacular.

  7. What a great way to keep riding while your horse heals. Smart! I love my horse, but I like riding others too. Sometimes it makes me appreciate mine more....sometimes not!

  8. Great!! Fire is a cute little Arab. Not all Arab's are crazy fire breathing man eating things yanno.

  9. Oooh she's a cutie! And what a beautiful ride!

  10. Fire is adorable... and what a stunning ride!

  11. Dammit, you made me miss my mom with this post! I spent a month with her two summers ago and we spent almost the entire time camping/riding in the eastern Sierras. I was in heaven and wouldn't have come back home if I didn't have to come back to a job. *sigh* Lovely, lovely, lovely.

  12. Oh how beautiful! Wish I'd been there riding with you!

  13. i somehow missed this post. i'm happy for you that you got to ride in a new area on a good arab!

    isn't it great that there are people out there who let us ride their horses in endurance?

  14. Arabs are awesome- that is all.

  15. yes, there are always more endurance horses than riders. in my 12 years or so of endurance riding, i've never owned my own endurance horse! sounds like a lovely ride you had. you ALWAYS learn something new from riding different horses. it's a great education. and fun, too!
    - The Equestrian Vagabond


Feel free to comment!