Showing posts with label hungry valley. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hungry valley. Show all posts

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Beautiful day

Ready to go.
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What an awesome day. :) Dixie was perfectly well behaved for a 23 mile outing with Diego. I think she is finally turning into an endurance horse, not just a horse that dashed through a couple of LDs - she has an easy little 8-9 mph trot that gets us places without wearing her out. I wish she'd drink better... we hit a lovely little spring-fed trough at 10 miles and she just rinsed her mouth out. But she enjoyed the rare and wonderful green grass at the spring runoff, and she didn't particularly care if she or Dig was in front, and she took care of the things I'd like her to take care of. I don't always ask her to slow down at rocks or hills or washboard roads anymore - I let her decide. She has made a lot of mistakes, but she's finally learning that she has to think for herself for some things.

C and Dig.
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The day started off near 90 and cloudless. We took our time working north through the foothills, then we picked up a good pace headed east to the other side of the valley.

We rode to them hills over thar~
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The trough was at the other side, up a little ways back into the hills. Dixie ate a lot of grass and sort of thought about drinking. We went a bit further up into the hills on the east, but the road we picked, while very pretty, was slow and didn't lead anywhere, so we cut cross-country and got back down to the pipeline road. I think the clouds came up while we were up at the spring - when we got back down to the valley floor, the temperature had dropped nearly 10 degrees and there were stunning huge clouds everywhere. It even looked like it was raining in parts of Reno!

The color balance on the pictures came out terribly. It's not actually a uniform gold out there - the sage is, well, sage green, there are little blue-green plants here and there, the cheatgrass is dead and almost white, and the other spring flowers are dead and various shades of gold. The sky really WAS that blue, and the clouds were amazing, and the wind was blowing just hard enough to make me totally comfortable, and it was awesome.

Don't point that damn camera at me, UNTIE ME RIGHT NOW!
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When I got back, I took some foot photos so you can see how her feet look after 20 miles barefoot in the sand and rocks. Front left - too much flare at the quarters, I should start touching them up between trims.

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Front left again.
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Rears - I've been keeping the outside quarters of her rears rolled up off the ground to hopefully stop the flare there. Look at that stress ring that's almost grown off of her hooves - I wonder what caused that? If I kept obsessive records maybe I'd know, sigh.
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Well shit! Front leg post rinse - those damn bell boots rubbed her pretty good. So much for them.
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I am officially pronouncing Professional Choice No-Turn Bell Boots a don't buy. They're not amazingly sturdy, the customer service isn't amazingly great, and they rub! FFFfffff.

Of course Dixie didn't act like her legs bothered her in any way shape or form. She is so frighteningly stoic. It feels like a ton of responsibility to try to watch her at all times and guess how she's feeling.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Crupp'd

I rode my horse downhill at a pace with a crupper on and did not die! I didn't even have to walk home. She gave one tiny hop when she felt it activate, then just gave me the "quizzical ear" - where the horse swivels one ear completely back at the human like "Are you sure about this?"

It was a really beautiful day to ride in Hungry Valley. Dixie and I never quite clicked, and the whole ride felt like a slog for both of us, but we got the miles (that I think) we needed. My whole face is sunburned, and my knees feel like bone is grating on bone, but I'm very happy anyway. Here's the ride.

We rode out down Chickadee, into HV, and up to the (slowly drying up and turning green) stock tank. I knew she wouldn't want the water, but I made her sniff it to acknowledge it, then we moved on up the valley. We went past the mini RC airport, where somebody was flying a super cute radio warplane. It sounded like a very angry hornet. We went a long way north, past the Indian community, to a manmade pond, then turned around. We went back to the stock tank, where I hopped off and snapped the crupper on.

I tugged at it and she didn't buck, so I got on and we walked off. I asked for a trot and she didn't buck, so I asked for a canter and she didn't buck, so away we went! We headed up into the hills - had to navigate past some very polite ATV people - then finally crested a little rise and started downhill.

The saddle slipped a skosh forward. Nothing.

The saddle tried to slip forward again. The crupper held it in place. Dixie picked both rear feet up an inch off the ground at the same time, then kept pacing forward. She gave me the WTF ear and kept on rolling downhill like a pro. Hey ~C, I ordered my very own crupper from Henry tonight, so I'll get yours back to you ... soon? Maybe Friday?

Man, I love that horse. She spent all day being reluctant and annoying and throwing weird not-a-gaits at me, but strap some nylon under her tail and she's all "whatever" about it. And headed out, we trotted on a gravel road like it weren't no thang!

I have been dithering all day and I think I will send in my entry for the 2 days of 25s at Cooley Ranch. I bet she could do a 50, but I don't think 2 days of 50s is a smart plan at all. I think my horse will be better off if I spend twice as much and enter her in two LDs. And if the entries are closed... it's not meant to be. But I'm dropping the entry in the mail in the morning!

Monday, April 19, 2010

*Not* hit by a truck!

So ~C and I had a wonderful long ride yesterday. She led us on the Moonshine ride loop, up through medium hills and smallish canyons with killer views of the city and the big mountains. Everything was very green, if you've been in Nevada at least six months. Otherwise I suspect you'd call it "greyish green." I got my first sunburn of the year, and not even a bad one.

Dixie had a major meltdown about a stump. Not even a particularly weird looking stump, but she freaked completely out about it and had a really hard time calming back down. Sigh. Then a couple miles further up the hills, we had a close encounter with a dirt bike, and she was a total rock star. This guy on a blue bike in all-blue gear rode up and cut the engine about 100' from us, then immediately started talking ("Is that Lemmon Valley behind you?"). We rode the horses near him and talked back, and the horses decided it was just another weird thing that humans do. He asked what Dixie would do when he started the bike, and I grinned and said "Let's find out!" What she did was nothing - a tiny shiver, but she stood her ground and watched him ride off. It was textbook-perfect.

Stumps are evil. Blue bikers are cool. :rolleyes:

We did about 15 miles in boots, but when we stopped at the cattle trough, we took them off. They just make for a slightly bouncier, slightly off ride. Dixie's little 8 mph trot is almost a jog without boots, but it's sproingier with them on. She doesn't rack til about 9 mph, and we never went that fast - Dig is still trying to find his fast trot.

My total ride was 19.48 miles - C's was a bit shorter, because I rode to and from the arena. It was a really slow, comfortable ride, and the horses never got tired. I definitely think they could've gone back out after a bite to eat at the trailer, and I'm not at all worried about Washoe anymore.

I was reeeeally tired when I got home last night, so I crashed early. I feel totally fine today. Not like I got hit by a truck at all! The sunburn is pink but it doesn't hurt or itch, my knees aren't creaky, my legs don't hurt - I could ride again. Maybe 2 days isn't such a dumb idea!

Monday, February 1, 2010

I'm back

Not that I went anywhere; I just quit posting for a couple days. I have tons of catchup to do on yall's blogs, but I figured I'd write this first.

Last Thursday, I did the mines with C on Mama. I took Cersei and my gun - I figured two people and two horses would keep the coyotes away, and if not I'd shoot one and then hike home to catch my horse. Fortunately, they'd eaten - we found two piles of feathers from slow moving birds. We didn't see anything and we had a nice ride.

Friday ~C and I trailered over to Hungry Valley and did a nice long ride. Usually you drive through a cattle gate and park off to the side of the open range and ride out from there - but there was a muddy hill down to a very small lake (or very large puddle) then a muddy hill up to the cattle grate, and we didn't think we could make it. As we were riding over to the cattle grate, a guy in a little 2x4 pickup barely made it through the puddle-lake and up the hill, so we made the right call. Buuut... we still had to get through the cattle grate.

There was a tiny space on the left where a horse could probably squeeze through, between a wooden post and a steel post and over a small boulder. Crysta investigated it throughly... and Diego decided it was a trap. He was totally convinced he couldn't squeeze through it. She asked if I wanted to try it, so I hopped off and confidently led Dixie straight up to it and through it... taking the wooden post with us. It got hung on her stirrup and broke off at the base - it must've been dry rotted pretty badly. Woops.

With his buddy on the other side - and the opening enlarged - Diego came through pretty quickly. ;)

We mounted up and rode pretty slowly toward the hills on the other side of the valley. The roads through the valley were pretty sloppy - that nasty sand and silt that gets slimy when it's wet. And they were wet! At one point I was riding on the left, just off the slippy road, when Dixie decided to drift over onto the road. I cued her to please turn left and get off the road, and she did that super annoying thing where she turns her HEAD left and her FEET keep going right. I was just getting ready to kick her in the ribs when wham down she went. She turned her neck and gave me this look like "WTF just happened?" and I said "You idiot, that's entirely your fault!" Then while I was trying to decide if I should hop off she scrambled back to her feet. She seemed fine, so we kept on keeping on.

Both the horses got excited when they saw the cows. Diego got all tense and spooky and Dixie's head came straight up and she got tense. I rode Dixie in tight little circles around the sagebrush til she quit worrying so badly and we proceeded on. Most of the cows wandered off when we got to the edge of their flight zone - except for the friggin longhorn who didn't want to stop licking salt! We had to ride between her and the rest of her herd! I think we were both ready to run if she got upset, but she didn't.

We rode up a hill and took pictures. Looking south:
South to Peavine

Crysta and Diego:
C and Dig

Me and (dirty) Dixie:
Me and Dixie

The skeleton of a couch menaced Dixie on the way up - it was hiding behind a tree, waiting to eat her. I made her show no fear and walk calmly past it, and it didn't pounce. When we got to the top of the hill, we got off and walked down - it was a steep descent, still snowy, and pretty wet.

On the other side of the hill, we saw a bunch of junk. It made me feel at home! There's rednecks everywhere :) There was a modern art display of one new tire (on a rim), one old CRT computer display (with a bullet hole in it), and one 80s deep freeze. The horses didn't look twice at it, but Crysta and I both got kinda creeped out by the fridge. There could be a zombie, or a murder victim, or 400 lbs of rotten elk, or who knows what in that thing. We got by it as quickly as we could walk. A few yards down the hill, we passed a pile of dead TVs (with bullet holes in them). Near the bottom of the hill is apparently a popular place to shoot - there were hundreds of casings and broken clay skeet.

Once we got off the hill, it was back to untouched high valley. We decided the roads were too sloppy and wandered cross-country back to the truck. And Dixie got lost! You know how horses usually know where the trailer is? She lost it. We could see the truck and trailer, but she didn't notice it or something and kept wanting to head further north.

When we got back to the (broken) fence, Dixie did not want to go back through it. After all, it grabbed her last time - and we weren't even going to the trailer (according to her)! I let Crysta go first then managed to sweet-talk my brave girl through. I gave Dixie her post-ride apple as soon as she was through - I was very proud of her.

I thought it was a beautiful ride (scary chest freezers aside), and I'd love to go back when the trails dry up and we can move faster than a walk. We did 9.64 miles in 3:22 - sucky, I know, but that includes conquering the cattle gate both times, and only walking.

I gave her the weekend off, then did hill work today. Dixie rocks - I let her walk down hills and pushed her to trot or walk fast up hills, and she did 5.82 miles in 1:30, a 3.8 average. (That includes moseying the last half mile home very slowly and then forgetting to turn off the GPS til after I wormed her and fed her an apple. It's closer to 4 mph if I discard the last lap.) She was sweaty as all get out, but it was (relatively) warm and sunny and she recovered nicely. I let her trot down some slight inclines - I don't want to strain her legs, but I want her to start to figure out how to keep her balance at speed going downhill. So we trot down slight grades on sand. Our total elevation change was about 2500', so it was Serious Hill Work.

Today Crysta inspired me to get the myGarmin thingie set up. Here's today's ride and Hungry Valley. I spent way too much time playing with my data on there.