Hi! We're all still alive here.
Thursday, September 12, 2019
On our ride today Buster was choosing the route and it was pretty funny. We followed an old logging g road, then a wide trail, then a game trail, then we ran out of trail, and he would occasionally stop and think, then keep on trucking. I had a general idea where we wanted to go but he seemed to have a very definite idea. He'd never been to this area before and was headed directly away from where we started. Eventually I had to give him some guidance, which he took into consideration. At one point he refused my guidance and headed into a gully, fast, fighting the bit. That was when he didn't get to lead the expedition anymore. Still, no big deal, he is sure-footed and I felt pretty good about things. Opportunity for improvement. We worked on our stops some more after that. :)
Today was his first ride out with a horse he doesn't know, and I think his 6th trail ride. He did great! He loaded into someone else's trailer behind the new horse, fully saddled. Way to go, Buster! Went to a new area, and I rode the whole time without dismounting but twice for gates, not because he was being impossible or anything.
The two rides before that were uneventful. One short ride with 2 friends on Scout and Sawyer and 3 hikers and 2 dogs. And the next ride was a super relaxing sunset ride with John and Scout and 3 dogs. Too many dogs! They all had too much energy in too many different directions. No biggie for Buster.
Sawyer has gotten out a bit too. We met some new riding buddies the other day and that was fun.
We even had a loose horse along for the ride and it was just fine.
Liam has been getting Sawyer out and riding him briefly at home almost every evening lately too.
She didn't want to come out of the dojo. I think it's nice that now the round pen is a safe space to think rather than a place to run.
This would have been a cool silhouette if she hadn't turned her head just enough to make her neck look too short and thick. Well, she does also have those big ears. :)
Pretty much a good day. :)
Friday, August 30, 2019
Wow. He's just amazing.
Our third trail ride and off we went, all by ourselves. We would have just hiked if need be.
But we rode! He was a goer. A little nervous.
The dogs didn't seem to bother him this time. Luckily Orion mostly stayed out from underfoot.
He didn't want to turn back, so I got off and walked. We made it leisurely and relaxing and took some snack breaks.
He's so handsome. Note the re-addition of the sheepskin. Sawyer made me sore the other day! I'm going to add one to his saddle too. I have some old sheepskin so I can make my own.
At one point I did the gasp and grab reins because of the dumb puppy right underfoot. Buster calmly stopped. He wasn't going to step on the puppy anyway. I overreacted. Then a minute later I leaned forward to avoid a branch and he stopped. I honestly think he thought I lost my balance and he was taking care of me. What a good guy.
I just love the view from up here. I can't communicate how special our time together is. It's not the same with Sawyer, as sweet and good as he is.
We found some good turkey feathers. He loves to sniff them deeply.
I'm just so amazed and happy with Buster. Why doesn't everyone ride donkeys?
Wednesday, August 28, 2019
Sawyer and I had a nice solo ride yesterday after our riding buddy canceled. Check out his dog tag. I highly recommend boomerangtags.com, they are tough as heck and deeply engraved. I would rather wait the few days it takes them to get here than waste my money on anything else. The dogs have had theirs for up to 10 years now (depending on which dog).
This trail has old miner's cabin to see. This one isn't so old but the last couple years haven't been kind.
This one is a wee bit older.
This one had the luxury of two whole rooms, but it didnt show up well in the picture.
This one I didn't even notice until my way back down. I was distracted by the first one.
There was something very dead and very stinky out there. Ravens were calling, and who knows what else might have been around feeding on it. I was glad the dogs stuck with me.
This doesn't look much like a path, but if you paid attention, you'd notice it. It jumped across and brought you to a different trail I like to call the Spiderwoods.
Pretty little "trail."
The Spiderwoods trail (below). I got a video. I wish blogger wasn't so difficult about loading video. This area tends to be dark with a lot of dead branches filled with spiderwebs. Blech. And of course, being alone, I got to break trail through them. I usually do anyway.
Sawyer was a total speed demon all the way back down the mountain. When I successfully got him to stop, stand still, and asked him to go again, he'd take off like he was jumping off a cliff. What a dork. I was sore by the time we hit bottom.
He, on the other hand, surprised me and took a right turn when we got to the trailer and explored another little road/trail. Might have to check that out in the spring when it's prettier.
Not bad for a solo ride on an old horse. 7.6 miles and a lot of elevation gain. I hiked part of it, I'm not that heartless. Fun times! I can't wait to tell you about today's ride! It was even better. I have to run to town now. School supplies to get and work to do.
Monday, August 26, 2019
Wednesday, August 21, 2019
Mostly more of the same around here. Riding, camping, working, etc... I'll get to the bigger stuff in a minute.
Orion is not the smartest trail dog, by the way, but hopefully he'll figure it out.
We finally got to ride the 7ish mile loop that the cattleman's association people told us about. Well, kind of. We got a little lost. I NEVER get lost. I shouldn't have looked at the map. We bushwhacked our way back to the trail. No biggie.
John is looking good. He weighs as much (little) now as he did in high school. I don't lose weight like he does. I've only lost 30 pounds. But that's not nothing! My keto/paleo lifestyle change has done him good. Although he doesn't follow my diet, he eats a lot better than he used to.
We found the hidden lake in the middle of nowhere. The cow people said, "It's nothing special, and you have to go off the trail a ways to find it." I thought it was pretty special, with a heron and a bald eagle, hundreds of darting and diving swallows, and the magical smell of water on a hot, dry day.
Best view in the world!
Pictures loaded out of order. This is the view of the other side of the levee that holds the lake in place. See what I mean? Dry and hot. And a handsome horse! I love how Sawyer likes to take in the view from a height. (I wonder why someone made a lake out in the middle of nowhere. Fire control? Aesthetics? Haha, yeah right. Mining? Watering stock? The cattle didn't seem to water at this end, anyway.)
Again the pictures are all out of order, but this is momentous! Buster's first trail ride! This is the 2 mile mark where we took a break. He deserved it, he did great!!!! No horse here, this guy was no drama, no boogeymen. We encountered cattle and I think we were right next to a moose, but we couldn't see it in the densely treed creek bottom.
Here's John checking on us. Buster wasn't completely relaxed, mostly because of that dumb puppy! Orion was either right behind or right in front of us, causing a lot of exasperation. Buster bumped up his butt to give a few warning kicks a few times. He was nice enough not to stomp on him or even step on him, which I thought was a little too nice. Maybe he needs to get stepped on.
The only time we had any trouble was when we tried riding in front of Scout. He was afraid to have Scout behind him, and the puppy was annoying, and I think there was a third irritant at the same time, maybe a bee. Anyway, I pulled him around in a circle and we went back to our previous order. He doesn't have to do everything on the first ride.
This was the night before. Gorgeous.
Wonderful donkey in the sunset.
Buster is only 10 years old. Donkeys can live to be 40. Can they be rideable that long? I don't know. Can I ride that long? Will I even live that long? Will he? I don't know. Will I ever need another riding animal? I'm just tickled at the thought of having such a safe and sane and loving partner for the long foreseeable future.
The time off has been good for her, she seems more comfortable in her skin. She's very loving. Gosh, I do really enjoy her.
It helps that she's pretty. Juniper too, of course.
So last night I went ahead and mounted up, butterflies and all, and we had a little ride for the first time since she spooked and bolted and I came off and got my most recent concussion. It went fine! She did a lot of walking with her head low, yawning and yawning. I think she was letting go of some butterflies too. And I think she likes the treeless saddle.
I think it's significant. Hang on to your halter! Don't let loose your horse dreams! Not always comfortable and cush and soft, and sometimes you lose what has been so comforting that you didn't even realize how old and dirty it was. And then I was like, "Oh well, it was expendable, no biggie, it's too hot here for blankets anyway."
But then I remember that it's my head that's not expendable, and I know I have to be careful. But I'm really glad we made this step, Halla and I. And I think we'll continue, one way or another, for a while or more. She is the light that encircles the moon on a magical night, after all. I hung a big expectation on her. I should help her live up to it. Or maybe that expectation is an old dirty, raggedy blanket to be tossed aside. Maybe see what happens without expectation. It's not her responsibility to be my dream come true, she's just a horse. We hang so much weight of love, hope, magic, and dreams on our horses. I can't believe they put up with us. But they do, and that right there is magic.