Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sneaking in another ride...

This weather has been crazy!  We had bitter cold with wind and then it warms up making lots of mud.  What an odd January.

This is Sunday, January 27th, 2013.  Monday the 28th was even worse than this!  Parts of the dirt road are red clay and they were slicker than heck!  Woo wee!

I love the grooming time before a ride, but this is a little much.  What a mess he is, and he seemed pretty proud of himself too.  As if to tell me "If I have to work, you do too."  And work I did!

....but a little bit of dried mud isn't going to stop us!  Let's go ride!

TRIPP:  "Hmmmm, what is this?  I know this is new because I can compare shapes and shades of color.  See the ones on the other side?  They are plain and those kind used to be this kind over here.  I am a mustang, therefore I notice things like this.  Nicker snort...."

TRIPP:  "The Girl read the new thing to me.  Trees wear girdles.  Who knew?"

GIRL:  "Tripp, it is called 'girdling.'  A person takes a chainsaw and cuts a ring around the tree thru the bark.  Bark is the rough stuff on the outside, and underneath the bark there is tissue that transports water and nutrients from the roots to the rest of the tree.  When this is cut, it kills the tree.  This helps other trees stay more healthy, and it lets the tree die standing up.  When it dies, it can be a new home to all kinds of animals."

TRIPP:  "Why don't they just cut it down?  Wouldn't it be easier?"

GIRL:  "Girdling is quicker, easier and cheaper than cutting it down and hauling it out.  The only stuff needed is a human with a chainsaw that works.  Erosion and soil compaction are not a problem doing it this way."

TRIPP:  "Maybe I can live in a tree someday."

I got a later start than I planned this day, and it took even longer having to brush the mud off Tripp.  It worked out very well...we had a beautiful sunset starting with lots of pretty clouds.  I love skies like this...

It was a quick ride but I still managed to get a few miles in.  Another great is good!
Thank you God!

Until later...Karen and Tripp who is shopping for a tree house...

Sunday, January 27, 2013

End of January and in the mid 40's? Yay!

It was a bit chilly Saturday morning but I knew it would warm up, so I waited to go ride until 3:00.  I got out of the parking lot at 3:30 and was gone a couple of hours.  We went the same route we went last time....if you remember, last time the GPS clocked 6.1 miles because there were two spots that quit recording my track.  This time the GPS recorded the entire route and I clocked 7.7 miles.  I really don't know how accurate these things are.  I need to talk Brian out of his phone one day and have both of our phones recording to see what we come up with.

Anyways...most of the fishing lake has a light layer of ice, and there was a split in the clouds that was reflecting blue on the water and ice.  The whole vision was beautiful...

TRIPP:  "Yep, it is purdy, can we go now?"

My favorite part of the trail is this little valley with the creek and outcropping of large rocks.  There is moss growing everywhere, even in the winter, and it just feels different down here.  There is a layer of ice on the creek, and you can watch the air bubbles through it as the water is weaving it's way to a new destination...

TRIPP:  "Girl, you are not going to make me walk on that are you?  Nothing good can come from walking on ice."

GIRL:  "No Tripp, no ice for us.  We will just enjoy the beauty from here.  Thank you for looking out for me."

TRIPP:  "I was looking out for me, but ummmm, okay.  You are welcome. (wink wink)."

 TRIPP:  "I am going to make a prediction.  My prediction is that the girl is going to make a big deal about the sun coming through the trees at the end of this trail and the little black box she carries with her will come flying out of her pocket.  And watch how I egg her on.  Nicker snort snort!"

TRIPP:  ("You must insert a little bit of dramatic effect for this to work...I will show you...") 
"DOH!   Girl, look at the sun shining through the trees, and the purdy clouds.  Isn't this the stuff you tell me that God paints?"

GIRL:  "Yes Tripp, you are getting it!  I call it a 'one of a kind piece of art from God.'  Everyone can see a piece of his art if they just look; and every piece will be unique."

TRIPP:  ("whispering... Forgive me God, because I am making fun of the girl, but in a good way.  I might not understand everything she does, but she is good people.")
"Yes girl, I see it!  You should get out the little black....oh, you already have!  What a surprise! Snort nicker nicker snort!"

TRIPP:  "I look pretty good if I say so myself!  And I do have to admit, it really is purdy.  I am glad the girl slows down to notice these things....but I am ready to run now."

TRIPP:  "The sun is is going to get dark soon....we better hurry!"

And hurry we did!  Lots of trotting and cantering.  Tripp even stepped his canter up a gear and I would call it a free hand gallop!  Woo hoo!  Once he realized he could do it I think he enjoyed himself.  He took off on the 'kiss cue' the first time the next time I asked, then we transitioned down to a walk instead of a trot.  He did good.

After our ride...I set the timer and put the camera on the truck.  It took a few times to get it right because a 10 second timer is a life time for a wonderful, beautiful, gorgeous, handsome, built like a (Tripp!  We get the idea!  Now off the keyboard so I can finish...thank you!"  Anyways, the mustang who thinks his name should be Hunk today thinks 10 seconds is a long time.  :-)

When we got home I let him loose, and he did what most horses do....he rolled!  And he was even more happy being dirty.  :-)

TRIPP:  "Look girl!  I got dirt on my face!  Nicker snort nicker..."

A full moon...what a beautiful way to end the evening. 

Our ride today was great!  There was nobody else on the trail but there were a lot of tracks.  Last time I was out much earlier and I met a lot of people riding, so they probably got their rides in early.

Another observation when I was looking at the tracks.  Horses wearing shoes very rarely showed the imprint of their frog in the muddy saw the perfect shoe imprint, and nothing on the inside of it.  The barefoot horses showed a print of the entire underneath of the hoof.  So the barefoot hoof was making contact with the ground - which is good.   

Until later....Karen and Tripp who is going to practice his speed and endurance because he is feeling empowered!  :-) 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday...23 degrees when I left the house...

It is Sunday morning, 23 degrees, and the sun is not out yet.  In spite of my experience with my bibs last weekend, I knew I was going to have to find a way to wear them.  That was the only way my legs would stay warm.  As tempted as I was to wear my insulated boots with the rubber grippy soles, I decided not to just in case Tripp decided to lay down again.  I wore my regular boots knowing my feet would get cold quickly....I do have the toe warmers to put in them, but the warmers we have work better if I am actually walking around, so I decided to save them for another day.

What I did was take each elastic shoulder strap to the bibs and brought them around my waist, then hooked them up to their plastic clasp.  I did that to each one, so it would fit more like a belt, and the bibs could be worn more like a pair of pants over my jeans.  It worked great!

After I got strapped up, I checked my camera and cell phone case to make sure each one was easy access.  The camera is attached to a lanyard I wear around my neck, then I slide the camera in my hoodie pocket.  I needed to make a small adjustment with the elastic waist band for the camera.  To get access to my cell phone I had to unsnap and unzip the side pocket.  I wanted easy access so I could check the GPS along the trail to make sure it was still recording.  I am in business!

TRIPP:  "Girl, didn't we ride far enough yesterday?  I am tired and so are you.  I just don't want you wearing yourself out because you are my favorite Girl.  Wink wink..."

GIRL:  "Tripp, thank you for looking out for me.  I love you for that!  But this morning will be the perfect time to be out.  Just you and I and is good!"

TRIPP:  "I do have to admit it is purdy when the sun comes out.  But it sure is not any warmer."

TRIPP:  "Watch this.....while Girl is checking to see how the bibs work out when nature calls, I will touch my nose to this stick and when Girl looks over, I will chomp off the end!"

GIRL:  Thinking to herself while watching Tripp out of the corner of her eye...."I wonder how long he is going to keep his nose on that stick....he is not twitching!"


TRIPP:  "PTOOEY!  Sticks are not all that yummy!"

TRIPP:  "I meant to say, Mmmm, stick.  Can't get enough of them.....cough cough..."

The view at the lake that you all have seen many times...I would love to ride down below but they don't have trails down there.  Maybe someday. 

Parts of the lake are lightly frozen over, and here was a black hole in the ice...

The sun came out and it is so warm....okay, the sun gives the illusion of warmth.  But not for my toes.

TRIPP:  "YES!  Almost done with this ride!  Cross the road...hit the other trail...then we are there!  Whinny snort whinny woo hoo!"

TRIPP:  "Girl, haven't you taken enough pictures of the shadows?  Can we please go now?  AAARRRGGGHHHHHH, so close but yet so far because she keeps stoppingggggg...."

GIRL:  "Tripp, that was a little dramatic, don't you think?"

TRIPP:  "Finally!  Less than 1/4 mile away and I will get unsaddled, brushed, a massage, and Girl will take me across the road so I can eat grass for a while.  She loves me!"

When we got home Tandee came to say hello before Tripp went back to his herd.  She did not even make faces or squeal at him.

TANDEE:  "Mmmmmmmmmm, he smells so good!"

CHASE:  "Did someone say he smells good?  He smells like a horse to me!  What is so great about smelling like a horse?  I don't get it..."

This morning we had a nice ride.  Tripp was tired from yesterday so we just moseyed...  We didn't see anybody else on the trail so there was nothing but the sound of Tripp's hooves and nature at it's finest.  On our way home I saw two bald eagles flying slow circles above us...they were beautiful!
It is days like this that remind me that God loves us.

Until later....Karen and Tripp who got to see all kinds of fun stuff this weekend but is ready for a break...

Saturday - Wonderful ride with some firsts...

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The temps are supposed to be in the 50's today!  Woo hoo!  We got some errands run this morning so it was after 1:00 before I got out to ride.  I was saddling up and two riders ponying a 3 yr old went by...I ended up crossing paths with them on the other side of the park...

One observation for the day.  Tripp never whinnied at any horse he saw, and there was only one horse that whinnied at him the whole day and that was a horse that was tied to a trailer on the other side of the park.  The rest of the day all the horses looked at each other and went on their merry way. 

 I always try to give Brian my route just in case something happens.  This day I did take the route he expected me to take, but I took a small detour not knowing where it looped around.  I just couldn't help myself!

Usually I take a left farther down the road, but this time I followed it straight ahead, and it loops around and comes back...then I picked up the trail I said I was going to take.  :-)


I have been this way once, but I didn't take the road.  I took the trail down and rode by the field for a ways then turned back.  That was in 2008, the first year I had Tripp.  That trail and the road loop around...and if I remember right, it is a little over 3 miles from the parking lot and back.  When I am on a tighter time schedule I will ride it so I know for sure.   This is the field at the bottom of the loop.  I did not see any critters out there.

TRIPP:  "Girl!  A tree has fallen in our path.  I think we can make it under!"
GIRL:  "Tripp, you might make it under but I would get scooped right off.  We will go around."

TRIPP:  "But Girl, I will show you...let's get closer....(Oh oh, I am afraid the girl is right but I will not show defeat just yet)..."

TRIPP:  "GIRL!  See?  I told you it was too low for us to get under, so I think it is best we go around.  Yes, that is what I said, I am sure of it...whinny snort!"

This is a Witness Marker on the tree.  It is put there by the conservation department.  I had never seen one of these before so went to The Google.  :-)   Here is one thing I found and I thought it was very cool!  "Witness tree" is a term used to refer to the trees used by surveyors as markers as Americans moved west through this part of the country in the mid 1800s. Some of them still stand."
Everything else I found other than the tree being in the witness protection program (ha ha!) was that it really is a marker tree for surveyors.  It is a specific point that surveyors use for measurements.  There are a lot of neat stories out there about these, and not all markers look the same state by state.

TRIPP:  "Come on Girl, make like you don't see the marker tree.  We don't want anyone to know where it is since it is in the protection program."

 TRIPP:  "Hey Girl, are you taking a picture of my rump?  How embarrassing!" 

TRIPP:  "Darn, there is that pointy light colored thing again.  It freaked me out going by it the first time...I just don't know about this....Hey Girl, maybe we should go back?  I am just looking out for you, my favorite Girl in the whole wide world...smooch!"

GIRL:  "Quit being a Drama is a sand pile.  Let's go.  And smooch back at ya!"

TRIPP:  "OH!  SNORT SNORT WHINY HEE HEE....Yep, you are right.  It is just a sand pile.  Last time I only saw it out of the corner of my eye and I thought it was the abominable  snowman.  Whew!"

And this is how Drama #1 began....a couple times up the trail Tripp had to scratch his nose on his foot.  I thought it was him being sneaky and wanting to sneak a bite of leaves...but I gave him a chance.  He did great.  No food snatching.  We made it around loop #1 and the trail veered off to the right.  He thought we needed to go back to the truck, and I had different plans.  I got him turned down the trail with a little bit of chatting a long the way, he reached down to scratch his nose again .... are you ready for this?  HE LAYED DOWN WITH ME!  NO JOKE!!!!  It is the first time he has ever done this and needless to say I was shocked.  You know how they kinda prepare themselves with a couple tippy toe movements before they go down?  Not this guy!  He was rubbing his nose on his leg then WHOOMP!  He was laying down.  

So what did I do?  I got off his right side with a little bit of colorful language, got him up which only took 1 second, then I kicked him in the rump (anybody that knows me knows I am not going to kick him hard...I am just going thru the motions) to let him think I meant business.  Two things went thru my mind at the same time.  1. Was he sore or was something on the saddle pinching him? and 2. He is mad because we did not go back to the truck and call it a day.  Up to that point he had been moving great.  I checked my tack fit and everything seemed fine.  I was going to get back on and see what happened....if he felt 'off', we would go back, and if he was a brat, we would continue.  He was a brat, he thought he needed to scratch his nose again, and I let him know he didn't.  There was twice I felt like he wanted to try it again but I moved him in circles to keep him from getting comfy enough to do it again.  The rest of the ride was laying down drama.

Another thing to add....I am glad I did not having on my insulated caving/hiking boots because I would not have been able to kick my foot out of the stirrup as quick as I did.  This convinced me that insulated riding boots are not something I can put off if I plan on riding thru the winter.

Tripp scratching his nose on his leg....

This picture doesn't do it justice....the sun was shining thru the trees and the Cottonwood trees were white in the they were glowing.  What a beautiful sight!

Tripp relaxed and was covering some more laying down drama.

Drama #2

TRIPP:  "Look Girl!  Gypsies!!!!  You are not going to let them steal me are you?  I heard they steal babies and I am your baby and I promise to never ever ever lay down with you again on this very day (I can't promise beyond today because I live in the moment...).  Please promise me Girl!"

GIRL:  "Tripp, Gypsies don't steal babies.  And even if they did, those are not Gypsies."

TRIPP:  "Holy smokes!  Where did they come from?  They are walking towards the Gypsies!"

GIRL:  "Tripp, while you were worrying about the Gypsies, this group of riders came from the other direction."

What we have here is a covered wagon being pulled by a team of small mules.  They cruise up and down these roads quite a bit.  They even drive them on the asphalt roads.  I was taking Tripp to the vet one day and came around a corner and there they were with two other mules tied behind the wagon.  I was going too fast (35 to 40 mph around a turn) to slow down without slamming Tripp to the front of the trailer so I passed them.  Thankfully nobody was coming....I was freaked out, their mules were freaked out, and the guys were mad.  They can be mad...thankfully it all turned out okay, but there are people that drive a lot faster than I was on those roads, and there are a lot of blind turns and hills.  I just hope and pray that nothing happens to them because they are a joy to watch.

Anyways, the other three riders were going the opposite direction from me, but I wanted Tripp to experience the wagon and the sounds of the harness.  He really did great up to this point...he was curious and watched while I tried to take pictures. 

We got a bit closer as the wagon started to circle in the parking lot.  Tripp was still curious and not at all jumpy about it.

Then the paint horses freaked out...Tripp thought there was reason to freak out too.  Now I don't know for a fact that the guys were trying to be jerks, but they were laughing as one yelled out "What is the matter?  Haven't your horses ever seen a wagon before?"  The gals told him they had not and asked them if they would stop so they could approach with their horses.  I thought that was the perfect time to follow suit while the wagon was stopped.  The horses got closer then....

.....the guy turned the wagons towards the horses!!!!  They were they might not have understood that they were asked to stand still, but it sure sounded like they understood to me.  Then to turn in like this towards all of can imagine what every single one of us gals was saying!  At this point even the black horse to the right said "No thanks!" and he had been doing great.  Finally one lady yelled "STOP!"  and the driver laughed again and said "Oh, you want me to stop?  I didn't know you wanted me to stop."  About this time I decided it was not worth me and Tripp getting hurt.  He was nervous with the other horses backing and spinning so close to him so quickly, but he was still doing good.  I told the gals I was headed down the trail and to be careful.  They invited me to go with them but I stuck to my original route.  If I see them again, maybe then.

We headed down the trail and turned to watch some more.  What a shame that something that could have been a great learning experience for their horses was turned into something very scary to them...all because of some yay-hoo who thought he was being funny.  

While the wagon escapade was going on, there was a lot of shooting going on at the range.  I was excited because it was almost consistent shooting of smaller guns and bigger guns both.  Last time there was too much time in between shots and Tripp did not have time to get used to it.  Well, he was now on edge after the wagon deal, and now he is flinching at every shot.  All he wanted to do was trot and me trying to get him calmed back down was not working.  I made it to the shooting range and Tripp was not calming down at all.  I went a little farther down the trail and decided to get off and walk him a while.  You might catch me doing something stupid, but not because of pride.  I am never too proud to get off and walk.  We made it past there and I got back on and decided to take the long way around...we had another little chat because he knew the shortest way to the trailer was not the way I picked, but I won and he did not try to lay down.  He also relaxed....and that was my main goal.  Once he relaxed he was happy to keep going. 

When we got to the lake there were a couple of families with big bicycles and a baby carriage.  We stopped and talked a while, and the little kids petted on Tripp.  He was such a trooper with everyone.  I got to tell them that Tripp is a mustang and he used to live in the wild, and one of the ladies has a sister who adopted a mustang that is doing well.  While we were talking, I saw a group of people walking across the lake dam and up the trail.

When Tripp and I headed out, I didn't want to trot too much because I did not want to come around a corner and have Tripp surprised to see them.  So we took our time until we caught up to them.

The group made good time!  This is the last big hill down into the creek area before I head up to the parking lot.  When we made it down to them the people lined up and Tripp acted like they were his fans lining up for him to pass....blowing kisses as he went.  Ha ha!  These people were with the other people and out enjoying the weather.

What a beautiful day and a great ride in spite of the little weird things.  I did have my GPS on and it lost signal twice.  I ended up recording 9.9 miles.  Yep, it is like it is laughing at me!  I even tried to shut it off and turn it back on so I could ride a little farther to hit the 10 mile mark, but I couldn't get connection.  Oh is all good.

Everyone was talking about how the day was beautiful for riding, and they were all doing it before it got cold.  Sunday the high is 35 or close to it.  I was already planning on being back out here.

I met several riders on the trails and not one time did Tripp think he had to follow their horses.  I like that...

Until later...Karen and Tripp who is glad the GPS didn't come back on because he thinks he went far enough...