I had a much needed really good ride on Blaze this morning, including that soul-healing thing that is a good solid gallop on a beloved steed. We cruised out through the neighborhood and down to the Wildlife Area early and ended up doing 10 miles in about 2:30. Nothing special, but it was relaxing, fun, and exhilarating, as I hadn’t been to the fenced in, no-vehicle access WA in months. There are cows out there but that’s about it, and there are a few miles of excellent footing that makes great trotting, as well as a couple of meadows where I like to let loose and haul ass.
But first, we meandered the couple miles from the house, across the main road, and down another mile of pavement to the WA entrance. I usually walk the mile of pavement down to the turnoff, as it’s a pretty boring stretch to ride, especially at Blaze’s sedate walk. He’s great with traffic but I’ll never take a paved road faster than a walk so it’s not my favorite part of the ride. This time I remembered to charge my iPod so I had my NPR going in one ear for extra entertainment while I walked and took photos of my horse… Here’s my steed striding along in his burgundy Rennys:
We tip toed over the side cross bars of the cattle guard, went through the thankfully bee-less gate, then I remounted and we were free in the quiet, lush Wildlife Area:
New panels up along the creek, the cattle must have been marauding somewhere they were unwanted, though we didn’t see a single bovine today
Blaze doesn’t like getting his toes wet but there was no way around these creeks, silly boy
“I got my toes wet, gimme a cookie”
After two nice water crossings it’s a slight rise up from the creeks to the first big open area. The ride up that little hill always seems slightly dramatic in my mind, as a panorama is revealed once you crest the hill, as well as all that good footing for moving out!
Ah, open spaces, the start of the first Haul Ass meadow
There’s about a mile and a half of good footing with a few gentle slopes and climbs and we power trotted it all the way to the other boundary fence, then trotted back the other way and took the left fork, cantering out towards the second Haul Ass Meadow:
Blaze was moving well and super responsive as always. He and I are really tuned in at this point, there are things that I have only to think or move in the saddle, or even quietly mumble and he’ll instantly react. That’s why he is so fun to let loose in these areas, where I am at speed but always wary for holes or cows or whoknowswhat–I know I can bring him from a gallop to a walk with a word. Getting Desire up to speed is always a little hairy because she’s FAST and she is far less obliging!
Checking out the flowers that were just a blur on the way out
It was already close to 90 despite our early start and I was enjoying my full water bottles and the couple of creek crossings to get back out of the Wildlife Area.
There’s a big creek crossing at the fork of the WA entrance, and I made Blaze wade down into it because it was cool and green and pretty, and why not!
No I don’t want to drink, thanks for checking AGAIN
Look just below his chin, next to the stick. Big tadpoles and little trout all frisking around when we were wading about up to Blaze’s knees in the creek.
Shiny boots, for the next 2 seconds anyway!
The neighbor’s donkey is always a snorty scary sight for my horses, and I’ve taken innumerable photos of the silly thing, just because my horses are so fascinated with it. Today I finally got one I really like!
I give you…. The Odd Couple
The donkey actually has a whole herd of strange looking little brown sheep, but apparently the ram, complete with sheepy curling horns, is his special buddy. Mind you I have seen this donkey “herd” his sheep by backing toward them kicking his heels to the sky. Whatever works! Tooooo funny.
I just love our automatic gate. It is never not awesome to click my little gadget and have the gate open grandly as I ride up the drive!
There was lots of hosing and cleaning and fly spraying and then Blaze and Desire scored Quench and joint supplement laced mashes, and Blaze was way ready for me to get out of his face with the camera for the day! He was feeling fit and sound and we will probably do the LD at Gold Country at the beginning of July. He did well at it last year and is certainly game for it now. We should hear results on Desire’s bloodwork by Monday, so we’ll see where we go from there with her!
One thought on “A Good Gallop”
Sheep farmers use other animals to “herd” the sheep, like burros or llamas. The burro or llama keeps the sheep bunched and moving from one forage place to another. Sheep apparently need a boss animal to tell them what to do. The guy who ran sheep up on open range near my parent's house used a llama, who was wonderful at his job unless he found a butterfly. Then he would follow the butterfly around and completely forget he had sheep to take care of. My mom would watch the llama follow the sheep with a blissful look on it's face until the butterfly, tired of llama nose in his business, would take off and then the llama would jerk alert and race off to gather his sheep again.