My old plastic station wagon has been keeping things interesting lately, trifling with me and bidding me adeiu from the back of tow tuck at least 5 times in the last year and a half. Wednesday afternoon encompassed it’s latest bid for freedom from humanity, and after abandoning it at the mechanic’s for the weekend I was seriously ready for a proper long ride at the lake this morning. And so of course, in the spirit of keeping things Interesting, I threw everything but the kitchen sink in the trailer and headed out for the lake. Everything but the kitchen sink–& a girth!
Since I was wearing new hiking boots that needed breaking in and my cardio needed more work than my bareback seat I figured Scrap and I could still go hiking and it would be a worthwhile trip. The next immediate obstacle was how to carry water along, as I’m a dry-mouth-overheater-must-have-water type. After a futile search I nearly gave in but remembered the little stringy backpack bag I got for attending Lake Oroville ride in 2009. Never used it, never moved it from corner of the trailer tack I crunched it into, and just like that the hike was totally doable. I stole the fuzzy tubes off the bottom of my stirrup leathers to make the shoulder “straps” more comfortable and with water, keys, carrots, and my phone on board, off we went!
No 20 miles recorded but a good few for the human, including jogging hills, and I still got a “between the ears” shot!
I was seriously entertained by the reactions of the weekend warriors we encountered along the way. They’d first see a “tackless” grey coming toward them through the trees, then see me on foot, wearing a pack, & sweating more than the horse. The women mostly managed to mumble something about how dirty my grey was while the men seemed singularly struck by the notion of hand walking a horse and both getting exercised. Meanwhile I realized this was the *perfect* thing to be doing with coming 4 yr old Sheza. Mimicking this day with Sheza would include leaving the herd, trailer time, trail time, different things to see, people and horses to encounter, variable loops to take, a round pen partway to use as necessary, fitness for me to be gained, bonding time for the 2 of us, and no escort needed!
You know you’ve been “endurancing” a while when things go totally south –often because of your own decisions–but Plan Z comes to mind and is utilized quite successfully enough, with enjoyment, work, and something to learn along the way.