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Monday, April 13, 2009

Day 1 of weekend

I had a lovely trail ride on Saturday. For the gelding update, scroll to the bottom.

The Kaweah Horsemasters lesson on Saturday was cancelled, so Friday night I was faced with a delimeana: Have horse, will travel, but where to travel to? I decided that spending Easter Sunday with my parents was a fine idea and I would either ride at Oroville or Auburn.

Saturday morning I headed up to the Oroville State Recreation Area. Above is a picture of the parking area. No one there, hitching racks and a porta potty, nothing could be more perfect. There's also a group of picnic tables in the shade behind me. I had been here once before - Easter Sunday 2 years ago, a couple of weeks before my first endurance ride, with my sister. Minx and I did ~5 miles that day, ending with a partially removed shoe....that nesscitated walking back to the trailer area WAY to short into the ride.

The trails were much more beautiful that I remembered. The grass was green, the flowers in full bloom.

I had a wonderful time on Farley. She felt so solid, so good, such a pleasure to ride. This was my first ride back in the saddle since before Minx died. My last ride was on Minx on the very pleasurable Fort Ord ride.

I kept Farley at a walk/trot. She's fit enough to go the distance, now I'm doing brain work and strengthening her tendon. On my weekend rides I've promised to get off and run for at least 30 minutes, and today was no exception. I think it secretly amuses Farley to trot along behind me and watch my fat bottom "trot" over the rocks. We went over Dan Beebes trail, over Sycamore Hill, around the detour, until we came to the base of the spillway (pictured above).

We took a 5 minute break to eat, pee, and snap some pictures. Then it was back down the trail.

I've been doing some tack trading on the Horse Grooming Forums and got the bridle pictured above in exchange for a cob sized dressage bridle without cheek pieces I had. I was nice to get a bridle that was thinner for Farley. On the shortest settings this bridle (barely) fits! The civil war bridle now has a hackamore on it (see my Day 2 post later for more details on that!)

On the way back I chose to go along the gravel road next to the reservoir, so I could take Farley through this tunnel.

This tunnel is fairly long and a section of the lights had burnt out, so it was dark. She was nervous but did great. I had to dismount to turn the lights on, so I went ahead and walked through it with her dismounted.

Overall we went ~10 hours in 2.5 hours. On conditioning rides, especially if the footing is steep and technical, I worry more about hours in the saddle than actual distance. I wanted a solid 2-3 hours on technical trail this day and I got it. She looked great afterwards. She's in the middle of SERIOUSLY shedding her winter coat off so I checked carefully for any rub spots. She's being especially sensitive about her girth area, so I made sure there was no hair build up in her armpits.

After riding Saturday, I decided I wanted to take some more time as a single horse owner. I am not going to go look at the gelding. I'm not sure I want another greenie. Horse riding is my hobby, not my job. Just because I could handle the greenie, does that mean I should? I had a WONDERFUL ride this day, and at Fort Ord a few weeks ago. It was because my horses were finally at a level in their training that I could relax and enjoy the scenery. By only having a single horse, I can slow down my life for a bit, and catch up on all those things I used to do before getting Farley in November 2007. I used to play the fiddle, embroider and quilt, read, go to church and read my bible, run marathons. I've done none of that consistently since getting 2 horses, probably because at least one of them was a greenie that required a LOT of my time. Maybe it's time to live life a little differently for a couple of months. I WILL be getting a second horse, just not right away, and probably not a greenie.

If any one is interested in the gelding, he is in the bay area in California and listed on He sounds like a great project for a confident intermediate rider and someone could get really lucky with him. The women selling him seems honest and upfront.

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