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Friday, April 3, 2009

Terrace Circle trailhead

Last weekend I discovered another trail head into BLM Fort Ord land. It's "Terrance (or Terrace?) circle" and if anyone wants directions, just ask.

It's easy to get to, the best trail head I've been too, and it's free! I arrived ~7:30am. It was quiet and aside from a few hikers and bikers, we were alone. I took a couple pictures in the parking lot, but was anxious to get on the trail and didn't feel like taking the camera, so this is all I have! My plan was to get in 2.5-3 hours of riding before heading back to the ranch and participating in CHAS drivers training.

(do you see this little bluebird/scrub jay - I can't remember which)
The trails were well marked and beautiful. There was little bit of everything - road, singletrack, gradual hills, steep hills, drop offs etc. It was the most ideal endurance conditioning/training location I have been too.
Minx did very well. She had bikers come towards us at full speed, around a blind corner, on single track. They hit their brakes and then pulled over. She didn't even flinch. Some little yappy dogs (jack russells?) met us on another trail and were under her feet, running around, barking their little heads off - not a flinch. She still spooks at random stuff (that "stop, jerk, all of a sudden the horse is 20 feet below you".....kind of spook), but I have a feeling this is as good as it gets!
I'm so ashamed - I came to a part of a trail that was AWFUL. I should have turned around and found another way (there were many of them). It was an almost vertical face of sandstone that water had rutted out so there here foot holds. I asked her to go down it. And she did. I never should have asked. I deserve for her to be injured, and she isn't. I hope I never do something that stupid again. She's OBVIOUSLY not a tevis horse. This proves that if I pointed her off a cliff in the dark she would do it. Farley would have looked at me like I was nuts and we would have found a different way.
Here's Minx at the ranch, after the ride. I'm so frustrated!!!!! She looked FINE at the trailer. No ribs. And then POP! Ribs appear. If she's SLIGHTLY dehydrated she suddenly looks like a humane case. GRRRRRR.....more beet pulp and oil coming her way.
Once back at the ranch I turned her out with her old herd mates. They still remembered her and it was fun to watch her prance around the field. She looks so dainty and delicate compared to the huge, fat CHAS horses :) .
She got a little sore footed on the trails. Near the end we did a lot hardpacked roads and she was obviously choosing better footing on the sides where it was softer and didn't want to move out. This was before my renegades had come in. If I did this trail again, I would boot if I planned on doing a lot of the wider roads. The sandy singletrack is fine for endurance paced barefoot rides. I need to work on trotting her on the trails in-hand. She doesn't get it. She would rather trot faster than I can run or walk. "Jog" is not in her vocabulary.
On a side note: I'm thinking about putting together a list of places I go to condition for endurance (with directions and reviews). Red rock, Dino point, Marina equestrian, Terrace circle, Del Valle, Skillman/Nevada city etc. are just a few of the places you can get to for EXCELLENT endurance training if you live in central CA. I didn't know about any of these places when I started endurance and it would have been very useful to have a list. I'll put it on my project list....

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