Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Spring comes to Mt. Agamenticus

Last week, we had a saddle fitter visit to help us determine what was going to fit our horses. My lovely Crosby is too narrow on Harley; six saddles later, I decided to keep a Wintec 2000 for trial. Ugh--way too much saddle between me and my horse. I'm coming from the generation with little to no knee roll, so this saddle was a giant step! It fit Harley well, but after 10 minutes, I decided it wasn't what I wanted. Granted, a fractious horse didn't make it a fun ride, regardless of the saddle. I'll chalk this one up to just a test ride for the saddle and wipe it off the books. Harley was being positively ridiculous. Too many rides partnered with another horse has spoiled him into thinking he can't do it alone! So after backing and spinning moves prevented us from passing the turkeys en route to Orris Falls, I opted for going up the power line. Oh, and that sticky Wintec suede makes it hard to do a quick dismount! Well even the power line proved too much. About half way up, he again pulled his stunts. "O.K. then, how about we go up through the clear cut towards Caroline's?" He seemed keen to go that way because, of course, there were deer to see! One bounded off into the woods, the other had a staring contest with Harley before it leaped into the woods too. I just prayed Harley wouldn't do anything too foolish! We pranced our way home, back down the power line. I felt like he was in charge the whole time (and I think he knew it), but he wouldn't stand still enough for me to come unglued from saddle to dismount. Usually, I'll get off and lead him when he gets unnerved on the road--no point in courting danger--until we get past the scary stuff. So all this ride proved was that I don't like too sticky a seat and that Wintec's are too "stuffed" for my tastes. Onward and upward, fast forward to this past weekend's adventure!

Rest stop on the Norman Mill Trail
Sunday, we padded up our saddles for an adventure around Mt. Agamenticus. I couldn't bear the thought of using the Wintec 2000 and I didn't want it to get damaged, so I used my 2nd choice, the Tekna synthetic with an extra thick wool Cavallo pad under it. John used a wool felt and one inch foam pad over a cotton pad with his Wintec Endurance. He even brought an extra pad along to swap out if need be. I stowed a sandwich, hoof pick, and camera in my saddle pad pockets. And of course we had lots of carrots; in vest pockets, in our saddle pad pockets, and in extra saddle packs. With our supplies stored or strapped on, we headed out through Orris Falls.

The horses were in a lollygag mood, a contest of who could go slower. Rolex seemed content to let Harley lead, then they swapped. Sometimes, they both just stopped. Then it would take a lot of urging and smacking one's leg to get either to walk on. At the speed we were moving, our lazy morning amble might have taken us into next week! We dismounted along the Norman Mill Trail for a pit stop, strip down, and to give our mounts a break. On long rides, I like to walk a bit now and then.

The hardwoods have started to show some color as the leaf buds open. The first blush of spring; pink and rose mingling with pale lime green colored the hills and dappled the sunshine. We spotted egg masses in vernal pools and the first flowers pushing up through the leaf litter; Canada mayflower and marsh marigolds greening up the ground.

We set Second Hill as our goal. It's a bit of a scramble to the summit, but very do-able with a nimble-footed horse. Harley has to look and think about where he puts his feet, but he's come a long way over the years. Rolex, our cat-like horse, handles this type of terrain beautifully. She's so light on her feet and athletic.

A little grass at the summit was their reward, in addition to lots of carrots. Then a pair of cyclists bumped up and over the rocks. Thankfully, our horses are used to running into mountain bikers out there and took it all in stride. Next, a group of hikers with a dog appeared. The dog was very well behaved and didn't even bark! The horses took it all in, but didn't spook. Poor John was having some back pain, so we didn't linger for too long; enough for me to take some pictures and for John to stretch his back and eat lunch.

We decided to walk back down the steep terrain to give the horses and John's back a rest. Even though we had "made the turn for home" both horses, usually eager to go, took their time picking their way over rocks and didn't rush, knocking us to the ground! A good round of pats to both our mounts.

Rolex's first peak bagged!
Once we reached flatter terrain, we remounted. I kept it to a walk for John's comfort, although Rolex has such a rolling forward walk, she passed Harley who had to jog to keep up with her! I didn't know which horse's pace would feel worse for him, but riding was quicker and easier than leading them home. Plus, it would be a heck of a long walk--this was turning into a 4 hour plus ride, let alone a hike!

I dislike the road ride home. Too many idiots behind the wheel with no idea what could happen if a horse jumps sideways. I'd love to find a short cut to eliminate the road walk. But we made it back to the Orris Falls trail head with no catastrophes. Harley began grinding his teeth in eagerness to get home. Only home wasn't so calm a place to be...

Halawa Moon summits again!

There was a party at the house, complete with kite flying in the adjacent pasture. Oh my--kites! I don't think any of the horses had ever seen such a beast. Even old Vance was prancing in circles. Ruffy was on full alert. Rolex and Harley didn't know what to do--head home? Into the face of dangerous flying objects? I dismounted so I could get Harley out of the road and into the barn. We managed to get them hosed off and turned out, but the kite still spooked them. Add to that, a burn pile in full flame that evening and the poor guys were not sure the home front was so safe after all.

By 8:30, with the fire nearly burned out, and the party-goers leaving, we headed for home, assured all was well. The horses headed down into the field for the night's grazing. After a late evening dinner, we were bushed. I hope our horses had a restful night; I know I slept well.

1 comment:

  1. Whew, That Was A Long One!! What A Gorgeous Day. Sorry Johns Back Was Bothering Him.

    Sounds Like You Need To Go Out Alone More, With The Harley Man.

    Mine Loves Solo, And Pair
    Riding, With The Right
    Horse Is Fine.

    Yea Right Now, We've Only
    One Direction We Can
    Ride...Logging Is
    Happening Right Across
    The Street...And This Week,
    Right By The Barn. So No Roads, Or Trains Across The Road Fur Awhile...Log Trucks, Are Death!

    Saddle Fitting, Ugh!!! That's
    Why I Use My Soft Saddle,
    Never A Fitting Problem!
    My Stable Mate And I Are
    Going To Demo A Heather MOffit "Flex EE" Saddle Soon. Should Be Interesting.

    Hope Your Weekend Is Going Lovely!!! Ours Is 80 Degrees, With Strong Winds. They Are Keeping Us Cooler Nice.


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