Saturday, July 11, 2009

A Good, Good Day

Yesterday after my Dean's call, I picked up Ash and her boy d'jour, CJ, to head up the hill. Ash and CJ stayed at the Lodge with Mom, while Bill and I saddled up for our weekly ride. On Mom and Bill's last picnic ride, they came across a freshly killed young doe, so Bill and I headed out to the kill site to see what we could see.
When we got to the kill site, the doe had been drug off by a large-ish animal and "hidden" in a small stand of trees thirty or forty feet from where they had found it a few days ago. Obviously something had been gnawing on it and trying to camouflage it by covering it with pine needles.
After checking out the dead doe (yep, she's still dead and half eaten, now), we headed over to the Beaver Ponds and it was beautiful. With all of the rain we've had the wildflowers are going crazy and the mountain meadows are just lousy with them.
Feeling adventurous, I put on my big girl panties and suggested we do the Goat Trail. The Goat Trail is not for novice riders as it's essentially straight up the mountain and there is a section of trail that is quite a scramble up and over a rock. If the horse mis-steps or slips on the scramble, it's not pretty for the horse or rider and a hell of a long way down into Rock Creek. The last time I did the Goat Trail was three or so years ago and I was on Estes' daughter, Meeker, who was shod. The problem with shoes is that they don't allow the horse's frog to act as a natural suction cup and it's a lot harder for the horse to get a grip on the rock to climb. After doing the Goat Trail on Meeker, I swore I would never do it again on a horse with shoes. Well, Miss Estee, is as barefoot as the day she was born and has been up at the Lodge since April, so her hooves have hardened and her feet are as healthy as they've ever been, so why the hell not? I promised Estee treats when we got back to the Lodge if she got me up and over the Goat Trail without killing both of us.

This is what the Goat Trail looks like from about 3/4 of the way to the top. While it doesn't look that intimidating in the picture, it certaintly induces the pucker factor when at the bottom looking up. Estee climbed it like a champ and I felt kind of like a wuss when we got to the top in one piece, but then I looked over my shoulder at the hill we'd just climbed and got over feeling like a wuss. Feeling embolden and invincible I suggested we head back home over Pinky's Wash. Thank God I have a strong horse with a willing heart, because she worked her ass off for me yesterday. Any one of the trails we took would have been a hard ride, but putting the three (Beaver Ponds, Goat Trail, Pinky's Wash) together in one ride was probably not so nice to the horses, but they seemed to enjoy it as much as we did.

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