Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What a difference a little bushwacking makes....

Last week we had some challenging trail riding. Ok it was challenging because we had a string of 5, I kid you not, bikers, hikers and dogs (some carrying LOGS) in a row, zooming around a blind corner on a narrow barely 2 track trail. Miss Dovely wanted to turn tail and run when she saw the fast trotting dog with the LOG in his mouth. Never mind that he was on a mission and didn't even break gait or bat an eyelash at us, Miss Dove was on full alert. Then a biker came zipping around the corner only to skid to a mighty stop when he saw us.

LOL good thing I had backed her precious hindquarters up to the hill. All I had to do was ask her to turn the OTHER way and face the demon. You know Miss Dove like it is a COW. Yeah baby herd that cow, show him who's Boss Mare. By the 3rd rider/hiker combo Dove was mastering the art of Equine Intimidation on the narrow (to the bikers/hikers) trail. hee hee hee I think we made an impression that day.

OK I must admit I enjoyed that a wee tad. It worked out so well.

Big sigh and we were back on the trail ride and enjoying the lovely weather and beautiful scenery of our lovely Alhambra Valley.

Day 2 of last week's trail riding found us sojourning from the barn to my house! Yes my HOUSE! Because we are heading into our wet weather season and do not want to stop trail riding we thought it might be fun and dry to ride from my house into the park. So of course being the good girlscouts that we are (be prepared) we road the track in reverse first. Why not!
Here is the proof that we made it.

Along the way our ponies traversed uneven ground like no other. Instead of taking the designated paths we tried a little bushwacking - aka taking the deer trails or road less traveled. First we traveled a path near the backside of my neighbors house. Then we followed along the creek bed until we could cross and then high-tailed it up the little deer foot path to a small hill. Next we continued on second deer path and found ourselves with a decision- to double back or go straight up in true bushwacking style. You KNOW what decision we made. LOL like two young girls on our ponies we rode our steady steads straight up the soft but steep hill to the crest. Yeehaw our ponies were most excellent! They both had thoughts of cantering up the steep incline but at our slightest suggestion they dug their hindquarters in for a good slower climb instead.

So how did this make a difference you ask? Well prior to the bushwacking our ponies were plodding along in ho hum style. Like this was BORING them. Really now... boring? After a bit of bushwacking our ponies came back to life and were very interested in EVERYTHING TRAIL. Gotta love it.

The last little piece before we hit the road that leads to my house had this funky style mounting block that both our ponies were quite leary of. We played with it a bit and soon both of them wanted to step on it. Ok time to move on. Next we had a rickety gate with a tight squeeze and then a narrow path along a culvert. Lions and Tigers and Bears Oh My! Once we got to the road Miss Dove kicked in to Overdrive. Welcome my Rockstar!

She had a magnet attached to her nose because EVERY new thing HAD to be sniffed and investigated. Laughing all the way down the road I was. Guard rails- oh gotta sniff that..... big square gray utility covers - oh gotta sniff that.... drain covers- well kinda gotta sniff that.... logs oh SO have to go up and over those. OK 3 of of 4 types ain't bad my friends. My friend Laurie's horse being young wasn't so sure until she saw Dove sail over and around these things. I would have high fived you if you were there I was THAT proud of my pony.

So yes this was a great example that our horses need 80% consistency (same trail to start) and THEN the 20% variety (change it up in the middle or end) will be FUN for ALL!

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