Shar rounded up someone else to ride with us, and we met at the trailhead. Poor ponies had to get out of the warm blankets and into cold tack. Arya was lucky--my saddle, pad, etc. had been in the cab of the truck with us, so it was warm-ish.
I got her all tacked up and went to the truck to get my water bottle to put in my saddle bag, and the truck was locked. Um, Shar? You totally have the keys, right? Nope, they were in the truck. Luckily, her husband was working nearby and knew how to "break" into the truck (without breaking anything). He offered to do that while we were out riding, even, so it didn't hold us back. Aw!! (He's getting a gift card for his troubles from me, because it got locked while I was hauling my saddle out, and I'm the one who shut the door without thinking. Oh, and he was able to "lock" the keys into the tack area of the trailer, which doesn't actually lock, but would appear so to random passersby, so it was a safe enough fix).
Since I usually lunge her before riding, I tried to replicate that a bit at the trailhead while Shar was talking to her husband. I just turned her in a few circles each way on the lead rope. She actually seemed pretty "tuned in" even though we haven't ridden away from "home" in a few weeks, and it was snowy. No threats to buck or anything. Good girl!
I debated whether to lead her across and along the very snow-packed road to the actual trailhead (as our friend Kristen was doing) or get on and ride there (since I need help to mount, and we had a mounting block at the trailer, and the trailhead would be a little iffier). I opted for the latter, and she did just fine on the hard packed snow. Shar also got on, and could feel Flash slipping, but Arya's barefoot, and she didn't slip.
Until we got through the gate (thanks, Kristen!) and started down the dirt road with snow on top. Apparently the dirt road had been more water than dirt either before the snow or had melted and refrozen since, as it was VERY slick. So we quickly moved our ride off the trail/road and onto the looser dirt beside the trail.
The rest of the ride was fairly uneventful. I realized that the saddle I've been riding in for quite a few rides (this was my seventh) had uneven stirrups. It HAS been driving me nuts in a few different ways--right hip a little sore, hard to get the stirrup straight on my foot, etc. But apparently it took me until today to realize the stirrup was actually higher. I'm an idiot. Kristen helped me let it down a notch (hard to get the leverage on a western saddle while mounted, and I can't mount back up without a mounting block). And we stopped for a photo op:
|See, I was TRYING to take a picture!|
|Ooh, a picture OF me and Arya!|