We trailered Flash and Arya over to Brenda's, where she was already mounted up. So we quickly tacked up, Arya's first time wearing a breastcollar, and only second ride in the new girth. Shar tried Goodwin's saddle on Flash, but it didn't fit quite right once she sat in it, so she quickly switched back to his normal saddle, and we set off.
We went down her driveway, past inactive sprinklers and "active" rocks (gasp! if you're Arya). We turned onto the road, and rode on the shoulder. There were a lot of drivers passing us, but they were all polite, and got over when they could, or slowed down. We saw motorcycles, possibly Arya's first time. They're noisier bicycles, and she's already not too sure what she thinks of bikes, so she gave them a good hard side-eye, but didn't spook at all. Good girl!
Soon, though, we crossed the road and headed onto trails. First a bit of singletrack, which was VERY rocky (sharp jagged little lava rock, sometimes embedded as basically part of the ground, sometimes more like gravel), but Arya didn't mind. We have NEW SHOES, including pads! She tromped over grass, sand, gravel, and sharp rocks all the same. Woo hoo! Then we were onto jeep trails, doubletrack and nice smooth, often sandy, footing.
|Same photo basically, but while that one was a better one of the ladies, this one has Arya's ears fully included. :-)|
We wandered around, trotted a little bit but mostly kept it to a walk. I raised the stirrups one notch higher than the last ride, and it felt even better, so I guess I'll keep them at this level for a while. They were kind of short for posting the trot, but longer makes my hips hurt, so oh well. We crossed a road that had JUST been chip sealed and didn't have much traffic, and wandered around some more. Then Cisco started sneezing (clearing his nose) constantly, and we weren't sure whether it was an attitude thing or if he actually physically had something in his nose (he'd been doing it before we arrived, apparently, but eventually stopped). So we turned around to meander our way back.
We saw a huge puddle (we got a BUNCH of rain a few days ago!), so of course I had to make Arya go into it. Well, first I tried to get her into a smaller puddle nearby, but Cisco and Flash were already in the bigger puddle, so she kept veering toward them, and I gave up and just steered her toward the big one. After a couple good sniffs at the water, and the fact that Cisco was pawing and pawing and pawing at the water, plus Flash was just standing in it like a good boy, Arya walked right in (though a bit tentatively). She got a few pats, and the reward of immediately exiting the water then eating grass (which I'd been disallowing the whole ride until then).
Here's Cisco. He enjoyed the water so much his boots flew off, and one of them broke the gaiter.
After the fun in the water (and Shar fetched the boots), we headed back toward home, but with a detour up a bit of a hill. There were some awesome views:
|Black Butte right in the middle|
I took a little video as we rode down from the view point. The mountains were behind the trees, but got Smith Rock, plus the big sky. It's a little bumpy, though, so don't watch if you're prone to motion sickness. :-)
At one point, we rode through a spot where people had dumped some trash. I was blabbing (as I often do in trail rides--I should probably shut up occasionally!), and all of a sudden, Arya spooked sideways a bit at a TV (well, what used to be a TV) alongside the trail. I barely broke my stream of consciousness babble. Woo! I'm proud of myself for not freaking out. Getting more comfortable. :-)
The trail took us right up to the top edge of a big gravel pit, so we stayed a little back from the edge, but it was really REALLY rocky. Arya did great, though, of course--just plodded through it like the whole rest of the ride up to that point. I was talking and talking and blabbing and blabbing to Shar, and we got down off the hill and back to the gate the led back to the road, and we realized Brenda wasn't with us. Oops! We were supposed to be helping her out and sticking right with her, and we abandoned her. Luckily, it turned out she'd hopped off when the footing got rocky, because poor Cisco was now entirely barefoot after having flung his boots off at the puddle. So while we traipsed our shod horses right through the rocks, he was ouching along through them, so she got off to relieve him of the extra weight, and hand walked him down the hill. Oops. We're bad riding buddies. But at least she hadn't fallen off, so Shar helped her get re-mounted and we set off toward home again. Back alongside the road, and up the driveway.
The sprinklers alongside the driveway had come on. I don't think Arya minded the spraying water at all (she has a sprinkler in her pasture), but she was NOT amused by the water dripping from one of the pipes and puddling up at the bottom. I think she worried I'd make her walk through it. Ha! She also gave the side-eye to the rocks again. Mean rocks, just skulking about in random places.
I snapped a photo of our silhouette:
And of the orange ponies and lovely ladies in front of me:
After we untacked, we got to meet Brenda's cute little filly, a little younger but a little bigger than Aschere, and a beautiful buckskin. Can't believe I didn't take any pictures! Oh well. Then we hauled back home, and I got to just leave my tack in the truck since we're hauling to a ride again on Sunday. Supposed to be 18 miles, but we'll see how far we actually get. :-)