Thursday, July 9, 2015

Tumalo Reservoir Ride

Originally, Shar was going to have to work on Sunday, but sometime Saturday she messaged me to say she was free after all, and did I want to go riding?  Um, duh!  She said she was thinking Smith Rock.  That ride has a couple water crossings, and the last few miles have frequent access for the horses to drink out of the river as well, but it also has quite a few miles of road/trail that have ZERO shade and no water access and would just be hot, hot, hot on a day like we've been having lately.  So when I got to her house, she said she was re-thinking that plan, and I said that wasn't a bad idea.  She had her book out of local horse trails, and we discussed going back to Paulina.  That sounded like a good plan.  Almost entirely forested, and lots of opportunities for the horses to drink (and for us to cool of if we chose).  So we settled on that.

In the meantime, my son reminded me I still had the bike helmet we'd just bought him in the trunk of my car (which was with me at Shar's house), and he'd been planning to ride to a friend's house.  So since we were now planning to go back that direction, I asked Shar if she minded picking me up halfway to Paulina.  I'd swing by my house to drop the helmet off, and meet her in a large parking lot where I'd leave my car for the day and ride the rest of the way with her.  That was fine, so the plan was settled.  We loaded the horses and set off in our separate cars.

However, by the time I we met up in the parking lot, she had another idea.  The Tumalo Reservoir area had shade and canals/ponds, too, and was MUCH closer.  In fact, it was like five minutes from where we were.  Works for me!  We got there, unloaded, and tacked up fairly quickly.

We set off down the gravel road to seek out the shade (instead of riding alongside the reservoir itself which of course doesn't have shade).  Right away, we encountered a wooden bridge.  Arya was tucked right behind Flash, and he actually balked at crossing it a little bit, but once he tromped across, Arya followed right on his heels.  She was a little weird about first going in between the "tracks" meant for tires, then up onto them, but whatever.  She was on high alert mode, but didn't freak out.  Good girl!

We hit the trail that parallels the road, and soon turned left to head toward the canals and pond and such.  Both of us have ridden those trails a bunch, though never together, and neither of us had been there in years.  What neither of us knew is that in the intervening years (well, actually rather recently apparently), they'd been logging the area.  So what we remembered as being somewhat forested turning into even more forested was now clearcut with a few standing junipers.  We hoped the more forested area right near the canals still was!

We traipsed through the area on newly-created (and probably prior-existing as well) roads, past stacks of logs and piles of brush, and the horses were a little more alert than usual, but not overly so.  Well, Flash spooked at a butterfly or two, but that's Flash.  :-)  I was less nervous than last time, which helped, too.  :-)

Luckily, when we got near the pond, the forest did, indeed, remain intact, so we finally had SHADE.  We crossed one of the shallower water crossings in the area, but it's still deeper than the ones at the Metolius.  Arya's getting much better about crossings--she still takes a sniff or two (and sometimes a sip) at the water before stepping into it, but does so willingly once given the chance.  Yay!

Next on the agenda--another bridge.  This one was smaller (both width and length) than the other one, and concrete/dirt instead of hollow-sounding wood, but it was scarier to Arya because it had water RUSHING under it!  Flash traipsed right across it in front of her.  She paused a second to consider her options, decided to follow Flash, but wanted to really hurry across (and away!) from it.  I held her back, but she was definitely worried about that rushing water sound.

We followed along the canal.  We'd come to a spot for crossing it, and debate which side was shadier, and cross when it was to our advantage.  Those crossings are quite a bit deeper than the first one, and Shar's feet and saddle got really wet.  I'm not sure the water even touched Arya's belly, and my feet only got a bit wet.  I'm not sure she knew what hit her, having to wade through water that deep.

I asked Shar if she wanted to rely on my memory to try to get to some pretty trails that go through a little gully then come back out near the pond again, and she said sure.  We started down one, and just as I warned that there was a creek so narrow Arya might try to jump it, we came to the creek, but there was also a tree laying across the trail.  Too high to step over, to low to go under, and too boggy around it to go around.  So we went back to the canal trail and wound around some more.  The area started looking entirely UNfamiliar to me, but we both knew where we were in relation to the pond and (more importantly) the trailer, so no worries.  We just meandered around, sometimes off trail, sometimes on a trail.  Eventually we found our way to where I knew where we were again.  We'd missed the prettiest section of trail, but got onto the trail eventual.  But not before Arya jumped over a pipe laying in a ditch that she could've easily stepped over.  Sigh.

We did still get to ride a pretty section of trail, and Arya led the whole way.  Completely new-to-her trail, and she marched out (pretty forward-like since we were headed toward the trailer) with bravery, though her eyes and ears were on high alert for any danger.  Like stumps or logs.

We arrived back at the pond area, and had to cross over the same dirt bridge.  Arya once again would have rather bolted in the opposite direction from the rushing water than approach it, but once ON the bridge, was more than happy to step off the other side and get away from that noisy water.

We decided to pull their tack off and let them drink and wade and play in the water for a bit, like we'd done at the Metolius a couple days prior.  This time, though, we'd planned ahead and both brought sandals to wear for wading so our tennies didn't get wet and soggy and we didn't have to wade in barefoot.

So we walked the horses on in and took a seat on a rock at the edge of the water.  Arya was pawing at the water occasionally, which she'd done under saddle and which worried me that she might try to roll.  But now that she was "naked," I wouldn't have minded (much!) if she flopped right over in the water, so I just let her paw and paw, curious if she would roll or not.  She never did, so I'll have a LITTLE more confidence when riding her in water that pawing won't necessarily mean I'll end up pinned under her and underwater.

We hung out there for about half an hour again, I suppose.  Shar even got on Flash bareback for a couple steps before remembering why she doesn't ride him bareback--he's BONY!  We tacked our horses back up, and mounted back up (but stayed in our sandals rather than trying to jam wet and/or dirty feet back into socks and shoes--we mounted from the river so we could rinse off just prior).  We set off for the clearcut back toward the trailer.  This time the lack of shade wasn't QUITE as bad, though my water supply was running low (I was NOT willing to drink the canal water like I'd drank the Metolius water!).

We did some trotting, and right after we first started trotting, I heard a whooshing noise and realized my wide add-on brim had come right off my helmet.  Luckily it didn't spook either of the horses as it flew and landed, so Shar hopped off (Flash is a bit shorter than Arya, so easier to get back on) and handed it back to me.  Oops.

As we approached the wooden bridge, Arya and I were leading our little two-horse parade, so I mentioned to Shar that I was curious whether she'd stay in the lead across the bridge or stop dead and "ask" Flash to lead.  I was fine either way, but curious to see her reaction.  We got right up to the bridge, and her ears were on alert to the fact that this wasn't a normal roadway, but she willingly stepped right on without even changing her cadence.  One, two footfalls on the bridge.  Then the funny hollow sound registered to her little walnut brain and she FREAKED.  She started to shoot forward, but between the surprise change in momentum and kneejerk reaction, I yanked on the reins.  So she planted her feet.  So now she had just heard "clomp clomp [first couple steps] clatterclatter [starting to spook] THUNK [stopping dead in her tracks]," and she thought that was a pretty weird sequence of sounds, and almost spooked/bolted again, but thought better of it.  Shar had been gazing off at the lovely views elsewhere so only heard the same sequence of sounds and hadn't seen what happened (even though we were in front of her), but I assured her we were fine.  I took a deep breath, urged Arya on, and she continued across the bridge wary but calm-ish, still in the lead.  GOOD girl!  She got lots of praise and pats for that!  (I'd forgotten to bring any food-related treats.)

We continued toward the trailer and then, to the horse's consternation, I'm sure, continued right on past it.  Always good to reinforce that trailer doesn't always mean we're done for the day.  We rode across the paved one-lane bridge, stopping in the middle for photos.  This one doesn't make a funky sound (no different than the roadway, anyway), but it's a lot longer and higher off the ground.  Arya wasn't too sure what to think, but with her buddy right there, she's pretty brave.  Flash was kind of acting up a bit, though, so Shar borrowed my whip to remind him that when she says "go," she means it.

She took a few photos from the bridge.  Once again, all photos courtesy of Shar.  My phone got an update that canceled on "feature" from the last update I hated, so I'll have to try taking photos while tracking again soon to see if it doesn't disable the tracking.

Ack!  This one makes me dizzy just looking at it!

Beautiful views!

Good pony!

We did head back to the trailer after that, much to the ponies' delight, I'm sure.  We untacked and loaded them up, then headed to Kirstin's house, since she lives nearby and said she didn't mind.  We sat around chatting with her and her kids.  We mentioned that Shar and I were thinking of getting sushi, and Kirstin said that sounded good, then right then got a text from her relatives that were in town but staying elsewhere that THEY were thinking of sushi, so we made a reservation for 13 (!!) and unloaded the horses into a spare paddock area and gave them some water.  The frolicked for a little bit, which was fun to see.  I've seen Arya cantering along after the other horses in her pasture, but never really seen her bucking and playing like she did at Kirstin's.  Aww...

I actually swung by my house to pick Nathan up since he loves sushi and this was actually a kids-invited outing (I've lately just been picking some up to go when I go with friends and Nathan's at home, rather than bringing him to a boring night of girl and horse talk).  We all had a lovely time, capped off by frozen yogurt.  And the best part (for me) was that Shar was willing to haul the horses home and put them away, so I only had a mile or so to drive home.  Sweet!

Next up, Bandit Springs ride weekend.  Gonna ride at least 10 miles, maybe more...

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