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June 18, 2015: Yet another Day on the Trail

Yesterday was not the best riding day ever. During the lesson with Deb, Raudi was intermittently fixated on something at the distance. We presumed that it was Deb neighbor’s horse. She’d raise her head, go stiff, and stare intently off into the distance. My assessment: attentive and occasionally reactive. Was very difficult and a bit embarrassing to deal with. Raudi was the way she was because I was tense, and so she maybe she thought the reason was because of that thing at the distance. Hard to say.

I do believe that arena work makes a horse more reliable on the trail because they learn, in a very controlled environment, how to listen and respond to their rider’s cues. I also believe that

some horses are naturally more responsive in the arena while others are more responsive out on the trail. Raudi is more responsive on the trail. This is partly the way she is, and partly because we’ve spent far more time on the trail than in the arena. I will continue to do arena work with her because I know that this is good for us both. In the meantime. . . .

Today was an incredible trail day. I woke up thinking that perhaps I might do the Grizzly Camp loop, then wavered, thinking that I ought to wait a day or two, and do it with Pete, when he has more time.

We set out for a morning ride at 9 a.m., Pete on Tinni, ponying Hrimmi, me on Raudi, the three dogs following. At the base of Siggi’s Trail, Pete (who had to make it a short ride because he had to go and teach) headed back in the direction of home, and Raudi and I headed in the direction of Grizzly Camp. The dogs then made up their own minds about what to do. Jenna and Ryder followed Pete, Tinni, and Hrimmi, and Rainbow (who was up for an adventure) came with me. I figured that I’d go and check out the loop trail, and if it looked questionable, I’d go up Grizzly Camp hill, come down and then return home.

So off Raudi, Rainbow, and I went. At first it was an easy ride. The trail to the lower loop turnoff was fairly dry. I arrived at the Lower Loop/Grizzly Camp turnoff, and continued. The trail, in very short order, became rutted, swampy, and mucky. I dismounted and had Raudi follow behind me. In minutes, I was picking my way through a very gnarly and unsafe trail. Raudi, unconcerned, walked along and grabbed at grass.

At one point I found myself in a bog. I was surrounded by brush and grass. Which way back to the trail? This was the question that I answered by bumbling along until I stumbled back onto it.

Once on a firm patch, I had to make a decision. I could either go back or continue to go forward. I decided to go forward rather than back because I knew what was behind me, and I did not again want to deal with it. We did eventually come to firm trail ground. The next few hours continued with the trail getting worse, then better, then worse. I walked some, rode some, walked some, and rode some.

Through it all, Raudi remained calm and slow moving. I have always involved her in the decision making process, and with good results. This time was no exception. Two examples: 1. We came to a creek. She could either go through it, or walk part way across on small log rounds. She chose to walk on the rounds, which provided her with a firmer walking surface.

2. We came to a steep embankment with a creek at its base. This embankment made me think of an otter slide. I clambered down it, and then indicated to Raudi that she should do the same. She held her ground and repeatedly looked to the right. I climbed back up next to her. I then saw what she saw – a bridge was to our right. We walked over to it and crossed the creek there.

The corridor trail was trashed. Raudi and I, with me on her most of the time, made our way across very carefully.

We finally arrived at Four Corners, where I then turned right, heading in the direction of the Moose Meadows. This, as opposed to the opposite direction, which headed in the direction of home. I would have headed home, but Raudi and Rainbow headed right, which indicated to me that they were up for yet another adventure. So we did the Moose Meadow trail and then took the Rock Road trail to Yarrow Road.

I rode Raudi a short ways down Yarrow Road, but after a short bit I decided to head back in the direction of home. A pit bull was stalking Rainbow, who fortunately decided to avoid it. A rough area, for sure. The pit bull place had a sign on a post that read “We don’t call 911.”

Ate lunch in a wooded grove.

We three did an about face and took the same trails as previously back to Four Corners. The Moose Meadow trails were spongy, and Raudi and I were both tired so we took it slow. And as always on hot days like this, I walked Raudi up Murphy Road.

Raudi’s reward was a bath. She hates them, and so after, she had a good roll in the dirt in the pen.

Now thinking about my next adventure. Want to do the Rough Grouse Society trail – could make a loop out of it. Always good to have a plan, no matter what. Otherwise, what you want to do remains a dream.

Next: 162. 6/19/15: Between Places

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