Bill and Juanita, owners of Allenspark Lodge B&B, are living their dream...

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Aborted Ride

This week's training ride was a much more strenuous version:  ride up the St. Vrain Trail to above timberline, cross over some marshy area following cairns and come back down the Rock Creek Trail; about a 6 - 6.5 hr. ride overall on some tough terrain.

We had only gone about 4 blocks when we found some new construction in the neighborhood, being masterminded by a tractor-monster.  All three horses passed it quietly, but when Bill wanted to go back for pictures, Ranger had other things in mind; you can sneak past something the first time, but you don't go back and challenge it (R's version).
Of course, we have to pass the llama farm on this road, so we stopped to say hello to our friends.  We left when one of them looked like it was going to spit at us.  There were seven total, this time.  I thing they were just as curious about Ranger's ears.
Llama, llama.....ears!  See a resemblance, Ranger?

Once you get to the National Forest signs along a dirt road (1.75 mi from us), you have an option of continuing along the road or short-cutting on a trail through the woods - a no-brainer for us:  the trail.
This one does not ever get much use, so we expected to encounter a lot of underbrush, which would be good practice for me.  I was riding Washoe and towing Jesse.  (GunDiva wasn't able to make this week's ride.)  Washoe needs lots of direction, and fortunately, Jesse needs none so I figured I could turn her loose if need be and Bill would pick her up as he came up from behind.  It didn't take long to get challenging; less than 100 yards in we came to this ....
yeah, taller than me and my horses.  So we detoured up and around ...
Guiding Washoe over this stuff with neck reining one handed can be a challenge in itself, but thankfully Jesse can pick through on her own ...
... and back down the other side ...
Hey, who put this branch over head?
Riding in our country isn't just horse exercise; you had better be ready to do a little dodging, too.
We finally get to ride the actual trail for a ways, cross the stream (no water, though, boohoo), and head up the other side.  Cavaletti, anyone?
.... and more ....
I'm thankful the Mustangs are so agile; they step over and through these things that people tell us horses can't do without breaking a leg.
The whole hill was this way, but we finally top out and head for the road again.
Finally, NICE, maintained trail.
We thought we were now in for a quiet, peaceful ride.  Little did we know this trail would soon turn into "devil" trail.  It soon started getting quite rough with rocks.  At a loss for pictures here; too hard to navigate and handle a camera too.
The horses started getting peeved because we had passed quite a few good picnic spots, according to Ranger, the trail was getting considerably narrower and the rocks were SHARP!
Our guys are barefoot.  I've often thought of trying boots, but usually we just avoid much of this stuff, so when our guys say, "I don't want to do this any more," we listen, so we took stock of the trail and the weather moving in, decided we were only 2/3 of the way to the top and didn't know what the other trail would be like (usually worse than this one), and saw a storm moving towards us.  We decided it would be best to not be on these rocks when slippery, even barefoot!  So ... we aborted.  Sad.

The horses were much happier about heading down; they didn't even want to stop at the picnic spot, but we did anyway.  We all needed a bit of a rest.  Unfortunately, there wasn't much graze, but Beel shared his apple and they each got their own granola bar.
Notice the ears; this is what our horses do when they see or hear a plastic bag.
Ranger took his turn with Jesse following on the trip down.

So, we finally got down and headed for home.  Seems as if the workout was a bit stressful for Washoe; he was one tired pony.  It was only maybe 1.5 - 2 miles each way on the 'real' trail, but it was tough having to pick every foot fall.  Add the almost 2 miles each way to get to the trail head and it was a good 3 hour ride.
When we got down, I switched to Jess to give Washoe's feet a break.  I don't want him too sore for the big rides coming up in a couple weeks.
I realize I am pretty spoiled.  Hop off one horse and hop on the other, bareback and no head gear but her halter.  I certainly felt 'over-dressed' in my chaps and all!
Almost home.  Now all we have to do is pass the tractor-monster ....
... who seems to be sleeping ... and just as curious.

It was a good training ride, even if it didn't follow 'the plan'.
Bionic Cowgirl


  1. Great pictures - I felt like I was right there with you!

  2. Funny how those "easy" rides can turn on you! The trail itself looks like it deserves another try sometime, when those Aspen turn gold?

  3. Now that we have finished our hike, I am getting into the riding mode again. You are inspiring me. Nice horses you have.

  4. Oh my Lord... all those trees and rocks! Those mustangs are awesome in those conditions!


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