Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Adventure's In The Woods on the 4th of July

For the 4th we trailered up to Trudy's place. We loaded up and her and Andy's horse and continued on up to the Litt Creek trail. We headed to the trail head which had the scariest foot-wide patch of mud at the bottom. It was either go through the mud or jump a ditch with pokey sticks. We all at to get down and lead across. Toby (formerly Turbo) went across without too much trouble. Trudy got Sparkles across, Ashley convinced Gypsy across...and then there was Dazzle and me. She would NOT cross. I got back on and tried to get her across mounted. She reared, I spun her in circles, asked again, etc. Finally, Andy came back to help me. I got back down and broke a branch off a limb on the ground. Andy held her lead-rope (which is why you bring them with you when you trail ride) and I whacked her across the butt with the branch until she got annoyed enough she jumped the mud. Such a drama queen.

We headed up the trail. I was told it was not a drop-off trail, nothing too challenging. Yeah right! There was a lot of it where I prayed we would die. Straight down that you'd never survive falling. Every time there was mud we had to leap it, of course, and she would then spaz and try to fall off the cliff. We me it all the way to top alive. We let the horses rest for a long time, then headed over to where there was water. Dazzle wouldn't drink a drop. Gypsy and Toby tanked up, Sparkles took one sip and dazzle ripped pieces of bark off the trough.

It took 3 hours up the mountain and only 1 down. "Down" was less scary for the most part since we'd already survived "up" and since it was steep it was a little easier to keep them walking versus trotting/cantering. This is one of the situations where they really reveal that they're animals and have no sense about things. They don't consider tumbling off the mountain. They would tear up the trail if allowed, even though they would probably end up rolling 2000 ft down the mountainside. Scared the crap out of me.

So, we all made it alive. No one coliced; we did a good job cooling them down. Even Gypsy at 24 with 1 eye and not a lot of trail experience made it the whole way. She was a little stiff right after, but was herself after a night.

Why do I do this when it terrifies me and I spend the whole time asking myself what I was thinking? I guess because riding it what I do to challenge myself mentally, physically, etc. And, if I don't want to get stuck in a nice little circle-the-arena routine, I have to force myself to do what scares me and live through it. Someday, when Dazzle is all trail-savvy and no longer tries to kill us, when we can actually get a certain cow in the right place in the right order, when little kids do lead-line on her and she wins them a bit ribbon, I will be happy I spent so much of our training terrified, frustrated, dripping with sweat, confused, exhausted, and determined to do it again tomorrow.

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