Sunday, October 21, 2012

Can You Find Them?

Mom, Rachel, and I went out on a girls' only ride on Saturday and we ran across four big horn sheep and two mule deer.  My camera isn't very good, so we'll play a game of "Can You Find Them?".
(You'll probably have to bigger-fy the pictures to even have a chance of seeing them.)

It was a great day for a ride, with great company, and amazing views.  I'm pretty sure that Rachel's a wildlife magnet.  I hadn't seen any of the sheep in a couple of years, and rarely do I see any deer.  She comes in from Washington, and suddenly we're tripping over

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


With special company coming later in the week,
I decided to go through Estes Park.
The mountains are stunning with snow.

By the time I got to the Lodge,
clouds were building.

Luckily, the sun stayed out long enough for a nice ride.

Looking to the east, it's absolutely beautiful.
I tried to forget what was building behind us in the west.

I let Her Highness decide where we were going today.

She chose up.
And off the trail.

But she found a pretty place to stop and look.

Looking west on our way home,
the clouds started moving our way.

Not sure if there's rain or snow in those clouds.
No matter, it meant extra hay for Her Highness tonight - just in case.

Maybe rain.
Maybe snow.
Probably rain.

Estes: Mom, can I come in for a treat?
GunDiva: Not today.  I hooked up your lead rope.  You can come in for a visit
when our special guests are here later this week.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Just Me and My Mare

Her Highness and I went out today for a leisurely ride all by ourselves.  I know you're always supposed to trail ride with a partner, but I have to tell you, there's nothing quite like being out on the mountain alone.

I love riding with Mom and Bill. Love, love, love it. But I also love going out on my own.

Since the season is over, the trails are quiet.  I'm pretty certain that we were the only ones on the mountain today.  I didn't hear or see anyone else, not even hunters.  Which is good, because I forgot to put my orange on.  We just meandered around - it didn't feel like we were gone very long, but we were gong long enough that Autobot and Kyzzer got worried.  They thought we were just going around Ski Road - they were pretty relieved when we wandered back home an hour and a half later.

Besides being so peaceful, it's a great tune-up.  Going out by yourself requires you to communicate with your horse - there is no doubt about who your horse is responding to.  If you have a more dominant horse with you out on the trails, your horse might be responding to the dominant horse instead of you.  If your horse is the dominant one out on the trail, it has more to focus on than just you.

Ida does something with her horses that I don't believe a lot of people do.  When her horses are young, just a couple of years old, she turns them out by themselves for a few months.  When I say by themselves, I mean, alone.  No other herdmates.  They run "wild" with no one to depend on.  I know it sounds horrible, awful and mean.  However, it instills her horses with a sense of independence and confidence that is unmatched.

Mom and Bill took their horses on vacation - Estes was left behind and she didn't care.  She's absolutely relaxed being by herself.  She earned that confidence when she was young - it was an amazing gift that Ida gave her.

In fact, Estes is so relaxed by herself that she could give a damn if I'm there or not.  The only time she looked stressed at all today was when I took her out of the pen and tied her to the rail.  She was pretty certain that the rest of her herd has been magically tied to the hitch rail for the past week, so when we got to the rail and her herd wasn't there, she bitched me out a little bit.  After a couple of good bellows, she calmed down.

The damn livery had our gates and the access trail blocked (again), so we had to ride up through town to get to the highway.  Estes took the change in stride, and marched on out.  Once we hit the switchback, she called for the herd once or twice and then gave up once she realized we were alone.

Then she kicked back and we just meandered.  It was awesome.  I love that she is confident enough to go out by herself and wander with me.  I think we'll need to do it more often next summer, if she's up to it.

Estes is a fairly aloof horse, she doesn't cuddle much, not like some horses I know.  She'll show affection to people she knows, but she's not a cuddle bug.  Because of this, I was pleasantly surprised with the really long, big hug she gave me when we got back from our ride.  She'll tolerate hugs from me.  On ocassion, she'll even relax enough to rest her head on my back.  Even rarer, she'll wrap her neck around my shoulder and give a hug.  Today, I got one of those lovely hugs.

Of course, she might have been looking for treats.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

How To Make Me Happy

Say fabulous, wonderful things like, "Don't worry, Estes is amazing, she does whatever GunDiva asks her to".

Boy, have we got College Boy fooled, but it was a nice compliment anyway and it made me all proud and smiley.

On Sunday, Compass decided to have a photographer/videographer come out and take some promotional shots for her website/facebook page.  Estes and I just tagged along behind everyone else, not really a part of the ride (especially since I was bareback and they don't really offer bareback rides to guests), but helping out where we could.

One of the areas we were able to help was with ponying the photog's horse while he was moving spots and setting up shots.  He had his camera set up and wanted to take some video of the horses' hooves as they crossed what little water we have.  He asked us to take the horses back and forth across the creek a couple of times "if it wasn't any problem".

That's when College Boy piped up and bragged on my horse for me.

Yep.  It still makes me smile that someone else thinks my horse is perfect, too.