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PerchiesKisses 03-04-2011 09:28 AM

A Super Neat Trail Experience!
Trail riding is such a peaceful and grand experience. I truly believe that everyone should experience trails with a horse at least once. There is something magical and mystical about riding through the snow-covered trails, with big, sky-touching pine trees on either side. There is a certain comfort in having that warm horse beneath you, walking along steadily and surely. And every now and then you have something like what happened to me just this last weekend happen.

My OTTB Nikki and I were guiding a trail ride that was unusually quiet for eight horses. Nikki was ambling along, hardly caring about the world when we crested a hill that leads out into a swamp. Nikki stopped then, and I felt him tense. His ears pricked forward, and while I had been day dreaming up until this point, I looked up with new interest. I was expecting to see a rabbit, or even a fallen tree, or possibly a deer. I was not expecting to see a big gray wolf standing in the middle of the trail.

The wolf stared at us for a moment, and Nikki and I stared back. The wolf was beautiful and so calm that I thought for a moment she must be a stray dog I have never seen a wild wolf before. But as soon as I urged Nikki forward, the wolf ghosted off into the bush, as if she had never been there. No jingling of tags, and we were too far out in the bush for her to be someone's lost pet anyways.

I knew there were wolves in the area. I had seen signs of them last winter, a deer carcass being one of those signs. But to actually see such an elusive animal was breath-taking, to say the least. And she had been there for so short a time that only the person directly behind me had seen her as well.

Nikki blew sharply as I urged him forward again. But he stepped along the path, somewhat haltingly. I'm sure every instinct in his head was screaming at him to turn tail and run, but I whispered softly to him as we passed the spot where the wolf had been standing, and after a moment the tension in his body eased and we continued on with the wolf all but forgotten.

What a beautiful sight for a warm winter day!

Painted Horse 03-04-2011 10:30 AM

I've seen them in the wild a few time when riding around jackson hole and Yelllowstone.

We ride with dogs on many rides, So my horses didn't seem to care about the wolves. They just haven't been educated to what a wild wolf is.

By time I got the camera out and turned it on, The wolves had started to run away, But I did get this photo, The red line points to the wolf.

Salila 03-04-2011 10:37 AM

This is why I love trail riding.

PerchiesKisses 03-04-2011 12:13 PM

Agreed! Trail riding just brings so many unique experiences, and that's awesome you got a picture of it!

smrobs 03-04-2011 12:22 PM

Incredible. Very well written too :D. I would love to see something like a wolf when I was riding but all we have down here are deer and dinky little coyotes.

Gizmo 03-04-2011 01:27 PM

Trail riding is awesome. I would have to say I would be a little nervous if I saw a wolf. But if it just took of I would be ok. What a great horse, that just stands there and trusts you to go forwards after seeing something like that.

bbsmfg3 03-04-2011 04:39 PM

We have had close encounters with wolves, mountain lions, and bears. I believe the bears are the worst we've had.

While riding in the Tetons we had a very close encounter with MR BEAR.

We came within 10 feet of a monster grizzly, he was eating huckleberries and we were riding on his dinner table.
What do you do? You don't run. A bear can reach speed over 40 mph and quick. No, pepper mace doesn't work,
but bear mace does, and we carry it. Put at ten feet if he wanted you, you would not have time to draw your
gun or mace.

Now here comes the tough part. In anticipation of such an encounter, we asked the locals what you do with a
close encounter of this type. Now this is a solo bear, and not one with cubs. Those with cubs you handle differently.
And we have had the momma with cubs episodes also. The locals said if this happens you have to be the aggressor.
The hair is still up on the back of my neck, and I'm thinking be the aggressor, ok, nothing else I can think of right now.
Remember I'm on a 16.3 hd horse and this bear is bigger than we are. So, I turn my horses toward the bear and ask him
to take a couple of steps toward the bear, and I can just hear him thinking "are you sure you want to do this?"
He takes the steps toward the griz and the bear gets down and walks up the mountain. Now who trained who here.
And that is not the end of this story.

We go a short distance down the trail and come up a solo hiker. No gun, no maze, no nothing except he is white
as a sheet, and I'm sure he needs his diaper changed. As it turns out there were two bears at that location,
one on each side of the trail. He said he was sure he was done for. He got down on all fours crawled a short
distance, took a picture and headed down the trail.

We had not gone very far and the wife said "he is trying to catch us". Sure enough he is running full bore
down the trail to catch us. And he says " I'm not going to let the cavalry out of my sight until we get off
of this mountain"

PerchiesKisses 03-04-2011 05:01 PM

Wow... I'm not sure about grizzlies, but I'm quite certain that is one animal I wouldn't want to encounter. We have black bears here, which are much smaller and they can be a neusance on trail rides, but usually they take off when they see the horses. But something bigger than my horse... scary!

QOS 03-04-2011 06:05 PM

wow wee - that must have been a heart stopper - and beautiful. Glad your horse behaved.

We have seen deer, hogs, heard turkeys, seen an eagle, a coyote, a oppossum in a tree during the day - that gave Biscuit a start!!! and loads of pretty little birds and a sick/hurt buzzard.

Trail riding is always a treat and I absolutely love it.

phantomhorse13 03-04-2011 06:58 PM

what a fantastic experience!! thank you for sharing.

where i generally train is surrounded by suburbia, so deer, foxes, and the occasional bald eagle are the most exciting things i see (though i have to say, seeing an eagle is always a thrill).

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