Happy Birthday Evil! It sounds like you are going to have a really nice weekend! We are pretty close in age, I turned 24 a few weeks ago - but I still feel like a child most of the time
I have an older dog is who has developed some health problems I have added Apple Cider Vinegar to his diet, (now along with some other supplements and medicine) and I can tell a huge difference. I also put ACV in my shih tzu's water and he has no tear stain on his face any more.
Phanotm - I will try to push some New Mexico sun on towards you! It was 86 and Sunny here today!!
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OK I am so proud and excited I feel like I am going to burst!!! This post is going to be long
and super braggy
but I had an amazing day :) - this is like the opposite of a vent post! I am calling it my "wild hair" post because I got a wild hair for adventure today
My afternoon class was canceled today and while I was supposed "to use the time to work on the final term paper," but instead I heard, "SADDLE UP!!!" (I have until the 25th so it should be ok ;)
I was planning on riding Gus because I have him entered in a barrel race and a pony express race in May, but I have been having such a good time with Roux, I figured what the heck lets try going out alone and see what happens!
I have been working with him on some reining drills from a Monte Roberts book my mom bought me a while back so I did a few of those in the arena first and then rode him out the arena, straight out of the barn and on to the dirt road. Usually I walk him to the gate since the area around the barn can be busy. He was a little stubborn leaving but it wasn't bad.
We first rode down into the bosque, very typical ride for us but Roux was feeling his oats (in a good way) so we trotted and loped for the first 5 or so miles. It is going to be green green green here soon. We only had one issue at this point, there was a log next to the trail, a log we have seen a thousand times but today it was terrifying. Roux wanted to spin but I didn't let him then he got all jiggy walking by it. So I made him turn around and walk past it again and again and then over it. But that was it.
Roux refused the water crossing the first time so I made him to a few circles and then he was compliant about it. Later in the ride I made him go in and out of the water over and over which he did easily. Here is a pic I took, while we were in the water.
So we did the normal route but then for some reason I thought we should try something new. So we went down the trail that leads into town. I was really thirsty so I thought we should ride to the mercantile, there is a first for everything!
A lot of the trails here have gates to prevent cars from going down and next to the gate they have a horse crossing, it is usually a box made of telephone polls and then an extra poll in the middle. It can be a challenging obstacle at first because the polls are too close together so the horse either has to short step in between each or jump the entire deal. Thankfully Roux walked over nicely.
Then we had to cross the road. Its not a highway but it is a very busy road so we had to wait for traffic to clear. He crossed perfectly. There was a horse crossing sign there so I assumed that the dirt road on the other side was a trail or leg to a trail but it dead ended pretty quickly. I decided to take a shortcut through a parking lot (gravel) and Roux pooped in the parking lot
Luckily its sitting vacant right now but still.
I have never ridden on this side of the main road before so I made a few navigation errors. But I found the flood control that hooked up to the west ditch system. We had to cross several more smaller roads so that was good practice. And we got to see all kinds of interesting things: a crow carrying a dead mouse, a dead raccoon, a donkey bigger than roux, sheep, two labradoodles and a bull dog, and one other horse and rider.
From this ditch-bank I had to ride one mile down a residential road to get to the mercantile. Speed limit said 25 mph so I figured it would be ok. There was a shoulder on most of it too. It was trash day so we had to walk past what felt like an endless amount of very scary trash cans, but after the first few Roux was ok with it. There was so much heavy traffic on this road and none of the cars bothered him at all. I can't even convey how many scary thigns this road had on it and Roux was perfect. Mail boxes, trash cans, landscaping, dogs, horses, cars, trucks, trucks with trailers etc. He was amazing.
We had one incident when a couple of young steers charged the fence at us Roux bolted but didn't get too far. What an embarrassing thing for my "ranch horse" to spook at. I have worked cows off of him last fall and he did great.
Then we made it to the mercantile. I hitched Roux to their little hitching post and went inside for a coke. This is a very special treat for me. I gave up all soda in January, since then I had a coke on Valentines Day (as a treat since I don't drink alcohol) and on my birthday. It was delicious, just as I remember. A smile and a coke make you feel goooood!
Here is Roux at the Mercantile, you can see the sign in the background:
Once I downed my delicious beverage it was on the road again. I actually poured some in my hand for Roux to lick and he liked it but it made him sneeze, which was pretty cute. We back tracked to the middle ditch bank to head home. Then I remembered the public arena! The town has this super fancy arena that anyone can use. It has nice fencing and about a dozen stalls around it. They also have barrels and poles!
What the heck, lets go run around for a wile. So I trotted him around the barrels for a while then we loped them a few times and did the polls a few times and worked on fencing (sliding stops). I took a video to see how we looked and pulled a few stills:
Then Roux posed for his ABHA (American Barrel Horse Association) glamor shots, j/k!
There was an adorable little girl watching us so I let her pet Roux before we left. I wasn't quite sure how to get back so I made a few wrong turns but nothing eventful happened. I thought we were further out then we really were though, I asked a lady if her road would take us to the bosque and she said take the trail to the left. So I did and it took us right into llama country!!! At that point Roux either didn't notice, was too tired to care, or knew that home was close because he didn't look twice.
This was our last pic, coming home of his pasture! Today: 12.56 Mile Total: 155.06 Miles
Needles to say I am beyond proud of Roux and myself, but mostly Roux. I asked a lot of him today not just distance wise but with all the things he was exposed to. But something was just telling me that we were in a good place to have a an adventure like this today and I am so glad I trusted my gut!!!