My 2 Mares were stars on Trail today! - Page 261 - The Horse Forum
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post #2601 of 2660 Old 09-05-2019, 11:59 AM
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So happy to see all these fantastic positive updates. You & Fizz make such a great team! I love all the pictures. Amazing!!!
egrogan, knightrider and Knave like this.

Ride more, worry less.
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post #2602 of 2660 Old 09-05-2019, 12:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by egrogan View Post
Yeah, it's all the downhills. We mostly have to walk them, just not strong or balanced enough to trot them consistently, though getting better. And they're steep and I'm a wuss
How are you doing with being able to mount out on trail if necessary?

I ask because to start with, Phin was a disaster downhill. I started getting off and jogging him in hand down hills as I wanted him to find his balance without my added weight. I would jog a few steps and then walks few steps. As he got better at carrying himself without falling on his forehand and rushing, I started increasing the amount I jogged at a time. Then I started doing it under saddle for a few steps on the less steep hills, etc.


Nothing is worse than feeling out of control flailing down a hill!!


There is no joy equal to that found on the back of a horse.
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post #2603 of 2660 Old 09-05-2019, 12:12 PM Thread Starter
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Ooh, love that idea phantomhorse. Mounting on trail is fine. I can definitely do what you're suggesting!

@PoptartShop - Thanks!!
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post #2604 of 2660 Old 09-15-2019, 04:46 PM Thread Starter
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For the past week, lovely husband and I took a roadtrip across New Mexico and Arizona. Neither of us had really been to that part of the country for any significant time, so we left plenty of time open for exploring and stopping at things that seemed interesting, interspersed with a few planned stays and activities.

To borrow from the trail riding thread...
I really wanted to be able to experience the desert on horseback. My husband hadn't been on a horse in close to 15 years, so I sought out a touristy spot that promised to have horses suitable for beginners. Being New Englanders, we were worried about the heat, but our two-hour ride left at 9am so we hoped for the best and lathered up in sunscreen beforehand to avoid frying ourselves. I was so pleased that when we arrived, it was clear the horses were happy and fit (I suppose you never really know with the tourist trail places; you can only tell so much from websites and online reviews). When they brought the first horse out, it was a little QH gelding that I can't imagine was more than 14 hands- and handed him to my 6' tall husband! Last time he rode with me, he was put on a 17+ hand Irish Draught gelding But this little gelding- creatively named "Bay"- took up plenty of leg and they were very comfortable and balanced together.


I was put on a similar bay QH gelding, who had a mysterious "split" in his left ear...and subsequently, was named...wait for it..."Split."



Our horses were able to be ďriddenĒ rather than following nose-to-tail like robots, so that made it a good ride. Our guide was friendly, but mostly left us to enjoy the scenery without a lot of small talk, which was much appreciated.


There was water in the saddle bag and a nice breeze, making it very pleasant. Our ride was primarily walking with some short stretches of trotting; with all the beautiful photo opps and scenery to take in, covering the 4 miles at a nice walk was perfect. Trails took us up and downhill, through deep, sandy dry streambeds, and over flat grassy sections. It was a really special ride, and I was so glad he went with me!










That wouldn't be the last time we saw horses though- they were dotting the landscape throughout our drive.


My favorite photos from our day at the Grand Canyon?? Possibly these two beauties who were just lounging around along the route to the park.





To be continued...
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post #2605 of 2660 Old 09-15-2019, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
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Both states were breathtaking, but we felt a particular affinity for New Mexico, between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Our home-base there was a beautiful working lavender farm, where we had a cozy room with a patio looking out over the lavender and a green chile field roasting fresh picked chiles just beyond it. I can't describe how intoxicating the smells were! The working farm gave us fun moments watching the antics of the resident guinea hens and peacocks, delicious meals made from their own produce, and dreamy strolls around the gardens in the evening. Really the stuff tourism commercials are made of!










We took advantage of many state and federal parks, hiking to petroglyphs high up on a mesa and archeological digs at a pueblo, and also enjoyed a vibrant arts festival and very memorable folk art museum in Sante Fe.








Driving to and from the "attractions" was just as beautiful as the destinations themselves...








And on to Arizona...
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post #2606 of 2660 Old 09-15-2019, 05:18 PM Thread Starter
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When we got to Arizona, we were surrounded by cacti, just like @bsms always tells us about! I have to admit, the image I had created in my mind was shaped heavily by bsms' description of his rides, and I definitely gained a new appreciation of what his rides are like just from hiking around ourselves!

On September 11th, we were on a long driving day, and on a bit of a whim, we headed well out of our way to see Saguaro National Park- since it was nearly 100*F and we got there in the middle of the afternoon, we had the park nearly to ourselves. That was a very spiritual experience, to be in such a moving place on such a significant day.






From there, we stayed at a delightful AirbNb in downtown Phoenix- the apartment was a little carriage shed behind a turn-of-the-century craftsman house, which the owner had lovingly restored, including with a backyard chicken coop surrounded by desert-appropriate landscaping to give them shade and cover. The apartment had a nice kitchen, so while we had enjoyed sampling tacos for lunch every day along our route, it was also nice to be able to cook some simple meals (and share our leftovers with the chickies!)

We couldn't miss the Grand Canyon while there, and it didn't disappoint. Some "must do" tourist attractions end up being a big letdown, but certainly not this. Of course, pictures can't capture its power and vastness, so we tried to drink it all in while standing along the rim.








What a trip- I will end the photos there, knowing that we will be back! Hopefully, at a time of year when it's a little cooler...
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post #2607 of 2660 Old 09-15-2019, 08:28 PM
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Sounds like a great trip! How fun you two could ride horses together in that environment. That is also the time when my husband rides with me, when we are traveling. The horse your husband is on looks pretty sturdy and able to carry a larger rider.

The pictures are amazing and show how beautiful the desert is. I don't think I could deal with the heat all the time, but I like to visit. We've been to all the southern states but haven't yet seen those giant cacti.

We also saw the Grand Canyon for the first time a couple of years ago. Just incredible. It always makes me laugh if you read reviews on Trip Advisor, at places like the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone there are people who say "overrated," like it's some bad movie someone made rather than one of the great wonders of the world.

Travel is the best! The only hard part is leaving the pets...
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post #2608 of 2660 Old 09-15-2019, 09:54 PM
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Wish I'd known you were visiting Saguaro National Park. We live 25 miles away. Even now I can drive to the entrance and only hit one stoplight. I grew up 7 miles west of the east park. Used to ride my bicycle there regularly. It was free for bicyclists back then and I rode around the loop many times. There is a place you can picnic just off of the loop, and the trail that climbs out of there is where this picture was taken:


My favorite description came from a book written in the 60s. The author said walking between all the saguaros was like intruding in a 200 year long cocktail party, where the guests had many arms and barely noticed the very brief intrusions of the little people at their ankles.

In this picture, Bandit is pointed at the Rincon Mountains in the east section of Saguaro National Park. The peaks are over 8'000 feet and are pine forests. I've never climbed all the way up.


It isn't a friendly land. It isn't inviting. It is brutal and harsh. And I love it. We want to move further north for a variety of reasons, probably to an area a couple of hours drive from the Grand Canyon. But I think the Sonoran Desert, harsh as it is, will always be my spiritual home. When we first came out here in 1969, I felt like I had arrived home. I've traveled much of the world without ever feeling that deep of a connection elsewhere. And I cannot explain why. It just is.

Riders ask "How?" Horsemen ask "Why?"
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post #2609 of 2660 Old 09-15-2019, 10:59 PM
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Oh it is too bad you didnít know! It would have been fun to visit each other I think.

The pictures are absolutely beautiful and it sounds like such a fun trip. I never have ridden tourist horses. I considered it in Mexico, but the horses looked very put upon and like they might simply die right there, so I didnít figure Iíd burden them more.

Iíve rarely traveled. Most of my life has been lived on the same street working the same ranch and farms with the same people. I do love it. It will always be my home. However, I can imagine the feeling you had @bsms .

This is funny, but my pastor visits Uganda each year for a conference, and he shows slides with photos at church when he returns. There are villages he visits during his stay. The pictures feel like a memory to me. It feels like he is showing me my home and I feel homesick for it. I try to wrap my mind around the feeling each year. Iíve never seen anything like it in my life, but my brain tries to tell me it is a memory and I need to return. Like I am missing something and I forgot it and it is very important.

It is stupid really, but I think I know the feeling.

Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you? - Balaamís Donkey
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post #2610 of 2660 Old 09-16-2019, 12:06 AM
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That is interesting. I wonder if everyone has a "home" place, even if they've never been there yet. The place they feel the most in tune with.
I believe for me it is the OR coast, but when there are too many people it throws it out of whack. The home feeling lessens.
But sometimes I wonder if there is somewhere else out there too...it's one reason to keep traveling.
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