The wind was steady at ~21 mph and gusting ~34 mph Friday. Rain was forecasted for the whole day, but even after a lazy morning of pancake eating it hadn't begun. I decided to risk it and head out to try to
|Pancakes with prickly pear syrup|
(what up S. Cali?!)
Q can be jumpy as hell. She has spooked at: butterflies, chipmunks, twigs, cardinals, shadows, piles of snow, piles of earth, gravel, rocks, leaves, trees, buildings - to name a few. I decided that it would be a great exercise to get her out into the woods when the world was blowing around to see if she could handle the chaos.
She wasn't perfect, but she did do pretty well. She didn't know what to be upset about first. Trees blowing? Leaves blowing? Branches waving? Trees creaking? That rock on the ground? The whitecaps on the stream (yeah, seriously windy)? She was tense the whole ride. But she did move forward.
We only did a short 4 miles, but it was enough time for her to calm down. The whole ride was on the haul road, so that really helped to strengthen up those tootsies of hers more. She's 100% sound and free moving at a walk on it. At the trot/canter she doesn't gimp around by any means, but she doesn't move out so freely. She exerts a lot more caution. But she improves daily.
Upon return to the barn, I trimmed up her front hooves up. I tried to put her renegades on, but discovered, oh hey, those feet really need trimmed! I didn't realize quite how far I'd let her toes go until trying those boots on and discovering the poor fit. I was a little surprised and ashamed of myself for letting them get away from me. There was some flaring and her toes needed to be brought back.
I did all of the above, put her foot down and ogled at how much better it looked. I didn't think they'd been very bad before, but damn. THAT looked a lot better (shame be upon me for not taking pictures). Tried the boot on again and presto! perfect fit.
She was standing so nicely in the barn despite the roaring wind so I stopped after finishing her fronts and let her out, vowing to tackle the hinds Monday or Tuesday.
: : : : :
Saturday morning I got out to the barn EARLY - like 7a. - and it was COLD. I was really second-guessing why the hell I wasn't still in my warm bed. I pulled Q from the field (Griffin tried to come, too, his urgings to do something are getting really desperate), brushed her, tacked her, cleaned hooves, booted her, and she, Kenai and I headed out on an exploratory mission.
With full leaf-out about 2 weeks off, its a brilliant time to explore and discover trails. The adjacent ridgeline and slope from where I ride has many trails criss-crossing it that I wanted to try to tackle. Every ridgeline I've ever been on in WV has a trail on it as well, and more than anything I really wanted to traverse the adjacent ridgeline.
|Ominous skies above the haul road|
The three of us wound our way along the haul road (despite Q's numerous attempts to turn home), up through the old hairy section (despite Q's continued attempts to head home), and finally came even with the ridgeline. I trucked Q off-trail and wove through the woods (where Q decided okay, now this is fun), keeping an eye on the topography to keep myself on track to meet the ridgeline.
We passed through the biggest patch of ramps I've yet to discover (*SCORE*) and then the ridge trail appeared. We followed it up and down and I was able to eye up a few other spur trails to explore later. Q was a superstar (again), weaving around crazy stumps and fallen trees, jumping and weaving at the same time, and taking delicate steps to maneuver tricky steeps. I called it quits and turned around when we reached one particularly steep downhill section; Q repeated all of her well-executed maneuvers.
I'd noticed one very well-kept trail downhill on the far side of the ridge from home. We popped down on it for a bit and I followed it long enough to discover that it linked up with another trail system I was familiar with. *SUPERSCORE* I've always loved that other trail system because its so well maintained, but its been such a bitch to get to before now. I was so psyched to find a quicker way to it. Hurrah for more trailage! Super successful exploratory mission - even if it did snow for most of the ride...on April 20.
Q was a pony with a mission on the way home. Both good and highly obnoxious. We clocked 8 something miles in 1h:40m. Not too shabby. Now for several days of rest before the No Frills 30.
Kenai was the best dog ever for the whole ride, too. He stuck right with us. Stayed visible throughout his side explorations. And he didn't chase any deer. I love my puppy. =) Who says huskies can't be off leash dogs?!