Saturday, September 22, 2012

Goin' for a Trail Ride

Since Cuna does poorly with days off, we are trying a new theory: no days off at all. It seems weird, but he's a stiff horse on a good day. The more days in a row I ride him, the better he is. Even one day off sends him spiraling back to his usual inflexibility and two days off? Heaven forbid. It's like starting all over. In an ideal world, he'd spend his days off prancing in a green pasture with a few old friends, but...

Yeah. He hates turnout. 

Yesterday was non-day-off #1. AKA "slow hacking". This is so far from being something that interests Cuna that it's almost funny. He does NOTHING slowly. Ever. In order to slow my brain down and keep things easy, I brought my phone along to document our fun.

What's it going to do, bite us?

Here's the beginning of the trail. Yes, we are badasses, going right around the 'No Trespassing' sign. (Noted: I think it's for motor vehicles. Horses are allowed.)

We are approaching the 'Angry Birds Tree', the big green thing ahead. It's also the only tree on the trail. Many young, green, or otherwise nervous horses are afraid of it. Cuna is not.

This looks way more fun.

We climb up the hill to the saddle where the trail branches off. Since we have walked this far, Cuna is already bored. If we turn right (pictured), we can go up our favorite long gallop stretch. And not walk. Despite Cuna's enthusiasm for the idea, we continue to the trotting loop. At a walk.

Ok, boring, but we get to trot the uphill.

We wind through the hills and finally start heading down towards the valley. Usually, there are panoramic views of the city spread out below us and all the way to the next mountain range over.

Today, there is smoke. Lots of smoke.

We also usually come across plenty of hikers, bikers, and walkers at this stretch, but pretty much no one is outside in this air. Just us and the lizards.

Not sure why this is complicated

There are certain parts of the trail that I never worry about because I have Cuna (aka 'the most awesome horse in the world') but that my barnmates prefer not to attempt without me. This is one of them. There is a sharp drop off on the left and straight ahead and we have to go on a single track trail around a barb wire fence that is barely standing up. Don't spook is all I have to say about it.

Cuna knows the drill. In fact, it is his mission to prove that a ridiculously long 17 hand horse can make that turn without ever bending his body.

We are not seriously walking all the way up?!

We finally reach the bottom of the trail and turn to go up. This is normally where we let the horses trot and use the hill to build muscle and stamina.

Because it is a "slow hack" day, I make Cuna walk. He is less than amused. Not only am I making him go slow, I am screwing with his routine. NOT OK.

Routines are very important.

Always walk on the wrong side.

The trail goes up from here. Up, up, and up some more.

Into the smoke.

I practice staying in balance up off Cuna's back (ENGAGE CORE. MORE CORE.) while he picks the trail up the mountain.

We do run across a solitary walker. Cuna gives him a single giant bambi eyes look and we move along.

And we're at the top. Cuna looks super cute here, but he's actually really annoyed with me for stopping him yet again to take pictures.

The pictures don't really show it, but his winter coat is just starting to come in. He's at the only fuzzy stage in which I think horses are cute. Hair is just a tiny bit long and so soft and fluffy, but not so thick yet that it's hard to dry them off. :) <3

Fun times.


  1. That's an excellent idea. I honestly think we care more about a "day off" than they do. Heck, most days they get 23 hours off anyway, what more do they need!? :)

  2. Thanks for the ride! I like your wide open spaces.

  3. Pretty jealous of your amazing trails/terrain. Looks like a lovely ride.

  4. UHg glad I'm not home in that awful air, I wonder if it will go away once we get home? NOT! But anyways I am seriously jealous of the amazing trails you have.....

  5. Wow, beautiful. Now I want to come riding with you.

  6. I want to come riding with you, too! Awesome trails!

  7. Love the pictures! You have some beautiful trails :)
    Random question - what type of reins are you using? My friend's reins snapped the other day (rode with one rein all the way home) and I'm looking for brown web reins with buckles. Have any insight?

  8. That looks like a really nice trail. Awesome pictures.

  9. There is nothing wrong with slow trail rides on "off" days. Horses in the wild walks miles upon miles every single day! Movement is a horse's friend. :D Thanks for taking us on the trail ride with you.


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