Nerves versus hope

I haven’t been camping with my horse since last year, and that one…still hurts. I’m scheduled to leave for Quinn Meadows early this Friday, to participate in an Oregon Equestrian Trail’s work party, clearing trails from their winter slumber. I find myself ping ponging between confidence as I build my packing checklists, and deep worry and nerves and what ifs. There’s a lot that could go wrong at any point when a trip is planned, from a busted truck to a lame horse when you go to load them, to accidents to poison ivy to bee stings to wildfires, or worse, loosing Tarma to a stupid mistake. There’s plenty of fun things that could happen as well, clearing trail with my kiddo, riding the wilderness with my girl, plenty of sweat and work and between the ears photos.

I do occasionally get away without the horse

I’m mostly certain that Tarma will be a solid traveler, I’ve been taking her up to my friend’s house once a month and as a previously feral mare, she’s an old hat with the great outdoors. I did start her on Uckele’s Gut support supplement, just as an extra barrier for her system. It will also be the longest haul I’ve ever done and solo (unless you count the 10 year old). I have US Rider and emergency supplies and the hope I won’t need them at any point. I’ve completed another first aid course and printed out maps, and we won’t be alone up there.

Her favorite new trick is “kiss”, always a crowd pleaser

Tarma and I are in a mixed spot right now, so that’s an extra wrinkle. I’ve not had any real hesitation on her while out and about, the one time I came off her on a trail was a genuine spook and bobble, no one’s fault. She’s bold and unphased on the trail, and didn’t throw a hissy fit during our last sodden rides, even when we rode until dark. On the other hand, she bucked me off in the ring (though I now think that could have been saddle fit) and yesterday she decided she’s certain her new fly mask will eat her face. This trip will be a tipping point, either we’ll come through with a stronger agreement that while certain things may be hard, like tolerating cool showers and fly masks, we can manage them in exchange for exploring trails together.

The fly mask hides her existential crisis

Today I’m going to clean out my truck, check my fluids and tires, pack all my camping gear, and hit up Wilco and Walgreens for some extra supplies. Tomorrow I’ll triple check the trailer top to bottom, fill the water tank and bale bag, use my checklists to make sure I don’t forget a critical bit of tack. I don’t yet have doubles of everything (two is one and one is none, as I learned in first aid training), so I have to be extra careful everything makes it into the rig before we head up to the mountains. Here’s to hoping my next post is happy and full of beautiful photos of the trails, enjoyed together as they should be.

Holding Pen in the dumping rain on a hill, while Sabrina curses and hikes down to retrieve lost boots.

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After years of borrowing horses, working to ride and catch riding, I finally have my own horse, a spicy chocolate mare...but also a demanding day job (who doesn't?), a nerdy husband, a soccer loving kid who needs to be parented (by me, duh), and the ultimate trail buddy, a chocolate Labradork!

One thought on “Nerves versus hope

  1. I admire your thoughtfulness and planning preparation in light of your upcoming trip. I share many of your same concerns when I travel with my horses. I understand that feeling of moving between nervousness and hope, all in the same moment sometimes. I hope that even with the stress/nerves, you are able to enjoy your mountain adventure this weekend.

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