Ten feet tall

I am so proud today! Flash, Cyrus and I did five and a half miles solo at Hardy Creek this morning and everything went smoothly. I have ridden at Hardy extensively in the past but Flash has only been there once a year ago. We did most of the ride on a loose rein while I sang camp songs and a few “Hamilton” tracks to keep the tempo.

The bridge is the same color as my horse!
Cyrus enjoying his treat and water break at Annie’s Cabin.
These are my favorite cantle bags, from Stowaway, they hold so much with little bounce.

It was a fairly busy day and Flash was pretty dang good, no spooks and only a few mild opinions. The trails were beautiful and green and Cyrus even found some mud.

His trail manners are just the best; even off leash he never approached all the other dogs we passed and he sticks right with us. My favorite part of Hardy Creek are all the singletrack trails, and I’m happy to report we didn’t run into any wasps or hornets, always a concern this time of year.

Fun singletrack trail
Happy Cyrus!
Busy ears, sound really carries up this canyon

Ten feet tall and moving down trail with a happy dog and a pretty Palamino and life is good!

I walk down the big hill to the trailer, I ride up it at the start though!
Pretty Blondie!
Luckiest girl with her very own rig!

Fun with Flash

Another long hot day so instead of saddling up and working on the basics, I hauled myself up bareback with a pocketful of treats. One of Flash’s favorite things is treats, so tonight we played soccer and worked on teaching him “push” (with his nose), “kick” (with his legs), and tonight we added “chase”. Soccer is one of his favorite games so it’s always a blast to play with him this way. I also worked on rewarding Cyrus for sticking with us, he’s always so good but he’s tagging along for his first trail ride in months tomorrow and it never hurts to reward the basics.

His stockings are so handsome!
Only dusty video captures but still fun
Still a bit shocked he picked this up so quickly

I was just in time for a gorgeous sunset too… although they are already coming too early…

Stunning colors
Love this farm
Naughty pony eats the sunflowers!

Bluebird Day

I received hard news from my boss on Friday: a coworker, a senior manager I supported and was mentoring me a bit, was found dead in her home.

For this and various other reasons, I desperately needed a good day, a smooth day when I didn’t have to worry about a million things and everything just moved…easily.

Today delivered and I seriously lucked out in every way. Truck and trailer are both roadworthy, sealed, organized and basically as good as they get. Flash loaded more or less willingly (I’ve mostly accepted that he’ll load cause he’s a good guy and not because trailering is fun or neutral for him), and I got zero traffic up to Washington.

I had managed to snag a mid Monday lesson with a new trainer, Rebekah L., And boy both she and the facility she trains out of were definitely worth the drive! The sun was shining and it was warm enough for Kade and I to have a picnic lunch in the grass while we relaxed from the drive.

Rebekah is the first new trainer I’ve introduced myself to in years, and this time with my own horse! My main goal for the spring is to get Flash and I to a solid, well matched place, so we can pick up from there when I come back from pregnancy recovery in August. Might as well make the most of our arena time while we’re stuck there, and today’s outdoor arena was just… breathtaking. I don’t go for hyperbole much, but the sun was shining, the views of the hills were beautiful, and the footing was fantastic. I just wish it were a tad bit closer and we’d be there all the time!

Flash trailered well, relaxed while we waited and I tacked fuzzbutt up, and only called once to the horses all around him. He had a few opinions under saddle, but nothing to budge even my out of fitness butt. Rebekah gave me one main pointer that I was desperately needing-carry your hands! Huh, so that’s why I lurch forward at the posting trot, my hands were way too low!

Flash and I have tons of work to do, but there’s a well trained, happy partner under his blonde, cookie hogging exterior and I’m more excited than ever to bring it out. Good boy Flash, very good boy 🙂

A new exercise

Today when I arrived at the barn, someone had left a grid of poles laid out that I was immediately excited to try. Due to various reasons (being pregnant, super busy at work, and the occasional winter doldrums) I haven’t been riding Flash consistently. I brought him home in August and before that he was pretty much a trail horse, but under that cookie seeking exterior is a well trained horse.

We’re back to basics while we’re stuck in the arena, mostly while we really learn each other and build fitness (I won’t really get to keep it but hopefully he will!) Since part of my “be safer while pregnant” agreement is nixing trail rides, the arena is what I get so I’m trying to make the most of it. I’m also half contemplating previously unfathomable ideas like a low key local w/t/maybe canter schooling show. Me, show???? I haven’t bothered to do that since Pony Club!

Blondie thought he was done when I dismounted…🤣

So here’s our attempt at this serpentine grid, and side passing down a pole, serenaded by frogs, coyotes and restless children 🤣

A Small Step

As I mentioned earlier, I love bike riding. It is, for me, the perfect combination of workout and reward. My calves and thighs are almost rocks, I get to see quite a bit more via wheels than my own feet, and I get a much larger sense of accomplishment from a bike ride than anything else (other than literally any horse related pursuit, obviously). I’ve been focusing on stretching out my tiny comfort zone bubble via bike this year; I started bike commuting in the middle of our January freeze, and more or less kept that up for the year; I’m discovering some new routes around my town; and I’m considering an easy bike camping route later in the fall, when the smoke dies down and things aren’t so…firey.

(I just had a random thought: generally, our vehicles earn names ie, my truck is the Emerald Queen; I’ve been biking on my Gary Fisher birthday bike for 8 months now, and it’s still just “Gary”…weird).

bikedress

On Sunday, I’m jumping into an organized bike ride, something I’ve never done before; The Tour de Lab is basically a bar crawl, via bike, in the morning, through inner Portland neighborhoods that I’m mostly familiar with. I’m not ready for the elevation change of the 40 mile ride (at least at any speed faster than basically walking) so I’m doing the 15 mile ride, which I know is well within my abilities…except for the 2000 odd other people I’ll have to deal with!

Thank you Tom for encouraging me to do this, will you help me tune up my bike tonight? I can’t wait to earn some puppy ears and finish line booze and hot dogs!

bike

To climb a mountain

I know there are a ton of things on my mind, what with house hunting (and the first of what my grandmother has informed me will probably be about 10 happy couple fights re said house search), the money pressures, Kade’s time in kindergarten looming, job hunting, the massive project at my current job, losing weight/getting fitter (20 pounds down and oh the awesomeness!) plus all the other assorted life debris, like my complete inability to transfer clean laundry from baskets to closets…(in my defense, the internet was down last night and it’s a proven fact that putting laundry away without a TV show is just unusual punishment).

But all this is happily fading into the background even as I type this, as I keep double checking the Evernote (my newest attempt to be a ‘seize it all mom’ type) note labeled “Mt. Adams Ride 2016.” Originally I was just heading up the mountain this week to volunteer, label a few horse butts with grease paint and follow my friends around and eat their food, like I did at Coyote Ridge. I was also hoping that through sheer dint of his cuteness factor and hanging around such a jaw droopingly beautiful ride camp, that the short blonde one would be one step closer to being comfortable with horse lessons next spring.
So why am I obsessing over my packing list more than usual and dropping the kiddo off at school before heading up alone tomorrow? It’s all Jala’s fault, really. She dared me to see if I could find a horse to actually ride on LD. She twisted my arm and just to placate the short, scary woman I posted on the PNER Facebook page…and about 20 minutes later I was offered Andrea’s second horse Shadow to buddy with her on the LD. It will be my first endurance ride since I RO pulled two years ago at Grizzly due to my inability to make peace with such a pesky thing as heat exhaustion (which according to the forecast won’t be a problem at this ride, instead staying dry will be!)

Even though I still have to slog through another 5 hours of work, putting laundry away (I promised!) & packing the Emerald Queen, my mind is already up at 8000 feet with Darlene, settling into yet another unfamiliar saddle to put miles under hooves.
I also feel like I should take a bit to thank everyone like one of those award shows, Adrienne for letting me ride her amazing horses, Jala & Nicole for being awesome friends even though we only see each other a few times a year, & my boss for letting me wiggle out of a whole Friday of work, Andrea for simply offering a horse to lug me around 30 miles of beautiful Washington wilderness…& of course the men of our lives, Tom & Tom, for watching the kids so we could ride!