06.09.14: Bigger Hills and Valleys

The morning started out with Remuda which was good. Michael was leading us in working on being more assertive if our horses invaded our space. We had lots of good discussion as usual and talked about lots of issues.

We headed out to the seat builders again to continue working on fluidity and maintaining our balance point. That went well, and we then headed into the classroom for a short lecture with Jesse. We discussed more on the trail riding and working on our horses to improve leadership and build more confidences.

We ended up having extra time in the morning which was great. I headed out with Roscoe to work on some transitions and direction changes, which went pretty well. It will still have to be something that I need to work on a lot more, but hopefully it will improve with a little work.

Lunch came, so I headed up to get him fed and then grabbed a bite to eat. Since I had the chance to change before lunch I didn't need to do that, so we headed off pretty quickly. We went into the playground and worked more with the transitions, doing a little bit of liberty in the process, just to get him warmed up. We definitely need lots more practice on line, but it at least clarifies the weakest areas.

The group was gathering to go out on the short trail ride again along the sneaky snake. I joined in again just for the heck of it, and Jesse got everyone organized and away we went. It was fun as usual, and Roscoe was doing terrific staying back away from the horse in front of him. At one point, Jesse started the beep beep game on a pretty big down hill. I laughed and hollered that I liked the beep beep game now since Roscoe stays so far back he's rarely affected by the beep beep game. Jesse laughed and then made everybody in the front back up until they got to me, which took them a good extra 15 feet. We did very well which made me feel good.

We continued on and got back in time to ride down to the 100' round pen so that we could gather to go on the big trail ride. We finally managed to get everyone organized so that there were enough faculty plus field instructors spread out through the ride with everyone else that we could head out. The trail head is at the top of the pens, right past the yellow jacket's nest in the ground. The trial went up for the most part pretty quickly, and Sarah on the lease horse Diasy behind me was puffing so I didn't have to work that hard to keep her back. Roscoe began puffing when we hit the last uphill before the top. Once everyone got all the way up, we spread out a bit and grazed for a little while.

The downhill pretty much began from there. It was not too tough, though, and it wandered through all sorts of beautiful land. We came to an aspen hollow and Jesse explained that aspen trees are actually networked underground so they are not individual trees, but one large organism. He also said that we could see signs of the bears marking the trees and sharpening their claws on the bark, but I didn't see any of that. We did see a hunter standing in a bunch of trees though. I felt bad for them that there would be two groups of almost 20 horses each riding past him. There would be no elk for a while for him I am sure. We headed down into a ravine after that, twisting down between the shoulders of the mountain. Jesse pointed out a spot where a bear had been digging for ants below a log, and the fresh turned earth looked pretty bare of bugs.

We continued on further, and popped out in the meadow that is roughly in the middle of the sneaky snake trail. Jesse allowed us to go either direction to get back to the ranch from there, and so I wandered on down the trail after letting Roscoe graze for a while. Along the way back appeared a pile of feathers that neither I nore Judi riding behind me remembered from before. Apparently someone had dinner there at some point in the last day.

I got back to the ranch and slowly let Roscoe wander in and stop for a bit to graze here and there. I brought him to the wash rack and climbed down, a bit stiff. I pulled the saddle off and was pleased to find that the sweat marks were pretty darn even. I had one spot of swirled hair in the same place where there were dry spots the first day I was riding. I will have to consult someone about that because I was pedaling like crazy, so I'm not sure what it was. I grabbed a brush and wet it down good to rub down his back. As I was brushing, I seemed to find a sore spot in his back, but hopefully that won't be there today. I'll have to check it out well to find out though. There also appeared to be a spot on his side where the hair was rubbed away. I'll have to try to discover what rubs right there that might be pulling his hair out.

I got him fed and then hurried off to grab a shower before the water turned cold. Dinner after that was not so good, but I ate some anyway. Dessert made up for it with ice cream sundaes. RFD TV was after dinner, and then the campfire started. It was small and quiet last night, which was wonderful. Tim and Don were the only two people playing, and there couldn't have been any more than 15 of us other than that. I suggested several songs that Tim was delighted to sing since we hadn't sung any of them. It was great to sing them around such a small audience.

We finally all crashed to bed at about 11, and it just wasn't enough... but that's the price that ya pay.

Today brings cows, so long as Roscoe is feeling well enough. Let me just hope...

Next Page: Friday, September 15, 2006: Even Cows like to Square Dance in the Rain