Friday afternoon my friend Laura and I headed south to Capetown, California for the Back Country Horseman Redwood Unit's Half-Ass Flat Ride. I don't know that I have ever been on any event as well conceived and coordinated as this one! You can see in the photos that the terrain and scenery was amazing. What you don't see is the hearty, delicious food that was part of the sign up fee - all our meals from Friday night to Sunday afternoon. We met alot of great people, had two days of great rides, tightened our camping skills, and experienced immensely rewarding and significantly challenging trail experiences with our horses.
This is a panormic view of the country we covered on our Saturday ride. We did the long ride in the morning and then switched to the medium ride group which got us back to camp about 2 hours sooner than if we stayed with the long riders. My dang knee and ankle demanded the change. Stupid O.L.D. Syndrome!
Here is the view NW from our camp. There were 150 + folks there for the weekend.
Here is a shot as we headed down the hill to Capetown.
Does it give you a sense of the VERY steep drop into the valley?
Check out our camp and extremely cool, portable electric fence. Jerico, Laura's arab, is turning to check up on his mom. Laura and I have done several weekend camps together and I sure appreciate our good team work. It makes for a safe and fun adventure.
After traveling down a river, up one ridge, down across a valley and up another ridge the long ride group headed toward a STEEP hillside taking us back down to the ocean. This picture shows the windswept pasture approaching the drop off. The wind was intense, as was the incline. Red did an exceptional job with this part of the trip. He did not spook once, was steady and sure-footed, and ignored the annoying sound of my windbreaker's hood flapping in the wind.
What a good Red Horse!
This part of the trail headed up the ridge to the lunch camp. We covered about 14 miles, even with switching groups. The trail from the beach to lunch camp had a steady increase in elevation and several stretches of relatively short but intense climbs. Red showed his great heart and scrambled up every steep spot but I need to work alot more on his conditioning.
I Loved, no - I ADORED my new EZ Ride stirrups - they took much of the strain off my knee and ankle. If you have any joint issues, do yourself a huge favor purchase a pair. Happy, satisfied, and totally pooped, I am enjoying a chai tea while I wait for my Aleve to kick in.
In many ways, Red and Jerico have gotten to be outstanding trail partners. They tolerate each other in all situations and show absolutely no agression. Regretfull, my one really significant, potentially dangerous challenge involved their
co-dependence attachment. Red displayed extreme "buddy sour" behavior the second day. While he did well encountering many unexpected surprises and coping with 150 other horses with no spook, he became highly agitated if separated from Jerico. More than once I felt his behavior was seriously unsafe. It also dimished my enjoyment of an otherwise awesome ride to the beach on Sunday.
Guess my next training project will deal with the buddy sour horse on the trail.
ps: once this ride was opened to mules only - then the BCHC opened it up to all equines and changed the name of the ride to the "half ass" flat ride.