Archives for March 2014

Thursday, Mar. 27, 2014 – Ride Day at Guadalupe River State Park

Set the alarm so that we could get a jump on the day, and woke up to foggy conditions. Apparently it had rained a tad during the night, but not enough to puddle, just misty and damp. Had a quick breakfast before we got the horses loaded up and headed south the Guadalupe River State Park, about 1:15 hour drive away. Stopped once for gas down in Blanco (the best prices, thanks to Gas Buddy!), and arrived at the park around 11:30. At first, they said the trails were closed due to the rain, but no one had actually checked on the trails, it was just assumed. After some persuasion, whining and common sense (like the fact they've been suffering from a years-long drought, so chances are that tiny little bit of rain just soaked in), they finally relented, making us promise that if the trails were so muddy that we would damage them going through it, we would turn around. Of course we promised, confident the trails would be just fine, and in fact, they were. Not one hoof slipped one time in the mud through the entire ride, all 5 1/2 miles of it. Not a single mud puddle or even boggy spot. In fact, with our Cavallo boots on, they barely even left a hoof print! Anyway, we left the horse trailer area and traversed across an area that had been heavily forested, either to avoid future fires, or possibly to eliminate an invasive species, so at first it was a pretty ugly ride. Once we went through that area, though, there were lots of nice places. We took every little loop they had in an effort to extend the ride, and most were really nice. Nothing extraordinary, just nice. Once we crossed the road and headed in the direction of the campground, there were a couple of fabulous open fields where we were able to get quite a number of nice canters in, both coming and going. By the campground, which is about halfway around, there was a hitching post and a watering trough where we stopped for a brief break. As we headed back south, the trail went along the ridge above the river, which was quite a drop below us. While the trail didn't get too close to the edge, there were several footpaths where you can get down and walk yourself out to a rock with a nice overview of the river and the view spreading northward. A very pretty diversion. Mounting again, we headed back on the western side of the loop, cantering again along the other side of the field (which only a head shake or two from Apollo, which I managed to check before it became a full rodeo), and thoroughly enjoying ourselves. Back across the road to the clear cut area (well, not quite clear cut, they saved some of the larger trees, but certainly most were down), until we reached the parking lot. On the last home stretch, we noticed fresh horse shoe prints, so obviously they decided to open the trails after all. Sure enough, there was another horse trailer in the parking lot. We loaded the horses back up and trailered home, stopping at the gate to let them know the trails were in perfect condition, they needn't worry about them, and headed out. A lovely day, one of the most enjoyable in a while, especially with Hubby back to 100 percent.

Thursday, Mar. 20, 2014 – Back to Pace Bend after a Long Absence

What a couple of weeks we've had! In addition to having a very successful work session for a couple of hours with our new client (someone you've heard of), Hubby and I both picked up a bug somewhere. While it only affected me about 5%, it hit him hard, and he was literally in bed for the week, plus in and out of bed for a couple more days. On Mar. 18th, his 80th birthday, we took our first venture out of the house, going to visit a friend in a nursing home, going to a fabulous dinner at the Bombay Bistro in south Austin, and doing a little shopping, all of which he survived with only minimal tiredness. So today, which was a beautiful, sunny day near 80 degrees, we finally headed out with the horses, who were delighted to get out of their pasture. We headed out to Pace Bend, knowing we could make the ride short or long depending on Hubby's stamina. Well, he held up quite well, and we were out for about two hours. Unfortunately their feet had grown a bit since our last ride, so I had to spend a while trimming their hooves, so I was tired by the time we left, but relaxed a bit once we were on the trail. We circled around to the north, then meandered our way southward, actually taking a couple of short trails we hadn't been on before, missed one turn that made us have to re-do a short loop, until finally he said he'd had enough, and we headed directly back to the day use area. It was a wonderful ride, slow but steady. We had originally planned to finish off down by the beach with a nice canter, but he was too tired by then, so we decided to skip it and save it for next time. We packed up the horses and headed over to the nursing home to visit our friend again, and he enjoyed communing with the horses for a few minutes before dinner. He continues to make tremendous progress from a stroke he had last month, he seems almost back to normal except for a few gaps in his memory. Left him to have his dinner, while we headed home. Unpacked the horses and fed them, then took my niece out to dinner at a local Asian restaurant (we thought they had sushi, but they didn't, they were more of a take-out place, but the food was still good) before getting back home. Last night we had a brief power outage, and it scrambled the hard drive on our Dish DVR, so we lost almost 340 hours of recordings, and we couldn't get it to come back on again today. I was not a happy camper about that! But we ordered a new one, should be here Monday. Settled down to DVD of Star Trek (the movie with the new actors playing the old characters, which I love!) before heading off to bed, satisfied at a wonderful day!

Saturday, Mar. 1, 2014 – Another Ride at Pedernales Falls

With all the crazy weather (four ice storms in three weeks), and the acquisition of a new client who happened to be located in Austin, the only riding the horses have been doing lately has been a couple of short trips around the neighbor's pasture with friends of my brothers (non-riders) who came over for get-togethers. It might have been a little exercise for the horses, but it wasn't exactly challenging. At last we had a day where the weather was fine (party cloudy, temps near 80), so we headed out to Pedernales just to finish off the south loop that we had attempted last month and couldn't do because of timing problems. We got a late start because I wanted to trim the horses' feet before we put them in the trailer. There had been some fog and dew overnight, so their feet were nice and soft, so trimming was pretty easy, but time consuming nonetheless. We didn't get to the park until after 1:00, then we had to readjust Hubby's stirrups, as they had been changed to accommodate guest riders, and eventually left the parking area about 1:40. We headed due west to the perimeter fence, so that we could get the most boring part of the ride done first. A very long, mostly straight fence line, though the footing was mostly dirt and sand with just a few areas of rough rocks. The southern part of the fence started out with typical barbed wire, but then changed to a very tall, probably 10' fence with one strand of electrification at the top, which made us pretty curious as to what kind of critters the fence was meant to keep in or out. Eventually we reached the bottom of the park, turning east, crossing the road and following the utility poles before starting the turn northward. We stopped at the "horse camp", which was essentially a small field with a big cistern off to one side, and 5 or 6 metal corrals, all but one in use, though no one was about. We watered the horses at the trough, but it had a lot of algae floating on it, and I had to do some searching to find how to get water into it. Turns out there's a spigot underground that when turned on, allows water to fountain into the trough. There was a regular hose-type spigot, but that didn't work for some reason. In any event, we had been riding two hours just to get there, so we rested the horses, had some lunch and munchies before heading out again. Going north on the east side of the south loop was definitely more interesting, with lots of twists and turns and ups and down, but the footing was mostly rough rock along the way. Most of the trail was in the woods, so it made for a slightly cooler ride, and the sun we started with was being clouded over, so the temps stayed perfect. It was a very nice ride, but seemed longer because of the rough terrain and because we're a bit out of practice, having not ridden for over three weeks! Got back just before 6:00, we washed the horses at the wash rack before loading them up, leaving the park as the sun was setting, around 6:30. One quick stop at the H.E.B. for groceries and gas before getting back to the ranch, where we quickly fed and bedded down the horses. A few days ago, we had bought some more posts and extended their pasture to more than an acre, so now they have lots of room to run. No telling how long we're going to be here, now that we have a local client, though we're still hoping to avoid the summer heat by heading north in a few weeks, and to complete our final contiguous state (Nevada) some time in the next few months!