Archives for April 2015

Wednesday, April 8, 2015 – Gorgeous Ride Among the Blue Bonnets at Muleshoe RA

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After getting up early to a cloudy and somewhat breezy day, we had the horses loaded up and heading north by about 10:00, arriving at the Muleshoe Recreation Area, along the edge of Lake Travis. As we were signing in at the honor box, we noticed a lot of traffic coming in, and one lady asked me, "Is this where the wildflowers are?" I had heard this was a good park for that, but I had no idea it was this big! We drove in a short ways to the entrance to the Multi-use trail, where it looked like a new parking lot has just been carved out. We got the horses saddled up and ready to go, and finally let Lola out of the van. We left Billy at home because we were afraid the van would get too hot, and we knew he wouldn't be able to keep up, and we heard him uncharacteristically howling when we left! Lola jumped out and sniffed around a bit, then as soon as we headed up the trail she ran out front a ways, and fell into our pace almost instantly. You'd have thought she had been a trail dog all her life, instead of this being her first "real" trail trip! She was brilliant, never getting too far ahead, never going too far off the trail, just perfect! The trail was a bit rocky at first going through the woods, but soon opened up to a field between the woods and the lake. Not long after that, we began to see the Blue Bonnets, a Texas staple. At first we saw a few clumps, then we turned a corner and saw some larger clumps, then as we progressed, they became more and more thick until, before we knew it, we were completely surrounded, and stretched as far as the eye could see! The smell was tremendous, absolutely gorgeous, reminding me a lot of the Lilac Festival they have every May in my home town of Rochester, NY. The horses were brilliant today, too, paying almost no attention to Lola at all, likely because I've been spending a lot of time throwing balls into the pasture and having Lola retrieve them, getting the horses used to her running around near them. She stayed out from under their feet, didn't nip at their heels (precisely why we didn't want a herding dog!) and mostly stayed out front and to the side. The horses behaved well, and we got a few trots and canters in on the long stretches of road, with Blue Bonnets on each side of us. What a beautiful day, beautiful ride, absolutely perfect! And Lola behaved brilliantly as well, enjoying herself tremendously! We get the impression she's never had so much space and freedom, and is having the time of her life! We rode for a good two hours, reaching one short dead-end, but mostly everything was wide open. We had to follow the road back to the parking lot, not knowing the area well enough to find another way, but it was quick, and everyone slowed down for us. When we got home and got everyone put away, Lola and I did some more swimming practice. When we first got her, she got very panicky whenever I tried to get her off the first step. After a few days, I was finally able to get her to swim back by herself when I carried her into deep water, and a couple of days ago, she left the top step herself in pursuit of a frisbee, and learned she could swim back safely on her own. Next step will be to get her to learn where the various other steps around the pool are, then, if all goes well, to actually jump in from the side, I'm hoping to accomplish that before we leave the pool in a couple of weeks. What a great day!