Bridle Path

I decided to go back to Catalina State Park on Sunday and ride the trail “Bridle Path”. Apparently it is a very popular trail as equestrians, hikers and bikers were all on the trail that day. It is a very easy going trail and wide enough that 2 horses can ride side-by-side. Unfortunately, Hondo does not like to ride side-by-side. You see, Hondo is a big bully to other horses and this day he seemed to be worse than usual.

I know I praise Hondo with great attributes. He really is an awesome horse. Hondo is well trained and he rarely gives me any trouble. We are bonded with each other and that is very important when you ride the trails alone. He has gotten us out of more than one sticky situation in the past. This past Sunday was a different story though.

Every time we passed other riders, Hondo would put his ears back and try to nip at the passing horses. He didn’t care if they were mares or geldings. He didn’t want to try to be friends with any of them. Hondo is very different with people passing us on the trail. He will nicker at them to try to get them to stop and say hello. He loves affection (from the human species!). He pretty much ignores bikers.

We were going around a bend in the trail and started passing a couple of horses and riders when Hondo actually tried to back up and kick the nearest horse. I used my spurs on him to get him away and to stop. Hondo apparently didn’t like the way I used my spurs and he started to crow hop and gave a little buck. I refused to put up with that kind of behavior. I pulled Hondo off the trail and started some simple reigning exercises to get his mind off the other horses and to get his mind back on working. He continually was testing me and kept trying to get his way. It took a good 15 minutes to get him to listen to my hands and legs.

Hondo loves being out on the trails and he gets excited at new trails. I found a trail (see picture below) leaving the main “Bridle Path” and decided to challenge him a little bit more to keep him engaged on me and not the other riders, hikers and bikers. The trail was uphill (there is a trail on the pic below!) and he would have to pay attention to his stepping.

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At the top of the trail we went about 500 yards when Hondo decided he wanted to head back to the truck. He started backing up and kept trying to turn around. This is very UnHondo like behavior. He started little baby bucks and even went to rear a little bit. Hondo was having a temper tantrum. I wasn’t afraid of falling or anything, but I knew it was time to give Hondo’s brain a little rest. I dismounted and went to go sit on a nearby rock to eat my lunch. This was a good time to let Hondo settle down without me putting any demands on him. Hondo was in a timeout. He settled down pretty fast and started munching on some nearby dried grass. We sat there and enjoyed our lunch and the scenery for about 15 minutes. No one came past us as we were off the main trail.

I mounted up on Hondo knowing I did want to turn around and head back. It was getting hot and after wrestling with Hondo, I was getting tired. I did not head back down the trail because I was not going to let Hondo have his way. We went up the trail for about a quarter of a mile and Hondo was being nice and calm. I turned him around and the ride back was much more pleasant. I was able to relax and take some pictures of the scenery (see below). Hondo was even calm passing the riders, hikers and bikers once we hit the main trail again.

And finally we arrived…….

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A bad day of riding, is still better than no riding:)

TC                    horsetrailadventures@gmail.com

The Vet and a Selfie Stick

I called Hondo’s Vet to come look at his ear.  This last week Hondo has been sensitive with anything touching his ear. He actually pulled away when I bridled him and that was very unHondo like…

Our Vet couln’t find anything remarkable with his ear.  The only thing she noticed was that it was very dry and flaky. Her diagnosis was that the flakes may have been loose and worked it’s way to his eardrum and irritated it.  She gave him some medicine in his ear and then asked if I wanted his vaccinations while she was here. I laughed and said he just got them. My Vet reminded me that that was in October, his Fall shots. It was time for his Spring shots.  I swear time is just passing me by…

We talked for a few minutes and I told her about taking Hondo on the Arizona trail and she gave Hondo her medical blessings.  She did suggest I keep some Butapaste with me on the trail. She gave me a tube.  What just started out as a quick look into Hondo’s ear was turning out to be very profitable for the Vet (haha). Any horse person knows what I’m talking about…

After the Vet left, I decided to get some quick pictures with my new selfie stick.  Hondo wasn’t sure about the stick and shied away at first. I have rarely seen Hondo have a negative reaction to any equipment that I have had around him. I was telling myself that Hondo still had a little bit of the sedative in him.  The Vet usually doesn’t need to give Hondo a sedative, but today Hondo was being touchy with his ear. Our Vet also knows to give Hondo half a dose because Hondo is what the Vet calls “a cheap drunk”. Hondo is sensitive to those type of medications.

Hondo gets today off to recover from his sedative.  I am planning on taking him back to Catalina State Park on Sunday.  I will let you know about that trail ride adventure.   I inserted  a few more pics to show off my selfie stick…

By the way my shirt says “A Real Princess doesn’t kiss a Frog”. The silhouette is a Cowgirl kissing her horses nose 🙂

Happy Riding…… TC

horsetrailadventures@gmail.com

Sleeping Bag Dilemma

I have discussed this topic before…. My sleeping bag dilemma.  When I spent the night in the desert, I realized my sleeping bag was just too big.  It didn’t fit in any of my saddle bags and it was too bulky to safely attached to Hondo.  If I attached it behind his saddle, I couldn’t safely mount or dismount.  I guess that is why Cowboys just had a small bedroll back in the day…

I kept pondering what I was going to do and after much researching on the internet I found a sleeping bag (actually several and they were hard to pick through) called a compression bag.  It was extremely hard to pick one out and I kept using my tape measure when they had the size and weight listed.  Another thing that I had difficulties was picking one that had enough protection from the cold.

I finally decided on one that was supposed to be a 4-season bag.  It is a mummy bag and it is supposed to be comfortable for a person up to 6’3″.  Of course, Amazon has 2-day free shipping so I didn’t have to wait long for it to arrive.

I immediately opened it and the bag was compressed into the size a little bit bigger than a football. After I took it out of the packaged I thought the sleeping bag was extremely lightweight and how was it going to keep me warm?  I jumped into it and I am 5’4″, I don’t see how someone that is 6’3″ would fit into it.  It fit me pretty well with not much leftover.  I am still skeptical about it keeping me warm like my other bag.  It just seems too thin….

After much struggling, I finally got it back into the compression bag.  It definitely did not come out the same size as it was from the manufacture.  Luckily, it is small enough to fit behind my saddle with no issues of it being in the way. It fits nicely into the backsaddle bag.

I think I need another night in the desert to try out all my new equipment!  Happy Riding!

TC         Horsetrailadventures@gmail.com

50-yr Trail

I woke up on Sunday and decided that it was a great day to go someplace different for a ride.  I loaded up Hondo and traveled about 20 miles to Catalina State Park.

I have only been to Catalina once before a few years back and I went with several friends.  I’m not familiar with the trails so I printed out a map prior to leaving. I wasn’t sure which trail I was going to take, but after I got there the trailhead for a trail called 50-yr trail seemed to be calling me…

Sunday was another perfect day in Tucson weather wise. If anything it was a few degrees cooler due to me being closer to the mountains.  I saw a few other horse trailers parked in the area so I was sure if an emergency came up, I could find help as long as I stayed on the trails.  My husband Joe still gets uptight when I am out riding alone.  When I know I am getting cell phone service, I text him often.

I was a few miles on the trail and I came to a section that you could choose 3 different ways to go.  It wasn’t marked which way the 50-yr trail went.  It was a good time to get off Hondo, look at the map, think about which way to go and tighten my cinch as we had already climbed up to a ridge. I usually will ride for about 2-3 miles and then tighten my cinch again. It seems to always loosen and settles by then.  While I was taking this short break a lone rider came up the trail that I had just came from.  He was an older gentleman. Due to that I usually ride alone, I am very cautious when I run into someone.  Most horse people are the “I never met a stranger” type and are all pretty friendly.  I said “hello” and he responded kindly, he even tipped his hat so I didn’t get a bad vibe from him. He stated his name was Tim and asked if I needed any help.  This was due to I was not on my horse. I said I was fine and I was just tightening my cinch. I did ask him about the trails though.  I wasn’t sure which one was the 50-yr trail.  He showed me the way and said he was going about another mile on it before splitting off on another trail, so I followed him for that mile.

If I looked to my left, it was a few gently rolling hills with Tucson just beyond them.  If I looked to my right, there were the Catalina Mountains and one of the passages for the Arizona Trail.  The AZT goes over and through some valleys of the Catalina mountains and I am starting to feel my AZT adventure pulling at me to start.  I know I am not ready to start yet, but it will be soon.  I just need to build Hondo and myself up a little bit more.  I also need to work on logistics for getting water and feed for Hondo as I won’t be able to carry all of it.

We completed 10.3 miles on Sunday.  It was a great change of pace getting Hondo on a trail he is unfamiliar with. We will be doing this more often to prepare for the AZT!

Keep Riding,

TC & Hondo……..   horsetrailadventures@gmail.com

A Day on the Trail

The weather was a nice 75 degrees and the breeze was minimal. It was a perfect day to be out on the trail.  Due to Hondo still shedding his winter coat, even after I used clippers to help him along, it took me over 30 minutes to get him groomed for the ride!

As I entered the wash, the trees had yellow blooms all over them. As we passed I could hear the buzzing of the bees. One thing you don’t want to do is brush against these trees or you will disturb all the bees. I could see bunches of them as I passed sitting on the blooms. I like the blooms, but I’m not a big fan of bees.

Today I decided to ride towards Veterans Trail and take the vertical cliffs trail. This trail is very steep and considered difficult.  The first part of the trail is over a small hill.  It looks small in the picture above, but there are spots when climbing that you have to really help with your horses balance.  If you are not an experience trail rider and your horse hasn’t been trained for rough terrain, this is definitely not a trail for you.

That is just one of the things that make Hondo a great choice to go on the Arizona Trail.  He is very graceful in rough terrain and he knows how to pick the best way to go when given a choice.  I give Hondo his head a lot on trails that are rough and is full of obstacles. He is extremely careful and can pick his way through rough patches and I can trust his judgement.

Actually out on the trail I always let Hondo ride with loose reins.  He will ride with just a little nudge of my knee for guidance.  Hondo is trained for being ground tied and to date he has never stranded me.

One time I fell off Hondo really bad when going up a steep incline a few years back.  When I came too, Hondo was just a few yards away munching on some grass. Somehow I climbed back on him and pointed him home.  He did not rush and just took his time. We were about 5 miles from home. When I got home, my husband knew right away that something had happened. He took me in the house and asked my son to take care of Hondo.  I suffered a concussion and some serious scraps and bruises.

My son came in the house carrying my bridle and he showed us that the chin strap was broken and the side was barely secured. I didn’t know it, but I had no control of Hondo when we were coming home that day.  If he had decided to take off and I had pulled on the reins, the bridle would have just fallen off.

That is the kind of horse I have and that is why I know we can make it out on the AZT!

Well until next time… keep riding!

TC

 

 

Too Clean?

Today I gave Hondo a shower. First I finished clipping him to help him get rid of his winter coat. I only clip certain areas, I never fully clip him… Then I gave him his shower.  He got shampooed and conditioner so I can go get him really sweaty tomorrow!

After I finished grooming him, I usually fly spray him before I put him away.  Today was no different.  As I finished fly spraying his entire body, I went to go put away me supplies.  It was then I noticed that my fly spray and show sheen spray were stored in each other’s spot…

I went and checked Hondo out and sure enough, he had show sheen all over his body. This included his saddle area.  My only thought was in over 30 years of handling horses, I have never made the mistake of using the wrong spray bottle.

Hondo got a second shower and he is extra clean. I just hope that tomorrow my saddle doesn’t think about sliding all around.  The trail I have decided we are going on has some pretty rough spots and that would not be the right time to have my saddle to start slipping!

Until next time…. Happy Riding!

TC